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Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte

News Color revolutions Recommended Links Media as a weapon of mass deception US and British media are servants of security apparatus Integrity Initiative Edward Lucas as agent provocateur
The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Demonization of Trump and "Trump is insane" meme Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Woodward insinuations Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Wolff revelations and slander Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources The importance of controlling the narrative What's the Matter with Kansas
Neo-fascism Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? False Flag Operations MSM censorship aka "controlling the narrative" Diplomacy by deception Groupthink Lewis Powell Memo
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Manifactured consent Nation under attack meme
Soft propaganda Classic Papers  Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes British hypocrisy Humor Etc

In 2014, German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, former director of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, author of the book “Gekaufte Journalisten”, (Journalists for Hire), denounced European media who write lies under pressure from the CIA. An English translation now is available but is very expensive.  Wikipedia has the following information about the book:

In 2014, Ulfkotte published the book Gekaufte Journalisten (German Bought Journalists), in which he stated that the CIA and other secret services pay money to journalists to report stories in a certain light. According to Ulfkotte, the CIA and German intelligence (BND) bribe journalists in Germany to write pro-NATO propaganda articles, and it is well understood that one may lose their media job if they fail to comply with the pro-Western agenda.[19] Der Spiegel noted that "Ulfkotte’s book was published by Kopp, a melting pot for conspiracy theorists. Kopp publishes works by ufologists, and by authors who claim the Americans destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center themselves in 2001... Ulfkotte’s critics see the book as a vendetta against the FAZ, which he left on bad terms."[20]

On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News. James F. Tracy wrote on the globalresearch.ca conspiracy theory website that this English translation appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe, that Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website, and that, correspondingly, Amazon.com (per 31 July 2017) indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest that powerful entities are seeking to prevent its circulation, according to Tracy. Tracy also cites Ulfkotte saying the book "was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media",[21] although Gekaufte Journalisten sold more than 120,000 copies, lingered on the Der Spiegel bestseller list for 18 weeks, and was reviewed (and ridiculed) in Der Spiegel[22] by Jan Fleischhauer who in June 2015 also wrote a portrait of Ulfkotte which was republished in January 2017.[23]

Here is an informative review by


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[Jun 27, 2019] Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23

Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.

The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.

A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :

Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
...
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :

Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.

Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."

However Ahmedinejad never used those words :

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.

Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:

The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019

BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."

Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":

Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019

A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."

Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link

But the damage was already done:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..

....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...

.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!

Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :

Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Excellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.

Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4

Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.

Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.

To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!

In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.

Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."

Now who can argue with that.

jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.
dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.

Good job guys. Keep squeezing.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctions

wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
They mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.

For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.

Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying".

michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
.....The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .

And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....


Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970

Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policy
Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
I remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new.
/div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
b-
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.
0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.
juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59
blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'
ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.
pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65
I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.
Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72
ADKC
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.
karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:

"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."

They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!

goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.

PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/jul/18/iraq.iraq1

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.

In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'

Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.

There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.

I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:

1) FrasNews Agency

Rouhani said:

"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"

..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"


http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980405000859

2) ISNA English

"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
https://en.isna.ir/news/98040402431/Sanctioning-Supreme-leader-of-Iran-ridiculous-President-Rouhani

ISAN French

Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".

https://fr.isna.ir/news/98040402385/Les-actions-américaines-sont-inhumaines-Rohani

3) TasnimNews

The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa

Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
0use4msm @54

Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/books/famous-misquotations.html
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.
Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.

Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as

there is nothing much else to display!

(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)

Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'

Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.

Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)

The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.

Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..

[Jun 26, 2019] Guardian Working for UK Intel Services MI6 Tool Publishes Black Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... Harding's avowed contact with Steele may also have contributed to another high profile blunder in April this year. In the immediate wake of the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, the UK government issued a D(SMA) notice , blocking mention of Pablo Miller -- Skripal's MI6 recruiter -- in the media. ..."
Jun 24, 2018 | sputniknews.com

On September 21, The Guardian ran an absolutely sensational exclusive, based on disclosures made by "multiple" anonymous sources to Luke Harding, one of the paper's leading journalists - in 2017, Russian diplomats allegedly held secret talks in London with associates of Assange, in an attempt to assist in the Wikileaks founder's escape from the UK.

The dastardly conspiracy would've entailed Assange being smuggled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge under cover of Christmas Eve in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to Russia, where he'd be safe from extradition to the US, ending his eight-years of effective arbitrary detention in the process.

In any event, the audacious plot was eventually aborted after being deemed "too risky" -- even for the reckless daredevils of Moscow -- mere days before its planned execution date.

Rommy Vallejo, head of Ecuador's intelligence agency, is said to have travelled to the UK around December 15 to supervise the operation, and left when it was called off.

'Extraordinary, Deliberate Lies'

The Russian Embassy in London was quick to condemn the article on Twitter, calling the claims "another example of disinformation and fake news" in the UK mainstream media, and noting the paper violated national media standards by failing to ask the Russian side for a comment prior to the report's release. "This publication has nothing to do with the reality. The Embassy has never engaged with Ecuadorian colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions of any kind on Russia's participation in ending Assange's stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador.

We're puzzled by the sensational attitude of the authors. As recently as September 18, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright called for increased efforts to combat media and online disinformation. [The] Guardian piece is a brilliant example of the kind of journalism British reader should be protected from," a spokesperson added in an official statement. In a subsequent statement , the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the article for containing a "whole series of similar anti-Russia innuendos, and once again made clear Russian diplomats did not contact staff of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London or Assange's associates in order to assist in his escape from the UK.

However, a far more damning indictment of the article's extraordinary, evidence-free claims was provided by Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who denounced the "quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies" in a September 23 blog post. In doing so, he revealed he and Fidel Narvaez -- a close confidant of Assange fingered as the key point of contact between the Ecuadorian embassy and Moscow in the article -- had engaged in discussions with Assange in 2017 regarding a possible departure from the UK capital, and debated possible future destinations for the embattled Wikileaks founder.

As of today -- start of the 73rd UN General Assembly -- 957 days have passed since the UN ruled Julian Assange is unlawfully & arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released & compensated. https://t.co/zZGUOhNDvH #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/i08Ji9WF1g -- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 18, 2018
​"It's not only the case Russia didn't figure in those plans, Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia. I know 100% for certain the entire story is a complete and utter fabrication. I cannot find words enough to express the depth of my contempt for Harding and [Editor] Katherine Viner, who've betrayed completely the values of journalism. The aim of the piece is evidently to add a further layer to the fake news of Wikileaks' non-existent relationship to Russia as part of the "Hillary didn't really lose" narrative. I am, frankly, rather shocked," Murray wrote .

Friends in Spooky Places

The identities of Harding's alleged anonymous sources aren't even hinted at in the article, but Murray made a striking suggestion -- he "strongly suspect[ed]" that "MI6 tool" Harding's informants were the UK security services. If true, this would make the article "entirely black propaganda" produced by British spies. Whether MI6 agents are the source of the story or not, it's certainly true Harding enjoys a very close relationship indeed with British intelligence services -- a bond he has frequently, openly and proudly advertised in articles and books.

For instance, in his highly controversial 2017 book Collusion, Harding argued Donald Trump had a relationship with the Russian 'deep state' dating back to the 1980s, and colluded with the Kremlin to subvert US democracy. To support this conclusion, he frequently cited claims fed to him directly by Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 spy turned 'business intelligence' professional, who authored the utterly discredited 'Trump-Russia' dossier for Fusion GPS.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9Ikf1uZli4g

When challenged to provide any evidence whatsoever for his book's assertions by Aaron Mate of The Real News, Harding was left mumbling and stuttering -- he was also unable to defend his claim that an individual's use of an emoji was proof they were working for Russian intelligence, and terminated the interview prematurely.

Harding's avowed contact with Steele may also have contributed to another high profile blunder in April this year. In the immediate wake of the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, the UK government issued a D(SMA) notice , blocking mention of Pablo Miller -- Skripal's MI6 recruiter -- in the media. Individuals who conducted internet searches for Miller afterwards quickly found his LinkedIn profile, which identified him as a 'Senior Analyst' at Orbis Intelligence -- Steele's corporate espionage company.-

It is true, or was. As I say, this 2017 forum thread, which links to Pablo Miller's LinkedIn profile, states Orbis is listed on Miller's CV -- https://t.co/Fx0vu1qorJ . Stop regurgitating anonymous claims by your spook pals and do some research, Luke -- Kit Klarenberg (@KitKlarenberg) March 12, 2018
​Miller's page was quickly deleted though, and Harding took to Twitter to issue firm denials of a connection between Miller and the firm, going so far as to suggest "someone" was using search engine optimization techniques to dishonestly associate Miller and Orbis. However, enterprising Sputnik journalist Kit Klarenberg quickly and easily found an online forum thread dating from 2017 clearly identifying Miller as an Orbis employee -- as of September, Harding is yet to respond, or retract his claims.
Related:
Freudian Slip: Did Guardian Urge Two Tech Giants to 'Promote Hate and Division'?
Russian Embassy on The Guardian Article: 'Great Foreign Policy Planning'
The Guardian's Attempt to Save the White Helmets
UK Broadcasters to Be Urged to Face Up to 'Russian Propaganda' - Reports

[Jun 26, 2019] Opinion - NY Times admits it sends stories to US government for approval before publication

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Risen detailed how his editors had been "quite willing to cooperate with the government." In fact, a top CIA official even told Risen that his rule of thumb for approving a covert operation was, "How will this look on the front page of the New York Times?" ..."
"... Bernstein obtained CIA documents that revealed that more than 400 American journalists in the previous 25 years had "secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency." ..."
"... Virtually all major US media outlets cooperated with the CIA, Bernstein revealed, including ABC, NBC, the AP, UPI, Reuters, Newsweek, Hearst newspapers, the Miami Herald, the Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Herald‑Tribune. ..."
"... However, he added, "By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc." ..."
"... These layers of state manipulation, censorship, and even direct crafting of the news media show that, as much as they claim to be independent, The New York Times and other outlets effectively serve as de facto spokespeople for the government -- or at least for the US national security state. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

The New York Times casually acknowledged that it sends major scoops to the US government before publication, to make sure "national security officials" have "no concerns."

By Ben Norton

June 25, 2019 " Information Clearing House " - The New York Times has publicly acknowledged that it sends some of its stories to the US government for approval from "national security officials" before publication.

This confirms what veteran New York Times correspondents like James Risen have said: The American newspaper of record regularly collaborates with the US government, suppressing reporting that top officials don't want made public.

On June 15, the Times reported that the US government is escalating its cyber attacks on Russia's power grid . According to the article, "the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively," as part of a larger "digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow."

In response to the report, Donald Trump attacked the Times on Twitter, calling the article "a virtual act of Treason."

The New York Times PR office replied to Trump from its official Twitter account, defending the story and noting that it had, in fact, been cleared with the US government before being printed.

"Accusing the press of treason is dangerous," the Times communications team said. "We described the article to the government before publication."

"As our story notes, President Trump's own national security officials said there were no concerns," the Times added.

NY Times editors 'quite willing to cooperate with the government'

The symbiotic relationship between the US corporate media and the government has been known for some time. American intelligence agencies play the press like a musical instrument, using it it to selectively leak information at opportune moments to push US soft power and advance Washington's interests.

But rarely is this symbiotic relationship so casually and publicly acknowledged.

In 2018, former New York Times reporter James Risen published a 15,000-word article in The Intercept providing further insight into how this unspoken alliance operates.

Risen detailed how his editors had been "quite willing to cooperate with the government." In fact, a top CIA official even told Risen that his rule of thumb for approving a covert operation was, "How will this look on the front page of the New York Times?"

There is an "informal arrangement" between the state and the press, Risen explained, where US government officials "regularly engaged in quiet negotiations with the press to try to stop the publication of sensitive national security stories."

"At the time, I usually went along with these negotiations," the former New York Times reported said. He recalled an example of a story he was writing on Afghanistan just prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then-CIA Director George Tenet called Risen personally and asked him to kill the story.

"He told me the disclosure would threaten the safety of the CIA officers in Afghanistan," Risen said. "I agreed."

Risen said he later questioned whether or not this was the right decision. "If I had reported the story before 9/11, the CIA would have been angry, but it might have led to a public debate about whether the United States was doing enough to capture or kill bin Laden," he wrote. "That public debate might have forced the CIA to take the effort to get bin Laden more seriously."

This dilemma led Risen to reconsider responding to US government requests to censor stories. "And that ultimately set me on a collision course with the editors at the New York Times," he said.

"After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration began asking the press to kill stories more frequently," Risen continued. "They did it so often that I became convinced the administration was invoking national security to quash stories that were merely politically embarrassing." In the lead-up to the Iraq War, Risen frequently "clashed" with Times editors because he raised questions about the US government's lies. But his stories "stories raising questions about the intelligence, particularly the administration's claims of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, were being cut, buried, or held out of the paper altogether."

The Times' executive editor Howell Raines "was believed by many at the paper to prefer stories that supported the case for war," Risen said.

In another anecdote, the former Times journalist recalled a scoop he had uncovered on a botched CIA plot. The Bush administration got wind of it and called him to the White House, where then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice ordered the Times to bury the story.

Risen said Rice told him "to forget about the story, destroy my notes, and never make another phone call to discuss the matter with anyone."

"The Bush administration was successfully convincing the press to hold or kill national security stories," Risen wrote. And the Barack Obama administration subsequently accelerated the "war on the press."

CIA media infiltration and manufacturing consent

In their renowned study of US media, " Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media," Edward S. Herman and Chomsky articulated a "propaganda model," showing how "the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them," through "the selection of right-thinking personnel and by the editors' and working journalists' internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness that conform to the institution's policy."

But in some cases, the relationship between US intelligence agencies and the corporate media is not just one of mere ideological policing, indirect pressure, or friendship, but rather one of employment.

In the 1950s, the CIA launched a covert operation called Project Mockingbird, in which it surveilled, influenced, and manipulated American journalists and media coverage, explicitly in order to direct public opinion against the Soviet Union, China, and the growing international communist movement.

Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein, a former Washington Post reporter who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, published a major cover story for Rolling Stone in 1977 titled " The CIA and the Media : How America's Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up."

Bernstein obtained CIA documents that revealed that more than 400 American journalists in the previous 25 years had "secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency."

Bernstein wrote:

"Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services -- from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations."

Virtually all major US media outlets cooperated with the CIA, Bernstein revealed, including ABC, NBC, the AP, UPI, Reuters, Newsweek, Hearst newspapers, the Miami Herald, the Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Herald‑Tribune.

However, he added, "By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc."

These layers of state manipulation, censorship, and even direct crafting of the news media show that, as much as they claim to be independent, The New York Times and other outlets effectively serve as de facto spokespeople for the government -- or at least for the US national security state.

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com , and he tweets at @ BenjaminNorton .

This article was originally published by " Grayzone "

[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 06, 2019] Odd NYT 'Correction' Exculpates British Government And CIA From Manipulating Trump Over Skripal Novichok Incident

Notable quotes:
"... Julian E. Barnes is obviously a long-term intelligence asset and his stories are not based on independent research but are just a repetition of the yarn that the CIA want to spin. Julian E. Barnes and the CIA obviously think Americans and other westerners are DAF. ..."
"... And should we be surprised that such false information about Gina Haspel and Donald Trump puts Trump in a bad light and somehow humanises a CIA director with a reputation for torturing prisoners? ..."
"... A week or 3 ago, a Barnes co-reported "article" flat out stated that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This was done by pretending to quote someone in the the US Defense establishment as saying "we believe Iran will redouble its work on nuclear weapons". ..."
"... Julian Barnes is a well established liar. Sort of akin to Judith Miller and Michael Gordon. ..."
"... Now the Washington post's narrative is quite colorful too. So Trump really was concerned how many Russians Germany or France expelled? Why was he angry? The vassals did not follow his example as they should have? ..."
"... The CIA and MI6 boys must have blanked out to let this one slip through the cracks. We pay them billions to run false flag and cover-up operations. This makes those of us that believe their lying narratives look stupid. I guess we need to add more billions to their annual budgets. ..."
"... More believable that Julian Barnes performs no cross-referencing and zero research. Investigative reporting (or asking questions) is not the job of the modern MSM stenographer. His job - pushing the war machine agenda. He simply writes that which he is instructed to write. Probably emails all of his articles to his CIA liason for approval prior to publication. ..."
"... In the Skripnal psyop one can readily assess that the only truly "dead ducks" are the MSM journalists and the Western politicians who peddled this incredible slapstick nonsense story in order to further the "demonization of Russia" narrative of Western oligarchy. That these same media "dead ducks" appear to have not even the very slightest interest whatsoever in the current whereabouts or safety of said Skripnals speaks volumes about the true nature of this intelligence operation. ..."
"... both versions of the story expose Gina as a untrustworthy ratfucker ..."
"... At the moment the UK is run by MI6 which sees itself as the real political directorate of the CIA and the Deep State in the US. It seriously believes that it is on the verge of establishing global hegemony. ..."
"... Please note, everyone, that not all of these sad excuses for "journalists" are on the CIA payroll. In fact, very few of them are. Most work with the CIA out of warped senses of patriotism and duty to the empire. Most would never think of themselves as intelligence agency assets, and no small number of them probably think their relationships with the CIA are unique. They think that they are special and that their contacts on the inside at the CIA are unusual. Few would guess that they are just another propaganda mule in the CIA's stable, and that friendly guy who "leaks" to them is actually their handler; their "operator" in spook-speak. ..."
"... CIA did not control many of the Vietnam era journalists that had their pieces printed in mainstream media of the day. Not many left now and perhaps since the nineties they could no longer get their articles published. Regan brought in perception management which eventually brought all MSM 100% under US -CIA control. ..."
"... If you're a CIA guy, you get the editor and the ombudsman on the payroll and he will make certain that the desired propaganda gets published. If he's a Zionist, he's on the same page from the start, anyway. ..."
"... What a strange construction. Doesn't the CIA have PR staff? A decent PR team would review every item referencing their boss and issue clarifications and/or demand corrections immediately. There should have been no need for Julian E. Barnes to figure anything out as the CIA should have pointed out his mistake very quickly. This explanation/exculpation is utter bullshit! ..."
"... I doubt that Trump asked questions about how those ducks and kids were doing. More likely that MI5 was annoyed that they were exposed as the providers of the duck snuff pictures, and put pressure on the NY Times. ..."
"... Those who advocated the strong response to Russia are the intellectual authors of "Russia Gate" to thwart detente with Russia. ..."
Jun 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

A piece in the New York Times showed how in March 2018 Trump was manipulated by the CIA and MI6 into expelling 60 Russian diplomats. Eight weeks after it was published the New York Times 'corrects' that narrative and exculpates the CIA and MI6 of that manipulation. Its explanation for the correction makes little sense.

On April 16 the New York Times published a report by Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman about the relation between CIA Director Gina Haspal and President Donald Trump.

Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills to Connect With Trump. He Doesn't Always Listen.

The piece described a scene in the White House shortly after the contentious Skripal/Novichok incident in Britain. It originally said (emphasis added):

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the "strong option" was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

The 60 Russian diplomats were expelled on March 26 2018. Other countries only expelled a handful of diplomats over the Skripal incident. On April 15 2018 the Washington Post reported that Trump was furious about this:

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials -- far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on. The President, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.
...
Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. 'There were curse words,' the official said, 'a lot of curse words.

In that context the 2019 NYT report about Haspel showing Trump dead duck pictures provided by the Brits made sense. Trump was, as he himself claimed, manipulated into the large expulsion.

The NYT report created some waves. On April 18 2019 the Guardian headlined:

No children or ducks harmed by novichok, say health officials
Wiltshire council clarification follows claims Donald Trump was shown images to contrary

The report of the dead duck pictures in the New York Times was a problem for the CIA and the British government. Not only did it say that they manipulated Trump by providing him with false pictures, but the non-dead ducks also demonstrated that the official narrative of the allegedly poisoning of the Skripals has some huge holes. As Rob Slane of the BlogMire noted :

In addition to the extraordinary nature of this revelation, there is also a huge irony here. Along with many others, I have long felt that the duck feed is one of the many achilles heels of the whole story we've been presented with about what happened in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. And the reason for this is precisely because if it were true, there would indeed have been dead ducks and sick children .

According to the official story, Mr Skripal and his daughter became contaminated with "Novichok" by touching the handle of his front door at some point between 13:00 and 13:30 that afternoon. A few minutes later (13:45), they were filmed on CCTV camera feeding ducks, and handing bread to three local boys, one of whom ate a piece . After this they went to Zizzis, where they apparently so contaminated the table they sat at, that it had to be incinerated.

You see the problem? According to the official story, ducks should have died. According to the official story children should have become contaminated and ended up in hospital. Yet as it happens, no ducks died, and no boys got sick (all that happened was that the boys' parents were contacted two weeks later by police, the boys were sent for tests, and they were given the all clear).

After the NYT story was published the CIA and the British government had to remove the problematic narrative from the record. Yesterday they finally succeeded. Nearly eight weeks after the original publishing of the White House scene the NYT recanted and issued a correction (emphasis. added):

Correction: June 5, 2019

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the photos that Gina Haspel showed to President Trump during a discussion about responding to the nerve agent attack in Britain on a former Russian intelligence officer. Ms. Haspel displayed pictures illustrating the consequences of nerve agent attacks, not images specific to the chemical attack in Britain. This correction was delayed because of the time needed for research.

The original paragraphs quoted above were changed into this:

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the "strong option" was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel tried to demonstrate the dangers of using a nerve agent like Novichok in a populated area. Ms. Haspel showed pictures from other nerve agent attacks that showed their effects on people.

The British government had told Trump administration officials about early intelligence reports that said children were sickened and ducks were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

The information was based on early reporting, and Trump administration officials had requested more details about the children and ducks, a person familiar with the intelligence said, though Ms. Haspel did not present that information to the president. After this article was published, local health officials in Britain said that no children were harmed.

So instead of pictures of dead ducks in Salisbury the CIA director showed pictures of some random dead ducks or hospitalized children or whatever to illustrate the effects consequences of nerve agent incidents?

That the children were taken to hospital but unharmed was already reported in British media on March 24 2018, before the Russian diplomats were expelled, not only after the NYT piece was published in April 2019.

Yesterday the author of the NYT piece, Julian E. Barnes, turned to Twitter to issue a lengthy 'apology':

Julian E. Barnes @julianbarnes - 14:52 utc - 5 Jun 2019

I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong. Here is the correction: 1/9

[...]

The intelligence about the ducks and children were based on an early intelligence report, according to people familiar with the matter. The intelligence was presented to the US in an effort to share all that was known, not to deceive the Trump administration. 7/9

This correction was delayed because conducting the research to figure out what I got wrong, how I got it wrong and what was the correct information took time. 8/9

I regret the error and offer my apology. I strive to get information right the first time. That is what subscribers pay for. But when I get something wrong, I fix it. 9/9

Barnes covers national security and intelligence issues for the Times Washington bureau. His job depends on good access to 'sources' in those circles.

It is remarkable that the CIA spokesperson never came out to deny the original NYT report. There was zero visible push back against its narrative. It is also remarkable that the correction comes just as Trump is on a state visit in Britain.

The original report was sourced on 'people briefed on the conversation'. The corrected version is also based on 'people briefed on the conversation' but adds 'a person familiar with the intelligence'. Do the originally cited 'people' now tell a different story? Are we to trust a single 'person familiar with the intelligence' more than those multiple 'people'? What kind of 'research' did the reporter do to correct what he then and now claims was told to him by 'people'? Why did this 'research' take eight weeks?

That the 'paper of the record' now corrects said 'record' solves a big problem for Gina Haspel, the CIA/MI6 and the British government. They can no longer be accused of manipulating Trump (even as we can be quite sure that such manipulations happen all the time).

In the end it is for the reader to decide if the original report makes more sense than the corrected one.

---
This is a Moon of Alabama fundraising week. Please consider to support our work .

Posted by b on June 6, 2019 at 06:12 AM | Permalink


ADKC , Jun 6, 2019 7:14:50 AM | 2
Julian E. Barnes is obviously a long-term intelligence asset and his stories are not based on independent research but are just a repetition of the yarn that the CIA want to spin. Julian E. Barnes and the CIA obviously think Americans and other westerners are DAF.
John Doe , Jun 6, 2019 7:26:00 AM | 3
Rob Slane, June 5, 2019: The New York Times Tries to Get Itself Out of the Duckgate Hole Using a Spade
Jen , Jun 6, 2019 7:32:17 AM | 4
Surely the time and effort Julian Barnes needed to check what information he had got wrong and how he got it wrong should not have been as major as he makes out. Animals dying and children falling sick to a toxin that could have killed them are incidents that should have stuck out like sore thumbs and warranted careful checks with different and independent sources before reporting that Gina Haspel apparently showed the US President pictures of dead ducks and sick boys in Salisbury.

No wonder Barnes got such a roasting on Twitter after making his abject apology.

And should we be surprised that such false information about Gina Haspel and Donald Trump puts Trump in a bad light and somehow humanises a CIA director with a reputation for torturing prisoners?

John Smith , Jun 6, 2019 7:48:46 AM | 6
J'Accuse News @NewsAccuse:

During years I researched articles published in @nytimes we fact-checked BEFORE publication. Here it comes AFTER bloggers, officials et al point out fatal flaws. That no children were poisoned, and no ducks killed, by #novichok in #Salisbury + was known in Spring 2018. #propaganda

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D8WfKNPUwAAGGWT.jpg

Jay , Jun 6, 2019 8:37:49 AM | 8
A week or 3 ago, a Barnes co-reported "article" flat out stated that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This was done by pretending to quote someone in the the US Defense establishment as saying "we believe Iran will redouble its work on nuclear weapons".

Except in the Barnes construction it wasn't a quotation, or anything like a phrasing that made clear that the Pentagon source was guessing, not stating, that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

This was NOT corrected.

Eric Schmitt was the other NY Times "reporter" who signed the article.

Here's the article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/world/middleeast/us-military-plans-iran.html

And here's what the two liars reported, pretending that an Iranian nuclear weapons program is a real thing, first paragraph:

"Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated
military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the
Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on
nuclear weapons, administration officials said."

So Julian Barnes is a well established liar. Sort of akin to Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.

ger , Jun 6, 2019 8:44:10 AM | 9
Barnes provides the truth then provides a lie about the truth....par for the course at NYT. (Remember Judith Miller?) A fake news organization spreading fake news with revised fake news.
joanna , Jun 6, 2019 9:01:26 AM | 10
can't really get excited by the fact that not everything in this type of creative writing is taken serious. Did anyone expect otherwise?

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the "strong option" was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

It's pretty obvious that his/their narrative necessarily must be cobbled together by a lot of sources. Some by phone. Those may not even share the same idea what image of the president or Haspel they should convey. I always wonder with this type of newspaper reporting. Maybe both writers should write novels.

Now the Washington post's narrative is quite colorful too. So Trump really was concerned how many Russians Germany or France expelled? Why was he angry? The vassals did not follow his example as they should have?

SharonM , Jun 6, 2019 9:08:20 AM | 11
Superb analysis! Been coming here for 11 years now, and I just have to say that "b" is the best propaganda analyst in the English language. He is the sturdiest anchor in these stormy seas:)
AriusArmenian , Jun 6, 2019 9:42:07 AM | 12
The CIA and MI6 boys must have blanked out to let this one slip through the cracks. We pay them billions to run false flag and cover-up operations. This makes those of us that believe their lying narratives look stupid. I guess we need to add more billions to their annual budgets.

Sarcasm is just about the last pleasure one can get from watching the horrific antics of these morons.

fastfreddy , Jun 6, 2019 10:07:19 AM | 13
More believable that Julian Barnes performs no cross-referencing and zero research. Investigative reporting (or asking questions) is not the job of the modern MSM stenographer. His job - pushing the war machine agenda. He simply writes that which he is instructed to write. Probably emails all of his articles to his CIA liason for approval prior to publication.

Perhaps, the liason can see what this fool types in real time. Who knows?

As the story of the dead ducks and sick children unraveled and fell apart, a sloppy patch up had to be made. Now its fixed. Like a Boeing 737 MAX.

librul , Jun 6, 2019 10:09:17 AM | 14
BoTh vErSioNs of the story (I checked with the "Wayback Machine") still include this paragraph (6th paragraph of story):

Unusually for a president, Mr. Trump has publicly rejected not
only intelligence agencies' analysis, but also the facts they have gathered.
And that has created a perilous situation for the C.I.A.

As usual for the NYT, they did not publicly reject the intelligence agencies' analysis, but also the facts they had gathered. That, of course, would have created a perilous situation for the NYT.

Gary Weglarz , Jun 6, 2019 10:30:32 AM | 16
As the saying goes: "if it looks like a false-flag, walks like a false-flag, and talks like a false-flag, it just might be a "duck."

In the Skripnal psyop one can readily assess that the only truly "dead ducks" are the MSM journalists and the Western politicians who peddled this incredible slapstick nonsense story in order to further the "demonization of Russia" narrative of Western oligarchy. That these same media "dead ducks" appear to have not even the very slightest interest whatsoever in the current whereabouts or safety of said Skripnals speaks volumes about the true nature of this intelligence operation.

Harry Law , Jun 6, 2019 10:36:53 AM | 17
"I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong". It was only when I found the horses head next to me in bed when I woke up, that I realized what a stupid mistake I had made.
aspnaz , Jun 6, 2019 11:04:23 AM | 20
Gina Haspel has to be as dumb and incompetent as I suspected: someone is paying good money to make her look like an ordinary sociopath, not a depraved tart who sucked cock to climb to the head of the organisation.
Noirette , Jun 6, 2019 11:31:31 AM | 22
Slane is ++ on the Skirpals. One 'fact' that emerged early on, made public by Slane, is that the proposed 'official' time-line ( > press, Gvmt between the lines) of the Skripal movements - trivial as in a town, drinkies, lunch, feeding ducks, etc. -- was never reported correctly, obfuscated.

Idk the reasons, but it is a vital point.
___________________________________

Trump, we see, is treated like the zombie public, flashed random photos, sold tearful narratives about babies, children, recall incubator babies, horrific bio-weapons threats...

The PTB loathes him, Pres. are supposed to be complicit like Obama - or at least keep their resistance toned down, be ready to compromise. .. Obama objected to, and refused to act on, at least two engineered / fake Syria chem. 'attacks.' (Just looked on Goog and can't find links to support.)

The only EU figure who stated there is no evidence that the Russkies novichoked Sergei and Yulia was Macron, afaik. He didn't get the memo in time (the Elysée is inefficient, lots of screw-ups there) but soon caught up! and expelled the minimum. -- I have heard, hush hush, one in F was a receptionist - gofer (an excellent + extremely highly paid position) who is now at the Emb. in Washington! Most likely merely emblematic story (see telephone game) .. but telling.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 6, 2019 11:52:33 AM | 24
I like this story. It makes Trump look like a naif which wouldn't bother President Teflon in the least. On the other hand, both versions of the story expose Gina as a untrustworthy ratfucker. I'm hoping she said "cross my heart and hope to die" when he queried her advice...
Zachary Smith , Jun 6, 2019 12:01:15 PM | 25
@ Jay | Jun 6, 2019 8:37:49 AM @8
So Julian Barnes is a well established liar.

I'm glad I checked to see if anyone had mentioned this hack's article about Russia restarting nuclear testing. Using his name as one search item I tried a number of current issues. Like the fellows at local intersections holding up signs "will work for money", Barnes might as well have a tattoo saying "I'll write anything if the price is right. That it took so long to come up with a half-assed "explanation" shows he's not the brightest bulb in the lamp. I suppose people whose jobs consist of slightly re-writing Deep State dictation don't have to be especially clever.

PrairieBear , Jun 6, 2019 12:25:01 PM | 26
That "apology" by Barnes is completely nonsensical. How would you know that there was something wrong with your story, that there was an error in it, without knowing what it was? If the CIA, various bloggers, commenters, etc., alerted him to the errors, it's unlikely they would say, "There's something wrong in this story but I'm not going to say what it is. You'll have to re-research they whole thing to figure it out." I don't think that's how people usually point out errors.
bevin , Jun 6, 2019 12:34:34 PM | 27
"Which narrative is unraveling and which is gathering momentum?"psychohistorian@19

One thing that seems to be unravelling is the tight political cartel that controls Foreign Policy in the UK.

If it does unravel and Labour turns to an independent foreign policy while it reverses the disaster of 'austerity' and neo-liberalism, cases such as that of Assange and the Skripal affair, both products of extremists within the Establishment who regard themselves as privileged members of the DC Beltway, are going to be re-opened.

At the moment the UK is run by MI6 which sees itself as the real political directorate of the CIA and the Deep State in the US. It seriously believes that it is on the verge of establishing global hegemony. And this at a time when the UK is falling apart and its population teeters on the brink of economic disaster. It has fallen into this delusion over the years as it has been able to offer the CIA services which it is afraid to initiate itself. Hence, most recently, the entire Russiagate nonsense which has British fingerprints all over it. Hence too the new aggressiveness in DC towards Assange. Hence the disappearance, without explanation, of the Skripals.
goldhoarder , Jun 6, 2019 12:44:22 PM | 28
Julian Barnes is like Winston Smith without the intellectual curiosity. He quote happily goes about his work. lol. What is the matter with you people? You are supposed to embrace the new narrative!

From wikidpeida... A memory hole is any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts or other records, such as from a website or other archive, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened.[1][2] The concept was first popularized by George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the Party's Ministry of Truth systematically re-created all potentially embarrassing historical documents, in effect, re-writing all of history to match the often-changing state propaganda. These changes were complete and undetectable.

frances , Jun 6, 2019 12:48:13 PM | 30
I think the"Why now?" answer was Trump is in the UK and asking questions, lots of questions, can't have that.
james , Jun 6, 2019 12:49:34 PM | 31
@37 bevin... maybe they will do with assange what they have done with the skripals... the uk is more then pathetic at this point in time.. craig murray had more to say on the assange case yesterday - A Swedish Court Injects Some Sense
bjd , Jun 6, 2019 1:32:38 PM | 32
Julian E. Barnes' humble confession (a self-incrimination) sounds like one made in a Gulag.
failure of imaginati , Jun 6, 2019 2:23:10 PM | 35
Further down the memory hole is the side tale of the daughter of Brutish Army Chief Nurse helping Skirpals and getting an award without contaminating the news. Was the girl's father Pablo Miller,(of Orbis Dossier MFG) and a pal of Skirpal? There's debunk in their poor narrative. The public has a photogenic memory.
lysias , Jun 6, 2019 2:28:23 PM | 36
Speaking of MI6, Julian Barnes is a very English-looking name. Do we know anything about his biography?
tuyzentfloot , Jun 6, 2019 2:56:36 PM | 37
There are 2 Julian Barneses (at the very least!), one is an English writer, the other has mostly been writing for the WSJ ( https://www.wsj.com/news/author/julian-e.-barnes) but since recently again for the NYTimes .
fastfreddy , Jun 6, 2019 3:10:32 PM | 38
30

Trump is a drug-addled, brain-damaged, hollowed-out shell of the dull con man he once was.

But, he perceives himself to be a brilliant mastermind - a stable genius. So, he might indeed, be prone to making inquiries (generally these would induce the toadies around him to stifle their laughter).

It makes sense that he might ask, while in GB, about the Skirpal incident, since he pulled 60 people from their posts and he remembered the fantasy he was lead to believe about sick children and dead ducks.

The fact that he overreacted without sufficient evidence, may have inspired a tiny amount of self-reflection simply because it may have embarrassed him to have been caught on his back foot. He was lead to believe that his contemporaries intended to react in equal measure. They did not. Therefore - he was "fooled" or tricked.

This is the only way to embarrass the buffoon. That is to have someone fool him personally. And to make him look stupid.

He doesn't mind that he is a fat oaf, a greed head and a pig, but that is the stuff of his own doing. He is comfortable in this. Money is the end-all, etc.

He bought Mar A Lago, making it his own club, because the Palm Beach Club and its elite snobs would not let him join.

Trump was betrayed by Gina Haskell, the CIA and the NYT.

What is he gonna do about it?

joebattista , Jun 6, 2019 3:22:02 PM | 40
All of Western media has been compromised by the CIA and friends since at least the 50s. Remember what late CIA director William Casey said in 1981; "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the US public believes is false".
They 'CIA' controls every talking head you can name. Believe no one. Sad isn't it.
William Gruff , Jun 6, 2019 3:56:52 PM | 41
Please note, everyone, that not all of these sad excuses for "journalists" are on the CIA payroll. In fact, very few of them are. Most work with the CIA out of warped senses of patriotism and duty to the empire. Most would never think of themselves as intelligence agency assets, and no small number of them probably think their relationships with the CIA are unique. They think that they are special and that their contacts on the inside at the CIA are unusual. Few would guess that they are just another propaganda mule in the CIA's stable, and that friendly guy who "leaks" to them is actually their handler; their "operator" in spook-speak.

Of course, there is also the incentive provided by just having to take the story their CIA "friend" gives them, edit it a little to fit their employer's style guidelines, and then submit it as their own. A whole day's worth of work and they can have it finished in half an hour. What's not to like about that?

Peter AU 1 , Jun 6, 2019 4:11:22 PM | 42
40

CIA did not control many of the Vietnam era journalists that had their pieces printed in mainstream media of the day. Not many left now and perhaps since the nineties they could no longer get their articles published. Regan brought in perception management which eventually brought all MSM 100% under US -CIA control.

fastfreddy , Jun 6, 2019 4:45:29 PM | 43
41

If you're a CIA guy, you get the editor and the ombudsman on the payroll and he will make certain that the desired propaganda gets published. If he's a Zionist, he's on the same page from the start, anyway.

The self-important "journalists" are controlled and in fact, they are flattered by their special relationships with informants and the owner/managers. After one has sucked his or her way to the upper level, kissing up and kicking down... Laziness is a bonus.

Jay , Jun 6, 2019 4:47:28 PM | 44
@Zachary Smith:

Barnes' CV has US News and World Report on it. That's big spewer of lies, especially over the last 25 years.

Ghost Ship , Jun 6, 2019 5:35:07 PM | 46
I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong.

What a strange construction. Doesn't the CIA have PR staff? A decent PR team would review every item referencing their boss and issue clarifications and/or demand corrections immediately. There should have been no need for Julian E. Barnes to figure anything out as the CIA should have pointed out his mistake very quickly. This explanation/exculpation is utter bullshit!

wagelaborer , Jun 6, 2019 5:40:19 PM | 47
Every day when I turn on my computer, I am enticed with offers to "see how the Brady Bunch kids look today" or "what do the stars of the 80s look like today?". Apparently, there is quite a demand for updates on celebrities and their current well being. So why would Julian Barnes do an article about the Skirpals without showing us how they look today? And just where are they living? Enquiring minds want to know!

I doubt that Trump asked questions about how those ducks and kids were doing. More likely that MI5 was annoyed that they were exposed as the providers of the duck snuff pictures, and put pressure on the NY Times.

Featherless , Jun 6, 2019 5:49:29 PM | 48
Whatever happened with the Skripals since ? It's like they fell off the face of the planet.
John Sanguinetti , Jun 6, 2019 6:37:46 PM | 50
Could this be referred to as a good old fashioned SNAFU ?
Jen , Jun 6, 2019 6:44:26 PM | 51
SteveK9 @ 49:

Using ducks is easier. Gina Haspel could always ask one of the bottom-feeding subordinates to nip down the road to one of those Chinese BBQ shops and photograph the display of roast ducks hanging in the shop window . The photos can be uploaded and altered to remove the background of the chef and the cashier and then the actual ducks can be altered or colored appropriately before the pictures are sent to Haspel. Anyone looking at the altered pictures would never guess their actual provenance.

:-)

I'm not sure where Haspel can find hippos or any other large animals that might topple on top of someone (with dire consequences) were s/he to apply a whiff of nerve agent.

Jen , Jun 6, 2019 6:49:22 PM | 52
SteveK9 @ 49:

Oops the link @ 51 isn't working so I'd better link to this instead.

El Cid , Jun 6, 2019 8:10:06 PM | 53
Those who advocated the strong response to Russia are the intellectual authors of "Russia Gate" to thwart detente with Russia.
uncle tungsten , Jun 6, 2019 8:12:21 PM | 54
Thanks b for a good laugh at Barnes and Goldman's expense. I note Goldman is silent and I guess that is because he would likely get his apology wrong and contradict Barnes BS.

[Jun 05, 2019] Do Spies Run the World by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Within America, the alphabet agencies from NSA to CIA to FBI had betrayed their country as obviously as Figuera did, though they didn't run away, yet. Our colleagues Mike Whitney and Philip Giraldi described the conspiracy organised by John Brennan of CIA with active participation of FBI's James Comey, to regime-change the US. ..."
"... The CIA spies in England and passes the results to the British Intelligence. MI6 spies in the US and passes the results to CIA. They became integrated to unbelievable extent in the worldwide network of spies. ..."
"... It is not the Deep State anymore; it is world spooks who had united against their legitimate masters. Instead of staying loyal to their country, the spooks betrayed their countries. They are not only strictly-for-cash – they think they know better what is good for you. In a way, they are a new incarnation of the Cecil Rhodes Society . Democratically-elected politicians and statesmen have to obey them or meet their displeasure, as Corbyn and Trump did. ..."
"... Everywhere, in the US, the UK, and Russia, the spooks became too powerful to handle. The CIA stood behind assassination of JFK and tried to take down Trump. The British Intelligence undermined Jeremy Corbyn, after assisting the CIA in pushing for the Iraq war. They created the Steele Dossier, invented the Skripal hoax and had brought Russia and the West to the brink of nuclear war. ..."
"... In the Ukraine, the heads of their state security, SBU had plotted against the last legitimate president Mr Victor Yanukovych. They helped to organise and run the Maidan 2014 manifestations and misled their President, until he was forced to escape abroad. The Maidan manifestations could be compared with the Yellow Vests movement; however, Macron, an appointee of the Network, had support of his spies, and stayed in power, while Yanukovych had been betrayed and overthrown. ..."
"... You'd ask me, were they so stupid that they believed their own propaganda of inevitable Clinton's victory? Yes, they were and are stupid. They are no sages, evil or benevolent. My main objection to the conspiracy theorists is that they usually view the plotters as omniscient and all-powerful. They are too greedy to be all-powerful, and they are too silly to be omniscient. ..."
"... Now, however, the secret services' cohesion and integration increased to the next level, making it difficult to deal with them. ..."
"... People are fickle and not always know what is good for them; there are many demagogues to mislead the crowd. And still, elected legitimate officials should have precedence in governing, while non-elected ones should obey – and it means the Network spooks and media men should know their place. ..."
"... How did John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Christopher Steele and other Spygate principals manage to rise to the top of the intelligence bureaucracy? ..."
"... These characters have indulged in an orgy of highly conspicuous partisan political meddling and ranting that has created the strong public impression that they engaged in an attempted coup to overthrow a sitting American president on the basis of a frame-up that was largely fueled by Russian disinformation. ..."
"... Brennan in particular: can you imagine any previous CIA director comporting himself in this manner? Throwing all caution to the winds? Inconceivable. Brennan, Comey and Clapper have inflicted serious damage on the reputation of the CIA, FBI and ODNI. ..."
"... It's not just illegal surveillance and blackmail that gives the spies power, it's impunity for even the gravest crimes. If you don't get the message of blackmail you can be tortured or shot, with a bullet like JFK and RFK and Reagan, or with illegal biological weapons like Daschel and Leahy. Institutionalized impunity stares us in the face from US state papers. ..."
"... It's not that CIA and other neo-Gestapos escaped control. They were designed from inception for totalitarian control. The one poor bastard in Congress who pointed that out, Tydings, had McCarthy sicced on him for his cheek. CIA is not out of control; it's firmly IN control. ..."
"... It was funny during the Cold war (the original one) – whenever each side unveiled that a spy from the other side has defected to them – they would say it was because of ideology – i.e. the spy defected to them because he "believed" in "democracy" or socialism – depending on the case. ..."
"... And in order to discredit their own spies when they defected to the other side – they would say that they did it for money, because they were greedy and that they betrayed "democracy" or socialism ..."
"... The other crucial role that spies usually play is that they allow the adversaries to keep technological balance via industrial espionage. By transferring top military secrets, they don't allow any side to gain crucial strategic advantage that might encourage them to do something foolish – like start a nuclear war. Prime example of this were probably the Rosenbergs – who helped USSR close the nuclear weapons gap with US and kept the world in a shaky nuclear arms balance. ..."
"... Profound analysis by Mr. Shamir. It confirms that one of the important reasons for the decline of freemasonry is the monopolization of political conspiracy by the intelligence services. Who needs the lodge when you have the CIA. ..."
"... Spooks are everywhere, from secretaries "losing" important communications to CNN news anchors roleplaying with crisis actors, but they are at their most powerful when they are appointed to powerful positions. President Trump's National Security Advisor is a spook and he does what he wants. ..."
"... John le Carre described it perfectly in "A Perfect Spy". The spooks form their own country. They are only loyal to themselves. ..."
"... A global supra-powerful, organized and united, privately directed, publicly backed society of high technology robin hood_mercenary_spooks who conduct sub-legal "scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-your-back [in the nation of the other] routines"; who ignore duty to country, its constitutions, its laws and human rights. The are evil, global acting, high technology nomads with a monopoly on extortion and terror. ..."
"... Your statement "spooks and ex-spooks feel more proximity to their enemies and colleagues in other countries than to their fellow citizens" fails makes clear the importance of containment-of-citizen access to information. Nation states are armed, rule making structures that invent propaganda and control access to information. Information containment and filtering is the essence of the political and economic power of a national leader and it is more import to the evil your article addresses. ..."
"... Control of the media is 50 times more important than control of the government? Nearly all actions of consequence are intended to drain the governed masses and such efforts can only be successful if the lobbying, false-misleading mind controlling privately owned (92% own by just 6 entities) centrally directed media can effectively control the all information environments. ..."
"... While understanding the mechanics is helpful don't neglect the purpose. Why is more important than how. The why is control. They don't care what you believe, but only what you do. You can be on the left, right, mainstream, or fringe and they won't care as long as you eat what they serve. Take a minute to think about what they want you to do and strongly consider not doing it. ..."
May 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Conspiratorially-minded writers envisaged the Shadow World Government as a board of evil sages surrounded by the financiers and cinema moguls. That would be bad enough; in infinitely worse reality, our world is run by the Junior Ganymede that went berserk. It is not a government, but a network, like freemasonry of old, and it consists chiefly of treacherous spies and pens-for-hire, two kinds of service personnel, that collected a lot of data and tools of influence, and instead of serving their masters loyally, had decided to lead the world in the direction they prefer.

