NGOs and think tanks as brain trust of color revolutions

News Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite (Silent Coup or Revolt of the Rich) Recommended Links NGOs as brain trust of color revolutions Human rights as color revolutions attack vector Neoliberal Demagogy
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Compradors Color revolutions Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Khodorkovski Litmus Test Foreign Agents Registration Act
American Exceptionalism National Security State New American Militarism      
Neocons  Mayberry Machiavellians Neo-Theocracy The delusions of global hegemony  Russian  Fifth column  Humor  Etc

Russia lost sovereignty under Yeltsin gang and its resources were stolen. Now there are efforts to restore remnant of Yeltsin criminal gang in power or at least to block nationalists. Attempts were made to neoliberal regime of Yeltsin II pushed down the  throat of Russian people, so that country can be again mercilessly raped economically. 

After Medvedev became president Russian politics again became more neoliberal and the USA and other Western countries were determined not to allow Putin's return to power. To achieve that Russian White Revolution of 2011-2012 was staged by usual suspects.  Unlike Orange revolution in Ukraine, it failed. Parcially because Moscow fifth column did not have critical mass necessary for this event. But it produced wealth of documents helping to understand mechanisms and methods used in modern color revolution. To some expent it was the end of efficiency of color revolution, because as soon as methods are known the state can neutralize the threat more efficiently. .

The idea of organizing civil protest via NGO as a brain trust goes to early 90th (Color Revolutions, Old and New):

"Swarming" to Produce Regime Change

In his book, "Full Spectrum Dominance," Engdahl explained the RAND Corporation's groundbreaking research on military conflict by other means. He cited researchers John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt's 1997 "Swarming & The Future of Conflict" document "on exploiting the information revolution for the US military. By taking advantage of network-based organizations linked via email and mobile phones to enhance the potential of swarming, IT techniques could be transformed into key methods of warfare."

In 1993, Arquilla and Ronfeldt prepared an earlier document titled "Cyberwar Is Coming!" It suggested that "warfare is no longer primarily a function of who puts the most capital, labor and technology on the battlefield, but of who has the best information about the battlefield" and uses it effectively.

They cited an information revolution using advanced "computerized information and communications technologies and related innovations in organization and management theory." They foresaw "the rise of multi-organizational networks" using information technologies "to communicate, consult, coordinate, and operate together across greater distances" and said this ability will affect future conflicts and warfare. They explained that "cyberwar may be to the 21st century what blitzkrieg was to the 20th century" but admitted back then that the concept was too speculative for precise definition.

The 1993 document focused on military warfare. In 1996, Arquilla and Ronfeldt studied netwar and cyberwar by examining "irregular modes of conflict, including terror, crime, and militant social activism." Then in 1997, they presented the concept of "swarming" and suggested it might "emerge as a definitive doctrine that will encompass and enliven both cyberwar and netwar" through their vision of "how to prepare for information-age conflict."

They called "swarming" a way to strike from all directions, both "close-in as well as from stand-off positions." Effectiveness depends on deploying small units able to interconnect using revolutionary communication technology.

As explained above, what works on battlefields has proved successful in achieving non-violent color revolution regime changes, or coup d'etats by other means. The same strategy appears in play in Iran, but it's too early to tell if it will work as so far the government has prevailed. However, for the past 30 years, America has targeted the Islamic Republic for regime change to control the last major country in a part of the world over which it seeks unchallenged dominance.

If the current confrontation fails, expect future ones ahead as imperial America never quits. Yet in the end, new political forces within Iran may end up changing the country more than America can achieve from the outside - short of conquest and occupation, that is.

A final point. The core issue isn't whether Iran's government is benign or repressive or if its June 12 election was fair or fraudulent. It's that (justifiable criticism aside) no country has a right to meddle in the internal affairs of another unless it commits aggression in violation of international law and the UN Security Council authorizes a response. Washington would never tolerate outside interference nor should it and neither should Iran.

In this respect Putin's interview to German TV channel  is worth reading, especially for people who do not read Russian ( Full transcript of the interview).

Here is a summary

In the very beginning of the interview, the Russian President noted that it was not the objective of the NGO inspections to scare the public or the activists, adding that the mass media was performing that function.

Putin added that the real situation differed greatly from what was presented by the Western mass media. In particular, the fresh Russian law demanding that non-government organizations engaged in Russia's internal political processes and sponsored from abroad must be registered as foreign agents was noting new. The United States has had a very similar law since 1938.

Putin noted that the US law is enforced by the Department of Justice. All groups operating in the US must regularly submit information about their activities and this information is then reviewed by the counterespionage section.

The German reporter admitted he was not aware of such practices in the United States.

Putin went on to point out that there were 654 foreign-funded groups operating in Russia, while Russia sponsored only two foreign NGOs – one in France and one in the United States.

He also disclosed that foreign diplomatic missions transferred $1 billion. Eight hundred and fifty-five million was [added] to the accounts of Russian-based NGOs in just the four months that passed since the approval of the Foreign Agents Law.

Putin told the interviewer that in his view, Russian society had the full right to know about the extensive network of foreign-sponsored organizations operating in the country, as well as about the amount of funding these groups were getting from their foreign sponsors.

The Russian leader then again stressed that the Russian authorities did not intend to pressure or shut down any organizations.

We only ask them to admit: ‘Yes, we are engaged in political activities, and we are funded from abroad,’” Putin said. “The public has the right to know this.”

Putin also emphasized in his interview that the Russian authorities fully supported political competition, as without it the development of the country and the people is impossible. He said that the opposition had every right to protest, but even during these protests the rally-goers must abide by the law.

There must be order. It is a well-known rule. It is universal and applicable in any country,” he stated, noting that the recent events in North Africa were a vivid example of what might happen if this principle is neglected.

The president recalled the recent changes in the law on political parties that drastically simplified both the registration and the work of these organizations. He also spoke of as other moves to liberalize the political system, such as the return of the gubernatorial elections, saying that this was proof that he and his supporters encouraged political competition.

In comparison with a swarm of foreign NGOs operating in Russia with huge sums of money on their account that they received from foreign governments and other sources, Mr. Putin pointed out that the Russian Federation has two NGO’s operating in the west; one in Paris, and one in the USA. Just two. Balanced against more than 650 in Russia just counting those who qualify for the Foreign Agent label by virtue of being funded from abroad.

He also points out that the voluminous documents the USA requires to be completed by the single Russian NGO in the USA originate with Counterintelligence, not the State Department.

On Cyprus, Mr. Putin points out that Russia did not create Cyprus as a tax haven – it merely used it for that purpose, but it was set up by the Eurozone. He went on to suggest the shenanigans in Cyprus do not damage Russia in the least, but that they undermine the credibility of banking in the Eurozone as a whole.

As to Russia’s financial system and the implication that Russians are motivated by a mistrust of Russian banks to put their money in offshores, Mr. Putin points to the fact that not one Russian bank collapsed in the global financial crisis of 2008/09. What happened in the USA (he didn’t suggest that, I am)? Should the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers be taken as a warning of the instability in the American financial system?

To the suggestion that Russia is supplying weapons to Assad, he puts the rejoinder that weapons transfers by legitimate governments to legitimate governments are not currently restricted; there is no embargo in place. However, he calls attention to the 3.5 thousand tons of weapons and ammunition recently gifted to the opposition – a mercenary force – by its western backers.

His German host appeared to have gone into it with a “just watch this” attitude, in which he intended to outmaneuver Putin by asking him difficult questions that would have him either squirming with embarrassment or purple with rage in minutes. Nothing like that appears to have happened, and his German questioner merely looked like a prick trying for a “gotcha” situation. That did not reflect very well on Germany, in my opinion.

The analysis of Russian variant of FARA from the US positions can be found in Russia - NGO Law Monitor - Research Center - ICNL

Organizational Forms Non-commercial organizations; public associations; foundations; institutions; non-commercial partherships; and autonomous non-commercial organizations
Registration Body Ministry of Justice
Approximate Number Of 220,000 NCOs, 50% are public associations
Barriers to Entry Certain persons, including foreign persons and stateless persons, may not become founders, members, or participants.

Registration procedures are overly bureaucratic, with excessive documentation requirements.
Barriers to Activities Burdensome reporting requirements.

Supervisory power allowing for interference with internal affairs of public associations and NCOs
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy Potential restrictions against NCO advocacy activity may arise through application of criminal or administrative penalties codes
Barriers to International Contact No legal barriers
Barriers to Resources Foreign or international organizations wishing to make tax-exempt grants to Russian citizens or NCOs must be on a list of organizations approved by the Russian Government; access to this list is severely limited.

NCOs that carry out political activities and receive foreign funding are labeled "NCOs carrying functions of a foreign agent."

Pending NCO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

On December 19, the Duma passed in the second reading the draft of FEDERAL LAW № 186614-6 On Measures of Influence of Persons, Relating to Violation of Human Rights, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation. It was initiated by a large group of deputies and is designed as a countermeasure to the Magnitsky bill, which is intended to punish Russian officials that were thought to be responsible for the death of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky by prohibiting their entrance to the United States and use of their banking system. The present text includes provisions restricting American citizens who violated human rights or the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens from entering Russia and from owning property in Russia. In addition, the present text restricts the adoption of Russian children by American citizens and a number of other provisions restricting the activities of NGOs. Such provisions are summarized below:

The third reading and adoption is scheduled for December 21. It is likely that the law will come into effect shortly after.

Please help keep us informed; if you are aware of other pending initiatives, write to ICNL at infoicnl@icnl.org.

Pending NCO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

On December 19, the Duma passed in the second reading the draft of FEDERAL LAW № 186614-6 On Measures of Influence of Persons, Relating to Violation of Human Rights, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation. It was initiated by a large group of deputies and is designed as a countermeasure to the Magnitsky bill, which is intended to punish Russian officials that were thought to be responsible for the death of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky by prohibiting their entrance to the United States and use of their banking system. The present text includes provisions restricting American citizens who violated human rights or the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens from entering Russia and from owning property in Russia. In addition, the present text restricts the adoption of Russian children by American citizens and a number of other provisions restricting the activities of NGOs. Such provisions are summarized below:

The third reading and adoption is scheduled for December 21. It is likely that the law will come into effect shortly after.

Please help keep us informed; if you are aware of other pending initiatives, write to ICNL at infoicnl@icnl.org.

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Legal Analysis

Organizational Forms

The Russian Federation (Russia) recognizes a large number of organizational forms of non-governmental, non-commercial organizations (NCOs), resulting in a complex and oftentimes contradictory regulatory framework. The Civil Code and the Federal Law on Non-commercial Organizations (NCO Law) establish the primary NCO legal framework and define a variety of NCO forms (approximately 27), including public organizations, foundations, institutions, non-commercial partnerships; and autonomous non-commercial organizations. The primary requirements are that NCOs, whatever their type, do not have the generation of profit as their primary objective and do not distribute any such profit among their participants (Article 50(1), Civil Code). The Federal Law on Public Associations builds upon this framework and carves out a sub-category of NCOs called "public associations" which consist of public organizations, mass movements, public foundations, public institutions, and several other forms. Some 220,000 NCOs are registered in Russia; approximately 50% of them are public associations.

Public Benefit Status

NCOs may register as a charity pursuant to the Charities Law. Federal law, however, does not provide any benefits that are particular to registered charities. Although legislation at the regional and local levels offers tax benefits to charities, they do not necessarily require the organization to be registered as a charity at the federal level. Tax benefits under Russian law are primarily tied to the support or performance of particular activities specified in the Tax Code. Registration of an NCO as a charity pursuant to the Charities Law provides the organization with a particular status and subjects the organization to heightened scrutiny, but this status does not in itself provide any unique tax benefits.

Amendments enacted to the NCO Law in April 2010 introduced the status of "socially oriented" organizations ("SOOs"). Under the new law, SOOs are potentially eligible for governmental support. SOOs engage in a broad range of activities, including traditional charitable work, the provision of free-of-charge legal aid and the protection of human rights,.

Barriers to Entry

Russian law defines certain restrictions regarding potential founders of NCOs. Regarding non-citizens, only those foreign nationals and stateless persons who are "legally domiciled in the Russian Federation" may be founders, members, or participants in public associations or NCOs. Certain persons may not become founders, members or participants, including:

Public associations, such as public organizations and public foundations, by definition can be created only by natural persons. These organizations cannot be founded by legal persons, but other public organizations may join as members (Articles 18 and 19, Law on Public Associations). By comparison, legal persons, including commercial entities, may found all other forms of NCOs.

A non-commercial organization shall be subject to state registration in compliance with the NCO law. Public associations shall be subject to state registration in compliance with the Law on Public Associations. The registration process for all types of NCOs is overly bureaucratic, with a long list of documents required to be submitted to the authorized governmental body. The same is true for foreign NCOs seeking to establish a branch office.

Barriers to Operational Activity

Non-commercial organizations, as a rule, have virtually no restrictions on the activities they may pursue as their primary objectives including mutual benefit activities (Article 6(1), NCO Law, and Articles 5, 8, Law on Public Associations).

All foundations are required to engage in public benefit activities (Article 118(1), Civil Code, Article 7(1), NCO Law, and Article 10, Law on Public Associations). The primary activities of institutions are broadly defined as any managerial, socio-cultural or other activities of a not-for-profit nature (Article 120, Civil Code, Article 9, NCO Law, and Article 11, Law on Public Associations). Charities are required to promote at least one of the enumerated charitable activities indicated in the law (Article 2, Charities Law). Certain restrictions apply to activities of certain specialized organizations, such as political organizations and labor unions.

Articles 29 and 38 of the Law on Public Associations impose burdensome reporting requirements on public associations (PAs), by requiring them to submit information about the funding and property they receive from foreign and international organizations and foreign persons to the registration authority. Article 32 of the Law on NCOs imposes reporting requirements for NCOs and requires NCOs to report on their use of funds and other assets received from both foreign and local sources. Repeated failure on the part of a PA or an NCO to provide the information required in a timely fashion is grounds for the registration authority to bring a claim in court requesting a ruling that the organization terminate its activities as a legal entity, which then leads to its exclusion from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. More recently, new electronic reporting forms for NCOs, prepared by the Ministry of Justice, have substantially simplified the reporting process.

Articles 29 and 38 of the Law on Public Associations and Article 32 of the NCO Law authorize governmental registration authorities to engage in highly intrusive means of scrutiny of public associations and NCOs without appropriate procedural protections. The registration authority may use the following tools to interfere in the internal operations of a PA or NCO:

Article 23 of the NCO Law also provides the registration authority with two additional intrusive supervisory powers over the branches, representative offices, and affiliates of foreign NCOs. The government can issue a written decision banning the implementation of any existing program of a branch office of a foreign NCO. The Law does not provide any guidance with respect to the grounds on which the government may make this decision, which appear to be entirely discretionary. Upon receipt of a decision, the office of the foreign NCO must terminate the activity, and if it fails to do so, it risks exclusion from the register and liquidation of the office. The Law also allows the registration authority to issue a written decision banning the transfer by an foreign NCO's branch, representative office, or affiliate of funds or other resources to particular recipients for the purposes of protecting the basis of the Constitutional system, morality, health, rights and lawful interests of other persons, and with the aim of defending the country and the state security. The Law does provide foreign NCOs the right to appeal against actions taken against them by the government.

Recent changes to the NCO Law and to the Law on Public Associations, which relate to NCOs performing functions of "foreign agents," further increase the administrative burden on NCOs by requiring NCOs designated as "foreign agents" to: 1) maintain separate accounting of funds and other property generated through local and foreign sources; 2) submit activity reports on a biannual basis; and 3) submit reports on expenditures of funds and other property on a quarterly basis (unlike other Russian NCOs which are required to submit activities and expenditures reports annually) . NCOs-foreign agents are also required to pass through an annual independent audit. Reporting forms are to be determined by the authorized government agency and could be burdensome if overly complex. In addition, the Law gives to the government invasive powers to interfere in the internal operations of an NCO and even to suspend their activities. These include:

( Article 32.3, NCO Law)
The MoJ has the discretion to decide whether an NCO qualifies as a "foreign agent" (i.e. whether an NCO received or has the intent to receive funding from foreign sources and whether a NCO conducted or has the intent to conduct political activities). An authorized government official, at his/her discretion, can decide to suspend the activities of any NCO, if, according to his/her opinion, the NCO carried out the functions of a foreign agent but failed to apply for registration in the registry of NCOs carrying out the functions of foreign agents, regardless of how defensible this decision might be.

An NCO whose activities have been suspended has the right to appeal the MoJ's suspension decision to either the highest body of the MoJ or to a court. The NCO Law does not determine what will happened to a NCO if, after the suspension of its activities, it does not apply for registration within the timeframe set by the MOJ. The NCO Law also provides an unclear description of legal consequences of suspending an NCO's activities. An NCO whose activities have been suspended will also be prohibited from conducting mass actions and public events and making bank deposits, with the exception of settling accounts related to economic activities and labor contracts, paying assessed damages, resulting from its activities, and paying taxes, dues and penalties.

Under the NCO Law, foreign organizations operating in Russia through registered offices will be subject to the following new requirements:

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

Neither the Civil Code nor the NCO Law limits the ability of NCOs to engage in advocacy or political activities. All forms of public associations may participate in advocacy and lobbying activities. Under the law, NCOs generally may also engage in election campaigns for federal and local elections, subject to federal election laws (Article 27, Law on Public Associations).

Recent amendments to the NCO Law, relating to NCOs performing functions of a foreign agent, may potentially restrict political activities of NCOs. According to these amendments NCOs carrying political activities and receiving foreign funding, or, even intending to do so, are required to register in a special registry, maintained by the Ministry of Justice. Such registration, and, especially, labeling as "foreign agent" may result in additional administrative burdens for NCOs, as well as in damaging reputation of NCOs ( i"foreign agent" in Russian translation is perceived by general public as a "foreign spy). The threat of being labeled a "foreign agent" may discourage many organizations to carry political activities.

An NCO is considered to carry out political activity, if, regardless of its statutory goals and purposes, it participates (including through financing) in organizing and implementing political actions aimed at influencing the decision-making by state bodies intended for the change of state policy pursued by them, as well as in the shaping of public opinion for the aforementioned purposes. Such activities are considered political, regardless of whether a NCO is conducting them in the interest of foreign funding sources or without such purpose. A NCO carries political activities for the purpose of the Law if such activity takes place on the territory of the Russian Federation. (Article 2, NCO Law). An NCO is considered to be carrying out political activity if it even participates in such activities organized and financed for by other organizations.

Charities are expressly prohibited from using their assets to support political parties, movements, and campaigns (Article 2(2), Charities Law). In addition, religious organizations, governmental and municipal institutions, international public associations, and international movements are prohibited from making donations to candidates (Article 58 (6), Federal Law No. 19-FZ "On RF President elections," January 10, 2003, and Article 66 (7), Federal Law No. 175-FZ "On RF State Duma deputies elections," July 20, 2002, as amended). However, these prohibitions do not appear to extend to involvement in lobbying or other politically-related activities.

In June 2012, increases to existing fines for violating rules on participation in and organization of public protests were enacted when President Putin signed into law amendments to Code of the Russian Federation on administrative violations and to the Federal Law "On Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations, Marches and Picketing on June 8. These fines have a deterrent effect on the right to peaceful assembly. Fines for breaching provisions on holding public assemblies were increased by 150 times for individuals and 300 times for organizations. The new maximum penalty for participation in a protest that is not in accordance with government regulations is up to 300,000 rubles (approximately $9,000) for individuals and up to one million rubles (approximately $32,000) for organizations.

In July 2012, defamation was reintroduced as a criminal offence in Russia. The law was likely enacted to inhibit media criticism of Russia's leaders since media outlets can be fined up to two million rubles (approximately $61,000) for producing defamatory public statements.

Also in July 2012, changes introduced to the Law on Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development mandated the creation of a registry of websites that contain information which has been prohibited by a court order. Once a website is placed on this registry it can then be shut down without a court order. Government officials can interpret the law in a way that would increase Internet censorship and curb the freedom of expression of organizations that hold views that are different from the government's or the majority's views.

Barriers to International Contact

There are no legal barriers to international communication and contact.

Barriers to Resources

Foreign Funding

Russia enacted the law On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Regarding the Regulation of Activities of Non-commercial Organizations, Performing the Functions of Foreign Agents in November 2012. According to these amendments, NCOs carrying out "political activities" and receiving foreign funding, or, even intending to do so, are required to register in a special registry maintained by the Ministry of Justice. Such registration, and, especially, being labeled as a "foreign agent" may result in additional administrative burdens for NCOs, as well as in damaging the reputation of NCOs. The threat of being labeled a "foreign agent" may discourage many organizations to seek foreign funding.

Another formidable legal barrier against foreign funding relates to the giving of tax-exempt grants. Foreign or international organizations wishing to make tax-exempt grants to Russian citizens or NCOs must be on a list of organizations approved by the Russian Government. Such grants may be made only for purposes specified by Russian Tax Code: for the implementation of specific programs in the sphere of education, art, culture, health care (AIDS, drug addiction, children oncology, including oncohematology, children endocrinology, hepatitis, tuberculosis) environmental protection, protection of human and civil rights, social services of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of citizens, as well as for holding specific scientific research.

In June of 2008, the Russian Government adopted Decree #485, regarding the Government's pre-approved list of foreign grantors (hereinafter referred to as the "List"). Decree #485 contained a reduced number of approved international organizations and made clear that as of January 1, 2009, only international organizations mentioned in the Decree could remain on the List. Grants from foreign organizations not included on the List are considered taxable income for Russian recipients, unless they otherwise qualify as donations under Russian law. (The current regulation is applicable only to grants; donations, including those from foreign organizations to non-commercial organizations are tax exempt.)

On March 24, 2009, Prime Minister Putin signed Decree #252, amending Decree #485. Decree #485 empowered the Ministry of Finance to make changes and additions to the List. Decree #252 instead authorizes interested ministries – and not solely the Ministry of Finance – to initiate changes and additions to the List.

In addition, NCOs must provide information regarding donations obtained from foreign organizations to the Ministry of Justice.

Domestic Funding

An NCO may engage in economic activities to the extent they advance the purposes for which the organization was created, but may not pursue the generation of profit as its primary purpose (Article 50(3), Civil Code, Articles 2 and 24(2), NCO Law, Article 37, Law on Public Associations, and Article 12, Charities Law). Profit from the economic activities of NCOs, including charities, is generally taxed in the same manner as for commercial organizations. Lower tax rates may be offered by regional or local authorities for qualifying NCOs. Registration as a charity does not affect or limit the right of an NCO to engage in economic activities (Article 12, Charities Law).

In July 2011, the Russian Parliament adopted amendments to the Russian Tax Code that substantially improve the taxation of NCOs. For example, NCOs no longer have to pay profit tax or value added tax (VAT) on the value of in-kind contributions (services or property rights) they receive. Moreover, the amendments extend VAT exemptions previously applied to state budget funded institutions providing social services (i.e. in the areas of culture, art, health care, education, and services to the needy) to NCOs providing the same services.


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Old News ;-)

[Jan 01, 2020] Abuse of UN by CIA connected jihadist groups

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
Jan 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russia has received a lot of criticism over the bombing of alleged 'hospitals' in Syria which were registered on a UN sponsored list. The Russian military argued that the positions on the UN list were not of real hospitals but of ammunition depots or command centers of the Jihadists. After it had published dozens of articles bashing Russia's campaign the New York Times has finally admitted that Russia was right:

The U.N. Tried to Save Hospitals in Syria. It Didn't Work.

United Nations officials only recently created a unit to verify locations provided by relief groups that managed the exempt sites, some of which had been submitted incorrectly, The Times found. Such instances of misinformation give credibility to Russian criticisms that the system cannot be trusted and is vulnerable to misuse.
...
The groups give locations of their own choosing to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the agency that runs the system.

A document prepared by the agency warned that participation in the system "does not guarantee" the safety of the sites or their personnel. The document also stated that the United Nations would not verify information provided by participating groups.
...
While investigating an airstrike in November, The Times discovered that a relief group had provided coordinates for its health center that were around 240 meters away. When another hospital was bombed in May, The Times found that the coordinates submitted by its supporting organization pointed to an unrelated structure around 765 meters north.

After questions from The Times prompted the organization to review its deconfliction list, a staff member discovered that it had provided the United Nations with incorrect locations for 14 of its 19 deconflicted sites . The original locations had been logged by a pharmacist. The list had been with the United Nations humanitarian agency for eight months, and no one had contacted the organization to correct the locations, a member of the organization's staff said.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 15:42 UTC | Comments (65)


alaff , Dec 29 2019 16:07 utc | 1

Interesting news. ANNA NEWS, in a recent report, announced an investigation into the infamous "White Helmets". The material promises to be very interesting, with an abundance of exclusive video, details, interviews etc. The film should be released tomorrow (December 30 at 19h Moscow time).

Here is the announcement (at 9'55).

Btw, I do not exclude the possibility that when this movie is released, the ANNA NEWS youtube channel account will suddenly be blocked again without explanation. Will see.

Brendan , Dec 29 2019 18:50 utc | 12
Breaking news from the NYT: 19 of the 20 reports so far of the destruction of the last hospital in Idlib were untrue. The incorrect locations were submitted by the White Helmets (just an honest mistake).
Jackrabbit , Dec 29 2019 20:51 utc | 17
Caitlin Johnstone: Narrative Managers Claim White Helmets Founder Was Driven To Suicide By Syria Skeptics

I linked to ZeroHedge's reposting because of the comments which reflect skepticism about the apparent death of Jeffery Epstein as well as James Le Mesurier:

Zappalives
This guy is probably having a cocktail with epstein and his new girl whores.

Kreator
Coroner concluded that this suicide was one of the most unusual ones that he ever saw. Founder of White Helmets was found stabbed, hanged and shot.

Colonel Klinks Ghost
This has CIA/Mossad written ALL over it. And Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. Got it!

Cluster_Frak
White Helmet is a CIA fraud, and the founder retired with full pension and benefits. Suicide was just a cover for a job well done exit.


Baghdadi's killing was also rather strange.

One either believes the Empire kills those in its service when they have become inconvenient liabilities or these guys (Le Mesurier, Epstein, Baghdadi) were extracted and are living comfortably in retirement.

!!

snake , Dec 29 2019 21:03 utc | 19
Thanks B, at my pay grade I am not able to say that White means terror and helmet means ism.

Source in Syria: militants transport chlorine in coordination with White Helmets

the food that feeds and powers the nation state system

http://whatdoesitmean.com/ <= has this site been removed it has been unreachable for days now.. ?/

Brendan , Dec 29 2019 21:59 utc | 25
I didn't see it in the NYT article, but the false reporting of the hospital locations by "multiple NGOs" was supposedly just done "accidently". That's according to an NYT investigator who used to work for Bellingcat.
https://twitter.com/trbrtc/status/1211384089472843778

My previous comment about the last hospital in Idlib was a joke, but the NYT's Mr. Triebert seems to be serious about the accidental fake news about hospital locations. RIP satire.

[Dec 31, 2019] Abuse of UN by CIA connected jihadist groups

Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russia has received a lot of criticism over the bombing of alleged 'hospitals' in Syria which were registered on a UN sponsored list. The Russian military argued that the positions on the UN list were not of real hospitals but of ammunition depots or command centers of the Jihadists. After it had published dozens of articles bashing Russia's campaign the New York Times has finally admitted that Russia was right:

The U.N. Tried to Save Hospitals in Syria. It Didn't Work.

United Nations officials only recently created a unit to verify locations provided by relief groups that managed the exempt sites, some of which had been submitted incorrectly, The Times found. Such instances of misinformation give credibility to Russian criticisms that the system cannot be trusted and is vulnerable to misuse.
...
The groups give locations of their own choosing to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the agency that runs the system.

A document prepared by the agency warned that participation in the system "does not guarantee" the safety of the sites or their personnel. The document also stated that the United Nations would not verify information provided by participating groups.
...
While investigating an airstrike in November, The Times discovered that a relief group had provided coordinates for its health center that were around 240 meters away. When another hospital was bombed in May, The Times found that the coordinates submitted by its supporting organization pointed to an unrelated structure around 765 meters north.

After questions from The Times prompted the organization to review its deconfliction list, a staff member discovered that it had provided the United Nations with incorrect locations for 14 of its 19 deconflicted sites . The original locations had been logged by a pharmacist. The list had been with the United Nations humanitarian agency for eight months, and no one had contacted the organization to correct the locations, a member of the organization's staff said.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 15:42 UTC | Comments (65)

[Dec 13, 2019] NEO: How US think tanks reshape the world we live in by Valery Kulikov

Dec 11, 2019 | www.veteranstoday.com

The short story is that these stanks are stronger than ever in terms of their ability to build support for what their funders task them to do, laundering the fingerprints on the rigged outcome to make it all look like the honest work of unbiased academics.

Corporate media, even in the old days where they were not as bad, would not dig into the stanks' shorts too deeply, as they had a symbiotic relationship. The media used them for "expert" sourcing in getting their geopolitical articles done and looking classy.

There is no way to get rid of the stanks now, as they are too deeply entrenched. It would take funding like they have to construct an "anti-stank" – a new batch of non-stanks that were not in the tank Jim W. Dean ]

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by Valery Kulikov with New Eastern Outlook , Moscow, and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences , a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa

– First published December 09, 2019 –

For the longest time the so-called "think tanks" have been an indispensable element of the American political system. These days there are well over two thousand such "analytical centers" operating in the US, which exceeds the combined total in other major international players such as India, China, Argentina, Germany, and the UK.

The first noticeable spike in the number of think tanks across America occurred in the post-WWII years when such "analytical centers" assumed the duty of upholding the emerging unipolar world order within which Washington reigned above all other nations.

In fact, most of them were created primarily by the military, interested in developing a strategy for accumulating large volumes of politically relevant information, which would have been impossible without the employment of civilian specialists possessing diverse skill sets that allowed them to become proficient at geostrategic analysis.

Thus, in 1956, the US Secretary of Defense headed by Charles Erwin Wilson demanded that a total of America's five largest universities join their efforts in establishing a non-profit research organization called the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA). In less than a decade, this entity grew into a massive scientific institution employing well over 600 people.

In the 1960s, there were over 200 think tanks operating simultaneously all across America. The most famous and influential among them were the so-called "government-funded centers", among them the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analysis, the Institute for Naval Analysis, and the Aerospace Corporation, all of which were directly supported by the US Congress, which would allocate up to 300 million dollars annually to support their operations.

However, in addition to those thinks tanks funded by the state, there was a rapidly growing number of privately-owned analytical centers that were funded by special interests who decided to use these entities to advance their own agendas, thus indirectly influencing American domestic and foreign policies by launching various campaigns.

There where various charitable foundations that came in handy, providing gifts and public donations and allowing their analysts to profit from various publications. During the period from 1957 to 1964, when the very term "think tanks" was coined, the total turnout of those entities increased to 15 billion dollars annually.

At the peak of the think tank craze in the United States -- from 1960 to 1970 -- more than 150 billion dollars were spent on their operations. Today, the budget of the RAND Corporation alone exceeds the threshold of 12 billion dollars a year.

Initially, this American think tank empire was used to overcome crises and develop long-term strategies, with custom-tailored recipes provided to American politicians for approaching various regions of the world. In the 1960s, they were tasked with finding solutions to the problems associated with the Vietnam War, the declining role of the US dollar in global financial markets and the internal instability of the United States.

That's when globalist projects were born, which were designed in such a way that they would divert the attention of the general public from the most acute social problems at home.

Thus, by the end of the previous century, American think tanks turned themselves into an active decision-making tool in the US, as they were not just using "external financing" to advance the agendas of their benefactor s , but were also capable of putting forward respected analysts supporting their cause, with the controlled mass media promoting their narrative.

The close interconnection of the large think tanks and the US government structures is confirmed by American politicians and businessmen changing high-profile positions within the government with positions in these entities.

From the point of view of political rotation, those think tanks serve as a training ground for future high-ranking officials of upcoming administrations, where the establishment handpicks and approves these figures who will eventually get elected. And while one party is in power, the other sends its front-liners back to the think tanks.

A vivid example of this phenomenon is the track record of Donald Trump's former advisor on matters of national security, John Bolton, who at different periods of his political career was employed by three different think tanks – the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS) and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Besides this, as you may know, he was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs under George W. Bush, a member of the New American Century (PNAC), and in 2007 joined the American Enterprise Institute (AE), that is also an NGO.

Upon receiving specific tasks from behind the scenes interests, elites and various departments, these think tanks began developing various foreign policy concepts, training experts and representatives while preparing public opinion for certain developments through the media, like the advancement of "color revolutions" or the reemergence of some "evil powers" attempting to compete with Washington.

Aside from the well-publicized example of the RAND Corporation, you can look at StrategEast, which is described as the strategic center for political and diplomatic decisions. The main stated objective of StrategEast is the development of programs for specific states on the basis of their susceptibility to various Western (American) values.

Behind this idyllic concept hides the following: StrategEast analysts collect information on the possibility of creating a pro-American society within targeted territories that are of interest to the United States.

For instance, from the mid-80s onwards, Washington was interested in the Soviet Union, and its republics, which resulted in the Baltic states, and then Georgia and Ukraine joining the list of US allies due to the programs developed by StrategEast. Today, they are busy researching the Central Asian states, so it doesn't take much imagination to predict what will happen next.

In the initial stages, StrategEast programs provide a recipe to drive a country away from its traditional cultural values, so that it can be turned into an anti-Russian stronghold (as was done in the Baltic countries, Georgia, and Ukraine) or into their anti-Chinese equivalent (like is happening now with the countries of Central and Southeast Asia).

In Central Asia, for example, American "experts" have begun to impose the idea of translating the national alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin under a very strange pretext that it would then make life easier for local Internet users (while failing to explain why the incredibly complex Japanese and Chinese characters do not impede the ability of users in Japan and China to use the Internet).

In parallel with linguistic and cultural Westernization, the local public is being prepared for the possibility of massive protests so that it won't object to "color revolutions" that engineered to follow.

As we're witnessing the new Cold War going into full swing, there must be an objective assessment of the activities of US think tanks, as their "concepts" and "projects" should be approached with a clear understanding of the fact that they advance certain interests that do not necessarily correspond with the national interests of other countries.

Valery Kulikov, expert politicologist, exclusively for the online magazine 'New Eastern Outlook'

[Dec 02, 2019] A Think Tank Dedicated to Peace and Restraint

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The creation of a think tank dedicated to "an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing" is very welcome news. Other than the Cato Institute, there has been nothing like this in Washington, and this tank's focus will be entirely on foreign policy. ..."
"... I am quite amazed that Soros and Koch bro are involved. We will wait to see how this plays out. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen Kinzer comments on the creation of a new think tank, The Quincy Institute, committed to promoting a foreign policy of restraint and non-interventionism:

Since peaceful foreign policy was a founding principle of the United States, it's appropriate that the name of this think tank harken back to history. It will be called the Quincy Institute, an homage to John Quincy Adams, who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on that live-and-let-live principle.

The creation of a think tank dedicated to "an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing" is very welcome news. Other than the Cato Institute, there has been nothing like this in Washington, and this tank's focus will be entirely on foreign policy. The lack of institutional support has put advocates of peace and restraint at a disadvantage for a very long time, so it is encouraging to see that there is an effort underway to change that. The Quincy Institute represents another example of how antiwar progressives and conservatives can and should work together to change U.S. foreign policy for the better. The coalition opposed to the war on Yemen showed what Americans opposed to illegal and unnecessary war can do when they work towards a shared goal of peace and non-intervention, and this institute promises to be an important part of such efforts in the future. Considering how long the U.S. has been waging war without end , there couldn't be a better time for this.

TAC readers and especially readers of this blog will be familiar with the people involved in creating the think tank:

The institute plans to open its doors in September and hold an official inauguration later in the autumn. Its founding donors -- Soros's Open Society Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation -- have each contributed half a million dollars to fund its takeoff. A handful of individual donors have joined to add another $800,000. By next year the institute hopes to have a $3.5 million budget and a staff of policy experts who will churn out material for use in Congress and in public debates. Hiring is underway. Among Parsi's co-founders are several well-known critics of American foreign policy, including Suzanne DiMaggio, who has spent decades promoting negotiated alternatives to conflict with China, Iran and North Korea; the historian and essayist Stephen Wertheim; and the anti-militarist author and retired Army colonel Andrew Bacevich.

"The Quincy Institute will invite both progressives and anti-interventionist conservatives to consider a new, less militarized approach to policy," Bacevich said, when asked why he signed up. "We oppose endless, counterproductive war. We want to restore the pursuit of peace to the nation's foreign policy agenda."

Trita Parsi and Andrew Bacevich are both TAC contributors and have participated in our foreign policy conferences in recent years. Parsi and I were on the same panel last fall at our most recent conference. I have also cited and learned from arguments made by Suzanne DiMaggio and Stephen Wertheim in my posts here . Their involvement is a very good sign, and it shows both the political breadth and intellectual depth of this new institution. I look forward to seeing what they do, and I wish them luck.


chris chuba 9 hours ago
Good luck. I hope you will be invited on cable shows. I am tired of seeing the beard from the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies and his clones.

Once in a while the hosts mess up and they interview someone who doesn't give the correct answer about the M.E., or somewhere else and I see the blank look on their face as they thank the guess as since it is obvious they cannot process the information. I generally do not see those guests ever again.

The guidelines are, the world is divided into those who crave U.S. leadership and the evildoers who are constantly testing our leadership. We must always be vigilant against the latter. It is inconceivable that anyone merely act in their own interest. It is all about us.

Jonathan Dillard Lester 17 hours ago
Might be a few kindred souls put off by the Soros money, but nothing wrong with taking it!
SFBay1949 20 hours ago
I also am looking forward to reading their thoughts and ideas about a foreign policy that doesn't include the US invading yet another country under the ridiculous notion that we are somehow being threatened by them. We have the largest military on earth. It's also telling that we pick on and invade countries that can't actually hurt us. That makes us all the more the bully on the block. It's to our shame that we even consider these shameful actions.
Paul a day ago
Exciting news. An early endeavor , if not already accomplished, should be consideration of relevant theoretical models for understanding competition and cooperation. Since the Cold War and to the present day, variants of the Prisoners Dilemma serve this function. Prior to that, misconceptions of survival of the fittest led to the disasters of eugenics and WW2. Maybe the new think tank will outline or draw inspiration from a new theory.
SteveM a day ago
Re: "I look forward to seeing what they do, and I wish them luck."

So do I. Very much so. However, the most prominent realist Washington Think Tank is the Cato Institute. It has well spoken advocates of realism and restraint including Christopher Preble, Doug Bandow and Ted Galen Carpenter. Unfortunately, the thoughtful Cato scribes get very little exposure on the MSM compared to the atrocious Heritage, AEI and Brookings nests of go along to get along Neocon / Neoliberal lackeys. It's not clear to me how and why the Quincy Institute will generate any more leverage.

I've argued many times before that the linchpin of the busted U.S. Global Cop foreign policy model is the Pentagon. As long as the Pentagon hacks are considered the paragons of Olympian insight and wisdom by the political class and the MSM, nothing will change.

Related to that though, there actually was a hopeful article in the Atlantic about the newest Pentagon Big Mouth, CENTCOM Commander General General Kenneth McKenzie:

https://bit.ly/2Lyel6p

Hopefully, that is a crack in the wall of Military Exceptionalism. The sooner others start taking a 2x4 to the sanctified occupants of the 5-Sided Pleasure Palace, knocking them off of their pedestals, the better.

BTW, the new Acting Defense Secretary and MIC Parasite Mark Esper is no friend of the taxpayers. Expect that failed Pentagon audit that was deep-sixed by Mad Dog Mattis to stay deep-sixed with Esper in the Big Seat.

Taras77 a day ago
I am quite amazed that Soros and Koch bro are involved. We will wait to see how this plays out.

Jeez, who can believe this amongst the "think" tanks: "an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing"

[Dec 02, 2019] Ghouta is Arabic for Reichstag Fire by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The White Helmets' leadership is driven by a pro-interventionist agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups that back them. Anyone who visits the group's website -- which is operated by an opposition-funded PR company known as the Syria Campaign -- will be immediately directed to a request to sign a petition for a no-fly zone to "stop the bombs" in Syria. These sorts of communiques highlight the dual role the White Helmets play as a civil defense organization saving lives while lobbying for a US military campaign that will almost inevitably result in the collapse of Syria's government. ..."
"... While members of the White Helmets have been implicated in atrocities carried out by jihadist rebel groups, the names of many of the firms that supposedly monitor and evaluate their work have been kept secret by USAID on unspecified security grounds. ..."
"... That "Russia will "never be America's friend" is not disputed. What is missing is that "US and Russia cannot afford to be enemies". Nixon understood all of that 30 years ago. ..."
"... I agree that the uncritical and unwavering acceptance of the notion of Assad's chemical attacks on his people is ignorant and dangerous. It shows a true lack of imagination among the jihadis and their supporters. Not one of these attacks have been convincingly attributed to Assad's forces. To the contrary, the propaganda put out by the jihadis appears blatantly staged and bogus. The sooner we're out of Syria, the better. And the sooner Trump realizes unwavering support of the current Israeli regime is a cost center, the better. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The dominant propaganda meme of the day, as already noted by Colonel Lang, is that Bashar al Assad unleashed chemical weapons on "innocent women and children" in rebel held territory and that Russia and Iran, along with Syria, are responsible. We MUST take action (or so we are told emphatically by morons pretending to be news anchors on the various cable outlets). Few media outlets are willing to report that this information is not only uncorroborated but originates with established liars and rebel partisans--i .e., the White Helmets. Oh, and did you know that the White Helmets are funded largely by the Governments of the UK and the United States?

It is critical to keep the source of funds in mind if you are to understand the true nature of these Islamic scam artists. Ironically, Max Blumenthal, son of the infamous Sid, has been a leader in exposing these fraudsters. Blumenthal wrote, more than three years ago, that :

The White Helmets' leadership is driven by a pro-interventionist agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups that back them. Anyone who visits the group's website -- which is operated by an opposition-funded PR company known as the Syria Campaign -- will be immediately directed to a request to sign a petition for a no-fly zone to "stop the bombs" in Syria. These sorts of communiques highlight the dual role the White Helmets play as a civil defense organization saving lives while lobbying for a US military campaign that will almost inevitably result in the collapse of Syria's government. . . .

The White Helmets were founded in collaboration with USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives -- the wing that has promoted regime change around the world -- and have been provided with $23 million in funding from the department. USAID supplies the White Helmets through Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan.

While members of the White Helmets have been implicated in atrocities carried out by jihadist rebel groups, the names of many of the firms that supposedly monitor and evaluate their work have been kept secret by USAID on unspecified security grounds.


Anna , 12 hours ago

Nikki Haley: "Russia will "never be America's friend." Moscow can try to behave "like a regular country," but the US will "slap them when we need to," Haley said." ... "Everybody likes to listen to the words. I'm going to tell you – look at the actions," Haley urged. "We expelled 60 Russian diplomats/spies, we have armed Ukraine so that they can defend themselves..." https://www.rt.com/usa/423422-us-russia-stalemate-haley/

The UK has the pottery-boy Gavin Williamson as a Sec. of Defence and the US has a waste-management Nikki Haley as an US envoy to the United Nations. They both are ignoramuses and the eager ziocon tools.

Again, Israel's special relationships with anti-Assad forces and Israel's refusal to ratify the Chemical Arms Treaty make Israel the major suspect in the chemical attacks in Syria: https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-russia-links-syria-chemwar-to-israel-1.5333503

Babak Makkinejad Anna , 6 hours ago
That "Russia will "never be America's friend" is not disputed. What is missing is that "US and Russia cannot afford to be enemies". Nixon understood all of that 30 years ago.
Anna , a day ago
Yes. Has not Israel given orders? - https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/04/urgent-syria-under-attack/
Sid Finster , 2 hours ago
Sociopaths care nothing for logic or morality of they stabs in the way of something they want. Like the Reichstag fire.

I don't understand why people refuse to see that we are run by sociopaths, or, at a minimum, by people indistinguishable from sociopaths.

Kooshy , 9 hours ago
I think Colonel is absolutely right, all signs are, that everybody on both sides are getting ready for a war, how big, and who will participate, nobody knows yet would it be 2 oceans and 3 continents war or just concentrated on Eurasia? Unfortunately, I think DJT' canoe has sunken in the swamp he said he will drain, or IMO he didn't even know what he is talking about, or is dealing with.
TTG , 9 hours ago
I agree that the uncritical and unwavering acceptance of the notion of Assad's chemical attacks on his people is ignorant and dangerous. It shows a true lack of imagination among the jihadis and their supporters. Not one of these attacks have been convincingly attributed to Assad's forces. To the contrary, the propaganda put out by the jihadis appears blatantly staged and bogus. The sooner we're out of Syria, the better. And the sooner Trump realizes unwavering support of the current Israeli regime is a cost center, the better.
Terry , 11 hours ago
Thank you for reopening comments. I missed my tribe of non-conformists thinkers and all the various viewpoints. :-)

The insanity and distortion of reality and facts is getting extreme. Unfortunately tribalism with it's baggage of historical grievances, partisan loyalties, and mob mentalities are growing as our society returns to default human social behaviour while loyalty to the binding myths and ideas of the constitution and the founding of our republic fade. Truth is a casualty. Facts don't matter. Conformity to whatever tribal identity selected is the norm. Science show that there is a real decline in the higher brain functions when mobs form.

A good article on our decline into tribalism -

https://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/can-democracy-survive-tribalism.html

SmoothieX12 , 11 hours ago
If the Russians don't respond in some discrete but substantive way, their presence, efforts and international prestige will have vanished by tomorrow morning.

Your "grasp" of air-defense issues, including suggestion of shooting down aircraft in Lebanon's (international) airspace, among many other things clearly shows an armchair "strategist" (no offense, I am one myself) who played, unlike me--I don't play video games, too much video-games and thinks that he knows better than say Russian General Staff. Indeed, what do they know, really--what a bunch of amateurs who do not follow your highly professional suggestion.

robt willmann , 12 hours ago
The Russian Defense Ministry is now saying that 8 missiles were fired at the Syrian T4 airfield and airbase from Israeli airplanes flying inside Lebanon. The report says that 5 of the missiles were knocked down by antiaircraft / missile defense systems and that 3 of them hit the area of the airfield--

https://apnews.com/d965ed6a364f46fd9888acb9001de501/Israel-blamed-for-missile-strike-in-Syria;-14-reported-dead

https://www.rt.com/news/423545-israel-planes-syria-strike/

Anna , 12 hours ago
Agree.
The theater of absurd: Israelis "are shooting with live ammunition at people without guns:" Play Hide
james , 18 hours ago
israel to the rescue... they have to protect isis! and where would they be without regular support from the usa / uk.... white helmets are a pale imitation of israel at this point..
Hood Canal Gardner , 20 hours ago
PT .. thanks for the "outing" of Chemonics .. add Pakistan/HCG got a brick through his Islamabad bedroom window in the early1990s..tucked tail.

"Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan."

Karl Kolchak , 20 hours ago
"...a large number of supposedly intelligent Republicans and Democrats..."

There's no such thing any more. Both parties chased their intelligent leaders out a long time ago. Indeed, this is a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis with a bunch of emotional ten-year-olds in charge.

Kathy , 20 hours ago
Slightly OT, but in poking around the SCL/Cambridge Analytica web of intrigue, I found this tantalizing Wikipedia account of Vincent Tchenguiz, the largest shareholder in CA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Tchenguiz

Some people are truly not fit to walk on this earth.

blue peacock , 20 hours ago
PT

This is getting more and more ridiculous. From the ludicrous novichok caper that May and Boris have made into a Monty Python skit to the yet another theatrical chemical attack performance starring the perennial Syrian villain, Animal Assad and the increasingly heated rhetoric emanating from DC, London, Beijing and Moscow. Of course with all the bugles and trumpets blowing from the hysterical media with the Borg agenda trying to cajole a highly skeptical public.

What do you make of all this? Is the Borg getting really desperate that their gig may be up? That their deceit and duplicity will be uncovered.

We have Brennan, Holder, Yates busy tweeting along with Trump. There is McCabe and his GoFundMe. We have Comey's book tour and even Loretta Lynch is to hit the airwaves. All to spin tales that less people believe unless of course you are a card carrying partisan. Then there is Sessions making announcements of US Attorneys investigating and possibly convening grand juries and supervising document production to Congress around the conspiracy at the highest levels of law enforcement & intelligence in the Obama administration. Is this Reality TV at it's best putting Jerry Springer to shame??

What does your spidy sense tell you?

wisedupearly Ceo , 21 hours ago
I trust the Pentagon warned Israel not to launch cruise missiles from their submarines close to US surface fleet units.
Anna , 21 hours ago
"If the Russians don't respond... their international prestige will have vanished..."
-- What are you implying -- that only deception, perfidy, and bullying deserve "prestige?" Would not it be great if the decent people have finally explained the "prestigious" Nikki Haley that she is an ignoramus and warmonger? And how about sending Gavin Williamson to his familiar proper place where he could resume selling the fine pottery and ceramic countertops instead of being a mockery to his current post of Sec of Defence?

What is so prestigious about the opportunistic Theresa May and Boris Johnson, whose incompetent actions have been highly damaging to the UK reputation? And guess that the criminal (but very pious) Tony Blair fits the definition of "prestige."

There are people whose response is indeed important from the perspective of decency and competence and patriotism – these people are the US brass in the highest echelons of the US military. Do they serve the interests of the US or the interests of Israel? The question is very simple. The answer is yes or no.

Saker asks for patience: http://thesaker.is/missile-strikes-on-syria-tonight-do-not-rush-to-conclusions-please-post-here-what-you-hear/
Comment section: "The Lord Has Risen, and the forces of evil are rabid for more Death and Destruction."

Peter in Toronto , a day ago
Salvos underway.

If the Russians don't respond in some discrete but substantive way, their presence, efforts and international prestige will have vanished by tomorrow morning.

The Beaver , a day ago
T4 -East Homs being hit . Looks like the ISRAELIS are sending missiles
Anna , a day ago
"His master's voice (or how an obedient dog goes to war)": http://thesaker.is/his-masters-voice-or-how-an-obedient-dog-goes-to-war/
"Israeli officials: the "U.S. must strike in Syria" because "Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him."
Ziomedia is willing to report the Skripal nonsense with a straight face After all, if the Russians could use "Novichok and buckwheat" in the UK, why would they not use chemical weapons in Syria? And, no, the fact that neither the Russians nor the Syrians actually have any chemical weapons (both were fully disarmed and certified as such) makes absolutely no difference! "
And what country does not want to declare her chemical weapon? – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175032
"The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday called on Israel to renounce chemical weapons and join the convention banning them just like Syria did."
Not In Istanbul , a day ago
Cruise missile strikes are currently underway...
Anna , a day ago
"...Owen Matthews' article at The Spectator betrays the kind of factual sloppiness that is typical of the pundit-political-business classes in the West today."
-- In this case it is more than sloppiness: Owen Matthews is an opportunist loaded with the tribal grievances against Russia:
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/11/02/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/
"... in his book "Stalin's Children" Matthews clearly takes sides with, endorses and, possibly, even covers up for his Trotskyist Commissar grandfather and that makes him a fair target for criticism"
jjc , a day ago
The constant repetitive referral to "Obama's red line" has been effective in shaping a preferred response to these alleged attacks. Contrary to today's conventional wisdom, Obama did not "fail" to enforce his own line - the administration through its own State Department was quite prepared to rain bombs down on Damascus, but faced political opposition from Congress (as did Cameron's UK government fail to achieve support for the bombing in its Parliament). Congressional opposition was sparked by robust opposition from citizens/ constituents in the form of communications directed to their Congressional offices. This was all reported by the mainstream media at the time, yet a false recounting is predominant today. The "unrelenting information operation" is not possible without the witting collaboration of the supposed "free" media. The ownership and editorial staff of such are as fully responsible for this frightening state of affairs as anyone else.
blowback , a day ago
The SOHR has some pretty solid reporting on what is going on in Douma. They make no mention of any use of chemical weapons in Douma, but instead attribute the deaths to suffocation resulting from the destruction of cellars containing civilians:
And with the death of more citizens, it has increased to 96 at least including 27 children and 16 woman, the number of persons who have been killed since Friday, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, where reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that some of the casualties and wounded suffocated as a result of the demolition of home basements due to the heavy and intense shelling on Douma city, and the trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory of Rights that the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces' control in the Eastern Ghouta , which is the stronghold of Jaysh al-Islam, and the Syrian Observatory published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta, also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published that violent clashes taking place between the regime forces and their allied militiamen of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities against Jaish Al-Islam in areas in the vicinity of Douma area, where the regime forces continue their attempts to achieve more advancement in the area after they managed today morning to advance in the farms of Douma from the direction of Al-Raihan area. The regime forces managed to advance in 50 farms in the area following series of ongoing ground and aerial shelling of the regime forces and their warplanes and helicopters, which target the city and its vicinity.


http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88817
Recent articles from SOHR can be found here:
http://www.syriahr.com/en/?cat=26&paged=2
and here:
http://www.syriahr.com/en/?cat=26

Jaish al-Islam asked for quarter as the SAA appears to have broken Jaish al-Islam's defensive lines making their position in Douma untenable.

