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John Laughland

Credibility of European Court of Human Rights lies in ruins after judges’ links to Soros revealed

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A study by the European Center for Law and Justice in Strasbourg has revealed several conflicts of interest between judges at the European Court of Human Rights and NGOs funded by George Soros.

The European Center for Law and Justice is an NGO which often appears at the court to campaign on social, family and religion-related issues. I am proud to be listed as a research fellow at the ECLJ but in reality I have written only one article for the center’s website and I receive no salary from it. I had no role in writing the report.

The study has found that, out of the 100 judges who have served on the bench of the European Court of Human Rights in the period 2009-2019, nearly a quarter (22) have strong links to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation or to NGOs like Amnesty International and others which are funded by it. Human Rights Watch, for instance, has received $100 million from the Open Society Foundation since 2010. 

Some of the NGOs receive so much of their budget from Soros that they are in effect wholly owned subsidiaries of his foundation.
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Key Takeaway from Ukraine Peace Talks in Paris is that Zelensky’s Best Friend is Putin

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The Paris talks on Ukraine have enabled Putin and Zelensky to meet for the first time. But they have agreed only to kick the can down the road, to agree to disagree, while seeking progress on issues other than the war in Donbass.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the weakness of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s position. He is a political novice facing perhaps the most experienced and formidable statesman in the world. Although an intelligent man, the former TV comedian says he likes to do things quickly. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, is known for his extreme attention to detail and for his propensity to play a very long game.

Putin is not in a rush. Zelensky is, because time is not on Ukraine’s side. The country has avoided default by a whisker only by negotiating a new IMF loan to pay off the old one taken out five years ago and due for repayment this year. 

The gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 is about to be completed, partly sidelining Ukraine as a transit country for European gas, thereby reducing both its political clout in Europe and, crucially, its revenue from transit fees. Zelensnky needs a new agreement with Gazprom by the end of this year, i.e. in the next three weeks. It is not yet in the bag.
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Attempt to Prosecute Assad at ICC is Aimed at Undermining Syrian Peace Process

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The announcement that “a group of Syrian refugees and their London lawyers” have found “a neat legal trick” to press for an indictment against Syrian President Bashar Assad by the International Criminal Court demonstrates, yet again, the dangerous corruption of international justice, against which I have been warning for over a decade.

The Syrian war is nearly over, thanks to the military successes of the Syrian army and its Russian and Iranian allies. Exhaustion on both sides has probably helped. Diplomatic overtures have started to re-integrate Syria into the international system, starting at the regional level: the United Arab Emirates have re-opened their embassy in Damascus; the Sudanese president, Assad's near namesake, Omar Al-Bashir, has visited Syria, as have senior Egyptian officials; Syrian officials have attended pan-Arab summits; even Israel is maintaining its dialogue with Russia over Syria. In short, the situation is being slowly normalised as Syria herself embarks on the painful search for internal peace.

The attempt to get Assad prosecuted is an attempt to stamp out these seedlings of peace before they take root. Any prosecution against Assad would scupper, or at least severely damage, this slow acceptance that the Syrian president is part of the solution. When even the British government has accepted that Assad is here to stay, and that peace must be made with him, his implacable enemies fear that their prize is about to slip out of their grasp. They do not want peace, if that means keeping Assad.
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‘Moral disgrace’: EU Parliament lectures world on rule of law, then destroys legality in Venezuela

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It’s a moral disgrace when the EU Parliament, which lectures the world on the need to respect the rule of law, uses legal language to tell lies about the legality of the situation in Venezuela, and to destroy that legality.

Exciting news from France: Marine le Pen is the country’s new president. After the Macron regime plunged the country into political crisis, Mrs Le Pen took the oath of office on Place de la Concorde on Friday before a small crowd of gilets jaunes (yellow vests) specially assembled – with the TV cameras – for the occasion.