German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the last head of the Abwehr, Hitler's Military Intelligence, had been such a spy with political ambitions. He supported Hitler as the mighty enemy of Communism; on a certain stage he came to conclusion that the US will do the job better and switched to the Anglo-American side. He was uncovered and executed for treason. His colleague General Reinhard Gehlen also betrayed his Führer and had switched to the American side. After the war, he continued his war against Soviet Russia, this time for CIA instead of Abwehr.

The spies are treacherous by their nature. They contact people who betrayed their countries; they work under cover, pretending to be somebody else; for them the switch of loyalty is as usual and normal as the gender change operation for a Moroccan doctor who is doing that 8 to 5 every day. They mix with foreign spies, they kill people with impunity; they break every law, human or divine. They are extremely dangerous if they do it for their own country. They are infinitely more dangerous if they work for themselves and still keep their institutional capabilities and international network.

Recently we had a painful reminding of their treacherous nature. Venezuela's top spy, the former director of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin), Manuel Cristopher Figuera , had switched sides during the last coup attempt and escaped abroad as the coup failed. He discovered that his membership on the Junior Ganymede of the spooks is more important for him than his duty to his country and its constitution.

Within America, the alphabet agencies from NSA to CIA to FBI had betrayed their country as obviously as Figuera did, though they didn't run away, yet. Our colleagues Mike Whitney and Philip Giraldi described the conspiracy organised by John Brennan of CIA with active participation of FBI's James Comey, to regime-change the US. In the conspiracy, foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, played an important role. As by law, these spies aren't allowed to operate on their home ground, they go into you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-your-back routine. The CIA spies in England and passes the results to the British Intelligence. MI6 spies in the US and passes the results to CIA. They became integrated to unbelievable extent in the worldwide network of spies.

It is not the Deep State anymore; it is world spooks who had united against their legitimate masters. Instead of staying loyal to their country, the spooks betrayed their countries. They are not only strictly-for-cash – they think they know better what is good for you. In a way, they are a new incarnation of the Cecil Rhodes Society . Democratically-elected politicians and statesmen have to obey them or meet their displeasure, as Corbyn and Trump did.

Everywhere, in the US, the UK, and Russia, the spooks became too powerful to handle. The CIA stood behind assassination of JFK and tried to take down Trump. The British Intelligence undermined Jeremy Corbyn, after assisting the CIA in pushing for the Iraq war. They created the Steele Dossier, invented the Skripal hoax and had brought Russia and the West to the brink of nuclear war.

Russian spooks are in a special relations mode with the global network – for many years. In Russia, persistent rumours claim the perilous Perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev had been designed and initiated by the KGB chief (1967 – 1982) Yuri Andropov . He and his appointees dismantled the socialist state and prepared the takeover of 1991 in the interests of the One World project.

Andropov (who had stepped into Brezhnev's shoes in 1982 and died in 1984) had advanced Gorbachev and his architect of glasnost, Alexander Yakovlev . Andropov also promoted the arch-traitor KGB General Oleg Kalugin to head its counter-intelligence. Later, Kalugin betrayed his country, escaped to the US and delivered all Russian spies he knew of to the FBI hands.

In late 1980s-early 1990s, the KGB, originally the guarding dog of the Russian working class, had betrayed its Communist masters and switched to work for the Network. But for their betrayal, Gorbachev would not be able to destroy his country so fast: the KGB neutralised or misinformed the Communist leadership.

They allowed Chernobyl to explode; they permitted a German pilot to land on the Red Square – this was used by Gorbachev as an excuse to sack the whole lot of patriotic generals. The KGB people were active in subverting other socialist states, too. They executed the Romanian leader Ceausescu and his wife; they brought down the GDR, the socialist Germany; they plotted with Yeltsin against Gorbachev and with Gorbachev against Romanov. As the result of their plotting, the USSR fell apart.

The KGB plotters of 1991 had thought that post-Communist Russia would be treated by the West like the prodigal son, with a fattened calf being slaughtered for the welcome feast. To their disappointment, the stupid bastards discovered that their country was to play the part of the fattened calf at the feast, and they were turned from unseen rulers into billionaires' bodyguards. Years later, Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia with the blessing of the world spooks and bankers, but being too independent a man to submit, he took his country into its present nationalist course, trying to regain some lost ground. The dissatisfied spooks supported him.

Only recently Putin began to trim the wild growth of his own intelligence service, the FSB. It is possible the cautious president had been alerted by the surprising insistence of the Western media that the alleged attempt on Skripal and other visible cases had been attributed to the GRU, the relatively small Russian Military Intelligence, while the much bigger FSB had been forgotten. The head of FSB cybercrime department had been arrested and sentenced for lengthy term of imprisonment, and two FSB colonels had been arrested as the search of their premises revealed immense amounts of cash , both Russian and foreign currency. Such piles of roubles and dollars could be assembled only for an attempt to change the regime, as it was demanded by the Network.

In the Ukraine, the heads of their state security, SBU had plotted against the last legitimate president Mr Victor Yanukovych. They helped to organise and run the Maidan 2014 manifestations and misled their President, until he was forced to escape abroad. The Maidan manifestations could be compared with the Yellow Vests movement; however, Macron, an appointee of the Network, had support of his spies, and stayed in power, while Yanukovych had been betrayed and overthrown.

In the US, the spooks allowed Donald Trump to become the leading Republican candidate, for they thought he would certainly lose to Mme Clinton. Surprisingly, he had won, and since then, this man who was advanced as an easy prey, as a buffoon, had been hunted by the spooks-and-scribes freemasonry.

You'd ask me, were they so stupid that they believed their own propaganda of inevitable Clinton's victory? Yes, they were and are stupid. They are no sages, evil or benevolent. My main objection to the conspiracy theorists is that they usually view the plotters as omniscient and all-powerful. They are too greedy to be all-powerful, and they are too silly to be omniscient.

Their knowledge of official leaders' faults gives them their feeling of power, but this knowledge can be translated into actual control only for weak-minded men. Strong leaders do not submit easily. Putin has had his quota of imprudent or outright criminal acts in his past, but he never allowed the blackmailers to dictate him their agenda. Netanyahu, another strong man of modern politics, also had managed to survive blackmail. Meanwhile, Trump defeated all attempts to unseat him, though his enemies had used his alleged lack of delicacy in relation to women, blacks and Jews to its utmost. He waded through the deep pond of Russiagate like Gulliver. But he has to purge the alphabet agencies to reach safety.

In Russia, the problem is acute. Many Russian spooks and ex-spooks feel more proximity to their enemies and colleagues in other countries than to their fellow citizens. There is a freemasonic quality in their camaraderie. Such a quality could be commendable in soldiers after the war is over, but here the war is going on. Russian spooks are particularly besotted with their declared enemies; apparently it is the Christian quality of the Russian soul, but a very annoying one.

When Snowden reached Moscow after his daring escape from Hong Kong, the Russian TV screened a discussion that I participated in, among journalists, members of parliament and ex-spies. The Russian spooks said that Snowden is a traitor; a person who betrayed his agency can't be trusted and should be sent to the US in shackles. They felt they belong to the Spy World, with its inner bond, while their loyalty to Russia was a distant second.

During recent visit of Mike Pompeo to Sochi, the head of SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Mr Sergey Naryshkin proposed the State Secretary Mike Pompeo, the ex-CIA director, to expand contacts between Russian and US special services at a higher level. He clarified that he actively interacted with Pompeo during the period when he was the head of the CIA. Why would he need contacts with his adversary? It would be much better to avoid contacts altogether.

Even president Putin, who is first of all a Russian nationalist (or a patriot, as they say), who has granted Snowden asylum in Moscow at a high price of seriously worsening relations with Obama's administration, even Putin has told Stone that Snowden shouldn't have leaked the documents the way he did. "If he didn't like anything at his work he should have simply resigned, but he went further", a response proving he didn't completely freed himself from the spooks' freemasonry.

While the spooks plot, the scribes justify their plots. Media is also a weapon, and a mighty one. In Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin , the protagonist is defeated by the smear campaign in the media. Despite his miraculous arrival, despite his glorious victory, the evil witch succeeds to poison minds of the hero's wife and of the court. The pen can counter the sword. When the two are integrated, as in the union of spooks and scribes, it is too dangerous tool to leave intact.

In many countries of Europe, editorial international policies had been outsourced to the spooky Atlantic Council, the Washington-based think tank. The Atlantic Council is strongly connected with NATO alliance and with Brussels bureaucracy, the tools of control over Europe. Another tool is The Integrity Initiative , where the difference between spies and journalists is blurred . And so is the difference between the left and the right. The left and the right-wing media use different arguments, surprisingly leading to the same bottom line, because both are tools of warfare for the same Network.

In 1930s, they were divided. The German and the British agents pulled and pushed in the opposite directions. The Russian military became so friendly with the Germans, that at a certain time, Hitler believed the Russian generals would side with him against their own leader. The Russian spooks were befriended by the Brits, and had tried to push Russia to confront Hitler. The cautious Marshal Stalin had purged the Red Army's pro-German Generals, and the NKVD's pro-British spooks, and delayed the outbreak of hostilities as much as he could. Now, however, the secret services' cohesion and integration increased to the next level, making it difficult to deal with them.

If they are so powerful, integrated and united, shouldn't we throw a towel in the ring and surrender? Hell, no! Their success is their undoing. They plot, but Allah is the best plotter, – our Muslim friends say. Indeed, when they succeed to suborn a party, the people vote with their feet. The Brexit is the case to consider. The Network wanted to undermine the Brexit; so they neutralised Corbyn by the antisemitism pursuit while May had made all she could to sabotage the Brexit while calling for it in public. Awfully clever of them – but the British voter responded with dropping both established parties. So their clever plot misfired.

People are fickle and not always know what is good for them; there are many demagogues to mislead the crowd. And still, elected legitimate officials should have precedence in governing, while non-elected ones should obey – and it means the Network spooks and media men should know their place.


Sean McBride , says: May 21, 2019 at 3:18 pm GMT

Side note:

How did John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Christopher Steele and other Spygate principals manage to rise to the top of the intelligence bureaucracy?

Spymasters are usually renowned for their inscrutability and for playing their cards close to their vests.

These characters have indulged in an orgy of highly conspicuous partisan political meddling and ranting that has created the strong public impression that they engaged in an attempted coup to overthrow a sitting American president on the basis of a frame-up that was largely fueled by Russian disinformation.

Brennan in particular: can you imagine any previous CIA director comporting himself in this manner? Throwing all caution to the winds? Inconceivable. Brennan, Comey and Clapper have inflicted serious damage on the reputation of the CIA, FBI and ODNI.

Forthcoming books will no doubt get into all the remarkable and bizarre details.

Donald Trump has demonstrated the ability to troll and goad many of his opponents into a state of imbecility. It's a negotiating tactic -- knock them off balance, provoke them to lose control. No matter how smart they are, some people take the bait.

Ding ding ding , says: May 21, 2019 at 4:04 pm GMT
I am sitting here pointing to my nose. Spies run the world – contemporary history in a nutshell. A few provisos:

It's not just illegal surveillance and blackmail that gives the spies power, it's impunity for even the gravest crimes. If you don't get the message of blackmail you can be tortured or shot, with a bullet like JFK and RFK and Reagan, or with illegal biological weapons like Daschel and Leahy. Institutionalized impunity stares us in the face from US state papers.

It's not that CIA and other neo-Gestapos escaped control. They were designed from inception for totalitarian control. The one poor bastard in Congress who pointed that out, Tydings, had McCarthy sicced on him for his cheek. CIA is not out of control; it's firmly IN control.

– There is a crucial difference between US and Russian spies. Russians can go over the head of their government to the world. That's the only effective check on state criminal enterprise like CIA. Article 17 of the Russian Constitution says "in the Russian Federation rights and freedoms of person and citizen are recognized and guaranteed pursuant to the generally recognized principles and norms of international law and in accordance with this Constitution." Article 18 states that rights and freedoms of the person and citizen are directly applicable, which prevents the kind of bad-faith tricks the USA pulls, like declaring "non-self executing" treaties, or making legally void reservations, declarations, understandings, and provisos to screw you out of your rights. Article 46(3) guarantees citizens a constitutional right to appeal to inter-State bodies for the protection of human rights and freedoms if internal legal redress has been exhausted. Ratified international treaties including the ICCPR supersede any domestic legislation stipulating otherwise.

Endgame Napoleon , says: May 21, 2019 at 6:14 pm GMT
Isn't it just collusion that holds certain elite groups together, including in some businesses where a lot of chicanery goes on. The most important thing is to be in on it as one of them, not as a person who can be trusted not to say anything, but as one of the gang. It's exactly how absenteeism-friendly offices full of crony parents with crony-parent managers work.

The only problem for the guy at the tippy top is what would happen if such a tight group turned on him / her? Maybe, some leaders see the value in protecting a few brave individuals, like Snowden, letting any coup-stirring spooks know that some people are watching the Establishment's rights violators, too. Those with technical knowledge have more capacity than most to do it or, at least, to understand how it works.

In a country founded on individual liberties, including Fourth Amendment privacy rights that were protected by less greedy generations, the US should have elected leaders that put the US Constitution first, but that is too much to ask in an era when the top dogs in business & government are all colluding for money.

Digital Samizdat , says: May 21, 2019 at 6:40 pm GMT

In Russia, persistent rumours claim the perilous Perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev had been designed and initiated by the KGB chief (1967 – 1982) Yuri Andropov.

FWIW, I have heard the exact same thing from Russian commenters myself. Some have insisted that, if Andropov had lived long enough, he would have carried glasnost and perestroika himself.

Cyrano , says: May 21, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMT
Spies are loathsome bunch, with questionable loyalties and personal integrity. But I believe that overall they play a positive role. They play a positive role because they help adversaries gain insight into their adversary's activities.

If it wasn't for the spies, paranoia about what the other side is doing can get out of hand and cause wrong actions to take place. The problem with the spies is also that no one knows how much they can be trusted and on whose side they are really on.

It was funny during the Cold war (the original one) – whenever each side unveiled that a spy from the other side has defected to them – they would say it was because of ideology – i.e. the spy defected to them because he "believed" in "democracy" or socialism – depending on the case.

And in order to discredit their own spies when they defected to the other side – they would say that they did it for money, because they were greedy and that they betrayed "democracy" or socialism.

The other crucial role that spies usually play is that they allow the adversaries to keep technological balance via industrial espionage. By transferring top military secrets, they don't allow any side to gain crucial strategic advantage that might encourage them to do something foolish – like start a nuclear war. Prime example of this were probably the Rosenbergs – who helped USSR close the nuclear weapons gap with US and kept the world in a shaky nuclear arms balance.

Kirt , says: May 21, 2019 at 10:01 pm GMT
Profound analysis by Mr. Shamir. It confirms that one of the important reasons for the decline of freemasonry is the monopolization of political conspiracy by the intelligence services. Who needs the lodge when you have the CIA.

An aspect of the rule of spies that Mr. Shamir does not touch on is the legitimization of this rule through popular culture. This started with the James Bond novels and movies and by now has become ubiquitous. Spies and assassins are the heroes of the masses. While secrecy is still needed for tactical reasons in the case of specific operations, overall secrecy is not needed nor even desirable. So you have thugs like Pompeo actually boasting of their villainy before audiences of college students at Texas A&M and you have the Mossad supporting the publication of the book Rise and Kill First which is an extensive account of their world-wide assassination policy. They have the power; now they want the perks that go with it, including being treated like rock stars.

israel shamir , says: May 22, 2019 at 4:06 am GMT
@Kirt

Who needs the lodge when you have the CIA

Good explanation of freemasonry's decline, Kirt! As for popular culture – almost all latest cinema characters are spies – like Avengers))

anno nimus , says: May 22, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
dear mr Shamir, the criminals are not only stupid but also utterly wicked. they will be stricken down in the twinkling of the eye and will cry out why God? all the righteous will shout for joy and give thanks to the Almighty for judging Babylon. woe unto them! they will have no place to hide or run to.

Ezekiel 9 (NKJV)
The Wicked Are Slain
9 Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, "Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand." 2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer's inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.

3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; 4 and the Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."

5 To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. 6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple. 7 Then He said to them, "Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" And they went out and killed in the city.

8 So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, "Ah, Lord God! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?"

9 Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, 'The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!' 10 And as for Me also, My eye will neither spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head."

11 Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, "I have done as You commanded me."

Antares , says: May 22, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT
Espionage depends on contra-espionage. We will never get that hold on Jewish spies as they can have on our spies.
Paul Bennett , says: May 22, 2019 at 5:38 am GMT
Great article.

E Michael Jones was just warning President Trump about the possibility of this in the Straits of Hormuz. https://youtu.be/iIm3WuJAVEE?t=272

Spooks are everywhere, from secretaries "losing" important communications to CNN news anchors roleplaying with crisis actors, but they are at their most powerful when they are appointed to powerful positions. President Trump's National Security Advisor is a spook and he does what he wants.

John le Carre described it perfectly in "A Perfect Spy". The spooks form their own country. They are only loyal to themselves.

Yarkob , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:52 am GMT
@Antares that's because the Mossad isn't like "our" spy agencies. it's closer to the old paradigm of the hashishim or true assassins. Mossad "agents" don't gad around wearing dark glasses and tapping phones; they run proper deep cover operations. "sleepers" is a term used in the USA. they have jobs. they look "normal". They integrate
MarkU , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:45 am GMT
Do spies run the world? No not really, bankers run the world.

Bankers constitute most of the deep state in the US/UK in particular and most of Europe. It is the bankers/deep state which control the intelligence agencies. The ethnicity of a hefty proportion of said bankers is plain to see for anyone with functioning critical faculties. How else can a tiny country in the middle east have such influence in the US? How else do we explain why 2/3 of the UK parliament are "friends of Israel" How come financial institutions can commit felonies and no one does jail time? why is Israel allowed to commit war crimes and break international law with total impunity? who got bailed out of their gambling debts at the expense of inflicting "austerity" on most of the western world?

I am open to any sensible alternative hypothesis.

Realist , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:48 am GMT
@Sean McBride

How did John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Christopher Steele and other Spygate principals manage to rise to the top of the intelligence bureaucracy?

Shit floats.

Sally , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:06 am GMT
A global supra-powerful, organized and united, privately directed, publicly backed society of high technology robin hood_mercenary_spooks who conduct sub-legal "scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-your-back [in the nation of the other] routines"; who ignore duty to country, its constitutions, its laws and human rights. The are evil, global acting, high technology nomads with a monopoly on extortion and terror.

Since winning, Trump has been hunted by the spooks-and-scribes freemasonry. <fallacy is that Trump could have gained the assistence of every American, had Trump just used his powers to declassify all secret information and make it available to the public, instead he chases Assange, and continues to conduct the affairs of his office in secret.

Propaganda preys on belief.. it is more powerful than an atomic weapon.. when the facts are hidden or when the facts are changed, distorted or destroyed.

Your statement "spooks and ex-spooks feel more proximity to their enemies and colleagues in other countries than to their fellow citizens" fails makes clear the importance of containment-of-citizen access to information. Nation states are armed, rule making structures that invent propaganda and control access to information. Information containment and filtering is the essence of the political and economic power of a national leader and it is more import to the evil your article addresses.

https://theintercept.com/2019/05/08/josh-gottheimer-democrats-yemen/ <i wrote IRT to the article, that contents appearing in private media supported monopoly powered corporations and distributed to the public, direct the use of military and the willingness of soldiers of 22 different countries.

Control of the media is 50 times more important than control of the government? Nearly all actions of consequence are intended to drain the governed masses and such efforts can only be successful if the lobbying, false-misleading mind controlling privately owned (92% own by just 6 entities) centrally directed media can effectively control the all information environments.

I am bothered by you article because it looks to be Trumped weighted and failes to make clear it is these secret apolitical, human rights abusers, that direct the contents of the media distributed articles that appear in the privately owmed, media distributed to the public. Also not explained is how the cost of advertising is shared by the monopoly powered corporations, and it is that advertising that is the source of support that keeps the fake news in business, the nation state propaganda in line, and the support of robin -hood terror.

Monopoly powered global corporation advertising funds the fake and misleading private media, that is why the open internet has been shut in tight. In order for the evil, global acting, high technology nomads to continue their extortion and terror activities they need the media, its their only real weapon. I have never meet a member of any of the twenty two agencies that was not a trained, certified mental case terrorist.

Anon [295] Disclaimer , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:08 am GMT
I think the interplay between the spooks and scribes warrants a deeper explanation. Covert action refers to anything in which the author can disclaim his responsibility, ie it looks like someone else or something else. The handler in a political operation cannot abuse his agent because the agent is the actor. The handler in an intelligence gathering operation can abuse his agent because the agent merely enables action.

The political operations in this case are propaganda. The Congress of Cultural Freedom is the most clearly described one to date. Propaganda is necessary in any mass society to ensure that voters care about the right issues, the right way, at the right time. Propaganda can be true, false, or a mix of the two. Black propaganda deals in falsehoods, ie the Steele Dossier. Black propaganda works best when it enables a pre-planned operation, but it pollutes the intelligence gathering process with disinformation.

Intelligence gathering is colloquially called investigative reporting. If anyone knows about Gary Webb, Alan Frankovich, or Michael Hastings they know you can't really do that job well for very long. So how do the old timers last so long? It's a back and forth. The reporter brings all of his information on a subject to his intelligence source (handler). The source then says, "print this, print that, sit on that, and since you've been a good boy here's a little something you didn't know." The true role of the investigative reporter is to conduct counterintelligence and package it as a limited hangout.

While understanding the mechanics is helpful don't neglect the purpose. Why is more important than how. The why is control. They don't care what you believe, but only what you do. You can be on the left, right, mainstream, or fringe and they won't care as long as you eat what they serve. Take a minute to think about what they want you to do and strongly consider not doing it.

https://www.nytimes.com/1977/12/26/archives/worldwide-propaganda-network-built-by-the-cia-a-worldwide-network.html

http://danwismar.com/uploads/Bernstein%20-%20CIA%20and%20Media.htm

joeshittheragman , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:29 am GMT
Do Spies Run the World?
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
If they're Jewish spies – then yes.
Vojkan , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Not usually a big fan of Israel Shamir's pieces but this one on spooks is truly excellent. The article is spot on.
9/11 Inside job , says: May 22, 2019 at 10:37 am GMT
Spies do not run the world , they are merely agents of the "families" who use them to retain and increase their control ,power and wealth .
cowherd , says: May 22, 2019 at 10:46 am GMT
@Sean McBride And now Trump should have then all rounded up and hung from the trees in the front of the Whitehouse. Anything less should be seen as encouragement.
atlantis_dweller , says: May 22, 2019 at 11:26 am GMT
Don't agree.

[Should don't agree, agree, troll, and lol "buttons" for columns be added? I think it would be a nice extra].

mike k , says: May 22, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
The worst among us rule over the rest of us. As Plato said, this needs to change. How to do that? We don't know, but we desperately need to find out ..
Anon [421] Disclaimer , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm GMT
@Sean McBride

Obama was a very effective promoter of what might be called the "globalist" agenda. He of course didn't invent it but did appoint those three.

Wayne Madsen gave a convincing account in his speculation that both Obama's parent's were CIA operatives. So it's "all the family" and in the details one might conclude with the author that indeed "spies run the world."

[May 23, 2019] Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and the Media

Notable quotes:
"... Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail. ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 2:24 pm GMT

Mar 1, 2016 Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and the Media

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z6Hm0Sla65E?feature=oembed

9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony

Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

[May 19, 2019] Why The Takedown Of Heinz-Christian Strache Will Strengthen The Right

Notable quotes:
"... In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts. ..."
"... Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones. ..."
"... The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy. ..."
"... Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now. ..."
"... The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions. ..."
"... The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During the last days a right wing politician in Austria was taken down by using an elaborate sting. Until Friday Heinz-Christian Strache was leader of the far right (but not fascist) Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) and the Vice Chancellor of the country. On Friday morning two German papers, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published (German) reports (English) about an old video that was made to take Strache down.

The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe. It's pro-Russian position has led to verbal attacks on and defamation of the party from NATO supporting and neoliberal circles.

In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts.

Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones.


A scene from the video. Source: Der Falter (vid, German)

During the six hour long party several schemes get proposed by the "Russian" and are discussed. Strache rejects most of them. He insists several times that everything they plan or do must be legal and conform to the law. He says that a large donation could probably be funneled through an endowment that would then support his party. It is a gray area under Austrian party financing laws. They also discuss if the "Russian" could buy the Kronen Zeitung , Austria's powerful tabloid, and use it to prop up his party.

The evening goes on with several bottles of vodka on the table. Starche gets a bit drunk and boosts in front of the "oligarch daughter" about all his connections to rich and powerful people. He does not actually have these.

Strache says that, in exchange for help for his party, the "Russian" could get public contracts for highway building and repair. Currently most of such contracts in Austria go to the large Austrian company, STRABAG, that is owned by a neoliberal billionaire who opposes the FPOe. At that time Strache was not yet in the government and had no way to decide about such contracts.

At one point Strache seems to understand that the whole thing is a setup. But his right hand man calms him down and vouches for the "Russian". The sting ends with Strache and his companion leaving the place. The never again see the "Russian" and her co-plotter. Nothing they talked about will ever come to fruition.

Three month later Strache and his party win more than 20% in the Austrian election and form a coalition government with the conservative party OeVP led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Even while the FPOe controls several ministries, it does not achieve much politically. It lacks a real program and the government's policies are mostly run by the conservatives.

Nearly two years after the evening on Ibiza, ten days before the European parliament election in which Strache's party is predicted to achieve good results, a video of the evening on Ibiza is handed to two German papers which are known to be have strong transatlanticist leanings and have previously been used for other shady 'leaks'. The papers do not hesitate to take part in the plot and publish extensive reports about the video.

After the reports appeared Strache immediately stepped down and the conservatives ended the coalition with his party. Austria will now have new elections.

On Bloomberg Leonid Bershidsky opines on the case:

Strache's discussion with the Russian oligarch's fake niece shows a propensity for dirty dealing that has nothing to do with idealistic nationalism. Nationalist populists often agitate against entrenched, corrupt elites and pledge to drain various swamps. In the videos, however, Strache and Gudenus behave like true swamp creatures, savoring rumors of drug and sex scandals in Austrian politics and discussing how to create an authoritarian media machine like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's.

I do not believe that the people who voted for the FPOe (and similar parties in other countries) will subscribe to that view. The politics of the main stream parties in Austria have for decades been notoriously corrupt. Compared to them Strache and his party are astonishingly clean. In the video he insists several times that everything must stay within the legal realm. Whenever the "Russian" puts forward a likely illegal scheme, Starche emphatically rejects it.

Bershidsky continues:

Strache, as one of the few nationalist populists in government in the European Union's wealthier member states, was an important member of the movement Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been trying to cobble together ahead of the European Parliament election that will take place next week. On Saturday, he was supposed to attend a Salvini-led rally in Milan with other like-minded politicians from across Europe. Instead, he was in Vienna apologizing to his wife and to Kurz and protesting pitifully that he'd been the victim of a "political assassination" -- a poisonous rain on the Italian right-winger's parade.
...
This leaves the European far right in disarray and plays into the hands of centrist and leftist forces ahead of next week's election. Salvini's unifying effort has been thoroughly undermined, ...

This is also a misreading of the case. The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy.

Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now.

But that Strache stepped down after the sudden media assault only makes him more convincing. The right-wing all over Europe will see him as a martyr who was politically assassinated because he worked for their cause. The issue will increase the right-wingers hate against the 'liberal' establishment. It will further motivate them: "They attack us because we are right and winning." The new far-right block Natteo Salvini will setup in the European Parliament will likely receive a record share of votes.

Establishment writers notoriously misinterpret the new right wing parties and their followers. This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false. The working class understands very well what the establishment parties have done to it and continue to do. The increasing vote share of the far-right is a direct consequence of the behavior of the neoliberal center and of the lack of real left alternatives.

Last week, before the Strache video appeared, Craig Murray put his finger on the wound:

The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.

...

The rejection of the political class manifests itself in different ways and has been diverted down a number of entirely blind alleys giving unfulfilled promise of a fresh start – Brexit, Trump, Macron. As the vote share of the established political parties – and public engagement with established political institutions – falls everywhere, the chattering classes deride the political symptoms of status quo rejection by the people as "populism". It is not populism to make sophisticated arguments that undermine the received political wisdom and take on the entire weight of established media opinion.

If one wants to take down the far right one has to do so with arguments and good politics for the working class. Most people, especially working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money.

While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties. When one talks to these people issues of injustice and inequality always come up. The new 'populist' parties at least claim to fight against the injustice done to the common men. Unlike most of the establishment parties they seem to be still mostly clean and not yet corrupted.

In the early 1990s Strache actually flirted with violent fascists but he rejected their way. While he has far-right opinions, he and his like are no danger to our societies. If we can not accept that Strache and his followers have some legitimate causes, we will soon find us confronted with way more extreme people. The neoliberal establishment seems to do its best to achieve that.

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 01:10 PM | Permalink

[May 16, 2019] The Disinformationists by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela. ..."
"... The situation is even worse today as the CIA and Pentagon have massive propaganda budgets and have infiltrated the media at every level , the public is unaware that each day they are brainwashed by the MSM to support the agenda of the "deep State' and the MIC. ..."
"... No mention of the journalists as CIA assets who publish planted stories? Isn't Dr Udo Ulfkotte one who did that, repented, told all in his best-seller Bought Journalists, and as a warning to others unselfishly dropped dead of a heart attack within a couple of years? ..."
"... The best sentence was the one expressing the Establishment's collective faux shock that anything other than Russian spybots could be responsible for the serfs' rejection of the "two centrist parties" that have sponged up lobbyist money for 3 decades, cashing in on the globalist-Neoliberal economy, as rents rose and wages fell. ..."
"... Not too sure about the US even remaining important as a continent wide farm.. The aquifers in the West and Midwest are being inexorably drawn down to sustain the current rate of farming, so it's possible North America's value would primarily be as a source of pockets of human talent in the sciences and technologies. ..."
May 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

paraglider , says: May 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT

the hysteria emanating from the nyt, cnn and the rest of the msm is the result of a conscious or subconscious grasp that socialism dying worldwide. the great ponzi scam of forcing future generations to pay for the cookies and ice cream of the present generation has hit the math of the complete dearth of unencumbered assets from which to emit more unpayable debt, insufficient economic growth upon which to pretend the debt can be serviced forget about repayment and the simple fact demographichs throughout the west are so negative the government and public pension scheme blowup in the several years

the more intelligent members of the establishment know in their bones the jig is up. hence the great and urgent need to turn up .lets over throw sovereign nations so the plunder model ..venezuela, syria, russia, china et al.can find more unencumbered assets to be brought into the nyc, london orbit of banks from which new debt can be emitted.

the west is staring at its last decade of global rule, a rule that began 500 years ago. by the 2030's finance, manufacturing and all the global power and prestige that goes with it moves from ny, london to shanghai and moscow.

if the united states is lucky and remains intact, a giant IF, we may wind up as continent size farm with a smidgen of non competitive industry here and there.

the west has only disinformation with which to go to war against the rising east. the weapons of the west are powerful ONLY in their quantity. Russian weapons already are many years beyond anything the pentagon has in the field and the gap is only increasing, ergo the us treasury is forced to fight the battle using sanctions and other forms of restrictions, a long term losing strategy irrespective of any short terms gains.

so, cj worry not, the disinformation campaign is backed by nothing but hot air and the rage from being thwarted by china and russia as well as brave pipsqueakes like iran and venezuela.

see it for what it is, transparent sound and fury signifying nothing

Anon [232] Disclaimer , says: May 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm GMT
I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela.
Gordo , says: May 15, 2019 at 9:16 pm GMT
@Anon

I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela.

The UK gov't covertly subsidizes the Guardian.

9/11 Inside job , says: May 16, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
In 1917 US Congressman Calloway informed Congress that J.P. Morgan interests had purchased 25 of the nations leading newspapers and replaced their editors in order to control the mass media for the benefit of the plutocrats/money interests who ran the country and who still do . The situation is even worse today as the CIA and Pentagon have massive propaganda budgets and have infiltrated the media at every level , the public is unaware that each day they are brainwashed by the MSM to support the agenda of the "deep State' and the MIC.
obwandiyag , says: May 16, 2019 at 3:18 am GMT
See, half a century after McCarthy, wingers got their noses into some (not all) Soviet files, and got to scream, nonstop and to this day, "See!@@#$% McCarthy was RIGHT!"

Betya in a half century, if we're still around, the same type people are going to get nosing in some files somewhere and find incontrovertible evidence that: "See!@#%$%^^ The New York Times was RIGHT!"

Same kind of people. They never change.

OEMIKITLOB , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:13 am GMT
@9/11 Inside job There is a virus-free link to a declassified CIA memo at the end of the article. It's interesting.

https://www.spyculture.com/cia-memos-on-task-force-on-greater-openness/

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website May 16, 2019 at 4:37 am GMT

And then there's the evil Russian spywhale, which the disinformationists want us to believe is just a harmless "therapy Beluga" for kids, but which has clearly been strapped with some sort of monstrous, mind-controlling apparatus that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark.

You had me doing a cartoon spit-take with this beaut!

Giuseppe , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:42 am GMT

these enormous corporate media conglomerates, and the transnational corporations that own them, and these intelligence agencies, and their fronts and cutouts, and corporate lobbyists and PR firms, and councils, and think tanks, and research institutes, to disinform the Western masses, or to manufacture an official narrative

No mention of the journalists as CIA assets who publish planted stories? Isn't Dr Udo Ulfkotte one who did that, repented, told all in his best-seller Bought Journalists, and as a warning to others unselfishly dropped dead of a heart attack within a couple of years?

" that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark "

It isn't the akvavit that does it, but you can't do it without the akvavit.

Biff , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:45 am GMT

And then there's the evil Russian spywhale, which the disinformationists want us to believe is just a harmless "therapy Beluga" for kids, but which has clearly been strapped with some sort of monstrous, mind-controlling apparatus that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark.

I had a good laugh at the Spy Whale schtick. One look at the thing, and you get the idea it should've been in a Pink Panther movie.

Made up shit that only a mind of a child could believe.

Endgame Napoleon , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:56 am GMT
The best sentence was the one expressing the Establishment's collective faux shock that anything other than Russian spybots could be responsible for the serfs' rejection of the "two centrist parties" that have sponged up lobbyist money for 3 decades, cashing in on the globalist-Neoliberal economy, as rents rose and wages fell.

The serfs have to love that. How could they not embrace it? Only spybots beaming up doom-and-gloom messages from halfway around the globe could persuade the thick-headed serfs that the part-time / churn / gig economy is anything but nirvana.

Alfa158 , says: May 16, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@paraglider I think you're probably right about the inevitable collapse of the West as the dominant global power.

Not too sure about the US even remaining important as a continent wide farm.. The aquifers in the West and Midwest are being inexorably drawn down to sustain the current rate of farming, so it's possible North America's value would primarily be as a source of pockets of human talent in the sciences and technologies.

Also Russia has been making some progress, but unless that continues it may not reach the level of competitiveness in science, industry and domestic product to be any more than a junior partner to China.

Whatever happens, a sea change in history seems unavoidable and it won't be what our present rulers think it will. I don't pretend to think I can reliably predict what is coming.

unit472 , says: May 16, 2019 at 5:19 am GMT
I used to know Russian disinformation when I saw it because it was obvious when it came from the USSR. Then the MSM peddled it as authentic as when, in response to Soviet deployment of IRBM in Europe, pinkos magically appeared to protest the American deployment of similar weapons. It was well funded too as Brezhnev had serious oil revenues to finance both his military and his disinformation campaigns and the USSR had 125% of America's population and a satellite Eastern Europe to boot.

Now I am to believe a motheaten "Russia' with less than half the US population, a hostile Ukraine and no Eastern European satrapies is able to exert more 'influence' in the West than the mighty USSR. Yet those same 'pinkos' would have me believe a castrated Russia is an existential threat. Come on!

[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 13, 2019] The CIA does the coordination of media narratives. You can think of them as the conductor of the neoliberal MSM orchestra...

May 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dan , May 11, 2019 9:34:36 AM | link

Whats difficult to understand here is who is driving who. The white house uses the media, the media uses the white house. The CIA uses both. All of them use the Pentagon, which in turn uses and serves the MIC. These stories that suddenly appear could be any one of those parties using the press, or a drive by the press to prepare the stage for war on behalf of their corporate overlords.
It is not " the job of the media to point that out", the job of the media is to serve shareholders interest, whoever they may be. It is, however, the responsibility of a conscientious public to discriminate very carefully between various consumable media outlets.

William Gruff , May 11, 2019 9:43:04 AM | link

It is the duty of patriotic journalists to support their country's war efforts in times of war, is it not? America has been at war for a very long time. For as long as the latest crop of crappy "journalists" can remember (assuming they can remember anything beyond yesterday's breakfast, which we see precious little evidence of).

Maybe in Europe and the rest of the world outside America there remains this idealized conception of what journalism should be about, but that is long gone in the US. In America the journalists consider themselves the "boots on the ground" in the psy-op information war. They know that they are just as vital to America's imperial ambitions as the Special Forces assassins and CIA covert operatives directing the death squads.

somebody , May 11, 2019 9:51:15 AM | link
Posted by: Don Bacon | May 11, 2019 9:33:11 AM | 4

There is always Poland .

William Gruff , May 11, 2019 10:07:24 AM | link
dan @5

The CIA does the coordination of media narratives. You can think of them as the conductor of the orchestra... the organist at the Mighty Wurlitzer . The CIA also direct a lot of covert operations to strong-arm vassals into line and to knock states off balance that try to resist the empire. They also do lots of assassinations of labor organizers and the like.

But who is above the CIA? Who does the CIA work for? Certainly not the US Executive Branch! The CIA kills presidents when they feel the need.

Just ask yourself who benefits. The corporate elites at Coca-Cola, Nestle, Exxon, Monsanto, GE, and so on; and above them the elites at maybe a dozen giant financial syndicates whose evils psychohistorian is always going on about (he is right, by the way). These are the folks that gather at the Bilderberg and Bohemian Grove meet-ups where the large scale plans are hatched and corrections to faltering plans are debated and that the CIA must then fine tune and implement.

Full Spectrum Domino , May 11, 2019 3:07:11 PM | link
@ William Gruff 8#

"The CIA does the coordination of media narratives."

For an example of just how tightly choreographed that coordination is 2:08-4:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LVfi3NInsg&t=156s

[May 07, 2019] How many CIA fucksticks, or boondoggle procuring disinformation spewing, sell-their-own-mother contractors, like New Knowledge, are out there conspiring to screw people over and install some goomed poodle puppet of the empire like Juan Guido?

May 07, 2019 | theintercept.com

1 week ago

The Obama adminstration knew about the Russian attempts, yet did not alert the Trump campaign. Instead the Obama administration sent spies to entrap low level operatives, with the hope of eventually nailing Trump himself or a close advisor. Why?

Because the intelligence community wanted that insurance policy on Trump. Not to remove him from office, but to control him in the event he won. The intelligence community and defense community wants and needs perpetual war and conflict to justify themselves. Trump was campaigning on better relations with Russia and pulling back the us global defense footprint. This was not acceptable to them, so they needed to make sure they could control him. Do what we want or certain information is released.

Somehow, they lost control over the operation, which resulted in the appointmemt of Mueller. Forcing the plot against Trump out into the open is the best thing that could have happened to Trump. Trump now holds all the cards in his control and possible retaliation against the wrongdoers. I predict no action against any of the real wrongdoers, so Trump maintains his control over a severly wounded intelligence community. He has the power over them now, by threating prosecutions and disclosure of what they really did.

1 week ago

"Sprawling" How many CIA fucksticks, or boondoggle procuring disinformation spewing, sell-their-own-mother contractors, like New Knowledge, are out there conspiring to screw people over and install some goomed poodle puppet of the empire like Juan Guido? Jesus titty-fucking Christ. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Look! Russians!

1 week ago

Look! A whale!

https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/29/whale-with-harness-could-be-russian-weapon-say-norwegian-experts

1 week ago (Edited)

"[Risen and his ilk] are engaged in a calculated rear-guard campaign to prevent the public from moving on to the next level of implications. Since the MSM and deep state PTB were so clearly willing and able to fabricate 'collusion', what other articles of faith are fabrications? WMDs of course.

But then there are the others: ISIS and Al Qaeda were our enemies? The news media tells the truth? Syrian government gas attacks? Iran is a menace? Russian "invasion" of Ukraine? [Anita Hill and Christine Blasey were 'abused' by being asked questions?]

Assertions that Qadafi and now Maduro were/are bad guys?

America is a free country? Mass immigration is AOK? The rich create wealth?

The 9/11 attacks were the work of a handful of Arab guys? Israel is our true friend and wants peace?

The whole edifice is undermined and Congressional and media reciters [and deep state shills posting here like Alberto, Lela, Felix95, and Mike5000] have the job of diverting the public from thinking the unthinkable."

1 week ago

"Too little too late."

Not for all of us. A significant number of progressives who ardently rejected the evidence-free hysteria retain credibility to press for all of those things.

1 week ago

"If you or Glenn cared about any of those things, you'd be writing incessantly about them, but you don't."

Even if that were true, it would not alter that we were right about this Russiagate moral panic, and many of you were recklessly wrong

"It's not a non sequitur to say so."

It is. (As is your peculiar fixation on Pierre Omidyar.) See above.

1 week ago

that's a reply to Mona above...

1 week ago

" let's look at gun control, climate change, immigration, infrastructure, medical needs, college debt, abortion rights, justice for people of color, gerrymandering, voting rights"

What progressives and Democrats should have been doing the last three years, not promoting and agitating for a baseless -- and recklessly dangerous -- moral panic. Direction for how to proceed should come from those who had the wisdom and reason to reject the evidence-free mania.

1 week ago

Instead of telling others what they should be doing, why don't you do it yourself?

Too exhausted trying to control what you can't?

1 week ago

" why don't you do it yourself?"

I do. Part of that effort is making clear to one and all that many progressives never promoted a baseless moral panic that made Democrats and the media look like Alex Jones. Some of us can be trusted to be evidence-based.

1 week ago

And you dont think that was part of the purpose?

You think the DNC cares about any of those important things? Keeping the focus off the democrats was the most important objective of Russiagate.That and starting another cold war which makes them even more dangerous than Trump.

1 week ago

you won't find it on the 2020 Democratic Party platform either ... which is still stuck on 2016:

https://democrats.org/about/party-platform/

biden 2020: yes we should

1 week ago

Hopefully, this the coda of the Russiagate saga. From my perspective it revealed more about America's Deep State than it did about Russia's alleged malign intent.

The Deep State has entered into mainstream American politics. We know it is there and that it is a potent threat to American self rule, far more dangerous than Russia or any of the external challenges.

Many things remain unanswered. For example, in an interconnected, internet world, where does big tech fit in? Are Google, Facebook et al American companies? Do they enforce American policy? Is it just America or do they whore for anybody with money? Does it mean that people in China and Russia are not allowed to use these platforms even though it is freely available on the net? One thing remains the same. The Establishment likes a rigged game.

It's nasty mess and over all looms the specter of the Deep State.

1 week ago

Absolutely. Also, all this banter about Russia influence and Trump, will not change the *fact* that Mueller did not recommend to indict Trump on the 'collusion/conspiracy' issue, nor the 'obstruction' issue. It's fact. Fact. Meaning it can't go backwards. Meaning all the howling and screaming is not going to change anything from that report. Mueller would have nailed Trump to the proverbial wall if he could, but didn't, because he Just.Didn' t.Have.It .

Secondly, we have a much more serious issue. We have the Deep State who has infiltrated our political system, to the point that they attempted a coup. Like they do in totalitarian countries. Right here in the good ole USA.

While voters naively went to vote in 2016, the intelligence agencies coupled with the strong arm of HRC and the DNC conspired to upend the election because they wanted their favorite to win. And they were so sure she was going to win, that they all jumped on it...gleefully.

They committed sedition. They all need to go to jail.

They did far more damage to this country and our laws, our Constitution, and our belief in an honest voting system than all the Russian bots around. Add in a conspiring media, who spewed lies and half truths and glaring omissions of facts to the American people..

What more do you folks need? This isn't about Trump. It's about the rule of law. If they get away with this travesty, you can kiss our elections goodbye. Totalitarianism here we come.

1 week ago (Edited)

"You can kiss our elections goodbye"

I did that back in 2004 when our voting system turned into a Black Box with moronic/ignorant government officials overseeing a cabal of opportunistic, conflict of interest ridden, behind-closed-doors contractors, running a back door littered, populace duping sham.

1 week ago

How about December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court lawlessly intervened to hand the presidency to Bush and the entire political establishment submitted with barely a peep? That was a judicial coup, and we cannot escape the consequences.

1 week ago

Yes. That, too.

But now we have stinging evidence that the coup was attempted and they used false information to obtain FISAs to unmask people in their scheme to get Trump to take him down.