Imagine , a day ago
"Murder in the Sun Morgue" by Dr. Denis O'Brien (neuropharmacology expert):

"The primary conclusion of this study, based on a pharmacological analysis of the video and photographic evidence, is that the Ghouta Massacre near Damascus on Aug 21.2013 was not a sarin rocket attack carried out by Assad or his supporters. It was a false-flag stunt carried out by the insurgents using carbon monoxide or cyanide to murder children and use their corpses as bait to lure the Americans into attacking Assad."

288 pp. analysis. Also, some had slit throats:
https://www.scribd.com/document/230748990/Murder-in-the-SunMorgue

Swamp Yankee , a day ago
Thank you for this, Publius Tacitus -- and to you, Colonel Lang, re-opening the comments section here at SST.

I think it's notable that Owen Matthews' article at The Spectator betrays the kind of factual sloppiness that is typical of the pundit-political-business classes in the West today. For of course, "Arsenal of Democracy" is a phrase associated not with Truman but with Franklin Roosevelt.

I was the working-class scholarship kid at one of the elite educational institutions that forms a feeder-conduit to these echelons of media, political, and economic power, and one thing I have remarked is the utter mediocrity and laziness of so many members of our ruling class. As Corey Robin found out when he had an exchange with Chelsea Clinton over Hannah Arendt, and I discovered as an undergrad and in grad school, many of them simply never did the reading. They relied then, and still do today, on group-think and sheep-like intellectual conformity, which, of course, is then magnificently (and munificently!) rewarded. I also discovered that even when they did read something, it made no impression on them, not in any real way, they failed to keep the lessons taught thereby in their head once it was no longer needed for an exam or a paper.

To be led by fools such as these into a world war -- and why? -- is lunacy. That's why I'm grateful for places like this Committee to keep the home-fires of sanity burning. Thanks again, and let's hope that peace prevails, against the devoutly-hoped wishes of the Borg.

Patrick Armstrong , 10 hours ago
An excellent summary, I posted it on FB and VK.

[Nov 13, 2019] Plenty of motivation on all sides. Mass PR attempt to clean his image I'd imagine. TV could be hard to watch for a few days. They'll pin it on the Russians (or Chinese might be more modern).

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Michael Droy , Nov 11 2019 16:47 utc | 130

Just seen this:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/11/11/james-le-mesurier-british-ex-army-officer-trained-syrias-white/

The guy that ran White Helmets just fell off his balcony and died this morning. aged 43.

Clearly murder I'd say. Plenty of motivation on all sides. Mass PR attempt to clean his image I'd imagine. TV could be hard to watch for a few days. They'll pin it on the Russians (or Chinese might be more modern).

Oddly enough I was wondering about the HK demonstrator that died falling from a 3rd floor parking lot "escaping from those violent HK police - how convenient.

Laguerre , Nov 11 2019 16:50 utc | 131

I don't think Le Mesurier "died", from natural causes, for example. Someone threw him off the balcony of his apartment. His wife said he'd taken a sleeping tablet, but that doesn't usually lead to sleepwalking. More likely one of his (Syrian) associates came (thus let into the apartment), and betraying him, did the dirty.

[Nov 13, 2019] It could well be that James le Mesurie kept for himself some of the Captagon shipped in industrial quantities through Turskish border for his and US coalition's "jihadists" for them to slaughter better the Syrians...

Was he Epstenised?
Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jen , Nov 11 2019 21:43 utc | 155
According to the RT.com and Sputnik news reports on James le Mesurier's death, his wife only found out after the police knocked on the front door and informed her.

So how did the police know and who informed them of the incident?

James le Mesurier and his wife had been living in a house in Istanbul's Beyoglu district not far from the British consulate. Several European nations and Russia maintain consulates in that district which historically has housed generations of European ambassadors to Ottoman Turkey / Republic of Turkey since the 1500s at least and was a cosmopolitan area where diplomats from various nations and Ottoman representatives exchanged news, gossip and information, discussed culture and politics, and of course spied on one another.

One should not rule out the possibility that James le Mesurier might have died accidentally from a combination of sleeping tablets, anti-depressant medication (oh dear, the poor fellow, I wonder why???), alcohol and feeling dizzy up on the balcony during the night. Equally one should not rule out the possibility that he was done in by his own perfidious-Albion side. Let's wait for the Turkish coroner's report.


Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:18 utc | 156

@Posted by: Jen | Nov 11 2019 21:43 utc | 155

According to a report in Spuntnik Spanish, his own wife stated that he had been taking psycothropic drugs lately, along with sleeping pills and anti-depressants...really a bad combination...

It could well be that he kept for himself some of the Captagon shipped in industrial quantities through Turskish border for his and US coalition´s "jihadists" for them to slaughter better the Syrians...

Of course, knowing the historical record of the MI6, that this man was using such a combination of psychotropic substances, could well end in him confessing his role in the Syrian destruction once the smoke beggins to clear and the end of war, with its War Crime Tribunals, unfailingly, comes...

Whatever the reason, Good Ridance!
Because of him and his government, hundreds of thousands of innocent and patriotic people have died, the SAR has been reduced to dust, and the hugest wave of refugees since WWII has taken place and still in the move, whose effects are mainly suffered by neighboring countries in the ME, and parts of Europe, not precisely UK...

In the end, UK, if you watch attentively, has never been really part of Europe, it remains an island shoring up to the West... which has always had more to do with the US than with any other European nation...Indeed through centuries an enemy of Old European Empires...an allien entity to the EU.
If they got with it leaving the EU, well, Good Ridance too, as they have always acted as the Troy Horse of the US here, dynamiting as they could, through the US satraps, like Thatcher in the past, and now Johnson, what of the welfare state so deservedly the working masses who fought the past great war pressured to award themselves....

In the end pirates join pirates...as always have been...

Lurk , Nov 11 2019 22:29 utc | 158
FWIW, for now, I am not assuming that Le Mesurier is in fact dead at all.

In the Epstein case, people were readily prepared to consider a third option to the much publicized "suicide or suicided" question. Why not in this case?

FUKUS would certainly not like the possibility of Le Mesurier being questioned or even held resposible for some of the atrocious acts objectively ascribable to the White Helmets goons. After all, the initial media hype about these crooked 'angels' is bound to be overtaken by documented facts in the long run. At some point in time, too many impertinent questions will be asked.

Whereas most common helmet wearers are relatively faceless goons that can easily be dismissed as individual rogue elements gone off script or simply gotten rid of along the way by means of "management by drone", unfortunate jihadi infighting or simple sacrifice unto the Syrian army, Le Mesurier himself has a far too high profile and far too many implicating connections to the imperial nerve centers and therefore represents a serious liability to his controllers.

His disappearance from the public view should be considered rather convenient for some players, including the Turks, who are, incidentally, managing the stage of his alleged death. Nor is his wife a neutral witness.

Walter , Nov 11 2019 22:38 utc | 159
@ Le Mesurier . The normal life expectancy for the Good Man reads as 95, or thereabout. There's no button in "lifestyle" for "MI6".

KUBARK manual call for falls.

Dead men tell no tales? Yes they do.

There are no accidents in the political realm...

[Nov 11, 2019] White Helmets 'MI-6 Co-Founder' Found Dead In Turkey Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Blumenthal writes, "When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited 'social media' in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed , 'We have our own intelligence.' With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets. " ..."
"... Weeks after the Douma incident, Russian officials brought fifteen people to The Hague said to have been present, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab who was seen in a widely-distributed White Helmets video receiving "emergency treatment" in a local hospital after the alleged incident. ..."
"... Also speaking at The Hague was Halil al-Jaish, an emergency worker who treated people at the Douma hospital the day of the attack - who said that while some patients did come in for respiratory problems, they were attributed to heavy dust, present in the air after recent airstrikes, but that nobody showed signs of chemical warfare poisoning . ..."
"... USAID = State Dept wing of CIA specializing in infiltration, developing HUMINT, and espionage. Anything secret in a free Republic is certainly criminal and of no benefit to its citizens. ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:30 0 SHARES

A former British army officer and military contractor who founded the shadowy 'White Helmets' has been found dead near his home in Istanbul , days after he was accused by Russia of being a spy with "connections to terrorist groups."

The body of 43-year-old James Le Mesurier was found Monday in the Beyoglu district of the city, with state-run Anadolu news agency reporting that he may have fallen to his death .

The White Helmets, a roughly 3,000 member NGO formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense, was established in Turkey in "late 2012 - early 2013" Le Mesurier trained an initial group of 20 Syrians. The group then received funding from Le Mesurier's Netherlands-based non-profit group, Mayday Rescue - which is in turn funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments .

According to reporter and author Max Blumenthal , the White Helmets received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the Agency for International Development. They have also received millions from Qatar, which has backed several extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.

The US has provided at least $32 million to the group - around 1/3 of their total funding - through a USAID scheme orchestrated by the Obama State Department and routed overseas using a Washington D.C. contractor participating in USAID's Syria regional program , Chemonics.

According to their website, the White Helmets have been directly funded by Mayday Rescue, and a company called Chemonics, since 2014 .

Yet there's evidence that both of those organizations started supporting the White Helmets back in early 2013, right around the time the White Helmets claim to have formed as self-organized groups .

Mayday Rescue, as we said, is funded by the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments . And Chemonics?

They are a Washington, D.C. based contractor that was awarded $128.5 million in January 2013 to support "a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria" as part of USAID's Syria regional program. At least $32 million has been given directly to the White Helmets as of February 2018 . - TruthInMedia

Notably, the Trump administration cut US funding to the White Helmets last May , placing them under " active review ."

While the White Helmets tout themselves as 'first responders', the group has been accused of staging multiple chemical attacks - including an April 7 incident in Duma , Syria which the White House used as a pretext to bomb Syrian government facilities and bases.

Blumenthal writes, "When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited 'social media' in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed , 'We have our own intelligence.' With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets. "

Days before Mesurier's death, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed he was a "former agent of Britain's MI6, who had been spotted all around the world."

Weeks after the Douma incident, Russian officials brought fifteen people to The Hague said to have been present, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab who was seen in a widely-distributed White Helmets video receiving "emergency treatment" in a local hospital after the alleged incident.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HWaG3cQGURc

"We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me, " said Diab, who was featured in the video which Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands says was staged.

Others present during the filming of Diab's hospital "cleanup" by the White Helmets include hospital administrator Ahmad Kashoi, who runs the emergency ward.

" There were people unknown to us who were filming the emergency care, they were filming the chaos taking place inside, and were filming people being doused with water . The instruments they used to douse them with water were originally used to clean the floors actually," Ahmad Kashoi, an administrator of the emergency ward, recalled. " That happened for about an hour , we provided help to them and sent them home. No one has died. No one suffered from chemical exposure." - RT

Also speaking at The Hague was Halil al-Jaish, an emergency worker who treated people at the Douma hospital the day of the attack - who said that while some patients did come in for respiratory problems, they were attributed to heavy dust, present in the air after recent airstrikes, but that nobody showed signs of chemical warfare poisoning .

According to the governor's office in Istanbul, "comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations" have been initiated into Le Mesurier's death.

Perhaps he fell after an Assad operative spiked his tea with polonium, affecting his equilibrium. Whatever the case, it wouldn't surprise us if this becomes a pretext to 'liberate' Syria.


P Dunne , 1 minute ago link

I am not saddened by his departure he was responsible for allot of death and mayhem. It was a brilliant bit of spy craft however, total propaganda, well funded and supported by more than one intelligence agency. I did laugh at the puppy event where white helmets were filmed saving puppies in a war zone, so fake as to make one doubt they were seriously expecting people to believe it.

The effort was so convincing that Canada allowed 200 of these (POS) terrorists to immigrate as war heroes, jumping the Que and going strait to citizenship..

The USA however continues to ban them from entry but sends money regularly.

Pair Of Dimes Shift , 8 minutes ago link

Totes organic.

"The war is over. Why gas?" - Bashy Assad

Ban KKiller , 11 minutes ago link

It was just over money, no biggie. AND someone, somewhere, didn't want him to be able to rat anyone out. Just curious...where was Cuntly Clinton?

Captain Phoebus , 14 minutes ago link

I'm surprised Putin hasn't been blamed yet

Newcular , 19 minutes ago link

Not entirely unexpected - the guy knew way too much. Seems like the CIA is cleaning up its mess under Trump.

gyrfalcon , 29 minutes ago link

I know a thing or two 'bout killing and there ain't no way to kill someone by accident. You got to work at killing.

Thom Paine , 45 minutes ago link

Money for MIC .. No problem.

Money for illegals ... No problem

Money for citizens - **** off

haruspicio , 42 minutes ago link

He set up the White Helmets propaganda and false flag unit? Well I guess it's good he is dead then. The world can certainly struggle on without more propaganda. Leaping off a balcony....now that may be something more to it that that. The recent news about the OPCW rigging the gas attack reports by omitting key information because of instruction from the US.

Perhaps his conscience got to him, or maybe someone (MI6) bumped him off.

uhland62 , 47 minutes ago link

Britain has always got money for exacerbating the conflicts. No money for housing and schools but for creating chaos and destruction elsewhere. NGOs are always sus because they are not accountable to anyone except their money men. This one was even a FAKE NGO because they'd received money from government fed orgs.

Florida man , 50 minutes ago link

Very well deserved death. The White helmets are the right hand helpers of the ISIS.

sensibility , 1 hour ago link

The Dems can't afford a SyriaGate along with their UkrainGate, tied it off quickly, this guy knew too much.

DEDA CVETKO , 1 hour ago link

This article should be read to the original Broadway cast theme from: MI-6 on Broadway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WWVBnBMnqc

CC713Techman , 1 hour ago link

Polonium? Maybe. Maybe it's Novichok. Check the door knobs.

PKKA , 1 hour ago link

MI 6 gets rid of those who "knew too much."

CC713Techman , 1 hour ago link

Where are the images of them with black flags in the background or beheading that boy?

ThomasEdmonds , 1 hour ago link

I wouldn't be surprised to see a flurry of deaths related to current and former British and US intel operatives. So many intel agencies, so many grudges. Who is to blame?

PKKA , 1 hour ago link

A monstrous performance from the "White Helmets"

"Rescuers" evacuate victims from the "affected area" without gas masks and protective suits (remember the ways sarin penetrates the body, how such suits look like), while the same child is used to shoot several scenes.

In the first (C) Reuters photo, a man carries a "dead" girl out of a dilapidated building. In the second photo in a different storyline, she is already carried by a woman - the "rescuer" of the White Helmets.

https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/graf_kankrin/77689368/255497/255497_900.jpg

tangent , 52 minutes ago link

The white helmets are KNOWN to have false-flagged the Syria gas attacks. Its amazing how well established this fact is when combined how many cult members believe it is a mere theory.

uhland62 , 41 minutes ago link

The White Helmets were even a FAKE NGO because they had received money from government fed organisations.

consider me gone , 1 hour ago link

White westerner involved in ME conflict found murdered in Islamic country. No ****? That almost never happens.

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

he was isis

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

anyone who has supported the isis white helmets, including the media, should be executed for treason. fvck the mass arrests, i'm fine with cabal demons getting knocked off one by one, just like this mesurier fvcker

Blue Steel 309 , 1 hour ago link

USAID = State Dept wing of CIA specializing in infiltration, developing HUMINT, and espionage. Anything secret in a free Republic is certainly criminal and of no benefit to its citizens.

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

nicely said

PKKA , 1 hour ago link

A monstrous performance from the "White Helmets" and REMOVAL OF THE PRIMARY WITNESS

- Have you videotaped this mustard gas attack? OK. Now give a cigarette and a can of beer. And wash my t-shirt from this powder.

https://cloud.enigma.ua/04_10_2019_09_28_am_R3GzKTLJX9zpo4xfbNrGxdkhH66OMqOVr9yAtwOA.jpeg

[Nov 04, 2019] The Powell Memo (also known as the Powell Manifesto)

Notable quotes:
"... First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti ..."
http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/

The Powell Memo was first published August 23, 1971

Introduction

In 1971, Lewis Powell, then a corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations, wrote a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memorandum was dated August 23, 1971, two months prior to Powell’s nomination by President Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell’s legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell “might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…in behalf of business interests.”

Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.

Most notable about these institutions was their focus on education, shifting values, and movement-building — a focus we share, though often with sharply contrasting goals.* (See our endnote for more on this.)

So did Powell’s political views influence his judicial decisions? The evidence is mixed. Powell did embrace expansion of corporate privilege and wrote the majority opinion in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, a 1978 decision that effectively invented a First Amendment “right” for corporations to influence ballot questions. On social issues, he was a moderate, whose votes often surprised his backers.

Confidential Memorandum: Attack of American Free Enterprise System

DATE: August 23, 1971
TO: Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman, Education Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
FROM: Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

This memorandum is submitted at your request as a basis for the discussion on August 24 with Mr. Booth (executive vice president) and others at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues of action for further consideration.

Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey / Flickr
Dimensions of the Attack

No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack. This varies in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.

There always have been some who opposed the American system, and preferred socialism or some form of statism (communism or fascism). Also, there always have been critics of the system, whose criticism has been wholesome and constructive so long as the objective was to improve rather than to subvert or destroy.

But what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.

Sources of the Attack

The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.

Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these “attackers,” or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.

One of the bewildering paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction.

The campuses from which much of the criticism emanates are supported by (i) tax funds generated largely from American business, and (ii) contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees of our universities overwhelmingly are composed of men and women who are leaders in the system.

Most of the media, including the national TV systems, are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend upon profits, and the enterprise system to survive.

Tone of the Attack

This memorandum is not the place to document in detail the tone, character, or intensity of the attack. The following quotations will suffice to give one a general idea:

William Kunstler, warmly welcomed on campuses and listed in a recent student poll as the “American lawyer most admired,” incites audiences as follows:

“You must learn to fight in the streets, to revolt, to shoot guns. We will learn to do all of the things that property owners fear.”2 The New Leftists who heed Kunstler’s advice increasingly are beginning to act — not just against military recruiting offices and manufacturers of munitions, but against a variety of businesses: “Since February, 1970, branches (of Bank of America) have been attacked 39 times, 22 times with explosive devices and 17 times with fire bombs or by arsonists.”3 Although New Leftist spokesmen are succeeding in radicalizing thousands of the young, the greater cause for concern is the hostility of respectable liberals and social reformers. It is the sum total of their views and influence which could indeed fatally weaken or destroy the system.

A chilling description of what is being taught on many of our campuses was written by Stewart Alsop:

“Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores of bright young men who are practitioners of ‘the politics of despair.’ These young men despise the American political and economic system . . . (their) minds seem to be wholly closed. They live, not by rational discussion, but by mindless slogans.”4 A recent poll of students on 12 representative campuses reported that: “Almost half the students favored socialization of basic U.S. industries.”5

A visiting professor from England at Rockford College gave a series of lectures entitled “The Ideological War Against Western Society,” in which he documents the extent to which members of the intellectual community are waging ideological warfare against the enterprise system and the values of western society. In a foreword to these lectures, famed Dr. Milton Friedman of Chicago warned: “It (is) crystal clear that the foundations of our free society are under wide-ranging and powerful attack — not by Communist or any other conspiracy but by misguided individuals parroting one another and unwittingly serving ends they would never intentionally promote.”6

Perhaps the single most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who — thanks largely to the media — has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans. A recent article in Fortune speaks of Nader as follows:

“The passion that rules in him — and he is a passionate man — is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison — for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer. He emphasizes that he is not talking just about ‘fly-by-night hucksters’ but the top management of blue chip business.”7

A frontal assault was made on our government, our system of justice, and the free enterprise system by Yale Professor Charles Reich in his widely publicized book: “The Greening of America,” published last winter.

The foregoing references illustrate the broad, shotgun attack on the system itself. There are countless examples of rifle shots which undermine confidence and confuse the public. Favorite current targets are proposals for tax incentives through changes in depreciation rates and investment credits. These are usually described in the media as “tax breaks,” “loop holes” or “tax benefits” for the benefit of business. As viewed by a columnist in the Post, such tax measures would benefit “only the rich, the owners of big companies.”8

It is dismaying that many politicians make the same argument that tax measures of this kind benefit only “business,” without benefit to “the poor.” The fact that this is either political demagoguery or economic illiteracy is of slight comfort. This setting of the “rich” against the “poor,” of business against the people, is the cheapest and most dangerous kind of politics.

The Apathy and Default of Business

What has been the response of business to this massive assault upon its fundamental economics, upon its philosophy, upon its right to continue to manage its own affairs, and indeed upon its integrity?

The painfully sad truth is that business, including the boards of directors’ and the top executives of corporations great and small and business organizations at all levels, often have responded — if at all — by appeasement, ineptitude and ignoring the problem. There are, of course, many exceptions to this sweeping generalization. But the net effect of such response as has been made is scarcely visible.

In all fairness, it must be recognized that businessmen have not been trained or equipped to conduct guerrilla warfare with those who propagandize against the system, seeking insidiously and constantly to sabotage it. The traditional role of business executives has been to manage, to produce, to sell, to create jobs, to make profits, to improve the standard of living, to be community leaders, to serve on charitable and educational boards, and generally to be good citizens. They have performed these tasks very well indeed.

But they have shown little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics, and little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate.

A column recently carried by the Wall Street Journal was entitled: “Memo to GM: Why Not Fight Back?”9 Although addressed to GM by name, the article was a warning to all American business. Columnist St. John said:

“General Motors, like American business in general, is ‘plainly in trouble’ because intellectual bromides have been substituted for a sound intellectual exposition of its point of view.” Mr. St. John then commented on the tendency of business leaders to compromise with and appease critics. He cited the concessions which Nader wins from management, and spoke of “the fallacious view many businessmen take toward their critics.” He drew a parallel to the mistaken tactics of many college administrators: “College administrators learned too late that such appeasement serves to destroy free speech, academic freedom and genuine scholarship. One campus radical demand was conceded by university heads only to be followed by a fresh crop which soon escalated to what amounted to a demand for outright surrender.”

One need not agree entirely with Mr. St. John’s analysis. But most observers of the American scene will agree that the essence of his message is sound. American business “plainly in trouble”; the response to the wide range of critics has been ineffective, and has included appeasement; the time has come — indeed, it is long overdue — for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshalled against those who would destroy it.

Responsibility of Business Executives

What specifically should be done? The first essential — a prerequisite to any effective action — is for businessmen to confront this problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.

The overriding first need is for businessmen to recognize that the ultimate issue may be survival — survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.

The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs” — two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.

A significant first step by individual corporations could well be the designation of an executive vice president (ranking with other executive VP’s) whose responsibility is to counter-on the broadest front-the attack on the enterprise system. The public relations department could be one of the foundations assigned to this executive, but his responsibilities should encompass some of the types of activities referred to subsequently in this memorandum. His budget and staff should be adequate to the task.

Possible Role of the Chamber of Commerce

But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.

Moreover, there is the quite understandable reluctance on the part of any one corporation to get too far out in front and to make itself too visible a target.

The role of the National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital. Other national organizations (especially those of various industrial and commercial groups) should join in the effort, but no other organizations appear to be as well situated as the Chamber. It enjoys a strategic position, with a fine reputation and a broad base of support. Also — and this is of immeasurable merit — there are hundreds of local Chambers of Commerce which can play a vital supportive role.

It hardly need be said that before embarking upon any program, the Chamber should study and analyze possible courses of action and activities, weighing risks against probable effectiveness and feasibility of each. Considerations of cost, the assurance of financial and other support from members, adequacy of staffing and similar problems will all require the most thoughtful consideration.

The Campus

The assault on the enterprise system was not mounted in a few months. It has gradually evolved over the past two decades, barely perceptible in its origins and benefiting (sic) from a gradualism that provoked little awareness much less any real reaction.

Although origins, sources and causes are complex and interrelated, and obviously difficult to identify without careful qualification, there is reason to believe that the campus is the single most dynamic source. The social science faculties usually include members who are unsympathetic to the enterprise system. They may range from a Herbert Marcuse, Marxist faculty member at the University of California at San Diego, and convinced socialists, to the ambivalent liberal critic who finds more to condemn than to commend. Such faculty members need not be in a majority. They are often personally attractive and magnetic; they are stimulating teachers, and their controversy attracts student following; they are prolific writers and lecturers; they author many of the textbooks, and they exert enormous influence — far out of proportion to their numbers — on their colleagues and in the academic world.

Social science faculties (the political scientist, economist, sociologist and many of the historians) tend to be liberally oriented, even when leftists are not present. This is not a criticism per se, as the need for liberal thought is essential to a balanced viewpoint. The difficulty is that “balance” is conspicuous by its absence on many campuses, with relatively few members being of conservatives or moderate persuasion and even the relatively few often being less articulate and aggressive than their crusading colleagues.

This situation extending back many years and with the imbalance gradually worsening, has had an enormous impact on millions of young American students. In an article in Barron’s Weekly, seeking an answer to why so many young people are disaffected even to the point of being revolutionaries, it was said: “Because they were taught that way.”10 Or, as noted by columnist Stewart Alsop, writing about his alma mater: “Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores’ of bright young men … who despise the American political and economic system.”

As these “bright young men,” from campuses across the country, seek opportunities to change a system which they have been taught to distrust — if not, indeed “despise” — they seek employment in the centers of the real power and influence in our country, namely: (i) with the news media, especially television; (ii) in government, as “staffers” and consultants at various levels; (iii) in elective politics; (iv) as lecturers and writers, and (v) on the faculties at various levels of education.

Many do enter the enterprise system — in business and the professions — and for the most part they quickly discover the fallacies of what they have been taught. But those who eschew the mainstream of the system often remain in key positions of influence where they mold public opinion and often shape governmental action. In many instances, these “intellectuals” end up in regulatory agencies or governmental departments with large authority over the business system they do not believe in.

If the foregoing analysis is approximately sound, a priority task of business — and organizations such as the Chamber — is to address the campus origin of this hostility. Few things are more sanctified in American life than academic freedom. It would be fatal to attack this as a principle. But if academic freedom is to retain the qualities of “openness,” “fairness” and “balance” — which are essential to its intellectual significance — there is a great opportunity for constructive action. The thrust of such action must be to restore the qualities just mentioned to the academic communities.

What Can Be Done About the Campus

The ultimate responsibility for intellectual integrity on the campus must remain on the administrations and faculties of our colleges and universities. But organizations such as the Chamber can assist and activate constructive change in many ways, including the following:

Staff of Scholars

The Chamber should consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system. It should include several of national reputation whose authorship would be widely respected — even when disagreed with.

Staff of Speakers

There also should be a staff of speakers of the highest competency. These might include the scholars, and certainly those who speak for the Chamber would have to articulate the product of the scholars.

Speaker’s Bureau

In addition to full-time staff personnel, the Chamber should have a Speaker’s Bureau which should include the ablest and most effective advocates from the top echelons of American business.

Evaluation of Textbooks

The staff of scholars (or preferably a panel of independent scholars) should evaluate social science textbooks, especially in economics, political science and sociology. This should be a continuing program.

The objective of such evaluation should be oriented toward restoring the balance essential to genuine academic freedom. This would include assurance of fair and factual treatment of our system of government and our enterprise system, its accomplishments, its basic relationship to individual rights and freedoms, and comparisons with the systems of socialism, fascism and communism. Most of the existing textbooks have some sort of comparisons, but many are superficial, biased and unfair.

We have seen the civil rights movement insist on re-writing many of the textbooks in our universities and schools. The labor unions likewise insist that textbooks be fair to the viewpoints of organized labor. Other interested citizens groups have not hesitated to review, analyze and criticize textbooks and teaching materials. In a democratic society, this can be a constructive process and should be regarded as an aid to genuine academic freedom and not as an intrusion upon it.

If the authors, publishers and users of textbooks know that they will be subjected — honestly, fairly and thoroughly — to review and critique by eminent scholars who believe in the American system, a return to a more rational balance can be expected.

Equal Time on the Campus

The Chamber should insist upon equal time on the college speaking circuit. The FBI publishes each year a list of speeches made on college campuses by avowed Communists. The number in 1970 exceeded 100. There were, of course, many hundreds of appearances by leftists and ultra liberals who urge the types of viewpoints indicated earlier in this memorandum. There was no corresponding representation of American business, or indeed by individuals or organizations who appeared in support of the American system of government and business.

Every campus has its formal and informal groups which invite speakers. Each law school does the same thing. Many universities and colleges officially sponsor lecture and speaking programs. We all know the inadequacy of the representation of business in the programs.

It will be said that few invitations would be extended to Chamber speakers.11 This undoubtedly would be true unless the Chamber aggressively insisted upon the right to be heard — in effect, insisted upon “equal time.” University administrators and the great majority of student groups and committees would not welcome being put in the position publicly of refusing a forum to diverse views, indeed, this is the classic excuse for allowing Communists to speak.

The two essential ingredients are (i) to have attractive, articulate and well-informed speakers; and (ii) to exert whatever degree of pressure — publicly and privately — may be necessary to assure opportunities to speak. The objective always must be to inform and enlighten, and not merely to propagandize.

Balancing of Faculties

Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties. Correcting this is indeed a long-range and difficult project. Yet, it should be undertaken as a part of an overall program. This would mean the urging of the need for faculty balance upon university administrators and boards of trustees.

The methods to be employed require careful thought, and the obvious pitfalls must be avoided. Improper pressure would be counterproductive. But the basic concepts of balance, fairness and truth are difficult to resist, if properly presented to boards of trustees, by writing and speaking, and by appeals to alumni associations and groups.

This is a long road and not one for the fainthearted. But if pursued with integrity and conviction it could lead to a strengthening of both academic freedom on the campus and of the values which have made America the most productive of all societies.

Graduate Schools of Business

The Chamber should enjoy a particular rapport with the increasingly influential graduate schools of business. Much that has been suggested above applies to such schools.

Should not the Chamber also request specific courses in such schools dealing with the entire scope of the problem addressed by this memorandum? This is now essential training for the executives of the future.

Secondary Education

While the first priority should be at the college level, the trends mentioned above are increasingly evidenced in the high schools. Action programs, tailored to the high schools and similar to those mentioned, should be considered. The implementation thereof could become a major program for local chambers of commerce, although the control and direction — especially the quality control — should be retained by the National Chamber.

What Can Be Done About the Public?

Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term. The first essential is to establish the staffs of eminent scholars, writers and speakers, who will do the thinking, the analysis, the writing and the speaking. It will also be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public. Among the more obvious means are the following:

Television

The national television networks should be monitored in the same way that textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance. This applies not merely to so-called educational programs (such as “Selling of the Pentagon”), but to the daily “news analysis” which so often includes the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system.12 Whether this criticism results from hostility or economic ignorance, the result is the gradual erosion of confidence in “business” and free enterprise.

This monitoring, to be effective, would require constant examination of the texts of adequate samples of programs. Complaints — to the media and to the Federal Communications Commission — should be made promptly and strongly when programs are unfair or inaccurate.

Equal time should be demanded when appropriate. Effort should be made to see that the forum-type programs (the Today Show, Meet the Press, etc.) afford at least as much opportunity for supporters of the American system to participate as these programs do for those who attack it.

Other Media

Radio and the press are also important, and every available means should be employed to challenge and refute unfair attacks, as well as to present the affirmative case through these media.

The Scholarly Journals

It is especially important for the Chamber’s “faculty of scholars” to publish. One of the keys to the success of the liberal and leftist faculty members has been their passion for “publication” and “lecturing.” A similar passion must exist among the Chamber’s scholars.

Incentives might be devised to induce more “publishing” by independent scholars who do believe in the system.

There should be a fairly steady flow of scholarly articles presented to a broad spectrum of magazines and periodicals — ranging from the popular magazines (Life, Look, Reader’s Digest, etc.) to the more intellectual ones (Atlantic, Harper’s, Saturday Review, New York, etc.)13 and to the various professional journals.

Books, Paperbacks and Pamphlets

The news stands — at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere — are filled with paperbacks and pamphlets advocating everything from revolution to erotic free love. One finds almost no attractive, well-written paperbacks or pamphlets on “our side.” It will be difficult to compete with an Eldridge Cleaver or even a Charles Reich for reader attention, but unless the effort is made — on a large enough scale and with appropriate imagination to assure some success — this opportunity for educating the public will be irretrievably lost.

Paid Advertisements

Business pays hundreds of millions of dollars to the media for advertisements. Most of this supports specific products; much of it supports institutional image making; and some fraction of it does support the system. But the latter has been more or less tangential, and rarely part of a sustained, major effort to inform and enlighten the American people.

If American business devoted only 10% of its total annual advertising budget to this overall purpose, it would be a statesman-like expenditure.

The Neglected Political Arena

In the final analysis, the payoff — short-of revolution — is what government does. Business has been the favorite whipping-boy of many politicians for many years. But the measure of how far this has gone is perhaps best found in the anti-business views now being expressed by several leading candidates for President of the United States.

It is still Marxist doctrine that the “capitalist” countries are controlled by big business. This doctrine, consistently a part of leftist propaganda all over the world, has a wide public following among Americans.

Yet, as every business executive knows, few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman, the corporation, or even the millions of corporate stockholders. If one doubts this, let him undertake the role of “lobbyist” for the business point of view before Congressional committees. The same situation obtains in the legislative halls of most states and major cities. One does not exaggerate to say that, in terms of political influence with respect to the course of legislation and government action, the American business executive is truly the “forgotten man.”

Current examples of the impotency of business, and of the near-contempt with which businessmen’s views are held, are the stampedes by politicians to support almost any legislation related to “consumerism” or to the “environment.”

Politicians reflect what they believe to be majority views of their constituents. It is thus evident that most politicians are making the judgment that the public has little sympathy for the businessman or his viewpoint.

The educational programs suggested above would be designed to enlighten public thinking — not so much about the businessman and his individual role as about the system which he administers, and which provides the goods, services and jobs on which our country depends.

But one should not postpone more direct political action, while awaiting the gradual change in public opinion to be effected through education and information. Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination — without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.

As unwelcome as it may be to the Chamber, it should consider assuming a broader and more vigorous role in the political arena.

Neglected Opportunity in the Courts

American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.

Other organizations and groups, recognizing this, have been far more astute in exploiting judicial action than American business. Perhaps the most active exploiters of the judicial system have been groups ranging in political orientation from “liberal” to the far left.

The American Civil Liberties Union is one example. It initiates or intervenes in scores of cases each year, and it files briefs amicus curiae in the Supreme Court in a number of cases during each term of that court. Labor unions, civil rights groups and now the public interest law firms are extremely active in the judicial arena. Their success, often at business’ expense, has not been inconsequential.

This is a vast area of opportunity for the Chamber, if it is willing to undertake the role of spokesman for American business and if, in turn, business is willing to provide the funds.

As with respect to scholars and speakers, the Chamber would need a highly competent staff of lawyers. In special situations it should be authorized to engage, to appear as counsel amicus in the Supreme Court, lawyers of national standing and reputation. The greatest care should be exercised in selecting the cases in which to participate, or the suits to institute. But the opportunity merits the necessary effort.

Neglected Stockholder Power

The average member of the public thinks of “business” as an impersonal corporate entity, owned by the very rich and managed by over-paid executives. There is an almost total failure to appreciate that “business” actually embraces — in one way or another — most Americans. Those for whom business provides jobs, constitute a fairly obvious class. But the 20 million stockholders — most of whom are of modest means — are the real owners, the real entrepreneurs, the real capitalists under our system. They provide the capital which fuels the economic system which has produced the highest standard of living in all history. Yet, stockholders have been as ineffectual as business executives in promoting a genuine understanding of our system or in exercising political influence.

The question which merits the most thorough examination is how can the weight and influence of stockholders — 20 million voters — be mobilized to support (i) an educational program and (ii) a political action program.

Individual corporations are now required to make numerous reports to shareholders. Many corporations also have expensive “news” magazines which go to employees and stockholders. These opportunities to communicate can be used far more effectively as educational media.

The corporation itself must exercise restraint in undertaking political action and must, of course, comply with applicable laws. But is it not feasible — through an affiliate of the Chamber or otherwise — to establish a national organization of American stockholders and give it enough muscle to be influential?

A More Aggressive Attitude

Business interests — especially big business and their national trade organizations — have tried to maintain low profiles, especially with respect to political action.

As suggested in the Wall Street Journal article, it has been fairly characteristic of the average business executive to be tolerant — at least in public — of those who attack his corporation and the system. Very few businessmen or business organizations respond in kind. There has been a disposition to appease; to regard the opposition as willing to compromise, or as likely to fade away in due time.

Business has shunted confrontation politics. Business, quite understandably, has been repelled by the multiplicity of non-negotiable “demands” made constantly by self-interest groups of all kinds.

While neither responsible business interests, nor the United States Chamber of Commerce, would engage in the irresponsible tactics of some pressure groups, it is essential that spokesmen for the enterprise system — at all levels and at every opportunity — be far more aggressive than in the past.

There should be no hesitation to attack the Naders, the Marcuses and others who openly seek destruction of the system. There should not be the slightest hesitation to press vigorously in all political arenas for support of the enterprise system. Nor should there be reluctance to penalize politically those who oppose it.

Lessons can be learned from organized labor in this respect. The head of the AFL-CIO may not appeal to businessmen as the most endearing or public-minded of citizens. Yet, over many years the heads of national labor organizations have done what they were paid to do very effectively. They may not have been beloved, but they have been respected — where it counts the most — by politicians, on the campus, and among the media.

It is time for American business — which has demonstrated the greatest capacity in all history to produce and to influence consumer decisions — to apply their great talents vigorously to the preservation of the system itself.

The Cost

The type of program described above (which includes a broadly based combination of education and political action), if undertaken long term and adequately staffed, would require far more generous financial support from American corporations than the Chamber has ever received in the past. High level management participation in Chamber affairs also would be required.

The staff of the Chamber would have to be significantly increased, with the highest quality established and maintained. Salaries would have to be at levels fully comparable to those paid key business executives and the most prestigious faculty members. Professionals of the great skill in advertising and in working with the media, speakers, lawyers and other specialists would have to be recruited.

It is possible that the organization of the Chamber itself would benefit from restructuring. For example, as suggested by union experience, the office of President of the Chamber might well be a full-time career position. To assure maximum effectiveness and continuity, the chief executive officer of the Chamber should not be changed each year. The functions now largely performed by the President could be transferred to a Chairman of the Board, annually elected by the membership. The Board, of course, would continue to exercise policy control.

Quality Control is Essential

Essential ingredients of the entire program must be responsibility and “quality control.” The publications, the articles, the speeches, the media programs, the advertising, the briefs filed in courts, and the appearances before legislative committees — all must meet the most exacting standards of accuracy and professional excellence. They must merit respect for their level of public responsibility and scholarship, whether one agrees with the viewpoints expressed or not.

Relationship to Freedom

The threat to the enterprise system is not merely a matter of economics. It also is a threat to individual freedom.

It is this great truth — now so submerged by the rhetoric of the New Left and of many liberals — that must be re-affirmed if this program is to be meaningful.

There seems to be little awareness that the only alternatives to free enterprise are varying degrees of bureaucratic regulation of individual freedom — ranging from that under moderate socialism to the iron heel of the leftist or rightist dictatorship.

We in America already have moved very far indeed toward some aspects of state socialism, as the needs and complexities of a vast urban society require types of regulation and control that were quite unnecessary in earlier times. In some areas, such regulation and control already have seriously impaired the freedom of both business and labor, and indeed of the public generally. But most of the essential freedoms remain: private ownership, private profit, labor unions, collective bargaining, consumer choice, and a market economy in which competition largely determines price, quality and variety of the goods and services provided the consumer.

In addition to the ideological attack on the system itself (discussed in this memorandum), its essentials also are threatened by inequitable taxation, and — more recently — by an inflation which has seemed uncontrollable.14 But whatever the causes of diminishing economic freedom may be, the truth is that freedom as a concept is indivisible. As the experience of the socialist and totalitarian states demonstrates, the contraction and denial of economic freedom is followed inevitably by governmental restrictions on other cherished rights. It is this message, above all others, that must be carried home to the American people.

Conclusion

It hardly need be said that the views expressed above are tentative and suggestive. The first step should be a thorough study. But this would be an exercise in futility unless the Board of Directors of the Chamber accepts the fundamental premise of this paper, namely, that business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late.

Footnotes (Powell’s)
  1. Variously called: the “free enterprise system,” “capitalism,” and the “profit system.” The American political system of democracy under the rule of law is also under attack, often by the same individuals and organizations who seek to undermine the enterprise system.
  2. Richmond News Leader, June 8, 1970. Column of William F. Buckley, Jr.
  3. N.Y. Times Service article, reprinted Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 17, 1971.
  4. Stewart Alsop, Yale and the Deadly Danger, Newsweek, May 18. 1970.
  5. Editorial, Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 7, 1971.
  6. Dr. Milton Friedman, Prof. of Economics, U. of Chicago, writing a foreword to Dr. Arthur A. Shenfield’s Rockford College lectures entitled “The Ideological War Against Western Society,” copyrighted 1970 by Rockford College.
  7. Fortune. May, 1971, p. 145. This Fortune analysis of the Nader influence includes a reference to Nader’s visit to a college where he was paid a lecture fee of $2,500 for “denouncing America’s big corporations in venomous language . . . bringing (rousing and spontaneous) bursts of applause” when he was asked when he planned to run for President.
  8. The Washington Post, Column of William Raspberry, June 28, 1971.
  9. Jeffrey St. John, The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 1971.
  10. Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly, “The Total Break with America, The Fifth Annual Conference of Socialist Scholars,” Sept. 15, 1969.
  11. On many campuses freedom of speech has been denied to all who express moderate or conservative viewpoints.
  12. It has been estimated that the evening half-hour news programs of the networks reach daily some 50,000,000 Americans.
  13. One illustration of the type of article which should not go unanswered appeared in the popular “The New York” of July 19, 1971. This was entitled “A Populist Manifesto” by ultra liberal Jack Newfield — who argued that “the root need in our country is ‘to redistribute wealth’.”
  14. The recent “freeze” of prices and wages may well be justified by the current inflationary crisis. But if imposed as a permanent measure the enterprise system will have sustained a near fatal blow.

* One of the great frustrations we’ve had at Reclaim Democracy! is that foundations and funders whose work is thwarted by corporate domination have failed to learn from the success of these corporate institutions. They decline to invest in long-term education and culture-shifting that we and a small number of allied organizations work to achieve. Instead, they overwhelmingly focus on damage control, short-term goals and make social change organizations plead for funding every year, rather than making long-term investments in movement-building. This approach stands no chance of yielding the systemic change needed to reverse the trend of growing corporate dominance.

Patient nurturing of movement-building work remains the exception to the rule among foundations that purport to strengthen democracy and citizen engagement. The growing movement to revoke corporate personhood is supported almost entirely from contributions by individual (real) people like you. Please consider supporting the work of groups that devote themselves to this essential movement-building work, rather than short-term projects and results demanded by most foundations.

A pro-small business counter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) is one of the few business groups recognizing corporatization as a primary threat to entrepreneurship and democracy. AMIBA has often engaged in direct opposition to the Chamber.

Addenda:

ReclaimDemocracy.org focuses on long-term movement-building and systemic change, striving to shift energy and funding from reactive work against individual harms caused by corporations to proactive efforts that seek to revoke corporate power systemically. Our ultimate goals involve Constitution-level change.

[Nov 04, 2019] Neoliberalism Never Heard of It

Nov 04, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Neoliberalism? Never Heard of It

By
Luke Savage

The latest liberal parlor game is pretending there's no such thing as neoliberalism. The game's very popularity highlights neoliberalism's enduring hegemony.

For the first time in decades, it has become possible to envision real alternatives to the prevailing political and economic order of the past forty years. In both Europe and the Americas, the neoliberal consensus is facing a crisis of moral, intellectual, and popular legitimacy: proving unable to deliver either the growth or the broad prosperity its ideologues once promised and facing robust electoral challenges from both the socialist left and the nationalist right.

Predictably enough, this turn of events has elicited a defensive response from neoliberalism's greatest partisans and those otherwise invested in its political and cultural hegemony. "Reminder: Liberalism Is Working, and Marxism Has Always Failed," asserts an anguished Jonathan Chait. "It's Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses," bellows an indignant James Traub. "Not left, not right, but forward," meanwhile, has once again become the median posture among those seeking the Democratic nomination for president -- with most candidates channeling the spirit of Tony Blair's famous 1998 call to neoliberal technocracy and making familiar appeals to moderation and tepid meliorism.

But the past several years have also given birth to another, more curious phenomenon: namely the repeated insistence of many prominent liberals and centrists that neoliberalism is either a phantom created by leftists or, alternatively, a term so ethereal it defies definition and therefore serves no useful purpose. In Britain and America especially (arguably neoliberalism's most significant ideological beachheads in the 1980s and '90s), some commentators can't seem to help resist this strange line of argument, even as the contours of the neoliberal order become ever-more visible as its political prospects weaken and its economic fortunes decline.

The argument comes in several variations.

The first, and most plainly superficial, caustically insists that neoliberalism doesn't exist or at any rate ceased to have a meaningful existence long ago. "Nobody has spotted a neoliberal in the wild since Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign," writes Politico 's Bill Scher, in his stunningly humorless review of The Chapo Guide to Revolution . Or, to take the petulant words of former Clinton sycophant Tom Watson: "There are no neoliberals in the US Congress -- not one. Not one in any statehouses in the nation, either. Yet it's constantly bandied about by the white academic left as a functioning and present ideology."

A second, related version holds that the word primarily exists as a term of abuse: an epithet reductively deployed by leftist trolls looking to slander everyone in sight. This variation's greatest scribe is undoubtedly the ever-aggrieved Chait who, in a July 2017 piece titled "How 'Neoliberalism' Became the Left's Favorite Insult of Liberals," insists that liberalism has remained largely consistent and unchanging (thus making "neo" an unnecessary and pejorative addendum). This argument hinges on the astoundingly ahistorical claim that liberal politicians had no hand in the generalized rightward shift that followed the 1970s and, furthermore, have not wavered in their basic commitments, particularly when it comes to economic policy, since the New Deal:

The Democratic Party has evolved over the last half-century, as any party does over a long period of time. But the basic ideological cast of its economic policy has not changed dramatically since the New Deal . . . Progressives are correct in their belief that something has changed for the worse in American politics. Larger forces in American life have stalled the seemingly unstoppable progressive momentum of the postwar period . . . All this forced Democrats more frequently into a defensive posture . . . Barack Obama's far more sweeping reforms still could not win any support from a radicalized opposition. It is seductive to attribute these frustrations to the tactical mistakes or devious betrayals of party leaders. But it is the political climate that has grown more hostile to Democratic Party economic liberalism. The party's ideological orientation has barely changed.

In this telling, liberal writers like Chait and Democratic politicians like Clinton and Obama have remained consistent with the liberalism of the midcentury. The "neoliberalism" charge is therefore an abusive tactic invented by socialists and designed primarily to "bracket," as he puts it, "the center-left together with the right as 'neoliberal' and then force progressives to choose between that and socialism."

This calls to mind a third, perhaps more emblematic variation on the form, which holds that the wide application of "neoliberal" renders the term too vague or imprecise for it to retain real value. In an editorial for the Independent , Ben Chu takes aim at the regular charge made by some on Labour's Corbynite left that the EU is a neoliberal institution: a reflex he believes to be incoherent, conspiratorial, and even mildly sinister. Partly echoing Chait, Ed Conway (economics editor for Britain's Sky News) asks : "What is neoliberalism and why is it an insult?" While socialists and others on the Left are fond of branding everything they dislike "neoliberal," he writes, no one can actually agree on the word's meaning:

You could pick any one of [Jeremy Corbyn's] speeches over the past few years for . . . examples. The Grenfell Tower was a tragedy of neoliberalism . . . Austerity was a product of neoliberalism. The City is neoliberal, the government is neoliberal, the press is neoliberal . . . Despite the fact that neoliberalism is frequently referred to as an ideology, it is oddly difficult to pin down. For one thing, it is a word that tends to be used almost exclusively by those who are criticizing it -- not by its advocates, such as they are (in stark contrast to almost every other ideology, nearly no one self-describes as a neoliberal). In other words, it is not an ideology but an insult.

A somewhat more earnest and coherent version of this argument is found in a recent essay by Vox 's Ezra Klein , which does at least grant the term neoliberalism some tangible meaning. "In its simplest form," Klein writes, "neoliberalism refers to a general preference for market mechanisms over state interventions." This, however, is where the problems begin for him:

Since almost everyone sometimes prefers market mechanisms to state interventions, and sometimes prefer state interventions to market mechanisms, the conversation quickly gets confusing. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were neoliberals . Bill Clinton is often seen as a neoliberal. Barack Obama is sometimes considered a neoliberal. Elizabeth Warren is occasionally called a neoliberal.

As such, Klein concludes, the label is often over-applied to the point of incoherence. "A label that can describe everyone," he argues, "doesn't usefully describe anyone." To his credit, Klein doesn't want us to abandon the term entirely. Nor does he pretend, as others do, that the phenomenon it describes is so nebulous it might as well not exist (to his earlier definition, he even adds: "Neoliberalism describes what happens when capitalism mutates from an economic system to a governing and even moral philosophy").

His essay's primary purpose, however, is to argue that the Obama presidency fell short of progressive expectations because of an intransigent Congress rather than an attachment to neoliberalism. This is where Klein, his more nuanced and inquisitive posture notwithstanding, begins to sound a bit like Chait:

In recent years, neoliberal has reemerged as political slander, meaning something like "corporatist sellout Democrat" . . . I've become more frustrated with the lazy ways the term is tossed around -- and, particularly, how it becomes an all-purpose explanation for any political outcome someone doesn't like.

While exhibiting variations and coming in numerous shades of good and bad faith, all of these arguments -- and others in the same vein -- share some common features.

The first is poor, or at any rate incomplete, history.

Far from being abstract or immaterial, neoliberalism was the consciously pursued project of an initially small group of intelligentsia who, thanks to decades of well-funded organizing and adept political maneuvering -- particularly during the economic crises that afflicted Keynesian social democracy in the 1970s -- gradually succeeded in taking their ideology to the heights of institutional and cultural power. First capturing the old right (in Britain's Tory Party, the disappointments of the Heath era gave way to the more dynamic and confrontational ethos of Thatcherism, just as in America Nixon and Ford were succeeded by Reaganism), the neoliberal ascendency eventually secured a foothold in the center-left thanks to the agency of figures like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

The new generation of ideologues who came to dominate Western liberalism in the 1990s were hardly dragged kicking and screaming into the embrace of its more market-zealous incarnation. On the contrary, New Labour acolytes and Atari Democrats were some of neoliberalism's most enthusiastic converts and set out to realign their parties with the consensus already set in motion by the new right. Here's how the Democratic Party's shift away from postwar liberalism was described in 2013 by none other than Chait himself :

[Various] magazines once critiqued Democrats from the right, advocating a policy loosely called "neoliberalism," and now stand in general ideological concord. Why? I'd say it's because the neoliberal project succeeded in weaning the Democrats of the wrong turn they took during the 1960s and 1970s. The Democrats under Bill Clinton -- and Obama, whose domestic policy is crafted almost entirely by Clinton veterans -- has internalized the neoliberal critique.

Given these observable shifts, it is simply ahistorical to argue that liberalism has been ideologically stagnant, or that its transformation into neoliberalism during the 1990s did not occur; equally so to suggest that liberal politicians like Clinton or Obama were simply the casualties of a generalized rightward drift, akin to an intense weather event, rather than the conscious practitioners of an ideology. If neoliberalism is sometimes invoked as a pejorative term for today's liberal politicians, it's because the Left opposes the consensus they seek to perpetuate and holds that a more humane alternative is both possible and desirable.

Setting aside the historical details, what about the second major component of the arguments at hand -- that the moniker "neoliberalism" is either too widely applicable or too contested to be of any use?

This is the fulcrum of the reasoning offered in varying degrees by Klein, Conway, and Chu, and like many erroneous arguments, it contains a degree of truth. For one thing, there is indeed some ambiguity surrounding the term -- but that's only because what it refers to is so multifaceted. Taken at face value, neoliberalism describes a mixture of classical liberal philosophy and neoclassical economics amounting (on paper at least) to an ethic of governance that sees individual freedom as best actualized under a regime of limited state activity, favors private enterprise over public ownership, and is skeptical of state regulation.

