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White House declines to endorse UK view that Russia was behind nerve agent attack in England

Posted on March 13th, 2018 at 10:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


The White House has declined to endorse the UK government’s assessment that Russia was behind the recent attempted assassination of a former double agent in Salisbury, England.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “highly likely” that the Russian government was behind the attack that has left Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill, calling it “an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom.”

But when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked repeatedly about the incident at a press conference in Washington DC later on Monday, she would not say whether the American government agreed with this attribution, and did not mention Russia by name.

“The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage,” Sanders said in response to a question about the attack and Russia’s role. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation.”

I’ll just quote a reddit comment, I think.

“You know I spoke with Vladimir, he calls me Donny, great guy, almost as great as me. They love him over there, they really do, you should see the polls, spectacular numbers. If Crooked Hillary wouldn’t have cheated I would have had numbers that good. I will in 2020 let me tell you right now. Vladimir has it figured out, no collusion, none of it. He says he didn’t nerve gas attack, he said it to me on the phone, so he didn’t.

I asked him a second time, twice, to get the truth. I always get the truth. I said, ‘Vlad,’ I call him Vlad. Which only his best friends call him. He said ‘Donny, no.’ I really believe what he says. He’s an honest man, like me. I’m a hugely honest man, I may be the most honest. The word honorable has been tossed around. Can I say that? I think I can. The fake new media lies about my honesty. And I say, NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION. They don’t believe me, believe me. I’m honest. The best kind of honest.”

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  1. Putin just misses his old KGB days. But, his “License to Kill” is much broader now.

YouTube, the Great Radicalizer

Posted on March 13th, 2018 at 8:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


At one point during the 2016 presidential election campaign, I watched a bunch of videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. I was writing an article about his appeal to his voter base and wanted to confirm a few quotations.

Soon I noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and “autoplay” videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.

Since I was not in the habit of watching extreme right-wing fare on YouTube, I was curious whether this was an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. So I created another YouTube account and started watching videos of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, letting YouTube’s recommender algorithm take me wherever it would.

Before long, I was being directed to videos of a leftish conspiratorial cast, including arguments about the existence of secret government agencies and allegations that the United States government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11. As with the Trump videos, YouTube was recommending content that was more and more extreme than the mainstream political fare I had started with.

Intrigued, I experimented with nonpolitical topics. The same basic pattern emerged. Videos about vegetarianism led to videos about veganism. Videos about jogging led to videos about running ultramarathons.

It seems as if you are never “hard core” enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. It promotes, recommends and disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes. Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.

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