I don't like Trump. But I will stick up for any President who is duly elected by the people. For the people, by the people, of the people. Anyone who tries to take away our rights because THEY feel they are arbiters of who becomes President, needs to have their proverbial heads on a platter. Put orange suits on all of them, and let them ponder about their stupidity and arrogance behind bars.

And that goes also for Missy Hillary, the ringleader.

1 week ago

Understatement of the year - hell, the millennia:

The Deep State has entered into mainstream American politics. We know it is there and that it is a potent threat to American self rule, far more dangerous than Russia or any of the external challenges.
The U.S. Deep State most likely did that in November, 1963, and has been ensconced in power ever since.
1 week ago

They dont even hide it anymore.Heck they are out front cheer leading this ruse...How do criminals like Brennan and Clapper and Haden get jobs at MSNBC and CNN?

They belong in prison.

1 week ago

The classic rumor I remember was the Russians employing a killer whale with a bear trap attached as an anti-personnel device esp. against SEAL types.

1 week ago

We need to address the Clientelist War Wing of the Dem Party that has formed an ugly alliance with our intelligence apparatus, before we can even start confronting Trump.Repeat after me, "The Russiagate Spin has actually worked in Trump's favor"..

Chomsky: "By Focusing On Russia, Democrats Handed Trump A "Huge Gift" And Possibly The 2020 Election"

Did Trump lie the world into wars?

That madman wanted to work with Russia and not start WW3.....

That madman wanted to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan and make peace with N korea

That madman hasnt started any new wars and wouldn't be in Venezuela if not for Russia gate.

Trump is lot of unsavory thing but the real madmen are the people who pushed this Russiagte ruse and another Cold War with Russia based on lies and there is this....

The Mueller Report Indicts the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory The real Russiagate scandal is the damage it has done to our democratic system and media. By Aaron Maté

https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-trump-mueller-report-no-collusion/

6 days ago

Feeling inadequate again?

Since, as Woody Allen once famously observed 90% of life is just showing up, I might recommend you'd have a better sense of accomplishment if you didn't waste all your time on an internet comment board. Then maybe you could earn some kind of descriptive label beyond TDS victim.

1 week ago

THIS:

This dead end conspiracy theory is the only weapon Trump will have in 2020 and he will use it mercilessly. Provided him by clowns like you.
Russiagters have handed Donald Trump a pretty package going into the 2020 election. Now he can accurately say the establishment media and Democrats traffic in conspiracies and delusional lies. That he is also a deluded lying freak won't destroy the value of the gift -- delivered with a big lovely bow called the Mueller Report.
1 week ago (Edited)

Even if every accusation, every hyped news story, every rumour of the Russian "interference" in the US election, an "interference" that we are bizarrely told did not influence the outcome of the election, were true, it would amount to an existential madness by a species whose "sell by" date has long passed on this planet.

Prove that Russian "interference," as opposed to Israeli or Saudi or every other interference, influenced the results of an election where lobbies and billionaires hold sway, where political party corruption determines the candidate, where the loser refuses to concede the results, where local corruption and disenfranchisement determine state results, where corporations are considered human beings and where Americans cannot vote directly for President in an undemocratic system and you will have grounds to fulfill the wish of blindered journalists like James Risen whose unwitting obsession is to extinguish human life on Earth, a consequence that, truth be told, is only conditionally negative.

1 week ago

More embarrassing, paranoid nonsense from Intercept's house Russiagater, James Risen. I usually skim the works of Risen, just to make sure he's still as lunatic as ever. This is the line that sums up the entire laughably dangerous farrago of Risen-think above:

"Manafort and Butina may have been on two sides of a complex new kind of spy game that few outsiders understand."

Boy, you got that right, James. C'mon, Mr. Insider, explain it to us Outsiders again.

1 week ago

The first casualty of Russia's sprawling spy game seems to have been the mental health of large swathes of America's 4th Estate.

Just because Sergei Millain is Johnny Foreigner (or Ivan Foreigner if you prefer), it doesn't follow he is in Putin's pocket.

Sergei Millain offered money to George Papadopolous for the sole reason of justifying the FBI's FISA warrant. Because Papadopolous refused Millain's offer they had to claim they believed he was an agent of Israel.

1 week ago

Stephen F. Cohen: Mueller Probe Hysteria Endangers National Security By Preventing Trump From Talking With Russia

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/12/04/stephen_f_cohen_russia_probe_hysteria_endagers_national_security.html

The real costs of Russiagate (by Stephen Cohen)

Its perpetrators, not Putin or Trump, "attacked American democracy."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mysticpost.com/2019/03/the-real-costs-of-russiagate-by-stephen-cohen/amp/

1 week ago

And the Rachel Maddow prize for investigative conspiracy theorising goes to...

1 week ago

The point of these articles is not to make Liberals hate Trump, it is to make liberals hate Russia. Why is that? Why did Obama and his admin, including Neocons Susan Powers, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland and Billary Clinton want to create a new cold war. Of all the nations to be worried about influencing our elections, Russia is way down on the list.

Just embarrassing. Come out and say it. You are a voice for the lobbies and special interests

1 week ago

When can we expect Mr. Risen's series of articles about Israel's documented and undocumented interference in our elections, ongoing spy campaign and/or (much) worse?

We await with bated breath.

1 week ago

LOL. James Risen article with "Russia" in headline. Stopped reading went straight to comments.

1 week ago

Same. Risen is a one-dimensional hack.

1 week ago

"Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

The above statement completely negates any impact from Risen's article, as the entire wretched thing is innuendo.

1 week ago

Maddow shows how Russiagate borders on clinically significance delusion:

Glenn Greenwald ‏ Verified account @ggreenwald

Maddow is claiming the Republic is existentially threatened because YouTube recommended a show hosted by Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer-winning ex-NYT reporter, talking to @aaronjmate, Izzy Award winner, all because it's hosted on RT. Both have more journalistic achievements then she. https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1122552675445420032

1 week ago (Edited)

Jesus Christ.....rather than let the Bush era neocon/rightwing nonsense peter out or self-destruct, the so-called liberal corporate MIC/Wall Street-captured MSM and establishment insiders have decided to fully discredit themselves too by doubling down on the Fox News model. I doubt they or their followers really grasp the magnitude of the implications. And they've been silent on the gubmint's big data approach to warehousing all of our communications in any format which they've been illegally intercepting for at least two decades. The Intercept is now silent on this, perhaps in part because of Omidyar's conflicting financial interests.

Sadly, or perhaps mercifully, we will be put out of our collective misery by the AI killer-bot army that will begin to exert its control within the next 10 years.

1 week ago

Watch Aaron Maté Destroy Russiagate Propagandist and "Collusion" Author Luke Harding

https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2018/10/06/watch-aaron-mate-destroy-russiagate-propagandist-and-collusion-author-luke-harding/

What Risen is really proposing is that Obama ignored all this even while spying on everyone

Thats called logic

1 week ago

Yes and No.

Risen, like a lot people I believe, is simply unable to accept the hard, cold reality that his neighbors, friends, countrymen ~ Americans ~ actually, truly voted for the creature from the black lagoon. It's too painful. The mind reels.

*therefore, in Risen's mind, Putin did it.

1 week ago

"The mind reels. *therefore, in Risen's mind, Putin did it."

This is true for a great many. I had my own rather severe emotional crisis in the weeks after the 2016 election -- and a close friend who is a therapist reported that this was virtually all that most of her clients wanted to discuss.

Fear and shock do odd things to the mind. None of us is immune, some just got particularly afflicted and along came Russiagate into which to direct their distorted and distressed minds.

1 week ago

If regurgitating the same theme over and over again is the game for Mr. Risen, well, we can all play at that game, can't we? Here, however, is a fact-based narrative that nobody on any side of Russiagate seems to want to discuss, not the RT-sector, not the billionaire-foundation neoliberal sector (Intercept fits in here), the corporate shareholder-military-industrial sectors (MSNBC, Fox, etc.). It's really very strange.

One of the more fundamental flaws in the Russiagate story that's important to understand is that Trump really hasnʼt changed direction on the core US policy towards Russia - the evidence for that is Trumpʼs assault on the Nordstream 2 pipeline deal that would bring Russian gas to Germany via an undersea pipeline across the Baltic, bypassing Ukraine (which is basically now a US client state, since the 2014 coup). That's been US policy on Russia since about 2003, unchanged under Bush, Obama, and Trump - it's about who gets to sell gas to Europe and oil to the world, basically, and where the money from those sales is parked.

As far as the backstory on this situation, if you want to understand the rise of Putin, the best popular history to read is Ben Mezrich:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23846393-once-upon-a-time-in-russia

What the likes of Risen will not go into is how the US and Wall Street had a positive view of Putin up till about 2003. Steve Collʼs Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power outlines the break point in US-Russian relations, when ExxonMobil tried to acquire a majority interest in Russian oil in 2003, and Putin rejected the offer and arrested Mikhail Khodorkovsky on tax evasion charges; thatʼs officially when Russia became the bad guy, as he was clearly not going to become a Saudi-like partner in the global petrodollar recycling scheme.
This opened the door to the pipeline wars over who was going to deliver oil and gas to European markets; this was a central story in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and continues to this day with the US trying to sell LNG shipments to Europe while Russia tries to build Nordstream 2 to Germany, bringing us up to today. Clearly, US fossil fuel corporations want to ship LNG to Europe, and Nordstream 2 is competition, and Trump, like Obama is a tool of US corporate interests who really want that market:

https://www.lngworldnews.com/u-s-to-boost-lng-exports-to-europe-with-sanctions-on-russia/

However, there is a confounding factor - and also, one of the main reasons to distrust the corporate media narrative on this story - i.e. the refusal to bring ExxonMobil into the picture. ExxonMobil has lost several billion dollars over the Russia sanctions (over oil deals more than gas), and as a private company, really wants a piece of the Russian oil production: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/energy-environment/exxon-mobil-russia-sanctions-waiveroil.html

The PR monkeys in the corporate media (including Risen & Co.) and the "humanitarians" in the State Department wonʼt touch this story, because it reveals too much about whatʼs really going on - i.e. that this kind of oil/gas policy by Trump is largely what Clinton would have done (i.e. opposed Nordstream), and that the whole Russiagate story is merely political theater run on behalf of war profiteers and the diehard Hilllary Clinton camp in the Democratic Party. Everything else - Manfort in the Ukraine, Trump Tower in Moscow, etc. - is just business as usual in the American Empire, as seen in the Clinton Foundation, Viktor Pinchuk, Uranium One, Frank Giustra, come on...

Leaving nothing but this hysterical spy game nonsense ... utter garbage, just like the KGB-CIA private meeting rules story that Risen hyped recently - pure neocon propaganda

https://theintercept.com/2018/07/16/trump-putin-summit-helsinki/

Reality check...
https://www.nytimes.com/1985/11/21/world/reagan-continues-private-meetinfs-with-gorbachev.html

"President Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev held three more private meetings today and agreed to conclude their conference here with a joint appearance on Thursday morning, Larry Speakes, the White House spokesman, announced tonight. . . Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev began their second day of talks with a private meeting that had been scheduled to last 15 minutes but ran for nearly 70 minutes, with only interpreters present. They met in a small room in the Soviet Mission, with the Soviet leader seated in a small armchair and Mr. Reagan on a sofa. In the afternoon, they meet alone for a little over 20 minutes and then again for 90 minutes. All told, the two leaders have spent 4 hours and 51 minutes alone, except for interpreters, over the two days here."
These kind of private meetings at diplomatic events are entirely not unusual. In fact anything that gets world leaders to talk to one another is a good idea, that can lead to, for example, talks on nuclear weapons reductions.

Risen, turned into a PR monkey for the National Security State... that's just sad. Why don't you parachute him into Yemen so he can see up close the results of what he's cheerleading for?

1 week ago

Not a single American voter was influenced by Russian bots. No American voter was strong-armed in the voting booth when they voted for Trump. Hillary lost after she ignored great swathes of ordinary working class folks and called them 'irredeemable deplorables'.... because they voted for Trump.

She didn't even have the insight to understand that they voted for him over her because she had a smug, condescending 'tude and it rankled.

The Democrats will have to unseat Trump under a strong economy. The average American working class stiff is not spending sleepless nights worried about climate change. They are worried about how they will pay their bills.

All the other issues are secondary to this. Democrats will have to get up at home base and bat it out of the ballpark. Or they will lose again. Mocking religious people, particularly Christians, is not a good idea, unless you think denigrating voters are going to make them want to vote for you. The contempt for these white, Christian, Catholic, Jewish voters is wide and long within the Democrat party.

Not wise.

1 week ago
The Democrats will have to unseat Trump under a strong economy. The average American working class stiff is not spending sleepless nights worried about climate change. They are worried about how they will pay their bills.
Partly true, but the economy is not actually very strong. The corporate media won't tell you this - and that is proof that they're not "liberal" in any meaningful fashion, but the indicators are being skewed and lied about.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-27/jpmorgan-we-are-approaching-point-again-where-us-banks-run-out-liquidity

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-28/fake-growth-exploring-big-mystery-fridays-gdp-report

But keep believing your "black unemployment" at a record low propaganda as such. At least you might be retired and the inevitable crash that is coming after Trump's re-election won't hurt you much. In any case, if it does you can bet that Trump will attack Iran, as he is a complete stooge to Israel and Saudi Arabia at this point - just like his swamp neocon cabinet.

1 week ago

I think Trump is pragmatic...financially. He ran on "no more wars' that leave our economy in shreds and killing millions of innocents and thousands of our soldiers. He was explicit about this, so if he turn now to attacking Iran, he will have lost his head completely.

Everyone knows a war in the ME will ignite another Holocaust, Armageddon if you will. It will be certainly, WWIII.

No, I have no idea, nor anyone else, if the economy improve or plummets, but I still believe it is the bread and butter issues that cause the American voter to push that lever. And they one they trust most; that they feel understand them best.

1 week ago

Borrowing one from Tom Drake though he agrees with your conclusions more than I do, Jim.

I'm old enough to remember when Jim Risen wrote about the sprawling American spy game.

1 week ago

Fer chrissake, Jim, give it up! You are becoming like the Japanese soldier who didn't know World War 2 ended 20 years earlier and his side LOST!

1 week ago
Butina was "not a spy in the traditional sense," the Justice Department now says.
This is true .. . traditional spies rarely "infiltrate the NRA (National Rifle Association)" and various associated "right wing groups".

*what could the NRA possibly have of value?

1 week ago

She wanted to sell guns and make money.....You do know the USA is the biggest arms dealer on the planet right ?......bar none?

1 week ago

Maybe I misunderstood? Did I miss the irony? I thought he was saying that Butina was a Russian spy? And her association with the NRA was a link to that? Putin is vociferously against gun rights and she was under constant surveillance from Putin.

1 week ago

Heres another unanswered question....

Why did the FBI allow a private company with proved Bias against Russia and worked for the DNC to investigate the servers?......Wasnt this a crime scene and then hacking was blamed on Russia based on this bogus and biased investigation?

"Both the DNC and the security firm Crowdstrike, hired to respond to the breach, have said repeatedly over the years that they gave the FBI a "COPY"of all the DNC images back in 2016." "The FBI was given" IMAGES" of servers, forensic "COPIES", as well as a host of other forensic information we collected from our systems," said Adrienne Watson, the DNC's deputy communications director.

"We were in close contact and worked cooperatively with the FBI and were always responsive to their requests. Any suggestion that they were denied access to what they wanted for their investigation is completely incorrect." The FBI declined comment for this story, but in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last year, then-director James Comey said that Crowdstrike "ultimately shared with us their forensics.

"At that same hearing, Comey complained that the DNC didn't give the FBI direct access to the DNC's servers" Comey: DNC denied FBI's requests for access to hacked servers

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/313555-comey-fbi-did-request-access-to-hacked-dnc-servers

FBI: DNC rebuffed request to examine computer servers

https://www.cnn.com/2017/01/05/politics/fbi-russia-hacking-dnc-crowdstrike/index.html

Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/23/cybersecurity-firm-that-attributed-dnc-hacks-to-russia-may-have-fabricated-russia-hacking-in-ukraine/

The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate

By Joe Lauria The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election -- without providing convincing evidence -- were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: the Steele dossier and the CrowdStrike analysis of the DNC servers.

Think about that for a minute.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/29/the-democratic-money-behind-russia-gate/

1 week ago

Risen is the modern version of a haruspex . A new word I just picked up.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haruspex

1 week ago

They always forget the disclaimer: "No animals were harmed in the writing of this story, only humans."

1 week ago

You know what they are still pushing this right?.......to get Assange and criminalize real journalism.

They have already tried to tie Assange to Stone....who is a liar and fraud

And they need this ruse to tie Assange to Russia and Trumps election....its about criminalizing journalism and overturning a USA election.

1 week ago (Edited)
"Manafort and Butina may have been on two sides of a complex new kind of spy game that few outsiders understand." - Risen
If that's so, why aren't you busting the chops of Mueller and our "intelligence" agencies for not doing their job? Hell, the Mueller report cost more than the Russians allegedly spent to influene both our election and Trump.

Also, specifically regarding Butina, who was actually quite overt in her activities during the years preceding this imbroglio, the only "conspiracy" seems to be the "conspiracy" to act as an agent for a foreign government (which is not being a "spy") and which has never garnered this type of charge or sentencing based on the evidence that existed or what was actually presented at trial.

It's this ongoing Russiagate hysteria that The Intercept, via Risen, Reed, Schwarz, et al keep promoting for all the wrong reasons that gives us a world where journalists and publishers like Assange are facing jail time in a foreign country; where Chelsea Manning is in jail right now for refusing to cooperate with charades like this; and where harmless foreigners like Butina are tortured in solitary confinement, then sentenced to prison by misusing the law in order to punish them.

How in the world can the article here even approach the Intercepts own standards of: "holding the powerful accountable...[with] in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis..." when it starts with an unverified premise that hasn't been corroborated independently and ends with the exact same theme?

"[Russiagate is] a complex new kind of spy game that few outsiders understand." - Risen & The Intercept editors

Again - this type of "journalism" is what prevents me and many others from donating to The Intercept. We simply won't pay for elaborate and unqualified hearsay.
1 week ago

Real journalism... The Spy who Wasnt

The U.S. government went looking for someone to blame for Russia's interference in the 2016 election -- and found Maria Butina, the perfect scapegoat. By James Bamford

https://newrepublic.com/article/153036/maria-butina-profile-wasnt-russian-spy

1 week ago

While we're doing speculative writing, I wonder if Risen is the anonymous coward from TI who said Glenn was an impediment to TI's credibility?

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/24/the-intercept-greenwald-grim-profile-media-politics-left-liberal-226710

But internally, some employees say Greenwald's presence undermines the site's work. "People assume Glenn's tweets reflect some sort of internal consensus, but the truth is I don't think there's a single other person here who agreed with him on Trump/Russia," says one Intercept staffer. "I'd hope people don't view us as less legitimate just because of one guy."
No they view TI as less legit because of James Risen, Mehdi Hasan, Juan Thompson, Betsy Reed, and Beto Mackey.

Exactly...

1 week ago

The last sentence mentioning Manafort and Butina is unsettling.
Already Manafort, an acknowledged operative for hire, got the shaft.
Risen bringing in Butina, who already spent a good time in solitary confinement smells really bad.
She got no justice.
She is the new symbol of mind-boggling Russophobia.

1 week ago

"Risen bringing in Butina, who already spent a good time in solitary confinement smells really bad. She got no justice."

It really is a travesty of justice. James Bamford published this in The New Republic: "The Russian Spy Who Wasn't: The U.S. government went looking for someone to blame for Russia's interference in the 2016 election -- and found Maria Butina, the perfect scapegoat." https://newrepublic.com/article/153036/maria-butina-profile-wasnt-russian-spy

Prosecutors were hoping to get her to plead guilty rather than go to trial, and had even agreed to drop the major charge against her: acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia. Born and raised in Siberia, she is terrified of solitary confinement. Fifteen days later, still in solitary, she signed the agreement, pleading guilty to the lesser charge, one count of conspiracy.
 During our interviews before her arrest, Butina told me that she was "a huge fan" of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. "I love the story," she said. "For some reason it fascinates me. It seems to be simple, but it's so complicated a story." Stepping off the plane to begin grad school at the start of the Trump-Russia maelstrom, she, like Alice, began her tumble down the rabbit hole.
1 week ago

It is mind boggling. I would expect a man of Risen' s experience to have the nous to start rowing back now. Instead he's doubling down, getting wilder, allowing the very last vestiges of his credibility to circle the drain. Very sad to witness.

1 week ago

Maybe he is crying for help....his hysteria and hyperbole are almost comical.

the deep state seems to have gotten him and good

1 week ago

It's reminiscent of what Risen did to Mr Wen Ho Lee who also served time in solitary and did so because Risen had singled him out to be the spy of the century.

Ultimately Risen's former employer, The New York Times, apologized for their coverage of Lee but that may have had something to do with Lee's lawsuit against the Times and other major outlets in which he ultimately won.

But having a 1.3 million in legal fees, loss of his job, 9 months in solitary, reputation obliterated does make the 1.6 million award seem merely symbolic. Risen's career continued and now he's doing the same thing to others here. In this country, scoundrels are rewarded while their victims suffer more under the system.

Butina's treatment under our "justice" system is even worse than Lee's and being a non citizen, she may have fewer recourse available to her to address this injustice.

1 week ago

Democrats didnt protest when Obama tortured Manning to try to get her to lie about Assange....this is the new normal

Washington Has Destroyed Western Liberty: The Era of Tyranny Has Begun

"The entire Western world is adopting Washington's approach to Assange and criminalizing the practice of journalism, thus protecting governments' criminality. If you reveal a government crime, as Wikileaks did, you will be prosecuted by the criminal government for doing so. It is like permitting a criminal to prosecute the police and prosecutor who want him arrested."

The "war on terror" was a disguise for an attack on the US Constitution, an attack that has succeeded. The worst act of treason in history is the US government's destruction of the US Constitution. The era of tyranny has begun. Elections cannot stop it. "

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/04/26/washington-has-destroyed-western-liberty-the-era-of-tyranny-has-begun/

1 week ago

Risen is desperately trying to revive his career by reanimating this Russia zombie.

His sprawling narrative has gone from "Trump committed treason" to "Trump conspired" to "Trump and co made illicit contacts". At each step, what has motivated the change in narrative is cold hard reality.

He's a grifter. We can all see this.

1 week ago

Risen is right that there are plenty of unanswered questions. Just not the ones he is asking

Special Counsel Mueller: Disingenuous and Dishonest Larry C. Johnson "The impetus, the encouragement for the Moscow project came from one man -- Felix Sater. This produced nothing. No deal, no trip. But Sater persisted, targeting Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer and an executive in the Trump Organization To reiterate -- if the Steele Dossier were based on truthful intelligence then the Trump Organization only had to sit back, stretch out its hands and seize the moment. Instead, little Felix Sater keeps coming back to the well. "Why was Felix Sater the one repeatedly identified pushing to arrange deals with the Russians and yet did not face any subsequent charges by the Mueller team? Sater had been working as part of the Trump team since 2003. Why is it that the proposed deals and travel to Moscow came predominantly from Felix Sater? As I noted in my previous piece -- The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Trump -- Sater was an active FBI undercover informant. He had been working with the FBI since 1998. When he agreed to start working as an undercover informant aka cooperator in December 1998 guess who signed off on the deal? Andrew Weissman, a member of Mueller's special counsel team.You can see the deal here. It was signed Dec. 10, 1998." "An honest prosecutor would have and should have disclosed this fact. He, Sater, was the one encouraging the Trump team to cozy up to Russia. Mueller does not disclose one single instance of Trump or Cohen or any of the Trump kids calling Sater on the carpet and chewing his ass for not bringing them deals and not opening doors in Russia. Omitting this key fact goes beyond simple disingenuity. It is a conscious lie. The circumstantial evidence indicates that Sater was doing this at the behest of FBI handlers. We do not yet know who they are."

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/24/special-counsel-mueller-disingenuous-and-dishonest/

Larry C. Johnson is a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department.

1 week ago

Stefan Halper was also an FBI 'player' who was feeding information to Papadopoulos, and Joseph Midsuf, Alexander Downer and Christopher Steele were also working for the Brits and American intelligence groups (although the FBI cut off paying Steele for lying to them). Natalya Veselnitskaya was the Russian lawyer who met with the Trump people. She had meetings with Fusion GPS both before and after her meetings with Trump's campaign, and since Fusion GPS was also working with the Ohrs and FBI/Justice department with the Kremlin dossier, it seems Russiagate was an elaborate entrapment scheme by the DNC/ Obama administration that failed. Once Hillary stated that Trump was a Putin puppet, that made it official and the wheels started turning.

Moreover as Risen notes Manafort and Kelly went to jail for lying under oath. Mueller lied under oath about WMD in Iraq, and Clapper and Brennan also lied under oath about illegally surveilling Americans. Hopefully they'll also be in jail soon.

1 week ago

Dont hold your breath.....Criminals are now in complete control.No matter how much "evidence" is provided there is no consequence for them.
ask Bush and Cheney who lied the world into war.....and worse.....

Clapper and Brennan and Haden and Haskel were all promoted FOR LYING....{As was Mueller.}.. and even given jobs on MSNBC and CNN........!!

Apparently the more heinous the crime the higher you get in the USA government.Isnt that the only lesson here?And democrats are the cheerleader for the Bush criminals?

I afraid the only people who will see the inside of a jail cell are the ones who go against them....and they are being purged from the internet left and right!!

1 week ago

The real sprawling Russian spy games were on the democrats side.

The bogus Steele Dossier was compiled from top Russian government officials and used to illegally spy on the Trump campaign.

Halper a FBI Informant in the U.K. pushed Trump advisors to seek out dirt on Hillary as did FBI Informant Felix Sater

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump jr worked for Fusion GPS and had nothing.

The FBI never saw the servers but used the company that worked for the DNC and has proved anti Russia bias to do the "investigation "

Wasnt this a crime scene?

Now all the "evidence " of Russian "hacking " is tainted and can't be used in any trials or court.

Both Assange and Ambassador Craig Murray say that it was a leak and not a hack and neither of them have ever been interviewed by the FBI even though they both offered to.

Worse than Watergate and it went to the very Top!

FBI texts: Obama 'wants to know everything we're doing'

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna845531

Thats the only spy games and Russian collusion that can be proved.

1 week ago

So, Mike5000, why do you think millions of Democratic-leaning and Democratic voters didn't turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton? Was it all the "Buff Bernie" coloring books St. Petersberg trolls were pitching on FB?

1 week ago

Mueller is a bush criminal who hates Trump

FBI texts: Obama 'wants to know everything we're doing'

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna845531

1 week ago

A rather significant "unanswered question" that predates Trump slightly is why Obama didn't initiate both investigation and counter measures to attempts he claimed had been going on for years .... (because the internet is porous and hackers will hack, regardless of "motive" (like the bear and the mountain**) or even reward.

** The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

1 week ago

Risen omitting the fact that Manafort was working with the Podesta Group seems quite the oversight.

Obama and Biden were well aware of Manaforts efforts in the Ukraine. Manafort was working against Russian interests. Remember that the USA backed a coup in the Ukraine with Nazis with PNAC Victoria " F the EU" Nuland support. Manafort's pro-Ukraine lobbying campaign reached Obama, Biden

"Alan Friedman, a former journalist based in Europe who helped Manafort launch the group, told Manafort after the meeting that the member of the Hapsburg Group "delivered the message of not letting 'Russians steal Ukraine from the West,'" prosecutors say."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/09/14/manafort-ukraine-obama-biden-824747

What the USA did in the Ukraine was the real crime.

1 week ago

yes, Trump in a crook, a conman, a liar and a racist and is oddly "collateral damage", a bit part, in this passion play that began when Putin took office and eventually took the reins to the Russian economy back from the wanna-be American rulers of the universe. I saw/heard a day or so ago a brilliant Max Blumental 3 minute oral summary of this ongoing vendetta against Putin for thwarting American interests in gutting Russia.

There probably is a real scandal here ... just not the one the media is interested in ...

1 week ago

Exactly!!

Putin dares to fight back against the looting and starvation of the Russian people.

Start here

The usual suspects

Can We Blame Larry Summers for the Collapse of Russia?

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/can-we-blame-larry-summers-for-the-collapse-of-russia

The Harvard Boys Do Russia After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S.

https://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia/

The Real Larry Summers Scandal?

http://www.unz.com/isteve/real-larry-summers-scandal/

1 week ago

Man, this Risen guy sure has a serious case of TDS.

GIVE IT UP, RISEN; THERE'S NO GOOD REASON TO TREAT RUSSIA AS AN ENEMY, and LOTS of good reasons NOT to!

It's called THERMONUCLEAR WAR, silly.

Don't beat the drum of war with them, you just might get it!

1 week ago

Trump couldn't even get the tower project through and never talked to anyone above a secretary and asked Stone to connect with Wikileaks

If he was at all colluding with Putin he wouldn't have needed Wikileaks

All Logic has disappeared from these people.

1 week ago

Russian ruling class oligarchs colluding with American ruling class oligarchs? Oh so unbelievable! Ties and lies --- shocking, just shocking. I'm sure we will have the oligarchy-owned mainstream media to black this rumor out and telling us it just ain't so.

1 week ago

Much of this is being pushed by the olygarchs Putin kicked out!

They went to the UK and USA and are working to depose Putin.

1 week ago

The problem with your thinking is that the American oligarchs hate Trump, and loved Hillary, while the Russian oligarchs hate the American oligarchs because the American oligarchs want to crush them.
And the best way for AMERICAN oligarchs to keep the American public from voting in an antiTrump (not a pseudoliberal of the Clinton and Obama type, but an ACTUAL liberal of the MLK type, whose antioligarch stances have been almost edited away) is to divert attention away from the flaws in the American system he lays bare (the cheating, thieving, and racism endemic amongst the oligarchs) is to create a 'hidden enemy of the people' (The same tactic that a certain short Austrian used in Germany)

1 week ago

Like the one Israeli govt has been doing, especially as uncovered in the Al Jazeera documentary?

1 week ago

Rachel Maddow finds that a Youtube video boosted by that site constitutes "death by algorithm." She linked https://twitter.com/maddow/status/1122222811249086465 to this Wapo piece:

AlgoTransparency, founded by former YouTube engineer Guillaume Chaslot, analyzed the recommendations made by the 1,000 YouTube channels it tracks daily. The group found that 236 of those collectively recommended RT's "On Contact: Russiagate & Mueller Report w/ Aaron Mate" more than 400,000 times. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/26/youtube-recommended-russian-media-site-above-all-others-analysis-mueller-report-watchdog-group-says/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b5973636077d

Maddow is shameless.
1 week ago

But she isn't cheap.

1 week ago
In the end, Mueller's investigators could not find evidence that Manafort coordinated his actions with the sophisticated Russian cybercampaign to help Trump win. But the report makes clear that there were many instances in which Mueller wasn't able to get to the bottom of things and often couldn't determine the whole story behind the Trump-Russia contacts.
For whatever reason, the pro-Trump narrative leaves out the fact that Mueller was repeatedly stonewalled or lied to by members of the Trump team.

I think they leave out this crucial bit of information because they think it's fine for their side to lie, dissemble and stonewall investigations, but not for the other side. It's hypocritical and a double standard, but it's worse than that because it makes clear that lying, stonewalling and all the rest is OK and getting away with it is admirable -- depending of course on who gets away with it. If it's Trump, whoo-hoo! If it's Hillary or Obama, booooooooo! These are examples of pure partisanship but the process extends well beyond political calculations.

Risen, of all people, should be all too familiar with the process, as he was very deeply involved as a reporter and conduit of misinformation and scapegoating in the Wen Ho Lee debacle. A reporter is in a tough position when s/he is lied to and stonewalled, but as I often say, "skepticism is a virtue," regardless of who is doing the lying and stonewalling.

Instead of normalizing this behavior, we should be refusing to accept the lack of accountability by our leaders, whoever they are, and we should reject a double standard that encourages impunity and immunity depending on one's status.

1 week ago

"Manafort coordinated his actions with the sophisticated Russian cybercampaign to help Trump win."

Uh, well: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/28/mueller-report-trump-russia-questions/?commentId=0f4d7165-0b6e-45c8-af83-5a65688b1681

1 week ago

Yes, we know your pro-Trump narrative is one of denial about what was going on during the 2016 campaign and what is documented in the Mueller Report -- which itself is incomplete.

1 week ago

" https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/26/youtube-recommended-russian-media-site-above-all-others-analysis-mueller-report-watchdog-group-says/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b5973636077d "

Yes, it's objectively "pro-Trump" to have panic attacks about Facebook ads advising that Jesus will help masturbating young lads "beat it together." pfffft

1 week ago

Deny, deflect, dissemble. Kellyann gets away with it, why shouldn't you?

1 week ago

Oh, I'm sure Kellyanne is deeply concerned about the dread scourge of masturbating American youth. Just so long as she doesn't also support the dire Russian threats Risen alludes to, the ones that seek to exploit those poor suffering, self-abusing children of god. Lured to the Kremlin's lair by Yosemite Sam!

1 week ago

If you ever bother to read the report -- or even if you have more than superficial memories of what was going on during the 2016 election campaign -- you'll find out that your continued denials are simply stupid. You really should be skeptical of the White House's spin, Greenwald's triumphalism, Maté's authority, and yes, Mueller's incomplete report.

Laugh while you can. Blowback is a bitch.

1 week ago

A wee-tad over the top, Felix
phase two of the Kubler Ross "Five Stages of Grief".
Sadly, there is no one in the Cult of Mueller who can help you.
You need to understand that many good progressives contend that Russiagate actually served Trump; so, please chill it.

1 week ago

Whut? You're really out of your depth.

Reread:

You really should be skeptical of the White House's spin, Greenwald's triumphalism, Maté's authority, and yes, Mueller's incomplete report.
Then tell me again about the Cult of Mueller.

Mona, Glenn, Barr, Trump and many others like to mischaracterize what's in the Mueller Report in order to keep their "exoneration" narrative going. They would be delighted if Trump were kept in the White House after the 2020 election. If they can celebrate his invincibility, so much the better.

Whether or not the myriad investigations into Trump's corruption and criminality are helping him is beside the point.

If he didn't have the kind of help he needs from the right people who matter, whether media, politicians, billionaires or the smartest people in the room, he wouldn't be in office. So long as those people are happy enough with Trump, he stays, no matter what the Dems do or don't do.

"Progressives" have no say in the matter.

Well, maybe except for that "progressive" named "Pierre."

Have a nice day.

1 week ago

Now see, Felix, this is no the product of a temperate mind with a capacity for sound reasoning:

Mona, Glenn, Barr, Trump and many others like to mischaracterize what's in the Mueller Report in order to keep their "exoneration" narrative going. They would be delighted if Trump were kept in the White House after the 2020 election.

I've read the Mueller Report -- parts of it multiple times. Nothing therein salvages the Russian trolls as anything but the silly, financially motivated goofballs my quotes of their adolescent output show them to be. That you take their childish junk with the utmost seriousness suggests disturbing things about your emotional health.
1 week ago

Guess what? I don't believe you have read the report. I think you're lying again. If you think the only thing Mueller describes Russian interests doing is buying a few ads on Facebook (just as Jared was saying the other day) you couldn't have read it, nor could you have any memory at all what was taking place during the 2016 campaign.

Losing one's mind to perpetuate a false narrative is a terrible thing. Watching your deterioration as Mueller's report makes mincemeat of your pathetic revisionism and Glenn's triumphalism is sad.

1 week ago

This is...like arguing evolution with a creationist fundamentalist:

"Watching your deterioration as Mueller's report makes mincemeat of your pathetic revisionism and Glenn's triumphalism is sad."

Inverted reality. What mental processes allow your brain to ignore this: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/28/mueller-report-trump-russia-questions/?commentId=21ab14b9-5404-4e8a-8bbc-1cf326c9ad5f

1 week ago

"Mueller describes Russian interests doing is buying a few ads on Facebook"

Like what, and please be specific about the three most serious.

1 week ago

What happened during the campaign was Hillary Clinton picked Trump and cheated Sanders and conspired with the FBI and DOJ to blackmail and illegally spy on the Trump campaign and put moles in his campaign and with the help of Fusion GPS and FBI informants Halper I'm the UK and Felix Sater pushed meetings with Russians.

Not a mention of Fusion GPS and the bogus Steele Dossier that the FBI used to lie to the FISA court and illegally spy on Trump campaign.

Thats quite the omission.

We need to get Steele and Halper and Fusion GPS CEO under oath to testify.

1 week ago

None of the " lies" had anything to do with Russia collusion.Most of the "Lies" didn't even have an underlying crime.

Gen Flynn didn't lie but they did bankrupt him and blackmail him and destroy his life.And got him to plea guilty to make it stop.

Comey Told Congress FBI Agents Didn't Think Flynn Lied

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2018/02/13/comey_told_congress_fbi_agents_didn039t_think_flynn_lied_434274.html

1 week ago (Edited)
In the end, Mueller's investigators could not find evidence that Manafort coordinated his actions with the sophisticated Russian cybercampaign to help Trump win.
Narrator: "Risen never mentioned in his piece that Manafort was found in the investigation to have been working with the Ukrainian government, trying to get them to move away from Russia, and embrace the West in economic policies. That the reality of what Manafort was doing undercut the core Russiagate allegation that Manafort was working as a go-between for Russia and Trump didn't seem to perturb Risen one bit."
The report doesn't offer any other explanation for the release of the Podesta emails on what turned out to be one of the most important days of the 2016 campaign.
Narrator: "Risen seems to argue that, in the absence of any evidence that his conspiracy theory is true, the absence of any counter-explanation is nonetheless evidence in favor of his conspiracy theory."
1 week ago
"In the end, Mueller's investigators could not find evidence [of] the sophisticated Russian cybercampaign to help Trump win."
It's garbage journalism that allows this uncorroborated assertion to take what has always been the first step in the downward spiral of hysteria that is Russiagate.

Everything that follows this argument is based on this claim being true. Without this claim there would be no Russiagate.

Again, it's journalistic malpractice to allow this claim to remain unchallenged - yet Jim Risen, Jon Schwarz, and the Intercept editorial staff just continue the ruse.

I'm not saying it didn't happen; I'm saying there's not enough independent corroboration to allow for the amount of coverage here (of all places) and elsewhere based on the single-source- consensus (our intelligence agencies) that this continues to receive.

Is The Intercept is buying into the gateway drug of "Russia Attacks!" because they either want to be "fair and balanced" or they want the traffic generated by the articles to attract readership?

Creating content that, whatever the subject, 1) assumes an allegation to be true, 2) posits further possible outcomes based on that assumption is not journalism, it's reading tea leaves.

1 week ago

" is not journalism, it's reading tea leaves."

Indeed. Here I post a link to, and quote from, Aaron Maté's definitive analysis of the Mueller Report and the collapse of Russiagate https://theintercept.com/2019/04/28/mueller-report-trump-russia-questions/?commentId=21ab14b9-5404-4e8a-8bbc-1cf326c9ad5f

Aaron reports he's been blackballed from this site since his one piece (on Rachel Maddow and Russigate) in 2017. (Scahill had Aaron on a podcast, but the site refused to publish anything Aaron submitted.) Instead we get the dreck above, notwithstanding that Aaron won an Izzy Award for his Russigate reporting.

1 week ago

Greenwald extensively addresses the dynamics with his Intercept colleagues -- and with the world of journalism more broadly -- in this podcast with Michael Tracey from a few days ago: "Glenn Greenwald on Mueller Report fallout and media corruption - Glennzilla shares his insights on the horrendous conduct of the American media in relation to the spellbindingly deluded fallout from the Mueller Report." https://www.patreon.com/posts/26365124

1 week ago

The detritus above is cured by Aaron Maté here: "The Mueller Report Indicts the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory - The real Russiagate scandal is the damage it has done to our democratic system and media." https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-trump-mueller-report-no-collusion/

Maté definitively addresses these points:

1. RUSSIAGATE WITHOUT RUSSIA
2. RUSSIAGATE'S PREDICATE LED NOWHERE
3. SERGEY KISLYAK HAD "BRIEF AND NON-SUBSTANTIVE" INTERACTIONS WITH THE TRUMP CAMP
4. TRUMP TOWER MOSCOW HAD NO HELP FROM MOSCOW
5. AND TRUMP DIDN'T ASK COHEN TO LIE ABOUT IT
6. THE TRUMP TOWER MEETING REALLY WAS JUST A "WASTE OF TIME"
7. MANAFORT DID NOT SHARE POLLING DATA TO MEDDLE IN THE US ELECTION
8. THE STEELE DOSSIER WAS FICTION
9. THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN HAD NO SECRET CHANNEL TO WIKILEAKS
10. THERE WAS NO COVER-UP

About Point 1, Aaron writes:
The report contains no evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign spoke to a Kremlin representative during the election, aside from conversations with the Russian ambassador and a press-office assistant, both of whom were ruled out as having participated in a conspiracy (more on them later).

It should be no surprise, then, to learn from Mueller that, when "Russian government officials and prominent Russian businessmen began trying to make inroads into the new administration" after Trump's election victory, they did not know whom to call. These powerful Russians, Mueller noted, "appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect." If top Russians did not have "preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with" the people that they supposedly conspired with, perhaps that is because they did not actually conspire.

[May 03, 2019] These reporters and networks have been named in the WikiLeaks to have colluded with the DNC or Hillary campaign during the 2016 election cycle

May 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

GUS100CORRINA , 23 minutes ago link

There Was Spying: NYT Admits Obama Admin Used 'Honeypot' To Spy Against Trump Campaign In 2016

My response: Why would the MSM want to get out in front of what is coming by issuing this news story? May be they are implicated as well! Below is the list of MSM career criminals who are facing the real possibility of jail time.

=== List of MSM Career Criminals Guilty of TREASON, SEDITION and/or SUBVERSIVE activities!! ===

These reporters and networks have been named in the WikiLeaks to have colluded with the DNC or Hillary campaign during the 2016 election cycle:

ABC – Cecilia Vega
ABC - David Muir
ABC – Diane Sawyer
ABC – George Stephanoplous
ABC – Jon Karl
ABC – Liz Kreutz
AP – Julie Pace
AP – Ken Thomas
AP – Lisa Lerer
AURN – April Ryan
Bloomberg – Jennifer Epstein
Bloomberg – John Heillman
Bloomberg/MSNBC – Jonathan Alter
Bloomberg – Mark Halperin
Buzzfeed – Ben Smith
Buzzfeed – Ruby Cramer
CBS – Gayle King
CBS – John Dickerson
CBS – Norah O'Donnell
CBS – Steve Chagaris
CBS – Vicki Gordon
CNBC – John Harwood
CNN – Brianna Keilar
CNN – Dan Merica
CNN – David Chailan
CNN – Erin Burnett
CNN – Gloria Borger
CNN – Jake Tapper
CNN – Jeff Zeleny
CNN - Jeff Zucker
CNN – John Berman
CNN – Kate Bouldan
CNN – Maria Cardona
CNN – Mark Preston
CNN – Sam Feist
Daily Beast – Jackie Kucinich
GPG – Mike Feldman
HuffPo – Amanda Terkel
HuffPo – Arianna Huffington
HuffPo – Sam Stein
HuffPo – Whitney Snyder
LAT – Evan Handler
LAT – Mike Memoli
McClatchy – Anita Kumar
MORE – Betsy Fisher Martin
MSNBC – Alex Seitz-Wald
MSNBC – Alex Wagner
MSNBC – Andrea Mitchell
MSNBC - Beth Fouhy
MSNBC – Ed Schultz
MSNBC – Joe Scarborough
MSNBC – Mika Brzezinski
MSNBC – Phil Griffin
MSNBC – Rachel Maddow
MSNBC – Rachel Racusen
MSNBC – Thomas Roberts
National Journal – Emily Schultheis
NBC – Chuck Todd
NBC – Mark Murray
NBC – Savannah Gutherie
New Yorker – David Remnick
New Yorker – Ryan Liza
NPR – Mike Oreskes
NPR – Tamara Keith
NY Post – Geofe Earl
NYT – Amy Chozik
NYT – Carolyn Ryan
NYT – Gail Collins
NYT – John Harwoodje
NYT – Jonathan Martin
NYT – Maggie Haberman
NYT – Pat Healey
PBS – Charlie Rose
People – Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Politico – Annie Karni
Politico – Gabe Debenedetti
Politico – Glenn Thrush
Politico – Kenneth Vogel
Politico – Mike Allen
Reuters – Amanda Becker
Tina Brown – Tina Brown
The Hill – Amie Parnes
Univision – Maria-Elena Salinas
Vice – Alyssa Mastramonoco
Vox – Jon Allen
WaPo – Anne Gearan
WaPo – Greg Sargent
WSJ – Laura Meckler
WSJ – Peter Nicholas
WSJ – Colleen McCain Nelson
Yahoo – Matt Bai

[May 01, 2019] It is not amazing. That's about intelligence agencies control, nothing else.

Notable quotes:
"... Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela ..."
"... It's so frustrating to see the current lunacy in the mainstream media, and the idiotocracy at work in Washington DC, regardless of political party or who's fat ass sits in the oval office. Tulsi Gabbard is about the only sane person in DC right now on foreign affairs - forget Sanders, Warren and 'regular guy' Joe Biden ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
michaelj72 , Apr 30, 2019 5:51:12 PM | link

michaelj72 , Apr 30, 2019 5:41:44 PM | link

< somewhat surprising to me at first glance, but with a little further thought, as to be expected - the US media is corporate controlled, pro-militarism, pro-interventionism, pro-armaments sales, and totally pro-regime change - anywhere in the world. All editorialists are neo-colonialists and imperialists at heart, regardless of who occupies the white house>

https://fair.org/home/zero-percent-of-elite-commentators-oppose-regime-change-in-venezuela/

Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela

A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19 -- 4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti -- regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position.

Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.....

Let's make a mess of Venezuela, you know, like the US has done across the middle east/north Africa since.... well since almost forever....

It's so frustrating to see the current lunacy in the mainstream media, and the idiotocracy at work in Washington DC, regardless of political party or who's fat ass sits in the oval office. Tulsi Gabbard is about the only sane person in DC right now on foreign affairs - forget Sanders, Warren and 'regular guy' Joe Biden


and as Lebanese geo-political commentator Sarah Abdallah at twitter https://twitter.com/sahouraxo
correctly notes:


US interventions in:

#Iraq -> Millions killed and displaced + the rise of ISIS.

#Libya -> Thousands killed, millions displaced + slave markets.

#Syria -> Death and destruction + millions displaced.

But sure, US intervention in #Venezuela sounds like a totally wonderful idea.

Barovsky , Apr 30, 2019 5:57:04 PM | link

There's a link to this doc in the libya360 link I posted earlier but here it is. It was written in May of 2018:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/masterstroke-the-us-plan-to-overthrow-the-venezuelan-government/

Masterstroke: The US Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Government
Posted by Internationalist 360° on May 13, 2018

By Stella Calloni

[May 01, 2019] Is not it

It is not amazing. That's about intelligence agencies control, nothing else.
Notable quotes:
"... Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela ..."
"... It's so frustrating to see the current lunacy in the mainstream media, and the idiotocracy at work in Washington DC, regardless of political party or who's fat ass sits in the oval office. Tulsi Gabbard is about the only sane person in DC right now on foreign affairs - forget Sanders, Warren and 'regular guy' Joe Biden ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
michaelj72 , Apr 30, 2019 5:51:12 PM | link

michaelj72 , Apr 30, 2019 5:41:44 PM | link

< somewhat surprising to me at first glance, but with a little further thought, as to be expected - the US media is corporate controlled, pro-militarism, pro-interventionism, pro-armaments sales, and totally pro-regime change - anywhere in the world. All editorialists are neo-colonialists and imperialists at heart, regardless of who occupies the white house>

https://fair.org/home/zero-percent-of-elite-commentators-oppose-regime-change-in-venezuela/

Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela

A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19 -- 4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti -- regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position.

Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.....

Let's make a mess of Venezuela, you know, like the US has done across the middle east/north Africa since.... well since almost forever....

It's so frustrating to see the current lunacy in the mainstream media, and the idiotocracy at work in Washington DC, regardless of political party or who's fat ass sits in the oval office. Tulsi Gabbard is about the only sane person in DC right now on foreign affairs - forget Sanders, Warren and 'regular guy' Joe Biden


and as Lebanese geo-political commentator Sarah Abdallah at twitter https://twitter.com/sahouraxo
correctly notes:


US interventions in:

#Iraq -> Millions killed and displaced + the rise of ISIS.

#Libya -> Thousands killed, millions displaced + slave markets.

#Syria -> Death and destruction + millions displaced.

But sure, US intervention in #Venezuela sounds like a totally wonderful idea.

Barovsky , Apr 30, 2019 5:57:04 PM | link

There's a link to this doc in the libya360 link I posted earlier but here it is. It was written in May of 2018:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/masterstroke-the-us-plan-to-overthrow-the-venezuelan-government/

Masterstroke: The US Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Government
Posted by Internationalist 360° on May 13, 2018

By Stella Calloni

[Apr 28, 2019] Psyops and propaganda have a cumulative effect on the thought processes of the target populations. After 9/11 it became legal for our intelligence services to turn these insidious weapons on our own people.

Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Copeland , Apr 28, 2019 1:39:54 PM | link

Psyops and propaganda have a cumulative effect on the thought processes of the target populations. After 9/11 it became legal for our intelligence services to turn these insidious weapons on our own people. The result is a metastasis of political polarization into fear and loathing in more vulnerable minds. These Dark State practitioners are manipulating the outcomes and expect cult-like (or occult) spasms of mass murder. The crude scapegoating, the Orwellian menagerie of enemies, the contamination of public forums with trolls, the false flags, and constant promotion of political hysteria, has a methodology that we have seen in the 20th Century. I am always grateful when b reminds us of this danger.

[Apr 28, 2019] Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, Sixteen Films and Journeyman Pictures are providing a time-limited free access to the Wikileaks road movie Mediastan

Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Apr 28, 2019 6:30:29 PM | link

Mediastan: A Wikileaks Road Movie | Full Documentary

Mediastan: A Wikileaks Road Movie: Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, Sixteen Films and Journeyman Pictures are providing a time-limited free access to the Wikileaks road movie Mediastan. Mediastan is a documentary film directed by Johannes Wahlström and co-produced by Julian Assange, detailing the publication of the very documents for which both Assange and Manning have been incarcerated.

[Apr 27, 2019] Top German Journalist Admits Mainstream Media Is Completely Fake We All Lie For The CIA

Apr 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

03/28/2016 With the increasing propaganda wars, we thought a reminder of just how naive many Westerners are when it comes to their news-feed. As Arjun Walia, of GlobalResearch.ca, notes, Dr. Ulfkotte went on public television stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, also adding that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job.

He recently made an appearance on RT news to share these facts:

I've been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.

But seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia -- this is a point of no return and I'm going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe.

[Apr 18, 2019] NYT reported on children and ducks not merely as a quote of CIA director, but as a straight fact.

Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Apr 17, 2019 1:53:14 PM | link

I am not sure if it is clear for folks on the far side of NYT paywall that NYT reported on "children and ducks" not merely as a quote of CIA director, but as a straight fact. This is the caption of one of the photos illustrating the article: "A former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned last year in Britain in a slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup.CreditWill Oliver/EPA, via Shutterstock"

Zachary Smith , Apr 17, 2019 1:59:53 PM | link

@ Grieved #74

I'm willing to believe a lot of things about the Brits and Haspel, but "stupid" isn't one of them. That they tried the Skripal stunt demonstrates they had great confidence in their control of the UK and US press, and I'll concede that confidence was justified.

karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 5:44:31 PM | link

KC @107--

Note Haspel hasn't denied any aspect of the news item.

Why perpetrate a hoax like the Skripal Saga, which was all too real for the one confirmed dead.

Taregt: Russia

Why? Previous sanctions not performing as anticipated--indeed, they are actually backfiring.

But if that policy line's already a proven failure, why double-down?
When faced with failure, Neocons always double-down.

Meanwhile, sanctions employed for almost 4 years when Skripal Act 1 begins clearly aren't working, which brings up the question of how Russia is actually perceived by the genuine International Community--did the provocations and sanctions diminish Russia's standing in the world prior to March 2018?

Given ever growing attendance to Russian sponsored and located symposiums, Russia's reputation seems to be growing at the expense of the smearing nations.

Motive for Skripal Hoax: To do what sanctions couldn't.

Outcome of Skripal Hoax: Russian reputation higher than ever. Indeed, the two hoaxes have had the opposite affect on Russia's international standing and the entire sanctions regime helped to make Russia stronger than it otherwise would be without their imposition.

[Apr 13, 2019] The natural evolution of bought press: Few year ago t>he Guardian was a left leaning newspaper and reported the news in a fairly unbiased manner. It was always quite critical of the Zionists and Israel. A few years ago, it became very defensive of Israel and started to censor readers comments about Israel

Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

APB , says: April 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT

@UncommonGround Many years ago The Guardian was a left leaning newspaper and reported the news in a fairly unbiased manner. It was always quite critical of the Zionists and Israel and supported good causes but then suddenly, a few years ago, it became very defensive of Israel and started to censor readers comments about Israeli news stories, then it stopped publishing any story criticizing Israel.

There must have a change of ownership or some kind of right wing or Zionist takeover.

Then it started really blocking comments to news articles which didn't agree with the opinion of the Guardian editors.

Then Wikileaks published its leaks through the Guardian, and others, who used the info to sell news.

Then it quite shockingly turned around and stabbed Wikileaks and Assange in the back.

I think now it is operated as a controlled media outlet in favour of the UK security services and the Israelis, it's a real shame as it has the potential to be an excellent news source but it's reputation is now trashed in my opinion.

[Apr 13, 2019] The presstituting crowd of stenographers (MSM) and the zionized X-tian war profiteers have made everything in their power (inadvertently) to ensure that Assange is and will be a towering figure of our time

Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT

"Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books "

-- The presstituting crowd of stenographers (MSM) and the zionized X-tian war profiteers have made everything in their power (inadvertently) to ensure that Assange is and will be a towering figure of our time.

Even in distress, Assange has been fighting for truth and dignity; the ongoing show of lawlessness exposes the rot. The moral and creative midgets constituting the core of MSM and the satanic deciders are upset. Good!

The idiotic Senior District "Judge" Emma Arbuthnot (a wife and beneficiary of a mega-war profiteer Lord Arbuthnot -- Arbuthnot served as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee from 2005 to 2014) and the no less idiotic District "Judge" Michael Snow have entered the history books as well. As scoundrels: http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/msg/1555064882.html

Snow does his best to bring the Judiciary into disrepute by playing to the gallery. He comments on the extradition in the same vein in a totally unprofessional manner. He is of course in a long line of disreputable members of the judiciary Snow's place in history is now secured – he chose to abuse the defendant rather than perform his role which was really quite straightforward. He is the narcissist and guilty of self interest not Julian Assange.

Daniel Rich , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT
@annamaria Once one realizes 'justice' is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option.

[Apr 13, 2019] CIA s 60-Year History of Fake News How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Agent76 says: April 13, 2019 at 3:12 pm GMT

April 2, 2019 The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s Is the Story of Our Times. The Killing of the Kennedys and Today's New Cold War

'We're all puppets,' the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment." – Lisa Pease, quoting from the LAPD questioning of Sirhan

https://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-takeover-america-1960s/5673387

March 19, 2017 The CIA's 60-Year History of Fake News How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

Whitney's new book, "Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers," explores how the CIA influenced acclaimed writers and publications during the Cold War to produce subtly anti-communist material.

During the interview, Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications (such as the Paris Review).

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46688.htm

[Apr 13, 2019] The precedent set by imprisoning a foreign journalist under the Espionage Act will enable the US government to arrest leak publishers anywhere in the world who expose its crimes

Apr 13, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Caitlin nailed it This part goes for all those who cheer what is happening to Assange. You all are short sighted fools. you are cheering for your own demise. I have posted something similar in the past over at the other place and have watched the idiots over there tie themselves into knots defending their blood thristy anti-Assange positions. It is unconscionable.

8  --  The precedent set by imprisoning a foreign journalist under the Espionage Act will enable the US government to arrest leak publishers anywhere in the world who expose its crimes. This will cripple our ability to hold the most powerful institution on the planet to account in any way. There is no excuse for any journalist anywhere not to oppose this tooth and claw. If you see anyone calling themselves a journalist but failing to oppose Assange's extradition, you should call them out for the frauds that they are.

I would add to Caitlin's point above. There is no excuse for any free thinking human being to oppose this tooth and claw. Without freedom of speech and freedom to share information, we are no longer a free people.

People scream about protecting the second amendment, but for me without the first amendment, there is nothing left to protect. up 11 users have voted. --

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

[Apr 01, 2019] People Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They're Successfully Propagandized

Apr 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Our predicament is simple to describe.

Since the dawn of civilization, powerful individuals have controlled the stories people tell themselves about who they are, who's in charge, how a good citizen behaves, what groups should be loved, what groups should be hated, and what's really going on in the world. When you study what we call history, you're mostly just reading the ancient proto-propaganda of whatever kingdom happened to win the last war during that period of time. When you study what we call religion, you're mostly reading stories that were advanced by ancient governments explaining why the people should be meek, forgiving taxpayers instead of rising up and killing their wealthy exploiters.

This continues to this day. We fill our children's heads with lies about how the world works, how the government works, how the media works, and, on a deeper level, how their own consciousness works , and the entire process is shaped to funnel power toward the people who control our stories. The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller , widely considered the wealthiest person in modern history , in order to create generations of docile gear-turners for the industrial plutocratic machine. Modern schooling is essentially mainstream media in a building; it promotes authorized narratives day in and day out to ensure that children will have a reaction of cognitive dissonance and rejection when confronted with information which contradicts those narratives.

This funnels the populace seamlessly into the narrative control matrix of adulthood, where childhood indoctrination into mainstream narratives lubricates the way for continual programming of credulous minds with mass media propaganda. All the print, TV and online media they are presented with supports the status quo-supporting agendas of the same plutocratic class that John D Rockefeller dominated all those years ago. This ensures that no matter how bad things get, no matter how severely our spirits are crushed by end-stage metastatic neoliberalism, no matter how many stupid, pointless wars we're duped into, no matter how much further we are drawn along the path toward extinction via climate chaos or nuclear war, we will never revolt to overthrow our rulers.

That's three paragraphs. Our predicament is simple to describe and easy to understand. But that doesn't mean it's easy to solve.

Everyone has at some point known someone in some kind of an abusive relationship, whether it be with a partner, a family member, or a job, and we all know that helpless feeling of being unable to help someone who refuses to walk away from the source of their abuse.

"Just leave him!" we say in exasperation. "The door's right there! It's not locked!"

But it's never that simple. It's never that simple because, although the abusee is indeed physically capable of walking out the door, the thoughts that are in their head keep them from choosing that option.

This is because no abuser is simply violent or cruel: they are also necessarily manipulative. If they weren't manipulative, there wouldn't be any "abusive relationship"; there'd just be someone doing something horrible one time, followed by a hasty exit out the door. There can't be an ongoing relationship that is abusive unless there's some glue holding the abusee in place, and that glue always consists primarily of believed narrative.

"I didn't mean it. I love you. I just get frustrated sometimes because of your stupidity."

"You can't leave; you'll never make it out there on your own. You need me."

"I'm the only one who'll ever be there for you. Nobody else will ever love you because you're so disgusting."

"Your children need their father. You have to stay."

"I need you! I'll die without you!"

"I'm not doing that. You're paranoid and crazy."

"Your inability to forgive me means something is wrong with you."

They seldom say it so overtly, because if they did its malignancy would be easy to spot, but those are the ideas which get subtly implanted into the abusee's head day after day after day by way of skillful manipulation.

"It's her own fault for staying," someone will inevitably say.

No it isn't. Not really. The abuser is at fault for the overt abuse, and the abuser is also at fault for the psychological manipulations which keep the abusee in place in spite of terrible cruelty. It's all one thing, and it's entirely the abuser's fault.

Humanity's predicament is the same. I often hear revolutionary-minded thinkers voicing frustration at the mainstream public for choosing to stay within this transparently abusive dynamic instead of rising up and forcing change, and yes, it is self-evident that the citizenry could easily use its vastly superior numbers to do that if it collectively chose to. The door is right there. It's not even locked.

But the people aren't failing to choose the door because they love being abused, they're failing to choose the door because they've been manipulated into not choosing it. From cradle to grave they're pummeled with stories telling them that this is the only way things can be, in exactly the same way a battered wife or a cult member are pummeled with stories about how leaving is impossible.

The difficulty of our times is not that we are locked up; we aren't. The difficulty is that far too many of us are manipulated into choosing a prison cell over freedom.

The fact of the matter is that a populace will never rise up against its oppressors as long as it is being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen. The majority will choose the prison cell every time.

You'd expect that more dissident thinking would be pouring into solving this dilemma, but not much is. People talk about elections and political strategies, they talk about who has the most correct ideology, they talk about rising up and seizing the means of production due to unacceptable material conditions, they wax philosophical about the tyranny of the state and the immorality of coercion, but they rarely address the elephant in the room that you can't get a populace to oust the status quo when they do not want to.

Nothing will ever be done about our predicament as long as powerful people are controlling the stories that the majority of the public believe. This is as true today as it was in John D Rockefeller's time, which was as true as when Rome chose to spread the "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" submissiveness of Christianity throughout the Empire. The only difference is that now the powerful have a century of post-Bernays propaganda science under their belt, and a whole lot of research and development can happen in a hundred years.

So what's the solution? How do you awaken a populace that is not just manipulated into choosing its prison cell every time, but is also manipulated into believing that any suggestion that they're in a prison cell is a crazy conspiracy theory?

Well, what do you do when a loved one is in an abusive relationship? It never works to shake them and scream "You're being abused!"; that just causes them to tighten up and dig in deeper with their abuser's narratives about how this is the only way things can be and anyone who says otherwise is crazy. What works is to lovingly help that sovereign spark within them gather evidence that the narratives they're being fed by their abuser are lies. Point out every time where reality contradicts the stories they've been told. Weaken their trust in the old stories while strengthening their confidence in their own perception and their sense of entitlement and worthiness. Help them to see that they're being lied to, and that they deserve better.

This breaking of trust needs to happen within the respective partisan echo chambers of those who are being propagandized. It's useless to increase the distrust of CNN and MSNBC among Trump's base, for example, but it's very useful to increase their distrust in right-wing narratives. It's useless to increase Democrats' distrust in Trump and Fox News, but it's very useful to get them skeptical of the narrative control machine they've been plugged into. Each head of the two-headed one-party system needs to be attacked in a way that makes sense inside each of its respective echo chambers.

Mostly, though, what we need is we need is for more thinkers to be more focused on the real problem. I know some influential minds read this blog; if they can help seed the idea out among the movers and shakers of dissident thought that propaganda is our first and foremost problem, we just might get somewhere. We need a major shift of focus onto the narrative control matrix and the obstacle that it poses to revolution, and everyone can help shift us there in their own way.

The propaganda machine won't be adequately disrupted without intensive effort, and until it is we're going to keep selecting the prison cell every time.

* * *

Thanks for reading! My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish.

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fezline , 1 minute ago link

That is why Q is in play... it makes people complacent so they don't rebel because they think an insider already has it in hand... here is a list of some of the Q posts that were wrong:

Drop #1 "claimed that "HRC extradition [was] already in motion effective yesterday with several countries in case of cross border run" with Drop #2 alleging "HRC detained, not arrested (yet)" and that there would be "massive riots organized in defiance and others fleeing the US."

After a stretch of posts full of rhetorical questions and vague claims, Q used Drop #15 to predict that John Podesta would be indicted on Nov. 3, and Clinton aide Huma Abedin indicted on Nov. 6.

Drop #16, posted the same day, claimed that "Friday & Saturday will deliver on the MAGA promise" with a thorough house-cleaning of the government. That Friday, Nov. 3, saw the president leave for a tour of Asia, and no firings, but the predictions continued.

After a series of vague insinuations about the National Guard being activated in various major cities (which was not true), Q again claimed in Drop #25 that proof of his predictions would "begin 11.3." Again, the only significant event of this day was the president leaving for Asia.

In Drop #32, Q claimed that the "initial wave [of arrests] will be fast and meaningful," with many members of the media "jailed as deep cover agents."

Finally, Drop #34 unveiled a host of predictions for what Q claimed would happen imminently. He claimed that "over the course of the next several days you will undoubtedly realize that we are taking back our great country." He claimed that everything he'd been talking about in secret "will then be revealed and will not be openly accepted," resulting in "public riots."

Q claimed that because of the imminent unrest of Nov. 3 and the announcement of John Podesta's arrest the next day, "a state of temporary military control will be actioned," and that "we will be initiating the Emergency Broadcast System (EMS) during this time in an effort to provide a direct message (avoiding the fake news) to all citizens."

Drop #38 continued with the conspiracy fantasizing, predicting "other state actors attempting to harm us during this transition," along with "increased military movement," "[National Guard] deployments starting tomorrow, and "false flags."

As part of the "imminent event" of the 3, Q claimed in Drop #44 that "before POTUS departs on Friday he will be sending an important message via Twitter," used Drop #47 to warn his readers to "be vigilant today and expect a major false flag," and claimed in Drop #55 that President Trump would unleash the massive military purge (now nicknamed "The Storm") with a tweet reading "My fellow Americans, the Storm is upon us ."

continued to ratchet up the tension, predicting in Drop #61: that there would be "Twitter and other social media blackouts" that would accompany the massive deep state purge.

Finally, in Drop #65 , Q claimed "it has begun," with Drop #67 predicting that news of John Podesta's military plane being "forced down" "will be leaked" with a prominent "fake news anchor" being pulled off the air.

Needless to say, none of what Q predicted in his first 60+ posts took place. The National Guard was never called up, mass arrests never took place, Hillary Clinton and John Podesta weren't detained, Donald Trump never sent a tweet mentioning "The Storm," and the Emergency Alert System wasn't activated.

But that didn't stop the movement.

However, Q seemed to learn from his mistakes and mostly stopped making specific predictions about events to come, shifting to vague statements about world events, terror attacks, and political intrigue.

On Dec. 10, Q predicted in Drop #326 that "false flag(s)" would occur, with "POTUS 100% insulated" and to "expect fireworks." Q believers seized on a partially detonated pipe bomb at New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Q took credit the next day for "thwarting" the attack.

In Drop #647, Q seemed to predict a major event involving the Department of Defense for Feb. 1, calling it the "[D]ay [Of] [D]ays." Nothing of note happened either to that agency or the federal government in general that day.

A few days after that fizzled, Q insinuated in Drop #700 that the weekend of Feb. 10 and 1 would be a "suicide weekend" for individuals targeted by the president. There were no high-profile suicides by public figures that weekend.

Drop #796 was a post full of quasi-military chatter that seemed to predict a possible car bombing in London around Feb. 16. No terrorist attack of any type happened in London at all that month.

As talk of President Trump's military parade ramped up, Q predicted in Drop #856 that "a parade that will never be forgotten" would take place on 11/11/18. That parade has now been postponed until next year due to costs, and likely won't take place at all.

Then, in Drop #912, Q claimed that the intelligence sharing alliance known as "Five Eyes" "won't be around much longer." As of August, it is still in effect.

Drop #997 predicted on April 3 that the Pope would "have a terrible May." The closest to this that happened was the resignation of several Chilean bishops in June after Pope Francis criticized them over their handling of a sex abuse scandal.

On April 7, Q made a cryptic post in Drop #1067 that read simply "China. Chongqing. Tuesday." The next Tuesday was April 10, and no newsworthy event took place on that day in that city.

Finally, in Drop #1302 on April 27, Q claimed a "Mother of All Bombs" related to negotiations with North Korea would be "dropped" in the next week.

Some Q believers took this to be the North Korea/United States summit announcement on the 28, but the negotiations had already been reported, and only the location and exact date remained to be set -- neither of which Q provided.

Even as he was seeming to reveal world events that never took place, Q kept up his hammering of favored foes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain.

Even though she wasn't indicted or arrested, Q predicted on March 5 in Drop #854 that "HRC +++ + +++++(raw vid 5:5)" [sic] would soon emerge, and that it would be the "nail in many coffins."

Using Barack Obama's middle name , Q predicted in Drop #1043 that "pics will surface of Hussein holding AK47 in tribal attire," and insinuated in two April drops that photos of Obama with a young girl named "Wendy" would appear and open him up to charges of pedophilia. No such pictures have ever appeared.

Finally, again using a nickname, Q predicted John McCain's resignation from the Senate as "imminent" several times, including Drop #1319 and Drop #1850 , as well as predicting the "end near" in Drop #1555. Only this week did McCain announce he would stop seeking treatment for cancer.

Politicians aren't the only suspected deep state members that Q has made failed predictions about.

On April 4, Q claimed in Drop #1014 that Mark Zuckerberg was going to step down as chair of Facebook and flee the United States. The same day Q predicted this, Zuckerberg reiterated that he was NOT going to step down -- and he still hasn't.

Q has also made some fizzled predictions about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, saying "goodbye" to him in Drops #525 and #598 , insinuating that Dorsey would be removed from Twitter in Drop #799 , predicting in Drop #1102 that Dorsey was "next"

It's not surprising that as Q's predictions fizzled, he became less specific and more generalized with what he claimed would happen. It's here that QAnon truly began taking on the language of prosperity scams, substituting vague claims of "next week" or "soon" in place of anything more specific.

Q's use of the phrase "next week" to denote the occurrence of something important started with Drop #243 when Q told his followers "just wait until next week" without making any kind of claim as to what was going to happen. It would be the first of over a dozen times Q would kick the can down the road to "next week."

In Drop #464: Q vaguely predicted a "BIG NEXT WEEK" on Jan. 5, doubling down in Drop #527, predicting "Next Week – BIGGER," repeating the claim three drops later.

If you still belive in Q in the face of all of these failed predictions you should sterialize yourself... And no... not a libtard... I put libtards and qtards in the same basket of stupid../

FlKeysFisherman , 2 minutes ago link

Too many dumb asses.

JB Say , 5 minutes ago link

This crazy bitch is hit or miss for me. She completely misses on "climate chaos" which is part of the mind control narrative. Most obvious and discredited government and corporate funded hoax of our era. Post religious eschatology to tax and control the serfs to the satisfaction of the powerful.

ScratInTheHat , 8 minutes ago link

Fat dumb and happyland!

Rest Easy , 9 minutes ago link

This lady is an enemy agent. Why do you continue posting her articles?

Yeah. I don't think nuclear war and fukishima are good ideas also.

What needs sorely addressing, and why Trump was elected, is the complete deviousness and near stranglehold, outright, that America hating marxists wield.

We are possibly a hair's breath away from something so sobering. That a vicious civil war may sound quite refreshing in contrast.

But, bring it on crazy. Just don't think I at least, can't see who you represent. And it isn't tree hugging, American ultra pot smoking nice boys and girl hippies. Who also sideline as cia operators and super stealth super agents. Kidding. Interesting movie. And somewhat funny. Unlike most of this. Sitch.

God is in charge. Jesus is the way. If there be fighting or calamity. If there be peace and prosperity. Rest, when possible in the Lord. And fight like lions when, and if called to do so.

BLOTTO , 18 minutes ago link

Most people's pineal gland are too calcified to think so that they may breakdown the doors of perception.

.

Independent thinking is a dying art.

Ozymango , 21 minutes ago link

Turn off the ******* TV, Caitlin.

BGO , 22 minutes ago link

It only takes 5% of the population to become sufficiently agitated in order to affect social and political change. The requisite force is already in place. All they are waiting for is an impetus.

quesnay , 24 minutes ago link

"People will never rebel"

What are you talking about?

What was Trump if not the biggest "**** you" in history. It's true these haven't gone anywhere, or accomplished anything, but this is far different thing than "not rebelling". Half the population is rebelling within the system as much as they can. The other half the population also feel they are rebelling to, but in the opposite direction. Cancel 1st and 2nd amendments, ban conservative voices, impeach Trump. If/when civil war breaks out you will long for these halcyon days of peaceful rebellion.

Groundround , 17 minutes ago link

I see how they fooled so many with Trump. In no way whatsoever are elections left up to the citizens. They all have to be portrayed as being close to hide the fact that those at the top choose the president and the president has no real power anyway.

quesnay , 13 minutes ago link

The billionaires, shadow government and king makers actually wanted Trump to win ...

Not buying it.

beemasters , 2 minutes ago link

A billionaire for billionaires...what's so odd about it?

Rashomon , 25 minutes ago link

There's a pseudo-everything phenomena occurring, lots of phoney stuff going on out there.. All you can do really is not believe everything you read, hear and/or see and be careful what you take as truth/fact. We have been lied to about our money, our history and even much of the food we eat is suspect and possibly the creation(or part) of some laboratory experiment.

If people were to find out that they were all subjects of the oligarchs and being preyed on, ripped off, experimented on or were products of their creations in a world built on lies things might not turn out so great for the oligarchs.

stacking12321 , 26 minutes ago link

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

EndOfDayExit , 27 minutes ago link

90% of humanity is basically livestock, 2% are sociopaths enjoying to control the human livestock, and the remaining few are left to wonder wtf is wrong with those 2 groups. It has been like this since the dawn of time. Note that the actual revolutions happen very rarely, and they only happen when the elites screw up badly. Most of the time things change simply because the elites have finally realized they could not continue the status quo.

Long popcorn.

Future_Cannibal , 28 minutes ago link

Not enough suffering going on for there to be enough people demanding real change. Self policing prisoners will keep the rest in line. It is what it is. Point of no return has come and gone. Now we just have to play the hand we've been dealt.

John Law Lives , 28 minutes ago link

This song by the band, Anthrax, comes to mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc7-6vq4GUQ

'In My World'

lyrics (excerpt):

They're gonna put me in jail?
Man, I'm already in jail
Don't they know that my life
Is just one big cell.

johnwburns , 28 minutes ago link

They'll never rebel as long as they are allowed to keep their flat screen and some toys, and the niggers aren't coming directly over the back fence.

Marysduby , 15 minutes ago link

You forgot the ******* muslims

trysophistry , 30 minutes ago link

I believe a less violent and more highly effective way of making change is to stop being a consummate consumer.

Forget Amazon, cease consumer loans and pay for what you need in cash. Stop frivolous spending. The effect from deflation would be far more painful to the 1% than anyone else and core prices would drop like a rock.

Mouldy , 32 minutes ago link

Say we overthrew our respective governments - I give it a year, nay... A week, and a new batch of psychopaths will be vying for top job - and we're back to square one again. Two options;

1. Shoot/hang psychos (the fun/gratifying option)

2. Place four of these assoles in charge instead of one

What does a psycho hate moar than us peasants - competition. They will fight and kill each other, never agreeing on any new laws (see where i'm going with this) Basically reversing the situation we're in now.

shankster , 33 minutes ago link

Pull the plug on Google, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube and throw your TV in the trash, along with your phone.

dirty dogs , 34 minutes ago link

Going Lorena Bobbit.

1982xls , 35 minutes ago link

Enough cheezburgers for the family = no revolution

lo2hi , 38 minutes ago link

okay.........that's one fucked up point of view. Chill out. Smoke some weed... lots of it. Hell, get drunk... but stop scaring yourself.

XBroker1 , 39 minutes ago link

Medium is a website that tries to funnel you into google or facebook. Do we need to say more? I haven't yet done a blog about the fear factor. All those cell tower pump fear into the masses. The side effect s of wireless technology will never be officially admitted to.

bustdriver , 40 minutes ago link

Read a little history of the media. It is eye opening.

qdone , 42 minutes ago link

mao : "power comes from the barrel of a gun" . figuratively (including propaganda) or literally, so true.

fulliautomatix , 43 minutes ago link

In fact, this is surprisingly simple to counter - don't tell lies. The difficulties experienced with this choice, this exercise of will, lend a contempt in the assessment of the mouthings of the liars - system wide (i.e. at the societal level) it is a self-reinforcing behaviour because not many people are prepared to embrace the social status associated with open displays of contempt for their person. Of course, if you are not conditioned to exercising your will you have no reason to be upset with the outcome, you are in some sense as worthy as my coffee cup and have as much influence on the world as any other unconsciousness - why worry?

dirty dogs , 33 minutes ago link

Did you hurt something tossing that load?

boattrash , 44 minutes ago link

And yet, when the Obama Administration "legalized" Domestic Use of Propaganda,it went by the MSM without so much as a ******* sound (but that was to be expected, as we knew who would be delivering it).

Stuto , 45 minutes ago link

NO. Lack of food always create violent revolution.

Rashomon , 38 minutes ago link

The literal and figurative diet of scientific animal excrement seems to be doing the trick. From the money to the food to the news....

CJgipper , 36 minutes ago link

not in a capitalist country

NAchodwarf , 46 minutes ago link

There is a new series on Netflix called Dirty Money, the First Episode is on the VW scandal. In it VW decided to counter with a scientific study where they use MONKEYS TRAINED TO WATCH TV while they breath car exhaust. And I thought...OMG I've allowed myself to become a trained monkey, presented with information to believe.

bustdriver , 42 minutes ago link

I feel that way every time I use a vending machine...

koan , 49 minutes ago link

You need to take out the media and Internet, if there's no social media or brain-numbing "entertainment", people get bored and restless, an excellent precursor to revolution.

bamawatson , 43 minutes ago link

Alexa, should i wipe my azzz from front to back, or from back to front?

Tzanchan , 11 minutes ago link

Guys, it doesn't matter; girls front to back only...

not dead yet , 51 minutes ago link

Like many who claim to be totally awake and resistant to the propaganda dear Caitlin is a true believer in man made climate change. Also a socialist although lately she is has been trying distance herself from it. These people spend their career exposing the lies from government and the compliant press but are all on board with the we're all gonna die from climate change bunk as if the government and it's shills are suddenly telling the truth.

Lesson here is even those you trust can fall victim to the propaganda so it's best to not take everything they say as gospel.

BGO , 22 minutes ago link

It only takes 5% of the population to become sufficiently agitated in order to affect social and political change. The requisite force is already in place. All they are waiting for is an impetus.

quesnay , 24 minutes ago link

"People will never rebel"

What are you talking about?

What was Trump if not the biggest "**** you" in history. It's true these haven't gone anywhere, or accomplished anything, but this is far different thing than "not rebelling". Half the population is rebelling within the system as much as they can. The other half the population also feel they are rebelling to, but in the opposite direction. Cancel 1st and 2nd amendments, ban conservative voices, impeach Trump. If/when civil war breaks out you will long for these halcyon days of peaceful rebellion.

Rashomon , 25 minutes ago link

There's a pseudo-everything phenomena occurring, lots of phoney stuff going on out there.. All you can do really is not believe everything you read, hear and/or see and be careful what you take as truth/fact. We have been lied to about our money, our history and even much of the food we eat is suspect and possibly the creation(or part) of some laboratory experiment.

If people were to find out that they were all subjects of the oligarchs and being preyed on, ripped off, experimented on or were products of their creations in a world built on lies things might not turn out so great for the oligarchs.

EndOfDayExit , 27 minutes ago link

90% of humanity is basically livestock, 2% are sociopaths enjoying to control the human livestock, and the remaining few are left to wonder wtf is wrong with those 2 groups. It has been like this since the dawn of time. Note that the actual revolutions happen very rarely, and they only happen when the elites screw up badly. Most of the time things change simply because the elites have finally realized they could not continue the status quo.

Long popcorn.

[Mar 24, 2019] Taibbi It s Official - Russiagate Is This Generation s WMD

This is the most grandiose False flag propaganda operation known to the mankind. McCarthyism while more vicious was just a blip of the screen in comparison this this tide of disinformation and insinuations. Iraq WDM resulted in more casualties but was much more short term. Damage for the USA from this false flag operation might even exceed the damage for Iraq WDM fiasco.
British government and intelligence serves were active participants and in this sense "Skripals poisoning" looks like a perverted form of "witness protection:" program. A false flag operation on the top of a false flag operation ("Russiagate").
What is amazing is how unapt were the major players.
Notable quotes:
"... Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media. ..."
"... A few weeks after that hearing, Steele gave testimony in a British lawsuit filed by one of the Russian companies mentioned in his reports. In a written submission , Steele said his information was "raw" and "needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified." He also wrote that (at least as pertained to the memo in that case) he had not written his report "with the intention that it be republished to the world at large." ..."
"... That itself was a curious statement, given that Steele reportedly spoke with multiple reporters in the fall of 2016, but this was his legal position. This story about Steele's British court statements did not make it into the news much in the United States, apart from a few bits in conservative outlets like The Washington Times. ..."
"... The Steele report was the Magna Carta of #Russiagate. It provided the implied context for thousands of news stories to come, yet no journalist was ever able to confirm its most salacious allegations: the five year cultivation plan, the blackmail, the bribe from Sechin, the Prague trip, the pee romp, etc. In metaphorical terms, we were unable to independently produce Steele's results in the lab. Failure to reckon with this corrupted the narrative from the start. ..."
"... "Just called," Page said to McCabe. "Apparently the DAG [Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates] now wants to be there, and WH wants DOJ to host. So we are setting that up now. ... We will very much need to get Cohen's view before we meet with her. Better, have him weigh in with her before the meeting. We need to speak with one voice, if that is in fact the case." ..."
"... Someday I hope that Hillary has to be rolled up to testify about the Benghazi business. Grab the guns and the gold (and the oil). Ukraine gold: check. Libyan gold and weapons: check. ..."
Mar 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Matt Taibbi, excerpted from his serial book Hate Inc.,

The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it...

Note to readers: in light of news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation is complete, I'm releasing this chapter of Hate Inc. early, with a few new details added up top. Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.

As has long been rumored , the former FBI chief's independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no " presidency-wrecking " conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman's definition of "collusion" with Russia.

With the caveat that even this news might somehow turn out to be botched, the key detail in the many stories about the end of the Mueller investigation was best expressed by the New York Times :

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments.

The Times tried to soften the emotional blow for the millions of Americans trained in these years to place hopes for the overturn of the Trump presidency in Mueller. Nobody even pretended it was supposed to be a fact-finding mission, instead of an act of faith.

The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing " All I Want for Christmas is You " to him featuring the rhymey line: "Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup."

The Times story today tried to preserve Santa Mueller's reputation, noting Trump's Attorney General William Barr's reaction was an "endorsement" of the fineness of Mueller's work:

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a "witch hunt," Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mr. Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step.

Mueller, in other words, never stepped out of the bounds of his job description. But could the same be said for the news media?

For those anxious to keep the dream alive, the Times published its usual graphic of Trump-Russia "contacts," inviting readers to keep making connections. But in a separate piece by Peter Baker , the paper noted the Mueller news had dire consequences for the press:

It will be a reckoning for President Trump, to be sure, but also for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for Congress, for Democrats, for Republicans, for the news media and, yes, for the system as a whole

This is a damning page one admission by the Times. Despite the connect-the-dots graphic in its other story, and despite the astonishing, emotion-laden editorial the paper also ran suggesting " We don't need to read the Mueller report " because we know Trump is guilty, Baker at least began the work of preparing Times readers for a hard question: "Have journalists connected too many dots that do not really add up?"

The paper was signaling it understood there would now be questions about whether or not news outlets like themselves made a galactic error by betting heavily on a new, politicized approach , trying to be true to "history's judgment" on top of the hard-enough job of just being true. Worse, in a brutal irony everyone should have seen coming , the press has now handed Trump the mother of campaign issues heading into 2020.

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a "witch hunt."

Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller's final report might leave audiences " disappointed ," as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.

Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you'd have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.

There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn't prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters ! There's an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and

Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.

For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something "so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan" against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.

The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That's a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn't so.

The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who'd helped him win the election.

The betrayal narrative was not reported at first as metaphor. It was not "Trump likes the Russians so much, he might as well be a spy for them." It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump " will die in jail ."

In the early months of this scandal, the New York Times said Trump's campaign had "repeated contacts" with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal told us our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have "leverages of pressure" on Trump.

CNN told us Trump officials had been in "constant contact" with "Russians known to U.S. intelligence," and the former director of the CIA, who'd helped kick-start the investigation that led to Mueller's probe, said the President was guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors," committing acts " nothing short of treasonous ."

Hillary Clinton insisted Russians "could not have known how to weaponize" political ads unless they'd been "guided" by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, " It's pretty hard not to ." Harry Reid similarly said he had "no doubt" that the Trump campaign was " in on the deal " to help Russians with the leak.

None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the "overwhelming and bipartisan" standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now.

There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn't. If he isn't, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC's Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a " reckoning for the media ."

Of course, there won't be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can't confirm.

#Russiagate debuted as a media phenomenon in mid-summer, 2016. The roots of the actual story, i.e. when the multi-national investigation began, go back much further, to the previous year at least. Oddly, that origin tale has not been nailed down yet, and blue-state audiences don't seem terribly interested in it, either.

By June and July of 2016, bits of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which had been funded by the Democratic National Committee through the law firm Perkins Coie (which in turn hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS), were already in the ether.

The Steele report occupies the same role in #Russiagate the tales spun by Ahmed Chalabi occupied in the WMD screwup. Once again, a narrative became turbo-charged when Officials With Motives pulled the press corps by its nose to a swamp of unconfirmable private assertions.

Some early stories, like a July 4, 2016 piece by Franklin Foer in Slate called " Putin's Puppet ," outlined future Steele themes in "circumstantial" form. But the actual dossier, while it influenced a number of pre-election Trump-Russia news stories (notably one by Michael Isiskoff of Yahoo! that would be used in a FISA warrant application ), didn't make it into print for a while.

Though it was shopped to at least nine news organizations during the summer and fall of 2016, no one bit, for the good reason that news organizations couldn't verify its "revelations."

The Steele claims were explosive if true. The ex-spy reported Trump aide Carter Page had been offered fees on a big new slice of the oil giant Rosneft if he could help get sanctions against Russia lifted. He also said Trump lawyer Michael Cohen went to Prague for "secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers."

Most famously, he wrote the Kremlin had kompromat of Trump "deriling" [sic] a bed once used by Barack and Michelle Obama by "employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show."

This was too good of a story not to do. By hook or crook, it had to come out. The first salvo was by David Corn of Mother Jones on October 31, 2016: " A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump ."

The piece didn't have pee, Prague, or Page in it, but it did say Russian intelligence had material that could "blackmail" Trump. It was technically kosher to print because Corn wasn't publishing the allegations themselves, merely that the FBI had taken possession of them.

A bigger pretext was needed to get the other details out. This took place just after the election, when four intelligence officials presented copies of the dossier to both President-Elect Trump and outgoing President Obama.

From his own memos , we know FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly evincing concern for Trump's welfare, told the new President he was just warning him about what was out there, as possible blackmail material:

I wasn't saying [the Steele report] was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold [sic].

Comey's generous warning to Trump about not providing a "news hook," along with a promise to keep it all "close-held," took place on January 6, 2017. Within four days, basically the entire Washington news media somehow knew all about this top-secret meeting and had the very hook they needed to go public. Nobody in the mainstream press thought this was weird or warranted comment.

Even Donald Trump was probably smart enough to catch the hint when, of all outlets, it was CNN that first broke the story of "Classified documents presented last week to Trump" on January 10 .

At the same time, Buzzfeed made the historic decision to publish the entire Steele dossier, bringing years of pee into our lives. This move birthed the Russiagate phenomenon as a never-ending, minute-to-minute factor in American news coverage.

Comey was right. We couldn't have reported this story without a "hook." Therefore the reports surrounding Steele technically weren't about the allegations themselves, but rather the journey of those allegations, from one set of official hands to another. Handing the report to Trump created a perfect pretext.

This trick has been used before, both in Washington and on Wall Street, to publicize unconfirmed private research. A short seller might hire a consulting firm to prepare a report on a company he or she has bet against. When the report is completed, the investor then tries to get the SEC or the FBI to take possession. If they do, news leaks the company is "under investigation," the stock dives, and everyone wins.

This same trick is found in politics. A similar trajectory drove negative headlines in the scandal surrounding New Jersey's Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who was said to be under investigation by the FBI for underage sex crimes (although some were skeptical ). The initial story didn't hold up, but led to other investigations.

Same with the so-called " Arkansas project ," in which millions of Republican-friendly private research dollars produced enough noise about the Whitewater scandal to create years of headlines about the Clintons. Swiftboating was another example. Private oppo isn't inherently bad. In fact it has led to some incredible scoops, including Enron. But reporters usually know to be skeptical of private info, and figure the motives of its patrons into the story.

The sequence of events in that second week of January, 2017 will now need to be heavily re-examined. We now know, from his own testimony , that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had some kind of role in helping CNN do its report, presumably by confirming part of the story, perhaps through an intermediary or two (there is some controversy over whom exactly was contacted, and when).

Why would real security officials help litigate this grave matter through the media? Why were the world's most powerful investigative agencies acting like they were trying to move a stock, pushing an private, unverified report that even Buzzfeed could see had factual issues? It made no sense at the time , and makes less now.

In January of 2017, Steele's pile of allegations became public, read by millions. "It is not just unconfirmed," Buzzfeed admitted . "It includes some clear errors."

Buzzfeed's decision exploded traditional journalistic standards against knowingly publishing material whose veracity you doubt. Although a few media ethicists wondered at it , this seemed not to bother the rank-and-file in the business. Buzzfeed chief Ben Smith is still proud of his decision today. I think this was because many reporters believed the report was true.

When I read the report, I was in shock. I thought it read like fourth-rate suspense fiction (I should know: I write fourth-rate suspense fiction). Moreover it seemed edited both for public consumption and to please Steele's DNC patrons.

Steele wrote of Russians having a file of "compromising information" on Hillary Clinton, only this file supposedly lacked "details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior" or "embarrassing conduct."

We were meant to believe the Russians, across decades of dirt-digging, had an empty kompromat file on Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of human tabloid headline Bill Clinton? This point was made more than once in the reports, as if being emphasized for the reading public.

There were other curious lines, including the bit about Russians having "moles" in the DNC, plus some linguistic details that made me wonder at the nationality of the report author.

Still, who knew? It could be true. But even the most cursory review showed the report had issues and would need a lot of confirming. This made it more amazing that the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, held hearings on March 20, 2017 that blithely read out Steele report details as if they were fact. From Schiff's opening statement:

According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. Intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin (SEH-CHIN), CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company.

I was stunned watching this. It's generally understood that members of congress, like reporters, make an effort to vet at least their prepared remarks before making them public.

But here was Schiff, telling the world Trump aide Carter Page had been offered huge fees on a 19% stake in Rosneft – a company with a $63 billion market capitalization – in a secret meeting with a Russian oligarch who was also said to be "a KGB agent and close friend of Putin's."

(Schiff meant "FSB agent." The inability of #Russiagaters to remember Russia is not the Soviet Union became increasingly maddening over time. Donna Brazile still hasn't deleted her tweet about how " The Communists are now dictating the terms of the debate ." )

Schiff's speech raised questions. Do we no longer have to worry about getting accusations right if the subject is tied to Russiagate? What if Page hadn't done any of these things? To date, he hasn't been charged with anything. Shouldn't a member of Congress worry about this?

A few weeks after that hearing, Steele gave testimony in a British lawsuit filed by one of the Russian companies mentioned in his reports. In a written submission , Steele said his information was "raw" and "needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified." He also wrote that (at least as pertained to the memo in that case) he had not written his report "with the intention that it be republished to the world at large."