But neoliberalism also variously describes: an existing set of interconnected economic and political institutions; a conscious ideological offensive that transformed global politics in the 1980s and '90s and the frontiers of acceptable public policy since; a range of principles that guide elected leaders of both the Right and the liberal center whether they are conscious adherents to neoliberal philosophy or not; and the near-totalizing reality of life under the pressures and logics of late capitalism.

For some, this is reason enough to abandon, dismiss, or severely limit the application of the term -- in some cases to the point that it ceases to be a recognized feature of contemporary life. If a set of political ideas can be applied too widely, so this thinking runs, then continuing to identify or isolate them as a causal force becomes basically pointless. How, after all, can a label applicable to politicians as distinct as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama be of any real use?

But we might just as easily draw the opposite conclusion. The ubiquity of a particular phenomenon does not make discrete analysis of it useless; if anything, such omnipresence makes identifying it a more urgent and critical task. A phenomenon so diffuse that it seems manifest throughout politics, economics, and culture is hardly a chimera, and the apparent reticence of many commentators to recognize or even acknowledge its valence as a term can only be viewed as a symptom of neoliberalism's continued stranglehold on our political, cultural, and intellectual life.

The longer something is a part of your reality, the more it tends to fade from your field of focus. Put another way: the more pervasive a particular object or phenomenon, the easier it can be to take its presence for granted. After its initially disruptive incursion in the 1980s, neoliberalism fast became a feature of our collective existence, so indelible many now seem unable to recall a time before it existed, let alone conceive a future that goes beyond it. An ideology secures hegemony at precisely the point it ceases to be considered an ideology: its claims transform into axioms; its theories harden into dogma; its abstruse vernacular becomes the lingua franca; its assumptions are subsumed under "common sense."

That neoliberalism remains so poorly understood in the very political mainstream whose frontiers it now circumscribes is a testament to both the breathtaking scope of its counterrevolution, and the daunting task facing those of us who desire its overthrow. It is everywhere and therefore nowhere: at once so diaphanous it seems invisible; so internalized it appears inescapable. Then again, there may be something altogether more hopeful to be drawn from this strange and often narcotic diffusion. As the late Mark Fisher reminds us:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.

[Nov 04, 2019] Neoliberals as Trotskyites turn coats innovatively reused propaganda methods pioneered by Bolsheviks and national socialists

Nov 04, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.04.19 at 7:24 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Petter Sjölund 11.03.19 at 2:46 pm

why such far-reaching changes could be made with so little resistance: the political majorities of every color, left and right, embraced the neoliberal project wholeheartedly.'

Nothing really surprising here. It is yet another demonstration of the power of propaganda, the power of brainwashing. First capture, and then tight control of major MSM along with creation of a network of "think tanks" -- reusing Bolsheviks idea of "professional revolutionaries" in a very innovative matter. And financial oligarchy, striving for revenge and dismantling of the New Deal regulation, financed those ventures pretty lavishly, which attracted certain type of talent, the whole class of political shysters (Milton Friedman is a nice example here)

See http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/

Though Powell's memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration's "hands-off business" philosophy.

In other words, neoliberals as Trotskyites turn coats innovatively reused methods pioneered by Bolsheviks and national socialists.

Remember Reagan's quip:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

This is a very slick propaganda and it most probably did not originated from Reagan himself but from his speechwriters.

[Nov 01, 2019] Trump just authorized 4.5 million to the "white helmets"

Nov 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mark52 , Oct 31 2019 0:31 utc | 40

Trump just authorized 4.5 million to the "white helmets"

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/28/trump-million-syria-jihadist-white-helmets/#more-15904

[Sep 14, 2019] How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them. ..."
"... Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit. ..."
"... I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up. ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

In August 2013 the BBC produced a fake video headlined "Saving Syria's Children" about an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria which it claimed was caused by the Syrian government. Robert Stuart has since pressed the BBC to admit the obvious fabrication of these scenes .

Today the BBC posted on its website another Syria clip under the title Idlib's secret hospitals hiding from air strikes :

Air strikes have been targeting hospitals in the rebel-held province of Idlib, Syria, despite the fact that it is a war crime. Medics have been forced underground in order to survive.

The UN accuses the Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes of conducting a deadly campaign that appears to target medical facilities.

BBC's Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, visits one hospital in a secret location.

Sommerville starts with standing next to a destroyed building claiming that it has been a hospital that was bombed. He says: "This is the only building that was targeted here."

It isn't the "only building that was targeted" there. It is the only building that was there. The building is standing within an orchard. There are no other buildings or infrastructure around it. Why would anyone have built a hospital far from a town? There are no signs that building ever was a hospital and is doubtful that it was one.

The next shot has been shown in other TV clips (on Channel 4?). It shows the entrances to some caves but no car, no persons and nothing else is around it.

Suddenly six explosions happen at the very same time. Immediately after the explosions, but not before them, the sound of a passing jet is heard. I have never heard or seen of a jet that manages to release six bombs that land in such a tight pattern and explode all at the very same time. Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent U.S. carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq. And why please was the camera in place that made such a tight shot of it? This was clearly a stunt made with some buried explosives that were centrally ignited at the same time. The jet noise was later added to the shot. In the next scene two people walk down a concrete stairway within a regular building.

The scene cuts to one filmed at the entrance of roughly dug cave while the reporter insinuates that both are the same.

The reporter claims that the cave is a hospital. He walks further down the stairs into the cave ... and ends up in a well built building with straight painted walls and a nice balustrade. This might be a hospital but there is no sign that it is one. What is certain is that it is not underground or in a cave.

The whole claim of the BBC clip is that the hospitals are underground because they get bombed. But the part that is supposed to prove that is clearly cut from a real building scene to a walk down into a cave scene and back to a real building scene. The sequence is clearly a propaganda fake.

The clip continues with Sommerville talking to some 'doctor' who answers in Arabic.

Then follow scenes from the Atmah Charity Hospital which is a real hospital. It lies north of Idleb city and right next to the Turkish border near the Olive Tree refugee camp near the town of Atmah . It is sponsored by Orient Charity , established by the Syrian anti-Assad businessman Ghassan Aboud who lives in the UAE, and is operated by the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Ghassan Aboud also owns Orient News which is a Jihadist outlet . There follow the typical pictures of injured children which are used to create more hate against the Syrian government and the millions of children it protects from the U.S. sponsored Jihadists attacks.

On his Twitter account Quentin Sommerville posted another version of his Idleb tale. It is longer and the cut differs significantly from the clip on the BBC website.

Some scenes are similar. The 'bombed hospital' is there. The fake 'bombing' of the caves is also in it. The interview scene with the Arabic speaking doctor in the 'underground hospital' is missing in this version but the same person reappears.

Sommerville speaks with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria about the coordination system for hospitals. The hospitals are supposed to tell the UN there geographic coordinates which the UN then hands to Russia with the request not to bomb those places. The UN's Pomos Moumtzis defends the system. Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

What is happening here is that the Jihadis, with whom Sommerville traveled and who he rightly says are seen as terrorist even by the 'west', report the coordinates of their headquarters and weapon depots as hospitals. The UN has no way to check their claims. When the Russian or Syrian airforce then bomb those places the Jihadis claim that their hospitals were hit.

There are more false sequences in the longer clip Sommerville tweeted.

At 4:27 the cameraman rides on the back of a motorcycle through a covered alley or basement into a 'hospital entrance'. More than a dozen motorcycles are parked there and there is professional ventilation.

It is the very same 'underground hospital' and the same Arabic speaking 'doctor' as in the first clip. Notice that the 'doctor' rode his motorcycle through town while wearing his supposedly clean clinic clothes.

Sommerville narrates: "This hospital is very deep out of reach of the bombs. We were told to move fast too."

The above scene cuts to two men running down a basement stairway seemingly from the hospital. It is the same stairway as in the first clip but filmed from a slightly different perspective and in a different take.

Summerville continues: "Even under this solid rock we await the next attack." The scene cuts to two men running down an underground tunnel with rough walls.

It is the same tunnel as in the first clip.

The sequence as a whole makes no sense. If the hospital is 'out of reach of the bombs' why run further down from it?

In the first clip the storyline around the same 'underground hospital' is the opposite of the storyline in the second version. In the first clip the reporter walks first down the stairway and then down the rough tunnel to allegedly reach the 'underground hospital'. In the second longer clip the reporters leave from the 'underground hospital' down the stairway and further down into the rough cut tunnel to be more safe from bombs.

Which is the real sequence Mr. Sommerville? Is the hospital at the lower end of the rough wall tunnel or is it at the upper end? Could you please make up your mind?

At 5:00 min Sommerville says that he travels further south towards the frontline escorted by the Jihadist controlled 'Salvation government'. The scene cuts to a drone shot of a refugee camp insinuating that it is in the same southern area. But the camp is like all refugee camps in Idleb in the north directly at the Turkish border. The border wall which Turkey erected can be clearly seen behind it. The place is far from the frontline.

The two Sommerville videos show how the BBC works. First a politically wanted narrative is created. Scenes are then taken and cut into sequences that fit that narrative. The same or similar scenes can be used to create a different version of the same narrative or even a completely different one. Neither of those narratives needs to be anywhere near the realities on the ground.

Unfortunately many people fall for such cheap propaganda junk.

Posted by b on September 13, 2019 at 19:36 UTC | Permalink


anna , Sep 13 2019 20:08 utc | 1

Underground Idlib Bit long.. https://youtu.be/i_5Cid-Po9k?t=32
Jen , Sep 13 2019 20:32 utc | 4
It seems that in its zeal to keep staffing costs down amid public calls to revoke the compulsory annual BBC licence fee payment required of all UK subjects who own TV sets, and to maintain its relevance, the BBC has told its crime and thriller drama script-writers to write the news plot narratives and gets gullible twats like Somerville to act them out with extras drawn from the Syrian White Helmets Academy of Dramatic Arts. Pyrotechnic effects underwritten by Saudi Arabia and ultimately by British taxpayers who should be asking for their money back: they should not be paying the BBC twice to produce such shoddy garbage.
b , Sep 13 2019 20:48 utc | 5
On yesterday's longer BBC piece not available to an international audience:

Ollie Richardson @O_Rich_

Thread on the @BBC
's latest (12.09.19) edition of propaganda designed to mask the UK's role in arming and financing Al Qaeda in Syria. A BBC broadcast was imposed on me, but I recorded this segment anticipating that a pack of lies was coming. Here is part 1/3 of the skit: ...
alaff , Sep 13 2019 20:49 utc | 6
Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

But... But... You forgot a map of hospitals in Idleb. :D

ben , Sep 13 2019 21:19 utc | 7
The disinformation is endless with regards to the Syrian war. Especially from the anti-Assad camp. We all know who are the most prolific bombers of hospitals and civilian infrastructure, and those are the empire and their minions.

http://www.brianwillson.com/the-us-american-way-of-war-intentional-killing-of-civilians-and-civilian-infrastructure/

goldhoarder , Sep 13 2019 21:27 utc | 8
Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them.
Jackrabbit , Sep 13 2019 21:29 utc | 9
Why continue propaganda ops after US claimed to kill the Idlib Jihadi leadership in an airstrike? LOL. High probability that the airstrike was also propaganda so that they can claim that it's the people of Idlib that are resisting SAA+Russians now, not Jihadis.
Cochore , Sep 13 2019 21:53 utc | 10
The cameraman for this fabrication was Darren Conway. He is the same person responsible for the BBC Panorama faux-documentary "Saving Syria's Children" that was broadcast on 30th September, 2013 and which has been exposed as a fake by the tireless work of Robert Stuart. https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/
so , Sep 13 2019 22:10 utc | 11
How do these people live with themselves? Get up every morning and spew lies. Take the kids to school and feed the dog. Not knowing the ramification of their actions and the lives that their actions cost. I guess that's the life you lead when everything is attached to the value of money. So much illness in this world.
Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 13 2019 22:24 utc | 12
BBC is in hot contest for der Spiegel's Claas Relotius prize: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46624297

Keep it up boys!

Robert Stuart , Sep 13 2019 22:38 utc | 13
As noted above, this is basically the 2013 BBC Panorama Saving Syria's Children (SSC) team, with Sommerville substituting for Ian Pannell, who left the BBC in 2017 and now works with ABC, plus SSC cameraman Darren Conway (OBE) and SSC "fixer/translator" Mughira Al Sharif, who is credited with "camera" in the first Sommerville clip (in addition to Conway?), and about whom more here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/#Sharif

The SSC crew used then-ISIS partners Ahrar al-Sham for security in 2013 and filmed a vehicle bearing the ISIS flag at comfortably close quarters:
http://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bbc-panorama-team-embedded-with-islamic-state-partner-group/
https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/bbc-panorama-on-location-with-isis/

Ian , Sep 13 2019 22:40 utc | 14
so @11:
Their actions may not always be driven by money but by an ideology. Getting wealthy in the process would be a bonus.
karlof1 , Sep 14 2019 0:22 utc | 29
Outstanding work, b! This is exactly what's being advocated by Caitlin Johnstone, advocated by many of us barflies, and consistently practiced by you--Destroying the Empire's BigLie Media Narratives. ICYMI, here's her essay on that topic . The following is from a thread about a topic related to American Exceptionalism that as noted is seldom discussed American Privilege :

"American privilege is having your insane culture normalized around the world via Hollywood and other media so that nobody stops and wonders why we're letting this bat shit crazy nation rule our planet, and so no one makes you feel bad about your American privilege."

And before American Privilege there was the British version: The White Man's Burden. We get a taste of what the modern version of British Privilege would be from BBC propaganda. Both intended to globally project their Cultural Imperialism in both an offensive and defensive capacity with the Outlaw US Empire's efforts being the most successful. As shown by the BRICS efforts I posted and linked to, there's an increasing effort to promote a countervailing system of humanist values, which is a component in combating the Hybrid Third World War in which we're all involved .

james , Sep 14 2019 1:17 utc | 30
thanks b... great breakdown on the bbc bullshite... why is the usa-uk-israel-ksa clan paying so many millions for this cheap shit?? you would think with all their connections they could fabricate better bullshit... you link @5 is embarrassing for them.. i guess they figure only dim twats swallow the pablum bbc offers.. thanks for your work...
Anon , Sep 14 2019 1:51 utc | 31
Here's how it works:

You beg the "rebels" to grant you access and then you are escorted around shown that which they want you to see, and then they give you video clips to use and you do the story on their terms. Kind of like the days of Like North Korea where reporters are escorted by a minder and kept on a short leash. It will n North Korea, reporters push the envelope and report only on the oppressiveness of the regime, and never tell their audience things like there is fairly good education, healthcare, and their manufacturing base is sophisticated enough to make their own smart phones. In Syria, reporters never vary from the script the hosts present them. It's not only because they won't be invited back, it's because they will be murdered. Remember the early stages of the war? Remember how many journalists were being killed? What were those journalists reporting? Why the truth of course.

Trailer Trash , Sep 14 2019 2:18 utc | 32
Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit.

I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up.

JW , Sep 14 2019 2:23 utc | 33
Don't these propaganda clowns know they the more desperate they are at creating false narratives, the more they are losing credibility? Everyone outside the western circle of sheeple are more wary than ever about the CIA's fingers on just about everything.
psychohistorian , Sep 14 2019 2:31 utc | 34
Thanks for continuing to write truth to power b

The mighty propaganda machine of the West continues to crank out fake news for the Plato's Cave displays of the brainwashed and addicted. Ongoing control and projection of the narrative is necessary to keep the weak holding on for dear life to the Merry-Go-Round of the Western "culture".

Blessings to those that keep trying to throw spanners in the works to make the insanity stop.

Montreal , Sep 14 2019 5:33 utc | 37
In the old days, in London, when I wanted to check current affairs from different angles, I turned to the Guardian, Channel 4 News, and the BBC. People may remember, for example, the fearful row about the BBC's reporting of the Falklands War - because it was trying to be even-handed it was accused by Thatcher's government of helping the Argentinians.

Anyone interested in these things knows that each of those news outlets has - over the last couple of years - been nobbled by the enemy. I don't even know what to call the enemy - NATO? The Neo-Cons? What is shocking is the ruthless, no-expense-spared, fury with which the enemy spreads its lies. They take this propaganda war very seriously indeed.

It is a slight consolation that the BBC is spending its capital - its reputation in the world for fairness and objectivity - at a tremendous rate., if it is fairness and objectivity in current affairs you are looking for, nowadays you don't go.to the BBC.

pppp , Sep 14 2019 6:29 utc | 40
anna@1
Underground Idlib

My first thought was who dug those tunnels and where are these people now. I mean, where are buried. I seriously doubt fighters would dug all that themselves nor they would set witnesses free. Yet reports about forced labor are scarce, which is not that surprising as a couple missing persons would go unnoticed in refugees rush.

As the reference research WW2 German Riese project tunnels, forced labor and killing of laborers when Red Amy approached.

Igor Bundy , Sep 14 2019 6:36 utc | 41
As the video posted by Anna shows, the terrorists had offices and hospitals in caves. Why is a good question since Anna clearly shows that the Russians watch and only bomb places where terrorists store ammo and rockets. Also why the terrorists defenses crumble so fast. Obviously there is no carpet bombing because Russia dont have the planes for it. And for the bombing to be so effective, those must have been stores for equipment. Bombing 40 hospitals wont make the terrorists crumble. But 40 stores of supplies would.

The bigger question is, some of those caves have tiled walls and obviously took great effort. Its like the pyramids of Egypt but without the slave labor of the jews to build it.. Who pays for it??? A few I can understand but there are hundreds of such caves. Obviously a single bomb to the entrance would kill everyone inside no matter how big it is by sucking out all the air and the concussion. The Japanese learnt of this the hard way.. It also leaves the equipment intact for later use by the SAA.

BM , Sep 14 2019 6:44 utc | 42
Has anybody seen a coherent explanation of the real situation on the ground at the Rukban regugee camp near Al Tanf? Especially one that gives a balanced view of the constraints the refugees are under, how UN aid is getting in, and what access the Russians are getting to the area?

This article states that some 17,000 refugees left in August with assistance from the Russian and Syrian governments, but some 25,000 remain:

"Back in August, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that over 17,000 civilians had already left the camp with the assistance of Moscow and Damascus.

The Syrian government and the Russian reconciliation centre have been assisting those wishing to leave the camp."

Given that the conditions are so bad, and the refugees are allegedly held against their will by jihadis, why would 25,000 still remain, if 17,000 were able to leave? Are they unable to make up their minds? Are they denied access to a part of the camp the Russians reached to help people get out? Are they actually jihadi families? There is something seriously missing from all the reports I have read.

Maximus , Sep 14 2019 10:35 utc | 50
Interesting from the Jerusalem Post ... interesting pic too...
john , Sep 14 2019 10:55 utc | 51
Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq

yeah, could these be penultimate eruptions, effete blasts from the man ostensibly on top? the Iraqi officers at 0:35 look kinda horrified to me, or at least a little worried.

....

only a psychotic culture does everything in its power to disrupt the physical and mental well-being of all sentient beings, while simultaneously striving to protect everyone from everything all the time.

Hmpf , Sep 14 2019 12:41 utc | 54
The cave attack, while having some issues, seems to be legit on a preliminary examination. A frame by frame examination shows there's 3 distinct missiles impacting the site. The first hits almost dead center (the missile itself is visible in a frame, its shadow in the following frame), the second one hits to the left at the edge of the compound (clearly visible in 2 frames) and the third one hits closer to the camera (visible in 1 frame), the one creating the expanding dome when exploding.
All warheads go off 4-5 frames after impact which suggests ignition delay of 0.15-0,2 seconds which would be reasonable for such a device.

Video properties of downloaded BBC clip (from Youtube)
1280x720, 25 fps

There's a couple of issues with the clip (some curious artifacts) that might suggests it's been tampered with but, I believe, that would need a qualified person in forensic analysis of such material to determine if this indeed is true.

NotBob , Sep 14 2019 13:14 utc | 56
Another humorous aspect to the BBC is even though they collect the fee from every British TV set, the 'sponsored content' and downright clickbait on each page is up to around 20%, plus the footer 'Why You Can Trust the BBC' .
arby , Sep 14 2019 13:19 utc | 58
A User

"What sort of an a-hole would you have to be to steal trillions from people then delight in keeping them impoverished, oppressed, without access to education, housing or healthcare? "

I have been thinking about that lately and not just the Saud's. Poor, hungry, uneducated, oppressed people are much easier to manipulate and easily bought to do the dirty work of terror, killing and war. Keeping people in that impoverished state is intentional for the elite that do not want to actually do the dirty work.

" I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Jay Gould

Canthama , Sep 14 2019 13:57 utc | 60
UK's link to al Qaeda is clear for decades, same link Israel, KSA< Qatar, Turkey and US all have, but the UK is definitively ahead here, very deep ties. By now the whole world knows BBC is UK' regime mouthpiece and made several fake news pretending Syrian & Russian Gov to be committing war crimes, where if fact the UK is actually deep sunk in war crimes or crimes against humanity in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine and most recently in HK. The only way this crimes will stop is to hurt the UK where it hurts the most, their financial industry, hit it hard and the lion will turn into sheep, maybe the recent attacks in Saudi Barbaria's oil facility will do just that, but a game change financial collapse must happen in the City so funds to support global terrorism is stopped.

Thank you b for this compelling piece.

Sam , Sep 14 2019 14:01 utc | 61
I saw this piece on BBC World Report, the free satellite channel, and even without doing any research, it struck me as incredibly weird. Notice even in your screenshot that there's a shot of the "underground" hospital with a window and some people walking around outside in broad daylight(!). Plus the reporter goes on and on about how the tunnels are all "hand-dug" but then they turn the corner and he's inside a very modern-looking facility.

One note - when I saw this on TV, they had captions underneath (black line at the bottom) naming the hospitals as the (perfectly stable, ground-level) footage of them "being blown up" rolled. Didn't see the captions on your screenshots, tho.

Reminds me of all those pure fantasies they used to talk about in 2001 about Osama's multi-level underground super fortress in Afghanistan.

Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:20 utc | 63
The proof is in the pudding, the propaganda is in the editing. My own cognitive dissonance was such that I used to view Panorama as a flagship
of responsible/respectable journalism. While knowing that the BBC is part of the Westminster pedophile ring and its coverup.
OMG witch-hunt! Must not witch-hunt! Bunch of anti-semitism-tossers, the lot of 'em.
Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:24 utc | 64
It was a wise man who said:"The truth is in the movies, the lies are in the news."
All too often I find myself agreeing with him.
Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 14 2019 15:11 utc | 65
ABC.net.au broadcast this half-baked BBC tosh on 3 of its 4 TV Channels - ABC 2, ABC News24 and ABC Comedy22.

Forgive the levity but my reaction to having endured it for the third time was: "Whoa! Sour grapes? Much?"

The sleazy Poms haven't looked this frustrated, helpless and stupid since they were the recipients of a very skillful Massacre Lesson in Afghanistan in 1842. One wonders how much arm-twisting was required to persuade the producers of "Pointless" & "Would I Lie To You?" that making stuff up about Assad and Russia might help viewers to forget that Russia and Assad have been shredding the Judeo-Christian Colonial Conspiracy since Russia waded in 48 months ago?

CJ , Sep 14 2019 21:20 utc | 68
Hi,
I thought there was something really odd about this BBC piece. The opening shot shows a `bombed hospital'. So where is all the medical waste, broken equipment, beds, old dressings, gloves, IV sets etc. Even in a simple first aid post the medical waste sure piles up. In an emergency you need a team just to move this stuff and keep things clean and functional. There is nothing to suggest its a hospital or even a clinic. In future they should grab a bag of medical waste a throw it around! I sure am getting pissed off with this propaganda -- everything from WMD, yellow cake, aluminum tubes through to Russia gate-- its cost trillions and wasted so much time.
Arioch , Sep 15 2019 0:41 utc | 69
In a world first, renowned consultant David Nott gave remote instructions via Skype and WhatsApp which allowed doctors to carry out surgery in an underground hospital.

But, after footage was broadcast by the BBC, Mr Nott believes his computer was targeted, allowing hackers to gain the coordinates of the M10 hospital.

Weeks later a "bunker buster" bomb destroyed the M10

Posted by: Arod | Sep 13 2019 23:52 utc

Because, you know, everyone knows, when Russian Hackers want to break into someone's computer they just point their BBC TV remote on screen and preess the red button. And here we go, from TV to the computer filmed. Better than with Harry Potter.

And then, it is all because of Skype. Microsoft keeps broadcasting GPS coordinated (even of deeply underground facilities) of everyone talking by Skype. And Whatsapp too.

UK MSM: Mad Skillz meme meeting Cool Story Bro meme
UK population: target audience that ia worth nothing more reasonable

Sad...

[Aug 03, 2019] Name a job that you can completely suck at and still keep your job?

Aug 03, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Patrick Armstrong -> Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) ... , 03 August 2019 at 01:10 PM

Somebody in the twitterverse asked the twits this question: "Name a job that you can completely suck at and still keep your job?" Instantly answered by Max Blumenthal "Beltway think tank senior fellow"


Patrick Armstrong

[Jul 17, 2019] The 'New Right' Is Not a Reaction to Neoliberalism, but Its Offspring

Notable quotes:
"... By Lars Cornelissen, who holds a PhD in the Humanities and works as a researcher and editor for the Independent Social Research Foundation. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... 'New World Order' ..."
Jul 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The 'New Right' Is Not a Reaction to Neoliberalism, but Its Offspring Posted on July 17, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lars Cornelissen, who holds a PhD in the Humanities and works as a researcher and editor for the Independent Social Research Foundation. Originally published at openDemocracy

The ongoing and increasingly intense conservative backlash currently taking place across Europe is often understood as a populist reaction to neoliberal policy. The neoliberal assault on the welfare state, as for instance Chantal Mouffe has argued , has eroded post-war social security even as it destroyed people's faith in electoral politics. Coupled with a sharp increase in inequality and rapid globalisation, the technocratic nature of neoliberal government has angered electorates across the continent. Wanting to "take back control" of their political life, these electorates have turned away from traditional centrist parties and have thrown their lot in with populist parties on the fringes of the political spectrum. Although, as Mouffe is at pains to point out , this creates a space for both left-wing and right-wing populisms, today it seems that especially its inward-looking, nationalistic variants are experiencing electoral success.

To be sure, this diagnosis is by and large correct. Decades of neoliberal hegemony have certainly served to impoverish the cultural life of many European nations. Meanwhile, neoliberal policies of privatisation and deregulation, followed after the 2008 crisis by a decade of blithe austerity measures, have gutted most of the institutions that previously carried the promise of equity and security -- even if that promise was always already a false one. The rise in jingoistic nationalism is, in this sense, without doubt a consequence of the neoliberal era.

It would be incorrect to assume, however, that these nationalisms are somehow juxtaposed to or fundamentally different from neoliberalism. It would be wrong, that is, to see the rise of the so-called "new right" as a sign of neoliberalism's demise or to see the 2008 financial crisis as marking its death rattle. Neoliberalism did not merely provide the occasion for the rise of nationalist sentiment; rather, the latter also grew out of the former. Differently put, neoliberal doctrine already carried the seeds of the kind of conservativism that is currently running rampant in Europe.

The Neoliberal Network

A good place to start is the network of neoliberal think tanks and research institutes that has served as the frontline of the neoliberal project since the 1950s. Indeed, as numerous research studies by historians and sociologists have shown, although neoliberalism first emerged as an intellectual movement spearheaded by such figures as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Walter Eucken, and Milton Friedman, crucial to the movement's success was its effort to disseminate its ideology strategically. Thus, after an initial phase in which these men prepared the philosophical grounds for the neoliberal agenda, they set out to spread their ideas, forming a Transatlantic web of intellectuals and researchers with the express objective of steadily influencing public opinion in general and policy-makers in particular.

Among the most prominent think tanks to be erected in this way are the Institute of Economic Affairs, founded by Anthony Fisher in 1955 on Hayek's explicit advice, the Cato Institute, founded in 1974, and the Adam Smith Institute, founded in 1977. They are merely the most visible core of a vast network of similar organisations, however. Whether named after neoliberalism's pioneering theorists (a small selection: the Hayek Institut; the Hayek Gesellschaft; the Ludwig von Mises Institute; the Walter Eucken Institut; the Becker Friedman Institute) or given more esoteric monikers (such as the Heritage Foundation or the Atlas Economic Research Foundation), many right-wing think tanks are of neoliberal descent. Those whose founding predates the birth of neoliberalism, such as the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, were quickly absorbed into the neoliberal project. Together these think tanks form a sprawling network of ideological entrepreneurs driven, as Anthony Fisher is reported to have said , by the desire to "litter the world with free-market think tanks."

As the primary channels through which neoliberal ideas flow to the wider public, these institutions make for a crucial weather vane for shifts unfolding within the neoliberal mindset. Any attempt to make sense of neoliberalism's many twists and turns must therefore pay attention to trends in their ideological direction and outputs. And this is where neoliberalism's recent hard turn towards conservative nationalism becomes apparent.

Neoliberal Conservatism

Neoliberalism has always had a strong conservative streak: Hayek himself was inspired by Edmund Burke at least as much as by Adam Smith, and such towering figures of German neoliberalism as Wilhem Röpke and Alexander Rüstow were deeply conservative thinkers. Conversely, Hayek in particular has exerted a considerable influence on the most recent generation of conservative philosophers, with men like Roger Scruton, Paul Cliteur, Francis Fukuyama, and Niall Ferguson routinely drawing upon his ideas about the market, law, and societal order in support of their own conservatism. (The latter, as it happens, received the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.)

However, what originally remained an intellectual attraction between neoliberals and conservatives has in recent decades morphed into something more closely resembling a synthesis. As neoliberal hegemony reached its climax in the 1990s, its intellectual custodians began focusing their attention on what they purported to be the failures of multiculturalism. Decrying 'cultural relativism,' neoliberal think tanks began publishing pamphlets that sang the praises of western culture, which their writers regarded as inherently superior to its non-liberal (read: non-western) counterparts. They proceeded to assert the need to protect national identity from its dilution by immigration and to advocate patriotism and nationalism as a means of consolidating such identity.

It is, then, wrong to assume that neoliberal parties or intellectuals embraced nationalism only after the so-called "new right" was in its ascendency, as a means to win back voters or to assuage a supposedly vitriolic and jingoistic electorate. In truth, many of neoliberalism's ideologues had swerved firmly towards conservative nationalism well before right-wing populism became a serious political contender. In doing so, they anticipated many of the latter's principal ideological markers, including its conspiratorial conception of " cultural Marxism " and its fondness for Oswald Spengler .

In short, neoliberals had no small part in setting the stage for the recent eruption of regressive nationalism. By peddling ethnocentric, nationalistic, and xenophobic ideas they helped shift public opinion to the conservative right, rendering it ever more salonfähig. A good example of this process may be found in Dutch politics, where Islamophobia entered mainstream discourse largely due to the efforts of Frits Bolkestein, then the country's leading neoliberal politician and author. Anticipating the Islamophobia of Pim Fortuyn and later Geert Wilders by about a decade, he claimed as early as 1991 that Islam is objectively speaking inferior to western culture. In so doing, he shifted the country's national debate and gave xenophobia a gloss of legitimacy, setting the stage for his country's sharp conservative turn in the new millennium.

A Neoliberal Brexit

Neoliberalism's influence on the rise of conservatism is not exhausted by its ideological appeal, however. Think tanks are, after all, meant to direct policy, not just to elaborate an ideological doctrine. By way of example, let us consider Brexit. Indeed, the neoliberals' impact on the "new right" is nowhere clearer than in the British hard right's attempt to enforce a no-deal Brexit.

To begin, it's worth noting that the Conservative Party's most prominent cadre of Brexit-backing nationalists counts many explicit devotees of Hayek amongst its numbers, including Roger Scruton , Boris Johnson , Priti Patel , and Sajid Javid (who called Hayek a "legend" in a 2014 tweet ). Jacob Rees-Mogg's late father William was similarly an outspoken Hayekian, calling himself "an Austrian economist more than anything else" in a 2010 interview and adding for good measure that he "knew Friedrich von Hayek and liked him very much."

But neoliberalism's impact on Tory hard Brexiteers goes much further. Here again, the neoliberal network of think tanks takes centre stage. As research done by openDemocracy UK has demonstrated, the Conservative Party's nationalist wing maintains very intimate ties with the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has lobbied extensively to broaden the appeal of a hard or even no-deal Brexit. Thus it maintains very close ties with the European Research Group (ERG), a group that represents the Party's most extreme Eurosceptics, and has had the ear of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The IEA is but one of many neoliberal think tanks that are today advocating a hard Brexit. The same is true for, amongst other, the Adam Smith Institute , the Hayek Institut , the Austrian Economics Center , the Mises Institute , the Hoover Institute , the Cato Institute , and the Heritage Foundation . Whilst it's not true that all of those who work for such institutes are Brexiteers -- indeed, the Adam Smith Institute is very open about its internal dispute over Brexit -- it certainly is the case that neoliberalism's ideological vanguard is contributing significantly to the justification and rationalisation of a no-deal scenario.

All of these threads seem to converge in the figure of Steve Baker. Serving as Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from June 2017 until he resigned a year later over his disagreement with the government's stance on Brexit, Baker was one of his party's leading Eurosceptical voices well before that. In 2015, he co-founded the Conservatives for Britain campaign, which was instrumental in lobbying for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. What's more, he served as Chairman of the ERG between 2016 and 2018 and as Deputy Chairman since then. Baker is also a prominent figure in the world of neoliberal think tanks, having co-founded The Cobden Centre (TCC) in 2010 and served as its director until 2017. A self-declared Austrian-inspired think tank, TCC is co-directed by hard Brexiteer Daniel Hannan , routinely posts defences of a hard Brexit, hosts material by hard-line Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage , Douglas Carswell , Michael Tomlinson , and Baker himself, and has close links to a glut of other neoliberal, pro-Brexit think tanks.

There is ample evidence that what is often seen as the "new right" is in fact not all that different from its predecessor. Several decades of neoliberal hegemony have not just triggered a backlash by the conservative right. Rather, the conservative right is a mutation of neoliberalism, one of its many outgrowths. The left is ill served by the continued assumption that it's fighting a new enemy, for clearly neoliberalism is still very much with us.


Colonel Smithers , July 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

Many thanks, Yves.

With regard to Brexit, I would just add that neo con think tanks, e.g. the Henry Jackson Society, also joined their more economics focussed brethren. Brexit is a means of weakening the EU to the benefit of the anglosphere, albeit a US led community with the UK playing Greece to the US's Rome. They are less prominent, or shouty, but I think that is by design. The likes of Richard Dearlove, Charles Guthrie and John Scarlett know how to play this game and are happy to let the loud mouths, especially the colonials like Kate Andrews, Divya Chakraborty and Chloe "low tax" Westley, or "low fact" to some, front up on air.

Steve Baker is a former Royal Air Force officer and MP for the neighbouring constituency. He straddles both camps.

There are differences, often tensions, between the Austrians, neo cons and the likes of the North family. Pete(r J) North's latest blog addresses that.

Ignacio , July 17, 2019 at 6:35 am

Indeed all confessed VOX (populist rigth, Spain) voters I know were faithful Popular Party (conservative) voters. Anecdotic but in line with this article.

Watt4Bob , July 17, 2019 at 7:37 am

The 'New Right' are the storm troopers of the neoliberal 'New World Order' , conjured deliberately, and painstakingly into existence as a bulwark against the rising tide of legitimate populist revolt against the strangle hold of neoliberal rule.

This is exactly what Jay Gould meant* when he said he could hire half the working class to murder the other half.

It's disturbing to note how obviously Trump is stirring the embers of reactionary sentiment that are never far from the surface of our national lack-of-character.

*It matters not if Jay Gould actually uttered these words, they describe the foundation of right-wing power in America.

Carolinian , July 17, 2019 at 9:23 am

Where is this "rising tide" you refer to? In the US our supposed revolutionaries are firmly within the Democratic party which is neoliberal to the core. While the above article may be correct that the nationalist new right represents fake populism in the manner of Wall Street loving Trump, there's not a lot of evidence of an anti-capitalist revolt on the left either (Elizabeth Warren: I am a capitalist). The article linked the other day on inverted totalitarianism hit the nail squarely. Whether left or right "There Is No Alternative" holds sway until the house of cards finally collapses. In the meantime our current elites will go to any extreme to keep that from happening.

Watt4Bob , July 17, 2019 at 11:35 am

The discomfort of those at the bottom results eventually in anger, and that anger looks for an outlet.

Rather than take the chance that those angry folks might seek, and eventually find solace in solidarity with left-oriented populism a la Bernie Sanders flavor of socialism, TPTB nurture a perennial alternative, the empty, but effective promise to make things 'right' by force of will, and of course, violence if necessary.

If the "rising tide" of relatively informed and activist candidates did not exist, and were not influencing the electorate, there would be fear on the part of TPTB, and so no reason to encourage the "New Right" .

I might add, that IMHO, you are swimming in that "rising tide" by your participation here at NC.

Carolinian , July 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Guess I'm old enough to remember an actual popular tide. But as we found the tide comes in and then it goes out. IMO in order to have another New Deal we are probably going to need another Great Depression. The internet including this website have become a great resource for learning what is going on. But if the plutocrats begin to bothered by it they will institute censorship (it's already happening). What they really fear is losing their money and therefore their power. Another economic crisis might do the job.

Pym of Nantucket , July 17, 2019 at 10:31 am

Whenever one attributes anything to Trump, I believe it is important to imagine him not as the mastermind, but as the catalyst. There are countless pent up forces that are using him as the figurehead or scapegoat around which a torrent of change coming which was previously held back. I feel that the damage done by his presidency was coming anyway, with him now as Court Jester leading the parade. He is the perfect hybrid of Big Brother and Emmanuel Goldstein.

A.F , July 17, 2019 at 8:18 am

Nonsense.
Neoliberalism is anti-national and anti-conservative.

Petter , July 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

Epistemology of Neoliberalism – from Phillip Mirowski video – Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBB4POvcH18&t=653s

1. People are sloppy undependable cognitive agents.
2. Not to worry – "The Market" is the greatest information processor in human history.
3. The problem is to get people to accept and subjugate themselves to the Market. This is called "Freedom".
4. The politics of 1-3 can get a little tricky. Best not be too literal about it.

Susan the other` , July 17, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Liberty and liberal are both words that are fraught with contradiction and confusion. Whose Liberty? Liberal for whom? That never gets parsed out because in the parsing both words lose their meaning. They are just bricks and bats and hand grenades. Hayek reads like a thoughtful, reasonable person. But what he believes to be effective economics always fails. We are all current witnesses. Austrians are conservative in defense of their liberty. They seek liberal policies and governments so they can have more individual economic freedom. And free trade. Socialism sees it differently; socialists are, by contrast, conservative. They believe in conserving social justice. Now we have a first hand understanding of the failures of neoliberalism. People at the local level, and the rural, want to be included in the liberal prosperity so they vote for more economic freedom (leave the EU); the elite and the rich want something entirely different; they want an even less restricted government so they can sail off and be neocolonialists. So just like the confusion over the word "liberal" nobody asks, Brexit for whom? It makes me weary.

tegnost , July 17, 2019 at 11:06 am

I'd say the neolibs are more afraid of sanders than they are of trump, so conservative (why can't those better republicans be like us) and also that they understand labor arbitrage requires borders and so are pro national.

Thuto , July 17, 2019 at 9:18 am

Interesting perspective this about neoliberalism and the new right drawing from the same ideological source. I would also add that Ukraine is a cautionary tale to all would-be right wing "leaders" that you can whip citizens into a frenzy (with help from Victoria Nuland, John McCain and a not insignificant coup warchest of $5bn) and ride the stirred up resentment of the establishment to the presidency but unless you deliver real, socially beneficial changes the next election you'll have your as# handed to you by a comedian, just ask Poroshenko.

Outside of the US where right wing politicians like Trump can take the credit for levers like easy credit bidding up asset prices and the gig economy putting lipstick on the unemployment pig to keep the deception going (the deception being that stock markets are at all time highs, employment numbers are up etc even as wealth and income inequality are at robber baron levels), right wing populism is hardly a viable political strategy. Once all the immigrants have been demonized and chased out and people notice that their lives are still stuck in an economic rut, the right wingers run out of targets to aim their vitriol at, their rhetoric falls flat and public trust in their divisive tactics erodes.

David , July 17, 2019 at 9:41 am

He gets several things confused, apparently as a result of an attempt to argue that immigration, multiculturalism and so forth are unproblematic, and only "islamophobes" would suggest otherwise. It's very much a view from inside the Panglossian bubble. There are at least three strands here.
Celebrations of western culture in comparison with Islam (a minority position but one which is still found) go back a long time, mainly on the Right Christian heritage, democracy etc) but also to some extent on the Left, where some writers fear that secularism and class-based politics are themselves in danger.
Opposition to explicitly multicultural policies by government (not the same as living in a society with different cultures) is largely a reaction to policies promoted by governments of the ostensible Left, although supported for entirely cynical reasons by neoliberals as a way of fragmenting resistance. This opposition comes from all parts of the political system.
Opposition to neoliberal policies, most obviously the encouragement of immigration by unskilled workers from poor countries, is based primarily on the lived experience of the poor and disadvantaged who are the main victims of immigration. (A non-negligible element of the opposition comes from past immigrants who have settled and made lives for themselves.)
There's a very elitist argument here that people are incapable of understanding their actual situations and require some right-wing pundit to explain things to them.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , July 17, 2019 at 10:56 am

Also the article elides the fact that neoliberalism has within its DNA a subspecies of Fabian Socialism that seems to assuage what little conciousness market fundamentalists have about rolling back a century of bitterly won advances by the working classes (of all erthnicities & gender identies, fixations and usages) within the insustrialized regions by diluting them with waves of foreign people made desperate by contrived colonial wars and climate disasters.
Does anyone believe that an Indonesian Muslim background person in Netherlands who's made a good living suddenly wants her children to have to compete with waves of Africans for starter jobs?
Also- we've just come off of 30 plus years of identitarian pride for all non-white people. Which is just garbage that's come out of english departments in the elite universities. White people have been told for about a decade now by everyone in academia and entertainment that they're all racist trash who need to intermarry with darker people as quickly as possible to expiate the sins of north american chattel slavery and ..muh holocaust. Somehow all the depradations, human sacrifices, genocides and repressions of and by about every group throughout all time are just 'whatabouttism' now. When you start scapegoating any group they will get their back up eventually. There's nothing conservative about it. But Disaster Capitalists are more than happy to insert themselves into the scene, supporting such causes the same way they supported #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter when it was a convenience. Never let a good disaster go to waste, right?

Clive , July 17, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Yes, and nary a mention of long-standing socialist (oft referred to in the U.K. as Bennite in "honour" of the school of thought popularised by Tony Benn, but he merely expressed much older international labour movement (note the small "l" there not a big "L") notion of global worker solidarity) opposition to the EU.

You can say many things about socialism, Bennism and their kissing cousin Communism. But "neoliberal" or "neoliberal antecedences" isn't one of them.

A nice try at constricting -- and thereby, one has to assume, attempting to constrain and frame -- Brexit as being only a right wing or conservative reactionary ideal and thereby inherently neoliberal. But that might, only might, have worked a few years ago. Too much water has passed under the bridge and too much ideological complexity has emerged around it now for that to wash.

divadab , July 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm

@David – yes! Resistance to excessive immigration is non-ideological but based on very human tribalism. Too many strangers in a society results in a loss of fellow-feeling and more division. This is, IMHO, the root of much of the rot in Western societies – the destruction of trust, aided and abetted by a ruling class that uses deception habitually to manage the masses and divide them from themselves. Can't let the cattle figure out how we're exploiting them!

John Wright , July 17, 2019 at 1:17 pm

If one views the indigenous workforce of a nation as a loosely constructed "labor union", one only has to look at the disdain that labor unions have for strike breaking "scabs" to see why there is resistance to excessive immigration.

At the top of the workforce pyramid, the well-paid upper crust views their costs for domestic help and workplace staffing dropping with increased immigration..

I suspect left leaning US politicians do not allow that many voting, low wage, workers (aka HRC deplorables) view themselves competing with immigrants for jobs, with some numerical justification, as immigrants and their US born children constitute about 28% of US population.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

"Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 89.4 million people, or 28 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the 2018 Current Population Survey (CPS). Pew Research Center projects that the immigrant-origin share will rise to about 36 percent by 2065."

Trump has tapped into this, but is doing it in a Potemkin village style, as I tell people that Trump likes low wage workers for his properties and construction projects. His border wall is designed for show, not effectiveness, otherwise he would enforce employer sanctions against employing non US citizens.

Off The Street , July 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

Neo-liberalism seems to me to have as a logical consequence the fostering of a Covenant-Lite approach to culture as well as markets.

The markets show that some of those Covenant-Lite Collateralized Loan Obligations are blowing up now , distressingly reminiscent of the CDOs that wrought havoc on the world financial markets last decade during the Crash.

Culture gets its turn, as it always does, this time through an anything-goes approach without any moral or ethical underpinnings, of whatever nature. It should be no surprise to anyone that there are bad actors to manipulate situations, institutions and people.

Off The Street , July 17, 2019 at 12:05 pm

See also Wolf Richter on the matter.

Hayek's Heelbiter , July 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

Glad to see my nemesis being exposed for what he truly is! :)

Amfortas the hippie , July 17, 2019 at 10:52 am

I think this is neglecting an important strand ..Neoliberalism obviously contains within itself the resistance of the Hoi Polloi even Hayek and Mises were aware of this as far back as the 40's.
People would chafe at the all against all hyperindividualist yer-on-yer-own orthodoxy and seek ways to challenge the Neoliberal Order.
The Right Wing Version of such Populist insurgency is simply one that the Neoliberal Thought Collective can more easily swallow and use towards it's own ends.
Unlike the Sanders/Veroufkas(sp-2). Melanchon(sp-2) Actual Left version of Populism, which is the antithesis of Neoliberalism.
Look to the history of things like the CIA, and the Elite neofeudalist worldview it has worked for from it's very beginnings .anything that smells of the Left must be rooted out and crushed, lest it present an alternative while Right Wing Authoritarians are supported as "Freedom Fighters" and "Liberationists" .just ignore all the corpses(or blame them on the Powerless Left)
Neoliberalism is merely the latest(and slipperiest!) version of a Capitalist World Order that itself is merely the latest iteration of the Ancient Regime.
The Elite, as a class, have been trying to undo the Enlightenment(often by coopting many of it's features) since time immemorial.
The Populist Right is a useful(if dangerous) tool in furtherance of that end, while Lefty Populism is anathema, that would undo the very foundations of their preferred Order.

[Jun 24, 2019] Ottawa promised to bring 10 members of Syria's White Helmets to Canada. One year later, they languish in a Jordanian camp

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Smith , Jun 24, 2019 6:29:45 AM | 222

Ottawa promised to bring 10 members of Syria's White Helmets to Canada. One year later, they languish in a Jordanian camp

Last summer, Canada helped members of the famed rescue group escape from Syria and was supposed to welcome them to this country last fall. So why are they still in the Middle East and kept in near isolation?
----------------------

This shit is necessary for their Western masters only to do their dirty work in Syria and a beautiful staging picture for the media.

[Jun 19, 2019] Bias bias the inclination to accuse people of bias by James Thompson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message. ..."
"... The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; ..."
"... So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life? ..."
"... Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs ..."
"... Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well. ..."
"... Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia. ..."
"... Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory. ..."
"... Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it: Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics". ..."
"... As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?) ..."
"... The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message.

Another approach is to show visual illusions, such as getting estimates of line lengths in the Muller-Lyer illusion, or studying simple line lengths under social pressure, as in the Asch experiment, or trying to solve the Peter Wason logic problems, or the puzzles set by Kahneman and Tversky. All these appear to show severe limitations of human judgment. Psychology is full of cautionary tales about the foibles of common folk.

As a consequence of this softening up, psychology students come to regard themselves and most people as fallible, malleable, unreliable, biased and generally irrational. No wonder psychologists feel superior to the average citizen, since they understand human limitations and, with their superior training, hope to rise above such lowly superstitions.

However, society still functions, people overcome errors and many things work well most of the time. Have psychologists, for one reason or another, misunderstood people, and been too quick to assume that they are incapable of rational thought?

Gerd Gigerenzer thinks so.

https://www.nowpublishers.com/article/OpenAccessDownload/RBE-0092

He is particularly interested in the economic consequences of apparent irrationality, and whether our presumed biases really result in us making bad economic decisions. If so, some argue we need a benign force, say a government, to protect us from our lack of capacity. Perhaps we need a tattoo on our forehead: Diminished Responsibility.

The argument leading from cognitive biases to governmental paternalism -- in short, the irrationality argument -- consists of three assumptions and one conclusion:

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; instead governments need to step in with a policy called libertarian paternalism (Thaler and Sunstein, 2003).

So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life?

In Shepard's (1990) words, "to fool a visual system that has a full binocular and freely mobile view of a well-illuminated scene is next to impossible" (p. 122). Thus, in psychology, the visual system is seen more as a genius than a fool in making intelligent inferences, and inferences, after all, are necessary for making sense of the images on the retina.

Most crucially, can people make probability judgements? Let us see. Try solving this one:

A disease has a base rate of .1, and a test is performed that has a hit rate of .9 (the conditional probability of a positive test given disease) and a false positive rate of .1 (the conditional probability of a positive test given no disease). What is the probability that a random person with a positive test result actually has the disease?

Most people fail this test, including 79% of gynaecologists giving breast screening tests. Some researchers have drawn the conclusion that people are fundamentally unable to deal with conditional probabilities. On the contrary, there is a way of laying out the problem such that most people have no difficulty with it. Watch what it looks like when presented as natural frequencies:

Among every 100 people, 10 are expected to have a disease. Among those 10, nine are expected to correctly test positive. Among the 90 people without the disease, nine are expected to falsely test positive. What proportion of those who test positive actually have the disease?

In this format the positive test result gives us 9 people with the disease and 9 people without the disease, so the chance that a positive test result shows a real disease is 50/50. Only 13% of gynaecologists fail this presentation.

Summing up the virtues of natural frequencies, Gigerenzer says:

When college students were given a 2-hour course in natural frequencies, the number of correct Bayesian inferences increased from 10% to 90%; most important, this 90% rate was maintained 3 months after training (Sedlmeier and Gigerenzer, 2001). Meta-analyses have also documented the "de-biasing" effect, and natural frequencies are now a technical term in evidence-based medicine (Akiet al., 2011; McDowell and Jacobs, 2017). These results are consistent with a long literature on techniques for successfully teaching statistical reasoning (e.g., Fonget al., 1986). In sum, humans can learn Bayesian inference quickly if the information is presented in natural frequencies.

If the problem is set out in a simple format, almost all of us can all do conditional probabilities.

I taught my medical students about the base rate screening problem in the late 1970s, based on: Robyn Dawes (1962) "A note on base rates and psychometric efficiency". Decades later, alarmed by the positive scan detection of an unexplained mass, I confided my fears to a psychiatrist friend. He did a quick differential diagnosis on bowel cancer, showing I had no relevant symptoms, and reminded me I had lectured him as a student on base rates decades before, so I ought to relax. Indeed, it was false positive.

Here are the relevant figures, set out in terms of natural frequencies

Every test has a false positive rate (every step is being taken to reduce these), and when screening is used for entire populations many patients have to undergo further investigations, sometimes including surgery.

Setting out frequencies in a logical sequence can often prevent misunderstandings. Say a man on trial for having murdered his spouse has previously physically abused her. Should his previous history of abuse not be raised in Court because only 1 woman in 2500 cases of abuse is murdered by her abuser? Of course, whatever a defence lawyer may argue and a Court may accept, this is back to front. OJ Simpson was not on trial for spousal abuse, but for the murder of his former partner. The relevant question is: what is the probability that a man murdered his partner, given that she has been murdered and that he previously battered her.

Accepting the figures used by the defence lawyer, if 1 in 2500 women are murdered every year by their abusive male partners, how many women are murdered by men who did not previously abuse them? Using government figures that 5 women in 100,000 are murdered every year then putting everything onto the same 100,000 population, the frequencies look like this:

So, 40 to 5, it is 8 times more probable that abused women are murdered by their abuser. A relevant issue to raise in Court about the past history of an accused man.

Are people's presumed biases costly, in the sense of making them vulnerable to exploitation, such that they can be turned into a money pump, or is it a case of "once bitten, twice shy"? In fact, there is no evidence that these apparently persistent logical errors actually result in people continually making costly errors. That presumption turns out to be a bias bias.

Gigerenzer goes on to show that people are in fact correct in their understanding of the randomness of short sequences of coin tosses, and Kahneman and Tversky wrong. Elegantly, he also shows that the "hot hand" of successful players in basketball is a real phenomenon, and not a stubborn illusion as claimed.

With equal elegance he disposes of a result I had depended upon since Slovic (1982), which is that people over-estimate the frequency of rare risks and under-estimate the frequency of common risks. This finding has led to the belief that people are no good at estimating risk. Who could doubt that a TV series about Chernobyl will lead citizens to have an exaggerated fear of nuclear power stations?

