Category Archives: European Union

‘Trussted trader’ plan for Northern Ireland is a smugglers’ charter

Liz Truss: she once warned that Brexit would seriously harm the UK. Did she know that she would be inflicting some of that harm?

Why doesn’t Boris Johnson’s government just legalise smuggling and have done with it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg has already abandoned checks on goods entering the UK from the EU, meaning anything may be imported from that bloc without anyone checking if we’re getting what we’re being told we’re getting.

Now, Liz Truss is telling us she wants to impose a new “Trusted Trader” “green lane” for goods coming into and leaving Northern Ireland, meaning that organisations bringing items across from mainland Britain will not have them checked, either.

That will establish a possible smuggling route from mainland Europe, not only into mainland Britain but also through it to Northern Ireland and the republic (because there are no checks on goods going between the Province and Eire).

Anything could go through unchecked – including people.

Oh – the plan to change the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally may also trigger a trade war with the European Union – the EU said it would “need to respond with all measures at its disposal” if the UK went ahead with the legislation.

And it may well upset nationalist leaders in Northern Ireland – including the party with the largest representation in Stormont, Sinn Fein – who had no objection to the Protocol as it is now.

Nice one, Liz! You should have stuck to cheese.

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Boris bombs in Northern Ireland talks – he has managed to upset everyone

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald meets Boris Johnson: she said she received no straight answers from him. Great result! The rest of us have to put up with outright lies.

Boris Johnson has managed a rare achievement in modern politics: having travelled to Northern Ireland for talks on how to restore the devolved government there, he managed to upset everybody he met.

The prime minister’s visit comes after the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the election of a Speaker to a new assembly at Stormont last Friday, meaning it cannot function.

The DUP – and other unionist parties – want changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK’s agreement to leave the European Union, which they say creates a hard trade border between the Province and Britain.

Johnson claimed to be there to build a consensus with political parties in Northern Ireland – but faced considerable distrust because they all know his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to make a statement on the government’s plans to act on the protocol on Tuesday – possibly overriding parts of the Brexit deal.

So, while they disagree on the issue that divides them, the Northern Irish parties seem to be united in their distrust of the man with ultimate power to act on it.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of unacceptable and obstructionist tactics, placating the DUP and giving “no straight answers”: “The British government is in a game of brinkmanship with the European institutions, indulging a section of political unionism which believes it can frustrate and hold society to ransom.”

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said he would judge Johnson on his actions, not words: “We cannot have power-sharing unless there is a consensus. That consensus doesn’t exist.”

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry was no more positive: “We’ve seen a lot of soft words from the prime minister, an attempt at some sort of consensual way forward, but those words belie the fact that tomorrow Liz Truss is set to make a statement to parliament setting out the basis of the UK taking unilateral action on the protocol.”

And Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood said: “If the British government tomorrow signal their intent to break international law by legislating to rip up the protocol at Westminster he will not have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.”

Johnson was jeered by about 200 people as his cavalcade arrived at Hillsborough, including campaigners for Irish language legislation, anti-Brexit activists and victims’ campaigners objecting to the government’s proposed legislation for dealing with legacy cases from the Troubles.

So in fact, Johnson has achieved a positive result.

He has united the people of Northern Ireland. None of them would trust him further than they could spit a rat.

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The elephant in the room: why are the Tories trying to sideline Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland: most people here aren’t bothered about the protocol that puts a trade border between the Province and the rest of the UK. Are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s block to the restoration of the Stormont assembly because it aligns with their own differences with the European Union?

Isn’t it strange that the Queen’s Speech made no mention of the Northern Ireland Protocol that is currently the greatest threat to peace in the United Kingdom?

Prince Charles, standing in for Her Majesty, announced no fewer than 38 planned new laws – and not one of them explained how Boris Johnson’s government plans to tackle the constitutional crisis that has flared up in the Province.

I think it’s because Johnson doesn’t know what to do. He has painted himself into this corner with his silly rushed Brexit and now he can’t get out of it.

For those who don’t know: the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement keeps open the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by creating a hard trade border between the Province and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Last week’s local elections returned a majority of members to the Stormont assembly who approve of that agreement – but Stormont is run on a power-sharing basis, and the second-largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, is refusing to nominate any of its members to the new administration until a deal is struck that dismantles the border with the rest of the UK.

Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein, who is set to be the new First Minister, has said it is the responsibility of Boris Johnson and his government to resolve the problems over the protocol – by negotiation with the European Union. This has created something of a domino effect.

The EU itself has acknowledged that the Protocol has created difficulties – and offered proposals last October to ease the burden of checks and paperwork.

The EU said it would mean inspections of food products would be reduced far below what is usually required at single-market borders, but the plan came with caveats and the UK said the EU needed to do more.