That itself was a curious statement, given that Steele reportedly spoke with multiple reporters in the fall of 2016, but this was his legal position. This story about Steele's British court statements did not make it into the news much in the United States, apart from a few bits in conservative outlets like The Washington Times.

I contacted Schiff's office to ask if the congressman if he knew about Steele's admission that his report needed verifying, and if that changed his view of it at all. The response (emphasis mine):

The dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and which was leaked publicly several months ago contains information that may be pertinent to our investigation. This is true regardless of whether it was ever intended for public dissemination. Accordingly, the Committee hopes to speak with Mr. Steele in order to help substantiate or refute each of the allegations contained in the dossier.

Schiff had not spoken to Steele before the hearing, and read out the allegations knowing they were unsubstantiated.

The Steele report was the Magna Carta of #Russiagate. It provided the implied context for thousands of news stories to come, yet no journalist was ever able to confirm its most salacious allegations: the five year cultivation plan, the blackmail, the bribe from Sechin, the Prague trip, the pee romp, etc. In metaphorical terms, we were unable to independently produce Steele's results in the lab. Failure to reckon with this corrupted the narrative from the start.

For years, every hint the dossier might be true became a banner headline, while every time doubt was cast on Steele's revelations, the press was quiet. Washington Post reporter Greg Miller went to Prague and led a team looking for evidence Cohen had been there. Post reporters, Miller said, "literally spent weeks and months trying to run down" the Cohen story.

"We sent reporters through every hotel in Prague, through all over the place, just to try to figure out if he was ever there," he said, "and came away empty."

This was heads-I-win, tails-you-lose reporting. One assumes if Miller found Cohen's name in a hotel ledger, it would have been on page 1 of the Post. The converse didn't get a mention in Miller's own paper. He only told the story during a discussion aired by C-SPAN about a new book he'd published. Only The Daily Caller and a few conservative blogs picked it up.

It was the same when Bob Woodward said, "I did not find [espionage or collusion] Of course I looked for it, looked for it hard."

The celebrated Watergate muckraker – who once said he'd succumbed to "groupthink" in the WMD episode and added, "I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder" – didn't push very hard here, either. News that he'd tried and failed to find collusion didn't get into his own paper. It only came out when Woodward was promoting his book Fear in a discussion with conservative host Hugh Hewitt.

When Michael Cohen testified before congress and denied under oath ever being in Prague, it was the same. Few commercial news outlets bothered to take note of the implications this had for their previous reports. Would a man clinging to a plea deal lie to congress on national television about this issue?

There was a CNN story , but the rest of the coverage was all in conservative outlets – the National Review , Fox , The Daily Caller . The Washington Post's response was to run an editorial sneering at " How conservative media downplayed Michael Cohen's testimony ."

Perhaps worst of all was the episode involving Yahoo! reporter Michael Isikoff. He had already been part of one strange tale: the FBI double-dipping when it sought a FISA warrant to conduct secret surveillance of Carter Page, the would-be mastermind who was supposed to have brokered a deal with oligarch Sechin.

In its FISA application, the FBI included both the unconfirmed Steele report and Isikoff's September 23, 2016 Yahoo! story, " U.S. Intel Officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin ." The Isikoff story, which claimed Page had met with "high ranking sanctioned officials" in Russia, had relied upon Steele as an unnamed source.

This was similar to a laundering technique used in the WMD episode called "stove-piping," i.e. officials using the press to "confirm" information the officials themselves fed the reporter.

But there was virtually no non-conservative press about this problem apart from a Washington Post story pooh-poohing the issue. (Every news story that casts any doubt on the collusion issue seems to meet with an instantaneous "fact check" in the Post .) The Post insisted the FISA issue wasn't serious among other things because Steele was not the "foundation" of Isikoff's piece.

Isikoff was perhaps the reporter most familiar with Steele. He and Corn of Mother Jones , who also dealt with the ex-spy, wrote a bestselling book that relied upon theories from Steele, Russian Roulette , including a rumination on the "pee" episode. Yet Isikoff in late 2018 suddenly said he believed the Steele report would turn out to be " mostly false ."

Once again, this only came out via a podcast, John Ziegler's "Free Speech Broadcasting" show. Here's a transcript of the relevant section:

Isikoff: When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, you know, we have not seen the evidence to support them. And in fact there is good grounds to think some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven, and are likely false.

Ziegler: That's...

Isikoff: I think it's a mixed record at best at this point, things could change, Mueller may yet produce evidence that changes this calculation. But based on the public record at this point I have to say that most of the specific allegations have not been borne out.

Ziegler: That's interesting to hear you say that, Michael because as I'm sure you know, your book was kind of used to validate the pee tape, for lack of a better term.

Isikoff: Yeah. I think we had some evidence in there of an event that may have inspired the pee tape and that was the visit that Trump made with a number of characters who later showed up in Moscow, specifically Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone to this raunchy Las Vegas nightclub where one of the regular acts was a skit called "Hot For Teacher" in which dancers posing as college Co-Ed's urinated – or simulated urinating on their professor. Which struck me as an odd coincidence at best. I think, you know, it is not implausible that event may have inspired...

Ziegler: An urban legend?

Isikoff: ...allegations that appeared in the Steele dossier.

Isikoff delivered this story with a laughing tone. He seamlessly transitioned to what he then called the "real" point, i.e. "the irony is Steele may be right, but it wasn't the Kremlin that had sexual kompromat on Donald Trump, it was the National Enquirer. "

Recapping: the reporter who introduced Steele to the world (his September 23, 2016 story was the first to reference him as a source), who wrote a book that even he concedes was seen as "validating" the pee tape story, suddenly backtracks and says the whole thing may have been based on a Las Vegas strip act, but it doesn't matter because Stormy Daniels, etc.

Another story of this type involved a court case in which Webzilla and parent company XBT sued Steele and Buzzfeed over the mention their firm in one of the memos. It came out in court testimony that Steele had culled information about XBT/Webzilla from a 2009 post on CNN's "iReports" page .

Asked if he understood these posts came from random users and not CNN journalists who'd been fact-checked, Steele replied, " I do not ."

This comical detail was similar to news that the second British Mi6 dossier released just before the Iraq invasion had been plagiarized in part from a thirteen year-old student thesis from California State University, not even by intelligence people, but by mid-level functionaries in Tony Blair's press office.

There were so many profiles of Steele as an " astoundingly diligent " spymaster straight out of LeCarre : he was routinely described like a LeCarre-ian grinder like the legendary George Smiley, a man in the shadows whose bookish intensity was belied by his "average," "neutral," "quiet," demeanor, being "more low-key than Smiley." One would think it might have rated a mention that our "Smiley" was cutting and pasting text like a community college freshman. But the story barely made news.

This has been a consistent pattern throughout #Russiagate. Step one: salacious headline. Step two, days or weeks later: news emerges the story is shakier than first believed. Step three (in the best case) involves the story being walked back or retracted by the same publication.

That's been rare. More often, when explosive #Russiagate headlines go sideways, the original outlets simply ignore the new development, leaving the "retraction" process to conservative outlets that don't reach the original audiences.

This is a major structural flaw of the new fully-divided media landscape in which Republican media covers Democratic corruption and Democratic media covers Republican corruption. If neither "side" feels the need to disclose its own errors and inconsistencies, mistakes accumulate quickly.

This has been the main difference between Russiagate and the WMD affair. Despite David Remnick's post-invasion protestations that "nobody got [WMD] completely right," the Iraq war was launched against the objections of the 6 million or more people who did get it right, and protested on the streets . There was open skepticism of Bush claims dotting the press landscape from the start, with people like Jack Shafer tearing apart every Judith Miller story in print. Most reporters are Democrats and the people hawking the WMD story were mostly Republicans, so there was political space for protest.

Russiagate happened in an opposite context. If the story fell apart it would benefit Donald Trump politically, a fact that made a number of reporters queasy about coming forward. #Russiagate became synonymous with #Resistance, which made public skepticism a complicated proposition.

Early in the scandal, I appeared on To The Point, a California-based public radio show hosted by Warren Olney, with Corn of Mother Jones. I knew David a little and had been friendly with him. He once hosted a book event for me in Washington. In the program, however, the subject of getting facts right came up and Corn said this was not a time for reporters to be picking nits:

So Democrats getting overeager, overenthusiastic, stating things that may not be [unintelligible] true ? Well, tell me a political issue where that doesn't happen. I think that's looking at the wrong end of the telescope.

I wrote him later and suggested that since we're in the press, and not really about anything except avoiding "things that may not be true," maybe we had different responsibilities than "Democrats"? He wrote back:

Feel free to police the Trump opposition. But on the list of shit that needs to be covered these days, that's just not high on my personal list.

Other reporters spoke of an internal struggle. When the Mueller indictment of the Internet Research Agency was met with exultation in the media, New Yorker writer Adrian Chen, who broke the original IRA story, was hesitant to come forward with some mild qualms about the way the story was being reported:

"Either I could stay silent and allow the conversation to be dominated by those pumping up the Russian threat," he said, "or I could risk giving fodder to Trump and his allies."

After writing, " Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic ," poor Blake Hounsell of Politico took such a beating on social media, he ended up denouncing himself a year later.

"What I meant to write is, I wasn't skeptical," he said.

Years ago, in the midst of the WMD affair, Times public editor Daniel Okrent noted the paper's standard had moved from "Don't get it first, get it right" to "Get it first and get it right." From there, Okrent wrote , "the next devolution was an obvious one."

We're at that next devolution: first and wrong. The Russiagate era has so degraded journalism that even once "reputable" outlets are now only about as right as politicians, which is to say barely ever, and then only by accident.

Early on, I was so amazed by the sheer quantity of Russia "bombshells" being walked back, I started to keep a list. It's well above 50 stories now. As has been noted by Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept and others, if the mistakes were random, you'd expect them in both directions , but Russiagate errors uniformly go the same way.

In some cases the stories are only partly wrong, as in the case of the famed " 17 intelligence agencies said Russia was behind the hacking " story (it was actually four: the Director of National Intelligence "hand-picking" a team from the FBI, CIA, and NSA).

In other cases the stories were blunt false starts, resulting in ugly sets of matching headlines:

" Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility "

Washington Post, December 31, 2016.

" Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility "

Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2017.

" Trump Campaign Aides had repeated contacts with Russian Intelligence ," published by the Times on Valentine's Day, 2017, was an important, narrative-driving "bombshell" that looked dicey from the start. The piece didn't say whether the contact was witting or unwitting, whether the discussions were about business or politics, or what the contacts supposedly were at all.

Normally a reporter would want to know what the deal is before he or she runs a story accusing people of having dealings with foreign spies. "Witting" or "Unwitting" ought to be a huge distinction, for instance. It soon after came out that people like former CIA chief John Brennan don't think this is the case. "Frequently, people who are on a treasonous path do not know they're on a treasonous path," he said, speaking of Trump's circle.

This seemed a dangerous argument, the kind of thing that led to trouble in the McCarthy years. But let's say the contacts were serious. From a reporting point of view, you'd still need to know exactly what the nature of such contacts were before you run that story, because the headline implication is grave. Moreover you'd need to know it well enough to report it, i.e. it's not enough to be told a convincing story off-the-record, you need to be able to share with readers enough so that they can characterize the news themselves.

Not to the Times, which ran the article without the specifics. Months later, Comey blew up this "contacts" story in public, saying, " in the main, it was not true ."

As was the case with the "17 agencies" error, which only got fixed when Clapper testified in congress and was forced to make the correction under oath, the "repeated contacts" story was only disputed when Comey testified in congress, this time before the Senate Intelligence Committee . How many other errors of this type are waiting to be disclosed?

Even the mistakes caught were astounding. On December 1, 2017, ABC reporter Brian Ross claimed Trump "as a candidate" instructed Michael Flynn to contact Russia. The news caused the Dow to plummet 350 points. The story was retracted almost immediately and Ross was suspended .

Bloomberg reported Mueller subpoenaed Trump's Deutsche Bank accounts; the subpoenas turned out to be of other individuals' records. Fortune said C-SPAN was hacked after Russia Today programming briefly interrupted coverage of a Maxine Waters floor address. The New York Times also ran the story, and it's still up, despite C-SPAN insisting its own "internal routing error" likely caused the feed to appear in place of its own broadcast.

CNN has its own separate sub-list of wrecks. Three of the network's journalists resigned after a story purporting to tie Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund was retracted. Four more CNN reporters (Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus) were bylined in a story that claimed Comey was expected to refute Trump's claims he was told he wasn't the target of an investigation. Comey blew that one up, too.

In another CNN scoop gone awry, " Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents ," the network's reporters were off by ten days in a "bombshell" that supposedly proved the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Wikileaks dumps. "It's, uh, perhaps not as significant as what we know now," offered CNN's Manu Raju in a painful on-air retraction .

The worst stories were the ones never corrected. A particularly bad example is " After Florida School Shooting, Russian 'Bot' Army Pounced ," from the New York Times on Feb 18, 2018. The piece claimed Russians were trying to divide Americans on social media after a mass shooting using Twitter hashtags like #guncontrolnow, #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting.

The Times ran this quote high up:

"This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this," said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. "The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically."

About a year after this story came out, Times reporters Scott Shane and Ann Blinder reported that the same outfit, New Knowledge , and in particular that same Jonathon Morgan, had participated in a cockamamie scheme to fake Russian troll activity in an Alabama Senate race. The idea was to try to convince voters Russia preferred the Republican.

The Times quoted a New Knowledge internal report about the idiotic Alabama scheme:

We orchestrated an elaborate 'false flag' operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet

The Parkland story was iffy enough when it came out, as Twitter disputed it, and another of the main sources for the initial report, former intelligence official Clint Watts, subsequently said he was "not convinced" on the whole "bot thing."

But when one of your top sources turns out to have faked exactly the kind of activity described in your article, you should at least take the quote out, or put an update online. No luck: the story remains up on the Times site, without disclaimers.

Russiagate institutionalized one of the worst ethical loopholes in journalism, which used to be limited mainly to local crime reporting. It's always been a problem that we publish mugshots and names of people merely arrested but not yet found guilty. Those stories live forever online and even the acquitted end up permanently unable to get jobs, smeared as thieves, wife-beaters, drunk drivers, etc.

With Russiagate the national press abandoned any pretense that there's a difference between indictment and conviction. The most disturbing story involved Maria Butina. Here authorities and the press shared responsibility. Thanks to an indictment that initially said the Russian traded sex for favors, the Times and other outlets flooded the news cycle with breathless stories about a redheaded slut-temptress come to undermine democracy, a "real-life Red Sparrow," as ABC put it.

But a judge threw out the sex charge after "five minutes" when it turned out to be based on a single joke text to a friend who had taken Butina's car for inspection.

It's pretty hard to undo public perception you're a prostitute once it's been in a headline, and, worse, the headlines are still out there. You can still find stories like " Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Used Sex in Covert Plan " online in the New York Times.

Here a reporter might protest: how would I know? Prosecutors said she traded sex for money. Why shouldn't I believe them?

How about because, authorities have been lying their faces off to reporters since before electricity! It doesn't take much investigation to realize the main institutional sources in the Russiagate mess – the security services, mainly – have extensive records of deceiving the media.

As noted before, from World War I-era tales of striking union workers being German agents to the "missile gap" that wasn't (the "gap" was leaked to the press before the Soviets had even one operational ICBM) to the Gulf of Tonkin mess to all the smears of people like Martin Luther King, it's a wonder newspapers listen to whispers from government sources at all.

In the Reagan years National Security Adviser John Poindexter spread false stories about Libyan terrorist plots to The Wall Street Journal and other papers. In the Bush years, Dick Cheney et al were selling manure by the truckload about various connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, infamously including a story that bomber Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague.

The New York Times ran a story that Atta was in Prague in late October of 2001, even giving a date of the meeting with Iraqis, April 8, or "just five months before the terrorist attacks." The Prague story was another example of a tale that seemed shaky because American officials were putting the sourcing first on foreign intelligence, then on reporters themselves. Cheney cited the Prague report in subsequent TV appearances, one of many instances of feeding reporters tidbits and then selling reports as independent confirmation.

It wasn't until three years later, in 2004, that Times reporter James Risen definitively killed the Atta-in-Prague canard (why is it always Prague?) in a story entitled " No evidence of meeting with Iraqi ." By then, of course, it was too late. The Times also held a major dissenting piece by Risen about the WMD case, "C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure in Preparing Iraqi Reports," until days after war started. This is what happens when you start thumbing the scale.

This failure to demand specifics has been epidemic in Russiagate, even when good reporters have been involved. One of the biggest "revelations" of this era involved a story that was broken first by a terrible reporter (the Guardian's Luke Harding) and followed up by a good one (Jane Mayer of the New Yorker ). The key detail involved the elusive origin story of Russiagate.

Mayer's piece, the March 12, 2018 " Christopher Steele, the Man Behind The Trump Dossier " in the New Yorker , impacted the public mainly by seeming to bolster the credentials of the dossier author. But it contained an explosive nugget far down. Mayer reported Robert Hannigan, then-head of the GCHQ (the British analog to the NSA) intercepted a "stream of illicit communications" between "Trump's team and Moscow" at some point prior to August 2016. Hannigan flew to the U.S. and briefed CIA director John Brennan about these communications. Brennan later testified this inspired the original FBI investigation.

When I read that, a million questions came to mind, but first: what did "illicit" mean?

If something "illicit" had been captured by GCHQ, and this led to the FBI investigation (one of several conflicting public explanations for the start of the FBI probe, incidentally), this would go a long way toward clearing up the nature of the collusion charge. If they had something, why couldn't they tell us what it was? Why didn't we deserve to know?

I asked the Guardian: "Was any attempt made to find out what those communications were? How was the existence of these communications confirmed? Did anyone from the Guardian see or hear these intercepts, or transcripts?"

Their one-sentence reply:

The Guardian has strict and rigorous procedures when dealing with source material.

That's the kind of answer you'd expect from a transnational bank, or the army, not a newspaper.

I asked Mayer the same questions. She was more forthright, noting that, of course, the story had originally been broken by Harding , whose own report said "the precise nature of these exchanges has not been made public."

She added that "afterwards I independently confirmed aspects of [Harding's piece] with several well-informed sources," and "spent months on the Steele story [and] traveled to the UK twice for it." But, she wrote, "the Russiagate story, like all reporting on sensitive national security issues, is difficult."

I can only infer she couldn't find out what "illicit" meant despite proper effort. The detail was published anyway. It may not have seemed like a big deal, but I think it was.

To be clear, I don't necessarily disbelieve the idea that there were "illicit" contacts between Trump and Russians in early 2015 or before. But if there were such contacts, I can't think of any legitimate reason why their nature should be withheld from the public.

If authorities can share reasons for concern with foreign countries like Israel, why should American voters not be so entitled? Moreover the idea that we need to keep things secret to protect sources and methods and "tradecraft" (half the press corps became expert in goofy spy language over the last few years, using terms like "SIGINT" like they've known them their whole lives), why are we leaking news of our ability to hear Russian officials cheerin g Trump's win?

Failure to ask follow-up questions happened constantly with this story. One of the first reports that went sideways involved a similar dynamic: the contention that some leaked DNC emails were forgeries.

MSNBC's "Intelligence commentator" Malcolm Nance, perhaps the most enthusiastic source of questionable #Russiagate news this side of Twitter conspiracist Louise Mensch, tweeted on October 11, 2016: " #PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done."

As noted in The Intercept and elsewhere, this was re-reported by the likes of David Frum (a key member of the club that has now contributed to both the WMD and Russiagate panics) and MSNBC host Joy Reid . The reports didn't stop until roughly October of 2016, among other things because the Clinton campaign kept suggesting to reporters the emails were fake. This could have been stopped sooner if examples of a forgery had been demanded from the Clinton campaign earlier.

Another painful practice that became common was failing to confront your own sources when news dispositive to what they've told you pops up. The omnipresent Clapper told Chuck Todd on March 5, 2017, without equivocation, that there had been no FISA application involving Trump or his campaign. " I can deny it ," he said.

It soon after came out this wasn't true. The FBI had a FISA warrant on Carter Page. This was not a small misstatement by Clapper, because his appearance came a day after Trump claimed in a tweet he'd had his " wires tapped ." Trump was widely ridiculed for this claim, perhaps appropriately so, but in addition to the Page news, it later came out there had been a FISA warrant of Paul Manafort as well, during which time Trump may have been the subject of " incidental " surveillance.

Whether or not this was meaningful, or whether these warrants were justified, are separate questions. The important thing is, Clapper either lied to Todd, or else he somehow didn't know the FBI had obtained these warrants. The latter seems absurd and unlikely. Either way, Todd ought to been peeved and demanded an explanation. Instead, he had Clapper back on again within months and gave him the usual softball routine, never confronting him about the issue.

Reporters repeatedly got burned and didn't squawk about it. Where are the outraged stories about all the scads of anonymous "people familiar with the matter" who put reporters in awkward spots in the last years? Why isn't McClatchy demanding the heads of whatever "four people with knowledge" convinced them to double down on the Cohen-in-Prague story ?

Why isn't every reporter who used "New Knowledge" as a source about salacious Russian troll stories out for their heads (or the heads of the congressional sources who passed this stuff on), after reports they faked Russian trolling? How is it possible NBC and other outlets continued to use New Knowledge as a source in stories identifying antiwar Democrat Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian-backed candidate?

How do the Guardian's editors not already have Harding's head in a vice for hanging them out to dry on the most dubious un-retracted story in modern history – the tale that the most watched human on earth, Julian Assange, had somehow been visited in the Ecuadorian embassy by Paul Manafort without leaving any record? I'd be dragging Harding's "well placed source" into the office and beating him with a hose until he handed them something that would pass for corroborating evidence.

The lack of blowback over episodes in which reporters were put in public compromised situations speaks to the overly cozy relationships outlets had with official sources. Too often, it felt like a team effort, where reporters seemed to think it was their duty to take the weight if sources pushed them to overreach. They had absolutely no sense of institutional self-esteem about this.

Being on any team is a bad look for the press, but the press being on team FBI/CIA is an atrocity, Trump or no Trump. Why bother having a press corps at all if you're going to go that route?

This posture all been couched as anti-Trump solidarity, but really, did former CIA chief John Brennan – the same Brennan who should himself have faced charges for lying to congress about hacking the computers of Senate staff – need the press to whine on his behalf when Trump yanked his security clearance? Did we need the press to hum Aretha Franklin tunes, as ABC did, and chide Trump for lacking R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the CIA? We don't have better things to do than that "work"?

This catalogue of factual errors and slavish stenography will stand out when future analysts look back at why the "MSM" became a joke during this period, but they were only a symptom of a larger problem. The bigger issue was a radical change in approach.

A lot of #Russiagate coverage became straight-up conspiracy theory, what Baker politely called "connecting the dots ." This was allowed because the press committed to a collusion narrative from the start, giving everyone cover to indulge in behaviors that would never be permitted in normal times.

Such was the case with Jonathan Chait's #Russiagate opus , "PRUMP TUTIN: Will Trump be Meeting With his Counterpart – or his Handler?" The story was also pitched as "What if Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987," which recalls the joke from The Wire: " Yo, Herc, what if your mother and father never met ?" What if isn't a good place to be in this business.

This cover story (!) in New York magazine was released in advance of a planned "face-to-face" summit between Trump and Putin, and posited Trump had been under Russian control for decades. Chait noted Trump visited the Soviet Union in 1987 and came back "fired up with political ambition." He offered the possibility that this was a coincidence, but added:

Indeed, it seems slightly insane to contemplate the possibility that a secret relationship between Trump and Russia dates back this far. But it can't be dismissed completely.

I searched the Chait article up and down for reporting that would justify the suggestion Trump had been a Russian agent dating back to the late eighties, when, not that it matters, Russia was a different country called the Soviet Union.

Only two facts in the piece could conceivably have been used to support the thesis: Trump met with a visiting Soviet official in 1986, and visited the Soviet Union in 1987. That's it. That's your cover story.

Worse, Chait's theory was first espoused in Lyndon Larouche's " Elephants and Donkeys " newsletter in 1987, under a headline, "Do Russians have a Trump card?" This is barrel-scraping writ large.

It's a mania. Putin is literally in our underpants. Maybe, if we're lucky, New York might someday admit its report claiming Russians set up an anti-masturbation hotline to trap and blackmail random Americans is suspicious, not just because it seems absurd on its face, but because its source is the same "New Knowledge" group that admitted to faking Russian influence operations in Alabama.

But what retraction is possible for the Washington Post headline, " How will Democrats cope if Putin starts playing dirty tricks for Bernie Sanders (again )?" How to reverse Rachel Maddow's spiel about Russia perhaps shutting down heat across America during a cold wave? There's no correction for McCarthyism and fearmongering.

This ultimately will be the endgame of the Russia charade. They will almost certainly never find anything like the wild charges and Manchurian Candidate theories elucidated in the Steele report. But the years of panic over the events of 2016 will lead to radical changes in everything from press regulation to foreign policy, just as the WMD canard led to torture, warrantless surveillance, rendition, drone assassination, secret budgets and open-ended, undeclared wars from Somalia to Niger to Syria. The screw-ups will be forgotten, but accelerated vigilance will remain.

It's hard to know what policy changes are appropriate because the reporting on everything involving the Russian threat in the last two to three years has been so unreliable.

I didn't really address the case that Russia hacked the DNC, content to stipulate it for now. I was told early on that this piece of the story seemed "solid," but even that assertion has remained un-bolstered since then, still based on an " assessment " by the intelligence services that always had issues, including the use of things like RT's "anti-American" coverage of fracking as part of its case. The government didn't even examine the DNC's server, the kind of detail that used to make reporters nervous.

We won't know how much of any of this to take seriously until the press gets out of bed with the security services and looks at this whole series of events all over again with fresh eyes, as journalists, not political actors. That means being open to asking what went wrong with this story, in addition to focusing so much energy on Trump and Russia.

The WMD mess had massive real-world negative impact, leading to over a hundred thousand deaths and trillions in lost taxpayer dollars. Unless Russiagate leads to a nuclear conflict, we're unlikely to ever see that level of consequence.

Still, Russiagate has led to unprecedented cooperation between the government and Internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, all of which are censoring pages on the left, right, and in between in the name of preventing the "sowing of discord." The story also had a profound impact on the situation in places like Syria, where Russian and American troops have sat across the Euphrates River from one another, two amped-up nuclear powers at a crossroads.

As a purely journalistic failure, however, WMD was a pimple compared to Russiagate. The sheer scale of the errors and exaggerations this time around dwarfs the last mess. Worse, it's led to most journalists accepting a radical change in mission. We've become sides-choosers, obliterating the concept of the press as an independent institution whose primary role is sorting fact and fiction.

We had the sense to eventually look inward a little in the WMD affair, which is the only reason we escaped that episode with any audience left. Is the press even capable of that kind of self-awareness now? WMD damaged our reputation. If we don't turn things around, this story will destroy it


motherjones , 31 minutes ago link

Taibbi is spot on, and in depth with this writing. The main stream media sold Americans on the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Almost 2 decades later, we have spent 6 trillion dollars, 8 millions lives have been lost, and millions of refugees have flooded out of those countries, causing instability in Europe and beyond. For the past 2 years, 24/7, we have not been able to escape the claims of Russiagate. He does not mention how the very same media gave Trump 24/7 coverage long before he was elected, and in fact this free publicity, is probably why Trump is in the White House today. Without the constant press coverage of his campaign, coverage that was not provided to other candidates, he would most likely not have found his way to the White House. Taibbi does not go on to tell us what the motivation of the press is, or what he thinks can be done. News shows in the US have become little more than entertainment. Many of us no longer rely on main stream press for any real news. The mass media has become irrelevant at it's best, and dangerous, at it's worst. The driving force behind the so called news today, is the advertising dollars, and the politics of the owners of the networks. How can we have a "free press" when just a few individuals own all the major news outlets? We are not going to get the real news on tv of from the big newspapers, as long as the power is in the hands of a few rich and powerful individuals, who decide what is news.

southpaw47 , 50 minutes ago link

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" - Alexander Pope

The rash or inexperienced will attempt things that wiser people are more cautious of.

Finally the libs will agree that guns do have their place in society. These crazy zealots may just blow their own brains out or just find the nearest cliff. Ace Hardware is loading up on rope.

hooligan2009 , 1 hour ago link

hmmm....just imagine if - sleyers money contribution fo impeach trump was turned into a movie where a "sponsor" drew up a hit list of batshit crazy MSM "personalities" to include late night "comfuckedupedians"

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-04-25/billionaire-tom-steyer-s-quest-to-impeach-trump

PerilouseTimes , 1 hour ago link

Even if you were stupid enough to believe Trump was getting dirt on Hillary from the Russians, what is wrong with that? Is there a law against that? Why is it OK for Obama and the FBI to get away with wiretapping Trump during the election? Why is it OK for NSA to wiretap All Americans and store all their conversations and internet traffic on hard drives?

foxenburg , 1 hour ago link

Steele, Orbis, Pablo Miller, Salisbury, Porton Down, golden-shower dossier supposedly written by a native Russian speaker with an intelligence background....it all makes me wonder what happened to Skripal.

hooligan2009 , 1 hour ago link

"Skripalgate" is suppressed by UK law. All russians are evil in the UK. The fact that (as with tony Bliar and yellowcake Iraq) any sitting government can prosecute another country without a trial, witnesses or evidence - as in the Skripals and within the FUKUS cabal that bombed syria because of - "chlorine barrel bomb attacks on civilians" who later showed up unscathed in Den Haag.

UK governments cannot be held to account for their actions domestically or overseas.

motherjones , 1 hour ago link

Both parties have been playing up the threat from Russia for decades. The Military Industrial Complex was built on creating fear about the possibility of war with Russian. The military industrial complex owns Congress, so of course Congress is going to play up this threat. " The reason why media is working so hard to create the impression that Russia is actively conspiring against is because conflict with the former Soviet Union is good for business." We can expect this to continue in one form or another. If Americans were not afraid of Russia, we would not support a defense budget that is equal to all other countries in the world combined.

https://www.wakingtimes.com/2016/08/30/defense-contractors-tell-investors-world-war-iii-great-for-business/?fbclid=IwAR0rSFD3EPOgCd_dohnRg_4W1VUMcu-u33PBi9LW8Pdcv4F4pL4_MTXU31c

devnickle , 1 hour ago link

Put a sock in it. You should be embarrassed to even comment.

motherjones , 1 hour ago link

Right. The depth of your analysis is impressive. You seem to have an unlimited knowledge of world and national affairs too. Other than some stalking tendencies, why do you post on ZH? You don't really seem to have any interest in the content, or the discussion.

Bricker , 2 hours ago link

The head of the pin starts with OBAMA

I dont want to type up everything that led me to believe this. But the racism, his empathy towards certain muslims groups and how he treated the war, the prisoner release, the sailors broadcasted on tv about drifting into territorial waters, I mean it was so obvious how he felt about America.

Pile on his efforts to interfere in the election and eavesdrop, unmasking with Hillary getting and receiving emails from her home brew server not to mention her foundation pulling in 145 million from Russia.

The CIA is sickening to what has developed over the last 20 years

blind_understanding , 2 hours ago link

Taibbi: 'Russiagate' Is This Generation's WMD

Blind: If so, it just means it will not be reported on in the MainStream Media(MSM) and soon forgotten.

The same people who own the private central bank and currency, also own the MSM, and they control the narrative on ALL TOPICS. And control of narrative mean control of what people think.

Control of money and mind means TOTAL control of a country.

Nothing will change until control of minds is returned to the people, then issuance of currency can be returned to the government.

Alex Jones' of Infowars got it right when he said "There's a war on for your mind!" ... even though he became a turncoat himself, soon after.

SnottyBubbles , 2 hours ago link

Hillary lost a freaking election. After almost 3 freaking years of coup d'état the left deserves mocking humiliation. Mock them ruthlessly. Never, ever let them forget the horrible thing that they did.

Never stop making fun of them and reminding them how stupid and crazy they acted during this humiliating period of US history. Never let them forget what they did to the nation or what they cost us all. Never let Democrats forget how much time and energy they wasted, how very, very wrong they were.

Every politician, every media figure, every Twitter pundit and everyone who swallowed this moronic load of Russia! Russia! Russia! has utterly discredited themselves for life. They executed and failed to accomplish a coup d'état. These are the very last people anyone should ever listen to ever again when determining the future direction of our world or an ice cream truck.

Refuse them, laugh at them, ignore them. They earned it and deserve nothing but the greatest disdain.

devnickle , 1 hour ago link

Revenge is best served cold. I am dishing out in buckets to the retards.

artistant , 2 hours ago link

Russia is an IMPEDIMENT to APARTHEID Israhell's design for the region .

Without Russia, ASSAD would be long gone and IRAN would have been bombed to oblivion, and Greater Israhell would have been fulfilled and ruling over the MidEast.

In other words, Russiagate is simply PAYBACK .

youshallnotkill , 2 hours ago link

There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn't.

Of course there isn't. But this doesn't mean that a prosecutor like Mueller can prove this beyond any reasonable doubt. In fact it is quite likely that he cannot. The only charge that should be fairly easy to establish is obstruction of justice.

Without knowing what is in the report, Taibbi really jumps the gun here. Especially given the comparison to WMDs.

I knew there were no WMDs in Iraq before the invasion because I followed, and chose to believe, a credible diplomat like Hans Blix over the dog and pony show that Colin Powell put on. But WMDs are very tangible you either find the hardware or you do not. Yet, what Putin and Trump discuss without a single other American in the room nobody knows but the Kremlin and Trump.

Amy G. Dala , 2 hours ago link

Um, they talked about grandchildren and golf. MSM bought that about Bill and Loretta.

youshallnotkill , 2 hours ago link

At least Loretta probably did not aspire to bring the US to its knees.

Amy G. Dala , 2 hours ago link

Then I guess you didn't catch her "blood in the streets" speech.

youshallnotkill , 2 hours ago link

Original quote:

"It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference.

They've marched, they've bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again ."

Hardly the call for violent civil war at which it has been portrayed.

hanekhw , 2 hours ago link

The most coiffed, manicured, made up sacks of **** ever to glorify the airwaves tell US what THEY think and get paid handsome salaries for their effort to overthrow the American system. Freedom of Speech? That'll be gone in a heartbeat if THEY get power. We have an obligation to not just protect it but a greater one to preserve it.

Tunga , 2 hours ago link

"I didn't really address the case that Russia hacked the DNC, content to stipulate it for now." - exce

The State Department paused its investigation of the Secretary's emails so as not to interfere with the Mueller investigation. Here we see Taibbi writes an exhaustive condemnation of the Western press while leaving out the very crux of the story, the very source of the stolen DNC emails was Clapper and Brennan pretending to be Guccifer 2.0.

Pitiful attempt at redemption there Matt. Seriously, go **** your self.

"After reading several articles, it seemed clear that key difficulties for Russians communicating in English include: definite and indefinite articles, the use of presuppositions and correct usage of say/tell and said/told. Throughout 2017, I constructed a corpus of Guccifer 2.0's communications and analyzed the frequency of different types of mistakes. The results of this work corroborate Professor Connolly's assessment.

Overall, it appears Guccifer 2.0 could communicate in English quite well but chose to use inconsistently broken English at times in order to give the impression that it wasn't his primary language. The manner in which Guccifer 2.0's English was broken, did not follow the typical errors one would expect if Guccifer 2.0's first language was Russian.

To date, Connolly's language study has not drawn any significant objections or criticism."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-25/guccifer-20-game-over-year-end-review-0

Amy G. Dala , 2 hours ago link

Here's the goddam thing IMO. There is this thing called freedom of the press, it's constitutionally protected, no different than the right to bear arms.

But just because I have the right to carry an M+A 9mm around, that doesn't mean I can point it at the guy who cut me off in traffic. In that case, I go to jail.

For almost three years now, I've been hearing "bombshell" after unsourced "bombshell" from CNN/MSNBC/WaPo/NPR/NYT et. al. Here's how it usually goes:

And now let's turn to our panel of experts to "unpack" this latest revelation . . .

These people have criminally abused their rights, and those rights need to be taken away.

Otschelnik,

If Rachel Maddow, Chris Mathews, Judy Woodruff, Chuck Todd, Anderson Cooper, Brian Stelter, Chris Hayes, Mika Brzezinski, Don Lemon, Alysin Camerota, Lawrence O'Donnell had the slightest inkling of professional integrity, and human conscience - they'd commit seppuku on national live TeeVee to restore their honor.

A rope leash, 3 hours ago

In his effort to cleanse himself of the slimy residue of his profession, Tiabbi has written a fine piece here, a nice little documentation of press collusion with government spooks and political operatives.

If a little honest reporting will offer some redemption to damned journalists, his name was Seth Rich.

hooligan2009, 3 hours ago

don't forget that Obama was PERSONALLY and DIRECTLY involved in all aspects of Russiagate.

read between these lines

On Oct. 14, 2016, Page again wrote to McCabe, this time concerning a meeting with the White House.

"Just called," Page said to McCabe. "Apparently the DAG [Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates] now wants to be there, and WH wants DOJ to host. So we are setting that up now. ... We will very much need to get Cohen's view before we meet with her. Better, have him weigh in with her before the meeting. We need to speak with one voice, if that is in fact the case."

newworldorder, 3 hours ago

The simple truth here is that most Americans no longer have any critical thinking skills, - all media realized this a long time ago, and catered to their audience.

The Benjamin Franklin famous quote in answer to the question of "what kind of government have you given us?" rings very hollow after 240+ years. The "Republic" exists in name only, because its people have not protected it, after the passing of the WW2 generation.

Unrestricted, open borders invasion disguised as alleged migration, and the legalization of an eventual 100+ million new "migrant" voters will be the final nail on the coffin of the US Republic by 2030.

Mob rule will finally destroy the greatest Republic ever conceived by the mind of men.

Mike Rotsch, 3 hours ago (Edited)

If "open borders" is your measuring stick on Americans' critical-thinking skills, then where does that place Europeans? They actually have them officially.

Paracelsus, 3 hours ago

Someday I hope that Hillary has to be rolled up to testify about the Benghazi business. Grab the guns and the gold (and the oil). Ukraine gold: check. Libyan gold and weapons: check.

Ghaddafi actually warned the west that after him would come a deluge of illegals (okay refugees: young males, black, often Islamic, with little respect for women or experience with western society).

While I have reservations about Trump and his policies, the MSM owe him a huge mea culpa.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] Disney, Militarization and the National Security State After 9-11 by Henry A Giroux

Notable quotes:
"... In these shorts, Hitler is depicted as waging a mind-control campaign over the German people based on the manipulation of emotions such as anger, love, fear, sympathy, pride, and hate, while also occasionally employing force, regimentation, depravation, and false rewards. ..."
"... Demonizing the enemy, according to Disney historian Leonard Maltin, "relieves aggression." ..."
Aug 23, 2011 | Truthout

At the onset of World War II, Walt Disney was not alone in his belief that film should play a dominant role in the teaching process or, as he claimed, in "molding opinion."7 He was, however, at the forefront of a movement to recognize a "new aspect of the use of films in war": training industrial workers and soldiers.8 Some historians try to account for Disney's participation in generating military propaganda by claiming that the studios were "taken over by the military as part of the war effort"9 on December 8, 1941. But Richard Shale has meticulously documented Disney's much earlier attempts to court contracts with the aircraft industry, the U.S. Council of National Defense, and Canadian military supporters.10 Indeed, despite a "popular (and frequently quoted) misconception" that the relationship between Disney Studios and the U.S. military was "unexpected or unsolicited," Shale observes an explicit shift in Disney's focus from "entertainment values to teaching values" that occurred before Disney acquired his first U.S. military contracts in December 1941.11 For instance, in 1940 Disney approached the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation with the idea of generating a training film on flush riveting. And in the spring of 1941, with Canada already engaged in war, Disney convinced the commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada, John Grierson, that animated films were better positioned as teaching tools than documentary films because of their "capacity for simplifying the presentation of pedagogical problems."12 Grierson then bought the Canadian rights to Four Methods of Flush Riveting and commissioned Disney to produce an instructional film that taught soldiers how to use an antitank rifle and four short films that encouraged Canadians to purchase war savings certificates.

Then, in the fall of 1941, Walt Disney toured South America at the bequest of the U.S. Office of Inter-American affairs, which was attempting to establish good relations and "hemispheric unity as explicated in Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy."13 With material collected on the trip, Disney proceeded to generate two feature films, Saludos Amigos (1943) and The Three Caballeros (1945), both intended to celebrate Latin American culture while accentuating its similarities with North American culture (and downplaying or ignoring issues like national politics and poverty).14 Born out of U.S. fear of a Nazi alliance with countries like Argentina, the films aimed to "enhance the Latin American image in the United States," while also "enhanc[ing] America's appreciation of Latin American Everymen."15 Yet, in making The Three Caballeros palatable to white Middle America and American imperialism less threatening to southerners, Disney more often than not caricatures Latin American culture as a voluptuous, exotic female who is fleeing the attentions of a libidinous, but comically ineffectual Donald Duck.16 There is little doubt that a relationship between Disney Studios and the U.S. government had been fully cemented by 1943, when 94 percent of the footage produced by Disney was under government contract.17

From 1941 to 1945, the Disney Studios produced dozens of short educational films, with their subjects ranging from aircraft and warship identification to dental hygiene to the household conservation of cooking oil for the making of military weapons. The studio also produced a number of anti-Nazi short films, including Der Fuehrer's Face (1943), Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943), and Reason and Emotion (1943), two of which were nominated for Academy Awards. In these shorts, Hitler is depicted as waging a mind-control campaign over the German people based on the manipulation of emotions such as anger, love, fear, sympathy, pride, and hate, while also occasionally employing force, regimentation, depravation, and false rewards. Of course, the success of the films' efforts to expose Nazi propaganda overwhelmingly relies on the use of comic devices, caricatures, and stereotypes to make Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito seem irrational and absurd.

Demonizing the enemy, according to Disney historian Leonard Maltin, "relieves aggression."18 This claim, suggesting that the films function to disperse rather than focus emotional energy, clearly sidesteps the multiple ways in which the films, much like the propaganda they critique, attempt to shape their audience's emotional responses, such as when Donald Duck, clad in starred-and-striped pajamas, croons to the Statue of Liberty, "Oh, boy, am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!" Most significant about the techniques used by these Disney shorts is how they embody animation's capacity to draw clear, simple lines and present a selective representation of an otherwise complex reality. Through the use of comedy and comedic violence, in particular, Disney films are often released from the expectation that they might be attempting to do more than entertain.

Viewers wooed by animation's unique capacity to create novel images through exaggeration, distortion, and aesthetic style are easily absorbed into an imaginary world that quite deliberately focuses their eyes on a constructed reality to the exclusion of other possibilities. The value of the anti-Nazi short films for today's audiences lies in their obvious attempt to win the hearts and minds of American viewers through clever visual and ideological manipulation, while ironically issuing repeated warnings to viewers not to allow emotion to short-circuit their critical faculties. A historical perspective on the subject matter sets in relief how Disney's critique of propaganda using the medium of animation inevitably ventures into the realm of propaganda itself.

Also Read: Truthout's Book Review of "The Mouse That Roared"

And, Also See: "How Disney Magic and the Corporate Media Shape Youth Identity in the Digital Age"

During the war, a significant number of the studio's resources were devoted to making another feature-length propaganda film, Victory through Air Power (1943). The film, based in part on a book written by Major Alexander P. De Seversky, advocates the development of airplane and weapons technology as the means to win the war against the Axis powers. We are told the airplane will not only "revolutionize warfare" but is "the only weapon of war to develop such usefulness during peacetime." Dramatic music punctuates scenes that explore new models of airplanes with increased bombing potential. The United States as the "arsenal of democracy" is represented as a giant heart comprising factories that pump "war supplies" through "the arteries of our transport lines over distances that actually girdle the globe." This organic, humanizing image of "the great industrial heart of America" contrasts with the mechanical image of a spoked wheel used to represent the Nazi war industries, which are also vividly portrayed in dark reds and blacks suggestive of a hellish inferno. Japan is represented as a deadly, black octopus extending its "greedy tentacles" over its "stolen empire." We are told of the necessity for U.S. long-range bombers to strike at "the heart and vitals of the beast." With the lethal combination of the "superior" American "science of aviation" and "science of demolition," the "enemy lies hopelessly exposed to systematic destruction." At the same time, the film announces that "scientific bombing" will enable a "minimum investment in human lives," an oddly ambiguous use of language suggestive of two possible meanings in the context in which it appears: the assertion that aerial bombing of enemy territories requires a "minimum investment" of American soldiers and, what is both more sinister and perhaps in need of such coded language, the claim that bombing the enemy entails such "total destruction" that no human lives requiring "investment" will be left in its wake. Indeed, the film's climax consists of a montage of exploding bombs among Japanese cities and factories, which begin curiously unpopulated and end utterly annihilated. At the pinnacle of the climactic violence, the screen resolves into an image of a bald eagle descending upon and crushing the land-ridden octopus, which then dissolves into a dark cloud of smoke rising above Japan as "America the Beautiful" plays in the background.

Walt Disney believed that Victory through Air Power convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support to long-range bombing.19 For a contemporary viewer who has the benefit of hindsight, the unquestioned propaganda offered by Victory through Air Power leaves one with the eerie feeling that the perspective being shaped by the film would not only fail to question the use of technology such as the atomic bomb but even wholeheartedly celebrate it as the quickest and most effective way to win the war. Indeed, it is precisely the film's unflinching support of the development of bigger and better bombing technology, from small hand-dropped bombs to ten-ton delayed-action bombs and armor-piercing bomb rockets, that might seem most disturbing given the devastating effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the postwar escalation of arms development during the Cold War and the ongoing expansion of the military-industrial complex in the United States.20 But Walt Disney did not just support the development of larger weapons; he was a firm supporter of what might be called the atomic age and made the classic 1956 propaganda film Our Friend the Atom, which was also produced as a book and appeared as an atomic submarine ride in the Tomorrowland section of Disney's Magic Kingdom. In this instance, as Mark Langer points out, Our Friend the Atom was designed to "counter opposition to the military use of atomic weaponry."21 The Magic Kingdom became an outpost for leading young people and adults to believe that an "Atomic reactor . . . is like a big furnace. An atomic chain reaction is likened to what happens when a stray ping-pong ball is thrown at a mass of mousetraps with ping-pong balls set on each one."22 Disney played a formidable role in convincing every school child that atomic energy was central not merely to winning the Cold War but also to preparing them for a future that would be dominated by the United States and its use of new energy sources, which incidentally could be instrumental in elevating the United States to the position of the world's preeminent military power. Mouse power easily and readily made the shift to celebrating atomic power and militarism while enlarging Disney's role as a major purveyor of propaganda.