The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students, not exactly a fair sample of humanity. The conceit of psychologists knows no bounds. Gigerenzer looks at the data and shows that it is yet another example of regression to the mean. This is an apparent effect which arises whenever the predictor is less than perfect (the most common case), an unsystematic error effect, which is already evident when you calculate the correlation coefficient. Parental height and their children's heights are positively but not perfectly correlated at about r = 0.5. Predictions made in either direction will under-predict in either direction, simply because they are not perfect, and do not capture all the variation. Try drawing out the correlation as an ellipse to see the effect of regression, compared to the perfect case of the straight line of r= 1.0

What diminishes in the presence of noise is the variability of the estimates, both the estimates of the height of the sons based on that of their fathers, and vice versa. Regression toward the mean is a result of unsystematic, not systematic error (Stigler,1999).

Gigerenzer also looks at the supposed finding that people are over-confidence in predictions, and finds that it is another regression to the mean problem.

Gigerenzer then goes on to consider that old favourite, that most people think they are better than average, which supposedly cannot be the case, because average people are average.

Consider the finding that most drivers think they drive better than average. If better driving is interpreted as meaning fewer accidents, then most drivers' beliefs are actually true. The number of accidents per person has a skewed distribution, and an analysis of U.S. accident statistics showed that some 80% of drivers have fewer accidents than the average number of accidents (Mousavi and Gigerenzer, 2011)

Then he looks at the classical demonstration of framing, that is to say, the way people appear to be easily swayed by how the same facts are "framed" or presented to the person who has to make a decision.

A patient suffering from a serious heart disease considers high-risk surgery and asks a doctor about its prospects.

The doctor can frame the answer in two ways:

Positive Frame: Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive.
Negative Frame: Five years after surgery, 10% of patients are dead.

Should the patient listen to how the doctor frames the answer? Behavioral economists say no because both frames are logically equivalent (Kahneman, 2011). Nevertheless, people do listen. More are willing to agree to a medical procedure if the doctor uses positive framing (90% alive) than if negative framing is used (10% dead) (Moxeyet al., 2003). Framing effects challenge the assumption of stable preferences, leading to preference reversals. Thaler and Sunstein (2008) who presented the above surgery problem, concluded that "framing works because people tend to be somewhat mindless, passive decisionmakers" (p. 40)

Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. If you know that you have a datum which is more influential. These are the sorts of questions patients will often ask about, and discuss with other patients, or with several doctors. Furthermore, you don't have to spin a statistic. You could simply say: "Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive and 10% are dead".

Gigerenzer gives an explanation which is very relevant to current discussions about the meaning of intelligence, and about the power of intelligence tests:

In sum, the principle of logical equivalence or "description invariance" is a poor guide to understanding how human intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)

The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias.

One important conclusion I draw from this entire paper is that the logical puzzles enjoyed by Kahneman, Tversky, Stanovich and others are rightly rejected by psychometricians as usually being poor indicators of real ability. They fail because they are designed to lead people up the garden path, and depend on idiosyncratic interpretations.

For more detail: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-tricky-question-of-rationality/

Critics of examinations of either intellectual ability or scholastic attainment are fond of claiming that the items are "arbitrary". Not really. Scholastic tests have to be close to the curriculum in question, but still need to a have question forms which are simple to understand so that the stress lies in how students formulate the answer, not in how they decipher the structure of the question.

Intellectual tests have to avoid particular curricula and restrict themselves to the common ground of what most people in a community understand. Questions have to be super-simple, so that the correct answer follows easily from the question, with minimal ambiguity. Furthermore, in the case of national scholastic tests, and particularly in the case of intelligence tests, legal authorities will pore over the test, looking at each item for suspected biases of a sexual, racial or socio-economic nature. Designing an intelligence test is a difficult and expensive matter. Many putative new tests of intelligence never even get to the legal hurdle, because they flounder on matters of reliability and validity, and reveal themselves to be little better than the current range of assessments.

In conclusion, both in psychology and behavioural economics, some researchers have probably been too keen to allege bias in cases where there are unsystematic errors, or no errors at all. The corrective is to learn about base rates, and to use natural frequencies as a guide to good decision-making.

Don't bother boosting your IQ. Boost your understanding of natural frequencies.


res , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT

Good concrete advice. Perhaps even more useful for those who need to explain things like this to others than for those seeking to understand for themselves.
ThreeCranes , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm GMT
"intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)"

"The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias."

Why I come to Unz.

Tom Welsh , says: June 18, 2019 at 8:36 am GMT
@Cortes Sounds fishy to me.

Actually I think this is an example of an increasingly common genre of malapropism, where the writer gropes for the right word, finds one that is similar, and settles for that. The worst of it is that readers intuitively understand what was intended, and then adopt the marginally incorrect usage themselves. That's perhaps how the world and his dog came to say "literally" when they mean "figuratively". Maybe a topic for a future article?

Biff , says: June 18, 2019 at 10:16 am GMT
In 2009 Google finished engineering a reverse search engine to find out what kind of searches people did most often. Seth Davidowitz and Steven Pinker wrote a very fascinating/entertaining book using the tool called Everybody Lies

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28512671-everybody-lies

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender, and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives, and who's more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential – revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our health – both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data every day, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

dearieme , says: June 18, 2019 at 11:25 am GMT
I shall treat this posting (for which many thanks, doc) as an invitation to sing a much-loved song: everybody should read Gigerenzer's Reckoning with Risk. With great clarity it teaches what everyone ought to know about probability.

(It could also serve as a model for writing in English about technical subjects. Americans and Britons should study the English of this German – he knows how, you know.)

Inspired by "The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students" I shall also sing another favorite song. Much of Psychology is based on what small numbers of American undergraduates report they think they think.

Anon [410] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
" Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. "

This one reminds of the false dichotomy. The patient has additional options! Like changing diet, and behaviours such as exercise, elimination of occupational stress , etc.

The statistical outcomes for a person change when the person changes their circumstances/conditions.

Cortes , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh A disposition (conveyance) of an awkwardly shaped chunk out of a vast estate contained reference to "the slither of ground bounded on or towards the north east and extending two hundred and twenty four meters or thereby along a chain link fence " Not poor clients (either side) nor cheap lawyers. And who never erred?

Better than deliberately inserting "errors" to guarantee a stream of tidy up work (not unknown in the "professional" world) in future.

Tom Fix , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
Good article. 79% of gynaecologists fail a simple conditional probability test?! Many if not most medical research papers use advanced statistics. Medical doctors must read these papers to fully understand their field. So, if medical doctors don't fully understand them, they are not properly doing their job. Those papers use mathematical expressions, not English. Converting them to another form of English, instead of using the mathematical expressions isn't a solution.
SafeNow , says: June 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
Regarding witnesses: When that jet crashed into Rockaway several years ago, a high percentage of witnesses said that they saw smoke before the crash. But there was actually no smoke. The witnesses were adjusting what they saw to conform to their past experience of seeing movie and newsreel footage of planes smoking in the air before a crash. Children actually make very good witnesses.

Regarding the chart. Missing, up there in the vicinity of cancer and heart disease. The third-leading cause of death. 250,000 per year, according to a 2016 Hopkins study. Medical negligence.

Anon [724] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs.

So, behind the smoke of all words and rationalisations, the law is unchanged: everyone strives to gain and exert as much power as possible over as many others as possible. Most do that without writing papers to say it is right, others write papers, others books. Anyway, the fundamental law would stay as it is even if all this writing labour was spared, wouldn't it? But then another fundamental law, the law of framing all one's drives as moral and beneffective comes into play the papers and the books are useful, after all.

Curmudgeon , says: June 19, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
An interesting article. However, I think that the only thing we have to know about how illogical psychiatry is this:

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) asked all members attending its convention to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder. 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.

The APA then compromised, removing homosexuality from the DSM but replacing it, in effect, with "sexual orientation disturbance" for people "in conflict with" their sexual orientation. Not until 1987 did homosexuality completely fall out of the DSM.

(source https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/hide-and-seek/201509/when-homosexuality-stopped-being-mental-disorder )

The article makes no mention of the fact that no "new science" was brought to support the resolution.

It appears that the psychiatrists were voting based on feelings rather than science. Since that time, the now 50+ genders have been accepted as "normal" by the APA. My family has had members in multiple generations suffering from mental illness. None were "cured". I know others with the same circumstances.

How does one conclude that being repulsed by the prime directive of every living organism – reproduce yourself – is "normal"? That is not to say these people are horrible or evil, just not normal. How can someone, who thinks (s)he is a cat be mentally ill, but a grown man thinking he is a female child is not?

Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well.

Paul2 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:08 am GMT
Thank you for this article. I find the information about the interpretation of statistical data very interesting. My take on the background of the article is this:

Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia.

Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory.

Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it:
Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics".

As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?)

We live in a strange world in which such people have control over university faculties, journals, famous prizes. But at least we have some scientists who defend their area of knowledge against the spreading nonsense produced by economists.

The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title.

Dieter Kief , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Could it be that you expect psychiatrists in the past to be as rational as you are now?

Would the result have been any different, if members of a 1973 convention of physicists or surgeons would have been asked?

[Jun 16, 2019] Cult of the Irrelevant -- National Security Eggheads Academics

Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."

As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:

It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "

Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."

The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.

To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

♦♦♦

As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.

In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?

Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.

In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.

Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.


Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm

[Karl Rove] said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [ ] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.

Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and then

"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."

but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.

Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --

Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.

trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.

enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.

polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Excellent article.

Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.

Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.

So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?

JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.
Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.

Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.

These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.

Where is the level playing field?

Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national security
Christian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 am
It's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.

The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.

BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

*Silently screams in frustration*

And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.

Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.

Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..

[Jun 01, 2019] Grenfell, Windrush Skripal -- Theresa May's Tainted Legacy by Johanna Ross

Notable quotes:
"... However, Williamson was not alone in his anti-Russian stance. It was under May's leadership that the controversial government-funded Integrity Initiative program really began to flourish. Designed to "counteract Russian propaganda" it instead deceptively engaged in spreading disinformation about Russia and even the UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by hiring journalists, academics and commentators who would all sing from the same hymn sheet when it came to discourse about Russia in the press. ..."
"... What was most chilling about the revelations in the Integrity Initiative hacked documents was the extent to which policy makers within the inner workings of the establishment are apparently obsessed about an imminent "Russian threat" and are prepared to go to considerable lengths to persuade the British population of this. ..."
"... Even more unnerving was the discussion that there was need for some event to be staged in order to heighten the U.K. population's awareness of a Russian threat. The timing was uncanny: this was not long before the poisoning took place of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which has, along with multiple discrepancies in the British narrative, led some analysts to ask whether the whole incident was indeed orchestrated by British secret services. ..."
"... Staged or not, May's handling of the Skripal incident left much to be desired. Even her experience of handling the Litvinenko affair as home secretary hadn't taught her a great deal. Before any concrete evidence was produced to implicate the Russian government in the poisoning, May was already issuing ultimatums to the Russian president. Her infamous phrase that the government concluded it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the poisoning even entered itself into the Russian vocabulary and became something of a household joke in Russia. ..."
"... So what can we expect from the next prime minister of the not-so-Great Britain? Whoever it is has their work cut out not only to unite the Conservative party, but the country. In terms of improving relations with Russia -- as long as the Tories remain in power, and the "deep state" or civil service continues to push its aggressive anti-Russian agenda -- , we are unlikely to see any significant change in policy. ..."
"... The UK under May has continued to serve as a “coalition partner” in the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis engineered and perpetuated dirty war against the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies. Let’s not forget Theresa May’s well practiced phrase, “like the United States, we believe”: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39591476 . May has consistently believed US claims about the April 2017 Khan Shaykhoun incident, the April 2018 Douma incident, and other alleged chemical “attacks” in Syria. ..."
"... The UK under May also has remained the base for two leading disinformation operations supporting the the assault against Syrian government: Rami Abdulrahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat. ..."
"... As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the Al Qaeda allied White Helmets propaganda organization. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013. ..."
"... The British government remains a primary funder of the White Helmets propaganda organization. Posing as an impartial rescue force, the White Helmets work exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide ..."
"... In November 2016, video showed two White Helmets members staging a rescue operation for the Mannequin Challenge meme. In May 2017, video showed White Helmets members removing a man’s body following his execution by armed militants in Daraa. In June 2017, a member of the White Helmets was suspended indefinitely for assisting armed militants in the burial of mutilated corpses of Syrian government soldiers. ..."
"... Apropos, the last two paras about the Civil Service in Britain; Up until the last 2 decades or so, some of the brightest and best talents entered the Civil Service, good pay, good career prospects and good pension. Then this was hollowed out, everything ‘public sector’ was vilified and privatized and starved of funding. ..."
"... The race to the bottom is keenly contested. ..."
"... Without Russian money they are certainly not the world’s 6th largest economy and it appears that unless they want to side with China against the USA which is improbable, no impossible, they will lose Chinese Capital as well after Brexit. ..."
"... And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. ..."
"... The US has it’s own deep state problem of civil servants, especially alphabet soup agencies who are accustomed to operating in the dark and think that they, not the political appointees make policy ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | consortiumnews.com


InfoRos

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's political career officially ended in tears last Friday, as the woman who declared that she would provide "strong and stable" leadership when she came to power three years ago, but who proved in the end to be not quite so strong or stable as she broke down in front of the press outside 10 Downing Street.

She had in fact, arguably one of the most disastrous records of a UK prime minister to date. A total of 50 cabinet resignations since she took office , far more than any of her recent predecessors; together with scandals such as the Grenfell Tower disaster , Windrush scandal , hostile environment policy and record levels of homelessness and poverty. And that's not to mention her inability to deliver Brexit, which effectively led to her demise.

Indeed however tempting it may be to feel sorry for May -- she has been surrounded by political vultures all vying for her position for months now -- one is minded of the words of British political commentator Owen Jones who, when asked recently if he felt sorry for the prime minister, noted that May's tears were simply those of self-pity and were absent at times when they would have been appropriate, such as in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed 72 lives.

'Permanent Crisis'

One may be inclined to think that if she was so unsuccessful on the domestic front, then perhaps in the area of foreign policy May could have had a better record. No such luck. We only have to look at the considerable deterioration in relations with Russia to understand that under her leadership, Britain's standing in the world has diminished. Prominent British journalist Patrick Cockburn has even gone as far to say that Britain is now "entering a period of permanent crisis not seen since the 17th century."

But arguably back in the 17th century the U.K. was more competent in the art of diplomacy than it is now. May's defense minister, Gavin Williamson, with his comment that Russia should "go away and shut up" epitomized the extraordinary lack of finesse and savoir-faire the May government had when dealing with Russia.

His bellicose tone unfortunately went hand-in-hand with a completely misplaced notion of Russia presenting to the UK some kind of genuine threat, as he argued earlier this year that the UK had to "enhance its lethality" against such well-resourced states, as opposed to concentrating its energies on Islamic terror groups. He was then accused by fellow politicians of "sabre-rattling" in what were widely seen as misguided and provocative statements.

However, Williamson was not alone in his anti-Russian stance. It was under May's leadership that the controversial government-funded Integrity Initiative program really began to flourish. Designed to "counteract Russian propaganda" it instead deceptively engaged in spreading disinformation about Russia and even the UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by hiring journalists, academics and commentators who would all sing from the same hymn sheet when it came to discourse about Russia in the press.

What was most chilling about the revelations in the Integrity Initiative hacked documents was the extent to which policy makers within the inner workings of the establishment are apparently obsessed about an imminent "Russian threat" and are prepared to go to considerable lengths to persuade the British population of this.

May with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hangzhou, China, 2016. (Wikimedia Commons)

Uncanny Timing

Even more unnerving was the discussion that there was need for some event to be staged in order to heighten the U.K. population's awareness of a Russian threat. The timing was uncanny: this was not long before the poisoning took place of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which has, along with multiple discrepancies in the British narrative, led some analysts to ask whether the whole incident was indeed orchestrated by British secret services.

Staged or not, May's handling of the Skripal incident left much to be desired. Even her experience of handling the Litvinenko affair as home secretary hadn't taught her a great deal. Before any concrete evidence was produced to implicate the Russian government in the poisoning, May was already issuing ultimatums to the Russian president. Her infamous phrase that the government concluded it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the poisoning even entered itself into the Russian vocabulary and became something of a household joke in Russia.

The decision to publicly accuse another state of attempting murder on British soil with evidence that only amounted to "a nerve agent of a type produced by Russia," was utterly reckless, not only deeply harming relations with Russia, but undermining the credibility of the U.K. as a whole. And despite it being an attempt to bolster the PM's position at a time when desperately needed to generate support for her upcoming Brexit white paper – this itself, given a delayed Brexit and divided country, proved fruitless.

So what can we expect from the next prime minister of the not-so-Great Britain? Whoever it is has their work cut out not only to unite the Conservative party, but the country. In terms of improving relations with Russia -- as long as the Tories remain in power, and the "deep state" or civil service continues to push its aggressive anti-Russian agenda -- , we are unlikely to see any significant change in policy.

One could hope that a certain Boris Johnson, himself named after a Russian émigré, and the leading candidate to replace May, could seek to build bridges in this regard, but his record on the Skripal case leaves room for doubt. The PM is after all a figurehead, and the UK civil service remains a driving force of policy-making.

As former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair once said: "You cannot underestimate how much they [the civil service] believe it's their job to actually run the country and to resist the changes put forward by people they dismiss as 'here today, gone tomorrow' politicians. They genuinely see themselves as the true guardians of the national interest, and think that their job is simply to wear you down and wait you out." Says it all really .

This article originally appeared on InfoRos .

Johanna Ross is a freelance journalist based in the United Kingdom.

Tags: Brexit Johanna Ross Russia Russia-gate Sergei Skripal Theresa May Tony Blair


one , May 31, 2019 at 15:41

As one reads this article it is primarily remarkably how closely it resembles America’s past, present and future. Of course, England has long been known as Washington’s lap dog. Unsurprisingly, what we seem to be best at is sales and PR. The UK is far from the only “ally” we have that has followed us off the cliff.

And as the various publics look down and see the snake pit into which our style of “democracy” and Winners Take All capitalism actually means they want out. Unfortunately, the winners and our leaders have taken all already, including not only the money, but the power. The shameful scams of NATO and politicizing the EU turned out to be new ways to suck the lifeblood out of the earths “Others,” both in our countries and in the “Others” in Africa, Asia, and everything above and below our borders.

So how do we get out of this? We don’t. Every empire from Cyrus To Babylon, Alexander’s to The Pharaohs’ and Heraclius, the Spanish, Portuguese, and British have collapsed in the dust and led to long periods of darkness, inhabited by The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse.

If you look around us, still mostly living in luxury unknown to the ancient non-winners, all of the signs are there. In the multiple-party system in most of “free” Europe or our Two-party system there’s but decline. Boris won’t save England and none of the truly potentially electable quacks in our Democrats list are going to get us out of this. Clinton didn’t, Obama didn’t and what’s up won’t. No one but Tulsi Gabbard even talks about or has a foreign policy beyond being for peace and plenty for all. Sure. Dumb.

I hate to sound gloomy-doomy, because I’m not. I’m a writer and a writer is an observer. Watching all of this, including my own 2008 economic demise, is fascinating. Gabbard isn’t going to be elected. We’ll get our own Mrs. May maybe, or more Trump, Bolt-on or the fat guy who will initiate some wars that we’ll win like we did with Vietnam and Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. ad nauseum. I’m not saying be dumb; I’m saying be realistic, analytical, interested, and vocal, but come the collapse, be physically and psychologically prepared (everything that Hillary wasn’t, for example.)

Abe , May 31, 2019 at 12:51

The UK under May has continued to serve as a “coalition partner” in the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis engineered and perpetuated dirty war against the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies. Let’s not forget Theresa May’s well practiced phrase, “like the United States, we believe”: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39591476 . May has consistently believed US claims about the April 2017 Khan Shaykhoun incident, the April 2018 Douma incident, and other alleged chemical “attacks” in Syria.

The UK under May also has remained the base for two leading disinformation operations supporting the the assault against Syrian government: Rami Abdulrahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat.

As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the Al Qaeda allied White Helmets propaganda organization. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013.

The British government remains a primary funder of the White Helmets propaganda organization. Posing as an impartial rescue force, the White Helmets work exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide.

As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the White Helmets. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013.

In November 2016, video showed two White Helmets members staging a rescue operation for the Mannequin Challenge meme. In May 2017, video showed White Helmets members removing a man’s body following his execution by armed militants in Daraa. In June 2017, a member of the White Helmets was suspended indefinitely for assisting armed militants in the burial of mutilated corpses of Syrian government soldiers.

On the night of 21 July 2018, Israel allowed 422 people – 98 White Helmet volunteers and their family members – to cross the Israeli annexed Syrian Golan Heights and into Jordan. A Syrian government official condemned the evacuation of White Helmets as a “criminal operation” that had revealed “the terrorist nature” of the group. In September 2018, the UK granted asylum to about 100 White Helmet staff and relatives that had been evacuated to Jordan.

AnneR , May 31, 2019 at 09:22

Good Riddance to very Bad Rubbish (mind you that also applies to the whole of the Tory lot plus the Blairites).

Yes May’s government has much to make amends for – and not just for and to the survivors of Grenfell Towers, the Windrush Generation families, but also to: the Yemenis, the Chagossians, the Syrians. It would have behooved her to have a smaller wardrobe and a larger, effective compassion for those the (imperialist) British have done over numerous times up to and including today. Even small gestures of real compassion, of real recognition of the ugliness of Britian’s imperial past wrongdoings by way of simple apology are apparently beyond her and her government (including the Civil Service).

As for Britain’s “standing” – it is about bloody time that this small island off the western Eurasian coast put up and shut up and retired. Why on earth should it have any *standing*? What *good* has it ever done? (And I ask this as someone born there, whose father was in the army helping to maintain the Raj – much to my much later disgust, though, disgracefully, not his.)

Bob of Bonsall , May 31, 2019 at 05:11

To be fair, and as much as it pains me to do so, I must point out that the Grenfell tragedy and Windrush fiasco were as much due to Labour decisions as they were to Tory incompetence.

John A , May 31, 2019 at 03:01

Apropos, the last two paras about the Civil Service in Britain; Up until the last 2 decades or so, some of the brightest and best talents entered the Civil Service, good pay, good career prospects and good pension. Then this was hollowed out, everything ‘public sector’ was vilified and privatized and starved of funding.

For these reasons, most of the ‘brightest and best’ now shun the Civil Service for a career in casino banking and similar avenues instead. The calibre of Civil Service advice has nose-dived accordingly.

As with everything else in Britain post Thatcher, everything is for sale, get rich quick, plod along with little or no pay increases and less and less job security, or starve homeless on the streets are the options available these days.

Zhu , May 31, 2019 at 04:51

Sounds like the USA!

Douglas Turnbull , May 30, 2019 at 22:20

The continuing barbaric capitalist nightmare and its sad psychopathic 1% and the destructive antics of its sycophants...

Tom Kath , May 30, 2019 at 20:13

“Something rotten” is not restricted to the state of Denmark, Britain, or USA. It is not even restricted to the “West”, so we must seek more fundamentally for the source of this world’s abject immoral disgustingness. The race to the bottom is keenly contested.

KiwiAntz , May 30, 2019 at 20:09

At last, for the long suffering Brits? The Maybot has finally danced her “Robotic Dance” off the World scene to the cheers & high fives of most of the British people, who have thoroughly had a gutsful of her duplicitous behaviour & disastrous mishandling of Brexit!

And the article lists her shameful record during the period she was Prime Minister, especially the Glenfell Tower tragedy & her pathetic response along with the criminal culpability of the disgusting Conservative Tory Party & its role in this travesty?

Their murderous Policies & austerity directly led to this disgrace? So its good riddance to a contemptible woman, a abject failure & a loser who was good for absolutely nothing except walking on stages & doing really bad dance moves!

LJ , May 30, 2019 at 18:39

She was all the Tories could come up with to keep Corbyn out of the office of Prime Minister. There should certainly have been a General Election after David Cameron crashed the ship of state with Brexit.

Boris Johnson would certainly complete that job so someone else will have to play dartboard until the next election. Despite what the Guardian and BBC and the rest say. And in spite of the Zionist attack on Corbyn he will be Prime Minister. Long Overdue. Britain is Great no more.

Without Russian money they are certainly not the world’s 6th largest economy and it appears that unless they want to side with China against the USA which is improbable, no impossible, they will lose Chinese Capital as well after Brexit.

Good. I hope Scotland votes for Independence. Wales should as well. Britain deserves to go to hell after their history as an Empire. London is 41% foreign born. Just who are they anyway? The British? We here in the USA, or rather younger people here in the USA should take a good look at what happens over the next 5 years there and put it your memory banks.

elmerfudzie , May 30, 2019 at 17:37

Tainted tenure indeed! No one asks the right questions anymore. For example, where did all that Brexit cash come from? As I commented previously at CONSORTIUMNEWS and it is redacted here; “The Panama Papers signaled a need for radical change(s) in the EU banking laws. Hiding money, legit or not from, fair and open taxation, has become increasingly difficult for the upper crust….”

The BREXIT cash originated, no surprise folks, from a Gibraltar based firm, where a Mr Arron Banks (big bucks Banks) a guy with money to burn, with corporate holdings in the Isle of Man and too, one of his buddies, an Alan Kentish of the STM group specializing in, oh you’ll love this, offshore wealth preservation! LOL

And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. Well, to make a long story short, Mr Kentish, the original pro-BREXITeer was arrested in Gibraltar under the UK’s Crime Act for such suspicious money funneling(s). My oh my Ms May, what strange political bedfellows you seem to have!

Jeff Harrison , May 30, 2019 at 17:37

Here today, gone to lunch as the late Douglas Adams put it. The US has it’s own deep state problem of civil servants, especially alphabet soup agencies who are accustomed to operating in the dark and think that they, not the political appointees make policy. Their thinking is bolstered by Congresses who stonewall and delay approving personnel for leadership positions in the civil service.

[May 31, 2019] One Man's Quest To Expose A Fake BBC Video About Syria

Notable quotes:
"... If you support Robert Stuart's efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video 'Saving Syria's Children' showed true or staged events. Was the alleged "napalm" attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline ..."
"... By the way, I recommend watching the 3 minute video at the crowd funding site: ..."
May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , May 30, 2019 1:31:34 PM | 3

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-29/one-mans-quest-expose-fake-bbc-video-about-syria


It's a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria "was largely, if not entirely, staged." The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

...


Robert Stuart is not quitting. He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart's resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart's efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video 'Saving Syria's Children' showed true or staged events. Was the alleged "napalm" attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

My main point of posting

They are looking for crowd funding to produce a documentary. I have not contributed thru crowd funding before.
1) is it safe and secure? input please
2) will my contribution be a matter of public record?
3) anything else you want to say, thx

By the way, I recommend watching the 3 minute video at the crowd funding site:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saving-syria-s-children-did-the-bbc-lie#/

[May 14, 2019] The Propaganda Multiplier How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics

Highly recommended!
Images omitted.
Important article that shed some light on the methods of disinformation in foreign events used by neoliberal MSM
Notable quotes:
"... However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves. ..."
"... Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters. ..."
"... Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media. ..."
"... How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" : ..."
"... The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists. ..."
"... Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media: ..."
"... What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts: ..."
"... "In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298) ..."
Jun 01, 2016 | www.globalresearch.ca

By Swiss Propaganda Research Global Research, May 14, 2019 Swiss Propaganda Research Region: Europe , USA Theme: Media Disinformation

This study was originally published in 2016.

Introduction: "Something strange"

"How does the newspaper know what it knows?" The answer to this question is likely to surprise some newspaper readers: "The main source of information is stories from news agencies. The almost anonymously operating news agencies are in a way the key to world events. So what are the names of these agencies, how do they work and who finances them? To judge how well one is informed about events in East and West, one should know the answers to these questions." (Höhne 1977, p. 11)

A Swiss media researcher points out:

"The news agencies are the most important suppliers of material to mass media. No daily media outlet can manage without them. () So the news agencies influence our image of the world; above all, we get to know what they have selected." (Blum 1995, p. 9)

In view of their essential importance, it is all the more astonishing that these agencies are hardly known to the public:

"A large part of society is unaware that news agencies exist at all In fact, they play an enormously important role in the media market. But despite this great importance, little attention has been paid to them in the past." (Schulten-Jaspers 2013, p. 13)

Even the head of a news agency noted:

"There is something strange about news agencies. They are little known to the public. Unlike a newspaper, their activity is not so much in the spotlight, yet they can always be found at the source of the story." (Segbers 2007, p. 9)

"The Invisible Nerve Center of the Media System"

So what are the names of these agencies that are "always at the source of the story"? There are now only three global agencies left:

  1. The American Associated Press ( AP ) with over 4000 employees worldwide. The AP belongs to US media companies and has its main editorial office in New York. AP news is used by around 12,000 international media outlets, reaching more than half of the world's population every day.
  2. The quasi-governmental French Agence France-Presse ( AFP ) based in Paris and with around 4000 employees. The AFP sends over 3000 stories and photos every day to media all over the world.
  3. The British agency Reuters in London, which is privately owned and employs just over 3000 people. Reuters was acquired in 2008 by Canadian media entrepreneur Thomson – one of the 25 richest people in the world – and merged into Thomson Reuters , headquartered in New York.

In addition, many countries run their own news agencies. However, when it comes to international news, these usually rely on the three global agencies and simply copy and translate their reports.

The three global news agencies Reuters, AFP and AP, and the three national agencies of the German-speaking countries of Austria (APA), Germany (DPA) and Switzerland (SDA).

Wolfgang Vyslozil, former managing director of the Austrian APA, described the key role of news agencies with these words:

"News agencies are rarely in the public eye. Yet they are one of the most influential and at the same time one of the least known media types. They are key institutions of substantial importance to any media system. They are the invisible nerve center that connects all parts of this system." (Segbers 2007, p.10)

Small abbreviation, great effect

However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves.

The following figure shows some examples of source tagging in popular German-language newspapers. Next to the agency abbreviations we find the initials of editors who have edited the respective agency report.

News agencies as sources in newspaper articles

Occasionally, newspapers use agency material but do not label it at all. A study in 2011 from the Swiss Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society at the University of Zurich came to the following conclusions (FOEG 2011):

"Agency contributions are exploited integrally without labeling them, or they are partially rewritten to make them appear as an editorial contribution. In addition, there is a practice of 'spicing up' agency reports with little effort; for example, visualization techniques are used: unpublished agency reports are enriched with images and graphics and presented as comprehensive reports."

The agencies play a prominent role not only in the press, but also in private and public broadcasting. This is confirmed by Volker Braeutigam, who worked for the German state broadcaster ARD for ten years and views the dominance of these agencies critically:

"One fundamental problem is that the newsroom at ARD sources its information mainly from three sources: the news agencies DPA/AP, Reuters and AFP: one German/American, one British and one French. () The editor working on a news topic only needs to select a few text passages on the screen that he considers essential, rearrange them and glue them together with a few flourishes."

Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), too, largely bases itself on reports from these agencies. Asked by viewers why a peace march in Ukraine was not reported, the editors said : "To date, we have not received a single report of this march from the independent agencies Reuters, AP and AFP."

In fact, not only the text, but also the images, sound and video recordings that we encounter in our media every day, are mostly from the very same agencies. What the uninitiated audience might think of as contributions from their local newspaper or TV station, are actually copied reports from New York, London and Paris.

Some media have even gone a step further and have, for lack of resources, outsourced their entire foreign editorial office to an agency. Moreover, it is well known that many news portals on the internet mostly publish agency reports (see e.g., Paterson 2007, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013).

In the end, this dependency on the global agencies creates a striking similarity in international reporting: from Vienna to Washington, our media often report the same topics, using many of the same phrases – a phenomenon that would otherwise rather be associated with "controlled media" in authoritarian states.

The following graphic shows some examples from German and international publications. As you can see, despite the claimed objectivity, a slight (geo-)political bias sometimes creeps in.

"Putin threatens", "Iran provokes", "NATO concerned", "Assad stronghold": Similarities in content and wording due to reports by global news agencies.

The role of correspondents

Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters.

First of all, the size ratios should be kept in mind: while the global agencies have several thousand employees worldwide, even the Swiss newspaper NZZ, known for its international reporting, maintains only 35 foreign correspondents (including their business correspondents). In huge countries such as China or India, only one correspondent is stationed; all of South America is covered by only two journalists, while in even larger Africa no-one is on the ground permanently.

Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media.

How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" :

"I'd imagined correspondents to be historians-of-the-moment. When something important happened, they'd go after it, find out what was going on, and report on it. But I didn't go off to find out what was going on; that had been done long before. I went along to present an on-the-spot report. ()

The editors in the Netherlands called when something happened, they faxed or emailed the press releases, and I'd retell them in my own words on the radio, or rework them into an article for the newspaper. This was the reason my editors found it more important that I could be reached in the place itself than that I knew what was going on. The news agencies provided enough information for you to be able to write or talk you way through any crisis or summit meeting.

That's why you often come across the same images and stories if you leaf through a few different newspapers or click the news channels.

Our men and women in London, Paris, Berlin and Washington bureaus – all thought that wrong topics were dominating the news and that we were following the standards of the news agencies too slavishly. ()

The common idea about correspondents is that they 'have the story', () but the reality is that the news is a conveyor belt in a bread factory. The correspondents stand at the end of the conveyor belt, pretending we've baked that white loaf ourselves, while in fact all we've done is put it in its wrapping. ()

Afterwards, a friend asked me how I'd managed to answer all the questions during those cross-talks, every hour and without hesitation. When I told him that, like on the TV-news, you knew all the questions in advance, his e-mailed response came packed with expletives. My friend had relalized that, for decades, what he'd been watching and listening to on the news was pure theatre." (Luyendjik 2009, p. 20-22, 76, 189)

In other words, the typical correspondent is in general not able to do independent research, but rather deals with and reinforces those topics that are already prescribed by the news agencies – the notorious "mainstream effect".

In addition, for cost-saving reasons many media outlets nowadays have to share their few foreign correspondents, and within individual media groups, foreign reports are often used by several publications – none of which contributes to diversity in reporting.

"What the agency does not report, does not take place"

The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists.

Rather, the "Observatory" delivered its stories to global agencies, which then forwarded them to thousands of media outlets, which in turn "informed" hundreds of millions of readers and viewers worldwide. The reason why the agencies, of all places, referred to this strange "Observatory" in their reporting – and who really financed it – is a question that was rarely asked.

The former chief editor of the German news agency DPA, Manfred Steffens, therefore states in his book "The Business of News":

"A news story does not become more correct simply because one is able to provide a source for it. It is indeed rather questionable to trust a news story more just because a source is cited. () Behind the protective shield such a 'source' means for a news story, some people are quite inclined to spread rather adventurous things, even if they themselves have legitimate doubts about their correctness; the responsibility, at least morally, can always be attributed to the cited source." (Steffens 1969, p. 106)

Dependence on global agencies is also a major reason why media coverage of geopolitical conflicts is often superficial and erratic, while historic relationships and background are fragmented or altogether absent. As put by Steffens:

"News agencies receive their impulses almost exclusively from current events and are therefore by their very nature ahistoric. They are reluctant to add any more context than is strictly required." (Steffens 1969, p. 32)

Finally, the dominance of global agencies explains why certain geopolitical issues and events – which often do not fit very well into the US/NATO narrative or are too "unimportant" – are not mentioned in our media at all: if the agencies do not report on something, then most Western media will not be aware of it. As pointed out on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the German DPA: "What the agency does not report, does not take place." (Wilke 2000, p. 1)

America's "Righteous" Russia-gate Censorship. "Russia Bashing All the Time"

"Adding questionable stories"

While some topics do not appear at all in our media, other topics are very prominent – even though they shouldn't actually be: "Often the mass media do not report on reality, but on a constructed or staged reality. () Several studies have shown that the mass media are predominantly determined by PR activities and that passive, receptive attitudes outweigh active-researching ones." (Blum 1995, p. 16)

In fact, due to the rather low journalistic performance of our media and their high dependence on a few news agencies, it is easy for interested parties to spread propaganda and disinformation in a supposedly respectable format to a worldwide audience. DPA editor Steffens warned of this danger:

"The critical sense gets more lulled the more respected the news agency or newspaper is. Someone who wants to introduce a questionable story into the world press only needs to try to put his story in a reasonably reputable agency, to be sure that it then appears a little later in the others. Sometimes it happens that a hoax passes from agency to agency and becomes ever more credible." (Steffens 1969, p. 234)

Among the most active actors in "injecting" questionable geopolitical news are the military and defense ministries. For example, in 2009, the head of the American news agency AP, Tom Curley, made public that the Pentagon employs more than 27,000 PR specialists who, with a budget of nearly $ 5 billion a year, are working the media and circulating targeted manipulations. In addition, high-ranking US generals had threatened that they would "ruin" the AP and him if the journalists reported too critically on the US military.

Despite – or because of? – such threats our media regularly publish dubious stories sourced to some unnamed "informants" from "US defense circles".

Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media:

"With the help of the media, the military determine the public perception and use it for their plans. They manage to stir expectations and spread scenarios and deceptions. In this new kind of war, the PR strategists of the US administration fulfill a similar function as the bomber pilots. The special departments for public relations in the Pentagon and in the secret services have become combatants in the information war. () The US military specifically uses the lack of transparency in media coverage for their deception maneuvers. The way they spread information, which is then picked up and distributed by newspapers and broadcasters, makes it impossible for readers, listeners or viewers to trace the original source. Thus, the audience will fail to recognize the actual intention of the military." (Tilgner 2003, p. 132)

What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts:

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Stockwell said of his work in the Angolan war,

"The basic theme was to make it look like an [enemy] aggression in Angola. So any kind of story that you could write and get into the media anywhere in the world, that pushed that line, we did. One third of my staff in this task force were covert action, were propagandists, whose professional career job was to make up stories and finding ways of getting them into the press. () The editors in most Western newspapers are not too skeptical of messages that conform to general views and prejudices. () So we came up with another story, and it was kept going for weeks. () [But] it was all fiction."

Fred Bridgland looked back on his work as a war correspondent for the Reuters agency: "We based our reports on official communications. It was not until years later that I learned a little CIA disinformation expert had sat in the US embassy, in Lusaka and composed that communiqué, and it bore no relation at all to truth. () Basically, and to put it very crudely, you can publish any old crap and it will get newspaper room."

And former CIA analyst David MacMichael described his work in the Contra War in Nicaragua with these words:

"They said our intelligence of Nicaragua was so good that we could even register when someone flushed a toilet. But I had the feeling that the stories we were giving to the press came straight out of the toilet." (Hird 1985)

Of course, the intelligence services also have a large number of direct contacts in our media, which can be "leaked" information to if necessary. But without the central role of the global news agencies, the worldwide synchronization of propaganda and disinformation would never be so efficient.

Through this "propaganda multiplier", dubious stories from PR experts working for governments, military and intelligence services reach the general public more or less unchecked and unfiltered. The journalists refer to the news agencies and the news agencies refer to their sources. Although they often attempt to point out uncertainties with terms such as "apparent", "alleged" and the like – by then the rumor has long been spread to the world and its effect taken place.

The Propaganda Multiplier: Governments, military and intelligence services using global news agencies to disseminate their messages to a worldwide audience.

As the New York Times reported

In addition to global news agencies, there is another source that is often used by media outlets around the world to report on geopolitical conflicts, namely the major publications in Great Britain and the US.

For example, news outlets like the New York Times or BBC have up to 100 foreign correspondents and other external employees. However, Middle East correspondent Luyendijk points out:

"Dutch news teams, me included, fed on the selection of news made by quality media like CNN, the BBC, and the New York Times . We did that on the assumption that their correspondents understood the Arab world and commanded a view of it – but many of them turned out not to speak Arabic, or at least not enough to be able to have a conversation in it or to follow the local media. Many of the top dogs at CNN, the BBC, the Independent, the Guardian, the New Yorker, and the NYT were more often than not dependent on assistants and translators." (Luyendijk p. 47)

In addition, the sources of these media outlets are often not easy to verify ("military circles", "anonymous government officials", "intelligence officials" and the like) and can therefore also be used for the dissemination of propaganda. In any case, the widespread orientation towards the Anglo-Saxon publications leads to a further convergence in the geopolitical coverage in our media.

The following figure shows some examples of such citation based on the Syria coverage of the largest daily newspaper in Switzerland, Tages-Anzeiger. The articles are all from the first days of October 2015, when Russia for the first time intervened directly in the Syrian war (US/UK sources are highlighted):

Frequent citation of British and US media, exemplified by the Syria war coverage of Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in October 2015.

The desired narrative

But why do journalists in our media not simply try to research and report independently of the global agencies and the Anglo-Saxon media? Middle East correspondent Luyendijk describes his experiences:

"You might suggest that I should have looked for sources I could trust. I did try, but whenever I wanted to write a story without using news agencies, the main Anglo-Saxon media, or talking heads, it fell apart. () Obviously I, as a correspondent, could tell very different stories about one and the same situation. But the media could only present one of them, and often enough, that was exactly the story that confirmed the prevailing image." (Luyendijk p.54ff)

Media researcher Noam Chomsky has described this effect in his essay "What makes the mainstream media mainstream" as follows: "If you leave the official line, if you produce dissenting reports, then you will soon feel this. () There are many ways to get you back in line quickly. If you don't follow the guidelines, you will not keep your job long. This system works pretty well, and it reflects established power structures." (Chomsky 1997)

Nevertheless, some of the leading journalists continue to believe that nobody can tell them what to write. How does this add up? Media researcher Chomsky clarifies the apparent contradiction:

"[T]he point is that they wouldn't be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk, or something, and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like. () They have been through the socialization system." (Chomsky 1997)

Ultimately, this "socialization process" leads to a journalism that generally no longer independently researches and critically reports on geopolitical conflicts (and some other topics), but seeks to consolidate the desired narrative through appropriate editorials, commentary, and interviewees.

Conclusion: The "First Law of Journalism"

Former AP journalist Herbert Altschull called it the First Law of Journalism:

"In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298)

In that sense, it is logical that our traditional media – which are predominantly financed by advertising or the state – represent the geopolitical interests of the transatlantic alliance, given that both the advertising corporations as well as the states themselves are dependent on the US dominated transatlantic economic and security architecture.

In addition, our leading media and their key people are – in the spirit of Chomsky's "socialization" – often themselves part of the networks of the transatlantic elite. Some of the most important institutions in this regard include the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission (see in-depth study of these networks ).

Indeed, most well-known publications basically may be seen as "establishment media". This is because, in the past, the freedom of the press was rather theoretical, given significant entry barriers such as broadcasting licenses, frequency slots, requirements for financing and technical infrastructure, limited sales channels, dependence on advertising, and other restrictions.

It was only due to the Internet that Altschull's First Law has been broken to some extent. Thus, in recent years a high-quality, reader-funded journalism has emerged, often outperforming traditional media in terms of critical reporting. Some of these "alternative" publications already reach a very large audience, showing that the „mass" does not have to be a problem for the quality of a media outlet.

Nevertheless, up to now the traditional media has been able to attract a solid majority of online visitors, too. This, in turn, is closely linked to the hidden role of news agencies, whose up-to-the-minute reports form the backbone of most news portals.

Will "political and economic power", according to Altschull's Law, retain control over the news, or will "uncontrolled" news change the political and economic power structure? The coming years will show.

Case study: Syria war coverage

As part of a case study, the Syria war coverage of nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were examined for plurality of viewpoints and reliance on news agencies. The following newspapers were selected:

The investigation period was defined as October 1 to 15, 2015, i.e. the first two weeks after Russia's direct intervention in the Syrian conflict. The entire print and online coverage of these newspapers was taken into account. Any Sunday editions were not taken into account, as not all of the newspapers examined have such. In total, 381 newspaper articles met the stated criteria.

In a first step, the articles were classified according to their properties into the following groups:

  1. Agencies : Reports from news agencies (with agency code)
  2. Mixed : Simple reports (with author names) that are based in whole or in part on agency reports
  3. Reports : Editorial background reports and analyzes
  4. Opinions/Comments : Opinions and guest comments
  5. Interviews : interviews with experts, politicians etc.
  6. Investigative : Investigative research that reveals new information or context

The following Figure 1 shows the composition of the articles for the nine newspapers analyzed in total. As can be seen, 55% of articles were news agency reports; 23% editorial reports based on agency material; 9% background reports; 10% opinions and guest comments; 2% interviews; and 0% based on investigative research.

Figure 1: Types of articles (total; n=381)

The pure agency texts – from short notices to the detailed reports – were mostly on the Internet pages of the daily newspapers: on the one hand, the pressure for breaking news is higher than in the printed edition, on the other hand, there are no space restrictions. Most other types of articles were found in both the online and printed editions; some exclusive interviews and background reports were found only in the printed editions. All items were collected only once for the investigation.

The following Figure 2 shows the same classification on a per newspaper basis. During the observation period (two weeks), most newspapers published between 40 and 50 articles on the Syrian conflict (print and online). In the German newspaper Die Welt there were more (58), in the Basler Zeitung and the Austrian Kurier , however, significantly less (29 or 33).

Depending on which newspaper, the share of agency reports is almost 50% (Welt, Süddeutsche, NZZ, Basler Zeitung), just under 60% (FAZ, Tagesanzeiger), and 60 to 70% (Presse, Standard, Kurier). Together with the agency-based reports, the proportion in most newspapers is between approx. 70% and 80%. These proportions are consistent with previous media studies (e.g., Blum 1995, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013, Paterson 2007).

In the background reports, the Swiss newspapers were leading (five to six pieces), followed by Welt , Süddeutsche and Standard (four each) and the other newspapers (one to three). The background reports and analyzes were in particular devoted to the situation and development in the Middle East, as well as to the motives and interests of individual actors (for example Russia, Turkey, the Islamic State).

However, most of the commentaries were to be found in the German newspapers (seven comments each), followed by Standard (five), NZZ and Tagesanzeiger (four each). Basler Zeitung did not publish any commentaries during the observation period, but two interviews. Other interviews were conducted by Standard (three) and Kurier and Presse (one each). Investigative research, however, could not be found in any of the newspapers.

In particular, in the case of the three German newspapers, a journalistically problematic blending of opinion pieces and reports was noted. Reports contained strong expressions of opinion even though they were not marked as commentary. The present study was in any case based on the article labeling by the newspaper.

Figure 2: Types of articles per newspaper

The following Figure 3 shows the breakdown of agency stories (by agency abbreviation) for each news agency, in total and per country. The 211 agency reports carried a total of 277 agency codes (a story may consist of material from more than one agency). In total, 24% of agency reports came from the AFP; about 20% each by the DPA, APA and Reuters; 9% of the SDA; 6% of the AP; and 11% were unknown (no labeling or blanket term "agencies").

In Germany, the DPA, AFP and Reuters each have a share of about one third of the news stories. In Switzerland, the SDA and the AFP are in the lead, and in Austria, the APA and Reuters.

In fact, the shares of the global agencies AFP, AP and Reuters are likely to be even higher, as the Swiss SDA and the Austrian APA obtain their international reports mainly from the global agencies and the German DPA cooperates closely with the American AP.

It should also be noted that, for historical reasons, the global agencies are represented differently in different regions of the world. For events in Asia, Ukraine or Africa, the share of each agency will therefore be different than from events in the Middle East.

Figure 3: Share of news agencies, total (n=277) and per country

In the next step, central statements were used to rate the orientation of editorial opinions (28), guest comments (10) and interview partners (7) (a total of 45 articles). As Figure 4 shows, 82% of the contributions were generally US/NATO friendly, 16% neutral or balanced, and 2% predominantly US/NATO critical.

The only predominantly US/NATO-critical contribution was an op-ed in the Austrian Standard on October 2, 2015, titled: "The strategy of regime change has failed. A distinction between ‚good' and ‚bad' terrorist groups in Syria makes the Western policy untrustworthy."

Figure 4: Orientation of editorial opinions, guest comments, and interviewees (total; n=45).

The following Figure 5 shows the orientation of the contributions, guest comments and interviewees, in turn broken down by individual newspapers. As can be seen, Welt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, NZZ, Zürcher Tagesanzeiger and the Austrian newspaper Kurier presented exclusively US/NATO-friendly opinion and guest contributions; this goes for FAZ too, with the exception of one neutral/balanced contribution. The Standard brought four US/NATO friendly, three balanced/neutral, as well as the already mentioned US/NATO critical opinion contributions.

Presse was the only one of the examined newspapers to predominantly publish neutral/balanced opinions and guest contributions. The Basler Zeitung published one US/NATO-friendly and one balanced contribution. Shortly after the observation period (October 16, 2015), Basler Zeitung also published an interview with the President of the Russian Parliament. This would of course have been counted as a contribution critical of the US/NATO.

Figure 5: Basic orientation of opinion pieces and interviewees per newspaper

In a further analysis, a full-text keyword search for "propaganda" (and word combinations thereof) was used to investigate in which cases the newspapers themselves identified propaganda in one of the two geopolitical conflict sides, USA/NATO or Russia (the participant "IS/ISIS" was not considered). In total, twenty such cases were identified. Figure 6 shows the result: in 85% of the cases, propaganda was identified on the Russian side of the conflict, in 15% the identification was neutral or unstated, and in 0% of the cases propaganda was identified on the USA/NATO side of the conflict.

It should be noted that about half of the cases (nine) were in the Swiss NZZ , which spoke of Russian propaganda quite frequently ("Kremlin propaganda", "Moscow propaganda machine", "propaganda stories", "Russian propaganda apparatus" etc.), followed by German FAZ (three), Welt and Süddeutsche Zeitung (two each) and the Austrian newspaper Kurier (one). The other newspapers did not mention propaganda, or only in a neutral context (or in the context of IS).

Figure 6: Attribution of propaganda to conflict parties (total; n=20).

Conclusion

In this case study, the geopolitical coverage in nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland was examined for diversity and journalistic performance using the example of the Syrian war.

The results confirm the high dependence on the global news agencies (63 to 90%, excluding commentaries and interviews) and the lack of own investigative research, as well as the rather biased commenting on events in favor of the US/NATO side (82% positive; 2% negative), whose stories were not checked by the newspapers for any propaganda.

*

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English translation provided by Terje Maloy.

[May 07, 2019] Hospitals being bombed false flag now can be treated as measuree of success of air operation by Syrian and Russian airfoirces

May 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , May 7, 2019 1:42:17 PM | link

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 6, 2019 4:09:17 PM | 26
(Hospitals being bombed)

The Ru-SAA campaign must be proceeding more successfully than the Christians would prefer.
The BBC's Deutche Welle is reporting via its White Helmets correspondents in Syria that schools and hospitals are being bombed by jets and helicopters with "barrel bombs". DW seems to be short of correspondents. One of the White Helmets blokes, without his white helmet, did a piece-de-camera about homes being bombed while masquerading as a civilian.
Desperation?

[May 07, 2019] Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has provided US$ 2 million grant to the White Helmets

May 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , May 6, 2019 4:34:23 PM | link

https://qatarfund.org.qa/en/qatar-fund-for-development-supports-white-helmets/
"3 February، 2019
Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has provided US$ 2 million grant to the White Helmets In accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, in support to the Syrian people."

https://www.rt.com/news/453849-white-helmets-usa-funding/
14 Mar, 2019 21:41
The Trump administration is doubling down on backing the White Helmets, the self-proclaimed civil defense group with often controversial activity in militant-held areas of Syria, pledging a $5 million donation at a conference.

[Dec 03, 2018] Is this corporatism when corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritized over government election pledges on policy?

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MickGJ -> MysticFish , 8 Jun 2013 09:44

@MysticFish - If these are completely different things, why has the austerity-stricken tax-payer been co-opted into paying for events like Thatcher's funeral

How is that corporatism?

Bilderberg policing,

How is that corporatism?

corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritized over government election pledges on policy?

Are they?
MysticFish -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:24
@MickGJ -

Neo-liberalism and fascist corporatism are completely different things.

If these are completely different things, why has the austerity-stricken tax-payer been co-opted into paying for events like Thatcher's funeral and Bilderberg policing, and why is it that corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritised over government election pledges on policy?

[Oct 22, 2018] Canada to nominate Al Qaeda for Nobel Peace Prize...

Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Gilberts , Oct 22, 2018 2:10:56 PM | link

Syrian White Helmets To Be Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-renowned-international-human-rights-lawyer-to-nominate-syrian-white/

Renowned [Zionist] international human-rights lawyer Irwin Cotler is nominating Syria's famed White Helmets, a group of volunteer humanitarian workers Canada helped rescue from the war-torn country for the Nobel Peace Prize...

A senior Canadian government official who was not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed Friday that some of the refugees have already resettled in Canada. The government declined to say exactly how many White Helmets have already arrived or the total number Canada plans to welcome, citing security concerns..."