Proclaiming that she was acting according to Article 7 of the Constitution of the 5th Republic, Mrs Le Pen announced that Emmanuel Macron is no longer in office. To be sure, the government and civil service, the police and the armed forces all continue to operate normally, and Mr Macron continues to work in the Elysée Palace as usual, while Mrs Le Pen is under investigation for financial irregularities. But as she has received official recognition from both Russia and China, she has now become the legitimate president of France.

Of course, this fictitious scenario is ridiculous. But it is no more ridiculous than the recognition of Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, voted by the European Parliament on January 31, one week after the recognition of him by US President Donald Trump.
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US diplomats act like imperial governors riding roughshod over sovereignty of national governments

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On the world’s Grand Chessboard, the US is fighting for control and influence. And there are countries where its ambassadors are perceived more as imperial governors than simple channels of communication. At the height of the Maidan protests in Kiev in early 2014, a conversation was leaked between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the then-Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama administration, Victoria Nuland.
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Blaming Russia for Skripal Attack is Similar to ‘Jews Poisoning our Wells’ in Middle Ages

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Congratulations to Craig Murray for getting there first. The colorful former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, turned anti-establishment dissident after he was sacked from the Foreign Office in 2004, has published on his blog some key texts by authoritative scientists which cast serious doubt on the British government's claims about what happened to the former double agent, Sergei Skripal, and why.

Murray – and his sources – have unearthed texts from 2016, 2013 and 1995 by, respectively, a scientist at Porton Down, the secret British military chemical weapons installations which is 20 minutes from Salisbury where Skripal was found last week; a scientist at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the statutory body created by the 1997 Convention on Chemical Weapons but which London has ignored and bypassed in its spat with Moscow; and by the Russian defector scientist, Vil Mirzayanov, who is the sole source for the claim that the Soviet Union started to manufacture so-called novichok ("newbie") nerve agents in the 1980s, allegedly now used to poison Skripal.

Two of these texts, for which Murray does not provide links, are available online here and here. The first two show, long before anyone had heard of Sergei Skripal, that the existence of novichoks has not been confirmed. Mirzayanov's 1995 paper says that they could be manufactured anywhere, for instance by any laboratory which can make fertilizer or pesticide, and that the factory where they were allegedly developed by the Soviet Union is in Uzbekistan, a country which has not been under Moscow's control since 1991 but where the Americans had a military base until 2005.
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Ukraine: It’s Not About Europe vs Russia

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To discuss the Ukrainian crisis in terms of a choice between Europe and Russia is misleading for several reasons.

First, the European issue has been ruthlessly exploited by the Ukrainian opposition and its Western backers as an excuse for overthrowing the government illegally and by force. Opposition leaders have never distanced themselves from the most radical elements on the streets of Kiev, even though these include neo-Nazis.

On the contrary, they have done everything to use their violence as a bargaining chip in their battle with the government. Let us never forget that the majority of the 25 deaths on the night of 18 – 19 February were murders committed by the protesters:  9 policemen were shot dead or stabbed to death, while 3 members of the governing party and a journalist were also killed.


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‘Despite Rumors of a Coup, Another Orange Revolution in Ukraine is Unlikely'

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Pro-western forces in Ukraine will find it hard to provoke a new revolution, particularly as a potential EU trade agreement would not affect the constitution, John Laughland, director of studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, told RT.

RT: The Ukrainian parliament is right now debating a government no-confidence vote. Would you bet on the prime minister and his Cabinet in this situation?

John Laughland: I probably would. I think the rumors of a coup are to be taken with some seriousness but I would be surprised if the events of 2004, the Orange Revolution, could be repeated. I think Hegel said, or was it Marx,“History repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce." I think it will be difficult for the pro-western forces in Ukraine to pull off the same trick twice, particularly since clearly this decision about the trade agreement with Europe is only a decision about the trade agreement. The issue is not something constitutional, like an election, as it was nearly 10 years ago.


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