Now, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has said the UK may decide to scrap the protocol altogether – and a source close to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was considering legislation to scrap parts of the Brexit treaty unilaterally – without seeking agreement from the EU.

In turn, the EU’s chief negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, has said that the EU had already “shown a lot of flexibility by proposing impactful, durable solutions and we stand ready to continue discussions. We need the UK government to dial down the rhetoric, be honest about the deal they signed and agree to find solutions within its framework”.

This has been interpreted as a threat of a possible trade war if Truss goes ahead and trashes the protocol.

It’s a big mess – of Boris Johnson’s making. But some have suggested that the only people with whom the UK government should be negotiating are the DUP.

The majority of people in Northern Ireland support the protocol as it stands – or at least, they have voted a majority of representatives into Stormont who support it – and some say this means the DUP should accept it as it is, and not use it to disrupt the power-sharing agreement that helps to maintain the fragile peace the Province has enjoyed since 1998.

It seems only six per cent of the NI electorate see the protocol as a major issue, which suggests that the problem lies only with the DUP.

This Site has previously mentioned rumours that the DUP is only using the protocol as a means of ensuring that the unionist party will not take a position subordinate to nationalists – even though the titles of First Minister and Deputy First Minister are practically meaningless; power is shared between the two major parties.

The possible consequences for Northern Ireland could be catastrophic. But surely, nobody wants a return to the situation before the Good Friday Agreement, do they?

So perhaps NI Secretary Brandon Lewis simply needs to take a robust stance and present it to the DUP. Or are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s rebellion because it suits them to?

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Rees-Mogg’s Brexit shame: he admits UK trade checks would be ‘act of self-harm’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he can’t laugh this off.

Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.

But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.

That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?

“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.

“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.

“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”

It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:

That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.

It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.

And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?

People, perhaps?

That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?

Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.

The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.

It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).

But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes Remain argument by calling Brexit measures ‘act of self-harm’

US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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Sunak says everyone knew Brexit would make us poorer. Did you?

On the ropes: Rishi Sunak.

Is this the blunder that ends Rishi Sunak’s career?

He has told the House of Commons Treasury Committee that everybody knew Brexit would make the UK poorer when they voted for it in 2016.

Do you think that is true?

This Writer’s recollection is of people like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage claiming they were leading us into the “sunlit uplands” of a prosperous post-Brexit future. In fact, the Office for Budget Responsibility recently published two graphs showing how badly the UK has suffered on those so-called sunlit uplands:

Nobody saw “Brexit will make you poorer” written on the side of a big red bus. It said £350 million a week that then went to the EU could be given to the NHS instead.

When the promised cash failed to materialise, Sunak used it as a pretext to impose a 10 per cent increase in National Insurance on us, justifying it with a lie that it would go towards health and social care. It won’t. He wiped away half of the £12 billion it was supposed to make in his Spring Statement last week.

Presented like that, it looks like a premeditated Tory plan to make millions of people poorer. Indeed, 1.3 million of us will be dropped into poverty because of the decisions he made in his Spring Statement.

So when Sunak said everybody had always known a change in trading relationships with the EU would cause a hit to the UK economy, he was trying to offload the blame for a Tory plan onto the voters.

No wonder he shrugged when he was asked if he thought voters were stupid. Clearly, he does.

His reasoning also seems clear: voters put the Conservative Party back into government twice, after being misled into voting to make themselves poorer in the EU referendum – thereby encouraging Sunak and all the others to impoverish them further while lining their own pockets.

That’s stupid in anybody’s book.

The rest of his evidence was more of the same – an attempt to pass the blame for the UK’s current financial woes onto the nation’s citizens.

So the £200 heating loan isn’t a loan even though it will push people into further debt.

So he couldn’t help people on benefits because that would increase public borrowing.

So his squeeze on the poorest was their fault for not having saved more during lockdown.

At least he admitted that his tax relief on solar panels won’t help people on Universal Credit. Very handy for him, though.

The message is clear:

Tory government will make you poor. If you don’t want to be poor, don’t believe the Tories. Don’t listen to them. And most importantly of all, never – never – vote for them.

Source: ‘Do you think people are stupid?’ Sunak shrugged. Of course he did

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Ukraine: Johnson’s conference comparison is doubly hypocritical because of his Russian links

Duper’s delight again: either Boris Johnson is a hypocrite, praising Ukraine but supporting Russia – or he was deceiving his party faithful by saying he wants Ukraine to suffer a disaster at least as great as the effect of Brexit on UK citizens.

Yes, it was disgusting when Boris Johnson got on his hind legs at the Conservative Spring Conference and said Ukraine was like the referendum decision for the UK to leave the EU:

Ukraine is trying to join the European Union. Somebody needs to tell Johnson that before he sticks his size-13s in his mouth again.