[Sep 23, 2018] "White Helmets" is used in preference to the alternative, all too well associated in the popular imagination with the acme of American culture: the Western.

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes September 21, 2018 at 2:41 pm

"White Helmets" is used in preference to the alternative, all too well associated in the popular imagination with the acme of American culture: the Western.

And in the classic commercial way, it provides a twofer, since the white helmet first gained widespread popularity with the Village People, so it clicks with the whole LGBTQ touchy feely approach to world affairs we're always being told is essential. Real world hard hats tend to be in high-vis, almost painfully bright colours – orange, red, maybe blue.

White? In the Levant, where half or more of the buildings are white to reflect the sun?

Mark Chapman September 21, 2018 at 10:41 pm
Those are really bad. But I don't see much to link them to the White Helmets – just one guy with what I guess is their insignia on the back of his shirt, and nobody wearing the famous white helmets. It almost looks like someone deliberately making a fake which is full of holes, to implicate the White Helmets in making fake films. Just playing devil's advocate here. It would be very easy indeed for the White Helmets to disown these videos if they do not gain any traction.
Patient Observer September 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm
IIRC, the Russian government said a number of videos were shot with most being of low quality and would go straight to YouTube. Two were of sufficiently high cinematic quality to be released to Western media outlets.

However, with the recent agreement to stop military action in Idlib, it would seem that there is no longer an opportunity to use the videos as a justification for a Western military attack.

Indeed, the Idlib agreement has removed any pretext for Western attacks for the foreseeable future. That is big. The military phase of the war in Syria seems to be over.

[Sep 16, 2018] A typical White helmet rescues always had a small diesel fire and usually some white smoke, a bunch of rescuers who ran into the building while the commenter gave a speech, and then rescuers ran the rescued infants past the camera while the narrator gave a 'moral' speech.

Sep 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Charles Wood , Sep 16, 2018 2:19:48 AM | link

The White Helmets as a brand had their website first registered by Ali Weiner of Purpose Inc (Brooklyn advertising agency) on 2014-08-11T19:50:31Z

I had noticed their activity shortly after that date but it wasn't labelled White Helmets as such. I recall a series of setpiece rescues with someone who looked like Hadi Alabdullah giving a running comment and speeches denouncing Assad.

The setpiece rescues always had a small diesel fire and usually some white smoke, a bunch of rescuers who ran into the building while the commenter gave a speech, and then rescuers ran the rescued infants past the camera while the narrator gave a 'moral' speech.

guidoamm , Sep 16, 2018 1:07:32 AM | link

Peter Au 1 @ 10

Regarding snuff videos, I always wondered whether or not this operation overlapped:

US Gov Spent $500M For Al Qaeda Propaganda Videos

[Sep 16, 2018] The Dutch have come forward with a report by Wilibrord Davids on the legality of participating in the Iraq War. The ruling was a devastating blow to the Dutch as it was illegal under International Law

Notable quotes:
"... The Dutch story is not so much about the White Helmets as it is about support for Al Qaeda linked groups . Two groups mentioned in Nieuwsuur ..."
"... The blinded political support for the US by top Dutch political leadership has been clear since the support for the Iraq bombardment and invasion by the US/UK military in 2003. ..."
"... The Dutch Christian (?) Democrats were led by PM Balkenende and FM Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Jaap was rewarded with the job as Secretary General of NATO and did such a wonderful job on expansion to the border with Russia. Looking back he is sorry - "The West should respect the red lines of Russia." ..."
"... The politicians adopted a policy that all future support on intervention would be reviewed by an International Law expert ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oui , Sep 16, 2018 3:12:10 AM | link

I'm from The Netherlands also

Thx b for your in depth analysis!

The Dutch story is not so much about the White Helmets as it is about support for Al Qaeda linked groups . Two groups mentioned in Nieuwsuur were Jabhat al-Shamiya and the Sultan Murad Brigade. The Dutch took a pick from a long list of Assad "opposition" fighters provided by the CIA.

The blinded political support for the US by top Dutch political leadership has been clear since the support for the Iraq bombardment and invasion by the US/UK military in 2003.

The Dutch Christian (?) Democrats were led by PM Balkenende and FM Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Jaap was rewarded with the job as Secretary General of NATO and did such a wonderful job on expansion to the border with Russia. Looking back he is sorry - "The West should respect the red lines of Russia."

In latest twist of events, PM Mark "the Conservative Atlanticus" Rutte has declared all information about the Dutch support for terror groups in Syria a "state secret" not to be divulged by parliament and the media. Sounds very much like Birma's Aung San Suu Kyi who defends the arrest and conviction of two Reuters journalist on the British 1919 State Secrecy Act.

The Netherlands with its capitol The Hague has been the center for International Law ever since Carnegie's Peace Palace. The ICC has a prominent place in a new complex of buildings in The Hague and is under full attack by ally the US in name of John Bolton a great friend, no?

The Dutch have come forward with a report by Wilibrord Davids on the legality of participating in the Iraq War. The ruling was a devastating blow to the Dutch as it was illegal under International Law.

The politicians adopted a policy that all future support on intervention would be reviewed by an International Law expert. In this case that would have been André Nollkaemper – Dean and Professor of Public International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam. Of course he was not consulted by PM Mark Rutte of MH17 fame.

[Sep 15, 2018] The Dike Breaks - Netherland Ends Support For White Helmets Terrorist Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... Volkskrant daily ..."
"... 21stCenturyWire ..."
"... 'white helmets' itself is a product of 'Purpose' a Brooklyn based organisation with offices in London and Rio de Janeiro. Their 'Team' shows what they are - an upmarket media communications company. The Purpose Team ..."
"... White helmets, by the sound of it, sounds like something cooked up in London. Just another in a very long line. A very well-connected Arab friend says if you want something cooked up you go to London not Washington. ..."
"... While the concept of false flags is becoming almost mainstream I have been researching "projects that were built to fail." ..."
"... When you write government I assume US empire. The support by them for terrorists is just another facet, along with the military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. of paying as many and varied as needed to control or eliminate the rest of us. ..."
Sep 15, 2018 | >www.moonofalabama.org

The Netherland just announced that it is ending its support for al-Qaeda's propaganda gang, the "White Helmets". It also ends its support for the so called Free Syrian Police. Last week the Netherlands shut down its "non lethal" support for the Free Syrian Army after Dutch news organizations found that members of these groups were accused of terrorism by their General Prosecutor.

According to the Volkskrant daily (in Dutch), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ended the support for the White Helmets after its Directorate for International Research and Policy Evaluation issued a critical report about them. For the White Helmets, which had received €12.5 million from the Dutch government, it lists the following issues:

  • According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the supervision of the behavior of the rescue workers is 'inadequate' . The organization that supervises, Mayday, based in the Netherlands, is closely intertwined with the White Helmets itself. In practice, donors do not understand the difference between the two organizations.
  • Mayday wants to spend a maximum of 0.9% of its budget on supervision of the work of the White Helmets. 'That is why there is a lack of independent supervision of the activities and results of the project .'
  • The money for the White Helmets is transferred to the Syrian border in cash or enters the country via the hawala system. It is 'problematic' that Mayday does not know how much money is paid via which route . That is why there is a danger that money has fallen into the hands of armed groups . The cash flow can also indirectly be used for illegal trade. Systematic control of the money flow is missing.
  • The White Helmets are active in areas where armed groups are in power that are considered 'unacceptable' for the Netherlands. Contact between the White Helmets and local administrators who work together with extremist organizations is inevitable.

The seemingly intentional lack of transparency practically guarantees that much of the more than $150 million the White Helmets received from various governments will have flown into the private pockets of the people who organize the scam.

This blog published several pieces about the White Helmets, mostly pointing out their obviously faked media productions:

For background information on the White Helmets the earlier pieces by Vanessa Beeley's at 21stCenturyWire ´are still the best: Syria's White Helmets: War by Way of Deception – Part I and Part II – Syria's White Helmets: 'Moderate Executioners' .

Vanessa Beeley, Eva Barlett (vid) and others have tried for years to point out the nefarious scheme behind the propaganda scam "White Helmets". Roger Waters rightly calls them (vid) a "fake propaganda construct for terrorists". But 'western' media loved the dramatic fake photos and videos the White Helmets produced, partly because they could put them into print and on screen free of any charge. Whoever criticized them and questioned their narratives was publicly smeared and derided .

The Volkkrant notes:

It is the first time that a Western government states that there are problems with the project.

It will not be the last time. More people will take note, look into the issue and pressure their governments to end their support. As the Dutch know well, once the dikes break it is impossible to stop the flood. The relentless work of a few engaged writers put pressure onto the dike and finally broke it. The White Helmet scam will soon come under a flood of public scrutiny and will be swept away into some dark corner of history.

Just a month ago Germany's Foreign Minister Maas, also known as a "well styled NATO call boy", met the White Helmets front man Raed al-Saleh, who was denied entry into the U.S. , and promised him more money. Maas also lauded the recent 'evacuation of White Helmets' from the Quneitra and Daraa area to Israel which was just another scam. Israel used the White Helmet cover to evacuated a number of terrorists commanders it had paid and equipped for years in its war on Syria.

Maas and his NATO colleagues in other countries will soon be asked about the Dutch example. Can they refute the analysis the Foreign Ministry of their NATO ally Netherland made? Can Maas explain what happened with the €17 million Germany gave to them? In who's pocket did they end up?


bjd , Sep 15, 2018 3:55:53 PM | link
RT just reported that now chlorine has been delivered to the militants in Syria. One wonders if this little crack in the solid front might now throw a monkey wrench in their cinematographic projects.
SL , Sep 15, 2018 3:56:48 PM | link
I'm from Holland and actually very surprised: never expected Holland to stop funding "Syrian projects" just like that...Still too late and much harm is done already, but nevertheless happy to hear this. Not 100% sure though if Holland stopped all funding of FSA groups
Petri Krohn , Sep 15, 2018 4:32:29 PM | link
HOW WE EXPOSED THE WHITE HELMETS

My friend Vanessa Beeley has been most effective in promoting the fact that the White Helmets are closely linked to al-Qaeda terrorists, but I too must claim some of the credit for exposing the White Helmets. The fact that still needs more exposure is that the White Helmets actually kill children for their fake propaganda videos.

This is what I wrote on the issue two years ago, quoting from the original discussion on ACLOS in March 2015:

Al-Qaeda's propaganda wing the #WhiteHelmets did not win this year's Nobel Peace Prize, despite the massive propaganda campaign by Western sponsors of terror. The prize would have been vital if the United States were to attack Syria in support of their proxy terrorists. I am not at all sure the Norwegian Nobel Committee can act independently. They will serve the Empire's interests when pushed to. Crucial to the outcome may have been the effort to expose the White Helmets and their war propaganda. I will link bellow to some of the people who have been most vocal in bringing the truth out.

This is the discussion that first brought the White Helmets to my attention. ACLOS was working on solving the Sarmeen gas attack hoax of March 2015. I believe the White Helmets are involved in actually murdering people to produce their propaganda for war. The photo above may show one of their victims.

Al-Nusra Font (Jabhat al-Nusra) is the official franchise of al-Qaeda in Syria and works closely with the White Helmets.

Petri Krohn - 27 March 2015 (03:21 UTC)
- The same original content from the first attack has been distributed on YouTube with two different logos. One logo is the al-Nusra logo that is also seen in these three videos distributed by Coordinating Srmin. The other logo is blue and yellow and is also seen on the ambulance and the back of the medic. This means that the Coordinating Committee, al-Nusra, and the ambulance team and their propagandists are all tied closely together. This calls into question the neutrality of the reporting and the videos.

Charles Wood - 27 March 2015 (03:31 UTC)
- I've seen a group calling themselves "White Helmets" who are active on twitter and have some link to the alleged gas attack videos. I think they are Civil Defence? Or at least say they are. Links to Jabhat al-Nusra tends to say they aren't neutral.

Petri Krohn - 2 April 2015 (02:23 UTC)
- The White Helmets claim to be a civil defense force specializing in digging up victims from bombed out buildings. They may in fact be a US State Department funded infowar operation for intervention and a war of aggression in the name of a "No-Fly Zone" to protect civilians.

Caustic Logic (Adam Larson) - 2 April 2015 (12:58 UTC)
- Here's their site: https://www.whitehelmets.org/ Good news, they're "unarmed and neutral." Their issue is barrel bombs, often filled with chlorine, and they don't mention the weird type of chlorine with unusual symptoms... and how there's a neutral need for a "no fly zone." Linked to by an activist video compilation I left a helpful comment at (if it remains)

Oh, and it specifies "the Syrian Civil Defence - known as the White Helmets." They're the ones with the blue and yellow logos, and I presume the black-and-yellow blankets. Maybe they're like a new non-neutral replacement for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, who continue cooperating with the government and won't even need to try operating in areas like this. I wonder if there are any issue with the SARC that would lead to such a replacement plan?

Charles Wood - 2 April 2015 (23:47 UTC)
- Their website looks like it came out of some smart New York or London Advertising Agency. In fact it did. It's an obvious branding exercise using the iconic white helmet as the easy to remember visual key.

I've done some basic snooping and it's associated with The Syria Campaign. I guess the idea is to move up Google rank by cross-linking the sites.

'white helmets' itself is a product of 'Purpose' a Brooklyn based organisation with offices in London and Rio de Janeiro. Their 'Team' shows what they are - an upmarket media communications company. The Purpose Team

Certainly no Syrians were involved in creating the White Helmets!

Source: http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:White_Helmets

b , Sep 15, 2018 4:40:57 PM | link
@Petri - didn't know you were with the first to notice them. Well done!
stan van houcke , Sep 15, 2018 4:52:45 PM | link
I quote: 'It is encouraging to read that Netherland is showing some moral backbone against the blatant propaganda of failing empire.' as a senior Dutch journalist I have to temper your enthousiasm. the dutch mainstream-media knew about this since at least 2013, but preferred to keep silent about this. the msm in the netherlands are just as corrupt as in the USA and the UK, as I have been pointing out on my weblog for many years now.
Peter AU 1 , Sep 15, 2018 5:00:33 PM | link
Charles Lister at one point list consultant to a marketing and product management company in Doha. I forget the name now but looked them up at the time. Had very professional looking website and specialized in that sort of work according to their blurbs. Run onto a few others in that part of the world as well. Both ISIS and white helmets have been marketed with the help of snuff movies.
ben , Sep 15, 2018 5:26:16 PM | link
Love to see this story here in the U$A, but alas, probably never happen..
Peter AU 1 , Sep 15, 2018 5:33:41 PM | link
The Shaikh Group based in Dubai rather than Doha is the company Lister was involved with. Their marketing website here http://theshaikhgroup.ae

And anther Shaikh Group website here - this time saying they are based in Cyprus. https://shaikhgroup.org/about_the_shaikh_group/
"The Shaikh Group (TSG) is a political consultancy focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Our mission is to facilitate dialogue with the peoples of the region and between states in the region, as well as with key international actors. TSG aims to advance practical initiatives that promote peace, tolerance, mutual security, and shared economic prosperity."

james , Sep 15, 2018 5:38:14 PM | link
thanks b.. great coverage on a positive development and kudos to @6 petri as well.. thanks for continuing to shine a light on this..
all the comments are very helpful and informative. thank you..
Mike Maloney , Sep 15, 2018 6:04:56 PM | link
I first noted a whiff of bullshit on May 7, 2015. You don't have to be a super-sleuth to detect the smell of excrement. You just need to read the newspaper with a skeptical eye:
In " Syria Is Using Chemical Weapons Again, Rescue Workers Say " Anne Barnard and Somini Sengupta earn their pay as propagandists for the USG by filing another fallacious story about Syria's use of chemical weapons; fallacious because it is sourced to a "civilian defense" NGO called White Helmets . An inspection of the group's web site -- Barrel Bombs! -- linked to in the Barnard-Sengupta article, leaves one with the distinct impression that it is a CIA front. The allegations of White Helmets are then amplified by USG officials. This is the old familiar propaganda pattern. You have an "Astro-Turf" organization, an ersatz citizen group of some sort that has been mocked up by a foreign intelligence agency, make a specious charge, and then that charge is taken up by the United States in the United Nations Security Council
bjd , Sep 15, 2018 6:30:54 PM | link
@iano (15)
They didn't realize that them going public with that last one had an implied admittance that they themselves hack into Russian systems (for what it's worth of course -- I personally don't believe one iota of that story).
karlof1 , Sep 15, 2018 6:54:07 PM | link
Will the dike breaking cause Germany not to send troops to Syria ? Will we read about the crime the Zionist Abomination tried to commit by attacking Syria's International Fair ?

I'd be remiss not to thank Petri Krohn for his efforts! We just need several million more dedicated souls like his so we can overthrow BigLie Media, which is a Hydra infecting most every nation.

When looked at uncompromisingly, the support by governments for terrorists--which existed prior to and has greatly escalated since the end of WW2--assaults every person on the planet--not just the people under the terrorist's guns . Instead of promoting wellbeing, violence and war is promoted and praised! And BigLie Media works overtime to manufacture consent for policies antithetical to the public good.

Lochearn , Sep 15, 2018 7:02:29 PM | link
White helmets, by the sound of it, sounds like something cooked up in London. Just another in a very long line. A very well-connected Arab friend says if you want something cooked up you go to London not Washington.

While the concept of false flags is becoming almost mainstream I have been researching "projects that were built to fail." So far I have found Gallipoli in 1915 and the Bay of Pigs and possibly the choice of Haig as top man in WW1 – the Brits wanted as inefficient a general as possible so the war could continue.

My attention got distracted by a very brilliant Australian general who arrived in Gallipoli and then went on to the Western Front. John Monash had 3 problems: he was an Aussie so a "native," his parents were German and they were Jewish. Monash created the blueprint of the "blitzkrieg." In the Battle of Hamel in July 1918 he used tanks to shield troops, he used aircraft to spot artillery and drop fresh munitions and hot food onto the battlefield and a whole host of other innovations. A talented musician he envisioned his plan as an orchestral piece. The battle was won in 93 minutes. What is interesting is that the two most prominent Aussie journalists, C. Bean and Keith Murdoch (father of the demonic Rupert) were antisemitic and lobbied the Australian PM of the time to get rid of Monash, calling him a "pushy Jew." On the contrary, Monash was just a brilliant man who cared very much for his troops.

Jim MacGregor and Gerry Doherty are doing amazing work on the origins and the conduct of WWI.

psychohistorian , Sep 15, 2018 7:07:40 PM | link
@ karlof1 who wrote: "When looked at uncompromisingly, the support by governments for terrorists--which existed prior to and has greatly escalated since the end of WW2--assaults every person on the planet--not just the people under the terrorist's guns."

When you write government I assume US empire. The support by them for terrorists is just another facet, along with the military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. of paying as many and varied as needed to control or eliminate the rest of us.

Will the number ever get to paying 1/2 of the population in the old adage reflecting the hubris of this social structure under the God of Mammon?

Lochearn , Sep 15, 2018 7:22:05 PM | link
@ 19

When you write government I assume US empire

It has never has been the US empire. It has been the British/Jewish bankers/US empire.

karlof1 , Sep 15, 2018 7:28:40 PM | link
Lochern @18--

Interesting premise, "built to fail." Perhaps the assumptions those projects were based on were grossly incorrect causing them to fail. Monash performed the #1 rule of the general line officer: do the utmost to protect your troops and provide them with the tools to achieve victory--such was not the performance of most WW1 general line officers on either side.

Lochearn , Sep 15, 2018 7:38:26 PM | link
@21 google Gallipoli: The Untold Story – 'The first casualty of war is truth.'
psychohistorian , Sep 15, 2018 7:51:52 PM | link
@ Lochearn who is correcting my genealogical representation of empire

Yes, you are more correct than I. That said, does it go back even further to the founding of monotheistic religions? We are referring to social control by an elite in my mind more than the Jewish bankers part of your genealogy. I admit to the bankers part but see that bankers group as the encourage/control entity for the other monotheistic religions.

Has that system dynamic changed/evolved seriously since the Roman era? We have usury. We have inheritance. We have banking. The concept of private property evolved along with the mythical moral fig leaf of rule-of-law. We call it the Western form of "civilization".

Anyway, you are right and I lose track of how to communicate on what level.

karlof1 , Sep 15, 2018 8:08:57 PM | link
Lochern @22--

I know all about Gallipoli and went to the battlefield. IMO, Churchill's premises about Turkish military ability were all wrong--grossly so as it was proven. Everything went wrong on top of that. As was the case on every WW1 battlefield, soldiers were wasted without any thought by the general line officers. The Aussies I shared the excursion to the battlefield with were very boisterous the night before, but very silent and reverent the next morning as we walked the ground where so many of their brethren were slaughtered without thought.

I recently watched a two-part video on the 75th anniversary of the Kursk victory followed by one about the battles for Crimea. 80% casualties was the norm for both sides! At times I find it difficult to reconcile my childhood play with little green plastic soldiers and the reality of war I learned later. I know I'm not alone. There was a massive effort by European and American publics during the 1920s & '30s to outlaw war, and they came very close to succeeding. Some say they did but were betrayed by their governments and associated "Liberty Leagues." What's important is that it was once done, so it can and must be done again .

Sorry for the harangue. I'm just pissed that Obama the Criminal is being given an "ethics in government" award by the University of Illinois when he ought to be in prison along with so many other members of governments past and present.

karlof1 , Sep 15, 2018 8:42:45 PM | link
OT!! Was going through my Twitter line-up and came upon one by Chinahand that provides a link to a trove of Soviet-era science texts that are now translated and freely available online!
Mischi , Sep 15, 2018 8:52:51 PM | link
bevin, I have two comments about your comment. Firstly, did you know that the average height of Americans is decreasing? Perhaps it's due to immigration. They used to rank 3rd tallest in the world in 1914 but now rank 37th. Also, I don't think the Scots were as powerful as you think they were. I only just found out today that slavery for Scottish colliers existed until a hundred years ago. I find it hard to believe that Scots would even be accepted into British high society with such prevailing attitudes.

http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/429.html

Mischi , Sep 15, 2018 8:54:16 PM | link
sorry, I didn't finish my thought about the decreasing height of American males. I was going to say that it may be due to immigration, but I think it's another symptom of rampant capitalism.
Alaric , Sep 15, 2018 9:14:29 PM | link
The Dutch have taken two shots against the official Anglo Zionist narrative on Syria within a week. Interesting.

I wonder if elements of the empire are now trying to stop the perverse leadership of FUKUS and their Israeli/neocon bosses so as to avoid a conflict with Russia and to let the Syrians end the jihadists in Idlib. Europe cannot have an AlQaida and other jihadist run Syria anymore than Russsia can. The jihadists will use idlib to plan ops against Europe. Europe would also suffer most from an armed a conflict with Russia.

Discrediting the white hatted phonies and the other jihadists in Syria certainly helps Assad, Russia and Iran.

jrkrideau , Sep 15, 2018 9:15:24 PM | link
@ 35 Mischi

I think it's another symptom of rampant capitalism.

I think you have both. Rampant poverty and malnutrition (capitalism) plus more immigrants from Northern Hispanic countries and parts of Asia where mean stature is a bit less than the existing population (immigration)

Good luck on teasing out which is which.

karlof1 , Sep 15, 2018 9:40:46 PM | link
Terrorists relocating to UK . People demand to know where and why!
Pft , Sep 15, 2018 9:46:43 PM | link
Mischi@34

Its worse than just height decreasing. IQ, testosterone levels, life expectancy, fertility rates all declining

Capitalism is a tool of the followers of Jacob Frank, Bakunin and Malthus

Malthus believed in promoting premature death: disease, starvation, war, resulting in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe, which would return population to a lower, more "sustainable," level. Among the policies promoted by Malthus were:

"Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlement in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate speci c remedies for ravaging diseases; and those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders."

Bakunin believed violence was necessary to purge the world of the old order to create the new. Every state thus became the enemy, and the enemy was attacked using terrorism and assassination. In his own words, Bakunin sought, "the unchaining of what is today called the evil passions and the destruction of what is called public order," and made the declaration: "Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life -- the passion for destruction is also a creative passion".

And Frank taught the "holiness of sin" . The more radical Frankists sought nihilism," and reversal of values, symbolized by the change of the thirty-six prohibitions of the Torah into positive commands. Evil is good and Good is Evil. The secret religion of the NWO philosopher kings (global elite)

[Sep 15, 2018] since September 9, the White Helmets have been staging rehearsals of an alleged chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Russian officials say in the same statement, claiming that the rehearsals feature up to 30 civilians, including a dozen children aged 8-12.

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer September 12, 2018 at 8:21 am

Russia has infiltrated the While Helmets:

https://www.rt.com/news/438282-white-helmets-film-chemical-attacks/

The Russian military details that on September 11, the White Helmets and terrorists from Tahrir al-Sham (commonly known as Al-Qaeda in Syria) held a meeting following the filming process, in which they selected two out of nine videos for future transfer to the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The remaining videos are to be used for propaganda on social media networks due to the poor quality, the military claims.

At the same time, since September 9, the White Helmets have been staging rehearsals of an alleged chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Russian officials say in the same statement, claiming that the rehearsals feature up to 30 civilians, including a dozen children aged 8-12.

Further claims by the Russian military indicate the White Helmets, along with the terrorists, are preparing an "actual use of poisonous chorine-based substances" on the people participating in the filming of the fake videos.

On-the-scene preparations of places for explosions of toxic substances is carried out by members of Hurras al-Din terrorist group (or the Guardians of Religion Organization, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda), the statement claims.

The militants have selected 22 children and their parents from several villages in the Aleppo governorate who will play parts in staging fake chemical weapon attacks.

Another group of children is comprised of orphans kidnapped from refugee camps, who are meant to be used for the footage of death scenes. It is currently kept in one of the buildings of the Ikab prison controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group.

Signs of activities to prepare staged chemical weapon attacks were reported in Kafir-Zait, the military claims, also naming two villages where toxic chemicals have been delivered to stage provocations.

Some nice outtakes would be helpful – forcing the kids to line up next to chlorine canister, "disciplining" unruly kids who go off script. etc. Every goddamned MSM reported, producer and executive who knew or should have known of this children's snuff film should be arrested, charged, tried and found guilty of murder for hire. The death penalty would be too lenient. Involved politicians and their masters would be next. As for the perpetrators, let Syria deal with them.

[Sep 13, 2018] Heather Nauert (Spokesperson for the United States Department of State): The United States and the international community continue to support the heroic work of White Helmets

Sep 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Sep 13, 2018 12:04:56 AM | link

@47 den lille abe / 49 pft.... i mentioned it on the syrian thread yesterday... here is my comment from that thread...

"yer local scam news from the usa daily press briefing.. aside from acknowledging the horrific nature of 9-11 inflicted on the usa, there is of course no mention of the horrors that it inflicted on many many more in the countries outside of the usa, thanks the usa's phony war on terrorism..but of course, how can you have a war on terrorism, when you are the terrorism globally? more fun stuff at the link, if you like being propagandized..

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/09/285807.htm

from heather nauert - "Next, and this is also related to Syria, I'd like to highlight this: The Assad regime and Russia continue to falsely accuse the White Helmets through a massive disinformation campaign, leaving its volunteers at significant risk. Many of you are familiar with the good work that the White Helmets has – that they have done and that they continue to do. The White Helmets are a humanitarian organization that has saved thousands of lives and continues to save civilian lives after bombardments by Russian and regime military forces. The United States and the international community continue to support their heroic work."

ben , Sep 13, 2018 1:29:43 AM | link

Censorship in the USA from Black Agenda Report:

https://blackagendareport.com/first-they-came-alex-jones-then-rt-and-syrian-tv

"Russian and Syrian news services in the US have been censored, but you can still get streaming jihadist propaganda from al Qaeda-controlled Idlib Province."

[Aug 25, 2018] The White Helmets are saddling up for another ride

Aug 25, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Looks like now they do not even care if this will be exposed as false flag operation.

"The United States has warned Russia that it would be ready to strike Syria again if President Bashar Assad and his government use chemical weapons in the country, the Bloomberg news agency said on Friday citing own sources.

According to the agency's sources, the warning was conveyed by National Security Adviser John Bolton to his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, during their Thursday's meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

The agency says that Washington "has information that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may use chemical weapons as he seeks to recapture one of the country's last rebel-held areas" – in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

During the talks with Patrushev, Bolton said the United States would respond with s tronger military action that it has used in Syria in the past – in 2017 and 2018." Bloomberg and AMN

*********

"Militants of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), aided by British intelligence, are preparing to stage a chemical attack in northern Syria that will be used as a pretext for a new missile strike by the U.S., the UK and France on facilities of the Damascus government, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on August 25.

"According to the information confirmed simultaneously by several independent sources, the active terrorist grouping Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is plotting a new provocation with the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces against civilians in the Idlib province A special group of terrorists who have been trained by specialists of the UK private military company Olive to handle chemical warfare agents has also arrived in the area of Jisr ash-Shughur ," Konashenkov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Konashenkov revealed that the U.S. is already preparing for the new missile strike. According to the statment, the US Navy's destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the al-Udeid air base in Qatar.

"The actions by Western countries contrary to public statements are aimed at another dramatic escalation of the situation in the Middle East and at disrupting the peace process on the territory of Syria," Konashenkov warned.

Earlier this week, the U.S., the UK and Franc released a joint statement , in which they condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Damascus government. The three countries vowed to "respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime."" SF & Russian MoD

---------------

Bolton, Pompeo and the neocons have made it clear that they at least have not abandoned Regime Change in Syria as their objective. Whether or not Mattis and Votel are fully on board with this is unclear to me. They may well be playing some separate game of their own involving a madcap desire to maintain a US dominated zone in Syria east of the Euphrates River. Trump's hand is not visible in this for me. Power appears to have fractured in Washington with regard to ME policy

The Regime Changers seem to believe they will have another bite at the apple during the Idlib liberation campaign when a White Helmet style "gas attack" can be staged and then used to obtain Trump's acquiescence in a sizable set of attacks against Syrian forces this time as well as facilities.

The Israelis seem to be out of the game on this one having made a deal with Russia and Syria over stability on the Golan front line.

Well, good for them. pl

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-warns-russia-of-new-strike-on-syria-if-assad-uses-chemical-weapons-bloomberg/

https://southfront.org/u-s-prepares-new-strikes-on-government-facilities-in-syria-russian-military/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russia-accuses-us-britain-france-of-preparing-to-carry-out-new-strikes-against-syrian-govt/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-jihadists-preparing-chemical-weapons-provocation-in-idlib-russian-mod/

Posted at 10:34 AM in As The Borg Turns , Borg Wars , Syria | Permalink

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[Aug 07, 2018] More Lies About the White Helmets by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Is resettling a terrorist front group in the West a good idea? ..."
"... The White Helmets ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Syria conflict: White Helmets evacuated by Israel. ..."
"... The BBC story could have been written by the White Helmets themselves or by their press department. Or alternatively by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. First of all, the Israelis do not do humanitarian gestures. They helped bail out the White Helmets at the request of the U.S. because capture by the Syrians would have produced embarrassing revelations about how the group was funded and what its affiliation with terrorists was all about. And Israel's denial of involvement in Syria is nonsense, unless one considers demonstrated collaboration with the terrorist groups punctuated by nearly weekly bombing and missile attacks to be non-involvement. ..."
"... The British too are into the deception up to their eyeballs. The comment by Hunt and Mordaunt is complete fabrication regarding what the White Helmets represent. The same goes for the BBC account of how the group developed, which comes directly from the White Helmet's own propaganda division as amplified by Hollywood and the U.S. and U.K. governments. ..."
"... The White Helmets travel to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative which consistently promotes tales of government atrocities against civilians to encourage outside military intervention in Syria and bring about regime change in Damascus. The White Helmets were, for example, the propagators of the totally false but propagandistically effective claims regarding the government use of so-called "barrel bombs" against civilians. ..."
"... Peter Ford, British Ambassador in Damascus from 2003-2006, recently described the group in an audio interview saying, "The White Helmets are jihadi auxiliaries. They are not, as claimed by themselves and by their supporters simple rescuers. They are not volunteers. They are paid professionals of disinformation." ..."
"... All their activities are directed at mobilizing Western opinion behind the jihadis with whom they associate. They co-locate their centers with the Al-Qaeda organization known as Al-Nusra and with other militant groups such as Jaish al-Islam. They have in the past been shown associating with and waving the flags of ISIS." ..."
"... The group is currently largely funded by a number of non-government organizations (NGOs) as well as governments, including the United States, Britain and some European Union member states. The U.S. has directly provided $23 million through the USAID (US Agency for International Development) as of 2016 and almost certainly considerably more indirectly. ..."
"... Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities , to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group's jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow "mujahideen" and "soldiers of the revolution." ..."
"... The White Helmets were and are part and parcel of the attempt to overthrow a legitimate government and install a regime friendly to western, American and Israeli interests. For Israel in particular the ongoing chaos in Syria was and is part of its plan for dividing all of its neighbors into warring ethnicities and sects, making them less viable as threats to the Jewish state. ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Is resettling a terrorist front group in the West a good idea?

When is a terrorist group not a terrorist group? Apparently the answer is that it ceases to be terrorist when it terrorizes someone who is an enemy of the United States. The most prominent recent example is the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), a murderous Iranian Marxist cult which assassinated five Americans in the 1970s as part of its campaign against the Shah's government. It was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after it had promised not to kill any more Americans but really because it had bought the support of prominent politicians to include Elaine Chao, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton. It also had the behind the scenes endorsement of both the Israeli Mossad and CIA, both of whom have been using it in their operations to kill Iranians and damage the country's infrastructure. Someone high up in the federal government, perhaps Hillary or even President Obama himself, must have decided that terrorists who kill only Iranians deserve a get out of jail free card from the State Department.

There are other examples of cynical doublespeak from the Syrian conflict, including labeling rebels against the Damascus government "freedom fighters" when in reality they were as often as not allied with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Nusra or even with ISIS. Frequently they received training and weapons from Washington only to turn around and either join Al-Nusra and ISIS as volunteers or surrender their weapons to them.

But perhaps there is no bigger fraud making the rounds than the so-called White Helmets. The recent media coverage derives from the documentary The White Helmets , which was produced by the group itself and tells a very convincing tale promoted as "the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope." It is a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short last year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, describing the government in Damascus in purely negative terms.

The fawning Hollywood and Congressional depictions of the group go something like this: "the White Helmets are an 'heroic' impartial non-government humanitarian volunteer group that engages in 'first response' emergency rescue and medical treatment for all those who have been impacted by the fighting in Syria. The Syrian government hates the group because it assists victims of the fighting who are either rebels or living in rebel held areas. Recently, with the Syrian Army closing in on the last White Helmet affiliates still operating in the country, the Israeli government, assisted by the United States, staged an emergency humanitarian evacuation of the group's members and their families to Israel and then on to Jordan."

Virtually all the mainstream media coverage of the White Helmets is bogus, but by far the most ridiculous account of the Exodus from Syria came from the BBC. For those who are not familiar with it, the BBC, which once upon a time had a reputation for journalistic integrity, has become one of the worst pro-government propaganda shills of all time. Reading its articles is even worse that having a similar go at The Washington Post , which is the prime newspaper exemplar of fake news and phony journalism pretending to be a respectable news source in the United States. Let's face it, Donald Trump has a point. Nearly all of the mainstream media lies persistently these days but some sources are worse than others. People complain about Fox, and rightly so, but CNN is the absolute pits when it comes to slanting its coverage, as is MSNBC.

BBC's article is entitled Syria conflict: White Helmets evacuated by Israel. It makes the following statements, many coming directly from Israeli official sources, regarding the White Helmets, its activities and the group's relationship to some governments, to include Britain:

"The IDF said they had 'completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families', saying there was an 'immediate threat to their lives.' The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel was an exceptional humanitarian gesture." "Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades. Despite the intervention, the IDF said that 'Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict.'" "A statement from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: 'White Helmets have been the target of attacks and, due to their high profile, we judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection. We pay tribute to the brave and selfless work that White Helmet volunteers have done to save Syrians on all sides of the conflict.'" "Their official name is the Syrian Civil Defense and it began in early 2013 as an organization of volunteers from all walks of life, including electricians and builders. Its main task soon became to rescue civilians in war zones in the immediate aftermath of air strikes, and it says its volunteers have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people during the civil war."

The BBC story could have been written by the White Helmets themselves or by their press department. Or alternatively by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. First of all, the Israelis do not do humanitarian gestures. They helped bail out the White Helmets at the request of the U.S. because capture by the Syrians would have produced embarrassing revelations about how the group was funded and what its affiliation with terrorists was all about. And Israel's denial of involvement in Syria is nonsense, unless one considers demonstrated collaboration with the terrorist groups punctuated by nearly weekly bombing and missile attacks to be non-involvement.

The British too are into the deception up to their eyeballs. The comment by Hunt and Mordaunt is complete fabrication regarding what the White Helmets represent. The same goes for the BBC account of how the group developed, which comes directly from the White Helmet's own propaganda division as amplified by Hollywood and the U.S. and U.K. governments.

Just as important as what is said about the White Helmets' activities is the exclusion of a great deal of credible negative reporting on the group. The carefully edited scenes of heroism under fire that have been filmed and released worldwide conceal the White Helmets' relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of "rebel" opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground.

Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of "eyewitness" news regarding what was going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go. It was all part of a broader largely successful "rebel" effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians, an effort that led to several attacks on government forces and facilities by the U.S. military.

The White Helmets travel to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative which consistently promotes tales of government atrocities against civilians to encourage outside military intervention in Syria and bring about regime change in Damascus. The White Helmets were, for example, the propagators of the totally false but propagandistically effective claims regarding the government use of so-called "barrel bombs" against civilians.

Peter Ford, British Ambassador in Damascus from 2003-2006, recently described the group in an audio interview saying, "The White Helmets are jihadi auxiliaries. They are not, as claimed by themselves and by their supporters simple rescuers. They are not volunteers. They are paid professionals of disinformation." He noted particularly the large size of the organization's "press department", saying, "This gives us an idea what the priority is for this very dubious organization. All their activities are directed at mobilizing Western opinion behind the jihadis with whom they associate. They co-locate their centers with the Al-Qaeda organization known as Al-Nusra and with other militant groups such as Jaish al-Islam. They have in the past been shown associating with and waving the flags of ISIS."

The group is currently largely funded by a number of non-government organizations (NGOs) as well as governments, including the United States, Britain and some European Union member states. The U.S. has directly provided $23 million through the USAID (US Agency for International Development) as of 2016 and almost certainly considerably more indirectly. Max Blumenthal has explored in some detail the various funding resources and relationships that the organization draws on, mostly in Europe and the United States.

Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities , to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group's jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow "mujahideen" and "soldiers of the revolution."

So Israel's celebrated rescue of the White Helmets was little more than a theatrical performance intended to perpetuate the myth that the al-Assad government was thwarted in an attempt to capture and possibly kill an honorable non-partisan group engaged in humanitarian relief for those caught up in a bloody conflict seeking to oust a ruthless dictator. The reality is quite different. The White Helmets were and are part and parcel of the attempt to overthrow a legitimate government and install a regime friendly to western, American and Israeli interests. For Israel in particular the ongoing chaos in Syria was and is part of its plan for dividing all of its neighbors into warring ethnicities and sects, making them less viable as threats to the Jewish state.

The 800 White Helmets rescued reportedly will be resettled in the U.S., Britain and Germany. One hopes those coming to America can end up in Los Angeles, where they would presumably mingle with Hollywood big shots and the usual snowflakes while working on their next documentary. As some of them are most certainly radical Jihadists, it will be interesting to observe exactly how that will play out.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

[Jul 24, 2018] How think tanks sell war...

Notable quotes:
"... The idea behind offset agreements is simple: When a country buys weapons from a firm overseas, it pumps a large amount of money out of its economy, instead of investing in its own defense industry or in other domestic projects. So to make large weapons deals more attractive, arms companies offer programs to "offset" that effect. As part of a weapons package, they often sign an agreement to invest in the country's economy, either in defense or civilian sectors. ..."
"... According to an email from Clarke, the UAE accepted unpaid offset obligations as cash payments to a large financial firm called Tawazun Holding. Tawazun sent the $20 million to a UAE think tank called the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research . ECSSR then began sending that money to the Middle East Institute, a prestigious D.C. think tank that has a history of promoting arms sales to Gulf dictatorships. ... ..."
"... So essentially, in a roundabout way, the UAE took money from international firms that was meant for economic development and funneled it to a supportive think tank in the United States. ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Weapons Money Intended for Economic Development Being Secretly Diverted to Lobbying Alex Emmons Aug 18, 2017 undefined

The United Arab Emirates created a "slush fund" using money meant for domestic economic development projects and funneled it to a high-profile think tank in the United States, emails obtained by The Intercept show.

Last week, The Intercept reported that the UAE gave a $20 million grant to the Middle East Institute, flooding a well-regarded D.C. think tank with a monetary grant larger than its annual budget . According to an email from Richard Clarke, MEI's chairman of the board, the UAE got the money from offset investments -- development investments by international companies that are made as part of trade agreements.

The idea behind offset agreements is simple: When a country buys weapons from a firm overseas, it pumps a large amount of money out of its economy, instead of investing in its own defense industry or in other domestic projects. So to make large weapons deals more attractive, arms companies offer programs to "offset" that effect. As part of a weapons package, they often sign an agreement to invest in the country's economy, either in defense or civilian sectors.

Offsets provide a way to sell weapons at inflated prices, when companies offer juicier offset packages. Critics say the lack of transparency in how offset investments are carried out leaves a window open for a form of legalized corruption. The emails lift a veil on what has long been an obscure element of the arms trade.

According to an email from Clarke, the UAE accepted unpaid offset obligations as cash payments to a large financial firm called Tawazun Holding. Tawazun sent the $20 million to a UAE think tank called the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research . ECSSR then began sending that money to the Middle East Institute, a prestigious D.C. think tank that has a history of promoting arms sales to Gulf dictatorships. ...

So essentially, in a roundabout way, the UAE took money from international firms that was meant for economic development and funneled it to a supportive think tank in the United States.

Fair use excerpt. Full article here .

[Jul 24, 2018] Where Conservative Ideas Come From by Timothy Shenk

Notable quotes:
"... Stahl's chief object of inquiry is the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI. Founded in 1938 by a group of businessmen devoted to unwinding the New Deal, its true history began five years later, when its headquarters moved from New York to Washington. Inside the Beltway, AEI staffers portrayed themselves as nonpartisan scholars eager to assist lawmakers from both parties. That stance became increasingly difficult to maintain as the conservative movement grew in strength, and in the 1970s AEI was reborn as a champion of the right in the battle for ideas. ..."
"... Success bred imitators, and AEI soon found itself outflanked by an upstart known as the Heritage Foundation. More concerned with passing legislation than posing as researchers, Heritage became the dominant think tank in Reagan's Washington. These nimble practitioners of war-by-briefing-books made AEI seem musty and academic by comparison. AEI revived itself by shifting toward the middle, but it never regained its former centrality. It had changed too much, and so had conservatism. ..."
"... Think tanks like Heritage, he writes, have redefined what it means to be on the right and persuaded countless Americans to join their cause, managing to "forever alter American political culture in a more conservative direction." ..."
"... National Review, ..."
Jun 26, 2016 | The Chronicle of Higher Education
... ... ...

...What began in the 1990s with a trickle of articles lamenting the absence of studies on American conservatism grew in the 2000s to a flood of monographs on the activists, intellectuals, and politicians who bent history's arc to the right. Lisa McGirr's trailblazing study of Orange County's suburban warriors, Bethany Moreton's exploration of the politics of Wal-Mart, and Angus Burgin's meticulous reconstruction of the winding path from Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman were just a few of the highlights in a booming field.

As Buckley would have preferred, the representative figure in this scholarship was not George Wallace but Ronald Reagan. The 40th president stood for a coalition of prosperous, forward-looking voters motivated by sincere ideological commitments and assisted by an emerging conservative establishment filled with adept manipulators of Washington's bureaucracy. The populism and racism that fueled Wallace's career were not forgotten, but too great an emphasis on these subjects did not fit with the grudging respect these generally liberal historians evinced for the subjects of their research.

Jason Stahl's Right Moves is a characteristic product of this approach. Stahl, a historian at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, describes his book as an examination of conservative think tanks, those curious institutions that, although little known to the wider public, play a decisive a role in shaping policy. Several fine studies of these organizations already exist, but they are chiefly the work of journalists, and a historical appraisal is long overdue.

Stahl's chief object of inquiry is the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI. Founded in 1938 by a group of businessmen devoted to unwinding the New Deal, its true history began five years later, when its headquarters moved from New York to Washington. Inside the Beltway, AEI staffers portrayed themselves as nonpartisan scholars eager to assist lawmakers from both parties. That stance became increasingly difficult to maintain as the conservative movement grew in strength, and in the 1970s AEI was reborn as a champion of the right in the battle for ideas.

Success bred imitators, and AEI soon found itself outflanked by an upstart known as the Heritage Foundation. More concerned with passing legislation than posing as researchers, Heritage became the dominant think tank in Reagan's Washington. These nimble practitioners of war-by-briefing-books made AEI seem musty and academic by comparison. AEI revived itself by shifting toward the middle, but it never regained its former centrality. It had changed too much, and so had conservatism.

Stahl narrates this history with subtlety, neither condescending to his subjects nor shielding them from embarrassment; they are at once dexterous navigators of the political scene and authors of a harebrained Heritage report holding that an increase in the number of working mothers could lead to a rise in dwarfism. His grasp of the dynamics at work in the shifting fortunes of AEI and Heritage - a relationship bound up with both sweeping political change and the intricacies of fund-raising - flows from his mastery of this milieu.

Yet Right Moves becomes less steady as it moves toward the present. Braving the risks of contemporary history, Stahl loses access to the archives that give his earlier chapters their depth and nuance. He concludes with an uncharacteristically blunt assessment of current politics. Think tanks like Heritage, he writes, have redefined what it means to be on the right and persuaded countless Americans to join their cause, managing to "forever alter American political culture in a more conservative direction."

That was a powerful argument when this book went to press, and it would have gained even more force if conservatives were about to deliver the Republican Party's presidential nomination to Ted Cruz. Or Marco Rubio. Or Jeb Bush. Or any of the 13 other major candidates for the position except Donald Trump. In the words of Buckley's National Review, Trump is "a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones." But as Trump has more recently observed, "this is called the Republican Party. It's not called the Conservative Party." And Republicans have capitulated to a candidate opposed by the assembled forces of the conservative establishment - an establishment that is clearly as detached from the constituents it claims to represent as any of the liberal elites it has pilloried for decades, and whose isolation from its supposed base made Trump's nomination possible.

Republicans are now wrestling with the implications of this turn; historians will move at a slower pace, but they also have a reckoning ahead. A generation ago, explaining the power of the American right seemed an essential task for anyone seeking to understand the headlines. Recent events suggest that scholars should adopt a more skeptical attitude toward the image presented by the self-appointed gatekeepers of True Conservatism. The gap between policy makers and the grassroots is larger than students of the right have allowed, the opportunities for ideological crosscutting more prevalent. Histories written from this perspective would be less willing to take Buckley at his word, and they would have more room for Wallace.

Though reeling at the moment, however, Buckley's political descendants should not be counted out. Just a few months ago, a meeting off the coast of Georgia brought together figures ranging from Tim Cook to Karl Rove in a two-day session dedicated to mapping out a plan to stop Trump. They lost this round, but the fight will continue in the years to come, and support from organizations like the host of this conclave will be invaluable. What form this campaign will take is still a mystery. Attendance in Georgia was invitation only, as is the custom at the "American Enterprise Institute World Forum."

Timothy Shenk, a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, is the author of Maurice Dobb: Political Economist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

[Jul 24, 2018] The think-tank topics and views tend to dominate discussions and steal the oxygen from outside ideas

Milton Friedman and George Stigler – with the help of corporate and political support – found the adequate tool to empower their ideas, which was the network of think-tanks, the use of scholarships provide by them, and the intensive use of media. This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the "philosophy of freedom".
Notable quotes:
"... the successful businessmen created The Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981, which established 150 think-tanks around the globe. These institutions were set up based on the model of Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded in 1955 by Fisher, which is a good example how the marginalized group of neoliberal thinkers got into intellectual and political power. ..."
"... Today, "more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries" serve the "cause of liberty" through the network. The network of Fisher was largely directed by the members of Mont Pelerin Society (Djelic, 2014). ..."
"... This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the „philosophy of freedom". ..."
"... Awareness of gatekeeper roles and their ramifications is one issue of grave concern to many citizens. There are variations of the role playing in different parts of society whether in the Ivory Tower, Think Tanks (self-designated with initial capitals), media or other areas. Recently, that role in media has come under scrutiny as seen during and after the US campaign and election. Who gets to control what appears as news ..."
"... The increasing impact of social media in dissemination of information and use of influencers represents a type of Barbarians at the Literal Gate. The boards and think tanks won't easily relinquish their positions, any more than the gatekeepers of prior eras would willingly do so. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Not only Backhouse (2005) , but also Adam Curtis(2011) , the British documentary film-maker also researched how Fisher created his global think-tank network, spreading the libertarian values of individual and economic – but never social and political – freedom, and also the freedom for capital owners from the state.

According to Curtis (2011) , the „ideologically motivated PR organisations" intended to achieve a technocratic, elitist system, which preserves actual power structures. As he notes, the successful businessmen created The Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981, which established 150 think-tanks around the globe. These institutions were set up based on the model of Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded in 1955 by Fisher, which is a good example how the marginalized group of neoliberal thinkers got into intellectual and political power.

Today, "more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries" serve the "cause of liberty" through the network. The network of Fisher was largely directed by the members of Mont Pelerin Society (Djelic, 2014).

Enquiring Mind , October 29, 2017 at 10:48 am

This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the „philosophy of freedom".

Awareness of gatekeeper roles and their ramifications is one issue of grave concern to many citizens. There are variations of the role playing in different parts of society whether in the Ivory Tower, Think Tanks (self-designated with initial capitals), media or other areas. Recently, that role in media has come under scrutiny as seen during and after the US campaign and election. Who gets to control what appears as news , and will the NY Times editorial board cede any of that, for example?

The increasing impact of social media in dissemination of information and use of influencers represents a type of Barbarians at the Literal Gate. The boards and think tanks won't easily relinquish their positions, any more than the gatekeepers of prior eras would willingly do so.

This era is unsettling to the average person on the street, and particularly to those living on the street, because they have been told one thing with certainty and gravitas and then found out something else that was materially opposed. In the meantime, truth continues to seek an audience.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The assertion you selected from today's post seems clearly false to me. The think-tank organizations definitely create new ideas and often conflict with each other. Their topics and views also tend to dominate discussions and steal the oxygen from outside ideas.

They are schools of agnotology flooding discussion of every policy with their "answers" and contributing to the Marketplace of ideas.

[Jul 24, 2018] The attack of think tanks

Oct 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> anne... , October 29, 2016 at 05:34 AM
http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober-2016/the-myth-of-the-powell-memo/

September, 2016

The Myth of the Powell Memo
A secret note from a future Supreme Court justice did not give rise to today's conservative infrastructure. Something more insidious did.
By Mark Schmitt

At one end of a block of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C., sometimes known as "Think Tank Row"-the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Brookings Institution are neighbors-a monument to intellectual victory has been under reconstruction for a year. It will soon be the home of the American Enterprise Institute, a 60,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts masterpiece where Andrew Mellon lived when he was treasury secretary during the 1920s. AEI purchased the building with a $20 million donation from one of the founders of the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm.

Right Moves
The Conservative Think Tank in American Political Culture Since 1945
By Jason Stahl

In the story of the rise of the political right in America since the late 1970s, think tanks, and sometimes the glorious edifices in which they are housed, have played an iconic role. The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the libertarian Cato Institute, along with their dozens of smaller but well-funded cousins, have seemed central to the "war of ideas" that drove American policy in the 1980s, in the backlash of 1994, in the George W. Bush era, and again after 2010.

For the center left, these institutions have become role models. While Brookings or the Urban Institute once eschewed ideology in favor of mild policy analysis or dispassionate technical assessment of social programs, AEI and Heritage seemed to build virtual war rooms for conservative ideas, investing more in public relations than in scholarship or credibility, and nurturing young talent (or, more often, the glib but not-very-talented). Their strategy seemed savvier. Conservative think tanks nurtured supply-side economics, neoconservative foreign policy, and the entire agenda of the Reagan administration, which took the form of a twenty-volume tome produced by Heritage in 1980 called Mandate for Leadership.

In the last decade or so, much of the intellectual architecture of the conservative think tanks has been credited to a single document known as the Powell Memo. This 1971 note from future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell to a Virginia neighbor who worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged business to do more to respond to the rising "New Left," countering forces such as Ralph Nader's nascent consumer movement in the courts, in media, and in academia....