The Disney films discussed above alert us to the fact that Disney animators honed their skills and gained widespread popular appeal in the 1940s by first producing propaganda films for the U.S. government. This often neglected reality underlying Disney's origins as a cultural entertainment icon should make us all the more careful to heed Janet Wasko's warning that Disney encodes preferred readings of both its animated films and its own brand image to such an extent that "one of the most amazing aspects of the Disney phenomenon is the consistently uniform understanding of the essence of 'Disney.'"23

Attuned to Disney's willingness to assume an overt pedagogical role during World War II, several critics of a more recent Disney film, Aladdin (1992), noted that the timing of the film's production and release coincided with U.S. military efforts in the Persian Gulf war. According to Christiane Staninger, Aladdin is "a propaganda movie for Western imperialism" that "shows the supposed unworkability of Middle Eastern traditions and the need for American intervention."24 Dianne Sachko Macleod takes this critique a step further, suggesting a link between Disney's "revival of British and French colonial stereotypes of Arab traders, fanatics, and beauties" and the "storehouse of racial and cultural images" used by the Pentagon to justify the war.25 Macleod notes that regardless of the filmmakers' intentions, the film had the general effect of "privileging the American myths of freedom and innocence at a time of nationalist fervor."26 Other connections between the film and the first Iraq war are not especially subtle: in addition to locating Aladdin in the fictional city of "Agrabah," it makes the villainous Grand Vizier Jafar look like a combination of Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini, while the two young heroes, Aladdin and Jasmine, not only look American-Disney animators made it publicly known that Aladdin was modeled after Tom Cruise27-but also, as Brenda Ayres suggests, display their heroism by "contesting (and changing) Arabian law and Islamic religious tradition."28 While it is impossible to discern the actual motives of the Disney animators, it is equally impossible to ignore the cultural context in which the American public viewed Aladdin. At the time of the film's release, the dominant media were aggressively promoting similar images of liberation from barbaric traditions in order to justify the United States' "right to intervene in Middle Eastern politics."29

Disney's Conservative Path

Despite the well-documented history of collaboration between the Walt Disney Company and U.S. military and state institutions, Disney has more recently claimed to have no interest in politics. How Disney's decision in May 2004 to block its Miramax division from distributing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 might qualify as a nonpolitical gesture is uncertain. At the time, a senior executive stated that "it's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle."30 Not only were a number of Disney's top executives known to be campaign contributors to the George W. Bush administration,31 but then CEO Michael Eisner was reported to have said that any criticism of the Bush administration might "endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor."32 Miramax arranged privately to buy Moore's film and distribute it independently, and in 2005, the founders of Miramax, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, did not renew their contracts with Disney.33

As suggested above, the company's alleged desire to remain outside politics contradicts the reality of Disney's historical pattern of intervening in political matters. It is hardly surprising, then, that in the wake of the unprecedented success of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary, Disney/ABC decided to produce its own account of the events leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. A $40 million miniseries titled The Path to 9/11, originally touted as a docudrama "based on the 9/11 Commission Report" and later as the "official true story," constituted a blatant political move on the part of Disney/ABC.34 In addition, Scholastic, Inc., the educational distribution partner for Disney/ABC, sent one hundred thousand letters to high school teachers across the United States encouraging them to use The Path to 9/11 in the classroom curriculum and directing them to online study guides.35

The miniseries was billed by its self-labeled conservative writer Cyrus Nowrasteh as an "objective telling of the events of 9/11"36 but faced severe criticism for its partisan depiction of events and actors. The Path to 9/11, directed by evangelical Christian filmmaker David Cunningham,37 depicted members of the Bill Clinton administration as totally incompetent, having repeatedly ignored opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden and overlooked warnings of an incipient attack before September 11, 2001. When prescreened to a select number of film reviewers before it aired on television, the miniseries was received with skepticism and outrage, not merely from Democrats and Clinton supporters. Robert Cressey, a top counterterrorism official to both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, argued that a scene depicting the Clinton administration's refusal to pursue bin Laden was "something straight out of Disney and fantasyland. It's factually wrong. And that's shameful."38 Nearly one hundred thousand readers of the online journal Think Progress sent protest letters to Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, stating that the film inaccurately "places primary responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration."39 According to Tom Shales, writing for the Washington Post, the miniseries qualified as an "assault on truth."40 Shales added, "Blunderingly, ABC executives cast doubt on their own film's veracity when they made advance copies available to such political conservatives as Rush Limbaugh but not to Democrats who reportedly requested the same treatment. . . . Democrats have a right to be suspicious of any product of the conservative-minded Walt Disney Co."41 A group of academic historians led by Arthur M. Schlesinger sent a letter to ABC calling for the network to "halt the show's broadcast and prevent misinforming Americans about their history."42

The film presents a number of clichéd stereotypes of "big government" and bureaucratic incompetence, depicting paper-pushing officials as woefully indecisive at crucial moments, primarily because they are too self-interested to put their necks on the line. Clinton, for example, is represented as not wanting to issue orders for military action against al-Qaeda because he's too worried about the effect such decisions might have on the polls, that is, when he is not caught up in dealing with the fallout from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In one scene, General Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, which waits for U.S. approval to go after bin Laden, asks in a scornful tone, "Are there any men left in Washington?" Individuals working on the ground who buck procedure and orders from their superiors are, by contrast, willing to "take the heat." So, apparently, is George W. Bush, whose decisiveness in giving a strike-down order to the military after the 9/11 attacks really functions as the climax of the whole miniseries. One could imagine Bush political supporters cheering as this scene unfolded: finally, they could rest assured that there was a real man in Washington. Meanwhile, several FBI and U.S. customs agents recognize the nature of the "new kind of war" being waged against America, and their appeals to racial profiling and domestic spying appear justified in the film. For example, in a brief dialogue, one FBI agent states, "Americans have the right to be protected from domestic spying," and the central protagonist of the film, FBI counterterrorism agent John O'Neil (portrayed by Harvey Keitel), replies, "Do they have the right to be killed by terrorists?" Heroic individuals such as O'Neil are willing to bypass "red tape" and stand in stark contrast to (1) politicians who are too worried about public opinion not to bow to the pressures of "political correctness," (2) uncooperative CIA officials who jealously guard intelligence when they are not mindlessly adhering to obsolete federal legislation that protects individuals' rights, and (3) various utterly casual security officials and workers who would rather appease suspicious-looking members of the public than be confronted with a situation that might embroil them in conflict. And that is not all. The film contrasts the coolness of John O'Neil's astute judgments with the irrationality of emotionally overwrought women, such as the ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine (Patricia Heaton), and the fanatic zeal of the terrorists. In fact, many of the characters who represent terrorists such as Mohamed Atta (Martin Brody) and Ramzi Yousef (Nabil Elouahabi) share the same intense stare, bristly mustache, and swarthy skin exhibited by Hitler in Disney's World War II propaganda films. While it might be possible for a viewer to overlook insipid dialogue, fallacious logic, melodrama, and weak narrative structure, it is virtually impossible to ignore the film's use of racist and sexist stereotypes to lend legitimacy to all the standard bogeys of extreme right-wing ideology. And, most importantly, there remains the film's utterly deceptive self-presentation as a historically accurate depiction of events. Even lead actor Harvey Keitel told a CNN interviewer prior to the airing of the miniseries,

I had questions about certain events-material I was given in The Path to 9/11 that I did raise questions about. . . . Not all the facts were correct. . . . You cannot cross the line from a conflation of events to a distortion of the event. No. Where we have distorted something, we made a mistake, and that should be corrected. It can be corrected, by the people getting involved in the story that they are going to see.43

In response to the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11, Scholastic, Inc., announced that its online study guide did not meet the company's "high standards for dealing with controversial issues" and would be replaced with new materials that would focus more on media literacy and critical thinking.44 ABC also responded to protests by broadcasting disclaimers about the miniseries's "fictionalized" representation while airing a minimally reedited version on September 10 and 11, 2006. But ABC's rather inexplicable decision to air the broadcast without commercials-entailing a loss of $40 million45-fostered an illusion of the film's closer proximity to real life, if not also conveying the impression that it was a public service announcement. Most significantly, the broadcast that aired on the second night was framed by a strategic interruption-George W. Bush's Address to the Nation-prompting one journalist to note the "thematic synchronicity," as the president's speech called for ongoing support for the war on terror.46 It is difficult to deny the political synergy suggested by the combination of the rightwing The Path to 9/11 and Bush's speech-synergy being a profitdriven marketing strategy by no means unfamiliar to a megacorporation like Disney47-as Bush appealed to Americans to recognize the ongoing threat of terrorism and the necessity of preemptive action as the only way to safeguard "advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism."48 When placed in the context of the film, Bush's success could be measured in terms of how the post9/11 decisions made by his government succeeded where Clinton's administration apparently had failed. Furthermore, the timely juxtaposition allowed the film to gain a greater veneer of authenticity from the speech's presentation of topical and really existing political concerns, while the film in turn provided credible images and points of reference for listeners trying to engage the highly rhetorical, often self-referential use of language characteristic of Bush's speech. Additionally, the blurring of fact and fiction embodied by the film lent to the speech the mythic or symbolic power generated by extended narrative, and the grandeur of the presidential address added authority to the film.

As a context for Bush's speech, The Path to 9/11 made an effort to point out some of the problems in law enforcement and governance that preceded the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but the nature of the critique-although presented as objective and all encompassing-never rises above criticizing particular individuals for their character failings. The film was cleverer, however, in the way it indicated the supposed gaps in the system and advocated taking a hard line, but offered no concrete alternatives. In doing so, the film left it to Bush to emerge as the ultimate hero, opening up a space for a timely description of the measures instituted since 9/11:

We've created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information. We've tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders, and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.49

If The Path to 9/11 presented a single narrative perspective (the "path" taken) as the infallible "truth," then Bush's speech, with a similar kind of religious confidence, also took for granted that only one predetermined course could secure the nation from the terrorist threat. At no point did the film or Bush's speech suggest that the situation was complex enough to necessitate the consideration of several possible paths; indeed, both narratives closed off the possibility of questioning the effectiveness of the security measures endorsed and instituted. Difficult questions-such as the extent to which freedom should be limited in order to be secured or the kinds of sacrifices entailed by "national security"-were simply ignored in favor of the message that Americans must do whatever it takes to defeat the "enemy." It is hard to believe that the gross trivializations of the complex issues surrounding terrorism and the war in Iraq in The Path to 9/11 and Bush's address could almost escape public protest only five years after the horrifying events of September 11, 2001.

One notable exception to the general complaisance with which the public received The Path to 9/11 involved a group of students at Ithaca College who protested the college's acceptance of a private donation from Robert Iger on the grounds that The Path to 9/11, touted as a docudrama, was actually an egregious display of media bias. Students argued that "accepting Disney money would send the wrong message about the importance of objectivity to the school's journalism and communications students."50 Although a Disney spokesperson responded to the student protesters by calling them "people who can't distinguish between fact and fiction," Ithaca College president Peggy R. Williams lent credence to the students' concerns by reassuring them that Iger's donation "does not buy Disney any influence on campus. . . . Our curriculum decisions are our own."51 Although certainly admitting no wrongdoing, Disney has uncharacteristically and tellingly opted not to sell The Path to 9/11 on DVD-defying the expectations of both those who assumed the company would try to recover the costs of making the miniseries and vociferous right-wing groups who continue to support the film's representation of the events leading to 9/11.52

The National Security-Family: Meet The Incredibles

As films like Aladdin and The Path to 9/11 suggest, the Walt Disney Company has an impressive ability to revise more or less familiar stories, updating the issues to make them resonate in people's lives at the current moment. It is how Disney offers audiences not simply escape but also a mode of relating to the real conditions of their existence that makes Disney films such a long-lived and potent force in U.S. and global popular culture. As Louis Marin suggests regarding the powerful cultural role of Disney theme parks, Disney represents both "what is estranged and what is familiar: comfort, welfare, consumption, scientific and technological progress, superpower, and morality." Importantly, Marin adds, "These are values obtained by violence and exploitation; [in Disney culture] they are projected under the auspices of law and order."53 Marin's framework is especially useful for understanding a film such as The Incredibles as mediating the "imaginary relationship that the dominant groups of American society maintain with their real conditions of existence, with the real history of the United States, and with the space outside of its border."54 In a post-9/11 world, Academy Award winner The Incredibles brings home the need not only to reclaim "superpower" identity as a quintessential American quality but also to recognize that American soil is not immune to the threat of violent attacks. In response to the forces threatening America-internally, the weakening of superhero resolve in the face of excessive bureaucracy, public cynicism, and unthinking adherence to the law; externally, enemies whose infantile resentment at being "not super" results in a genocidal campaign against everything "super," even to the extent of terrorizing an innocent public-the PG-rated film sanctions violence as a means to establish a new brand of "law and order." Although hearkening back to the nuclear family as the source of America's security and strength, the film diverges from past narratives in its emphasis on a natural order in which authority and power belong in the hands of the few strong leaders left in America, while the rest of us must duly recognize our inevitable "mediocrity." This overall message is especially disturbing in light of the events following 9/11, when the United States witnessed a growing authoritarianism throughout the larger culture.55 Some consequences of the American response to the tragic terrorist attacks have been a general tolerance for the use of preemptive violence and coercion, control of the media, the rise of repressive state power, an expanding militarization, and a thriving surveillance and security industry that is now even welcomed in public schools. And these are only some of the known consequences: many of the effects of the Bush administration's policies are still coming to light. In 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the release of top-secret Bush administration memos that sanctioned the CIA's use of torture on terror suspects. A year previous, New York Times reporter David Barstow wrote an exposé of "independent" military analysts who appeared on television networks to inform the public with their expert and objective impressions of the war in Iraq (many were retired army generals and had direct ties to corporations that were courting government military contracts). It turned out the Pentagon was coaching the military analysts behind the scenes to put a favorable spin on the Bush administration's "wartime performance," with the apparent collusion of U.S. media networks, including ABC, which failed to check for, or simply ignored, evident conflicts of interest.56 In addition to calling into question the journalistic integrity of the media, the scandal made it seem as if the Bush administration's public relations machine was taking its cues from corporations such as Disney by not only launching a marketing campaign carefully tailored to uphold its public image but also secretly controlling access to information and limiting public discourse, all in order to sell a sense of security to the American people.

An emphasis on controlling public speech and public spaces-not to mention autocratic rule, secrecy, and the appeal to security-is nothing new to Disney, whose theme parks, according to Steven Watts, "blur the line between fantasy and reality by immersing visitors in a totally controlled environment."57 Disneyland is a useful space, apparently, to undertake surveillance, and Walt Disney offered the FBI "complete access" to Disneyland facilities in the 1950s for "use in connection with official matters and for recreational purposes."58 Indeed, the development of a cordial relationship between Walt Disney and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is now better understood not only in relation to Walt Disney's fervent anticommunism but also in light of revelations that he may have served as "a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."59 Certainly, as Watts indicates, it is known that Disney was appointed a special FBI agent in part because of his desire to root out so-called communist agitators from the film industry.60 More recently, Eric Smoodin notes that the Disney corporation remains "interested in constructing surveillance as entertainment," as suggested by the marketing of products such as a Mickey Mouse doll with glow-in-the-dark eyes that illuminate sleeping children for the benefit of parental scrutiny.61

The Incredibles, with its complex appeal to several levels of audience, received overwhelming praise from film critics, who admired not only its retromodern aesthetic and detailed animation but also its "stinging wit."62 However, most reviewers who observed an "edge of intellectual indignation"63 focused on the first thirty minutes of the film in which the main character, Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), is forced to conceal his superhero identity as a consequence of public disaffection and a string of lawsuits (he is sued after rescuing a suicidal man named Sansweet who claimed Mr. Incredible had "ruined [his] death"). With "average citizens" now proclaiming they want "average heroes," Mr. Incredible; his superhero wife, Elastigirl/Helen (Holly Hunter); and their children become the middle-of-the-road Parr family, trying to maintain a normal suburban lifestyle by suppressing their superpowers in what one reviewer suggests is a "suspicious society that's decidedly below-Parr."64 As suggested by a Boston Globe film review, Bob Parr's cubicle office job as a claims adjuster at Insuricare is designed to evoke identification with the "middle-age blues felt by audience members."65 But many reviewers, in choosing to highlight the film's critique of suburban conformity and corporate greed, misread or overlook the film's central message, which does not elicit identification on the part of a mere newspaper journalist or academician: in fact, normal people who wrongly identify with superheroes and devalue their worth are society's worst threat. The film's villain, Buddy aka Syndrome (Jason Lee), begins as Mr. Incredible's "number one fan" but then transgresses the boundary between admiration and emulation. Conflict arises when Buddy asserts that his rocket boot technology enables him "to be super" without being born with superpowers. When rejected by Mr. Incredible, who prefers to "work alone," Buddy turns the pathological injury into villainy with an ideological goal: to provide the technology "so that everyone can be superheroes. . . . And when everyone's super, no one will be." The connections between Buddy and the dominant media's portrayal of international terrorists are multiple: his fixation on demolishing a superpower, his development of hightech weaponry, his narcissistic rage, his ideological purpose, and, what resonates most clearly, his plan to gain power over a fearful public by launching a plane at Manhattan. At one point, Buddy even tells Mr. Incredible, "Now you respect me, because I'm a threat. . . . It turns out there's a lot of people, whole countries, who want respect. And they will pay through the nose to get it." Given the film's resounding judgment of Buddy/Syndrome-he is shredded by a jet turbine while attempting to kidnap the Parr baby-it is difficult to understand how the film's message could be interpreted, as one reviewer suggests, as empowering viewers to recognize the "secret identities we all keep tucked away in our hearts."66 Even if one were to extend an allegorical reading of The Incredibles to argue that all Americans are super, it would not be possible to elide the film's clear validation of a social hierarchy along primordial lines.

Throughout the film, the plight of the super family is closely linked to their superiority. The Incredibles' son Dash (Spencer Fox), frustrated by not being able to demonstrate his speed in school sports competi-tions, acts out in his fourth-grade class by playing pranks on his teacher. Dash wins his father's admiration, but the thought of a graduation ceremony for fourth-graders leads Mr. Incredible to burst out, "It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional . . . " Later in the film, Elastigirl reassures daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), "Your identity is your most valuable possession. . . . Doubt is a luxury we can't afford anymore. You have more power than you realize. Don't think. Don't worry. If the time comes, you'll know what to do. It's in your blood." As A. O. Scott astutely recognizes in a New York Times review, the movie argues, "Some people have powers that others do not, and to deny them the right to exercise those powers, or the privileges that accompany them, is misguided, cruel and socially destructive."67 Being "super" in such a framework does not mean being smart or being virtuous; it simply means possessing innate power. The highly advanced modern society produces mediocrity because its ethics (a belief in social justice and equality) counter the effects of natural selection by nullifying Darwinian fitness as the condition for survival.

If the film indeed offers up "the philosophy of Ayn Rand"-who opposed collectivism, altruism, and the welfare state in favor of egoistic individualism-then it turns to violence as the means to achieve supremacy.68 At no point during The Incredibles' "eardrum-bashing, metal-crunching action sludge" and its self-referential mockery of "monologuing" does the film suggest that reasoning, discussion, or any other form of peaceful resolution might be pursued instead of violence. More in keeping, however, with Disney conventions than Rand's philosophy is the film's conflation of the pursuit of individualism with the protection of the nuclear family. One reviewer cleverly summarizes the film's main theme as "the family that slays together stays together."69 In this way, the white, nuclear, middle-class family becomes the ethical referent for a bombproof collectivity: only a muscular protection of one's own will ensure stability, identity, and agency, not to mention consumerism, heterosexuality, clearly defined gender roles, parenthood, and class chivalry. The result is that the film brings "individuals and their families to the centers of national life, offering the audience an image of itself and of the nation as a knowable community, a wider public world beyond the routines of a narrow existence."70 But the American nation drawn by the film is imaged as one that neither shies away from use of force nor requires any justification for its display of blatant chauvinism when confronted by others.

The Incredibles further contrasts the banality of suburban life with the glamour and excitement of "hero work." The elaborate security compounds of Syndrome's island and the home of fashion designer Edna Mode (Brad Bird) are suped up with the latest high-tech gadgetry, the exhilarating navigation of which bears a close resemblance to video game playing, particularly in the medium of computer-generated animation. And even if the filmmakers' intended to parody gated homes à la Hollywood Hills in their representation of Edna Mode's mansion, the cumulative message makes security and surveillance systems seem not only unthreatening but also quite normal-at least as familiar as, say, the presence of gates and cameras at Walt Disney World. In fact, Syndrome's island has a developed monorail system, which implies a double reference both to the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962) and to Disney World itself. Referentiality seems to come full circle as The Incredibles' island imitates Bond films that likely drew on the model of Disney theme parks in portraying the villain's lair. For instance, Bond's antagonist in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) "inhabits a politically autonomous island that features an amusement park funhouse,"71 an allusion that betrays cultural anxiety about a rigidly controlled theme park environment governed by an autocrat who deliberately toys with defenseless people's perceptions and plays upon their fears. The Bond films were tapping into a darker side of the Disney-designed spaces, also noted by M. Keith Booker, who writes, "The fictional utopias portrayed in the [Disney] parks have a definite dystopian side, as anyone who has ever been bothered by the efficiency with which the parks are able to control and manipulate the vast populations who visit them has noticed."72 Yet, the lush tropical island in The Incredibles works less to expose the dark side of a totally regulated world than to associate it with exotic thrills and gamelike suspense as the superheroes infiltrate Syndrome's compound-a brilliant advertisement for a family adventure at Walt Disney World, if there ever was one. More disturbing is the recognition that as dominant culture in the United States accepts the expansion of a security-military-surveillance-intelligence complex, negotiating such altered environments can be reduced to slapstick comedy (when, for instance, Elastigirl finds herself stretched between two security doors and must fight against a number of armed guards). Not rendered entirely harmless, the island environment also represents the ideal locale for the Incredible children to rise to the challenge of a real danger-their mother tells them that unlike "the bad guys" on "Saturday morning cartoons . . . these guys will kill you"-and to engage the enemy in a display of family loyalty and heroic exceptionalism.

Because "calls to action litter the film," critics such as David Hastings Dunn have suggested that The Incredibles is "an allegorical tale justifying U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush."73 Indeed, the only imaginable way the "slightly fascist" Incredibles could be labeled a "family-friendly film,"74 as one critic claims, is if one assumes the "super" refrain throughout the film is an oblique reference to American superiority and supremacy, such that viewers are included as part of one big national family, a family that has recently demonstrated its mettle on the world stage by waging wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, Mr. Incredible repeatedly argues for an ethic of intervention and pushes aside anyone who poses an obstacle to action. Those individuals who wish to prevent superheroes from acting are fundamentally weak: people who claim their right to noninterference, politicians who cravenly seek public approval, lawyers who succumb to financial pressures, teachers who suppress any challenges to their authority, and employers who expect blind obedience to corporate policy. Interventionism is legitimated when Bob/Mr. Incredible helps an elderly woman with her insurance claim, only to face his irate boss, who indicates that Bob's loyalties must be redirected to one specific purpose: "Help our people! Starting with our stockholders." While the diminutive Mr. Huph (Wallace Shawn) launches into a speech about the necessity for the "little cogs" in the company machine to "mesh together," Mr. Incredible is prevented from saving a man in the street who is being mugged. The film deserves credit for extending a clichéd critique of office work as crushing of individual creativity to a representation of greed and corruption plaguing private corporations charged with providing public services. Unfortunately, the only solution to the social ills of exploitation and dehumanization proffered by the film is to put one's faith in the individuals who have the power to subjugate a clear and unambiguous enemy, in other words, a militaristic version of the old adage "Father knows best." Before we join the throngs of enthusiastic reviewers who laud the film for its exposure of corporate abuses of power, it should be understood that the film is as much invested in showing how postindustrial capitalism-and liberal democracy even more so-elevates the weak manipulators above the authentic strongmen. Instead of presenting a viable solution to the ravages of neoliberal economics on social democracy, The Incredibles offers only one reactionary alternative devised in the realm of fantasy: superheroes will save us as long as we recognize our natural inferiority and give them our unqualified vote of confidence. The huge, hard-bodied Mr. Incredible is ready to rescue America from the city slicker, ladies' man softness of the postwar era. (Admittedly, this superhero for a "postfeminist" generation has an exceedingly competent female sidekick/wife, but one who tellingly possesses the complementary superhero power of extreme malleability).

When considered alongside the blockbuster success of The Incredibles and its overarching message in 2004, it probably should not surprise us that George W. Bush was reelected the same year-in part because his public relations team managed to convince voters that, in an insecure world rife with terrorist threats, they should depend on his uncompromising judgments of good and evil, his impervious cowboylike manner, and his "strong, stable personality." What makes The Incredibles appear to be superheroes is the same quality that apparently made George W. Bush seem presidential: the ability to act free from the paralyzing effects of thoughtful consideration. This orientation toward decisive action in the film becomes an end in itself since, as Jeremy Heilman points out, "There are no scenes in which characters learn to use their power responsibly (except for those that extol conformity), and no moments in which loss of life is felt."75

According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side."76 If American patriotism reached a fever pitch in the aftermath of 9/11, then The Incredibles clearly tapped into a desire to assert U.S. preeminence on the world stage. Indeed, all the superheroes are American, and the only non-American with any power is a villainous French mime named Bomb Voyage. The overall message of the film, as Hastings Dunn points out, is a perennial neoconservative theme: "America's failure to spread its values can lead to 'blowback' from former clients and protégés."77 The only response offered by the film to a society supposedly weakened by a misguided egalitarianism and the post–Cold War softening of American resolve is to minimize in-stitutional and legal controls while letting unrestrained power achieve its deserved place of domination. For "supers" to dictate the common good once again, The Incredibles concludes, "it's up to the politicians." It is difficult to imagine a more resounding dismissal of democratic processes than this final assertion, suggesting less the need for political accountability and public participation than the need for emboldened leaders whose decisive action should be divorced from the values and constraints imposed by the mediocre masses.

Disney and the Rhetoric of Innocence

The bizarre way in which The Incredibles marries two dangerous social ideals-a Darwinist notion of survival of the fittest and a retrograde identity politics based on biological superiority-can verge on acceptability when it is packaged as a Disney animated film that carries the overarching association with childhood innocence. Audiences are meant to appreciate the fact that if in a fit of rage Mr. Incredible destroys a car, or another human being for that matter, then it is simply a natural expression of his innate "super" identity and not something that requires moral assessment. Or, worse yet, it is something that can only be considered as intrinsically good. By appealing to the view that "might is right," the film fails to open up the possibility that values and ethics are constituted by various social mechanisms and material relations of power. Instead, the tautological rationale suggests that being "right" is simply entailed by being "super," such that the imperative to conquer the enemy who threatens one's way of life remains not only above question but also without any negative consequences (after all, the enemy is not "super" like us). The presumption of innate American benevolence is implied by a reading of The Incredibles as a national allegory. At stake in this concept of America as a superpower is the belief that its leaders and the entire populace are incorruptible and therefore exemplify absolute goodness.78

As we have seen in previous chapters, this notion of a benign, incorruptible nature is nothing new to Disney, whose cultural productions rely on innocence as a rhetorical tool to legitimate dominant relations of power. The Incredibles slightly modifies the concept of childhood innocence by linking it to a citizenry in need of a blameless and absolute paternalistic authority to safeguard its interests. The appeal to innocence often enables animated Disney films to fly below a critical radar. The Incredibles probably does so, despite its authoritarian overtones, because of the historical and cultural context in which it was received. After the tragic events of 9/11, Americans sought an opportunity to envision themselves as proactive agents of history rather than its passive victims and as part of a community with strong leadership that could instill hope for security and redemption in a world that seemed hostile to such desires.

However, when politics is cloaked in the guise of innocence, more is at stake than a simple affirmation of desire. At stake is the way in which Disney films garner the cultural power to influence how people think not simply through their particular mode of representation but also through shaping the knowledge and subjectivities of their viewers in order to valorize some identities while disabling others. Film watching involves more than entertainment; it is an experience that reproduces the basic conditions of learning. To understand Disney films, we need to understand how Disney culture influences public understandings of history, national coherence, and popular values in ways that often conceal injustice, dissent, and the possibility of democratic renewal. While the retro style and clever allusiveness of The Incredibles appeal to what is aesthetically pleasing about America's past, there is no acknowledgment of an underlying totalitarian ethos driving, for instance, U.S. military and imperial expansion during the Cold War. Although weakling institutions and individuals hinder all things "super," Mr. Incredible, as an exemplary cultural icon, enables the reconstruction of American history purged of its seamy side, not least of all through an appeal to nostalgia, stylized consumption, and a reinvigorated patriotism. Moreover, The Incredibles' comic representation of 1950s suburban mediocrity does little to challenge the prevailing discourses of patriarchy, class, and sexism. In fact, the film pays tribute to the consumerism, patriarchy, and family values associated with 1950s sitcoms by suggesting that the failing of such a family orientation lies not in its oppressive control but in how settling into a mundane reality and accepting the onset of complacency sap its inherent magisterial vitality. Taking what it considers best from that era, the film revitalizes conservative ideology for a new generation of video-gaming kids, sexing up the suburban doldrums with designer superhero garb and high-tech stunts that substitute spectacle for critical engagement.

The Incredibles and The Path to 9/11 are films produced at a particular historical moment that share the theme of defending U.S. hegemony and values against the insidious forces of a weak-willed political correctness at home and envious terrorists determined to destroy the American way of life abroad. One interesting outcome of the comparison can be seen in the way the different film genres elicited much different responses from the public despite their thematic similarities. The Path to 9/11's claim to portray historical events objectively in the form of a documentary-style ABC miniseries drew some public resistance, whereas the animated Disney film whose very representation defies objectivity drew virtually none. But the messages of The Incredibles are no less persuasive for being more fantastic.

Clearly, The Incredibles' inscription of biological supremacy represents not only an assertion of dominant family values but an ideological justification for genderand race-based conceptions of U.S. global imperialism and national identity. The Path to 9/11 is less clever in concealing its affirmation of racist and sexist attitudes and its legitimation of violence, but The Incredibles is far more dangerous in that it has been viewed in a generally unfiltered manner by millions of children and adults worldwide. Recognizing the conservative influence of Disney films-a conservatism that manifests with unprecedented boldness in The Incredibles-should not entail avoiding them, suppressing them, or complacently accepting their cultural ascendancy. It should involve making explicit how and what we learn from the very political messages being taught by Disney films, rather than accepting them at face value or dismissing their existence altogether.

Consuming culture even as a form of entertainment is fundamentally a pedagogical experience, and the more educators, parents, students, and other cultural workers become active in their attempts to decode the complex representations being offered by Disney, the more rich and rewarding our experiences with popular culture will become. For this reason, a nuanced criticism of Disney films would not assume that they inherently disempower the audience but would instead view such cultural encounters as opportunities that can empower children and adults by creating the conditions that give people control over the production and types of knowledge and values arising from their experiences as cultural consumers. Being resisted here is the attitude that turns Disney's native utopianism into an excuse to adopt a stance that willfully overlooks the risks incurred by allowing a multinational corporation to escape any critical scrutiny as it reproduces dominant forms of identity, authorizes particular forms of history, and validates "hierarchies of value as universally valid, ecumenical, and effectively consensual."79 Nothing could be more dystopian in its consequences than the abdication of our responsibility to be critical and thoughtful of the ways the U.S. media represents America to itself and others. Disney should not be allowed to dictate, limit, and monopolize the only current and future possibilities imaginable for an increasingly global culture that must be able to imagine a better life-a life built upon the precepts of compassion and justice rather than American-centered images of power, nostalgia, insularity, and world domination.

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Feb 17, 2019] Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Kristol and Boot work for the CIA and MI6. They tend to lead with placed stories, either before or after events, helping to persuade those who have yet to make up their minds or those looking to have someone else do their thinking for them

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Renov8 February 16, 2019 at 8:01 am

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Kristol and Boot work for the CIA and MI6. They tend to lead with placed stories, either before or after events, helping to persuade those who have yet to make up their minds or those looking to have someone else do their thinking for them.

With the ongoing internet reformation we are experiencing, its a lot easier for the masses to see the bigger picture, the parties involved and the corrupt characters playing the puppet strings for the media.

Glad to see these shysters exposed for what they are propagandists.

[Feb 13, 2019] The guardian "stands by the story" by censoring critical comments, while never bothering to try to defend the actual reporting

What "pretzelattack" does not understand is for whom Luke Harding actually works. Intelligence agencies control The Guardian and shape forums in the direction they consider beneficial.
Notable quotes:
"... As far as upholding our Community Standards is concerned, The Guardian has decided to stand by the article and thus The Guardian views comments such as yours as misrepresentation. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Feb 13, 2019 11:07:59 AM | link

fu guardian.
Hello "pretzelattack",

When you take issue with Editorial decisions of the Guardian, the Moderation team is the wrong place to address it. You would have better luck following the procedures outlined on https://www.theguardian.com/info/complaints-and-corrections.

As far as upholding our Community Standards is concerned, The Guardian has decided to stand by the article and thus The Guardian views comments such as yours as misrepresentation.

There is also the matter that most of your removed comments are Off Topic for the discussions on which you post them, which breaches point 8 of our Community Standards.

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic ("off-topic") then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

Premoderation is usually only a temporary measure. Post consistently in line with the community standards you agreed to abide by when creating your account and the sanction will be lifted and full commenting privileges restored to your account. Post consistently against the spirit of the community standards and you risk a permanent ban.

Best wishes

Meg,

Community Moderator

Links: The Guardian's Community Standards & FAQs

This was about the blatant bullshit, by Luke Harding, about Assange and manning meeting at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"The guardian stands by the story" by censoring critical comments, while never bothering to try to defend the actual reporting.

Of course, that would be difficult since there is no evidence that Manafort somehow whisked himself (maybe a dr. who tardis) in and out of one of the most heavily surveilled sites in the world.

"Independent journalism" at its finest.

[Feb 08, 2019] NBC = CIA = NBCIA

Feb 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Asagirian , says: February 8, 2019 at 3:24 pm GMT

NBC = CIA = NBCIA
Agent76 , says: February 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT
March 19, 2017 The CIA's 60-Year History of Fake News How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

Whitney's new book, "Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers," explores how the CIA influenced acclaimed writers and publications during the Cold War to produce subtly anti-communist material. During the interview, Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications (such as the Paris Review).

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46688.htm

JANUARY 18, 2017 CIA Publishes About 13 Million Pages of Declassified Files Online

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) published nearly 13 million pages of declassified files on its official website for the first time in its history. The declassified files were previously publicly available only at the National Archives in Maryland.

http://investmentwatchblog.com/cia-publishes-about-13-million-pages-of-declassified-files-online/

[Feb 08, 2019] The CIA Then and Now Old Wine in New Bottles by Edward Curtin

Intelligence agencies like CIA is a threat to "normal" societies as they tend to acquire power with time and tail start wagging the dog. Mechanism of control are usually subverted and considerable part of their activities is dome without informing "supervisory" structures.
In the USA sometimes CIA monitor Congress communications and tries to coerce them like was the case when the torture program was revealed. In other words intelligence agencies are the core neofascist structures in modern society and as such represent a distinct danger.
Notable quotes:
"... Organizations like the CIA are obviously fallible and have made many mistakes and failed to anticipate world events. But they are also very powerful, having great financial backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. ..."
"... The corporate mass media take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are, because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible raison d'ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation's civilian leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d'états at home and abroad. ..."
"... Because they have deep pockets, they can afford to buy all sorts of people, people who pimp for the elites. Some of these people do work that is usually done by honest academics and independent intellectuals, a dying breed, once called free-floating intellectuals. These pimps analyze political, economic, technological, and cultural trends. They come from different fields: history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, cultural studies, linguistics, etc. They populate the think tanks and universities. They are often intelligent but live in bad faith, knowing they are working for those who are doing the devil's work. But they collect their pay and go their way straight to the bank, the devil's bank. They often belong to the Council of Foreign Relations or the Heritage Foundation. They are esteemed and esteem themselves. But they are pimps. ..."
"... Infecting minds with such symbols and stories must be done directly and indirectly, as well as short-term and long-term. Long term propaganda is like a slowly leaking water pipe that you are vaguely aware of but that rots the metal from within until the pipe can no longer resist the pressure. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop -- and the inattentive recipients of the propaganda gradually lose their mettle to resist and don't know it, and then when an event bursts into the news -- e.g. the attacks of September 11, 2001 or Russia-gate -- they have been so softened that their assent is automatically given. They know without hesitation who the devil is and that he must be fought. ..."
"... The purpose of the long-term propaganda is to create certain predispositions and weaknesses that can be exploited when needed. Certain events can be the triggers to induce the victims to react to suggestions. When the time is ripe, all that is needed is a slight suggestion, like a touch on the shoulder, and the hypnotized one acts in a trance. ..."
"... Very entertaining. Now tell us how all this works. And what the CIA gets out of it. I mean they surely don't do it for nothing do they? Does the CIA Director get rich for working for 'masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc'? Or is everyone under a giant Satanic Cult in the sky and the CIA is their headquarters on earth? ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | www.unz.com
Edward Curtin • January 31, 2019 • 3,100 Words • 24 CommentsReply

...The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: weltanschauungskrieg -- "world view warfare." As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d'etre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated weltanschauungskrieg as "psychological warfare," a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now. Of course, the American propaganda apparatus was just then getting started on an enterprise that has become the epitome of successful world view warfare programs, a colossal beast whose tentacles have spread to every corner of the globe and whose fabrications have nestled deep within the psyches of many hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world. And true to form in this circle game of friends helping friends, this propaganda program was ably assisted after WW II by all the Nazis secreted into the U.S. ("Operation Paperclip") by Allen Dulles and his henchmen in the OSS and then the CIA to make sure the U.S. had operatives to carry on the Nazi legacy (see David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, The CIA, and The Rise of America's Secret Government , an extraordinary book that will make your skin crawl with disgust).

This went along quite smoothly until some people started to question the Warren Commission's JFK assassination story. The CIA then went on the offensive in 1967 and put out the word to all its people in the agency and throughout the media and academia to use the phrase "conspiracy theory" to ridicule these skeptics, which they have done up until the present day. This secret document -- CIA Dispatch 1035-960 -- was a propaganda success for many decades, marginalizing those researchers and writers who were uncovering the truth about not just President Kennedy's murder by the national security state, but those of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. Today, the tide is turning on this score, as recently more and more Americans are fed up with the lies and are demanding that the truth be told. Even the Washington Post is noting this, and it is a wave of opposition that will only grow.

The CIA Exposed -- Partially

But back in the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, some covert propaganda programs run by the CIA were "exposed." First, the Agency's sponsorship of the Congress of Cultural Freedom, through which it used magazines, prominent writers, academics, et al. to spread propaganda during the Cold War, was uncovered. This was an era when Americans read serious literary books, writers and intellectuals had a certain cachet, and popular culture had not yet stupefied Americans. The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites. Frances Stonor Saunders comprehensively covers this in her 1999 book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters , and Joel Whitney followed this up in 2016 with Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, with particular emphasis on the complicity of the CIA and the famous literary journal The Paris Review.

Then in 1975 the Church Committee hearings resulted in the exposure of abuses by the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. In 1977 Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire -- "The CIA and the Media" -- naming names of journalists and publications ( The New York Times, CBS , etc.) that worked with and for the CIA in propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world. (Conveniently, this article can be read on the CIA's website since presumably the agency has come clean, or, if you are the suspicious type, or maybe a conspiracy theorist, it is covering its deeper tracks with a "limited hangout," defined by former CIA agent Victor Marchetti, who went rogue, as "spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting -- sometimes even volunteering -- some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.")

Confess and Move On

By the late 1970s, it seemed as if the CIA had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, had confessed its sins, done penance, and resolved to go and sin no more. Seeming, however, is the nature of the CIA's game. Organized criminals learn to adapt to the changing times, and that is exactly what the intelligence operatives did. Since the major revelations of the late sixties and seventies -- MKUltra, engineered coups all around the world, assassinations of foreign leaders, spying on Americans, etc. -- no major program of propaganda has been exposed in the mainstream media. Revealing books about certain CIA programs have been written -- e.g. Douglas Valentine's important The Phoenix Program being one -- and dissenting writers, journalists, researchers, and whistleblowers (Robert Parry, Gary Webb, Julian Assange, James W. Douglass, David Ray Griffin, Edward Snowden, et al.) have connected the U.S. intelligence services to dirty deeds and specific actions, such as the American engineered coup d'état in Ukraine in 2013-14, electronic spying, and the attacks of September 11, 2001.

But the propaganda has for the most part continued unabated at a powerful and esoteric cultural level, while illegal and criminal actions are carried out throughout the world in the most blatant manner imaginable, as if to say fuck you openly while insidiously infecting the general population through the mass electronic screen culture that has relegated intellectual and literary culture to a tiny minority.

Planning Ahead

Let me explain what I think has been happening.

Organizations like the CIA are obviously fallible and have made many mistakes and failed to anticipate world events. But they are also very powerful, having great financial backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. They have their own military, are joined to all the armed forces, and are deeply involved in the drug trade. They control the politicians. They operate their own propaganda network in conjunction with the private mercenaries they hire for their operations. The corporate mass media take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are, because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible raison d'ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation's civilian leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d'états at home and abroad.

Because they have deep pockets, they can afford to buy all sorts of people, people who pimp for the elites. Some of these people do work that is usually done by honest academics and independent intellectuals, a dying breed, once called free-floating intellectuals. These pimps analyze political, economic, technological, and cultural trends. They come from different fields: history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, cultural studies, linguistics, etc. They populate the think tanks and universities. They are often intelligent but live in bad faith, knowing they are working for those who are doing the devil's work. But they collect their pay and go their way straight to the bank, the devil's bank. They often belong to the Council of Foreign Relations or the Heritage Foundation. They are esteemed and esteem themselves. But they are pimps.

... ... ...

Methods of Propaganda

Infecting minds with such symbols and stories must be done directly and indirectly, as well as short-term and long-term. Long term propaganda is like a slowly leaking water pipe that you are vaguely aware of but that rots the metal from within until the pipe can no longer resist the pressure. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop -- and the inattentive recipients of the propaganda gradually lose their mettle to resist and don't know it, and then when an event bursts into the news -- e.g. the attacks of September 11, 2001 or Russia-gate -- they have been so softened that their assent is automatically given. They know without hesitation who the devil is and that he must be fought.

The purpose of the long-term propaganda is to create certain predispositions and weaknesses that can be exploited when needed. Certain events can be the triggers to induce the victims to react to suggestions. When the time is ripe, all that is needed is a slight suggestion, like a touch on the shoulder, and the hypnotized one acts in a trance. The gun goes off, and the entranced one can't remember why (see: Sirhan Sirhan). This is the goal of mass hypnotization through long-term propaganda: confusion, memory loss, and automatic reaction to suggestion.

Intelligence Pimps and Liquid Screen Culture

When the CIA's dirty tricks were made public in the 1970s, it is not hard to imagine that the intellectual pimps who do their long-range thinking were asked to go back to the drawing board and paint a picture of the coming decades and how business as usual could be conducted without further embarrassment. By that time it had become clear that intellectual or high culture was being swallowed by mass culture and the future belonged to electronic screen culture and images, not words. What has come to be called "postmodernity" ensued, or what the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls "liquid modernity" and Guy Debord "the society of the spectacle." Such developments, rooted in what Frederic Jameson has termed "the cultural logic of late capitalism," have resulted in the fragmentation of social and personal life into pointillistic moving pictures whose dots form incoherent images that sow mass confusion and do not cohere.

... ... ...

Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/


renfro , says: February 8, 2019 at 6:53 am GMT

But they are also very powerful, having great financial backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. They have their own military, are joined to all the armed forces, and are deeply involved in the drug trade. They control the politicians. They operate their own propaganda network in conjunction with the private mercenaries they hire for their operations. The corporate mass media take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are, because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible raison d'ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation's civilian leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d'états at home and abroad.

Very entertaining. Now tell us how all this works. And what the CIA gets out of it. I mean they surely don't do it for nothing do they? Does the CIA Director get rich for working for 'masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc'? Or is everyone under a giant Satanic Cult in the sky and the CIA is their headquarters on earth?

... ... ...

Michael Kenny , says: February 8, 2019 at 10:36 am GMT
Is the author saying anything other than the CIA operates like all other intelligence agencies? Does he really think his readers don't know that?
Commentator Mike , says: February 8, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT
Under "The CIA Exposed" could have mentioned Philip Agee's "Inside the Company" as he was the Edward Snowden of his day.

Interestingly, CIA agent Miles Copeland, Jr., the father of the drummer of the British band "The Police", said the book was "as complete an account of spy work as is likely to be published anywhere" and that it is "an authentic account of how an ordinary American or British 'case officer' operates

All of it is presented with deadly accuracy."

(ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Agee )

Jake , says: February 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT

" Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d'etre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated weltanschauungskrieg as "psychological warfare," a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now."