Former European Council president Donald Tusk said the words “offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense”.

Even some Conservatives had the sense to condemn Johnson’s ill-chosen words:

Tory chairman of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood said Mr Johnson’s comparison “damages the standard of statecraft” being exhibited in the response to the invasion.

The comment was hugely hypocritical because Brexit has been a disaster for a majority of UK citizens; we have to deal with increased bureaucracy and higher prices as a result of the trade barriers that Johnson raised.

And just ask the people of Ireland (Northern and the Republic) how they feel about the NI Protocol.

But it’s worse than that!

Johnson is doubly hypocritical because he talks about supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom but acts in support of Russia.

It has just been revealed that – on the night Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine – Johnson attended a fundraising event with a Russian donor to the Conservative Party who has connections with the Russian president.

He was joined by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and communities secretary Michael Gove, and all guests reportedly enjoyed expensive wine, food and an auction.

Labour chairwoman Annaliese Dodds branded Johnson a “threat to national security” – and she’s right. Who knows what our loose-lipped prime minister might have said?

Who knows whether he still talks to Putin-supporting Russians now and what he says if he does?

Then he stands in front of his party faithful and praises Ukraine’s struggle for freedom by comparing it with the worst disaster to be deliberately inflicted on the UK in more than 80 years.

Hmm. Perhaps he’s not such a hypocrite after all – if he’s really saying he wants Ukraine to sink as fast as the UK has after Brexit.

Source: Boris Johnson compares Ukraine to Brits ‘wanting to be free’ by choosing Brexit in conference speech | ITV News

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Is this really the ‘skeleton’ in Johnson’s closet that Williamson is being knighted to hide?

‘Keep your mouth shut and there’ll be a knighthood in it for you,’ Johnson could be saying here. But it seems Gavin Williamson couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Did he say anything worth knowing?

The announcement that Boris Johnson was giving double Cabinet failure Gavin Williamson a knighthood has prompted a wave of speculation about what the real reason for it might be.

This Site has already published an article about it. Nobody believes the award is for “services to the public and to politics”.

Now it seems that investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr may have uncovered at least one reason for it – and it refers to Johnson’s links with Russia.

She has published her evidence in a Twitter thread that you can find here. For brevity, I’ll refer to a summary from Yorkshire Bylines, which states:

Cadwalladr explains as follows:

Williamson was appointed secretary of state for defence on 2 November 2017, shortly after the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed it was investigating suspected Russian assets/agents operating in London, some of whom had met with Foreign Office officials, including Boris Johnson, then foreign secretary, and Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who had been accused of being the link between Russia and the Trump campaign. Johnson subsequently denied meeting Mifsud, until a photograph emerged.

Cadwalladr had previously been writing about Russian connections to Brexit and the Conservative Party. On 4 November 2017, she reported that the Observer had been told by a British intelligence officer that “The entire city (of London) is a nest of spies … There’s more espionage activity here now than there was even at the height of the cold war”.

She maintains that she subsequently received information that a person “high up in government” rang Richard Tice, founder of the Vote Leave Campaign and director of the Brexit (now Reform) Party, with some information to pass onto his political journalist partner, Isabel Oakeshott.

Oakeshott’s statement was that “I am in no doubt that [Leave.EU campaigners] [Arron] Banks and [Andy] Wigmore have been acting as agents of influence for the Russian state… The material clearly shows that they discussed Brexit and personal enrichment opportunities with senior Russian officials. They met several times with men they knew to be members of Russian intelligence services and passed them sensitive documents. They claim to be patriots, but when the UK and Russia had a political dispute, they publicly and privately supported the Russian position.”

Ms Cadwalladr then tweeted that the “source believed that person who tipped off Tice about Banks’s Russian connections was…drum roll…Gavin Williamson, then sec of defence”.

She explains that there are still areas of this situation that are opaque to the British people, but what we do know is that the FBI’s investigation came to London, that key individuals and organisations were based here, and that one of these individuals was Johnson “knee deep in Russian connections and money”. And indeed, May seems to have responded directly to this information with her ‘we know what you are doing, Russia’ speech.

The article concludes:

Williamson appears to be in possession of information that the prime minister does not want to appear in the press at the time the western world sits aghast with horror at the actions of the Russian state. If he will not answer questions on this point, the question for the British people is clear: do we really want a government that works in this clearly corrupt manner? And if we don’t, what are we going to do about it?

This Writer has not seen the documents that apparently induced Ms Oakeshott to say that Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore were working for Russia.

And there is no readily-apparent connection between the claims about them and any Russian influence on Johnson.