DeDude -> anne... , -1
The part where the neo-con-men get the scientific process wrong is where they begin with the conclusion, before they even collect any facts. And then they whine that Universities are full of Liberals. No they are full of scientists - and they are supposed to be.
ken melvin -> anne... , October 29, 2016 at 07:11 AM
I think that the biggest denial of all is to the effect all this crap has had on the economy. Today we see cites rotting away because there is not enough income to support business and infrastructure, yet we hear such as Ryan proposing more of the same as a solution. The scope of the damage is huge, yet both parties are in denial. The whole of the implementation of conservative philosophy has been a colossal failure for the nation.

[Jul 23, 2018] A link to an article on how Western NGOs and terrorist groups hire Syrian refugees as actors in their videos through social media sites

Jul 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jul 22, 2018 6:29:55 PM | 21

Basil @ 11:

Thanks for posting those links. I just had a look at Vanessa Beeley's blog and found a link to an article on how Western NGOs and terrorist groups hire Syrian refugees as actors in their videos through social media sites (in particular social media sites that advertise jobs).

https://en.insidesyriamc.com/2018/07/12/breaking-syrian-opposition-and-western-ngos-hire-actors-for-chemical-weapons-provocation/

Unfortunately (and understandably perhaps, given the risk that might be involved) the people at Inside Syria Media Center did not go far enough in their investigation to find out where the money to pay the actors in these "documentaries" comes from.

[Jul 23, 2018] Christianity was formed after Jesus was executed to protect the money lenders as a protest against debt slavery

Notable quotes:
"... You don't need to "evacuate" aid workers & paramedics, because they have nothing to offer, nothing to fear and want to stay and help people. You DO evacuate special forces & trained proxies. Because you spent money putting them there and the last thing you want is them getting caught or killed. ..."
"... So this is basically a brilliant way of getting hundreds of key ISIS figures our of Syria and resettled into Western countries. Just tidy them up and give them a white helmet. Do these sound like White Helmets to you? ..."
"... Who cares what actually happens to the real White Helmets, the West certainly don't. Especially as the real White Helmets and their families were mainly up in the north, Idlib, hundreds of miles from the Israeli border with no way of getting there. This is a sham. The key ISIS operatives are getting out via Israel while the ones that don't matter are on buses to Idlib, currently blocked as they try to pass through Iranian controlled territory. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

White Helmets are connected to Mo$$ad and MI6

adam gadahn , Jul 22, 2018 3:16:00 PM | 4
White Helmets "Rescued" By Israel Via Golan Heights In Overnight Operation

why?

You don't need to "evacuate" aid workers & paramedics, because they have nothing to offer, nothing to fear and want to stay and help people. You DO evacuate special forces & trained proxies. Because you spent money putting them there and the last thing you want is them getting caught or killed.

So this is basically a brilliant way of getting hundreds of key ISIS figures our of Syria and resettled into Western countries. Just tidy them up and give them a white helmet. Do these sound like White Helmets to you?

Maadeh Nassar "The Commander of the 'Golan Knights Brigade", Ahmad Al-Nuhas Commander of the "Brigade of the Sword of the Levant", Alaa Halaki "Commander of the Ababel army" and Abu Ratib Nassar, leader of the 'Golan Knights Brigade" escape to Israelearly this morning.

No, me neither.

Who cares what actually happens to the real White Helmets, the West certainly don't. Especially as the real White Helmets and their families were mainly up in the north, Idlib, hundreds of miles from the Israeli border with no way of getting there. This is a sham. The key ISIS operatives are getting out via Israel while the ones that don't matter are on buses to Idlib, currently blocked as they try to pass through Iranian controlled territory.

as for the cia,mi6 mossad sas white helmets they put out a statement thanking george clooney and asking for the return of the oscar lost somewhere in the syriana

adam gadahn , Jul 22, 2018 3:24:56 PM | 5

White Helmets are Mo$$ad and MI6. A branch of AlQaeda terrorists. The one we were told did 9/11(LOL!). 800 members and their families rescued and will go to germany,Canada, France and Britain. Possible US too.

the rescue mission This shows you clearly who was behind the war in Syria. through idf heliborne operations of ISIS leaders, especially the foreign ones. Netanyahu said that TRUMP and Trudeau asked him to evacuate them.


lol lol
into talmud infinity
my life already

[Jul 22, 2018] Israel helping move 800 White Helmets out of Syria via Jordan report -- RT World News

Notable quotes:
"... "members of a Syrian civil organization and their families" ..."
"... "additional European countries." ..."
"... "due to an immediate threat to their lives," ..."
"... "an exceptional humanitarian gesture." ..."
"... "humanitarian aid to civilians, women and children" ..."
"... "will not accept any Syrian refugee to our territory." ..."
"... "political solution." ..."
"... If you like this story, share it with a friend! ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | www.rt.com

Some 800 members of the controversial Western-backed White Helmets will be brought to Jordan through Israel to be reportedly resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany. The UN is overseeing the exodus. Hundreds of the self-described aid workers, who operate exclusively in rebel-held areas, have crossed into Israel from southwestern Syria overnight on Sunday, German tabloid Bild reported, citing its own correspondents in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Evacuation of white helmets plus families still ongoing here at syrian israeli border. Plan is to drive asap to jordan. @BILD pic.twitter.com/KcBOdduM2t

-- Paul Ronzheimer (@ronzheimer) July 22, 2018

The White Helmets' passage has been facilitated by Israel, according to Bild, which reports they have been transferred through an Israeli military base. The evacuation kicked off at 9:30 pm local time on Saturday and was expected to continue into the night. Several roads were put on lockdown by the army and police as part of preparations for the exodus.

On Sunday morning, the IDF's Twitter account confirmed that Israeli forces had evacuated "members of a Syrian civil organization and their families" at the request of the US and "additional European countries." In a number of subsequent tweets, the military said that some "civilians" were rescued from southern Syria "due to an immediate threat to their lives," and because Israel wanted to make "an exceptional humanitarian gesture."

Following an Israeli Government directive and at the request of the United States and additional European countries, the IDF recently completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families

-- IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 22, 2018

The civilians were subsequently transferred to a neighboring country. Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict and continues to hold the Syrian regime accountable for all activities in Syrian territory

-- IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 22, 2018

It did not clarify to which organization, if any, the evacuees belonged.

Israel previously admitted that it has been providing humanitarian assistance to Syrian militants, treating over 1,000 wounded rebel fighters in its hospitals. According to Israel's ex-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, the assistance was granted under the condition that the militants would not let Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters slip into Israel and would not do any harm to the population of Druze villages.

Read more FILE PHOTO © Hosam Katan White Helmets are helping Syrian militants prepare 'false flag' chemical attack – Idlib residents

However, Israel has been adamant about not taking in Syrian refugees, with hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stating last month that while the Jewish state keeps providing "humanitarian aid to civilians, women and children" camped on the Syrian side of the border, it "will not accept any Syrian refugee to our territory."

It is supposed that the White Helmets will not stay in the Jewish state for longer than is needed to transport them to the Jordanian border. The transfer has been confirmed by Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Mohammad al-Kayed, as cited by Ammon News.

Al-Kayed said that Jordan had granted the request on purely humanitarian grounds after Britain, Canada and Germany each reportedly pledged to take in a share of the White Helmets fleeing what they describe as potential persecution by Damascus. Last month, Jordan, which already hosts some 1.3 million displaced Syrians, said it won't take any more in, stressing the need for a "political solution."

Once in the Jordanian territory, the Syrians will be confined to a specially designated restricted area where they will stay for a maximum of three months until handed over to one of the Western countries, Al-Kayed noted , adding that the scheme should not place any additional burden on Jordan, as the organization of their passage has been arranged by the UN.

Read more White Helmets member walks on the rubble of destroyed buildings in Eastern Ghouta © Abdulmonam Eassa / AFP 'Propaganda organization': White Helmets 'engage in anti-Assad activities' – author Sy Hersh to RT

It's yet unclear how the members of the White Helmets, who have on multiple occasions been reported as dealing with Al-Qaeda-linked militants, will be distributed among the potential recipients, with Bild reporting that it is yet unknown how many of them will come Germany's way.

A looming evacuation of the White Helmets from Syria was first reported by CBS News on July 14. The broadcaster reported that the issue was raised by US allies in conversations with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the two-day NATO summit on July 11- July 12.

Reportedly, UK Prime Minister Theresa May personally interceded on the White Helmets' behalf during Trump's visit to the UK, a day after the summit.

On Friday, CBS News reported that the operation was to be launched "very quickly" and proceed in accordance with a joint plan, thrashed out by the US, the UK and Canada.

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[Jul 09, 2018] 'Propaganda organization' White Helmets 'engage in anti-Assad activities' author Sy Hersh

Another version: skripals were him by members of Russian mafia
Jul 09, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Although some members of the Western-supported White Helmets may be in the business of saving lives, the group is also a 'propaganda organization,' author Sy Hersh has told RT's 'Going Underground.'

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist also spoke about reporting in the United States and how it changed under the Obama administration, as well as the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, UK.

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[Jul 03, 2018] 'Propaganda organization': White Helmets 'engage in anti-Assad activities' author Sy Hersh

Jul 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

richardstevenhack a day ago Must see interview with Sy Hersh, investigative reporter. [SPOILER: He does NOT talk about the infamous tape about Seth Rich.]

'Propaganda organization': White Helmets 'engage in anti-Assad activities' – author Sy Hersh

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https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FvPRagJKxED4%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvPRagJKxED4&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FvPRagJKxED4%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

Sy has a new book out called "Reporter" A Memoir" which is mostly autobiographical about his career as a reporter, with references to his My Lai massacre reporting, his start with the Chicago papers as a crime reporter, and later experiences.

Very interesting comments on My Lai, on the Syrian war and the chemical attack incidents. He has pretty much nothing to say about the British Skripal incident except that he's been told by people in the US that Skripal was reporting to one of Brit intelligence agencies on Russian Mafia activity in Europe - which he says pretty much indicates who might have wanted to poison Skripal.

[Jun 16, 2018] White Helmets A tool for 'regime change' in Syria that's too important to stop funding

Notable quotes:
"... "The Pentagon planners have probably finally realized just how important the White Helmets are to the regime change operation," ..."
"... "The fact that they have been so successful in proving fake imagery and fake evidence just means that they can be relied upon whenever there is a need for a pretext for another missile attack or even a full-scale invasion." ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.rt.com

Washington's decision to resume funding for White Helmets after a brief freeze highlights how important the controversial group is for the US-promoted regime-change agenda, journalists and Syrian conflict observers have told RT. "The Pentagon planners have probably finally realized just how important the White Helmets are to the regime change operation," Mike Raddie, co-editor of BSNews and an anti-war activist, told RT. "The fact that they have been so successful in proving fake imagery and fake evidence just means that they can be relied upon whenever there is a need for a pretext for another missile attack or even a full-scale invasion."

The anti-war activist recalled how the so-called Syria Civil Defence units, better known as the White Helmets, have been instrumental in the justification of the US strikes on Syria in April of 2017, and the trilateral strikes by the UK, France, and the US in April 2018.

[May 14, 2018] After US administration announced that America would no longer be funding the white helmets propaganda outfit in the UK parliament an opposition member of parliament was practically foaming at the mouth with rage and demanded of prime minister Mrs May that the UK would be continuing to fund the white helmets

Notable quotes:
"... When she assured him that the UK was fully behind the white helmets and that funding would remain in place, there was a cheer from around the house. I'm amazed that Bolton allowed the administration to cut off funding when even the UK idiots in parliament want to fund the propaganda arm of the head choppers. ..."
May 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: john wilson | May 12, 2018 8:06:41 AM | 7

The question we all want to know is, did Trump appoint lunatic Bolton entirely of his own volition, or was he forced to appoint this psychopath? The reach of the US deep state seems to be limitless. A curious thing happened the other day when someone in the US administration announced that America would no longer be funding the white helmets propaganda outfit. Over here in the UK parliament an opposition member of parliament was practically foaming at the mouth with rage and demanded of prime minister Mrs May that the UK would be continuing to fund the white helmets.

When she assured him that the UK was fully behind the white helmets and that funding would remain in place, there was a cheer from around the house. I'm amazed that Bolton allowed the administration to cut off funding when even the UK idiots in parliament want to fund the propaganda arm of the head choppers.

[May 12, 2018] A curious thing happened the other day when someone in the US administration announced that America would no longer be funding the white helmets propaganda outfit. Over here in the UK parliament an opposition member of parliament was practically foaming at the mouth with rage and demanded of prime minister Mrs May that the UK would be continuing to fund the white helmets.

Notable quotes:
"... When she assured him that the UK was fully behind the white helmets and that funding would remain in place, there was a cheer from around the house. I'm amazed that Bolton allowed the administration to cut off funding when even the UK idiots in parliament want to fund the propaganda arm of the head choppers. ..."
May 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: john wilson | May 12, 2018 8:06:41 AM | 7

The question we all want to know is, did Trump appoint lunatic Bolton entirely of his own volition, or was he forced to appoint this psychopath? The reach of the US deep state seems to be limitless. A curious thing happened the other day when someone in the US administration announced that America would no longer be funding the white helmets propaganda outfit. Over here in the UK parliament an opposition member of parliament was practically foaming at the mouth with rage and demanded of prime minister Mrs May that the UK would be continuing to fund the white helmets.

When she assured him that the UK was fully behind the white helmets and that funding would remain in place, there was a cheer from around the house. I'm amazed that Bolton allowed the administration to cut off funding when even the UK idiots in parliament want to fund the propaganda arm of the head choppers.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Guardian has become tabloid.

Apr 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 22, 2018 12:29:41 PM | 7

The Carla Ortiz and Jimmy Dore exchange is fascinating. Each in her/his own way is superb. The Guardian has become boulevard press = tabloid. Nearly every day before and even after the US election Mrs. Clinton gloated on the front page. Bernie Sanders was no where to be seen nearly until the election. Now the Guardian is priming its readers for the stomach-churning royal wedding coming up. No, no more Guardian for me. And they have the gall to ask for money to turn out articles praising the White Helemts. No! Curtis , Apr 22, 2018 12:32:23 PM | 8

Anonymous 4
BBC took on Vannessa Beeley recently, too. Will NYT and WaPo be next? The anti-Russia agenda continues along with the anti-truth-in-Syria agenda.

AriusAmerican 5
During the Bush II fiasco, there were anti-war protests. The protests disappeared after Obama took office. And he was given a Nobel Peace Prize for talking about peace. But everyone went along with Obama's wars. No protests. And that's how they like it. They want support and tend to get it from the MSM and party lackeys. And if they don't get support, the one thing they don't want are massive protests, calls to congress, etc. As long as there's little to no resistance their war agenda continues.

Curtis , Apr 22, 2018 12:49:24 PM | 9
PS
The HuffPoUK article tears into Beeley but at the bottom has a Russian submission to the Security Council of a report she did of the White Helmets. That report negates the article/story! HuffPoUK claims this is part two of a series and that part three will "look at evidence presented against the White Helmets." That should be interesting.

Anonymous2 | Apr 22, 2018 1:50:23 PM | 12

Curtis

"The anti-Russia agenda continues along with the anti-truth-in-Syria agenda."

I dont get it why these journalists are against finding out what happend (since we dont know that yet)? Most of these morons have no idea about the conflict at all, and all of a sudden start writing like they are veteran journalists and have profound knowledge about Syria.

Why is there such a hatred? Is it brainwashing?


[Dec 09, 2017] Hyping the Russian Threat to Undermine Free Speech by Max Blumenthal

Highly recommended!
This is a simply a brilliant article. Probably the best written on the subject so far. Kudos to Max Blumenthal
Thinks tanks are really ideological tanks -- formidable weapon in propaganda wars that crush everything on its way. And taken together far right think tanks financed by defense sector or intelligence agencies are really a shadow far right political party with its own neocon agenda. Actually subverting the will of American people (who elected Trump) for more peaceful relations (aka detente) with Russia in favor of interest of weapon manufactures and the army of "national security parasites".
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers those think tanks decides to create a fake narrative and blame Russians. Is not this a classic variant of projection ?
The slow strangulation of the US MSM means the crisis of confidence. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of of degradation of the ruling elite. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to social problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, as well as intelligence agencies spying on everybody.
Now all those well paid ( and sometimes even talented) war propagandist intend to substitute the real crisis of neoliberalism in the USA demonstrated during the recent Presidential Elections for the artificial problem of Russian meddling. And they are succeeding in this unfair and evil substitution. The also manage to "poison the well" -- relation between two nations were now at the level probably lower then during Cold War (when many Russians were sympathetic to the USA). I think 70% of Democratic voters now are convinced the Russia was meddling in the USA election and about 30% of Republican voters also think so. For the creators of 'artificial reality" such numbers signify big success. A very big success to be exact.
Notable quotes:
"... In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos ..."
"... The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media ..."
"... A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe." ..."
"... Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force. ..."
"... Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs. ..."
"... Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease. ..."
"... In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending." ..."
"... Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran. ..."
"... Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. ..."
"... Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news. ..."
"... Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them. ..."
"... The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal. ..."
"... The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents. ..."
"... In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record. ..."
"... When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent. ..."
"... Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie. ..."
"... The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits. ..."
"... Dr. Strangelove ..."
"... It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations. ..."
Nov 13, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

Nearly a year after the presidential election, the scandal over accusations of Russian political interference in the 2016 election has gone beyond Donald Trump and reached into the nebulous world of online media. On November 1, Congress held hearings on "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online." The proceedings saw executives from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube subjected to tongue-lashings from lawmakers like Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who howled about Russian online trolls "spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement."

In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos.

"Civil wars don't start with gunshots, they start with words," he proclaimed. "America's war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America."

Next, Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media censorship: "Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end."

The censorious overtone of Watts' testimony was unmistakable. He demanded that government news inquisitors drive dissident media off the internet and warned that Americans would spear one another with bayonets if they failed to act. And not one member of Congress rose to object. In fact, many echoed his call for media suppression in the House and Senate hearings, with Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jackie Speier agreeing the most vehemently. The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media -- including content that amplified the message of progressive causes like Black Lives Matter.

Details of exactly what transpired vis a vis Russia and the U.S. in social media in 2016 are still emerging. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," written by CIA, FBI and NSA, with its central conclusion that Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

To be sure, there is ample evidence that Russian-linked trolls have attempted to exploit wedge issues on social media platforms. But the impact of these schemes on real-world events appears to have been exaggerated. According to Facebook's data , 56 percent of Russian-linked ads appeared after the 2016 presidential election, and another 25 percent "were never shown to anyone." The ads were said to have "reached" over 100 million people, but that assumes that Facebook users did not scroll through or otherwise ignore them, as they do with most ads. Content emanating from "Russia-linked" sources on YouTube, meanwhile, managed to rack up hit totals in the hundreds , not exactly a viral smash.

Facebook posts traced to the infamous Internet Research Agency troll factory in Russia amounted to only 0.0004 percent of total content that appeared on the social network. (Some of these posts targeted "animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies," while another hawked an LGBT-themed " Buff Bernie coloring book for Berniacs.") According to its " deliberately broad" review , Twitter found that only 0.74 percent of its election-related tweets were "Russian-linked." Google, for its part, documented a grand total of $4,700 of "Russian-linked ad spending" during the 2016 election cycle. While some have argued that the Russian-linked ads were micro-targeted, and could have shifted key electoral voting blocs, these ads appeared in a media climate awash in a multi-billion dollar deluge of political ad spending from both established parties and dark money super PACs.

However, a blitz of feverish corporate media coverage and tension-filled congressional hearings has convinced a whopping 82 percent of Democrats that "Russian-backed" social media content played a central role in swinging the 2016 election. Russian meddling has even earned comparisons by lawmakers to Pearl Harbor, to "acts of war," and by Hillary Clinton to the attacks of 9/11 . And in an inadvertent way, these overblown comparisons were apt.

As during the aftermath of 9/11, the fallout from Russiagate has spawned a multimillion-dollar industry of pundits and self-styled experts eager to exploit the frenetic atmosphere for publicity and profits. Many of these figures have emerged out of the swamp that flowed from the war on terror and are gravitating toward the growing Russia fearmongering industrial complex in search of new opportunities. Few of these characters have become as prominent as Clint Watts.

So who is Watts, and how did he emerge seemingly from nowhere to become the star congressional witness on Russian meddling?

Dubious Expertise, Impressive Salesmanship

A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe."

Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force.

Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs.

Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease.

Before Congress, a String of Deceptions

Back on March 30, as the narrative of Russian meddling gathered momentum, Watts made his first appearance before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Seated at the front of a hearing room packed with reporters, Watts introduced Congress to concepts of Russian meddling that were novel at the time, but which have become part of Beltway newspeak. His testimony turned out to be a signal moment in Russiagate, helping transition the narrative of the scandal from Russia-Trump collusion to the wider issue of online influence.

In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending."

Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran.

The premise of these op-eds should have raised serious concerns about Watts and his colleagues, and even questions about their sanity. They had marketed themselves as national security experts, yet they were lobbying the US to "befriend" the allies of Al Qaeda, the group that brought down the Twin Towers. (Ahrar al-Sham was founded by Abu Khalid al-Suri, a Madrid bombing suspect who was named by Spanish investigators as Osama bin-Laden's courier.) Anyone cynical enough to put such ideas into public circulation should have expected a backlash. But when the inevitable wave of criticism came, Watts dismissed it all as a Russian bot attack.

Addressing the Senate panel, Watts said that those who took to social media to mock and criticize his Foreign Affairs article were, in fact, Russian bots. He provided no evidence to support the claim, and a look at his single tweet promoting the article shows that he was criticized only once (by @Navsteva, a Twitter user known for defending the Syrian government against regime change proponents, not an automated bot). Nevertheless, Watts painted the incident as proof that Russia had revived a Cold War information warfare strategy of "Active Measures," which was supposedly aimed at "crumbl[ing] democracies from the inside out [by] creating political divisions."

Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. In fact, the only piece of proof he offered (in a Daily Beast transcript of his testimony) was a single link to an RT article that factually documented a squabble between Black Lives Matter protesters and white supremacists -- an incident that had been widely covered by other outlets, from the Houston Chronicle to the Washington Post . Watts did not explain how this one report by RT sowed any chaos, or whether it had any effect at all on actual events.

Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news.

In the articles cited by Watts during his testimony, neither RT nor Sputnik made any reference to "terrorists" taking over Incirlik Airbase. Rather, these outlets compiled tweets by Turkish activists and sourced their coverage to a report by Hurriyet, one of Turkey's largest mainstream papers. In fact, the incident was reported by virtually every major Turkish news organization ( here , here , here and here ). What's more, the events appeared to have taken place approximately as RT and Sputnik reported it, with protesters readying to protect the airbase from a coup while Turkish police sealed the base's entrances and exits. A look at RT's coverage shows the network even downplayed the severity of the event, citing a tweet by a U.S.-based national security analysis group stating, "We are not finding any evidence of a coup or takeover." This stands entirely at odds with Watts' claim that RT exaggerated the incident to spark chaos.

Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them.

Questions emailed to Watts via his employers at FPRI received no reply.

Another Watts Deception, This Time Discredited in Court

During his Senate testimony, Watts introduced a second, and even more distorted claim of Trump employing Russian "active measures" to attack his political foes. The details of the story are complex and difficult for a passive audience to absorb, which is probably why Watts has been able to get away with pushing it for so long.

Watts' testimony was the culmination of a mainstream media deception that forced an aspiring reporter out of his job, drove him to contemplate suicide, and ultimately prompted him to take matters into his own hands by suing his antagonists.

The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal.

The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents.

In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record.

When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent.

When Watts revived Eichenwald's bogus version of events in his Senate testimony, Moran began to spiral into the depths of depression. He even entertained thoughts of suicide. But he ultimately decided to fight, filing a lawsuit against Newsweek's parent company for defamation and libel.

Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie.

The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits.

FPRI, a Pro-War Think Tank Founded by White Supremacist Eugenicists

Before he emerged in the spotlight of Russiagate, Watts languished at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, earning little name recognition outside the insular world of national security pundits. Based in Philadelphia, the FPRI has been described by journalist Mark Ames as "one of the looniest (and spookiest) extreme-right think tanks since the early Cold War days, promoting 'winnable' nuclear war, maximum confrontation with Russia, and attacking anti-colonialism as dangerously unworkable."

Daniel Pipes, the arch-Islamophobe pundit and former FPRI fellow, offered a similar characterization of the think tank, albeit from an alternately opposed angle. "Put most baldly, we have always advocated an activist U.S. foreign policy," Pipes said in a 1991 address to FPRI. He added that the think tank's staff "is not shy about the use of force; were we members of Congress in January 1991, all of us would not only have voted with President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, we would have led the charge."

FPRI was co-founded by Robert Strausz-Hupé, a far-right Austrian emigre, with help from conservative corporations and covert funding from the CIA From the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Strausz-Hupé gathered a "Philadelphia School" of Cold War hardliners to develop a strategy for protracted war against the Soviet Union. His brain trust included FPRI co-founder Stefan Possony, an Austrian fascist who was a board member of the World Anti-Communist League, the international fascist organization described by journalists Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson as a network of "those responsible for death squads, apartheid, torture, and the extermination of European Jewry." True to his fascist roots, Possony co-authored a racialist tract, " The Geography of Intellect ," that argued that blacks were biologically inferior and that the people of the global South were "genetically unpromising." Strausz-Hupé seized on Possony's racialist theories to inveigh against anti-colonial movements led by "populations incapable of rational thought."

While clamoring for a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union -- and acknowledging that their preferred strategy would cause mass casualties in American cities -- Strausz-Hupé and his band of hawks developed a monomaniacal obsession with Russian propaganda. By the time of the Cuban missile crisis, they were stricken with paranoia, arguing on the pages of the New York Times that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was a Soviet useful idiot whose film, Dr. Strangelove , advanced "the principal Communist objectives to drive a wedge between the American people and their military leaders."

Ultimately, Strausz-Hupé's fanaticism cost him an ambassadorship, as Sen. William Fulbright scuttled his appointment to serve in Morocco on the grounds that his "hard line, no compromise" approach to communism could shatter the delicate balance of diplomacy. Today, he is remembered fondly on FPRI's website as "an intellectual and intellectual impresario, administrator, statesman, and visionary." His militaristic legacy continues thanks to the prolific presence -- and bellicose politics -- of Watts.

The Paranoid Style

This year, FPRI dedicated its annual gala to honoring Watts' success in mainstreaming the narrative of Russian online meddling. Since I first transcribed a Soundcloud recording of Watts' keynote address, the file has been mysteriously scrubbed from the internet. It is unclear what prompted the removal, however, it is easy to understand why Watts would not want his comments examined by a critical listener. His speech offered a window into a paranoid mindset with a tendency for overblown, unverifiable claims about Russian influence.

While much of the speech was a rehash of Watts' Senate testimony, he spent an unusual amount of time describing the threat he believed Russian intelligence agents posed to his own security. "If you speak up too much, you'll get knocked down," Watts said, claiming that think tank fellows who had been too vocal about Russian meddling had seen their laptops "burned up by malware."

"If someone rises up in prominence, they will suddenly be -- whoof! -- swiped down out of nowhere by some crazy disclosure from their email," Watts added, referring to unspecified Russian retaliatory measures. As usual, he didn't produce concrete evidence or offer any examples.

"Anybody remember the reporters that were outed after the election? Or maybe they tossed up a question to the Clinton campaign and they were gone the next day?" he asked his audience. "That's how it goes."

It was unclear which reporters Watts was referring to, or what incident he could have possibly been alluding to. He offered no details, only innuendo about the state of siege Kremlin actors had supposedly imposed on him and his freedom-fighting colleagues. He even predicted he'd be "hacked and cyber attacked when this recording comes out."

According to Watts, Russian "active measures" had singlehandedly augmented Republican opinion in support of the Kremlin. "It is the greatest success in influence operations in the history of the world," Watts confidently proclaimed. He contrasted Russia's success with his own failures as an American agent of influence working for the U.S. military, a saga in his career that remains largely unexamined.

Domestic Agent of Influence

"I worked in influence operations in counter-terrorism for 15 years," Watts boasted to his audience at FPRI. "We didn't break one or two percent [increase in the approval rating of US foreign policy] in fifteen years and we spent billions a year in tax dollars doing it. I was paid off of those programs. We had almost no success throughout the Middle East."

By Watts' own admission, he had been part of a secret propaganda campaign aimed at manipulating the opinions of Middle Easterners in favor of the hostile American military operating in their midst. And he failed massively, wasting "billions a year in tax dollars."

Given his penchant for deception, this may have been yet another tall tale aimed at burnishing his image as an internet era James Bond. But if the story was even partially true, Watts had inadvertently exposed a severe scandal that, in a fairer world, might have triggered congressional hearings.

Whatever took place, it appears that Watts and his Cold Warrior colleagues are now waging another expensive influence operation, this time directed against the American public. By deploying deceptions, half-truths and hyperbole with the full consent of Congress and in collaboration with the mainstream press, they have managed to convince a majority of Americans that Russia is "trying to knock us down and take us over," as Watts remarked at the FPRI's gala.

In just a matter of months, public consent for an unprecedented array of hostile measures against Russia, from sanctions and consular raids to arbitrary crackdowns on Russian-backed news organizations, has been assiduously manufactured.

It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations.

In the next installment of this investigation, we will see how a collection of cranks, counter-terror retreads and online vigilantes overseen by the German Marshall Fund have waged a search-and-destroy mission against dissident media under the guise of combating Russian "active measures," and how the mainstream press has enabled their censorious agenda.

Read part two here .

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of " Goliath ," " Republican Gomorrah ," and " The 51 Day War ." He is the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels . Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal .

Related Articles

[Jul 06, 2017] The Fraud of The White Helmets

Notable quotes:
"... The White Helmets ..."
"... Donald Trump called out Hillary Clinton for her buddy buddy relationship with the Saudi regime and wrote about the KSA funding terrorist groups in his books. In other words Trump was under no illusions about the direct link between Saudi cash and religious ideology and international terrorist groups. Ignorance in this area was not a problem he had. ..."
"... The war in Syria is all about Israel and teaches us our government can be purchased. What a clever investment! For chump change Uncle Sam can be convinced to spend hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, to overthrow the Syrian government, all for Israel's benefit. ..."
"... Buys into? You mean SELLS Yep. Hollywood is one of our lie factories: Hollywood, govt, media, academia, pr/marketing/ adv/polling. ..."
"... April 07, 2017 Pentagon Trained Syria's Al Qaeda "Rebels" in the Use of Chemical Weapons. The Western media refutes their own lies. http://www.globalresearch.ca/pentagon-trained-syrias-al-qaeda-rebels-in-the-use-of-chemical-weapons/5583784  ..."
"... So is the real Trump the guy who tells Putin he has to do some look-Presidential kabuki, and bomb a Syrian airfield to get the Neocons and CIA off his back - briefly - or is he a gullible emotional dimwit who buys into the transparently ridiculous "sarin attack" bs, despite the intel community telling him it was bs? ..."
"... I thought it was common knowledge by anyone with critical thinking skills that the White Helmets are just a propaganda operation for the Salafist fanatics and not a politically neutral third party as they try to depict themselves. So this would exclude George Clowney, Justin Timbersnowflake and the rest of the left wing Hollywood morons. It's looking like we can lump our president and Nimrata Haley in with the brainless and sentimental Hollywood crowd. ..."
"... "Around half of Russia's gas and oil into the EU is transported there via pipelines that traverse Ukraine, and this is a major reason why the Obama Administration (which was in service to the owners of the U.S.-based international corporations …) started, by no later than 2011, its preparations for a coup in Ukraine, which occurred in February 2014, to overthrow the democratically elected President of Ukraine… ..."
"... Israel is currently attacking the Syrian Army and has long been assisting the so-called rebels. It wants anarchy in Syria so it can steal the remainder of the Golan territory. ..."
"... Now that would be journalism worth its salt. Absolutely. USAID started as a CIA front in Vietnam during the 60s. ..."
Jul 06, 2017 | www.unz.com
Philip Giraldi

I actually forced myself to watch the documentary The White Helmets , which is available on Netflix. It is 40 minutes long, is of high quality cinematographically speaking, and tells a very convincing tale that was promoted as "the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope." It is overall a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short this year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, delivering a Manichean tale that depicts the "rebels" as always good and Bashar al-Assad and his government as un-redeemably evil.

It has been reliably reported that celebrities like George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Hillary Clinton really like the White Helmets documentary and have promoted it with the understanding that it represents the truth about Syria, but it is, of course, not the whole story. The film, which was made by the White Helmets themselves without any external verification of what it depicts, portrays the group as "heroic," an "impartial, life-saving rescue organization" of first responders. Excluded from the scenes of heroism under fire is the White Helmets' relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of "rebel" opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground. Because of increasing awareness of the back story, there is now a growing movement to petition the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revoke the Oscar based on the complete and deliberate misrepresentation of what the White Helmets are all about.

Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets have de facto become a major source of "eyewitness" news regarding what has been going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists are quite rightly afraid to go. It is all part of a broader largely successful "rebel" effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians.

The White Helmets have certainly saved some lives under dangerous circumstances but they have also exaggerated their humanitarian role as they travel to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. They have consistently promoted tales of government atrocities against civilians to encourage outside military intervention in Syria and bring about regime change in Damascus. The White Helmets were, for example, the propagators of the totally false but propagandistically effective claims regarding the government use of so-called "barrel bombs" against civilians.

The White Helmets were a largely foreign creation that came into prominence in the aftermath of the unrest in Syria that developed as a result of the Arab Spring in 2012. They are currently largely funded by a number of non-government organizations (NGOs) as well as governments, including Britain and some European Union member states. The United States has directly provided $23 million through the USAID (US Agency for International Development) as of 2016 and almost certainly considerably more indirectly. Max Blumenthal has explored in some detail the various funding resources and relationships that the organization draws on, mostly in Europe and the United States.

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has described how the White Helmets are not actually trained to do the complicated rescue work that they depict in their self-made videos, which have established their reputation by ostensibly showing them in action inside Syria, rescuing civilians from bombed out structures, and providing life-saving emergency medical care. As an expert in Hazardous Materials handling with New York Task Force 2 USAR team, Ritter reports that "these videos represent de facto evidence of dangerous incompetence or, worse, fraud… The bread and butter of the White Helmet's self-made reputation is the rescue of a victim-usually a small child-from beneath a pile of rubble, usually heavy reinforced concrete… The techniques used by the White Helmets are not only technically wrong, but dangerous to anyone who might actually be trapped… In my opinion, the videos are pure theater, either staged to impress an unwitting audience, or actually conducted with total disregard for the wellbeing of any real victims."

Ritter also cites the lack of training in hazardous chemicals, best observed in the videos provided by the White Helmets regarding their activity at Khan Sheikhun on April 4 th . He notes "As was the case with their 'rescues' of victims in collapsed structures, I believe the rescue efforts of the White Helmets at Khan Sheikhun were a theatrical performance designed to impress the ignorant and ill-informed… Through their actions…the White Helmets were able to breathe life into the overall narrative of a chemical weapons attack, distracting from the fact that no actual weapon existed…."

But perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities , to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group has an excellent working relationship with a number of jihadi affiliates and is regarded by them as fellow "mujahideen" and "soldiers of the revolution."

So by all means let's organize to revoke the White Helmets' Oscar due to misrepresentation and fraud. It might even serve as a wake-up call to George Clooney and his fellow Hollywood snowflakes . But the bigger take-away from the tale of the White Helmets would appear to be how it is an unfortunate repeat of the bumbling by a gullible U.S. government that has wrecked the Middle East while making Americans poorer and less safe. A group of "moderates," in this case their propagandists, is supported with weapons and money to overthrow a government with which Washington has no real quarrel but it turns out the moderates are really extremists. If they succeed in changing regime in Damascus, that is when the real nightmare will begin for minorities within Syria and for the entire region, including both Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which seem intent on bringing Bashar al-Assad down. And the truly unfortunate fact is that the Israelis and Saudis apparently have convinced an ignorant Donald Trump that that is the way to go so the situation in Syria will only get worse and, unless there is a course correction, Washington will again richly deserve most of the blame.

Fiendly Neighborhood Terrorist > , Website July 4, 2017 at 5:28 am GMT

What makes Mr Giraldi imagine that the American Empire isn't an active and fully deliberate participant in the destroy-Syria operation instead of a reluctant dupe?

Carlton Meyer > , Website July 4, 2017 at 5:16 am GMT

This brave lady deserves a Pulitzer for her reporting about Syria and the White Helmets, from December 2016.

Art > , July 4, 2017 at 5:32 am GMT

And the truly unfortunate fact is that the Israelis and Saudis apparently have convinced an ignorant Donald Trump that that is the way to go so the situation in Syria will only get worse and, unless there is a course correction, Washington will again richly deserve most of the blame.

It is said that "politics makes for strange bedfellows" How is it that America is hooked up with these scumbag countries, Israel and Saudi – doing their bidding – and killing for them. Zionism and Wahhabism are evil brothers – both seekers of age old tribal glory. The good American people have nothing in common with them.

But there is something our elite share with these tribalists – the US banking system. The US money system wags the American election process. Israel, Saudi, and the US Fed/Wall Street all bank with the Rothschild money cartel.

Trump is surrounded by greedy Jew money hunger types. For reasons of Israeli and Saudi power – a blood bath in Syria is needed.

Trump is going to meet Putin who wants peace – will he back the American people who elected him, thinking he was against another war?

Hmm? We will know by the end of the week.

Peace - Art

exiled off mainstreet > , July 4, 2017 at 5:39 am GMT

The first comment has it spot on. Hollywood is complicit in this propaganda effort to give the terrorist thug element a human face. These facts are out there for anybody not totally dependent on the official power structure for their information. People like Clooney who support this are themselves tainted with the barbarism represented by this phony propaganda front, and NGO's and governments funding them are complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Clooney's pet project, Darfur and South Sudan are other failed states. Clooney has blood on his hands for having promoted their existence.

Johnny F. Ive > , July 4, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT

Trump really hasn't given us the full Hillary Clinton on Syria yet. I believe he is aware of what is going on and we will see what his policy is as his administration continues. If people don't think so we have a great opportunity to share our point of view politely with him on twitter by sending him reputable articles or videos. Maybe he wouldn't look at it but what if he ever did and it opened some questions for him? The people who tweet to him tend to be obnoxious and insane from the fake news they've ingested. If your only source of information is fake news then you aren't going to make good decisions. He inherited a mess and there are powerful forces outside of his control that control the narrative and want to control him through the narrative. The White Helmets are apart of that narrative. If we give Trump good ideas for options to move forward and he has a support base maybe he will listen to us. What do we have to lose?

Israel wants a perpetual bloodbath in Syria but if one must prevail they want the Sunni evil to prevail.

Hollywood has turned into a de-Americanized, anti-American global enterprise where most of their earnings occur overseas. Their movies are turning into two toned (amber & teal) incoherent messes for a global audience they assume are stupid. I expect before long they will make movies praising the great firewall of China and one party rule.

Interlocutor > , July 4, 2017 at 10:59 am GMT

the Israelis and Saudis apparently have convinced an ignorant Donald Trump that that is the way to go so the situation in Syria

Donald Trump called out Hillary Clinton for her buddy buddy relationship with the Saudi regime and wrote about the KSA funding terrorist groups in his books. In other words Trump was under no illusions about the direct link between Saudi cash and religious ideology and international terrorist groups. Ignorance in this area was not a problem he had.

Yet five months into his term he's schmoozing with those very same terrorist funding Saudis and the vile Israeli regime alike and threatening all out war on Syria and rattling sabers at Iran. All because the Saudis and Israelis "convinced" him it's a good idea to throw the truth out the window and unlearn what he knew and wrote about? Not a chance. I don't buy it for a second. Something else is going on here. I suspect Trump the man is nothing like Trump the politician and he played all those people who hoped he'd follow through on his campaign promises for fools.

It is time to stop making excuses for Trump and treat him like an adult. He owns his decisions and choices and is responsible for them.

annamaria > , July 4, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

@chris They shouldn't revoke the Oscar, they should just change the category to 'best propaganda' and award it directly to Pompeo at Langley.

That, however, would greatly increase the list of contenders every year. "…they should just change the category to 'best propaganda' and award it directly to Pompeo at Langley."

Neither Joanna Natasegara (producer) nor Von Einsiedel (director) have ever been in Syria. They both are opportunistic fraudsters. Among the eager supporters of White Helmets are the ever badly smelling Michael Weiss, a Jewish Russophobe of questionable integrity and Eliot Higgins, a British Russophobe famous for his spectacular ignorance and for special favors from the Atlantic Council and Department of War Studies, King's College: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/06/the-white-helmet-buffoons-of-khan-sheikyoun.html

Vanessa Beeley: "All of the footage used in the film was provided to the producers by the White Helmets themselves… What this film is essentially a PR cushion for a $100-$150 million covert op, which is basically an NGO front funded by USAID, the British Foreign Office, various EU member states, Qatar, and other various and sundry nations, and members of the public…"

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/03/medical-doctors-question-white-helmets-footage-al-qaeda-oscar.html

"Dr Leif Elinder, a known Swedish medical doctor: "After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children".

"White Helmets founder Le Mesurier, who graduated from Britain's elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, is said to be an 'ex' British military intelligence officer involved in a number of other NATO 'humanitarian intervention' theatres of war, including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, as well as postings in Lebanon and Palestine. He also boasts a series of high-profile posts at the UN, EU, and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Not to mention his connections back to the infamous Blackwater (Academi)." http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/23/exclusive-the-real-syria-civil-defence-expose-natos-white-helmets-as-terrorist-linked-imposters/

Looks that the Oscar nominees should have indeed included Langley

"Al-Qaeda Gets An Oscar:" http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/02/al-qaeda-gets-an-oscar-.html

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/05/15/george_clooney_busted_captured_terrorist_spills

annamaria > , July 4, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

@Sherman Sherman, this article is about genocide in Syria – you know, like the genocide of Jews during the WWII. Your indecent post reminded the readers about Israelis taking dinner while the IDF ("most moral") had been slaughtering the colonized dwellers of Gaza Ghetto.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/israelis-watch-bombs-drop-on-gaza-from-front-row-seats.html https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/13/israel-sderot-gaza_n_5582032.html

Do you see your tribe smiling and eating and laughing while your "most moral" kills native civilians? – This is a remake of the photographs from WWII when Jews were killed by Nazis for being Jews. "Never again," indeed. A state of Israel exhibiting a moral rot.

Joe Hide > , July 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm GMT

@Interlocutor

the Israelis and Saudis apparently have convinced an ignorant Donald Trump that that is the way to go so the situation in Syria
Donald Trump called out Hillary Clinton for her buddy buddy relationship with the Saudi regime and wrote about the KSA funding terrorist groups in his books. In other words Trump was under no illusions about the direct link between Saudi cash and religious ideology and international terrorist groups. Ignorance in this area was not a problem he had.

Yet five months into his term he's schmoozing with those very same terrorist funding Saudis and the vile Israeli regime alike and threatening all out war on Syria and rattling sabers at Iran. All because the Saudis and Israelis "convinced" him it's a good idea to throw the truth out the window and unlearn what he knew and wrote about? Not a chance. I don't buy it for a second. Something else is going on here. I suspect Trump the man is nothing like Trump the politician and he played all those people who hoped he'd follow through on his campaign promises for fools.

It is time to stop making excuses for Trump and treat him like an adult. He owns his decisions and choices and is responsible for them. I appreciate your comment. If You spend a lot of time reviewing battle tactics and war strategies, and I mean in the hundreds to thousands of hours, you will possibly come to a different conclusion. Trumps actions, as presented by a very untrustworthy media, look like those of a deceiver. Or of a crazy man. Or of whatever twisted narrative they are pushing. The results of his actions (or sometimes intentional non-actions), tell a different story. Thousands of pedophiles and sex traffickers have been arrested in the last few months. The Syrian War is being won by the Good (or at least not horrible) Guys. We don't have a WW3. Political, economic, and military corruption are being exposed. Priorities are no longer men using women's bathrooms to pee in. There is a lot more good taking place even than this. Great and lasting change takes years if not generations. This is not a quick fix. We won't get everything we want. Idealism never works but Realism does. If only the bad guys deceive, then the Good Guys lose. The Good Guys, You & Me, have to come to grips with how the game is really played.

Sherman > , July 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT

@annamaria Sherman, this article is about genocide in Syria - you know, like the genocide of Jews during the WWII. Your indecent post reminded the readers about Israelis taking dinner while the IDF ("most moral") had been slaughtering the colonized dwellers of Gaza Ghetto.
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/israelis-watch-bombs-drop-on-gaza-from-front-row-seats.html https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/13/israel-sderot-gaza_n_5582032.html
Do you see your tribe smiling and eating and laughing while your "most moral" kills native civilians? - This is a remake of the photographs from WWII when Jews were killed by Nazis for being Jews. "Never again," indeed. A state of Israel exhibiting a moral rot. You left out the part about the Nulands and the Kagans.

Sherm

anonymous > , July 4, 2017 at 1:47 pm GMT

It's all a propaganda fabrication, totally staged complete with them pretending to rescue children. The US has unlimited funds and doesn't miss anything in it's all-encompassing full-spectrum program of propaganda lies and deception. The movie 'Wag the Dog' was a far more realistic production than this thing is.

JoaoAlfaiate > , July 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm GMT

It's hard to celebrate July 4th knowing that our system is corrupt from top to bottom. Want to buy the destruction of Syria? No problem. $10,000,000 (or less) distributed in the right places buys a slick narrative about Syria which the msm is happy to promote Meanwhile Congress has been suborned to appropriate vast sums to fund "rebels" (al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS) seeking to over throw the Syrian Gov't and establish an Islamic regime in its place.

Why replace a secular government in Syria with an extremist Sunni regime? Hilary Clinton put it this way: "The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. " The war in Syria is all about Israel and teaches us our government can be purchased. What a clever investment! For chump change Uncle Sam can be convinced to spend hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, to overthrow the Syrian government, all for Israel's benefit.

bjondo > , July 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Hollywood buys into yet another lie

Buys into? You mean SELLS Yep. Hollywood is one of our lie factories: Hollywood, govt, media, academia, pr/marketing/ adv/polling.

Agent76 > , July 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm GMT

No more shows actual video confirmation of the false flag footage from the staged gas attack event in Syria.

Apr 9, 2017 No More

April 07, 2017 Pentagon Trained Syria's Al Qaeda "Rebels" in the Use of Chemical Weapons. The Western media refutes their own lies. http://www.globalresearch.ca/pentagon-trained-syrias-al-qaeda-rebels-in-the-use-of-chemical-weapons/5583784 

annamaria > , July 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm GMT

@Sherman You left out the part about the Nulands and the Kagans.

Sherm 'You left out the part about the Nulands and the Kagans.'

And you remind about them why?

Look carefully at the photograph in the following article: http://theduran.com/4-ways-russia-could-and-should-bring-about-regime-change-in-kiev/
Keep in mind that the neo-Nazis have began flourishing in Kiev since the ziocon-infested State Dept. had accomplished a regime change there in 2014.

Was not it you who enquired the UNZ readers about visiting Yad Vashem? – Well, see the amazing results that have been achieved by American/UK Jews in Ukraine. Fit perfectly Yad Vashem preaching.

"How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis: http://fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/government/foreign_policy_and_government/news.php?q=1417630958 "Rep. John Conyers wanted to block U.S. funding to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help ."

"The neo-Nazi Oleh Tyahnybok and the American Zionist Victoria Nuland, wife of Robert Kagan, are all smiles. Not since the days of the Haavara (Transfer) Agreement of August 25, 1933 between the Zionist Federation of Germany and Chancellor Adolf Hitler celebrated by the striking of a celebratory coin by the Berlin Mint (right)….:" http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/12289

Haavara (Transfer) Agreement: http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/09/07/Nazi_Zionism.html

Agent76 > , July 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm GMT

@annamaria Know this Annamaria, "The oppinion of 10.000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject." Marcus Aurelius

Jeff Davis > , July 4, 2017 at 5:06 pm GMT

@Interlocutor

the Israelis and Saudis apparently have convinced an ignorant Donald Trump that that is the way to go so the situation in Syria
Donald Trump called out Hillary Clinton for her buddy buddy relationship with the Saudi regime and wrote about the KSA funding terrorist groups in his books. In other words Trump was under no illusions about the direct link between Saudi cash and religious ideology and international terrorist groups. Ignorance in this area was not a problem he had.

Yet five months into his term he's schmoozing with those very same terrorist funding Saudis and the vile Israeli regime alike and threatening all out war on Syria and rattling sabers at Iran. All because the Saudis and Israelis "convinced" him it's a good idea to throw the truth out the window and unlearn what he knew and wrote about? Not a chance. I don't buy it for a second. Something else is going on here. I suspect Trump the man is nothing like Trump the politician and he played all those people who hoped he'd follow through on his campaign promises for fools.

It is time to stop making excuses for Trump and treat him like an adult. He owns his decisions and choices and is responsible for them. "I don't buy it for a second. Something else is going on here."

Indeed, but what exactly? Everyone is guessing, mostly based on the hyperbolic hate-fest of the campaign, which was so extreme that both sides remain locked in the embrace of partisan passion, far from any chance at a calm assessment of reality.

And Trump is keeping everyone guessing. Until Trump can wrest control of the Executive branch from the Deep State, he will continue to be "unpredictable", forced to bob and weave and adjust, in order to counter the forces that seek to undermine his presidency.

So is the real Trump the guy who tells Putin he has to do some look-Presidential kabuki, and bomb a Syrian airfield to get the Neocons and CIA off his back - briefly - or is he a gullible emotional dimwit who buys into the transparently ridiculous "sarin attack" bs, despite the intel community telling him it was bs?

If you're anti-Trump you go for explanation number two. If you're a Neocon, or a paleo-Republican, or a Kool-Aid drenched, flag-wrapped "America, fuck yeah!" patriot then you "worship the beauty of our weapons" and don't bother to think much more about it. And if you've managed to avoid ideological brain-lock, then you're probably just scratchin' your head thinking "WTF ?"

Personally, I'm pro-Trump all the way, delighted by the shrieking of snowflakes, the deliciously loutish tweeting, the laugh-a-minute horrified old-maid moralism of the pundit class, and the return of take-it-out-and-wave-it-around flagrantly unapologetic manhood. Yee-hah! What a fabulous spectacle! And here's the best part: three and a half more years and maybe four more after that.

"Make America Great Again!", "Nuke the Swamp!", "Build the Wall!", "Get along with Russia!"

I frikkin' died and went to heaven. Bring it!

Jeff Davis > , July 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm GMT

@Joe Hide I appreciate your comment. If You spend a lot of time reviewing battle tactics and war strategies, and I mean in the hundreds to thousands of hours, you will possibly come to a different conclusion. Trumps actions, as presented by a very untrustworthy media, look like those of a deceiver. Or of a crazy man. Or of whatever twisted narrative they are pushing. The results of his actions (or sometimes intentional non-actions), tell a different story. Thousands of pedophiles and sex traffickers have been arrested in the last few months.

The Syrian War is being won by the Good (or at least not horrible) Guys. We don't have a WW3. Political, economic, and military corruption are being exposed. Priorities are no longer men using women's bathrooms to pee in. There is a lot more good taking place even than this. Great and lasting change takes years if not generations. This is not a quick fix. We won't get everything we want. Idealism never works but Realism does. If only the bad guys deceive, then the Good Guys lose. The Good Guys, You & Me, have to come to grips with how the game is really played. Damn fine reality-based comment, Joe. Kudos.

Ivy > , July 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Joe Hide Are you trying to distract from the white helmet article? Your comment doesn't make any sense here. The White Helmet idea selling takes on many forms. I pointed out one of those and provided another example of how Trump applies his selling to link to the current administration. What is so hard to see in that?

annamaria > , July 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@Sherman You left out the part about the Nulands and the Kagans.

Sherm If you insist: "Reuters (finally) realize there are Nazis in Ukraine" https://off-guardian.org/2017/06/24/reuters-finally-realize-there-are-nazis-in-ukraine/

"…local authorities [in Kiev] recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych."

"In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA)"
"Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas."

"…the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war."

"The elevation of OUN-UPA has been accompanied by a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine."

"A retired general affiliated with Ukraine's security services called for the destruction of the country's Jews;"

"…a Ukrainian official called Ukraine's SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – "heroes"

In the Atlantic, in 2014, Ukrainian Nazis were dismissed as a "phantom menace". Luke Harding wrote a (brilliantly argued) column in the Guardian saying that "there weren't any Nazis in Ukraine because one of the Maidan protesters was Jewish." Politico magazine mocked "Putin's Imaginary Nazis", whilst US News warned against Russia's "Neo-Nazi Propaganda". The Guardian simply headlined: "Don't believe the Russian propaganda about Ukraine's 'fascist' protesters!"
There never were Nazis in Ukraine.