The Yank propaganda machine always was an alliance between WASP Elites and Jews. Always. The Yank WASPs knew that Brit and British Commonwealth WASPs had done the same thing: make alliance to rule the world, which featured – not a bug but a feature – new ways to use psy ops to pervert the vast majority of white Christians they ruled.

Until that is understood, which means accepting that WASP culture itself is a problem as big as Jews and Jewish culture, all that is done in opposition to all that is horrendously wrong today is wasted time and energy.

Jake , says: February 8, 2019 at 2:28 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX The CIA is a British creation, just like Israel's Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency.

The CIA is a pure WASP Elite creation. It always has served the interests of the WASP Elite, in the UK and the rest of the Anglosphere as well the US. And the CIA always has served the interests of Jews and Israel, because that makes perfect sense for WASP culture, which was formed fully, completed, by the Judaizing heresy Anglo-Saxon Puritanism.

Judaizing heresy guarantees pro-Jewish politics and culture.

AWM , says: February 8, 2019 at 2:48 pm GMT
James Jesus Angleton
This guy had it figured out.
Insert Fake Iriish Name here , says: February 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT
Sean, Who else, is here first with the CIA line, "CIA works for the president!" CIA shoehorned that into the Pike Committee report right after Don Gregg visited the committees and gave them an ultimatum: back off or it's martial law.

Then Sean mouths a bit of bureaucratic bafflegab about feasibility.

The feasibility of CIA crime is a product of CIA impunity. So next Sean feeds you more CIA boilerplate by trying to pathologize anyone who's aware of CIA impunity through formal legal pretexts in municipal law. John Bolton, Trump's CIA ventriloquist, had one prime directive as unauthorized UN ambassador: remove any reference to impunity from the Summit Outcome Document. To that end he submitted 600+ NeoSoviet amendments to paralyze the drafting process.

That's how touchy CIA is about its impunity. CIA is the state, with illegal absolute sovereignty because they can kill you or torture you and get away with it.

If you're John Kennedy, if you're Robert Kennedy, if you're Dag Hammarskjöld, if you're Judge Robert Vance. No matter who you are.

[Jan 29, 2019] FBI, CIA [supposedly] Told WaPo They Doubted Key Allegation In Steele Dossier but Wapo still run their own anti-Trump campaign popularizing Steele dossier.

Hand of Brennan? Hand of MI6?
From comments: "Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims. " What?!?
Notable quotes:
"... FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn't believe a key claim contained in the "Steele Dossier ..."
"... The Post 's Greg Miller told an audience at an October event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross. ..."
"... Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims. ..."
"... Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing "deniable cash payments" made in secret so as to cover up "Moscow's secret liaison with the TRUMP team." ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn't believe a key claim contained in the "Steele Dossier," the document the Obama FBI relied on to obtain a surveillance warrant on a member of the Trump campaign.

The Post 's Greg Miller told an audience at an October event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross.

"We've talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere -- they don't believe that ever happened," said Miller during the October event which aired Saturday on C-SPAN.

We literally spent weeks and months trying to run down... there's an assertion in there that Michael Cohen went to Prague to settle payments that were needed at the end of the campaign. We sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, to all over the place trying to - just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty . -Greg Miller

Ross notes that WaPo somehow failed to report this information, nor did Miller include this tidbit of narrative-killing information in his recent book, "The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7GvXI61p21k

Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims.

Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing "deniable cash payments" made in secret so as to cover up "Moscow's secret liaison with the TRUMP team."

Cohen's alleged Prague visit captured attention largely because the former Trump fixer has vehemently denied it, and also because it would seem to be one of the easier claims in Steele's 35-page report to validate or invalidate.

Debate over the salacious document was reignited when McClatchy reported April 15 that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence Cohen visited Prague. No other news outlets have verified the reporting, and Cohen denied it at the time.

Cohen last denied the dossier's allegations in late June, a period of time when he was gearing up to cooperate with prosecutors against President Donald Trump . Cohen served as a cooperating witness for prosecutors in both New York and the special counsel's office. - Daily Caller

Cohen's attorney and longtime Clinton pal Lanny Davis vehemently denied on August 22, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty in his New York case - that Cohen had never been to Prague, telling Bloomberg " Thirteen references to Mr. Cohen are false in the dossier, but he has never been to Prague in his life ."

youshallnotkill , 19 minutes ago link

Trump never ceases to crack me up. While his (terrible) current lawyer, declares on TV that there was collusion but it just didn't last long, Trump calls his former lawyer/fixer at "Rat".

This is just too funny, I mean this is the President of the United States calling his former personal lawyer a "Rat" which of course is a common mob term for a witness testifying against you.

monkeyshine

Of course it never happened, just like Manafort didn't make 3 trips to London to meet Julian Assange. These fictions were just used as a pretext for diving into the backgrounds of Trump's political supporters and find crimes to charge them with.

The Cohen raid was particularly egregious, a likely violation of attorney-client privilege. Not suprisingly the American Bar Association is silent.

brewing_it

So here is a WaPo reporter saying they sent reporters to every hotel in Prague to find out if Cohen had been there, they spent weeks and weeks researching, interviewing, and nothing. What they are not saying is that they also spent shitloads of Bezo's money exploring all the other fake dossier claims.

And nothing.....all you hillarytards have been completely scammed by, your pulses sent aflutter with clickbait and page views and thats it. So sorry you losers.

Demologos

Yeah, like rubles are worth anything outside of Russia. Gold on the other hand ...

But seriously, you two should get a room. If you can't see the conspiracy in the Strzok/Page texts, the setup of Papadapoulous by the Brits, the phony FISA warrant using the FBI informant, the setup of General Flynn, and the seedy cast of characters in the DOJ breaking laws right and left, you should be checked for brain wave activity. You probably think the Russians paid for all of the above too. Go suck a bag of Russian dicks.

[Jan 20, 2019] CIA had an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977

Jan 20, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

January 08, 2018 Joel Whitney is a co-founder of the magazine Guernica, a magazine of global arts and politics, and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. His book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers describes how the CIA contributed funds to numerous respected magazines during the Cold War, including the Paris Review, to subtly promote anti-communist views. In their conversation, Whitney tells Robert Scheer about the ties the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom had with literary magazines. He talks about the CIA's attempt during the Cold War to have at least one agent in every major news organization in order to get stories killed if they were too critical or get them to run if they were favorable to the agency. And they discuss the overstatement of the immediate risks and dangers of communist regimes during the Cold War, which, initially, led many people to support the Vietnam War.

globinfo freexchange

James Jesus Angleton was part of this post-OSS group that understood how important spying and covert ops had been in World War II. And from there, he makes all kinds of terrible mistakes. He and his group believed essentially that they needed to do better propaganda than the Soviets did, and one of the ways that they thought they could do it better was to do it subtly and, you could say, secretly.

Image result for cia

So, when this program is threatened with exposure in '64, '65, '66 and '67 through various sources like Ramparts and The New York Times, this privilege of secrecy that they enjoyed was not something that they were willing to give up. So you have something that is described as relatively benign, this funding of culture through the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a funding of student movements through the National Student Association, the funding of labor unions that would be less communist-influenced than the communist-dominated ones that they presumed were out there. These were seen as benign answers. They were reactions to Soviet penetration. So, secrecy is a key to making them work.
So, even if you want to make the argument that, for instance, the Congress for Cultural Freedom never censored its magazines–which I think has been severely disproved; they did censor. Even if you wanted to say that they published all sorts of great writers–which clearly they did; that was part of the subtlety of it and part of the brilliance of it, and part of the soft-power charm of it. Even if you wanted to say all that, when the secrecy is exposed by honest accounting in the media, the fourth estate, the adversarial media of American bragging around the world, they are so attached to their secrecy, and so upset, the CIA group led by people like Angleton, that they commit something that is about as anti-American as anything in our system. Which is: more secrecy, more media penetration to the point of penetrating, first, the anti-Vietnam War press; second, the student, the college student newspapers and press; the alternative, so-called, press. Which essentially is a license to do what they did later. So, where Ramparts was penetrated, leads to Operation Chaos, presumably; that leads to Operation Mockingbird in the seventies.
By the time we have Carl Bernstein reporting on Operation Mockingbird, and John Crewdson reporting on its international equivalent in the New York Times–Bernstein in Rolling Stone–you essentially see the CIA trying to have at least one agent at every major news and media organization it can do in the world.
And Crewdson reporting in the Times at the end of 1977 essentially says that they had one agent or contract agent at a newspaper in every world capital on Earth. They could get stories killed or get stories to run that portrayed the CIA's views in a favorable way, or kill them if they did not.

https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/joel-whitney-the-cias-cold-war-literary-influence/embed-player?autoplay=false


https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/joel-whitney-the-cias-cold-war-literary-influence/

[Jan 19, 2019] The press in the USA is more effectively controlled and conformist than in Germany in the late 1930s

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Giuseppe , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT

I challenge anyone to name a modern war prosecuted by the US government and its allies that did not involve at its root the direct fabrication of blatant lies on enormous levels, both as a casus belli and also to manipulate public opinion in favor of hostilities.

The clandestine activity represented by these *provocations* isn't even good spycraft. The Skripal case and the latest use of chlorine gas in Syria are risible, clumsy, amateur attempts to wangle the empire into war that the callowest rube could see through. And yet, it's working its magic on the media. The politicians, suborned by the war machine, give unanimous bipartisan assent.

What the hell is going on?

JoaoAlfaiate , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:35 pm GMT
@Giuseppe Saddam's WMD, Gulf of Tonkin, etc., etc. And now a ridiculous false flag attack in Syria. Did it take place at all? But the narrative is all. The press in the USA is more effectively controlled and conformist than in Germany in the late 1930s and nobody goes around beating up journalists or sending them to a KZ. The Syrian Gov't is winning the civil war, things are going well but what Assad really needs is to have the crap bombed out of his military by Uncle Sam. What transparent bullshit.
jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@JoaoAlfaiate

The press in the USA is more effectively controlled and conformist than in Germany in the late 1930s

Who controlled the press there and then?

What can be said about the control and conformity of the Soviet, British and American press of the time?

and nobody goes around beating up journalists or sending them to a KZ.

That's probably because the usual thugs don't need to do that any longer since they control virtually everything.

A couple of anecdotes to illustrate my point.:

2 of the reasons we don't hear much about mobsters these days are that the press and judiciary are owned by them and if you do get something published, you run the risk of getting snuffed. They probably don't stop at mere blinding anymore.

Victor Riesel was an American newspaper journalist and columnist who specialized in news related to labor unions. In 1956 a mobster threw sulfuric acid in his face on a public street in Chicago causing his permanent blindness.

"Treason is a strong word, but not too strong to characterize the situation in which the Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be." This indictment launched a nine-part series of articles entitled "Treason of the Senate."

-David Graham Phillips, Cosmopolitan magazine, February 1906

In 1911 Phillips was shot multiple t imes by Fitzhugh Coyle Goldsborough, a Harvard-educated scion of a prominent Maryland family ,at Gramercy Park in New York City.

Joe Hide , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
Good article.

Still, you authors need to start digging deeper. Trump and his Allies are putting on an amazing show / act to distract their ( and Humanities going back generations) hidden enemies.

The Bad Guys have for millennia weoponized information, convincing the public, reporters, and journalists that the rabbit hole ends here, that they don't need to dig any deeper, to just accept this slightly deeper layer of the onion. That warm and fuzzy feeling from scratching just a little deeper into to information matrix, isn't enough anymore. You guys have the intelligence, experience, and ability just do it please!

Jake , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm GMT
@tjm The CIA, the Mossad, and the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency are all children of British secret service.

[Jan 13, 2019] They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control

Notable quotes:
"... Their fundamental problem is, Aspen Institute is CIA. Their first and only instinct is to use people like toilet paper. They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

MK-DELTABURKE , says: July 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT

@Cagey Beast Aspen Institute does make attempts at outreach, but they invariably cock it up by eliciting, recruiting, or suborning every single person they bring in. The shitheads even tried to do it to me. You would think they'd have a dossier saying I hate those cobags.

Their fundamental problem is, Aspen Institute is CIA. Their first and only instinct is to use people like toilet paper. They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control.

Cagey Beast , says: July 22, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@MK-DELTABURKE Exactly.

Aspen Institute is CIA.

Yes, the Aspen Institute is the CIA and the CIA is the Aspen Institute. Or, to be more precise, the CIA is the armed wing of Washington's permanently governing technocratic party, in the same way the KGB was the armed wing of the Soviet Communist Party.

Poor Julian Assange is likely going to be in their hands not too long from now. The citizen of one Five Eyes country will be arrested by another and then sent off to the imperial metropole, to be kicked around like a political football. The rest of us Anglosphericals are expected to cheer or remain silent. Either is acceptable.

skrik , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT
@TG

there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them

Me: Oh yes there is; by *them* I don't mean "Zuckerberg, others" but the actual rulers of 'the West,' then see this:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Consider also:

Aspen Institute is CIA

and [perhaps most critically] this:

may depend on support for Trump from Israel and the Pentagon!

Now, I term the actual rulers of 'the West' the ccc = covert criminal cabal. Of course they are in hiding -- acting from 'behind the curtain,' as some have it -- it has to be that *dishonest* way -- for them. Among their most notable 'fruits' are the JFK murder, USS Liberty outrage, inside-job 9/11 psyop and the utterly wicked destruction of Libya/Gaddafi, just 4 of many. The extended list is looong, and note that the 1st 3 in my list demonstrate the ccc 'murdering their own' -- except that to the ccc, anybody not actually in the ccc itself is not 'their own' but only exploitable/disposable objects. Of course the ccc causes lies to be promulgated, hence the Lügenpresse . Neoliberalism/austerity must also come from the ccc, causing misery wherever it's forced upon us, we the people. One of the spivs in suits who 'sold' neoliberalism to the Aus people called it 'economic rationalism' and jeered: 'What would you rather -- irrational economics?' Another ccc modus operandi item is coercion as demonstrated by the downstream effects of Downer's "Get a briefing!" -- which shows us that the CIA et al. is a 'command conduit' if not a command originator. What I'm trying to illustrate here is that the ccc does not merely operate like a mafia, it *is* a mafia, and one of the author's "may depend on" items suggests a name for this mafia, namely: Khazar. That's our miserable world, deliberately made that way by that mafia; if that's not 'mindless and demented' what is? rgds

Pancho Perico , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
@MK-DELTABURKE The Aspen Institute is CIA, but the CIA is an organization created and controlled by the globalist conspirators at the Council on Foreign Relations, mostly the Rockefellers and other banksters.

[Jan 04, 2019] Veteran NBC-MSNBC Journalist Blasts Network in Resignation

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberal media has always embraced boundary transgression, always embraced invasiveness, always embraced adventurism, always embraced war. ..."
"... Fox is a racist bully. MSNBC is poison, & CNN is a joke. If nothing else, Trump is right about one thing. The American media is the enemy of the people. ..."
"... That an entire generation of Democrats paying attention to politics for the first time is being instilled with formerly right-wing Cold Warrior values of jingoism, über-pat riotism, reverence for security state agencies and prosecutors, a reckless use of the "traitor" accusation to smear one's enemies, and a belief that neoconservatives embody moral rectitude and foreign policy expertise has long been obvious and deeply disturbing. ..."
"... Years ago, whilst this reactionary putsch was still in it's infancy, my mom would listen to the "news" on the local CBS affiliate, and many times I heard her gasp and say, referring to the "reporters" jabbering, "My God, they're a bunch of dopes!" The dopes are ascendant; stupid, scared, violent-minded, and very well-paid. ..."
"... We, The People, Are Fed Up With Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs! ..."
"... Democratic Party leadership has basically always been neoconservative supporters of the national security state, but there has been some resistance within the rank and file. ..."
"... But the democrats will help republicans squeeze the peons with excessive education costs, unaffordable health care premiums and copays, expensive housing,.... ..."
"... We've known for a long time that NBC & MSNBC "have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies." ..."
"... The US military presence in the Middle East has nothing to do with national security (i.e protecting American citizens from military attack by foreign nations, or even with disrupting the activities and funding of terrorist groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda, groups we financed and armed as part of the overthrow Assad strategy). ..."
"... It has everything to do with controlling the region's oil flow and propping up regimes like Saudi Arabia who agree to invest the majority of their oil money in Wall Street banks. This is called petrodollar recycling, a strategy devised in the 1970s. Here is a foundational document discussing the plan, from 1974: https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1974LONDON16506_b.html ..."
"... Real News vs "fake news" is almost impossible to find and dissect. Even looking for real reporting beyond echoing is hard to find. The real problems are ignored or misstated to the extent real solutions are impossible. Not just security and endless wars but every aspect of civil existence, education, healthcare, you name it. We exist in an echo-chamber where real knowledge and understanding have been all but banished. ..."
"... Gotta hand it to the neocons, soon after the Vietnam debacle (I served 3 tours there), and Watergate, they quickly licked their wounds and devised a new playbook that, over time, would become a 'Project for the New American Century'. First things first, get rid of the draft. Go professional, and then only a very minuscule percentage of Americans have skin in the game, meaning their own sons and daughters at risk, while the rest of America can focus on the more important things, like watching the Housewives of New Jersey, New York, Beverly Hills, etc. etc., or sports, or the newest fashions, or the current fad diets, or the newest Trump tweet, bla bla bla. ..."
"... Next, and this is genius because it incorporates that great American pastime, greed, spread all of that endless supply of taxpayer money around to each and every State, County, and municipality in the form of jobs tied to the military industrial complex. ..."
"... And finally, silence and denigrate any meaningful opposition. As Kierkegaard stated, "Once you label me you negate me." Hence the long, ongoing labeling of opposition with terms like traitor, anti-American, unpatriotic, (insert name or country here) sympathizer. The sad part of all of this, too many Americans are gullible enough to swallow this crap, hook, line and sinker, as long as they get their daily ration of manna. ..."
"... What's the central reason MSNBC is so pro-war? Because the shareholders in its parent corporation, Comcas, have a deep vested interest in militarism, arms sales, and the capture of natural resources around the word ..."
"... Maddow long ago described herself as a "national security liberal." ..."
"... Still, that a network insider has blown the whistle on how all this works, and how MSNBC and NBC have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies, while not surprising, is nonetheless momentous given how detailed and emphatic he is in his condemnations. ..."
"... . . if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right. ..."
"... This essay is critical for every American to read. No exaggeration. NBC/MSNBC has become the proverbial spear tip in the march toward nuclear war with Russia. ..."
"... Perhaps, but I would suggest that Iran has become the most desired target for a war, and due in no small part to the aggressive advocacy for such a war by Israel and Saudi Arabia, and their subservient boot-licking, ass kissing American politicians. ..."
"... Project Mockingbird was publicly revealed years ago, but pretty much totally ignored by the audiences who lap contentedly from the MSM koolaid bowl. ..."
"... It's ironic that these politicians who have gorged themselves on literally millions of dollars in campaign funding from Big Pharma, Defense Contractors, Energy, Big Banking, and even insider stock trading now feel compelled to warn us of graft and corruption they all fostered. These politicians get elected as nobodies, sell their votes, retire as millionaires, then have the nerve to tell us how corrupted our government has become as they check out to become Lobbyist' ..."
"... I am so glad to see this man speak out. For the longest time, war and the military budget has been a third rail in politics ..."
"... State Department has become another branch of the MIC, not a diplomatic corps. And I am not saying this is all because of Trump. Probably started when we "won" the Cold War. ..."
Jan 04, 2019 | theintercept.com

Veteran NBC/MSNBC Journalist Blasts the Network for Being Captive to the National Security State and Reflexively Pro-War to Stop Trump

A VETERAN national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming captive and subservient to the national security state, reflexively pro-war in the name of stopping President Donald Trump, and now the prime propaganda instrument of the War Machine's promotion of militarism and imperialism.

As a result of NBC/MSNBC's all-consuming militarism, he said, "the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength" and "is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism."

The NBC/MSNBC reporter, William Arkin, is a longtime prominent war and military reporter, perhaps best known for his groundbreaking, three-part Washington Post series in 2010, co-reported with two-time Pulitzer winner Dana Priest, on how sprawling, unaccountable, and omnipotent the national security state has become in the post-9/11 era. When that three-part investigative series, titled "Top Secret America," was published, I hailed it as one of the most important pieces of reporting of the war on terror, because while "we chirp endlessly about the Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, the Democrats and Republicans, this is the Real U.S. Government: functioning in total darkness, beyond elections and parties, so secret, vast and powerful that it evades the control or knowledge of any one person or even any organization."

Arkin has worked with NBC and MSNBC over the years and continuously since 2016. But yesterday, he announced that he was leaving the network in a long, emphatic email denouncing the networks for their superficial and reactionary coverage of national security, for becoming fixated on trivial Trump outbursts of the day to chase profit and ratings, and -- most incriminating of all -- for becoming the central propaganda arm of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the FBI in the name of #Resistance, thus inculcating an entire new generation of liberals, paying attention to politics for the first time in the Trump era, to "lionize" those agencies and their policies of imperialism and militarism.

That MSNBC and NBC have become Security State Central has been obvious for quite some time. The network consists of little more than former CIA, NSA, and Pentagon officials as news "analysts"; ex-Bush-Cheney national security and communications officials as hosts and commentators; and the most extremists pro-war neocons constantly bashing Trump (and critics of Democrats generally) from the right, using the Cheney-Rove playbook on which they built their careers to accuse Democratic Party critics and enemies of being insufficiently patriotic, traitors for America's official enemies , and abandoning America's hegemonic role in the world.

MSNBC's star national security reporter Ken Dilanian was widely mocked by media outlets for years for being an uncritical CIA stenographer before he became a beloved NBC/MSNBC reporter (where his mindless servitude to his CIA masters has produced some of the network's most humiliating debacles ). The cable network's key anchor, Rachel Maddow, once wrote a book on the evils of endless wars without congressional authorization, but now routinely depicts anyone who wants to end those illegal wars as reckless weaklings and traitors .

Some of the most beloved and frequently featured MSNBC commentators are the most bloodthirsty pro-war militarists from the war on terror: David Frum, Jennifer Rubin, Ralph Peters, and Bill Kristol (who was just giddily and affectionately celebrated with a playful nickname bestowed on him: "Lil Bill"). In early 2018, NBC hired former CIA chief John Brennan to serve as a "senior national security and intelligence analyst," where the rendition and torture advocate joined -- as Politico's Jack Shafer noted -- a long litany of former security state officials at the network, including "Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James B. Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush."

As Shafer noted, filling your news and analyst slots with former security state officials as MSNBC and NBC have done is tantamount to becoming state TV, since "their first loyalty -- and this is no slam -- is to the agency from which they hail." As he put it: "Imagine a TV network covering the auto industry through the eyes of dozens of paid former auto executives and you begin to appreciate the current peculiarities."

All of this led Arkin to publish a remarkable denunciation of NBC and MSNBC in the form of an email he sent to various outlets, including The Intercept. Its key passages are scathing and unflinching in their depiction of those networks as pro-war propaganda outlets that exist to do little more than amplify and serve the security state agencies most devoted to opposing Trump, including their mindless opposition to Trump's attempts (with whatever motives) to roll back some of the excesses of imperialism, aggression, and U.S. involvement in endless war, as well as to sacrifice all journalistic standards and skepticism about generals and the U.S war machine if doing so advances their monomaniacal mission of denouncing Trump. As Arkin wrote (emphasis added):

My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.

To me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested . Despite being at "war," no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus' and Wes Clarks', or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and McMaster, we've had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as "analysts". We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.

Windrem again convinced me to return to NBC to join the new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton's hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream. But then Trump got elected and Investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself – busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play.

I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I'd also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there's a lot to report here, but I'm more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America's wars.

In our day-to-day whirlwind and hostage status as prisoners of Donald Trump, I think – like everyone else does – that we miss so much. People who don't understand the medium, or the pressures, loudly opine that it's corporate control or even worse, that it's partisan. Sometimes I quip in response to friends on the outside (and to government sources) that if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right.

For me I realized how out of step I was when I looked at Trump's various bumbling intuitions: his desire to improve relations with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, to question why we are fighting in Africa, even in his attacks on the intelligence community and the FBI. Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?

That an entire generation of Democrats paying attention to politics for the first time is being instilled with formerly right-wing Cold Warrior values of jingoism, über-patriotism, reverence for security state agencies and prosecutors, a reckless use of the "traitor" accusation to smear one's enemies, and a belief that neoconservatives embody moral rectitude and foreign policy expertise has long been obvious and deeply disturbing. These toxins will endure far beyond Trump, particularly given the now full-scale unity between the Democratic establishment and neocons .


photosymbiosis1 hour ago

Just remembered something about Arkin. This book: Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World January 25, 2005 by William M. Arkin https://books.google.com/books/about/Code_Names.html?id=KXLfAAAAMAAJ In particular there was this one exercise called Vigilant Guardian, run by NORAD, simulating terrorist attacks by hijackers which, curiously enough, happened to be in operation on the very day the Saudi hijackers were actually conducting such attacks:

NORAD's next Vigilant Guardian exercise, in 2001, will actually be several days underway on 9/11 (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). It will include a number of scenarios based around plane hijackings, with the fictitious hijackers targeting New York in at least one of those scenarios (see September 6, 2001, September 9, 2001, September 10, 2001, and (9:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 2004; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006]

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=vigilant_guardian However, what's interesting from Arkin's book, as I recall, is that this operation name was then reused in Afghanistan (a very rare practice, apparently, to reuse an operation name, but perhaps if you wanted to hide the original program, etc...), in 2003 or so - here's a NYT article about Vigilant Guardian in Afghanistan: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/20/magazine/where-the-enemy-is-everywhere-and-nowhere.html It's just one of many stories that makes one wonder exactly how much pre-warning the Bush Administration had about the 9/11 attacks, and whether there was a deliberate decision to allow the hijackers to seize control of the planes without any interference. It did save the Bush presidency, it did open the door to the Iraq invasion, and the Saudi intelligence services were involved with helping the hijackers. All very suspicious, really. Point being, Arkin's book is one of the few sources that lay out all those covert/overt program names, and is a real treasure for anyone interested in the history of that era.

bobhope1: 2 hours ago

This has been clearly obvious for several years. Goebbels would be proud.

Dysnomia 3 hours ago

If there were some kind of political realignment (similar to the realignment that took place in the 60s and 70s where racist white Democrats became racist white Republicans) where neoconservatives and warmongers become Democrats, and the Republican Party becomes the party of, surely not peace, but at least moderation in foreign military intervention, that might not be too bad, or at least not too much worse than the earlier post-9/11 status quo.

But I'm afraid this shift in discourse heralds something worse than that. So-called "liberal" media's embrace of neoconservatism and imperialism is likely to have the effect of narrowing the Overton window on issues of war and peace, making genuine anti-war positions even more unthinkable and beyond the pale. There will increasingly be no place for public anti-war discourse.

The single greatest threat to human freedom in the world today is the U.S. national security state. Inculcating public reverence for the state is perhaps the most dangerous thing that a media organization could do.

open_hearted_jade 2 hours ago

Neoliberal media has always embraced boundary transgression, always embraced invasiveness, always embraced adventurism, always embraced war.

... ... ...

Tom_Collins 2 hours ago ( Edited )

...America as the single biggest threat to world peace, right? https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/08/07/polls-us-greatest-threat-to-peace-world-today.html

AtheistInChief 3 hours ago

Fox is a racist bully. MSNBC is poison, & CNN is a joke. If nothing else, Trump is right about one thing. The American media is the enemy of the people.

Lawrence_Hill 4 hours ago ( Edited )

Do we remember way back in the 80's/Reagan admin war involvement in the El Salvador civil war when NBC anchor Tom Brokaw openly questioned the US's support for death squad leader D' Auboissan's terror regime on the air? Shocking! A Walter Cronkite-Vietnam War moment Brokaw supposed, maybe?

I remember that in all the hullabaloo that followed one of our ruling class commented that Brokaw was being $5 million a year not to say such subversive things. Lesson learned, Brokaw nor any other gainfully employed MSM tool has made the same mistake again, and now Brokaw has emeritus status in the NBC "News" hierarchy.

That comment opened my eyes for the first time to the reality of American MSM...

Michael_Wilk 4 hours ago
That an entire generation of Democrats paying attention to politics for the first time is being instilled with formerly right-wing Cold Warrior values of jingoism, über-pat riotism, reverence for security state agencies and prosecutors, a reckless use of the "traitor" accusation to smear one's enemies, and a belief that neoconservatives embody moral rectitude and foreign policy expertise has long been obvious and deeply disturbing.

I have to take issue with your use of the word 'formerly' in describing Cold War values. They are still very much right-wing. They never stopped being right-wing, nor did the current and former government and security state apparatchiks polluting the airwaves with their lies.

TimN 5 hours ago

The neo-con and neo-lib argument against this unfortunate reveal of things present, and things to come: "But Trump! Trump!" I didn't think I'd see things unravel so quickly, but Goddamn. Years ago, whilst this reactionary putsch was still in it's infancy, my mom would listen to the "news" on the local CBS affiliate, and many times I heard her gasp and say, referring to the "reporters" jabbering, "My God, they're a bunch of dopes!" The dopes are ascendant; stupid, scared, violent-minded, and very well-paid.

haugeneder 6 hours ago

Great piece. America is on the precipice and there are few who care -- very few. Time for an great economic depression -- not recession -- to shift the ground or open it to swallow us whole.

Tlaloc 7 hours ago

Interesting that we might be seeing a shift on both parties, the republicans finally embracing their libertarian side (long being a part of the republican party) and the neocons trying to find a new home on the democratic party. I wonder where the progressive side of the DNC will go, they might be the ones pushed out of any national party :(

Art 6 hours ago
[...] the progressive side of the DNC [...] might be the ones pushed out of any national party

Fuck that! They're headed for permanent electoral failure on every occasion they put forward neocons on any ballot. We, The People, Are Fed Up With Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs!

Dysnomia 3 hours ago

Unfortunately, I think it's more likely that we'll see a shift only on the Democratic side. Democratic Party leadership has basically always been neoconservative supporters of the national security state, but there has been some resistance within the rank and file. The narrowing of the Overton window we're seeing will make such resistance increasingly beyond the pale.

But I don't think the Republican Party, in terms of leadership or rank and file, will become more "libertarian" (in the American sense of that word) or less pro-war. I think there's likely to be greater consensus among the political class in favor of U.S. imperialism generally, and Trump, to the extent he occasionally makes moves in the opposite direction, is a convenient foil to bring that about.

johnanderson 7 hours ago ( Edited )

There is no "means test" for the empire military spending supports energy supplies supports international banking supports global corporatism but the democrats will help republicans squeeze the peons with excessive education costs, unaffordable health care premiums and copays, expensive housing, and social security cutbacks because they are playing the same elite economic game against the majority true the democratic leadership has a better stance on abortion and a generally more rainbow-flavored social agenda. Because they want this stuff for their own social class however economic policy will be at our expense ... just watch Pelosi and Company

open_hearted_jade 2 hours ago
But the democrats will help republicans squeeze the peons with excessive education costs, unaffordable health care premiums and copays, expensive housing,....

Those costs rise for one reason...

Mona 7 hours ago

...And here's Joe Biden: ""Paul Ryan was correct when he did the tax code, what was the first thing we have to go after, Social Security and Medicare. Now we need to do something about Social Security and Medicare. It's the only way to find room to pay for it." Biden is after means testing and other "adjustments" slashing SS, as endorsed by his pal. Paul Ryan. (This is called Republican Lite.)

And then there's Nancy Pelosi with her neoliberal austerity economics; her budget rules that would preemptively block a #GreenNewDeal & #MedicareForAll : https://theintercept.com/2019/01/02/nancy-pelosi-pay-go-rule/

trailgrub 7 hours ago ( Edited )

Thanks for publishing this story, Glenn, and putting your perspective on it. We've known for a long time that NBC & MSNBC "have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies." Before Comcast purchased them, General Electric owned these networks for many years. The public's interests are the last thing on their minds when they do "news reporting."

Have you watched when MSNBC's "prime time" talk shows are doing live sports-like camera angles, moves, and shots in their studio, trying to make it look all-the-more sensational on your TV screen? I mean, they're doing these intricate camera shots, rapid switching between cameras, zooming, panning, trying to make it look like a high-production-value shoot, and it looks like they've hired some live sports producers and technical directors to make this pathetic illusion on the air. All this shit for talking heads. Rotf-lmao.

What's next? Slow-motion HDTV instant replays of Rachel Maddow, utilizing zoomed-in camera shots of her mouth, when she's spraying spittle into her guests' faces? That's what happens when she launches into her infamous hissy fits.

The round table MSNBC uses in their cheap studio is only 4 feet in diameter. In other words, they're shooting these live action shots of people talking around an itty-bitty little table, and they're doing all this intricate camera work with approximately 8 cameras to make it look 'sensational', action-packed, and thrilling. Instead, it's extremely ugly, stupid, idiotic, disgusting, and ridiculous. It's not sensational. It's a disgusting cocktail of vomit, puss, and diarrhea.

I need reliable sources of news and weather so I can live my life sustainably with dignity while I maintain my values. My pride and dignity are invaluable to me. All these a-holes are doing for me is raising my blood pressure and pissing me off. That's why I read The Intercept. I'd like to have the option to just sit back and watch TI's reporting on a news channel someday SOON, if possible.

Again, what's our msm network news alternatives, besides Fox news, and why are they so pathetic? CBS news: Les Moonves in particular has cheered the Trump phenomenon, telling investors in 2016 that the Trump campaign "may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." -- https://theintercept.com/2017/02/24/cbs-fcc-trump/ -- Moonves got fired and lost his pension -- The longtime chairman-CEO was forced out Sept. 9, 2018 amid a cascade of sexual assault and misconduct allegations. "The CBS board of directors has denied former chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves any of the $120 million severance he was due under his employment contract after conducting a five-month internal probe of his conduct and the corporate culture at CBS Corp." -- https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-ent-les-moonves-denied-severance-20181217-story.html ABC news: Who owns ABC? Walt Disney bought ABC 22 years ago. Exactly, we're in Disneyland.

photosymbiosis 8 hours ago ( Edited )

Some basic facts:

The US military presence in the Middle East has nothing to do with national security (i.e protecting American citizens from military attack by foreign nations, or even with disrupting the activities and funding of terrorist groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda, groups we financed and armed as part of the overthrow Assad strategy).

It has everything to do with controlling the region's oil flow and propping up regimes like Saudi Arabia who agree to invest the majority of their oil money in Wall Street banks. This is called petrodollar recycling, a strategy devised in the 1970s. Here is a foundational document discussing the plan, from 1974: https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1974LONDON16506_b.html
"CENTRAL THESIS, BASED ON BELIEF THAT THERE IS NO EARLY PROSPECT OF BREAKING OIL CARTEL, IS THAT WE SHOULD SEEK EARLY DIALOGUE WITH PRODUCERS TO WORK OUT ARRANGEMENTS WITH ALL OR SOME OF THEM TO (A) INDEX PRICE OF OIL AND (B) BRING THEM INTO RECYCLING MECHANISM IN ORDER TO SHARE THE RISK. SECOND PAPER LARGELY DUPLICATES FIRST, THOUGH IT DOES ADD SOME STRESS ON LONGER RANGE PROBLEM OF MASSIVE SURPLUS OF OPEC COUNTRIES, ESTIMATED AT $400 BILLION BY 1980, FOR WHICH NO SOLUTION IS PROPOSED OTHER THAN NEW INTERNATIONAL RECYCLING AGENCY PROPOSED IN BOTH PAPERS."

One key point is that the proponents of this scheme in the United States, be they Democrats or Republicans, have zero interest in replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar and battery storage. That would sour the whole deal; nobody would buy Saudi oil. Of course the Russkies, the stated enemy, don't want to see Europe go 100% renewable either, any more than the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump Administrations did. The Russia-US conflict is mostly over who gets to sell gas to Europe, and neither dealer wants the addict to kick the habit, right?

This is a very consistent policy, year-to-year.

Now, why can't the corporate media honestly discuss this? Because they are the corporate establishment's propaganda monkeys, little more, regardless of whether they work at MSNBC or at FOX.

Oh, and this is why #Resist Trump is so nonsensical, when those supporting that them want to install a Joe Biden or Kamela Harris, who would continue right on with this status quo, i.e. blocking the development of renewable energy and continuing the idiotic military entanglements in the Middle East.

Fred_Cowan 8 hours ago

Real News vs "fake news" is almost impossible to find and dissect. Even looking for real reporting beyond echoing is hard to find. The real problems are ignored or misstated to the extent real solutions are impossible. Not just security and endless wars but every aspect of civil existence, education, healthcare, you name it. We exist in an echo-chamber where real knowledge and understanding have been all but banished.

Mona 8 hours ago

@Tom Collins & Art

"Yeah one wonders if [Snowden's] cover would have been blown so decisively had he done it anonymously through Wikileaks"

No need to wonder! Snowden made clear -- explicitly stated-- he wanted Greenwald and Poitras, and not Wikileaks. He deeply desired journalists to exercise judgment over what should be released to the public and did not want a data dump.

Further, he insisted on outing himself , and did so several days after the first document was published. At his behest, Poitras videotaped a 20-minute video of him taking responsibility, which was then posted at The Guardian. He did this, among other reasons, to spare his co-workers from suspicion and investigation.

Mona 1 hour ago

Citizen 4 won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013 or '14. It's all Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras, and other real players.

DC_Reade 8 hours ago

If the only way someone can manage to frame any of these issues is as "Fox vs. MSNBC" or "Trump Corruption vs. Washington Establishment Defenders of Democracy", they've assented to a two-valued action-reaction Pavlovian conditioned response loop.

No way should that be confused with a process of independent thought.

Unsurprisingly, I don't read one mention in the above post to any of the specifics of the content in Glenn Greenwald's remarks, or to any of the observations made by Arkin in his email resignation.

You're too busy fitting everyone with Team Jerseys tailored to your preconceived ideas.

Mona 6 hours ago

"This article does not inform."

Oh, it does lots of informing, you just don't like what it informs us of, to wit, the first paragraph:

A VETERAN national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming captive and subservient to the national security state, reflexively pro-war in the name of stopping President Donald Trump, and now the prime propaganda instrument of the War Machine's promotion of militarism and imperialism . As a result of NBC/MSNBC's all-consuming militarism, he said, "the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength" and "is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism."

Any substantive response, Milton?

MiltonWiltmellow 6 hours ago ( Edited )
Any substantive response, Milton?

As always, Mr. Greenwald's description is hyperbolic and bordering on unhinged. As DC_Reade suggested, I read Arkin's email. You should too. It seemed more like a Montaigne Essaiy or a reflective note for posterity than a thundering repudiation of MSNBC.

Mr. Greenwald turns it into a typical Greenwald crie du guerre™ against the evil Deep State (a term which he appears to have mercifully discarded. Too Foxy I suppose.) Here's his problem. Crying "wolf" only works for awhile. Eventually it becomes part of the information flood drowning everyone. Any bit of flotsam is as good as another.

Tom_Collins 5 hours ago

What's your point again? Do you even know?

DC_Reade 4 hours ago ( Edited )

Excerpts from Arkin's email:

"Seeking refuge in its political horse race roots, NBC (and others) meanwhile report the story of war as one of Rumsfeld vs. the Generals, as Wolfowitz vs. Shinseki, as the CIA vs. Cheney, as the bad torturers vs. the more refined, about numbers of troops and number of deaths, and even then Obama vs. the Congress, poor Obama who couldn't close Guantanamo or reduce nuclear weapons or stand up to Putin because it was just so difficult. We have contributed to turning the world of national security into this sort of political story. I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting..."

"...I argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years, doing the daily blah, blah, blah in Secaucus, but also poking at the conventional wisdom of everyone from Matthews to Hockenberry. And yet I feel like I've failed to convey this larger truth about the hopelessness of our way of doing things, especially disheartened to watch NBC and much of the rest of the news media somehow become a defender of Washington and the system..."

"...For me I realized how out of step I was when I looked at Trump's various bumbling intuitions: his desire to improve relations with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, to question why we are fighting in Africa, even in his attacks on the intelligence community and the FBI. Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?..."

https://medium.com/@ggreenwald/full-email-from-william-arkin-leaving-nbc-and-msnbc-1fb0d1dc692b

Yes, William Arkin does go on to be gracious and complimentary of some of his (former) colleagues at NBC. Arkin mantains his professional composure. His critique of the focus and practices of NBC/MSNBC News is tempered and reasoned. But the critique is scathing, nonetheless.

Tom_Collins 4 hours ago ( Edited )

You are missing Milton's point altogether. Like "Craig Summers", MW expects that his word alone is enough to dismiss the editorial/investigative/analytical work put in by Greenwald, Arkin or anyone else on the topics considered most important by the U.S. State Department.

When MW or CS weigh in on these things to dismiss or diminish these stories/opinions/facts with the wave of a hand or incorrect reading (and absolutely nothing of substance), we are supposed to defer to them respectfully and re-consider the respect we have developed for the professionalism, dedication and personal/career risks taken on by the people who bring us these stories that are inconvenient to the establishment government and media actors.

Mona 3 hours ago

"As DC_Reade suggested, I read Arkin's email. "

Cool, Milton, and what are your substantive comments on this part:

My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus. To me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at "war," no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus' and Wes Clarks', or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and McMaster, we've had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as "analysts". We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous. Windrem again convinced me to return to NBC to join the new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton's hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream. But then Trump got elected and Investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself – busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play. I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I'd also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there's a lot to report here, but I'm more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America's wars. In our day-to-day whirlwind and hostage status as prisoners of Donald Trump, I think – like everyone else does – that we miss so much. People who don't understand the medium, or the pressures, loudly opine that it's corporate control or even worse, that it's partisan. Sometimes I quip in response to friends on the outside (and to government sources) that if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right. For me I realized how out of step I was when I looked at Trump's various bumbling intuitions: his desire to improve relations with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, to question why we are fighting in Africa, even in his attacks on the intelligence community and the FBI. Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?
OftenWrongSeldomInDoubt 9 hours ago

This is SO validating to read! Surely no other ruler in history with a cute butt and polite voice ordered killings in 56 countries in one year. I want someone to discuss this without accusing me of being pro-Rump. I guess, the Rachel Maddows of the world cannot criticize Hillary/Obama for expanding every awful thing for which the good people of the world hated Bush.

There are two giant problems in the world today-
1. the scale of people who lost their homes and countries because of the good guy's wars and
2. climate change which the good guy's 27,600 odd bombs of 2016 might or might not have exacerbated. After all, each bomb costs upward of $10,000,000. Who is measuring the greenhouse gases released by them?

The media needs to be equally adversarial to 'liberal' governments as they are to 'conservative' ones, so that majority parties cannot take credit for granting me bathroom and bedroom permissions that are surely my personal domain! The media must shed light on whether it is bad to tell 'aliens' not to cross a border or it is bad to win a Nobel Peace prize before raining bombs on brown people in other countries, never separating children from families, when blowing up ten civilians for every 'target' we extra-judicially decided to label as militant.

So thank you for this article!!

bluecurl3 9 hours ago

Gotta hand it to the neocons, soon after the Vietnam debacle (I served 3 tours there), and Watergate, they quickly licked their wounds and devised a new playbook that, over time, would become a 'Project for the New American Century'. First things first, get rid of the draft. Go professional, and then only a very minuscule percentage of Americans have skin in the game, meaning their own sons and daughters at risk, while the rest of America can focus on the more important things, like watching the Housewives of New Jersey, New York, Beverly Hills, etc. etc., or sports, or the newest fashions, or the current fad diets, or the newest Trump tweet, bla bla bla.

Next, and this is genius because it incorporates that great American pastime, greed, spread all of that endless supply of taxpayer money around to each and every State, County, and municipality in the form of jobs tied to the military industrial complex. Now, lots of Americans have skin in the game, as long as the lobbyists, politicians, government and the military can provide a pipeline of endless wars and conflicts. Of course, in order to provide and maintain the patina of morality and righteousness, a subservient and corporate controlled media is vital.

And finally, silence and denigrate any meaningful opposition. As Kierkegaard stated, "Once you label me you negate me." Hence the long, ongoing labeling of opposition with terms like traitor, anti-American, unpatriotic, (insert name or country here) sympathizer. The sad part of all of this, too many Americans are gullible enough to swallow this crap, hook, line and sinker, as long as they get their daily ration of manna.

Xavi 8 hours ago

Orwellian times.

firstpersoninfinite 9 hours ago

No, it's not rocket science. Otherwise you couldn't have proven Greenwald's point with your own views about "supporting" the security state so easily. You missed the entire point of the article, which is that the neocons and the neoliberals support the same cast of nefarious personalities that got us into the Middle East, over and over again. Why is NBC/MSNBC normalizing right-wing radicalism? Because they've joined hands with neocons and neoliberals to support the military/industrial complex. Your argument is akin to someone claiming that their Communion wafer is more holy than anyone else's because it has the Pope's imprint on it.

firstpersoninfinite 8 hours ago

Neocons, like Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol's father, were leftists in the 1930's. It's not a difficult term to come to terms with, historically. I don't wonder why anyone questions what Trump is doing. I never said such a thing.

What Trump has done during his first two years in office has not been questioned by the mainstream press at all. Only the imbecile tweets and the gaffes are of any interest to the citizens of such a redoubtable empire as our own. A friend of mine who fights anti-wolf and anti-bear laws in Montana, laws sent down by the Trump administration, says that these are the same laws they fought during 8 years of Obama. The mainstream of both parties are the two sides of the same coin. So I agree with the "role reversal."

Dysnomia 2 hours ago

I think the problem is not that supporting the "deep state" is becoming a convenient excuse to oppose Trump, but that opposing Trump is becoming a convenient excuse to support the deep state.

DC_Reade 10 hours ago

Bravo, William Arkin. I only wish that you could have found some way for you to resign on the air in the middle of a broadcast. (I've been wishing such a scenario for decades. Preferably featuring one or more news anchors.)