But there is enough here to justify an investigation into whether these named people were connected with – or influenced by – Russian agents (or were agents of Russia themselves).

What does Williamson know? And does it in fact relate to Boris Johnson?

What about Banks and Wigmore? Are the allegations correct? If not, then why were lies released to a journalist, and what made her believe them? If so, then it is important for their involvement to be revealed, along with the names of anybody they know to be part of this apparent web of intrigue.

Did Russia hijack the UK’s referendum on membership of the EU in order to weaken this country and Europe?

And if Boris Johnson is one of those involved, it is vital that we know the facts.

Because – if true – then this is potentially treason.

Source: The Russia connection: defying gravity, reality … and treason?

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‘If Boris goes, Brexit goes.’ Would that be such a bad thing?

A perfect metaphor: Boris Johnson tried to publicise Brexit by coming down a zipwire waving Union flags. He got stuck and was left hanging helplessly in the air – just as his half-baked “oven-ready Brexit” has left many of the rest of us.

Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has raised a serious possibility: with Boris Johnson in danger of losing his job because of rule-breaking, his Brexit may lose its credibility.

Lord Heseltine, writing in The Guardian, suggested that

Having proclaimed the Brexit referendum triumph of 2016 as the unique achievement of Boris Johnson and praised his historic success in the election three years later with the slogan “get Brexit done”… the wreckers of the European dream slowly begin to realise that if Johnson goes, it shifts the sands from beneath their feet.

He and Lord Adonis, leaders of the European Movement, devised and publicised the slogan, “If Boris goes, Brexit goes”. It’s causing hysteria among Brexiteers, but they have a point:

 If the prime minister is found to have lied to parliament and to the people, what defence is there to the allegation that the Brexit cause – mired in similar controversy over lies and dissembling – was conducted with the same disregard for the truth?

We all have a clear memory of the Brexit campaign and what was said. That we were being run by Brussels. That European restrictions were holding back our economy and lowering our living standards. That we could keep all the benefits of the single market and customs union, while negotiating trade deals with faster-growing countries in a world that was shifting east. That we had to regain control over our borders. That there would be no new border between Northern Ireland and mainland Great Britain, and that the Good Friday agreement, having ended years of strife, would be fully honoured.

[Johnson] claimed that a barebones trade deal – without most of the benefits of the customs union and the single market – was “oven ready” and would “get Brexit done”.

Except [the] deal didn’t “get Brexit done”. Within months it had seriously frustrated trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and the government threatened to tear up the very deal it had itself negotiated to safeguard the position of Northern Ireland. Lord Frost resigned from the cabinet as Brexit minister last December after less than a year, complaining of the Covid strategy but also bemoaning that, regarding Brexit, the correct agenda was not being pursued.

He gave no detail as to what that agenda should have been or who was holding it up, but the villains were familiar: the metropolitan elite, the civil service, the BBC, Brussels, the remoaners – … Everyone except the actual people in positions of power.

And now Johnson, under serious threat of losing his job, has made Jacob Rees-Mogg Frost’s successor – a man so clueless he has actually asked Sun readers if they have any ideas that could save Brexit.

Meanwhile, the bombshells continue to land: now, even cows have become a Brexit sticking-point – because their ears have to be re-tagged if they move from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

It’s another example of the “burdensome red tape” that has been choking the UK ever since Johnson’s “oven-ready Brexit” was enacted – a change that, remember, he promised would release us all from bureaucratic restrictions.

So Brexit may unravel altogether if its biggest cheerleader bites the bullet over Covid-19 rule-breaking.

Would that be such a bad thing?

Source: Why the panic among Boris Johnson’s allies? Because they know Brexit is unravelling

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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#BorisJohnson #lies again: he tried to stoke #Brexiter fears with this attack on Labour

For his third lie of Prime Minister’s Questions on January 5, Boris Johnson tried to prod supporters of Brexit into unfounded fears about the Labour Party.

He claimed that a future Labour government under Keir Starmer would take the UK back into the European Union.

This has never been a Labour policy.

In its 2019 general election campaign, Labour offered the nation another referendum on whether to leave the European Union – at the insistence of then-Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer.

But Starmer dropped any suggestion that Labour would take the UK back into the EU after he was elected Labour leader.

Was the election policy a ploy to make then-leader Jeremy Corbyn unpalatable to Brexit-supporting Labour voters like those in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats, who voted Conservative in response to Starmer’s policy?

Was it a tactic to force Corbyn out of the party leader position, allowing Starmer and his far-right cadre to take over and turn Labour into what it is now, the Tepid Tories?

That’s none of Boris Johnson’s business, of course. He just wants to turn Starmer sour on the taste buds of the general public.

So he lied:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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