Except now there are. … John Kerry and Victoria "fuck the EU" Nuland, who had actual, hands-on control of the formation of Ukraine's new government…"

KenH > , July 4, 2017 at 6:01 pm GMT

I thought it was common knowledge by anyone with critical thinking skills that the White Helmets are just a propaganda operation for the Salafist fanatics and not a politically neutral third party as they try to depict themselves. So this would exclude George Clowney, Justin Timbersnowflake and the rest of the left wing Hollywood morons. It's looking like we can lump our president and Nimrata Haley in with the brainless and sentimental Hollywood crowd.

annamaria > , July 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

@KenH I thought it was common knowledge by anyone with critical thinking skills that the White Helmets are just a propaganda operation for the Salafist fanatics and not a politically neutral third party as they try to depict themselves. So this would exclude George Clowney, Justin Timbersnowflake and the rest of the left wing Hollywood morons. It's looking like we can lump our president and Nimrata Haley in with the brainless and sentimental Hollywood crowd. "…this would exclude George Clowney, Justin Timbersnowflake and the rest of the left wing Hollywood morons."
The Clowneys & Timbersnowflakes have financial inspirations that inform their actions. These opportunists are firmly in service to the "deciders."

When oilmen meet MIC: "The Economic Motive for America's Current Wars." https://off-guardian.org/2017/07/04/the-economic-motive-for-americas-current-wars/

"Around half of Russia's gas and oil into the EU is transported there via pipelines that traverse Ukraine, and this is a major reason why the Obama Administration (which was in service to the owners of the U.S.-based international corporations …) started, by no later than 2011, its preparations for a coup in Ukraine, which occurred in February 2014, to overthrow the democratically elected President of Ukraine…

However, Obama also had come into office in 2009 hoping to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, because, ever since at least 1949, the U.S.-Saudi oil company Aramco was trying to be allowed to build through Syria pipelines for Saudi oil and Qatari gas into the EU so as to grab that energy-market away from Russia. Consequently, "What's Behind Lower Gas-Prices and the Bombings of Syria and of Southeastern Ukraine" is a U.S.-regime effort to grab market-share in the world's largest energy-market."

Philip Giraldi > , July 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm GMT

@Anon Why would Israel be against Assad? With him, there's no chance of a peace treat and Israel keeps the Golan. Status quo and no fighting is what Israel likes. Israel is currently attacking the Syrian Army and has long been assisting the so-called rebels. It wants anarchy in Syria so it can steal the remainder of the Golan territory.

RobinG > , July 4, 2017 at 7:31 pm GMT

@Joe Hide I appreciate your comment. If You spend a lot of time reviewing battle tactics and war strategies, and I mean in the hundreds to thousands of hours, you will possibly come to a different conclusion. Trumps actions, as presented by a very untrustworthy media, look like those of a deceiver. Or of a crazy man. Or of whatever twisted narrative they are pushing. The results of his actions (or sometimes intentional non-actions), tell a different story. Thousands of pedophiles and sex traffickers have been arrested in the last few months. The Syrian War is being won by the Good (or at least not horrible) Guys. We don't have a WW3. Political, economic, and military corruption are being exposed. Priorities are no longer men using women's bathrooms to pee in. There is a lot more good taking place even than this. Great and lasting change takes years if not generations. This is not a quick fix. We won't get everything we want. Idealism never works but Realism does. If only the bad guys deceive, then the Good Guys lose. The Good Guys, You & Me, have to come to grips with how the game is really played. May I add to that, Trump is clobbering the FakeNewsMedia which, not too long ago, Ron Unz wisely identified as the appropriate first target.

CNN is just the first domino to fall, and every chip weakens the wall of deceit. (NYT admission/correction this week: 17 intel. agencies did NOT support Russian hacking allegation.) And it's rumored that Project Veritas has plenty more incriminating video ready to drop.

Seamus Padraig > , July 4, 2017 at 7:37 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer This brave lady deserves a Pulitzer for her reporting about Syria and the White Helmets, from December 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUhe87r5bEE

Eva Bartlett is bad-ass. Vanessa Beeley is also an excellent source on Syria.

Moi > , July 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer I've seen Ms. Bartlett occasionally on RT but not any MSM outlet. She is a truth-teller.

RobinG > , July 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm GMT

@Ivy The White Helmet idea selling takes on many forms. I pointed out one of those and provided another example of how Trump applies his selling to link to the current administration. What is so hard to see in that? Joe Hide was right, your comment made no sense, and now you're doubling down on a ridiculously poor analogy.

It was the Obama regime that funded the White Helmets, years in the making, a conventional "old school" propaganda psy-op of the Deep State.

Trump, the Modern President, uses graceful arrows. That they're felt like cannonballs, hilarious.

Seamus Padraig > , July 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm GMT

@exiled off mainstreet The first comment has it spot on. Hollywood is complicit in this propaganda effort to give the terrorist thug element a human face. These facts are out there for anybody not totally dependent on the official power structure for their information. People like Clooney who support this are themselves tainted with the barbarism represented by this phony propaganda front, and NGO's and governments funding them are complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Clooney's pet project, Darfur and South Sudan are other failed states. Clooney has blood on his hands for having promoted their existence.

One more point about Clooney: his wife, Amal, is a human rights lawyer from Lebanon. It would be interesting to know more about her background. Maybe one of Unz's regular contributors should take on this assignment. Lebanon is a very complicated place, but it does have both pro- and anti-Syrian factions. I wonder where Amal and her family would fall on this spectrum?

Maybe Steve Sailer could do it. He did some brilliant pieces last year investigating the links of Mexican gazillionaire Carlos Slim's relatives to the old Lebanese Phalange.

Backwoods Bob > , July 4, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer This brave lady deserves a Pulitzer for her reporting about Syria and the White Helmets, from December 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUhe87r5bEE

I saw that when it first came out. The truth is always so refreshing, sensical, and fulfilling. But I knew it before the video. All anyone has to do is listen to the Syrian people themselves.

Trump pushed a lot of the right buttons during the election with the glaring exception of being Israel-first.

He knows exactly what is going on in Syria. One of the more disheartening things to listen to is people excusing him.

If I work and raise children, and it is so obvious to me then what excuses the man with the genius IQ and having this as his full time job?

Trump is a white-hat himself. Oh, those poor beautiful babies. We have to bomb Assad for the beautiful babies. There's some fake news Trump is perfectly happy with, like Syria.

Ivy > , July 4, 2017 at 9:38 pm GMT

@RobinG Joe Hide was right, your comment made no sense, and now you're doubling down on a ridiculously poor analogy.

It was the Obama regime that funded the White Helmets, years in the making, a conventional "old school" propaganda psy-op of the Deep State.

Trump, the Modern President, uses graceful arrows. That they're felt like cannonballs, hilarious. You have the wrong person if you think that I am trying to distract from column message about the White Helmets, or are reading any mention of Trump as a negative.

My comment included observations about the Hollywood nature of how White Helmets may be portrayed to the public, regardless of facts. Media have many ways to try to communicate, not all of them honorable. For entertainment, see Wag the Dog.

Maybe I need to spell it out more for you. I am not an Obama supporter, and voted for Trump. He has used his own type of first mover advantage routinely as shown in his actions. He gets attention, like he did with the campaign immigration item, and then uses that attention to further his message. Next time I'll choose some non-armaments descriptor and write more to fill in the blanks.

Stephen R. Diamond > , Website July 4, 2017 at 11:44 pm GMT

@Joe Hide

If only the bad guys deceive, then the Good Guys lose.

Remarkably smug and cynical comment. Smug: what makes you so sure that, if you need to deceive, you're (even remotely) "good"? Cynical – and self-undermining- because in sanctioning political deception, you render yourself prima facie untrustworthy.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 12:42 am GMT

@ANON Are the children actually humans or they 4 year old size dolls? "Dr Leif Elinder, a known Swedish medical doctor: "After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children."

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/03/medical-doctors-question-white-helmets-footage-al-qaeda-oscar.html

Follow the link to read more testimonials by medical doctor. What exactly do you need to clarify?

Priss Factor > , Website July 5, 2017 at 12:42 am GMT

Globalists cause wars, create refugees, and then force white nations into accepting them. Worse, 'refugee' and 'Syrian' are fluid, and any black African coming from Libya might as well be a Syrian refugee too.

White helmets or Refugee boats, globalism is one big ugly lie.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT

@Anon Anarchy in Syria doesn't serve Israel. Anarchy anywhere doesn't serve Israel. Managed chaos is one thing, and that may be why they funded the FSA for a while, but total anarchy is dangerous. For all its faults, Israel is still a rational actor. Plus, it has no need for the rest of Golan; the heights are all that are necessary. "Anarchy in Syria doesn't serve Israel."

Then you have missed the Israeli brass' public admission that ISIS/Al Qaeda are preferable to sovereign Syria. "Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that Iran poses a greater threat than the Islamic State, and that if the Syrian regime were to fall, Israel would prefer that IS [Islamic State] was in control of the territory than an Iranian proxy:" http://www.timesofisrael.com/yaalon-i-would-prefer-islamic-state-to-iran-in-syria/
More:

"Alliance of Convenience: Israel Supports Syria's ISIS Terror Group:" http://www.globalresearch.ca/alliance-of-convenience-israel-supports-syrias-isis-terror-group/5587203

"Turkey and Israel Are Directly Supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda Terrorists In Syria:" http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/turkey-israel-directly-supporting-isis-al-qaeda-syria.html

The evidence is clear: anarchy in Syria does serve Israel

Corporal Clegg > , July 5, 2017 at 1:56 am GMT

@JoaoAlfaiate How many stories were told by the msm about Saddam's WMD? Let's see: 1)Mobile labs for producing poison gas 2) Bio weapon spraying drones 3) Importation of Uranium from Niger 4)Aluminum tubes for centrifuges 5) Al-Libi and bio weapons training....Seems to me Uncle Shmuel and his tame press have been less than truthful about Arab countries and WMD. Why should we believe them this time?

Why should we believe them this time?

Believing pro-Assad proaganda that is false on its face seems far more stupid. Doctors Without Borders confirmed signs of Sarin, but I suppose the average Unz reader thinks they are a bunch of evil Jews too.

tmauel > , July 5, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

Amy Goodman at Democracy Now has completely sold out to the White Helmets propaganda machine which is funded by the U.S. state department. Apparently Goodman cannot bother to investigate the links to the rebels and U.S. clandestine funding of their propaganda. After all Goodman is so stuck on herself and her own star power that she doesn't care a lick about the truth.

She has consistently sold out to the democrats and their ignorant uber wealthy supporters in Hollywood.

Daves_Not_Here_Man > , July 5, 2017 at 4:55 am GMT

@Fiendly Neighborhood Terrorist Discretion being the better part of valor, I imagine Girard is soft-pedaling the degree of US complicity so as to not arouse too much cognitive dissonance in the reader and lose his main point.

One red pill per dose.

Druid > , July 5, 2017 at 4:57 am GMT

@annamaria 'You left out the part about the Nulands and the Kagans.'
And you remind about them why?

Look carefully at the photograph in the following article: http://theduran.com/4-ways-russia-could-and-should-bring-about-regime-change-in-kiev/
Keep in mind that the neo-Nazis have began flourishing in Kiev since the ziocon-infested State Dept. had accomplished a regime change there in 2014.

Was not it you who enquired the UNZ readers about visiting Yad Vashem? - Well, see the amazing results that have been achieved by American/UK Jews in Ukraine. Fit perfectly Yad Vashem preaching.

"How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis: http://fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/government/foreign_policy_and_government/news.php?q=1417630958 "Rep. John Conyers wanted to block U.S. funding to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help ."

"The neo-Nazi Oleh Tyahnybok and the American Zionist Victoria Nuland, wife of Robert Kagan, are all smiles. Not since the days of the Haavara (Transfer) Agreement of August 25, 1933 between the Zionist Federation of Germany and Chancellor Adolf Hitler celebrated by the striking of a celebratory coin by the Berlin Mint (right)....:" http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/12289

Haavara (Transfer) Agreement: http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/09/07/Nazi_Zionism.html You tell that Ziofascist, ma'am!

Esmehan > , July 5, 2017 at 6:00 am GMT

Anybody remember "Zlata's Diary"? This was a piece of tearjerking propaganda supposedly written by a Bosnian Muslim girl enduring the siege of Sarajevo. Absurdly compared to Anne Frank's story, it played on Western ignorance and sentimentality. Bosnian Serbs, in reality one side in a vicious three-way conflict, became " Nazis" attacking the innocent.

Uncle Bunty > , July 5, 2017 at 10:38 am GMT

The whole notion of a 'white hat' singularity is predicated on an essential falsehood: That Syrians of every stripe have not been digging themselves, their loved ones, and even strangers out of the rubble of a thousand formerly-civilized places since America decided they wanted, and needed, more 'democrazy'.

The white hats and team shirts are both imported, along with the notion that they are 'special' or 'important' – thy're part of the money we and our governments spend to bring change to Syria, a part that doesn't buy guns. .

Seamus Padraig > , July 5, 2017 at 10:46 am GMT

@Corporal Clegg Doctors Without Borders is another ZATO psy-op not much different from the White Helmets. Why their very founder, Bernard Kouchner, went on to become France's Foreign Minister under Sarko. Talk about revolving doors!

Tallulah B > , July 5, 2017 at 10:48 am GMT

@truthtellerAryan This is acceptable. Dead Arabs – killed by other Arabs – are pefect 'thematic' material to prove the goodness and humanity of real people – in Hollywood, or Tel Aviv. Like so much of everywhere else on Earth "they've been killing each other for thousands of years" – as opposed to, merely shooting a stone thrower, dispersing rioting negroes or shooting-up the local disco.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 11:24 am GMT

@Anon None of those sources are great, but even so, none of those stories suggest that anarchy is the goal. All these sources – and many others presenting the hard facts – refute your charitable opinion of Israel, while supporting the unfortunate truth that anarchy in Syria does serve Israel and that Israel does everything in its power to generate the anarchy, including the material and logistical support for ISIS and Al Qaeda.
As for the "goal," please do not feign innocence: both PNAC and Oded Yinon plan for Eretz Israel are available online.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 11:34 am GMT

@Corporal Clegg "Russia/Syria have several explanations, but Assad being a genocidal lispy murderer is still more easily believed than all of them."

Seems as a specter of Colin Power comes to UNZ, under pseudonym of Corporal Clegg. Or is it the morbid Cheney and his pupil Hillary Clinton? – Only a dedicated ziocon could be so rabidly hateful of Russia and Syria.
By the way, how is Assad genocidal next to the genocidal Israelis? Assad looks morally superior to the amoral supremacists and parasitoids next door.

anarchyst > , July 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT

@Esmehan Anybody remember "Zlata's Diary"? This was a piece of tearjerking propaganda supposedly written by a Bosnian Muslim girl enduring the siege of Sarajevo. Absurdly compared to Anne Frank's story, it played on Western ignorance and sentimentality. Bosnian Serbs, in reality one side in a vicious three-way conflict, became " Nazis" attacking the innocent. Let's not forget that Anne Frank's "diary was mostly written with a ball-point pen, NOT invented until after WW2…

vidya > , July 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm GMT

Sarin is a subset of a group of compounds called organo phosphates. They are primarily used as insecticides/ pesticides(such as round up), as well as motor oil additives. If vaporized, as stored forms by a conventional explosive, exposure to any of them causes similar manifestations. Hence it is not possible to say which organo phosphorus compound one is exposed to in absence of a forensic analysis such as gas/ liquid chromatography.

Ludwig Watzal > , Website July 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT

It's not surprising that the largest fake-factory on earth, Hollywood, awarded an OSCAR to a fake documentary. The "White Helmets" are nothing but terrorists disguised as paramedics. After the terrorists had to leave Aleppo, the "White Helmets" also disappeared. Wherever there is a terrorist attack, the phony helpers appear. Foreign powers created the White Helmets, and with the collaboration of the mainstream media, they could succeed till they finally landed in Hollywood where they belong. Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton and George Clooney liked these hoodlums, which should not surprise anybody. At least, Hillary and her husband belong behind bars.

http://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/1531-white-helmets-oscar.html

schmenz > , July 5, 2017 at 2:13 pm GMT

@Corporal Clegg Yawn.

Michael Kenny > , July 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT

Cynical me, you may say, but I can't help suspecting that if the White Helmets had been on the same side as Vladimir Putin, there would be no crticism of them on the American internet. After all, when was the last time you saw an article criticising the Ukrainian "rebels"?

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

@Ludwig Watzal It's not surprising that the largest fake-factory on earth, Hollywood, awarded an OSCAR to a fake documentary. The "White Helmets" are nothing but terrorists disguised as paramedics. After the terrorists had to leave Aleppo, the "White Helmets" also disappeared. Wherever there is a terrorist attack, the phony helpers appear. Foreign powers created the White Helmets, and with the collaboration of the mainstream media, they could succeed till they finally landed in Hollywood where they belong. Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton and George Clooney liked these hoodlums, which should not surprise anybody. At least, Hillary and her husband belong behind bars.

http://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/1531-white-helmets-oscar.html Thank you for the link. More on the same: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/24/syrian-war-propaganda-at-the-oscars/
"The White Helmets were initiated by the British military contractor James LeMesurier and is funded (about $100 million) by the different Western governments… It's a NATO ghost organization…
The "White Helmets" have no telephone number in Syria. If one wants to get in touch with them, one has to contact Al-Qaida. Their headquarter is alongside Al-Qaida's. The Real Syria Civil Defence can be reached by dialing 113 inside Syria.

… most of the group's heavy funding goes to marketing, which is run by "The Syria Campaign" based in New York. The campaign is based in New York City, and the manager is an Irish-American woman, named Anna Nolan , who has never been to Syria. Even their website is fake. They beefed it up with video footage from a documentary produced by the BBC in 2010 that showed dancing kids and education under the Assad government."

What does Mrs. Clooney do? – defending human rights? Alongside with Clintons? – Then it should be very "humanitarian."

More on the amazing Al Qaeda affiliate known as White Helmets:
"The film is as fraudulent as the group it tries to turn into heroes. The filmmakers never set foot in Syria. Their video footage takes place in southern Turkey where they show White Helmet trainees in a hotel and talking on cell phones…
The original video has the logo of Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which was created by the Syrian Expatriates Organization. Their address on K Street in Washington DC suggests this is yet another Western-funded operation similar to the Iraqi National Congress that lobbied and lied on behalf of the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

The infamous AMC: "Aleppo Media Centre' Funded By French Foreign Office, EU and US" http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm GMT

@Corporal Clegg "Believing pro-Assad proaganda that is false on its face…"
Do you have facts to prove your statement? – otherwise you are exercising in slander on behalf of the empire of Fed. Reserve (MIC, banksters, oilmen, Israel-firsters).
No need in parroting the MSM lies on UNZ.

Man on the street > , July 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT

@Priss Factor I remember vividly during the Bush attempts to invade Iraq, his neocon surrogates on TV used the terms HE DID NOT SELL IT YET TO THE AMERICA PEOPLE. In other words, the propaganda and lies to the American stupid population did not reach a critical mass. "Selling" the war? What a concept. Do you think if you ask any idiot on the street if the US was invaded by a foreign power, should the president sell to the American people on the fact that our military should attack and repel the invaders? Of course not. But, in order that a President brain wash the sheeple into sending their kids to die for Israel by invading Iraq, the president must paint the Iraqi president as evil, and of course our presstitude will never tell the sheeple that our president is the evil one for invading a sovereign nation that never attacked us.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

@Man on the street

"In August, families of the British soldiers killed in the Iraq War crowd-funded £150,000 (US$194,000) to bring a case for Blair's prosecution."

This is a proper step to address the terrible injustice. The US citizenry needs to collects its courage and initiate a case against Cheney & Co, i.e., against the mega-war profiteers & ziocons. https://www.rt.com/uk/395371-tony-blair-prosecution-iraq/

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus First exposures seem to have a powerful impact.

In Jan 2012 Emma Alberici interviewed Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, on Australia TV. He laid out the reasons the Russian government opposed US/UN intervention in Syria, the most significant reason being the sovereignty of Syria and its government. United Nations conventions proscribe interference in the domestic affairs of member states. It was a straightforward judgment.

US claims to be the nation that "preserves the international order" by adhering to the "rule of law," but in fact, Russia seems to have been the state sustaining that value.

Lavrov and the Russian government he represents gained credibility with that interview, and nothing I have seen him or Putin say in the 5 years subsequent, has significantly contradicted that policy laid out in 2012. "US claims to be the nation that "preserves the international order" by adhering to the "rule of law…"

It does claim this fiction, but the fraud has been exposed and there is no way to "fix" the problem:

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again"

"Over 500,000 Syrian Refugees Return To Government-Controlled Areas Of Syria" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-05/over-500000-syrian-refugees-return-government-controlled-areas-syria

"Crucial to the Western narrative of the Syrian conflict is the assertion that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator who has taken to killing his own people over the course of Syria's six-year-long conflict. … While this narrative has been pervasive in media coverage of the Syrian conflict, it is now being debunked by the very Syrian refugees.

According to a recent statement from Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, an estimated 440,000 displaced Syrians who remained in the country have returned to their homes since the year began. In addition, 31,000 refugees in neighboring countries also returned to Syria in the first half of the year, with 260,000 having returned to Syria from other nations since 2015."

The Syrians literally vote with their feet, thus exposing the US/Israeli lies.

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT

@Authenticjazzman She's a deranged leftist flunky working for GS towards the goal of a one-world, no borders, marxist looney-bin, such as her idiot husband and the entire ilk to which they belong: BO, BC, HRC, all of hollywood, academia, the media, clergy, justistia, etc.
I guess this sort of sums it up, without the effort of a huge research project.

Authenticjazzman "Mensa" society member since 1973, airborne qualified US Army vet, and pro jazz artist. Obama and Hillary are leftists and marxists? – Don't they love money more than anything else?

annamaria > , July 5, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

US-Israeli love fest with Daesh: http://www.voltairenet.org/article196903.html

"…since the accession to power in Beijing by President Xi Jinping, bearer of the project for the two Silk Roads, Washington has been pushing for the creation of a " Sunnistan " straddling Iraq and Syria. In order to acheive this goal, it [the US] has financed, armed and supervised Daesh in order to cut the communication route between Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad-Teheran and Beijing.
… since the beginning of the Qatar crisis, the Iraqi and Syrian armies have suddenly advanced. They have liberated the frontier territories previously held by Daesh and are now on the verge of establishing their junction (in other words, reconnecting the Silk Road). The two armies are now separated only by two hundred metres of land controlled illegally by the US army ."

The bloodshed could be ended any time if not the Israel-occupied US Congress. They need more human meat & blood. Here, James LeMesurier and Anna Nolan come up handy, fed from the $100 million fund allocated by the US/EU "deciders" to spread propaganda against Syrian sovereignty. That was a backdrop for the opportunistic Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara (neither of them ever visited Syria) getting happily their shekels for propagandizing fakery of "White Helmets," never mind the human cost of Daesh for Syria.

L.K > , July 5, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT

Let's be clear;

The "white helmets" are a propaganda operation backed by those countries trying to effect regime change in Syria, such as the ZUSA & ZUK, and they are also Al Qaeda's "civil defense".

I have seen various photos of their operatives in white helmet uniforms & in other photos the same individuals armed & in combat fatigues.

Independent British journalist, Vanessa Beeley, who has been to Syria has helped unmask these criminals;
SYRIA WHITE HELMETS HAND IN HAND WITH AL QAEDA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBkn78q_t_Q
In this vid, we can see the white helmets together with Al Qaeda, participating in executions, etc;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLyZkPfLoG0

Priss Factor > , Website July 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm GMT

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/when-fake-countries-go-to-war/

Some nations are real nations with deep roots of history, ethnicity, and territory.

Other nations are fake nations, recently constructed by foreign imperialists who drew lines on the map to maximize exploitation of natural resources and labor.

Globalism seeks to weaken historical roots, ethnic ties, and territorial claims for the whole world(except for Israel) and turn even real nations into fake nations like those of Middle East and Africa.

If Soros can help it, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Poland will also become country clubs of globalist elites who replace native folks with foreign minions.

There are plenty of turncoat comprador elites even in real nations who'd gladly take 30 pieces of silver to rub shoulders with the glamorites of the world.

Montag > , July 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm GMT

@exiled off mainstreet You just described exactly what is the subject matter of an independent movie and graphic novel that I'm trying in vain to get funded. Besides the obvious reasons that 95% of my media-related friends are ultra liberals (anti-truth) and the general cognitive dissonance of our society to the abject poverty of education to university debt-financed amongst young people that verges on state sponsored sleep entrainment depicted in Brave New World.

Anyway, my project has been shunned officially and unofficially; a known Hollywood actor asked me upon reading the script whether I thought it would be controversial? Hell, yes! Except why do you say that? Well you kind of lay out the plan.. It is definitely an awareness thing via social media amongst millenials recorded by Mark Dice; in short, they don't read books, they have no idea of world events, founding fathers, constitution, can't tell you what DC means in Washington, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. One young white man knew a lot; another 40 year old white woman quoted verbatim the Declaration of Independence. The rest didn't know what he was talking about.

Anyway, have a look. I don't expect you to contribute because it's DOA but wouldn't mind honest feedback, i.e., am I living in a bubble I created for myself?

https://igg.me/at/chasm-project-url/x/16732400

dcite > , July 5, 2017 at 11:58 pm GMT

@Alister

Funded by USAID……it's clear they are nothing more than a CIA front…. why no one does an in depth review of the links between USAID and the CIA…..they will find they are one and the same. It's time for UNZ to uncover the real USAID

Now that would be journalism worth its salt. Absolutely. USAID started as a CIA front in Vietnam during the 60s. Ruth Paine, "friend" of Marina Oswald, had a father named William Avery Hyde, who worked at USAID at least partly because it was tied in with the CIA So did other members of her family. I know someone who worked briefly at USAID, and would get questions from the public asking for info on projects from the 1960s. There were almost no records. We'r talking the 1960s, not the last century. There should have been the usual memos, advance reports, technical briefs, assessments, etc. Nearly nada, at least among the non-top-secret documents and archives. Only from the mid-70s on, around the time the CIA and various assassinations were looked at critically by Congress, did this agency keep good records of its activities.

RobinG > , July 6, 2017 at 12:17 am GMT

@Montag DOA? Killed my interest with reference to ZioNazi Roseanne Barr as "truth teller." Get a grip.

Erebus > , July 6, 2017 at 12:19 am GMT

For those who may remain unconvinced, Insurge Intelligence (self-described as "a crowdfunded investigative journalism project for people and planet") has acquired 1000s of documents that lift the veil on just how deeply the USM and CIA are embedded in its productions. In a word, very.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies-and-tv-shows-36433107c307

We live in a simulacrum created by others, in accordance with an agenda they too are following blindly.

Lawrence Fitton > , July 6, 2017 at 3:56 am GMT

isn't it rich, isn't strange, that hollywood types influence naive americans. ill-informed and over-respected types such as george clooney and justin timberlake inflate a narrative of good in the evil of the syrian war crime. why hasn't america demanded an end to extended war-making? the media. that's why.
steppenwolf sang goddam the pusher.
of thee i sing.

Ben_C > , July 6, 2017 at 3:58 am GMT

@L.K Yep…

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/video-white-helmets-clean-following-rebel-execution-southern-syria-18-graphic/

Don't forget this little incident:

https://rachelblevins.com/2017/06/21/gruesome-video-white-helmets-beheading-dumping-syrian-army-bodies/

Priss Factor > , Website July 6, 2017 at 6:07 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwGRvsSGbuM

ROTFL. These guys says the US policy has been anti-Iran but its follies keep aiding Iran inadvertently.

Delinquent Snail > , July 6, 2017 at 7:19 am GMT

Just because we on UNZ are not idiots (most of us) and can dismiss this bs for what it is, doesn't mean the vast majority of americans arent. People nowadays don't read anything besides social media. This country's populace just doesn't care anymore, they've given up fighting to be free. Most just want to trust big brother and uncle sam to have their back, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Years and years of tv programming (the actual shows and the subliminal messages) have robbed most americans of the will power needed to keep an out of controll government in check. They just dont care anymore. And if they start to question whats going on, they are called crazy or delusional, or (my personal favorite) a conspiracy theorist.

We need to do something. Organize and take back our nation. Remove our out of controll spy agencies, stop funding every third world nation in africa (if they cant support them selves, let them die or be someone elses problem. The money could go to so many more important things stateside), no more Foreign Military financing to other nations (if they want to buy our weapons, great! Pay US in cash, gold, silver, whatever. Just pay us. No more freebies(im looking at the 5 billion a year to isreal and Egypt)), we need to bring our soldiers home, and have them do what we pay other nations do do with the training we also provide (border security), we need to dismantle our lobbyist political environment by having all elected officials have all finacial transactions and property become public record (all of it).

We desperately need to STAND UP as a United group. I know im not the only one who feels this way, but alone i can only do so much. I've tried to spread awareness to people i know IRL, but it always spins back to either they dont care, the MSM told them the "truth" of the matter, or im crazy for not wanting perpetual war with nations 95% of americans couldnt find on a map. Thats why we as a group, the politically aware on sites such as this, need to start grouping up and using our wits and weight ro make an impact.

We all don't agree on the finer specifics of why this nation is broken, but we all agree its broken.

annamaria > , July 6, 2017 at 11:21 am GMT

@dcite

Funded by USAID……it's clear they are nothing more than a CIA front…. why no one does an in depth review of the links between USAID and the CIA…..they will find they are one and the same. It's time for UNZ to uncover the real USAID
Now that would be journalism worth its salt. Absolutely. USAID started as a CIA front in Vietnam during the 60s. Ruth Paine, "friend" of Marina Oswald, had a father named William Avery Hyde, who worked at USAID at least partly because it was tied in with the CIA So did other members of her family. I know someone who worked briefly at USAID, and would get questions from the public asking for info on projects from the 1960s. There were almost no records. We'r talking the 1960s, not the last century. There should have been the usual memos, advance reports, technical briefs, assessments, etc. Nearly nada, at least among the non-top-secret documents and archives. Only from the mid-70s on, around the time the CIA and various assassinations were looked at critically by Congress, did this agency keep good records of its activities. The "1984″ has been a conduit for the US "deciders" for so long that they have lost a sense of reality (whereas a sense of decency is not familiar for them at all). Here is an amazing sample of official idiocy: http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-news-us-backed-forces-blast-through-8th-century-syrian-wall-to-fight-isis/5597701

"The Rafiqah Wall, first constructed in the 8th century by the Abbasid dynasty, is reported to be over 12 feet high, over a meter thick and stretches over 3 miles around the old city.

… the advancement of Syrian troops made the wall a trap that could have allowed the ISIS fighters to be completely wiped out. The US-backed forces, fronted by the so-called "Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)", appeared to come to ISIS's rescue. According to a July 3, 2017 TIME article(1), ISIS fighters had taken positions there "to defend the city [sic]" and planted explosive devices at what the article described as "breaks in the wall."

On the night of July 3rd, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), claimed that SDF had "found a way" through the historic wall at "the most heavily-fortified portion of Raqqa"; two 25 meter-long breaches had been blasted through it. The article claimed that the two "small" - almost 100-foot - gaps "will help preserve the remainder of the overall 2,500-meter wall…"

A fine example of ZUSA reasoning: call the ISIS supporters the "moderate" jihadis (SDF) and call the blast of an ancient monument a "preservation."

[Jan 02, 2017] Neoliberals hate government policies, unless they increase thier ability to make profits

Free market is a neoliberal myth, the cornerstone of neoliberal secular region.
Notable quotes:
"... Well, duh. "Policy" and "Capitalism" don't go together and never have. When you enact policy, you destroy the ability to make profit and you get the 1970's. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Gibbon1 -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 10:21 PM
Two of my criticisms about Krugman/Friedman, etc is that is 'free markets' are supposed to substitute for policy in the government sphere. Except very telling except when we're talking about funding the security state.

The other is that the real power of markets is that in a real free market (not a Potemkin one) decisions are made often at the point where needs, information, incentives, and economic power come together. But the large scale decisions the governments have to make, markets fail. Policy though doesn't.

But Neoliberals hate policy.

AngloSaxon -> Gibbon1...
Well, duh. "Policy" and "Capitalism" don't go together and never have. When you enact policy, you destroy the ability to make profit and you get the 1970's.
likbez -> Gibbon1... January 01, 2017 at 10:15 PM
Free market is a neoliberal myth, the cornerstone of neoliberalism as a secular religion. Somewhat similar to "Immaculate Conception" in Catholicism.

In reality market almost by definition is controlled by government, who enforces the rules and punish for the transgressions.

Also note interesting Orwellian "corruption of the language" trick neoliberals use: neoliberals talk about "free market, not "fair market".

After 2008 few are buying this fairy tale about how markets can operate and can solve society problems independently of political power, and state's instruments of violence (the police and the military). This myths is essentially dead.

But like Adventists did not disappear when the second coming of Christ did not occurred in predicted timeframe, neoliberals did not did not disappeared after 2008 either. And neither did neoliberalism, it just entered into zombie, more bloodthirsty stage. the fact that even the term "neoliberalism" is prohibited in the US MSM also helped. It is kind of stealth ideology, unlike say, Marxists, neoliberals do not like to identify themselves as such. The behave more like members of some secret society, free market masons.

Friedmanism is a flavor of economic Lysenkoism. Note that Lysenko like Friedman was not a complete charlatan. Some of his ideas were pretty sound and withstood the test of time. But that does not make his less evil.

And for those who try to embellish this person, I would remind his role in 1973 Chilean coup d'état ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat ) and bringing Pinochet to power. His "Chicago boys" played a vital role in the events. This man did has blood on his hands.

http://www.bidstrup.com/economics.htm

=== quote ===
Of course, bringing a reign of terror to Chile was not why the CIA had sponsored him. The reason he was there was to reverse the gains of the Allende social democracy and return control of the country's economic and political assets to the oligarchy. Pinochet was convinced, through supporters among the academics in the elite Chilean universities, to try a new series of economic policies, called "neoliberal" by their founders, the economists of the University of Chicago, led by an economist by the name of Milton Friedman, who three years later would go on to win a Nobel Prize in Economics for what he was about to unleash upon Chile.

Friedman and his colleagues were referred to by the Chileans as "the Chicago Boys." The term originally meant the economists from the University of Chicago, but as time went on, as their policies began to disliquidate the middle class and poor, it took on a perjorative meaning. That was because as the reforms were implemented, and began to take hold, the results were not what Friedman and company had been predicting. But what were the reforms?

The reforms were what has come to be called "neoliberalism." To understand what "neoliberal" economics is, one must first understand what "liberal" economics are, and so we'll digress briefly from our look at Chile for a quick...
=== end of quote ===

[Jul 05, 2016] Non-Governmental Organizations in a Conjuncture of Conflict and War Psychosis

James Petras

Introduction

The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington and the ramifications define a new conjuncture for social movements and NGOs. The global context preceding September 11 is important in understanding Washington's reaction afterwards and the effects that both have on the perspectives and the role NGOs can play in global politics.

Prior to September 11, Washington's international position showed clear signs of weakening. The anti-globalization mass movements from Seattle to Genoa were creating greater obstacles to the "free market agenda." Washington's rejection of the Kyoto protocol on global warming, its unilateral renunciation of the ABM (missile treaty) and its failure to sign the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention isolated Washington from the rest of the international community. In the Middle East, Iraq was breaking out of the US imposed boycott, becoming an active member of OPEC, and increasing ties with Arab neighbors. Iran has economic relations with Japan, Russia, the EU and most of the rest of the countries in the world contrary to the US boycott. In Latin America, formidable social movements in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador challenged the neo-liberal model. The deepening recession in the US and Europe profoundly affected the "export model" in Mexico, Central America and the rest of Latin America and Asia. Moreover, the recession within the US was leading to massive job losses and bankruptcies, provoking a greater volatility in the stock market, already shaken by the collapse of the information technology speculative bubble.

In summary, US global hegemony was deteriorating, the internal foundations were weakening and discontent was rising - before September 11.

Post September 11

The immediate aftermath of the trauma of September 11 was, at the governmental level, a concerted effort at world mobilization based on a discourse of war. The key phrase was President's Bush's "Countries have to choose, you are with us or with the terrorists." The effect of this discourse was to mobilize predictable NATO followers like Tony Blair of England, Aznar of Spain and Berlusconi of Italy. Other NATO countries entered the "alliance" with some hesitation. While most of the rest of the world condemned the terrorist attack, and expressed sympathy with the victims very few countries were eager to join an open-ended world-wide military campaign against loosely defined terrorists and nations which provide havens for terrorists. Only by tactically specifying the enemy to a narrow set of targets (Osama bin Laden) and the Taliban) was Washington able to secure minimum cooperation within the Middle East and Central Asia. But Washington has a wider agenda - war against Europe and Japan's principal oil suppliers in the Mid-East - namely Iraq and Iran.

The key to President Bush's world-wide "anti-terrorism" campaign is to reverse the decline of US global hegemony. To force Europe to submit to US leadership, to secure the total obedience of the Arab rulers in the Mid-East and to encourage client rulers in Asia and Latin America to increase their repressive capacities against political opposition to the neo-liberal model and US hegemony.

Bush junior seeks to recreate a New World Order, that Bush senior tried to project after the Gulf War and which deteriorated shortly thereafter. After the Gulf War emergency, the competitive interests of Europe and Japan came into conflict with U.S. hegemony, as did the emergence of social movements, North and South. It is likely that once the initial war psychosis dies off, divisions and rivalries will reappear with even greater virulence than in the early 1990's. The extension of the war beyond Afghanistan, worldwide recession, and Washington's attempt to gain economic advantage form its leadership of the wartime coalition can easily provoke divisions.

Nevertheless, in the short run the war mobilization involves a worldwide socio-political offensive to reverse the advances of the late 1990's. This offensive has several common characteristics:

(1) Increasing repressive legislation, curtailing democratic freedoms and widening police power.

(2 Attempts to reverse the recession via "military Keysianism" with higher military spending and billion dollar subsidies to "adversely affected" (airlines, tourism, etc.).

(3) Restoration of U.S. hegemony via military dominance -- "leadership" -- and strengthening client regimes.

(4) Silencing anti-globalization movements by refocusing world attention from the evils of multinational corporations to international terrorism.

(5) Reversing U.S. isolation because of its unilateral rejection of international agreements on peace and the environment:

(A) Reject Kyoto Agreement on greenhouse gases;

(B) Reject anti-ballistic missile agreement;

(C)Reject protocol banning biological warfare;

(D) Reject resolution on international human rights tribunal;

(E) Reject protocol against use of land mines.

The antiterrorist alliance strengthens U.S. global leadership since power of decision is vested exclusively in Washington. The 'Alliance' is an association of followers with no influence on tactics or strategy. Even NATO is excluded from any operational influence. In effect, the anti-terrorist alliance is another manifestation of unilateral state action. The imperial use of anti- terrorism extends far beyond Afghanistan. The term as applied by Washington is so loosely interpreted as to apply to any country in which resistance fighters are located, any movement engaged in social transformation, any supporters of movements, including NGO.

The Coordinator for Terrorism for the State Department, Francis Taylor, stated, "My office is working with different agencies of the government in order to design an anti-terrorist strategy for Colombia and other Andean countries. This strategy is designed to complement Plan Colombia...and the Andean Regional Initiative." Taylor went on to state, "Today, the most dangerous international terrorist group in this hemisphere is the FARC." The State Department centered the second part of its anti-terrorist strategy (after the Middle East) as "an offensive against terrorism in the Americas." The U.S. Congress approved the appropriation of $730 million additional dollars "for war against terrorism...in the region."

Imperialism today is firmly anchored in the state -- the imperial state, which intervenes in the world and domestic economy to subsidize, promote and protect its MNC's as well as to organize continuing military attacks to destroy challenges to its domination. Today more than ever in the past the imperial state is the centerpiece of empire and the driving force for multinational capital expansion.

Acting in concert, the imperial state and multinational corporations have polarized the world along class, racial, gender, national and regional lines. Imperial ideology attempts to obscure this division by polarizing the world between democracy (empire) and terrorism in order to consolidate imperial power. This polarization has also entered into the world of NGO's.

Polarization of NGO's

NGO's have multiplied by the tens of thousands over the past decade, reflecting a variety of political and social perspectives, sources of funding and political allegiances. The majority of the NGO's and the "richest" in funding are open collaborators with the Euro- American states and local neo-liberal regimes, actively working against public/social ownership. Nevertheless, in recent years a growing number of NGO's have played an active role in the anti-globalization, anti-racist and anti-war movements which have taken place from Seattle to South Africa.

The most significant fact in the world of NGO's is the polarization or tri-polar world of NGO's. To simplify, NGO's can be divided into three groups which tend to coincide with their levels of funding.

(1) NGO's which are active promoters of neo-liberalism, working with large sums from the World Bank, USAID, and other international and state funding agencies on a "sub- contracted" basis to undermine national comprehensive welfare institutions.

(2) Reformist NGO's which receive middle range funding from private social democratic foundations and progressive local or regional governments to fund ameliorative projects and to correct the excesses of the free market. The reformists try to "reform" the WTO, IMF and World Bank and regulate capital.

(3) Radical NGO's are basically involved in the anti-globalization, anti-racist, anti-sexist and solidarity movements. Among the radical NGO's there are differences n tactics (civil disobedience, direct action) goals (anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-speculative capital) and alternatives (communitarian, deep ecology, socialist, self-management).

The polarization of NGO's is mainly found in the responses to the major events like the Durban Conference. The radical NGO's denounced as Israel as a racist country while the reformists tried to oppose racism without naming Israel and the neo-liberal NGO's supported Washington or were silent.

The second area of differentiation is in the major demonstrations, from Seattle to Genoa, where the radical NGO's call for the abolition of the IMF-WB, while the reformists only pursue greater regulation of speculative capital (the Tobin tax), debt forgiveness, more responsiveness to poverty needs and internal reform to make the WB-IMF more "responsive" to popular welfare and the environment.

The third area of differentiation of NGO's is between those NGO's (neo-liberal and reformists) who seek to collaborate with imperial (global) institutions and those which collaborate with popular mass movements. The "institutionalists" conceive of "divisions" within the institutions, their capacity to "reason" with bankers and officials to demonstrate how big business interests and environmental/welfare reforms are compatible with profits and stability. The "movement" oriented radical NGO's believe that basic structural changes from below -- redistributing power, property, income -- is necessary to achieve sustainable development and social justice.

Up to now, the lessons are clear: the neo-liberal NGO's have only succeeded in coopting local leaders, while the neo-liberal economic model has collapsed in crisis, increasing the number of poor and destitute. The reformist and radical NGO's have grown and their actions have multiplied, the size of the anti-globalization movement has grown -- while the tensions within the movements have increased. In the face of deepening polarization and economic crisis in the world, the reformist NGO's are losing ground as interlocutors, as the imperial powers of Brussels and Washington turn toward war against the Third World and attack living standards in the North.

NGO: Rethinking Policies and Structures

In the face of this deepening polarization between empire and the popular movements, North and South, the NGO's must rethink their internal organization, their relations to mass movements and their funding policies. Most reformist and radical NGO's are basically cadre organizations, made up of professional staff and volunteers who "mobilize people". While many of the causes are just, the structures are elitist. Today the most promising and dynamic movements -- the unemployed workers' movement in Argentina, the MST in Brazil, the cocaleros of Bolivia, the Zapatistas in Mexico -- are based on popular assemblies and consultation, direct democracy. There is a contradiction in style and substance between the movements and the NGO's in terms of their conceptions of struggle and organization. To resolve this contradiction which has important tactical and strategic consequences, the NGO's must democratize their structures, and convert to forms of organization compatible with their movement partners.

In large part, the structures and orientation of the NGO's are shaped by their funding sources. The more dependent they are on institutional financial support, rather than voluntary funding, the more they retain a hierarchical structure. The greater the degree NGO's approximate a movement, the more likely they will depend on popular/voluntary contributions. Institutional funding involves limits on the political agenda, social demands and tactical activity. Dependence on voluntary contributions means greater engagement with the people in struggle and responsiveness to their demands along with greater political education.

The second area in which the polarization on a global scale requires NGO's to rethink their activity is in terms of strategies. In the past, progressive (radical and reformist) NGO's focused on micro-projects (in Central America and elsewhere) and more recently in anti- globalization mobilizations. While the "micro-projects" did improve some communities, it did not reverse the neo-liberal assaults on living standards and the take-over via privatization by foreign and domestic capital of the national wealth. The shift toward anti-globalization activity was a step forward, insofar as the progressive NGO's recognized some of the major political- economic forces attacking the poor. However, several new problems emerged: the "anti- globalization" ideology obscured the centrality of the imperial states and their drive for world domination -- exaggerating the autonomy of the IMF-WB and the MNC. Secondly, the anti- globalization activities focus largely on periodic dramatic events (Genoa, Davos, Melbourne, Prague) while doing less in day to day organizing and struggles. The question is not one of eliminating the international confrontations, but combining them with mass regional and national struggles against firings, unemployment, intensification of exploitation, etc.

The third area for "rethinking" involves funding, sponsors and collaboration with private enterprises, international institutions and governments. There has been a lengthy debate with the NGO's on these issues. The debates have focused on the cost-benefit of accepting financial aid and sponsorship from this or that institution. For example, many NGOs discuss whether the compromises on program and activities are worth the financial contributions and "legitimate" sponsorship. Some NGO leaders have become experts in the double discourse of presenting a moderate image and securing substantial financing for militant solidarity work. Be that as it may, the larger historic record demonstrates that long term, large scale association with the "power structure" leads to the corruption of NGO leaders, and the conversion of the NGO's into an adjunct of the neo-liberal project.

Cost-benefit analysis is too narrow a framework to evaluate NGO funding and alliances, because it fails to take account of the structure of power and the historical trajectory. Tactical compromises become strategic subordination where principals are sacrificed to maintain a burgeoning and expensive bureaucracy and infrastructure. What is to be done? The fundamental point of departure is a class commitment, a program deeply rooted in principles, a clear ideology and a transition from a "cadre" organization to a social movement that engages in solidarity struggles overseas and mass struggles at home.

Today both President Bush and Bin Laden have tried to polarize the world, one between war and terrorism, the other between empire and religion (Islam). The job of NGO's is to reject these polarization and develop alternatives to empire and fundamentalism, that affirm the self-determination of people and secular states with comprehensive social welfare programs.

Before October 7, 2001 when Washington launched its air war against Afghanistan the progressive NGO's (both reformist and radical) confronted the socio-economic and political polarization between the Euro-American empire and the Third World. Today that polarization includes the empire's war against the Third World, the first phase, according to the Bush regime is to concentrate on Afghanistan, to be followed by new wars, in the near future, against other Third World countries. The war against Afghanistan is part of a long term, large scale offensive to regain U.S. global hegemony: the empire is engaged in salami tactics slicing off each independent regime that does not subordinate itself to the Euro-American alliance.

One of the most resounding victories of the empire was its ideological victory over sectors of the left and progressive NGO's, when the latter supported the NATO bombing and invasion of Yugoslavia, the KLA terrorists in Kosova, the fundamentalists in Bosnia and the KLA directed invasion of Macedonia. In each instance the empire manipulated democratic symbols ("minority rights") and humanitarian rhetoric to expand its sphere of influence. Many NGO's became the tools of empire, receiving millions of dollars in exchange for their pro- imperial, humanitarian services. The imperial war logic from Iraq to Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, from the Middle East to the Balkans to Southern Asia, has led to the new colonization: two- thirds of Iraqi air space and one-third of the country is colonized; NATO military bases are present in occupied Kosova, Bosnia and Macedonia. A puppet regime is in the making in Afghanistan. New wars are planned for the Middle East and beyond, under an open-ended definition of the war against terrorism. Military threats are directed against countries which refuse to subordinate themselves to the empire's military logic (refuse to "join the alliance"). The Marines replace the functionaries of the IMF as the emissaries of conquest. In times of economic crisis, the ruling classes deflect popular discontent and anger to external enemies; the popular movements and progressive NGO's must oppose imperial wars and turn attention to the internal oppressors. NGO's must link the anti-globalization struggle to the anti-war struggle and the anti-recession movements.

The Movement Runs on Five Legs

The challenge for the NGO's today is to build movements that elaborate alternatives to five interrelated problems: (1) war and terrorism; (2) militarization and repression; (3) deepening economic recession and global crises of markets; (4) collapse of export strategies and vulnerability of neo-liberal regimes; and (5) mass unemployment and spread of poverty north and south.

Imperial wars today are "total wars" -- in which all civilians and the most elemental conditions for survival (water, electricity, food, etc.) are objects of military destruction. Total war contains the seeds of genocide: whole people, as in Afghanistan, flee mass destruction and face imminent starvation; war induced deaths in Afghanistan exceed those in New York and Washington in geometrical proportion. Police-state, anti-democratic legislation is rushed through Congress and parliaments without debate, abrogating basic democratic rights in the name of security, but in reality strengthening the repressive powers of the state to limit democratic popular opposition.

War and repression displace social-economic reform as responses to the deepening economic crisis. Employers and multinationals take advantage of the war psychosis to fire millions of workers, to increase temporary workers, intensify exploitation and to lay exorbitant financial claims on the state for subsidies.

Crisis in the North is catastrophic in the South. The infamous neo-liberal "export strategies" in the Third World collapse with the decline of Euro-American markets. Further structural adjustments provoke major confrontations; basic imports are unaffordable, debts cannot be paid, the export sectors face bankruptcy, the neo-liberal state has no resources: vulnerability is everywhere, capitalist solutions are nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, war spending, subsidies for bankrupt multinationals and declining markets lead to increasing unemployment in the U.S. and Europe.

This is a time of deepening problems, but also great challenges and opportunities to pose basic questions and radical alternatives.

Perspectives and Strategies: Short and Medium Term

In the short term we face a right-wing offensive headed by the U.S.-Euro War Alliance backed by powerful MNC's and police military forces. This offensive, through the mass media, which has openly accepted to be a mouthpiece of the Alliance, has secured the temporary support or passivity of the majority of the population in North America and Europe, but not in the Middle East or many other areas of the Third World.

Today, particularly in the U.S. and in the EU, there is a war psychosis manipulated by the state and amplified and transmitted by the mass media. In the short run this has led to the ascendancy of an irrational unanimity in which sectors of public opinion have been led to believe that dissent or criticism of the war is a form of "collaboration" with terrorism. In the U.S. the directors of the mass media have been told by the state not to publish or announce Bin Laden's speeches nor to relate Taliban speeches without identifying them as terrorist propaganda. There was probably no need for direct state intervention as the self-censorship of the media and its wholehearted support of the war made state control unnecessary.

In this context popular social movements and progressive NGO's have a vital educational role to play in countering state propaganda and its intellectual exponents in the mass media. It is through systematic critiques of the war propaganda and its distortions that an informed public opinion, particularly in the popular classes, can be mobilized to oppose the war and the accompanying injustices and insecurities.

Political education can follow four lines of counter-attack. Emphasis on the blatant inconsistencies and contradictions of the war message, for example, the idea that this is a humanitarian war when millions of Afghan people are displaced by the carpet bombing and are experiencing mass hunger, thirst and destruction of basic necessities (electricity, water, food, transport, etc.). The idea that state violence will uproot terrorism instead of multiplying and deepening hatred and violent retaliation. War will create a spiral of violence and the logic of prolonged and extended wars will multiply the attacks on U.S. and EU civilians. Only via changes in policy toward the political sources (Palestine, Iraq, etc.) of discontent in the Mid- East and Gulf States can the conflict be minimized and the levels of violence reduced.

The second line of political education requires an expose of the way in which socially reactionary forces in the state and in the class structure are taking advantage of the self-created "war crisis" to further their interests at the expense of the majority of working people. This is a war, like many previous wars, where the many sacrifice and the few benefit. Already in the U.S. social spending is being reduced and military expenditures are soaring. Multinational corporations are firing millions of workers and receiving huge subsidies for so-called "war damage", while unemployment benefits are being denied. The state calls for "national unity" are being manipulated to obscure the class divisions and injustices, who is benefitting and who is losing from the "war on terrorism". A familiar sight in the U.S. is one of fired workers driving home with a flag flying from their antennas while their corporate bosses sit down with state officials to negotiate new subsidies. The key point is that the economic crisis preceded the conflict, and the war gave the corporations a "legitimate" pretext to massively "restructure" their enterprises in order to lower costs and increase profits. By linking socio- economic losses to the war it is possible to reach millions of working people with a peace and social justice program.

The third line of political education can focus on the real and latent divisions within the War Alliance. One particularly explosive conflict is over Washington's project to widen the war to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. The EU's principle source of petroleum is the Mid-East, and new wars will lead to a catastrophic reduction of oil supply and a geometric increase in the price of oil, which could lead to a major depression. Likewise, U.S. clients, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere are under enormous pressure from below and any further push from the U.S. to support the current war in Afghanistan or an extended war in neighboring countries could lead to national uprisings. In reality, the War against Afghanistan has already narrowed support for the U.S., in comparison to the broad sympathy with the victims in New York and Washington.

Fourthly, many people around the world reject Bush's (and Bin Laden's) dichotomous view of the world ("Either you are for us -- and the war -- or you are against us."). A majority of "moderates" want the bombing to stop and for humanitarian aid to enter to feed millions of starving and displaced Afghans. Many people think that the U.S. and EU should take up the Taliban offer to negotiate and that hard evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in the terrorist acts should be presented. The fundamental fact is that most of what is publicly known about the suspected culprits does not point to Bin Laden or to Al Qaeda. Most were middle class, non- fundamentalists, seven studied in the West (Hamburg) and five were trained at U.S. military bases. None have been identified as having been trained in Pakistan or Afghanistan or indoctrinated by mullahs in either country. These are issues that need to be disseminated widely because they conflict with the basic ideology used to justify this war.

Activism: Engaging the Public

There are three possible axis of political action in this conjuncture. One involves an "indirect approach" which involves mobilizing communities, trade unionists and neighborhoods against the socio-economic consequences of the deepening economic recession (firings/unemployment) and the elite benefits from the "war crisis" at the national/international level. The decisions by MNC to fire workers because of "world market conditions" is a powerful argument against the so-called export growth strategies and "globalization" arguments. Linking local social adversity to globalization and war is important in developing movement activity in this conjuncture.

Secondly, activity should focus on the weakest link in the so-called War Alliance: Israeli violence and dispossession of the Palestinians. Outside of the U.S. most commentators recognize that Israeli war against the Palestinians is the detonator of the current crisis. The genocidal policies of the ultra-rightist Sharon regime have united the whole Arab world,, most of European opinion and outside of the Jewish pro-Israeli lobby in the U.S. even sectors of U.S. public opinion. Even President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have paid lip-service to the idea of a Palestinian state. The political point is that focusing on Israeli intransigence can favorably polarize public opinion against the war and become the starting point to reactivate the anti-globalization movement.

The third area for activities is around the humanitarian disasters caused by wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia. According to the United Nations seven million Afghans face death due to hunger because of the war, comparable to the Holocaust. Humanitarian aid can only be transported if the Anglo American bombing ceases. This is an issue that can motivate millions to pressure to end the bombing, at least temporarily. The "War Against Terror" has already turned into an escalation in the war against popular insurgent forces in Latin America. The head of the DEA in Mexico declared that the EZLN is a "terror" organization. A spokesman for the State Department has declared a massive increase of $700 million and additional military personnel to fight "FARC terrorism". The human casualties of these new wars are grotesque: between Oct. 1-15 the Colombian military backed paramilitary killed 150 peasants and workers and the count is running. The issue of STATE terrorism is graphically illustrated as the real content of our definition as the war against terrorism.

An international tribunal on the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan, led by international notables could focus world attention and educate public opinion on the real meaning of the war. In summary, progressive NGO's should link their anti-globalization strategies to the deepening internal economic crisis and develop programmatic alternatives based on socializing production, redistributing income and deepening internal markets based on increased social expenditures. NGO's should link their support for humanitarian relief with the anti-war movement and the catastrophic economic consequences for Europe resulting from an extension of the war to other Middle Eastern and Gulf countries. International alliances based on international crisis requires building rank and file organizations in each barrio, municipality and region. The NGO's should learn the lessons from direct action movements like the MST in Brazil, the unemployed workers in Argentina who apply non-violent road pickets and strategic pressures in production and distribution.

Conclusion

It is clear that a right-wing offensive is underway on a world scale: so-called "security measures" are strengthening the arbitrary powers of the state at the expense of individual freedoms and collective social rights. It is also clear that a growing movement of resistance is emerging, particularly in the Muslim countries and to a considerable degree in Europe (Italy, England, France). The very extremism of Bush's total war strategy is having a boomerang effect: the prolongation of the war and the mounting casualties is increasing the number of voices from the humanitarian, human rights groups and citizens in Muslim countries. The right- wing offensive can be turned against itself. As fears and insecurities multiply, as the war erodes the economy and as the number of people adversely affected multiplies, these "mass casualties" in the domestic economies of the EU and even the U.S. can become potential recruits for social movements. The international war alliance is likely to lead to a counter-alliance for peace and opposition to militarism. Repressive legislation can heighten democratic sensibilities; authoritarianism, breed pro-democracy movements.

Polarities and forced choices ("war or terrorism") can boomerang, isolating their proponents before their extreme formulations. The movements must redefine polarities: globalization and war or democracy, self-determination, humane assistance to the victims of war and jobs for the unemployed. The vast majority of people refuses to choose between imperial wars and fundamentalist terror. Most will choose alternatives of secular, peaceful nations in which people are free to choose the social system which most fulfill their lives. Today the greatest threat to humanity is unilateralism -- the decision of Washington to go to war, to bomb a country into the "stone age", to reject Kyoto, missile controls, land mines abolition, international courts of justice and UN decisions which demand that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories. Unilateralism today means militarism. In the face of the world economic crisis and heightened competition, unilateralism means intensified struggle to expand control over vital resources and markets, via non-economic methods.

Unilateralism undermines any pretense of building durable alliances. Militarism alienates those who pay the cost of war: the majority of humankind. Unilateralism forces allies into opposition; economic crisis forces a re-evaluation of priorities, models, markets -- challenging neo-liberal orthodoxy. Tactically it is imperative to seek the broadest possible tactical alliance against unilateralism, militarism and neo-liberalism.

History teaches us, from the two World Wars, the Algerian and Vietnam Wars, that deprivation, unequal sacrifice and the political and social cost of war undermine the initial unanimity and heighten resistance. As opposition grows from below, vertical and horizontal cleavages deepen and the imperial arrogance of a "New World Order" crumbles and opportunities for transforming the world open and the eternal hopes for peace and justice become the programmatic bases for new socio-political movements. To be part of the solution and not part of the problem, progressive NGO's must draw a clear line of distinction between themselves and the millionaire NGO's, like Foster Parent Plan which collects $300 million a year, MISEREOR $214 million a year, World Vision $500 million, CARE with $50 million budgets. These millionaire agencies collaborate with Euro-American imperialism and are funded to undermine social movements via class collaborationist "community" and "family development". Today the foundations of multi-national corporations, the World Bank and the Euro-American empires invest over $7 billion for NGO's to undermine comprehensive public development and anti-systemic movements. Progressive NGO's can only engage in popular struggles to oppose war and resist globalization by rejecting funding from these sources which limit their commitments. All funding from the power structure carries "strings" -- limits in struggles, program, tactics and strategy. To think otherwise is self-delusive. To truly become an independent force, progressive NGO's must go to their roots, and win the allegiance of their people in order to become self-financing and live and work on voluntary donations from the people they purport to service.

This is not an easy time for NGO's or for the popular movements, but times change, reaction over-steps boundaries. People struggle from necessity. I believe that there is a powerful resistance movement that reaches from the countryside and urban slums of Latin America, Asia and Africa to the streets, cities and anti-globalization movements of Euro-America. We must seize our opportunities and advance and reject the siren calls of defeat, death, destruction and demoralization.

[Nov 02, 2014] This is why the Russians want to tightly regulate foreign NGOs

Nov 30, 2014 | vineyardsaker.blogspot.de

How is that for a "watch" of human right?

The fact is that western human rights organizations are below contempt. Some are political tools in the hands of the Empire (Human Rights Watch), some are full of western intelligence agents (Medecins Sans Frontieres, OSCE monitors), some are lead by cynical bureaucrats who use idealistic young delegates as cannon fodder (ICRC), some are used by big business as a tool (Greenpeace) while others are quasi-official CIA tools (NED, Freedom House, Open Society Foundation, etc.).

The funny thing in this case is that the photo is not taken in Russia, but in the Ukraine, and the riot cops shown here have Ukrainian unit badges. But then, who cares anyway? It's not like "truth" is a topic that matters to HRW...

The Saker

Anonymous:

Within America, and much of the planet, the imperialist Oligarchs control the media, schools, and political process.

There are some courageous sons and daughters of Promethius who are doing their best to spread some light in the darkness.

One of them operates this Vinyard. Another, Snowden is sheltered in Russia. Assange, Manning, and the heroic Partisans of Novorussia, and too many others to mention, are taking their stands, regardless of the dangers.

The American people, our "Rabble in Arms," must rebuild our constitutional government within the United States. That is the missing ingredient to world progress, the rise of the citizens of America.

The Russians are doing their part. We must be next.

For the Democratic Republic! (destroyed on November 22, 1963).

Scan

Yes, look the uniform: I don't know Russian, but seems to me that Russian alphabet does not contain "I". Ukrainian has.

Charles Mondeley

As a former student in the American educational system, let me tell you, these NGO practices permeate every single level of college life, where you are CONSTANTLY solicited to join some sort of quasi-moral political calling, whether it is woman's rights groups, anti-tobacco campaigner, abortion, something or other.

It really doesn't matter in the end, seeing as they all lead to the same geopolitical strings. Really is depressing the true totalitarian level of information and cultural manipulation.

Anonymous

NGOs: reconnaisence, diversion, and infiltration groups. And special ops.

Wolves in sheep's clothing, or Trojan horses.

Anonymous

@Scan Yes, Russian alphabet does not contain "I".
Ukrainian does.

Trepper

HRW has a revolving door with the US State Dept.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/11/the-revolving-door-at-human-rights-watch/

Anonymous

It's obvious to me that the picture shows Ukrainian alphabet, not Russian.

These are Ukraine police guys.

Anonymous

Wonderful the opponents are in overdrive exposing "assets".

Interesting language - now who could be the potential audience?

Bathos is always is enhanced with prior stimulation.

Michael McDonnell

I have always suspected "rights" organisations from basics:-

Rights are claims in justice guaranteed by God for performance of duties to God and are, therefore, inalienable except by sin. Civil rights flow from civil duties and are inalienable except by crime. To steal our rights by removing their basis in duties, the Hate freaks devised inalienable 'self evident' Rights of Man, and innumerable counterfeit rights to discredit all rights, then bills of rights legislated by the state because what the state gives the state can take away.

From this understanding I am spared fetid research into who funds and sodomises whom in the rights racket.

NoBC4U
Seems not so long ago that there was an uproar when supporters of Novorossiya used some photos for the #SaveDonbassPeople campaign that just happened to be taken at places outside of Donbass.

But I guess using photos out of context is just fine when the "good guys" are doing it.

Johan Meyer
Where was this poster published/found? I need that information to use this poster against HRW et alia.
sketch ey
I checked HRW's website for fun. The stories they have critical of Russia are about ten to one to those critical of the Kiev gov't.

Not only that, but of the stories about Ukraine, there are literally ten to one criticizing the Eastern rebels for violating human rights, not the Kiev regime. They regard the shelling of Donetsk and Lugansk as being caught in "crossfire." Anybody with a half-functioning brain can easily see what HRW really is. I guess burning people alive, raping and murdering pregnant women, banning people from speaking their own language, and outlawing political parties representing whole segments of the population are "good" violations of human rights.

The sad part of this is that virtually all outfits like this, including the U.N. itself, have been bought and paid for by the "Empire." Just like the League of Nations before it, the U.N. will have to be erased as well.

Z
"when Miguel Díaz, the ex-CIA analyst in question, exploited the eight years of experience and relationships he accumulated within HRW's advisory committee for his subsequent role as the U.S. State Department's "interlocutor between the intelligence community and non-government experts."

Oh and that UN shill Power..

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/06/samantha-power-and-the-weaponization-of-human-rights-2/

Michael McDonnell
Peter Antonsen said The American people, our "Rabble in Arms," must rebuild our constitutional government within the United States.

Every time I suggest that the patriotic moral élite invade the GOP to reinforce the Tea Party conservatives, the suggestion is not criticised, just ignored. The Satanic societies cannot be replaced by less than an overwhelming gathering/organising, consolidation of nationalist sentiment within the country's main party. Ho-hum.

Where-Wolf
Again, full spectrum dominance means there are no good options if you insist on sticking to well known or 'legitimate' organizations.

You must make your own options and fight to see they are not co-opted.

Above all, you must learn to think and read critically and also celebrate the few lonely voices who make the grade.

I can think of only one.

Thank you Saker.

Michael Droy
Interesting - a link to the original HRW photo as published by them would be useful.

A google image search takes me to an Irish times article behind a paywall.

Typically the headline refers to people burnt in Ukraine and the short attached text is an accusation of the kremlin. ... ...Odessa seems to have been the incident...


Anonymous

100% ukrainian police

http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mmoK9maoMs1FODMClgJwYSg.jpg


Anonymous

Human Rights Watch. They watch for Human Rights and when they find some, they crush them.

Also Russia uses полиция (police) since 2011. Not милиция (militia).

A friend of mine used to work for NGOs and he always told me they're run like mafias. A very few quantity of the money donated ends up helping the people who are in need.

teranam13

re: foreign NGOs: That is the last illusion to fall even among those who are more politically alert such is the desire to have some good be done by us in the Empire in the midst of so much appalling evil done in "our" name. So keep exposing them.

As one contributor said--repetition and more repetition because more and more people come to view this for the first time here.

Anonymous

The American people, our "Rabble in Arms," must rebuild our constitutional government within the United States. That is the missing ingredient to world progress, the rise of the citizens of America.

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you...people are content lying to themselves. They even sleep better at night when not worrying about The Truth.

ESPECIALLY Americans. They are the strongest bullies in the playground. They're filled with hubris and proudly singing the star spangled banner at every game. Why should they change anything?! They think that they rule the world. It's much easier to think that, rather than have to face up to the fact that they are, in fact, ruled by dual citizens to whom they constitute mere 'plebs' to be used only as foot soldiers when needed.

I mean, I know you knew all this, but still...you try to convince yourself that *something* will change...when we both know that it won't.

If change does come, it will NOT be initiated by the American people. No point in giving anyone false hope.

Anonymous

The George Soros Open Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions.
Source: wikipedia

--Penelope

Anonymous

Hosting address of pic at HRW (note it's a slightly different poster)

https://secure.hrw.org/atf/cf/%7Bd108c9e1-9920-41e7-a617-ef5f171073e4%7D/KREMLIN-LIGHTBOX-NOX-BG.PNG

Anonymous
I know Russia has required NGO's (or at least some of them) to register as foreign agents if their funding comes from outside.

But why can't Russia just ban them in Russia period.

The subversion they cause,as they did in Ukraine,is so bad that the horrible publicity Russia would get would be worth getting rid of them.The concept of the NGO's is a good one.But once the US started using them to destabilize countries it ruined all the good they might have done.I don't worry for Russia in military matters.But constantly when I see something like this I'm concerned over the 5th column and traitors destroying Russia from within.The level of Russophobia is so great in the West that allowing traitors to operate and aid foreign agents inside Russia is ridiculous.

The are even sites that supposedly report on news in Russia.Visited by Russians that are almost totally anti-Russian propaganda.Doom and gloom 24/7 over the economy,etc.And rags like the Moscow Times (foreign owned) and now a Russian language site up by Russian 5th columnists in Latvia is certain to stir the pot.I'am even wondering over some articles I see in the English language RT.For a site owned by the Russian state some of the stories are written not much better than the MSN.Do they have any kind of editors or moderators for their comments page.

The comment page would gladden the heart of the worst Russophobe.At least the USSR made an effort to counter propaganda from the West.I don't really see that from Moscow today.They need to understand they are really at war.RT reported the other day that Putin's approval numbers went down to 59%.And wondered if it was over the Ukraine and the sanctions.That is the kind of story I'm talking about.In reading the full story it said the question asked was if an election was held next weekend would you vote for him.Not exactly how the headline put it.

The headline was more like you'd see in the Washington Post.In the article my understanding of it was that people are unset thinking he is selling Novorossii out to the West.That is as Saker mentioned another tactic of the West to sow unrest in Russia.Or at least I hope that's what it is.

Uncle Bob

Scan

Meanwhile, the "Russian spetsnaz" was...Swedish fisherman!
To find out, they spent € 2 million ...

http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2014/10/25/schwedische-u-boot-jaeger-blamiert-es-war-ove-der-fischer/

Johann Schickeneder

That's what I said for a long time: Russia has to tighten the screws on this malevolent orgs.
And why not expose this shills for what they are? Press them hard! Russia surely has the insight on these billion dollar viruses and they have the coms to spread it.
USAID is as much about aid as the Fed is about federal.
It's Orwellian stuff.

Hats off to the Saker!

For the American People I recommend Gerald Celente's "Occupy Peace" movement.
Greetings from occupied Germany

Anonymous

"The American people, our "Rabble in Arms," must rebuild our constitutional government within the United States. That is the missing ingredient to world progress, the rise of the citizens of America."

When the $ will finally fall and the Americans understand that the American era is over for ever, the country will descend into chaos. Large parts of the US will resemble Donbass 2014. Roughly speaking, the Reps will morph into the Constitutionalist party and the Dems the Republicans (a la the Reps in Spain in the thirties) or Centralists/neo-Bolsheviks.

The Constitutionalists will attempt to secede, Washington and the Dems try to prevent that. The only way for the Constitutionalists to win and succeed in secession is to ask for help from Europe (Paris-Berlin-Moscow) and they will receive it, just like was the case when the American rebels of 177x received decisive help from continental Europe (troops from France, money and weapons from Holland and Spain).

700 million Europeans should be able to guarantee the future of say 100 million Euro-Americans on north-American soil ('flyover country').

Kind regards,
Dutch

Lysander

I've always wondered why Russia doesn't fight fire with fire. The US has plenty of problems and vulnerabilities that they should be taking advantage of. IIRC, the former USSR tried to take advantage of US class and ethnic divisions. US right wingers pretty much credited the Soviets for the anti-Vietnam war movement. Whether they had a hand in it or not isn't even the point. If not, then perhaps they should have.

The US today has plenty of ethnic divisions of white vs black vs Hispanic/Mexican, etc. It has "liberal" vs "Conservative" vs "old style conservative." The latter, mostly Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan types, seem quite sympathetic to Russia.

And there are plenty of Anti-war leftists in the US who might not be pro Russian but are definitely anti-US (made in Israel) foreign policy.

The US also probably has probably the worst prison and criminal 'justice' system in the industrial world.

Now obviously the US will ***NEVER*** allow foreign NGOs to work here as their own do abroad, but I still think Russia has plenty of material to work with.

And its goals don't have to bee too ambitious. They don't need to overthrow the US government. But I think even a modest effort will piss the US elites off something fierce (and so what? They are already hell bent on destroying Russia) and they would have to direct some of their attention away from tormenting others and back to protecting themselves.

Matt Janovic

Hilariously, the HRW petition is addressed to that great champion of human rights, from Lybia to Syria to Egypt to Burma to Donbass, our beloved Secretary of State.

Could the Saker find out what the distraught lady behind the police line was protesting about?

elsi

About Bernard Kouchner, Medecins Sans Frontiers cofunder

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Kouchner

Dalpe

BTW here is the interview of Hawkeye in English:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2f2_1414693523


Robert Miller

Regarding OSCE, keep an eye on this guy:

http://spitfirelist.com/news/michael-aka-mykhailo-bociurkiw-the-international-institute-of-islamic-thought-and-the-downed-malaysian-airliners/

Anonymous
Red Cross certainly fits as an NGO, & one i bet most people would'nt even know what they've been up to these decades. this is an updated article out today, from an older one expose he did years ago which really surprised me.

American Red Cross: Another Corporate and Bankster Fleecing Operation

Considering the fact Obama is the organization's honorary chairman and its board of governors is dominated by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Merck, Circle One Financial Group, and other large corporations, the fact the Red Cross is merely a front for collecting donations should not come as a surprise.

It is telling as well that the Red Cross was created by congressional charter. It has a government mandate to work in league with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
http://www.infowars.com/american-red-cross-a-corporate-fleecing-operation-exploiting-natural-disasters/


Anonymous

At the begining empire use secret societies -- see book Builders of Empire. Then empire legalized them as NGOs

Ketsa

I'll never forget this one also :

http://osocio.org/images/uploads/Amnesty-International-Assad-Fueller-1000_thumb.jpg

elsi
Medecins Sans Frontiers´in Syria

http://miguel-esposiblelapaz.blogspot.com.es/2013/08/medicos-sin-fronteras-ayudando-al.html

I have to say that I know, because I've known personally some of them, that in this organization works, primarily in the field, expats, outstanding people, which only is moved on the interest to help the disadvantaged without expecting a big reward and who are ignorant of all these maneuvers.

Supporting them after years, just opened my eyes on my tracking of the Syrian conflict.

A pity....


CS

Anyone know where this image appeared, who it was addressed to, or what people were being requested to sign?

Presumably it was not for use in Russia, since Russians generally don't speak English and, to judge by opinion surveys, regard Putin more as a a defender of Russian rights, culture and sovereignty than a tyrant.


sonyarus

Unfortunately, such organisations seem to have been subverted to some degree or other by people who have entered and captured them with a political agenda. This plays out in sync with the bias already pushed ever more blatantly by MSM. Amnesty International seems to be very motivated to find human rights abuses in Russia, but do we hear their concerns about human rights abuses committed by America ("we tortured a few folks") at home and abroad?

On this note of an alternative world view here is a link to an interview with Igor Strelkov:

http://youtu.be/UYouKFYc2jE

CanSpeccy
Why aren't the bully boys in helmets beating up the woman we are supposed to believe is protesting against Putin's tyranny? The thing makes no apparent sense. But then its presumably aimed at stupid Americans who assume that Russians speak English.

I guess that does make sense though the implications are grim, since when America's about to start killing people they feel the need, first, to have Soros and company demonize them as terrorists led by a monster.

brian

Peor may like to mail or tweet this info to HRW and see how or if they respond
Larchmonter445
Pete J Antonsen

You nailed it with JFK's assassination. The coup d'etat was the single act that convinced the oligarchs, plutocrats, military-industrial complex that Americans were sheep, however armed and resistant to government.

It took education to turn the ensuing generations into mush who accept Liberalism and watch a Bill of Rights shredded by the courts.

Your prescription and hope seem extremely doubtful until external pressure causes severe disruption of the tyranny centered in Washington.

Whether that is the end of the dollar, the collapse of the EU, the disintegration of NATO, or a catastrophe that shocks the American psyche profoundly, only time will tell.

I agree we must have our constitutional government back in the control of the people.
But it may be many decades before that occurs.


Bergolts

Anyone following the disaster that has been unfolding in this new century can attest to the lies being promulgated by the West ' Freedom ,Democracy and Human Rights '. Euphemisms that are Orwellian in totality
AntiNWO
Is that an official poster of HRW? I am kinda of cynical it is.

Ann

Unfortunately, even though here at this blog we "know the truth"...this photo is very compelling...and so highly untruthful as to draw on emotions of anyone who sees it...and HRW is quite big in the news, and sometimes even quoted by alternative media...RT for example...

I wonder how much RT is oligarch owned and also Itar Tass...as I mentioned a couple of threads ago...there's a great american journalist named John Robles, who was chased out of the US for his fantastic news coverage...and found a job at Voice of Russia and was doing a great job there...then VR merged (? oligarch-owned??) with Itar Tass and John Robles lost his job...he does not have social security in Russia and is a "wanted" journalist in America...

His situation is like Snowden's, only Snowden is benefiting from fame ... besides which I've heard Snowden is an american operative inside Russia...and Putin knows....

Anyway, I wish John Robles could get the help he needs...his wife just had a baby girl and he's in employment straits...and nowhere to turn to...

mjm
Greetings from Singapore:

Demonization of the enemy, based on lies, is a constant with the West.

M.Parenti wrote on the Yugoslavia issue:

QUOTE
The Serbs were blamed for the infamous Sarajevo market massacre of 1992. But according to the report leaked out on French TV, Western intelligence knew that it was Muslim operatives who had bombed Bosnian civilians in the marketplace in order to induce NATO involvement. Even international negotiator David Owen, who worked with Cyrus Vance, admitted in his memoir that the NATO powers knew all along that it was a Muslim bomb.16 However, the well-timed fabrication served its purpose of inducing the United Nations to go along with the U.S.-sponsored sanctions.

On one occasion, notes Barry Lituchy, the New York Times ran a photo purporting to be of Croats grieving over Serbian atrocities when in fact the murders had been committed by Bosnian Muslims. The Times printed an obscure retraction the following week.17

We repeatedly have seen how "rogue nations" are designated and demonized. The process is predictably transparent. First, the leaders are targeted. Qaddafi of Libya was a "Hitlerite megalomaniac" and a "madman." Noriega of Panama was a "a swamp rat," one of the world's worst "drug thieves and scums," and "a Hitler admirer." Saddam Hussein of Iraq was "the Butcher of Baghdad," a "madman," and "worse than Hitler." Each of these leaders then had their countries attacked by U.S. forces and U.S.-led sanctions. What they really had in common was that each was charting a somewhat independent course of self-development or somehow was not complying with the dictates of the global free market and the U.S. national security state.18

Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has been described by Bill Clinton as "a new Hitler." Yet he was not always considered so. At first, the Western press, viewing the ex-banker as a bourgeois Serbian nationalist who might hasten the break-up of the federation, hailed him as a "charismatic personality." Only later, when they saw him as an obstacle rather than a tool, did they begin to depict him as the demon who "started all four wars." This was too much even for the managing editor of the U.S. establishment journal Foreign Affairs, Fareed Zakaria. He noted in the New York Times that Milosevic who rules "an impoverished country that has not attacked its neighbors -- is no Adolf Hitler. He is not even Saddam Hussein."19

Some opposition radio stations and newspapers were reportedly shut down during the NATO bombing. But, during my trip to Belgrade in August 1999, I observed nongovernmental media and opposition party newspapers going strong. There are more opposition parties in the Yugoslav parliament than in any other European parliament. Yet the government is repeatedly labeled a dictatorship. Milosevic was elected as president of Yugoslavia in a contest that foreign observers said had relatively few violations. As of the end of 1999, he presided over a coalition government that included four parties. Opposition groups openly criticized and demonstrated against his government. Yet he was called a dictator.
The propaganda campaign against Belgrade has been so relentless that prominent personages on the Left -- who oppose the NATO policy against Yugoslavia -- have felt compelled to genuflect before this demonization orthodoxy.20 Thus do they reveal themselves as having been influenced by the very media propaganda machine they criticize on so many other issues. To reject the demonized image of Milosevic and of the Serbian people is not to idealize them or claim they are faultless or free of crimes. It is merely to challenge the one-sided propaganda that laid the grounds for NATO's destruction of Yugoslavia.

UNQUOTE

Kat Kan

To add insult to injury, that image is from an occasion when (ethnic) Russians were the VICTIMS.

The picture was take outside the Trade Union building in Odessa on May 3, at a protest about the massacre of the day before. A Reuters photo, it appeared on numerous sites at the time, eg http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/protesters-incinerated-in-building-in-ukraine-fighting-1.1783207

It also appeared on items claiming Russia set up the Odessa fire as a provocation, so I guess in that context the image may have a little bit o do with the text on the new poster.http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/wire-news/ukraine-accuses-russiaengineering-odessa-riots-that-killed-over-40_1078945.html

Daniel Rich
Human Rights Watch:

Senior Management:

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director
Michele Alexander, Deputy Executive Director, Development and Global Initiatives
Carroll Bogert, Deputy Executive Director, External Relations
Iain Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Program
Chuck Lustig, Deputy Executive Director, Operations

Anonymous

This is off-topic, but the hilarious campy LOLNazis over at Daily Stormer appear to have drawn the attention of the British Parliament.

..don't they know that you are supposed to ignore that kind of stuff and don't feed the Twitter trolls, especially when they are snarky take-no-prisoners Nazi internet trolls who despise weakness? There's nothing weaker than MPs or members of Congress.

These guys are the funniest Nazis on the planet. Parliament doesn't stand a chance against their outrageous snark. You can either ignore them or shut down the internet, what's it gonna be...

BTW
Even a half-wit should be able to see through these so-called NGO's. Let us start with the name first: Non-government organization. What does it mean? Anything and almost everything. The Coca Cola company, your local Mafia group, the boy scouts club, Hell's angels biker gang, and the New York sex-workers' association are all valid examples of NGO's. These are "organizations" and are non-governmental; hence they pass the test of being non-governmental organizations. Indeed, mercenary outfits such a Blackwater are also non-governmental organizations; being remote from any government, they can be used for all sorts of murderous and genocidal activities while the governments involved can cheerfully proclaim "not me, my hands are clean, these are non-government people".
It is equally silly to attempt to regulate NGO's, just as it would be silly to regulate ghosts, amoeba, and viruses. You can only regulate what is defined by a proper name and which cannot change form and shape like an amoeba.
Any organization that receives foreign money is first and foremost a foreign-funded organization ("FFO" - now how is that for a name?) and should be called by its proper name. The second thing then is to establish who controls the FFO: locals or foreigners. Only lastly can it become possible to list the activities that FFO's can engage in and those that are closed to them. Politics, crime, media, lobbying, and influence peddling are obvious examples of activities that should not be open to FFO's. Even something like medical research could be dangerous because of the risk of citizens being treated like guinea pigs by foreign controlled organizations.
NGO's or FFO's, the real question is who is to be master foreign money or local citizens?
--BTW

Donovan Kirsten

Paul Theroux, famous travel writer of "Dark Star Safari", calls the white-Toyota-truck-driving NGO do-gooders in Africa "Agents of Virtue".

These, he says, are the most dangerous kinds of people, because they believe they have right on their side. I would put post-neocons like Hillary Clinton in this category.

One thing about George W. Bush, he was a murderer and he was proud of it. Do-gooders are no less evil, but they're harder to spot for the unwary.

Anonymous
All anglo spy agencies like english media spy journalsits and so called human rights from inhuman anglos must be treated as enemy spies in war time and dealt with accordingly everywhere in the world.
Mulga Mumblebrain
Human Rights Watch is basically the kosher version of Amnesty. Both are tools of the Atlanticist Empire. Allowing the arrogant, interfering, supremacist scum onto your territory is sheer madness.

Mulga Mumblebrain

Donovan Kirsten, the basic character trait of these 'Agents of Virtue' is utter racist and civilizational supremacist contempt for the 'savages' they are saving from themselves. Hence the preponderance of Jews, at least of that type that really believe in their over-all superiority to the goyim, in the ranks of these agents of the, coincidentally, Jewish-controlled Atlanticist global hegemony. I'd be happy to let 'self-hating' Israeli Jews like B'tselem, or Gush Shalom in, but they, properly, are concerning themselves with their own country's problems, and not sticking an interfering snout into the affairs of others.

Mulga Mumblebrain

mjm, Milosevic was making mince-meat of the 'persecution' at his sham show trial, so they murdered him by giving him Rifampicin, usually used in TB treatment, but with the very little known side-effect of interfering with certain cardiac medications, some of which Milosevic was taking.

Slightly reminiscent of the lynching of Saddam who was hanged before he could be tried for those atrocities like Halabja, that he committed with full US and Atlanticist co-operation.

Mulga Mumblebrain

Johann Schikeneder, I agree-hit the bastards hard as you kick 'em out. Put a few local compradores and their foreign controllers on trial and expose their activities. Sentence them to long terms, then show magnanimity, expel the foreigners and parole the locals, but keep them closely monitored. Some might prefer to move to their real 'Homeland' the Atlanticist dystopias, so give them a one-way ticket (to Palookaville). And good riddance.

Anonymous

A 29 pagepaper on the Maidan snipers identity and actions by academics at the
University of Ottawa.

https://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine

Anonymous

"First they came …" is a famous statement and provocative poem ... about the cowardice of EU-NATO countries' intellectuals following the Natoists' rise to power and American occupation of Europe.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.

Anonymous

@Scan Yes, Russian alphabet does not contain "I".
Ukrainian does.
======================================
The Russian call "police"
Ukrainian call "міліція Militsiya"

Once Nazi, today Natoist

Anonymous

From The Economist, NGO, a factory of Anglo-Zionist anti Russian propaganda

Nov 1st 2014

What lies behind Vladimir Putin's latest anti-American rant

WHEN Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, gave a belligerent anti-Western speech in Munich seven years ago he was tense and angry

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21629456-what-lies-behind-vladimir-putins-latest-anti-american-rant-hard-talk

If you read, please read between the lines.

Croat and Russophile

Jake

@ Larchmonter445:

The collapse of the USSA will occur before decades go by. The empire collapses not long after the peak of external (yet exaggerated) military power, and a few decades after economic decline has set in.

The economy is destroyed for all but the elites and their functionaries.

I work for a software company, and am therefore part of the lucky worker beehive supporting the elites. They love their toys and human-control devices.

I believe an external shock will tear the nation apart. Economic decline, combined with moral decay, the utter destruction of real education (going on now for 100 years under the "progressive" regime), the undermining of Americans' health from terrible food, poisoned water, GMOs, etc. will lead to a tipping point at some unknown time in the near future.

Putin and Russia simply have to stay sane, alive, ethical, and strong. Develop internal industry and technology. Trade with any nation that wishes to trade. Avoid tit-for-tat sanctions, except to keep the enemy off guard.

I live in the USA. I wish to emigrate as soon as practicable.

It is really hell here, despite the superficial material abundance.

I am healing after decades of being poisoned. By making major changes to what I ingest, my health (mental and physical), I can finally think, read, and study again. My depression has lifted, only to allow me to be more aware of the degraded state of the society in which I live.

I fear for my son and family. Yet I must fight on and get out of here.

There are, indeed, good people. A minority take rights, duties, responsibilities, and independence and localism seriously.

Wish us luck.

Regarding the NGOs- not one American NGO is worth anyone's support.
I remember the shock on a young woman's face recently when I told her that no, I would not give money to her pro-abortion feminist organization. I told her that I disagreed with her org's morality and mission.
It would seem not many people are so honest. I was not impolite, nor had I any ill will.
This is my longest comment yet here... glad to have found y'all.

I'm a Burkean, paleo-conservative with libertarian/communitarian tendencies... and I have no home in my city and state and nation....

Daniel Rich

@ Kat Kan,

Q: If we're going to disapprove of HRW (or any other organisation) let's try to d it on the basis of something they are actually DOING.

R: I wold like to add the words 'or not' to that sentence.


Anonymous

http://fas.org/irp/ops/policy/docs/frusX/

This is the url of all State Department documents surrounding the invasion of Cuba, including Operation Mongoose, which Kennedy launched immediately after promising not to invade Cuba in return for withdrawal of the IBMs during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Compiling these and going public with them was a special history project of the State Department. It was meant to be comprehensive, although you will not be surprised to see things like "specific tasking to the CIA attached" followed by the historian's note "no attachment found."

The number one item on all the invasion planning was finding and infiltrating human rights groups or creating some, if necessary.

My index to the individual documents got lost in a computer incident, sorry. But you should stash this and make your own. This remains the classic playbook for subversion today.

Cassandra

Anonymous

Lysander:

It was the Yellow Peril that was credited with the anti-Vietnam war movement. I remember it well.

"Right, mom. And when some of that Peking gold trickles down to me, I'll pay you the $20 I owe you."

Gideon Anthony

Guys to get the most comprehensive view of how these organizations contribute to the political economy of narrative generation , I would recommend strongly 'slouching towards Sirte' by Maximillian Forte - a forensic deconstruction of the way the case was generated against Libya as well as an empirical history of that war. horrifying and John 'Bomb Iran', make friends with Nazis and Jihadists McCain has already promised the Gaddafi treatment to Putin. Beyond contempt.


Anonymous

The Western media loves to
hate Putin because he doesn't configure to their garden- variety liberal ruler who gets applauded at fancy conferences. But in Putin what they should really see is not a totalitarian – just a normal, run-of-the-mill Russian semi-dictato

http://www.rferl.org/content/robert-kaplan-geography-fate-nations/24704951.html
In Slovakia open consulate of Novorossia. This is version of Voice of Russia, language is Slovak
http://slovak.ruvr.ru/2014_10_30/Pre-cely-svet-je-nasa-iniciativa-prekvapenim-nikto-to-od-Slovakov-necakal-2496/

Alien Tech

It wont be long now. The US is trying to break everyone else before they break. Hence destabilize everyone else first and things will get much worse before it does get worse like you never experienced before. You can expect false flags to come out of the woodworks everywhere. We are at the center of the hurricane and we think the danger is over, wait until we start moving out of the center, we hit the leading wave in 2008. They think they can keep us in the center so as not to get buried but it is only a matter of time...

We had interest rate hikes in Turkey and South America. We had a cotton and federal bond-buying program. Just eight months later in October, we've got Ebola. We've got ISIS. We've got Russia annexing Crimea. We've got a rising U.S. Dollar Index. We've got pullbacks in gold, silver and pretty much all commodity prices. With all this news, what, in your view, should people really be focusing in on?


Bob Moriarty: There is a flock of black swans overhead, any one of which could be catastrophic. The fundamental problems with the world's debt crisis and banking crisis have never been solved. The fundamental issues with the euro have never been solved. The world is a lot closer to the edge of the cliff today than it was back in February.

BM: We are the catalyst in the Middle East. We have been the catalyst under the theory that we are the world's policemen and that we're better and smarter than everybody else and rich enough to afford to fight war after war. None of those beliefs are true. The idea that America is exceptional is hogwash. We're not smarter. We're not better. We're certainly not effective policemen.

BM: We have two giant elephants in the room fighting it out. One is the inflation elephant and one is the deflation elephant. The deflation elephant is the $710 trillion worth of derivatives, which is $100,000 per man, woman and child on earth. Those derivatives have to blow up and crash. That's going to be deflationary.
"WCB Resources Ltd. could have big potential."

At the same time, we've got the world awash in debt, more debt than we've ever had in history, and it's been inflationary in terms of energy and the stock market. When the stock and bond markets implode, as we know they're going to, we're going to see some really scary things. We'll go to quantitative easing (QE) infinity, and we're going to see the price of gold go through the roof. It's going to go to the moon when everything else crashes.

BM: Oh, I'm in. Not in the general market, but I'm in resources. There's a triangle of value created by a guy named John Exter: Exter's Pyramid. It's an inverted pyramid. At the top there are derivatives, and then there are miscellaneous assets going down: securitized debt and stocks, broad currency and physical notes. At the very bottom-the single most valuable asset at the end of time-is gold. When the derivatives, bonds, currencies and stock markets crash, the last man standing is going to be gold.

https://www.theaureport.com/pub/na/bob-moriarty-flock-of-black-swans-points-to-imminent-stock-market-crash

Anonymous

I too looked for the image to make sure I didn't have egg on my face when I linked to Saker. Here it is:

https://secure.hrw.org/atf/cf/{d108c9e1-9920-41e7-a617-ef5f171073e4}/KREMLIN-PETITION-BANNER.PNG

From this page on hrw.org:

https://secure.hrw.org/site/c.nlIWIgN2JwE/b.9210131/k.9DF/2014_Fall_Advocacy_Glass_Curtain_TEG/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?msource=SES201410e3

Found via:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=hrw+Kremlin+petition


Bran

Would you believe, its form the Odessa massacre...

http://tinyurl.com/mbnmqku

First result behind a pay-wall.

Anonymous

"...I did a complete scan of Norton last night and it was fine all day UNTIL I CAME ON SAKER this afternoon. So it's this blog under attack.

Sharon US"

use Firefox and no script addon. for me it works, I am looking for quality texts on the internet not some JavaScript frenzy pages...


07:17

Alien Tech

RE: Ebola.. We had a good discussion on it. And things we do know..

Is the US capable of killing tens of millions of people.. Why of course they are. They kill anyone who they think is a disadvantage to them. They kill their own as well if they don't follow the line.

We know the US experimented on people with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. So if they are capable of doing all this to their own citizens they would have no morals doing it to anyone else.

What some of us have problems with is how we blame everyone and everything as being involved in this. Remember, not all of us are involved in this and oppose this type of behavior. Some of us spend a part of our lives trying to do good for those less fortunate than us and putting such people in danger because of your blanket beliefs serves no one but the empire of chaos. How about if we, all who read and post here are put in the same boat as tin foil hatters and conspiracy nuts and anything we say is considered gibberish and nonsense. After all you just called some others who were trying to do good as genocidal maniacs.

For many decades WE were considered as the cases trying to bring down society, to blame for the worlds problems. And now you want to put some others into the same boat, actually far worse, put their lives in jeopardy and who knows what else.

Such attitudes is why such things as this are possible.. "Its a known fact that when there are demonstrations in the west the police put undercover agents in the crowds to cause vandalism and give them an excuse to break up peaceful demonstrations."

"The next time your telephone service goes out, the 'repairman' who responds may actually be an FBI agent who cut the line himself," "The next time your cable television service goes fuzzy, your plumbing backs up, or your lights go dark, caveat emptor: the source of the problem may actually be the government agent lurking in his car down the street, waiting for you to call for help – thereby unknowingly consenting to him using a secret camera to record you and the most private spaces in your home."


The US is capable of mass murder on a scale we just cant imagine even if we know what the had done but to just jump off the bridge because they are trying to scare monger us is not the answer. But dont ever forget, we Humans are genocidal maniacs and we have killed out fellow humans on such scales that defines reason. All of us are complicit in their atrocities. What we CAN try to do is, keep others informed of what is happening and not just throw out blame.

Oscar

Saker: In Sweden, not long ago a Red Cross boss was obliged to resign due to fraud. Btw we have got a new government (Carl Bildt is gone at least for the time being. The new government has started chasing "Russian submarines" in the Baltic. The there is right now something strange this new government is on the way to recognize Palestine as independant state. Israelis are of course real mad. I can not explain where this comes from since Sweden is subservant to NWO powers (as I perceive it myself).
Stephen
For those that don't believe it's a genuine HRW photo try this page. https://secure.hrw.org/site/c.nlIWIgN2JwE/b.9210131/k.9DF/2014_Fall_Advocacy_Glass_Curtain_TEG/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?msource=SES201410e3

For those that want to complain to HRW go to this page.
http://www.hrw.org/contact-us

Anonymous

Saker, what's your opinion on the Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia? It's received some media attention around here, relating to the plight of NGOs operating in Russia. Somewhat like Anna Politkovskaya representing all independent journalists. I've never heard of the organization Human Rights House it apparently belongs to.

Anonymous

[from Blue]
Just in passing as response to comments from a few others:
I don't go to RT much anymore. I t seems to me to have gone downhill, become largely sensationalist like a cheap tabloid, and significantly controlled by the 5th column.

The last few times I left comments they were never published; a lot of trolling is published there, however. It's not gone entirely, but is not what it was or could or should be.
_Blue

Z

Former Kremlin advisor and election manager offers a unique account of the Russian leader's ideological formation and worldview. A Soviet-realist analysis of the failings of the USSR and the actual motivations of the capitalist states.

http://newleftreview.org/II/88/gleb-pavlovsky-putin-s-world-outlook


Comments?

09:59

Anonymous

NGOs like charities "give" to the recipients which re-inforces the power relation applicant/supplicant,thereby facilitating the continuance of the relationship which gave rise to the need for aid in the first instance, even if the giving is "enlightenment".

The transcendant relationship would be to share.

Anonymous

Here is a very nice article from CNN
Chile's 'Children of Silence' seek truth

It is interesting that not once is mentioned so called "The West", not once mentioned the USA, on other hand whatever happens in Russia EU-NATO media involve Putin.

When Russia is in question NATO-EU media [ or western media ] just troll and spread anti-Russian propaganda.

Anonymous

In the article there is no mention of the other fake Human right organization that goes by the name
Amnesty International .
This organization ignores human rights abuse in donor countries such as USA , Australia and others but make a big fuss about abuses in countries unfriendly to the NWO . I had a personal experience with them many years ago in Australia and I decided that I will never give them money or credit .
Morte al nuovo ordine

Anonymous

@ Anonymous 22:12

"Where did this image come from? I can't find it on the HRW site"

Here you go:

https://secure.hrw.org/atf/cf/%7Bd108c9e1-9920-41e7-a617-ef5f171073e4%7D/KREMLIN-LIGHTBOX-NOX-BG.PNG

cardinal points

HERE Take action and take a stand against Putin's repressive policies Human Rights Watch (@hrw) October 27, 2014

cardinal points

Odessa _ 3rd may 2014 by Reuters

Biswajit

I send John Robles some donation on Oct 22. I was following his articles in VoR. However its a shame to close down VoR to merge with Segdonya. He was quite vocal against the Empire and did lots of interviews with people who are against THe Empire too.

Kat Kan

OK this seems to be where this comes from. The text mentions Ukraine, so that may tie in with using that image. I believe in captioning every image everywhere, but that's just me...

http://secure.hrw.org/site/c.nlIWIgN2JwE/b.9210131/k.9DF/2014_Fall_Advocacy_Glass_Curtain_TEG/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp


NoBC4U

Apparently this appeared all over the HRW for quite a few days, but when you follow links where this image appeared on HRW, it seems to have disappeared...

http://goo.gl/ipmwQ1

And the first time it appeared, without the added text, was May 3, on BBC (also the Irish Times)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27268775

Other results here... http://goo.gl/unYiBv


Veritas

Dear The Saker,

What makes this even more disgusting is this news today :( :(

http://en.ria.ru/world/20141031/194885628/Bodies-of-286-Women-Discovered-400-Listed-Missing-in-East.html

I want to see every single one of those rapists bought to justice!

Rgds,

Veritas

Anonymous

In 2008 HRW falsely accused Russia of using cluster bombs in Georgia. In fact it was Israeli cluster bombs used by Georgia. Responsible for this lie is HRW employee and US war criminal Marc Garlasco.

In 2014 HRW even tries to justify the genocide committed by the nazis in Ukraine:
"The Ukrainian government is entitled to carry out law enforcement and military operations to counter an armed insurrection."

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/06/06/ukraine-review-operations-southeast

"Human Rights Watch Misidentified Cluster Bomb"
http://venik4.livejournal.com/18645.html

"Before coming to HRW, Marc spent seven years in the Pentagon as a senior intelligence analyst covering Iraq. His last position there was chief of high-value targeting during the Iraq War in 2003. Marc was on the Operation Desert Fox (Iraq) Battle Damage Assessment team in 1998, led a Pentagon Battle Damage Assessment team to Kosovo in 1999, and recommended thousands of aimpoints on hundreds of targets during operations in Iraq and Serbia. He also participated in over 50 interrogations as a subject matter expert."

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/09/hrw-continues-f.html

L Bean
Facts aside(that these NGOs are indeed as described), you are all taking this photo out of western propaganda context. Of course it's depicting Ukrainian soldiers, etc., but as a benevolent force, possibly even there to help that distraught lady who is obviously crying because Putin did...something.

Don't you guys get it? Whatever is going on in this photo is due to the evil wrought by Putin. So whether you're a faux progressive who fancies themselves 'informed' on the situation, or a mindless knob, the propaganda still works.

"Look what Putin has wrought! Even these brave and smartly uniformed Kiev police can do nothing to assuage this poor woman's anguish!" etc.

Literally NO ONE I've talked to in the US knows anythingabout the trade union building massacre. I'd wager that would be true of at least 99% of English speakers worldwide as well.

the pug


Mark Ames ‏@MarkAmesExiled

Head of Omidyar-funded NGO that organized Ukraine revolution takes seat in new parliament. My newest in @PandoDaily http://pando.com/2014/10/30/omidyar-funded-candidate-takes-seat-in-new-ukraine-parliament/

This latest twist in Omidyar Network's murky, contradictory or two-faced roles raises more disturbing questions about what the tech billionaire is up to. On the one hand, Omidyar plays the "adversarial" watchdog of the US National Security State, having privatized Snowden's NSA files, the largest national security secrets leak in history, for his startup publication The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the only two people entrusted with the complete Snowden cache.

On the other hand, Omidyar and his wife have been among the most frequent visitors to the Obama White House, intermingling with members of his National Security Council and State Deptartment. Meanwhile, in just the past year Omidyar Network has co-funded Ukraine revolution groups in Ukraine with the US government, and directly financed far-right, pro-business political actors in both Ukraine and in India, where a former top figure in Omidyar Network, Jayant Sinha now serves in the ultranationalist BJP Party and as close advisor to its controversial far-right leader, Narendra Modi. Previously, Sinha had served in a powerful BJP Party think-tank, the India Foundation to elect Modi, while simultaneously working as head of Omidyar Network India Advisors, and serving on the five-member global Executive Committee of Omidyar Network.

Anonymous

The bad news keep piling up for Russia: the anglozionist cartel continues to slam commodities and the ruble, tightens sanctions, etc. and what does Russia do? nothing. They just sit there and take it.

Oh no, I'm sorry, forgive me, they did do something: they saved the Ukranian government's ass ahead of the harsh winter.

Speeches are nice and all, but actions are better.

For the longest time I refused to believe it, but there's no hope.

Now, if someone could please explain to me why Elstine, the American puppet, personally handpicked Putin?

Thank you.

Kat Kan
We don't have a news thread, so

Russian humanitarian convoy arrives in Novorossiya

well timed to start distribution the day before the elections.

http://dnr-news.com/video/6742-gumanitarnyy-konvoy-iz-rossii-pribyl-v-doneck.html


Anonymous

i´m fm south america, an english speaker, and i knew very well on the trade union massacre.
We use to read different sites and blogs, but no need to read the post, NYT or CNN or local Msm, because we are bombed by them in very first hours. Our problem is getting rid of their version, the soonest we can. and hopefully we are more than 1%
Z
There is certainly no good or evil in this world. People who deal in absolutes obstruct themselves from seeing the real complexities of the world.

There is however International law and multilateralism. But the reality of Great power politics is very cynical on all sides. To them people are ants and a pool to pull out votes from, to use in internal power plays, (It's not that simple but it's a very pronounced theme ).


We should be preparing for climate change and the very real and existing threat against humanity. But it looks like "our" elites have decided instead to push on with geopolitical chess and militarism. Pushing Russia towards China.


http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20140928.htm

juliania
Well said, Anonymous first post - the inherent exceptionality of every sovereign nation must be restored and the western propaganda machine may not like it but Russia is leading the way forward simply by having first its own land and population as the guiding light.

This powerful message reminds me of a melody often played in the US at July 4th celebrations - Tchaikovski's 1812 overture. Mainstream media is like the French national anthem, and then there comes...

Anonymous

@ Lysander

Why doesn't Russia do the same? The main reason may be money. The US has a virtually inexhaustible supply of money for these enterprises, as long as the dollar system remains in place.

Another reason is that Russia, unlike the US, is not really interested in running the entire wirld and stirring the pot anywhere things don't go their way.

juliania
To Lysander@22:19, Putin IS fighting fire with fire, but the right kind of fire. It would be foolish for him to use the tactics he decries so eloquently at Valdai.

No, the fire he is fighting with is that which existed openly in the US before George Bush took power and proclaimed himself to be a war president with new powers to make preemptive strikes - Al Gore was then still able to make powerful speeches in San Francisco against this unConstitutional takeover, but his voice disappeared as the oligarchical tyranny surged, empowered by Clinton in the last stages of his presidency (why do I increasingly see his figure as a Yeltsin lookalike?)

What happened to Russia when the neoliberals came to 'help' also happened in the United States, courtesy of 'think tanks' generated even in the bowels of my own liberal arts alma mater. We lost our democracy to oligarchical greed as the new century dawned, and we must get it back before it is too late.

Yonatan

The web page with the letter to Kerry has been pulled. Someone told them the image was from Odessa and that it related to the incineration of women and children at the Trade Union building.

Suurce:

https://m.facebook.com/TruthfromUkraine/photos/a.1462094710680543.1073741828.1452285018328179/1566519726904707/?type=1&refid=17

Site of HRW petition to John Kerry, which using this photo

http://secure.hrw.org/site/c.nlIWIgN2JwE/b.9210131/k.9DF/2014_Fall_Advocacy_Glass_Curtain_TEG/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp&h=CAQE3Wepy&s=1

19:20

Purple library guy

Michael McDonnell said, "Every time I suggest that the patriotic moral élite invade the GOP to reinforce the Tea Party conservatives, the suggestion is not criticised, just ignored. The Satanic societies cannot be replaced by less than an overwhelming gathering/organising, consolidation of nationalist sentiment within the country's main party. Ho-hum."

Fine, I'll criticize rather than ignore it. The Tea Party is much like an NGO; it is at the service of oligarchs such as the Koch brothers and generally backs the ideology of empire. Tea Party "nationalism" is the nationalism of "American Exceptionalism" and the right to do anything the US wants to anyone in the world in the name of US financiers and oil companies.
Sincere Tea Partiers have largely bought lines of propaganda that persuade them to oppose their own interests. They have been persuaded, based on a mix of truths (largely concerning the very real elitism and venality of the Democrats) and lies (largely concerning the fomenting of cultural, religious and racial conflicts which are irrelevan