Incredible that the USA has spent trillions of dollars in a game of whack-a-mole that's been extended over the entire globe with no time limitations, occasionally interspersed with declarations of surprise that the nation faces more emergent terror threats than ever. We spend more money on the military and warfare than we spent during the Cold War. And all that was required to trigger this spiral into perpetual militarism was a single special operation carried out 17 years ago by a small team of not-particularly-elite commandos who hijacked four airliners, thereby obtaining the one-time ability to repurpose three of them into cruise missiles.

By now, it should be no surprise that other large nations have taken notice of the American assumption of entitlement to police the world and begun their own rearmament campaigns. Also worth noting that the focus on the Terror Threat has served as the rationale for massive investment in a level of surveillance technology that's unknown in human history. As for the norms and values that international law was supposedly intended to provide for governments everywhere, all of that went out the window in 2003, with the unprovoked invasion of Iraq by the Benevolent Hegemon Hyperpower. American scolding of other nations for their armed territorial incursions and imperial designs has rung awfully hollow, ever since.

The emphasis on massive military escalation to deal with terrorism outbreaks is reminiscent of the War on Drugs- which, it should be noted, also remains largely in effect, notwithstanding occasional feints toward de-escalation. And we all know what the War on Drugs did in terms of empowering the criminal elite that it was supposed to eliminate.

What's that all about? The leaders of this country- and for that matter, the supposed leaders of the rest of the world- aren't leading. To me, almost all of them look like they're running from something: they're running from fossil fuels addiction and its toxic blowback, looming climate catastrophe, natural resource depletion, maldistribution of wealth and neglect of the commons.

photosymbiosis 11 hours ago

What's the central reason MSNBC is so pro-war? Because the shareholders in its parent corporation, Comcas, have a deep vested interest in militarism, arms sales, and the capture of natural resources around the word:

Comcast, a large cable operator, completed its purchase of a majority stake in NBCUniversal from General Electric in January 2011. The cable giant bought the rest of NBCUniversal in February 2013. NBCUniversal is the parent company of MSNBC, as well as NBC, Bravo, USA and other channels.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-asks-who-owns-msnbc_us_572e3d0fe4b0bc9cb0471df1 https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/CMCSA/holders/

Comcast major holders, $US:

  • Vanguard Group, Inc. 10,965,964,846
  • Blackrock Inc. 10,179,872,652
  • State Street Corporation 5,785,488,229
  • Capital World Investors 5,427,547,692
  • Massachusetts Financial Services Co. 4,787,803,825

Lockheed Martin major holders, $US:

  • State Street Corporation 13,394,660,471 Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) 6,210,096,924
  • Capital World Investors 5,098,130,465
  • Blackrock Inc. 5,084,573,828
  • Bank of America Corporation 2,826,426,091

ExxonMobil major holders, $US:

  • Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) 26,661,034,588
  • Blackrock Inc. 21,669,998,686
  • State Street Corporation 16,964,902,104
  • Northern Trust Corporation 4,566,789,988
  • Bank Of New York Mellon Corporation 4,420,622,076

It pretty obvious once you look at the value of an outfit like Blackrock's investments in media, arms, and oil - they don't want any stories told on MSNBC that would threaten the profit margins of Exxon, Lockheed or Comcast.

The only real solution is government enforcement of anti-trust legisation which would require the likes of Comcast, TimeWarner(CNN) and NewsCorp(FOX) to divest their media holdings, creating dozens of independently owned outfits not beholden to some corporate master who won't let them discuss important topics like, say NAFTA....

Benito_Mussolini 10 hours ago
The only real solution is government enforcement of anti-trust legislation

Hopefully, MSNBC will be smart enough to provide a friendly platform for ex-government officials. It means a great deal to government officials to know their influence, public visibility (and associated appearance fees) will continue into their retirement. I don't watch MSNBC, so I don't know if they have implemented this strategy, but the pictures in the article seem encouraging.

johnnyred 11 hours ago

War is touted exclusively by those who've never experienced it. Get rid of the generals, put in some infantry casualties, those who've lost a limb or two.
Then we can have some informed comment.

Somewherearoundtikrit 11 hours ago

Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, "In these critical times..." their "editorial independence" is in sincere need of your donation. They're just 80K away from their million dollar goal! Pardon me while I retch. Julian Assange is still being robbed of his freedom. In these critical times indeed. Thank you Glenn.

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

The Guardian can get its funding from the organizations for whom they carry water. Not a damn cent from me. After they caved in on the Snowden files, I was done with them for good.

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/04/surreal-moment-guardian-destroyed-snowden-files

Yeah one wonders if his cover would have been blown so decisively had he done it anonymously through Wikileaks, but I think they were onto him anyway. Ultimately the information got out, and media orgs like The Guardian were exposed for their fealty to the national security state(s).

Somewherearoundtikrit 11 hours ago

Speaking of leaks, whenever I hear "water carrier," this inevitably comes to mind https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JGfXiIXTpE0

Orville 6 hours ago

Cryptome wouldn't have censored the releases, as WikiLeaks has. Still WikiLeaks continues to be one of the world's premier journalistic outlets.

MyInnocuousUsernameWasBanned 9 hours ago

Was anyone else surprised by how long it took them to get to a million? I've seen Kickstarters for video games that got to a million faster. The slow pace of the fundraising seemed like a rebuke. I was hoping they'd never hit a million.

And I say all of that as someone who has recurring donations set up for about a dozen podcasts and blogs. The nonprofit/fundraiser model is the way to go, but I also think that publicly owned media outlets, or privately owned but public-interest-minded news organizations, while editorially independent, can't be totally contemptuous of their reader/donors.

I would never donate to the Guardian for a million reasons, but to pick just one: they have played the lead role in smearing Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as dangerous radicals and anti-Semites.

And I would never donate to The Intercept, for instance, because of the crucial role it has played in promoting Russiagate and amplifying voices like Mattathias Schwartz's. (I'll never stop reminding people that Schwartz non-jokingly advocated here for what would essentially be a coup -- Obama "putting a hold on the transfer of power" -- after the most recent presidential election. The Intercept published that. Amazing.) And the face of the Intercept, arguably, is no longer Greenwald but Mehdi Hasan, who publishes rank propaganda smearing peace activists as "Bashar al-Assad Apologists" who revere human rights abusers as "heroes." (Again: the Intercept published that. Amazing.)

My favorite line from that Arkin email is the one about the tension between worship of "officialdom" and respect for "public yearnings." To political elites and reporters (including the experts at the Intercept who spent a week running PR for Nancy Pelosi's speaker bid, and who constantly write off the 2016 election as a consequence either of sinister foreign interference or of the squalid bigotry, stupidity and ugliness of non-coastal Americans), officialdom always wins, and "public yearnings" are just the bleatings of deplorables.

If Glenn's excellent reporting was removed from this site, The Intercept would be as deserving of Arkin's critique as NBC and the Guardian are.

tigertiger 8 hours ago

They didn't hit their million, which they wanted before the end of the year, but they're still begging. Not for lack of trying, that 'give us money!' pop up has to be about the loudest, most intrusive of it's kind I've ever seen.

And yes, TI is only marginally less repulsive (thanks to Glenn, Lee Fang, and Jon Schwartz). It amazes me that an outlet owned by a bajillionaire constantly begs for money. I guess they think it makes them more 'populist' or something- 'look, the peons are sacrificing their pennies to help us!'.

TravisTea 11 hours ago

As an American author (and journalist) once wrote:

"Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his . And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for the 'universal brotherhood of man' -- with his mouth."

-- Mark Twain, Man's Place in the Animal World (1896)

P.S. As always, thank you very much, Mr. Greenwald (and thank you, Mr. Arkin).

Carlaly 11 hours ago

Just vindicates what you have been saying all along. Although I expect the denialists will dismiss Arkin as some anti-American, anti-troop stooge of Putin.

Mona 11 hours ago

"The cable network's key anchor, Rachel Maddow, once wrote a book on the evils of endless wars without congressional authorization, but now routinely depicts anyone who wants to end those illegal wars as reckless weaklings and traitors."

She's just coming home. Liberals have long been dominated by hawks (after all, Vietnam was a Democrats' war, albeit Nixon/Kissinger took the war crimes up to 11.)

Maddow long ago described herself as a "national security liberal."

Which leads to yet another element of Ms. Maddow's portfolio: the daughter of an Air Force captain who served stateside during the Vietnam War, she is an admitted defense-policy wonk. "I'm a national security liberal, which I tell people because it's meant to sound absurd," she said. "I'm all about counterterrorism. I'm all about the G.I. Bill."

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/17/arts/television/17madd.html

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

Madcow would like nothing more than to see open war with Russia.

brer_rabbit 11 hours ago ( Edited )

maddcow . . my laugh of the day.

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

It's a common refrain in far-right reaches of the Internet. I almost felt bad for saying it, but that's what she's become on the topic of Russia.

brer_rabbit 11 hours ago

Yes, whenever is see her, or Anderson Cooper, or any of these guys for that matter (which is rare . . usually for a few minutes to catch a glimpse of the latest environmental disaster, mass shooting, or whatever) my first thought always goes to question the kind of upbringing that could have produced such vapid people, who enthusiastically shame themselves on a daily basis for money. What must they think of their audience?

open_hearted_jade 11 hours ago

Maddow is less respected by an awakening public -- therefore she must be a conservative right winger. Didn't you learn anything after 1945?

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

You've made made totally missing the point into a trolling form of art. Bravo.

endlesswar 11 hours ago

Attacking an extreme right wing president from the right, while lauding unrepentant war criminals like Bush and McCain. Just about sums up what it means to be a liberal in this day and age.

PatrickShaw 6 hours ago

MSNBC and their national security contributors do not speak for liberals. They never invite liberal voices on who are anti-war/pro diplomacy.

xochtl 12 hours ago
Still, that a network insider has blown the whistle on how all this works, and how MSNBC and NBC have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies, while not surprising, is nonetheless momentous given how detailed and emphatic he is in his condemnations.

perfect summary

brer_rabbit 12 hours ago ( Edited )
. . if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right.

bingo

clawhammerjake 13 hours ago

War is a business decision.

Steeeve 13 hours ago ( Edited )

I've been consistently surprised that anyone is still watching these things. Personally, I've already divested from special-interest funded media outlets and the DNC for that matter. It's always interesting when I run across someone parrotting their viewpoints though.

TheManj 13 hours ago ( Edited )

The greatest scam of the millennium, after cruptocurrency, was the use of Trump Derangement Syndrome to pervert "progressives" into acolytes of the security establishment.

pedinska2 13 hours ago

Actually, TDS wasn't used in the original perversion so much as it was used as the cement to keep it firmly in place.

I lay blame for much of the greatest scam of the millenium on Obama with his drone policies, expansion of our involvement in the ME, retention of the same Smartest Guys in the Room who tanked our economy and wholesale conversion of liberals into acceptance of further erosion of our Constitutional rights with his warm embrace of the same criminals running the security state when torture became de rigueur. He was just so darn pretty and eloquent they had no choice but to believe all the lies dripping from those sexy lips. And have you seen Michelle's arms???!? /s

Benito_Mussolini 13 hours ago

To herd people, it's more effective to use both the carrot (Obama) and the stick (TDS). The fact that progressives needed to be herded is a testament to their numbers and success.

Erelis 13 hours ago

This essay is critical for every American to read. No exaggeration. NBC/MSNBC has become the proverbial spear tip in the march toward nuclear war with Russia. Every day, step by step, brick by brick, they are laying the foundation for the justification of war--in fact, for needing and demanding war, almost any war, but more particularly with Russia. Let's remember that when Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, 72% of Americans supported it to according to Gallup. That didn't happen overnight with some big propaganda event.

bluecurl3 4 hours ago

Perhaps, but I would suggest that Iran has become the most desired target for a war, and due in no small part to the aggressive advocacy for such a war by Israel and Saudi Arabia, and their subservient boot-licking, ass kissing American politicians. I'm all for pulling our troops out of Syria, but mark my word, Bibi and his zionist war-hawks will seize the opportunity to bomb the hell out of Syria, and use it as a pretext to launch attacks against Iran.

Mike5000 13 hours ago

Maddow is not really pro-war or anti-war. She is just pro whatever Clinton and Pelosi happen to be pushing this week. It's a shame. She's a good presenter but hopelessly biased.

PresumptuousInsect 13 hours ago

I think she is more enthralled to the people who are paying her.

Erelis 13 hours ago

Maddows rhetoric and reporting is pro-war regardless of her motivations. She uses the language of aggression and conspiracy and accusation in describing the Russians and other Americans such as Jill Stein. She without exception imputes malevolent motives on "the enemy" which is Russia leading to a truly a bizarre clip telling Americans in somber and concerned tones that Russia and N. Korea share a border. The conspiracy has been exposed.

Bill_Owen 10 hours ago

What is it, exactly, about Hillary Clinton that enthralls Rachel Maddow so much that she now pretty much spends her days building a case (in-the-sky) for war on Russia? Seems pathological somehow.

MyInnocuousUsernameWasBanned 9 hours ago

Look at how her ratings and salary have been affected by her transformation. She's gone from "cable news anchor" to "superstar." The Russiagate scam has also given dozens of mediocrities like Seth Abramson a chance to be noticed and to feel important. Even the writers on the Intercept's "intelligence" beat have been doing some sort of Tom Clancy cosplay for the last two years. It's profitable and fun to be one of these people, as long as you don't have a nagging sense of shame.

William 13 hours ago

Indeed, none of this is new. I read Norman Solomon's and Martin Lee's UNRELIABLE SOURCES: A GUIDE TO DETECTING BIAS IN NEWS MEDIA back when I was in college in the late 80s and they cite General Electric's ownership of NBC (before there was an "MSNBC") uncritically:

General Electric's Influence on NBC GE is by no means a hands off owner of NBC. Lee and Solomon in their book Unreliable Sources have detailed how GE insisted on the removal of references to itself in an NBC programme on substandard products. They also point out that NBC journalists have not been particularly keen to expose GE's environmental record and that TV commercials by a group called INFACT, urging a boycott of GE products, were banned by NBC as well as other television stations. NBC did however briefly report GE's indictment for cheating the Department of Defense which was reported more extensively in other media outlets. (Lee and Solomon 1990, pp. 77-81) Former NBC News Chief, Lawrence Grossman, claims that the head of GE, Jack Welch made it clear to him that he worked for GE and told him not to use terms such as 'Black Monday' to describe the stock market crash in 1987 because it depressed share prices such as GE's (Cited in Naureckas 1995). Todd Putnam, editor of National Boycott News, tells of how he was approached by the NBC's Today Show to do an interview about consumer boycotts. Their biggest boycott at the time was against General Electric and its nuclear defense contracts but the show wouldn't let him talk about that and was reluctant to have him mention boycotts against any large corporation preferring him to talk about "a boycott that was 'small,' 'local' and 'sexy'." (1991) Mark Gunther writing in American Journalism Review claims that references to General Electric's use of the bolts in an NBC Today Show on defective bolts in planes, bridges and nuclear plants, were edited out and only mentioned in a follow-up segment after criticism of the omission (1995, p. 40). In 1990 NBC Nightly News ran 14 minutes of coverage over three days of a breast cancer detection machine produced by GE, without mentioning that it was made by NBC's owners. The other two major television networks didn't bother to cover it at all. (FAIR 1991) Helen Caldicott who had been featured on the Today Show previously found that when she wrote her book If You Love This Planet, which used GE as a case study of an environmentally damaging company, her scheduled appearance was mysteriously cancelled (Anon. 1992). In 1987, one year after GE took over NBC, NBC broadcast a special documentary promoting nuclear power using France as a model. The promotion for the programme proclaimed that "French townspeople welcome each new reactor with open arms". The documentary won a Westinghouse sponsored prize for science journalism. (Westinghouse Electric Company also builds nuclear power stations.) Shortly after the documentary was screened, when there were a couple of accidents at French power stations and there was significant opposition to nuclear power amongst the French population (polls showed about one third opposed it), NBC did not report the story although some US newspapers did. (Lee and Solomon 1990, p. 78) Karl Grossman documents in Extra! (1993) how the programme What Happened? broadcast on NBC in 1993 gave a one sided account of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and its aftermath. It showed local resident Debbie Baker saying that she was not as afraid of the nuclear plant as she used to be. However, according to Grossman, Baker, whose son was born with Down's syndrome 9 months after the accident and who has received $1.1 million in a settlement arising from the accident, was shocked at how the programme had been edited to imply her acceptance of the plant. She said she was still extremely uncomfortable with the plant and that what she had said was she felt safer since her groups set up a network of radiation monitors around the plant. Neither Baker's settlement nor the 200 or so others "made to families who have suffered injury, birth defects and death because of the 1979 accident" were mentioned. Instead a nuclear power industry expert was featured who said the plant's back-up safety systems worked successfully. When EXTRA! pointed out that no scientists critical of nuclear power appeared in the program, Jaffe [executive producer of the show] responded, 'That is correct. Maybe there is some misunderstanding. That show is not a journalistic show but an entertainment show to look into and to find out the reason and cause of various accidents and incidents.' (Grossman 1993, p. 6) NBC has not been alone in putting a positive spin on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. On the tenth anniversary of the accident, the New York Times ran an anniversary article opposite the editorial page headlined "Three Mile Island: The Good News" which argued that the accident had been good for the nuclear power industry prompting better management and emergency planning. The paper did not report the fact that 2000 residents living near the plant had filed claims for cancer and other health problems they blamed on the accident, nor the 280 personal-injury settlements paid out to such claimants, nor the unusual clusters of leukemia, birth defects and hypothyroidism around the plant. (Lee and Solomon 1990, p. 210) This was not the first time Times reporting had fitted with General Electric's views. In 1986 the Times reported on the use of humans as subjects in tritium absorption experiments. Tritium is routinely handled by nuclear power plant workers. An early edition of the paper said: "The tritium study was financed by the Atomic Energy Commission and conducted by the General Electric Company at Richland, which abuts the Hanford [nuclear weapons] reservation." In the late edition the sentence ended after Commission and no longer named General Electric. (Tenenbaum 1990)

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

Sure, but the question then becomes: Why didn't the corporate networks and newspapers with whom NBC competed point these things out?

Art 11 hours ago

That's what my father always said about media - that it was self-correcting. But he was wrong. They're all influenced by the same thing, namely the ultra-rich and their money.

Tom_Collins 11 hours ago

But wouldn't another network stand to gain more clout from the ultra-rich, corporations, and their money from NBC's losing viewers/ratings due to exposure for their corrupt unwillingness to report negatively on their parent corporation's actions?

Art 11 hours ago

They share a huge fraction of investors, that's the problem.

Midwest 14 hours ago

Nothing has changed except that there is an outsider independent president. NBC was just as bad 20 years ago.

TheManj 13 hours ago

Project Mockingbird was publicly revealed years ago, but pretty much totally ignored by the audiences who lap contentedly from the MSM koolaid bowl.

Phil 14 hours ago

William Arkin is right on point with his email to MSNBC, especially when he says:

"And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as "analysts". We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. "

In that same vein I have problems with MSNBC et al also covering the farewell speeches of outgoing Senators and Representatives which are full of warnings as to how the current system is "broken" [Paul Ryan, ClaireMcCaskill, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Flake, among many] and not calling them out.

It's ironic that these politicians who have gorged themselves on literally millions of dollars in campaign funding from Big Pharma, Defense Contractors, Energy, Big Banking, and even insider stock trading now feel compelled to warn us of graft and corruption they all fostered. These politicians get elected as nobodies, sell their votes, retire as millionaires, then have the nerve to tell us how corrupted our government has become as they check out to become Lobbyist's.

Orrin Hatch was a Senator for 42 years but last week he woke up one morning to find the Senate needs fixing? Paul Ryan was Speaker of the House and fiercely defended Trump but now as he leaves he's suddenly discovers that things aren't right in Washington? And what about all those who are still in office now – where are their warnings and concern? The answer is it's difficult to talk while you're in office stuffing your mouths at the trough.

Sadly, MSNBC and the media carry these farewell speeches with no comment except that they are all great public servants and their viewers soak it all up because to do otherwise would be unpatriotic. And the march of the lemmings to the voting booths continues.

PresumptuousInsect 14 hours ago

I am so glad to see this man speak out. For the longest time, war and the military budget has been a third rail in politics, and "support the troops!"--however hypocritical that slogan might be--has been a rallying cry as well as an accusation of treason/unAmericanism/communism, etc., for those who have had doubts. But finally we are starting to see signs of dissatisfaction with the status quo among the political class, and even antiwar bullet points listed on some platforms. There are even calls for diplomacy, a word that seemed to have been deleted from all U.S. dictionaries. I hope that Arkin's outcry serves to move this agitation forward.

shenebraskan 14 hours ago

Dunno if you noticed (I did because I watch State Department briefings), but when Brett McGurk resigned as Syria envoy, in a similar huff to McMaster, he bemoaned the loss of his colleagues at State and Pentagon. State Department has become another branch of the MIC, not a diplomatic corps. And I am not saying this is all because of Trump. Probably started when we "won" the Cold War.

[Dec 27, 2018] Is it possible to wrench control of MSM out of hand on large corporations and intelligence agencies?

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RatioDecidend , 4 Jun 2018 01:33

This article is excellent and well overdue. All we need to do now is to wrench control of our mainstream media out of the hands of Corporate (foreign) control. We are being told to vote against ourselves in order for the few corporate elite to accrue massive wealth and power over us.

MEDIA laws need to be very strict with very, very severe financial penalties for bias and propaganda. Certainly remove this concept of self regulation whereby they sit on their own disciplinary boards. Raise the standards of our media and allow us to retrieve some semblance of our democracy.

Without media control, how would corporations be able to manipulate and propagandise the populace with their own vested interests.

That is why governments are doing corporate bidding and getting fascist style surveillance of its people, in order to counteract the ability of the people to gain knowledge through the internet and vote against corporate control of our democracy.... nothing to do with terrorism which was caused mostly by corporate foreign extraction of wealth through weapon sales; resource acquisition, etc.

Oops, got to go, hope that makes sense.

RatioDecidend -> Lawrie Griffith , 4 Jun 2018 00:51
It is back to control of our mainstream media by the very (foreign) corporations that are sucking out our wealth and putting nothing back.

Corporate media ia all powerful. They insidiously permeate the populace with corporate views of Australia's financial and economy; infrastructure and every aspect of social life from birth to euthanasia with racism and religion thrown in for good measure.

Should a politician have the audacity to act against their corporate interests, they do not last long, without exclusions - PMs Whitlam and Rudd being prime examples.

This current mob of gutless underachieving dinosaur neo con nutters in govt, are completely turning over Australia to these Corporate (foreign) parasites and our prospect is not looking good.

Within no time we will be a Corporatocracy (as is the USA) and along with that comes 1% owning 99% of the wealth; third world poverty; crime through the roof; drugs out of control; public health and education a joke; public services non existent; legal system in disarray and entrenched with bias and inequity.

[Dec 22, 2018] We can be actually confident not just that the journalists in the MSM are on the payroll but that the invoices and accounts for their bribes are carefully preserved.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Craig Murray today publishes accounts from the "Integrity Initiative" showing that journalists in Scotland are receiving retainers of 2500 a month Sterling, plus expenses and payment for actual articles published. ..."
"... We can be actually confident not just that the journalists in the MSM are on the payroll but that the invoices and accounts for their bribes are carefully preserved. ..."
"... What we are witnessing is the complete incompetence of those running the Empire. While malicious, indeed deadly, they simply cannot keep up with the critics of imperialism. Their power rests entirely on their ability to use force, both physical and financial. ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Dec 22, 2018 9:33:42 AM | link

The journalism scandals are just beginning.

Craig Murray today publishes accounts from the "Integrity Initiative" showing that journalists in Scotland are receiving retainers of 2500 a month Sterling, plus expenses and payment for actual articles published.

And if this is going on in Scotland we can be quite sure that it is actually happening in North America and Europe, generally, and, of course, in the less prosperous parts of the world where standards of integrity are just as low as they are hereabouts.

We can be actually confident not just that the journalists in the MSM are on the payroll but that the invoices and accounts for their bribes are carefully preserved.

Murray's blog is almost always worth following, just as 'b's is. Yesterday more news about the Skripal case emerged: it seems that the British government was prepared well in advance for the sudden attack on Skripal.

What we are witnessing is the complete incompetence of those running the Empire. While malicious, indeed deadly, they simply cannot keep up with the critics of imperialism. Their power rests entirely on their ability to use force, both physical and financial. Their attempts to use social medias to their advantage are lame and ineffective. It seems clear to me that they will soon be reduced to using their power not just to hobble but to cripple critics- net neutrality is already finished.

[Dec 22, 2018] British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft by Craig Murray

Highly recommended!
Craig Murray is right that "As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier." Collapse of neoliberal ideology and rise of tentions in neoliberal sociarties resulted in unprecedented increase of covert and false flag operations by British intelligence services, especially against Russia, which had been chosen as a convenient scapegoat. With Steele dossier and Skripal affair as two most well known.
New Lady Macbeth (Theresa May) Russophobia is so extreme that her cabinet derailed the election of a Russian to head Interpol.
Looks like neoliberalism cannot be defeated by and faction of the existing elite. Only when shepp oil end mant people will have a chance. The US , GB and EU are part of the wider hegemonic neoliberal system. In fact rejection of neoliberal globalization probably will lead to "national neoliberals" regime which would be a flavor of neo-fascism, no more no less.
Notable quotes:
"... The British state can maintain its spies' cover stories for centuries. ..."
"... I learnt how highly improbable left wing firebrand Simon Bracey-Lane just happened to be on holiday in the United States with available cash to fund himself, when he stumbled into the Bernie Sanders campaign. ..."
"... It is, to say the least, very interesting indeed that just a year later the left wing, "Corbyn and Sanders supporting" Bracey-Lane is hosting a very right wing event, "Cold War Then and Now", for the shadowy neo-con Institute for Statecraft, at which an entirely unbalanced panel of British military, NATO and Ukrainian nationalists extolled the virtues of re-arming against Russia. ..."
"... the MOD-sponsored Institute for Statecraft has been given millions of pounds of taxpayers' money by the FCO to spread covert disinformation and propaganda, particularly against Russia and the anti-war movement. Activities include twitter and facebook trolling and secretly paying journalists in "clusters of influence" around Europe. Anonymous helpfully leaked the Institute's internal documents. Some of the Integrity Initiative's thus exposed alleged covert agents, like David Aaronovitch, have denied any involvement despite their appearance in the documents, and others like Dan Kaszeta the US "novichok expert", have cheerfully admitted it. ..."
"... By sleuthing the company records of this "Scottish charity", and a couple of phone calls, I discovered that the actual location of the Institute for Statecraft is the basement of 2 Temple Place, London. This is not just any basement – it is the basement of the former London mansion of William Waldorf Astor, an astonishing building . It is, in short, possibly the most expensive basement in London. ..."
"... Which is interesting because the accounts of the Institute for Statecraft claim it has no permanent staff and show nothing for rent, utilities or office expenses. In fact, I understand the rent is paid by the Ministry of Defence. ..."
"... I have a great deal more to tell you about Mr Edney and his organisation next week, and the extraordinary covert disinformation war the British government wages online, attacking British citizens using British taxpayers' money. Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills. ..."
"... I am not alleging Mr Bracey-Lane is an intelligence service operative who previously infiltrated the Labour Party and the Sanders campaign. He may just be a young man of unusually heterodox and vacillating political opinions. He may be an undercover reporter for the Canary infiltrating the Institute for Statecraft. All these things are possible, and I have no firm information. ..."
"... one of the activities the Integrity Initiative sponsors happens to be the use of online trolls to ridicule the idea that the British security services ever carry out any kind of infiltration, false flag or agent provocateur operations, despite the fact that we even have repeated court judgements against undercover infiltration officers getting female activists pregnant. The Integrity Initiative offers us a glimpse into the very dirty world of surveillance and official disinformation. If we actually had a free media, it would be the biggest story of the day ..."
"... As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier. ..."
"... You can bank on continued ramping up of Russophobia to supply "the enemy". ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk

in Uncategorized by craig

The British state can maintain its spies' cover stories for centuries. Look up Eldred Pottinger, who for 180 years appears in scores of British history books – right up to and including William Dalrymple's Return of the King – as a British officer who chanced to be passing Herat on holiday when it came under siege from a partly Russian-officered Persian army, and helped to organise the defences. In researching Sikunder Burnes, I discovered and published from the British Library incontrovertible and detailed documentary evidence that Pottinger's entire journey was under the direct instructions of, and reporting to, British spymaster Alexander Burnes. The first historian to publish the untrue "holiday" cover story, Sir John Kaye, knew both Burnes and Pottinger and undoubtedly knew he was publishing lying propaganda. Every other British historian of the First Afghan War (except me and latterly Farrukh Husain) has just followed Kaye's official propaganda.

Some things don't change. I was irresistibly reminded of Eldred Pottinger just passing Herat on holiday, when I learnt how highly improbable left wing firebrand Simon Bracey-Lane just happened to be on holiday in the United States with available cash to fund himself, when he stumbled into the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Recent university graduate Simon Bracey-Lane took it even further. Originally from Wimbledon in London, he was inspired to rejoin the Labour party in September when Corbyn was elected leader. But by that point, he was already in the US on holiday. So he joined the Sanders campaign, and never left.
"I had two weeks left and some money left, so I thought, Fuck it, I'll make some calls for Bernie Sanders," he explains. "I just sort of knew Des Moines was the place, so I just turned up at their HQ, started making phone calls, and then became a fully fledged field organiser."

It is, to say the least, very interesting indeed that just a year later the left wing, "Corbyn and Sanders supporting" Bracey-Lane is hosting a very right wing event, "Cold War Then and Now", for the shadowy neo-con Institute for Statecraft, at which an entirely unbalanced panel of British military, NATO and Ukrainian nationalists extolled the virtues of re-arming against Russia.

Nor would it seem likely that Bracey-Lane would be involved with the Integrity Initiative. Even the mainstream media has been forced to give a few paragraphs to the outrageous Integrity Initiative, under which the MOD-sponsored Institute for Statecraft has been given millions of pounds of taxpayers' money by the FCO to spread covert disinformation and propaganda, particularly against Russia and the anti-war movement. Activities include twitter and facebook trolling and secretly paying journalists in "clusters of influence" around Europe. Anonymous helpfully leaked the Institute's internal documents. Some of the Integrity Initiative's thus exposed alleged covert agents, like David Aaronovitch, have denied any involvement despite their appearance in the documents, and others like Dan Kaszeta the US "novichok expert", have cheerfully admitted it.

The mainstream media have tracked down the HQ of the "Institute for Statecraft" to a derelict mill near Auchtermuchty. It is owned by one of the company directors, Daniel Lafayeedney, formerly of D Squadron 23rd SAS Regiment and later of Military Intelligence (and incidentally born the rather more prosaic Daniel Edney).

By sleuthing the company records of this "Scottish charity", and a couple of phone calls, I discovered that the actual location of the Institute for Statecraft is the basement of 2 Temple Place, London. This is not just any basement – it is the basement of the former London mansion of William Waldorf Astor, an astonishing building. It is, in short, possibly the most expensive basement in London.

Which is interesting because the accounts of the Institute for Statecraft claim it has no permanent staff and show nothing for rent, utilities or office expenses. In fact, I understand the rent is paid by the Ministry of Defence.

Having been told where the Institute for Statecraft skulk, I tipped off journalist Kit Klarenberg of Sputnik Radio to go and physically check it out. Kit did so and was aggressively ejected by that well-known Corbyn and Sanders supporter, Simon Bracey-Lane. It does seem somewhat strange that our left wing hero is deeply embedded in an organisation that launches troll attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

I have a great deal more to tell you about Mr Edney and his organisation next week, and the extraordinary covert disinformation war the British government wages online, attacking British citizens using British taxpayers' money. Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills.

I am not alleging Mr Bracey-Lane is an intelligence service operative who previously infiltrated the Labour Party and the Sanders campaign. He may just be a young man of unusually heterodox and vacillating political opinions. He may be an undercover reporter for the Canary infiltrating the Institute for Statecraft. All these things are possible, and I have no firm information.

But one of the activities the Integrity Initiative sponsors happens to be the use of online trolls to ridicule the idea that the British security services ever carry out any kind of infiltration, false flag or agent provocateur operations, despite the fact that we even have repeated court judgements against undercover infiltration officers getting female activists pregnant. The Integrity Initiative offers us a glimpse into the very dirty world of surveillance and official disinformation. If we actually had a free media, it would be the biggest story of the day.

As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier.

You can bank on continued ramping up of Russophobia to supply "the enemy".

As both Scottish Independence and Jeremy Corbyn are viewed as real threats by the British Establishment, you can anticipate every possible kind of dirty trick in the next couple of years, with increasing frequency and audacity

[Dec 17, 2018] How you can tell that MSM is the front man for the CIA

Dec 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

24 minutes ago remove Share link Copy How you can tell that MSM is the front man for the CIA...nothing happens until MSM picks up the story

[Dec 09, 2018] NYT and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having planted CIA workers as NYT writers

Notable quotes:
"... Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.) ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
sanda1scuptorNYC , 30 Aug 2012 07:36
Howard Zinn said, in a speech given shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, "If you don't know history, it's like you were born yesterday. The government can tell you anything." (Speech was played on DemocracyNow www.democracynow.org about Jan. 4, 2009 and is archived, free on the website.)

Being older (18 on my last Leap Year birthday - 72), I recall the NYTimes and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having "planted CIA workers" as NYTimes writers. Within my adult lifetime, in fact.

sigil , 30 Aug 2012 05:49

This is what the CIA reflexively does: insists that [...] it is an "intelligence matter".

In a sense the CIA is always going to be right on this one - "Central Intelligence Agency" - but only as a matter of nomenclature, rather than of any other dictionary definition of the word "intelligence".

Brusselsexpats , 30 Aug 2012 05:49
Actually the collusion between the CIA and big business is far more damaging. The first US company I worked for in Brussels (it was my first job) was constantly being targeted by the US media for having connections to corrupt South American and Third World regimes. On what seemed like an almost monthly basis our personnel department would send round memos saying that we were strictly forbidden to talk to journalists about the latest exposé.

It was great fun - even the telex operators knew who the spies were.

kcameron , 30 Aug 2012 05:26
The line "'The optics aren't what they look like,' is truly an instant classic. It reminds me of one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes (which, unlike many attributed to him, is real, I think). Yogi once said about a restaurant in New York "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Perhaps Yogi should become an editor for the Times.
AmityAmity , 30 Aug 2012 04:55
British readers will no doubt be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn of cozy relations between a major news organization and a national intelligence agency.

... ... ...

MiltonWiltmellow , 30 Aug 2012 02:40

"'I know the circumstances, and if you knew everything that's going on, you'd know it's much ado about nothing,' Baquet said. 'I can't go into in detail. But I'm confident after talking to Mark that it's much ado about nothing.'

"'The optics aren't what they look like,' he went on. 'I've talked to Mark, I know the circumstance, and given what I know, it's much ado about nothing.'"

How can you have a Party if you don't have Party elites?

And how can a self-respecting member of the Party claim their individual status within the Party without secret knowledge designed to identify one another as members of the Party elite?

[Proles are] natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals ... Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals the Party was trying to achieve. ... The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering -- a world of of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons -- a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting -- 300 million people all with the same face. The reality was decaying, dingy cities, where underfed people shuffled to and fro in leaky shoes... [ 1984 ,pp 73-74]

It makes no difference if an imagined socialist England, a collapsing Roman city-state empire, an actual Soviet Union, or a modern American oligarchy.

Party members thrive while those wretched proles flail in confused and hungry desperation for something authentic (like a George Bush) or even simply reassuring (like a Barack Obama.)

Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.)

Manzetti has "no bad intent" because he is loyal to the Party.

Like all loyal (and very well compensated) Party members, he would never do anything as subversive as reveal Party secrets.

People can be detained for almost any reason these days!

After all, what's the future of a Party that lacks effective enforcement?

[Dec 05, 2018] Manufacturing Official Narrative by C.J. Hopkins

Guardian is just a propaganda outlet. That sad fact does not exclude the possibility of publishing really good articles, thouth. That still happens occasionally.
The fact that they follow MI6 and Foreign Office talking points in all foreign events coverage a is just a testament the GB is a "national security state". Nothing more, nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others). ..."
"... The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it. ..."
"... By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange. ..."
"... And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story. ..."
"... It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. ..."
"... Those who are conforming to [official truth] are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so. ..."
"... The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. ..."
"... It is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." ..."
"... The distinction is simple. We can't know the truth about distant and complex events like 9/11 or JFK unless we were directly involved, and those people are all dead. For big events we have to rely on, or ignore, the official accounts. ..."
"... Given all this, still, we can approach an approximation of truth that some can agree on. Here is where the trouble starts . ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.unz.com

...First, let's look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing official narrative (aka "official truth" or "truth" -- note quotes ). I'm going to use The Guardian 's most recent blatantly fabricated article (" Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy ") as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by "respectable" outlets over the course of the last two years. The " Russian Propaganda Peddlers " story. The " Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton " story. The " Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid " story. The " Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape " story. The " Novichok Assassins " story. The " Bana Alabed Speaks Out " story. The " Trump's Secret Russian Server " story. The " Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis " story. The " Russians Orchestrated Brexit " story. The " Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms " story. The " Twitter Bots " story. And the list goes on.

I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others).

The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange.

At this point, I imagine you're probably wondering what this has to do with manufacturing "truth." Because, clearly, this Guardian story was a lie a lie The Guardian got caught telling. I wish the "truth" thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes' lies). Unfortunately, it isn't. Here is why.

Much as most people would like there to be one (and behave and speak as if there were one), there is no Transcendental Arbiter of Truth. The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

Nor are there many "truths" (i.e., your truth and my truth). There is only one "truth" the "official truth". The "truth" according to those in power. This is the whole purpose of the concept of truth. It is the reason the concept of "truth" was invented (i.e., to render any other "truths" lies). It is how those in power control reality and impose their ideology on the masses (or their employees, or their students, or their children). Yes, I know, we very badly want there to be some "objective truth" (i.e., what actually happened, when whatever happened, JFK, 9-11, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Schrödinger's dead cat, the Big Bang, or whatever). There isn't. The truth is just a story a story that is never our story.

The "truth" is a story that power gets to tell, and that the powerless do not get to tell, unless they tell the story of those in power, which is always someone else's story. The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. They either parrot the "truth" of the ruling classes or they utter heresies of one type or another. Naturally, the powerless do not regard themselves as heretics. They do not regard their "truth" as heresy. They regard their "truth" as the truth, which is heresy. The truth of the powerless is always heresy.

For example, while it may be personally comforting for some of us to tell ourselves that we know the truth about certain subjects (e.g., Russiagate, 9-11, et cetera), and to share our knowledge with others who agree with us, and even to expose the lies of the corporate media on Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs, or in some leftist webzine (or "fearless adversarial" outlet bankrolled by a beneficent oligarch), the ruling classes do not give a shit, because ours is merely the raving of heretics, and does not warrant a serious response.

Or all right, they give a bit of a shit, enough to try to cover their asses when a journalist of the stature of Glenn Greenwald (who won a Pulitzer and is frequently on television) very carefully and very respectfully almost directly accuses them of lying. But they give enough of a shit to do this because Greenwald has the power to hurt them, not because of any regard for the truth. This is also why Greenwald has to be so careful and respectful when directly confronting The Guardian , or any other corporate media outlet, and state that their blatantly fabricated stories could, theoretically, turn out to be true. He can't afford to cross the line and end up getting branded a heretic and consigned to Outer Mainstream Darkness, like Robert Fisk, Sy Hersh, Jonathan Cook, John Pilger, Assange, and other such heretics.

Look, I'm not trying to argue that it isn't important to expose the fabrications of the corporate media and the ruling classes. It is terribly important. It is mostly what I do (albeit usually in a more satirical fashion). At the same time, it is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." People already know the truth the official truth, which is the only truth there is. Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story.

As for Julian Assange, I'm afraid he is done for. The ruling classes really have no choice but to go ahead and do him at this point. He hasn't left them any other option. Much as they are loathe to create another martyr, they can't have heretics of Assange's notoriety running around punching holes in their "truth" and brazenly defying their authority. That kind of stuff unsettles the normals, and it sets a bad example for the rest of us heretics.

#

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

Manufacturing Truth

James Forrestal , says: December 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm GMT

Good piece. I think there's another layer, though.

The truth or falsehood of individual facts about the physical world can often be determined with near-certainty. But when it comes to history, or "news" about current events/ politics, reality is much too complex to address directly. Too many individual facts to be comprehensible, let alone useful.

We must pick, choose, emphasize, or ignore particular elements, and arrange them into some kind of structure, in order to form a useful narrative. Or in the case of "news," the legacy media oligarchy largely performs this function for us -- we simply passively accept/ adopt their narrative. Or, in many cases, "choose" between the closely-related variants of that narrative offered by the "liberal" vs. "conservative" press.

This process of abstraction, simplification, and organization inevitably involves data loss. So no narrative is "true" in the same sense that individual facts about the real world are true. But some narratives incorporate large amounts of "facts" that are demonstrably false, and some are more useful/ descriptive/ predictive than others. No one engaged in this process is "objective." They -- or we -- are all in some way part of the story. It should be self-evident that some narratives are more useful to the perceived interests of owners of major media outlets than others, and that these will assume a much more prominent place in their coverage than ones that are deleterious to those interests.

Ideally, most people would take these factors into account when evaluating the "news," and maintain a much more skeptical attitude than they typically do. But there are several factors that prevent this.

One is simply time/ efficiency. These individual narratives, taken together, support -- and are supported by -- our overall worldview. There aren't enough hours in the day to be constantly skeptical about everything, especially since the major tools of distortion involved in constructing mainstream narratives tend to be selection bias/ memory-holing, with obvious lies about known facts (like the Guardian story referenced here) used only sparingly. It's simply not practical to to constantly consider potentially "better" narratives, and to reevaluate one's worldview based on these.

And which narrative we believe often has more to do with perceived social pressure/ social acceptability than with "truth." As you put it,

Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

Mass media pushing a common narrative creates an artificial perception of social consensus. Creating, or even finding, alternative narratives means fighting the inertia of this perceived consensus, and potentially suffering social costs for believing in the "wrong" one. The social role of narratives is largely independent of their "truth" -- if what you're "supposed" to believe is highly implausible, that actually gives it higher value as a signal of loyalty to the establishment.

It's probably best to maintain a resolutely agnostic attitude toward most "news" items, unless one is particularly interested in that particular event. " Why are they pushing this particular story?" "Why now ?" and " What are they trying to accomplish here?" are often more useful questions than "Is it true?"

It's not a new issue -- only exacerbated by the advent of mass visual media:
"Propaganda" -- Edward Bernays (1928)
"The Free Press"– Hilaire Belloc (1918)

Kratoklastes , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT
I get what Hopkins is trying to do here, but redefining terms (i.e., "truth") doesn't do what he thinks it does.

The truth is not ' what most people think '; it's not ' what we are told to believe '; it's not ' the official narrative '.

There is a useful cautionary tale embedded in Hopkins' piece, but he doesn't tease it out properly.

Take this excerpt:

The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

With significant caveats, it is a reasonable description of the way the political world works: if the political class decides that its interests are best served by declaring that a specific narrative X is 'true', it will obtain immediate compliance from about half the livestock, and can then rely on force (peer pressure; subsidy or taxation; state coercion) to get an absolute majority of the herd to declare that they accept the 'truth' of X .

If X is objectively false, too bad.

Try to run a legal argument based on the objective falsity of a thing that the political class has deemed to be true: you'll be shit outta luck.

This is highly relevant where I am sitting: here are two examples – one really obvious, one a bit less so (but far more important because of its radical implications).

Obvious Example: Drug Dogs

Recent research has shown that drug sniffing dogs give false positive signals between 60% and 80% of the time – i.e., in terms of identifying people who are in actual physical possession of drugs at any point in time, drug sniffing dogs perform worse than a coin toss.

Note that this is before considering that the dog's handler is often pointing the dog at a target that the handler thinks is likely to be carrying drugs. (Although in reality, drug dogs are paraded around at concerts and in public spaces, sniffing every passer-by).

However there is an Act of Parliament (capitalise all the magic words) that asserts that a signal from a drug sniffing dog is sufficient to qualify as what Americans call "probable cause" – i.e., reasonable suspicion for a search.

Does anyone think that evidence should be admissible if it results from a search conducted based on 'probable cause' derived from a method that produces worse outcomes than tossing a coin?

Judges will tie themselves into absolute epistemological knots to get that evidence admitted – and they will refuse to permit defence Counsel from adducing evidence about drug dog inaccuracy because since the defendant actually did have drugs in their possession, the dog didn't signal falsely.

In other words, the judge conflates posterior probability with prior probability; the prior probability that the dog is correct, is 10%-40%; this should not suffice to generate probable cause (or 'reasonable suspicion).

More Interesting Example: 'Representative' Democracy

In general, Western governments assert that their legitimacy stems from two primary sources: some founding set of principles (usually a constitution – written or otherwise), and 'representativeness' (including ratification of the constitution by a representative mechanism, for those places with written foundational documents).

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem [1,2] and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem [3,4], both show that there is no way of accurately determining group preferences using an ordinal voting mechanism.

What this boils down to, is that representativeness is a lie – and it's a lie before any consideration of voting outcomes ; it's a meta -problem (the problem that ordinal voting cannot do what it is claimed to do – viz ., accurately identify the 'will of the people'/'social preferences'/'what the people want').

Beyond the meta-problem, there is also the actual counting problem: no government has ever been elected having obtained the votes of an outright bare majority, i.e., 50%-plus-1 of the entire eligible franchise. (It's more like 25-35% for most parliamentary systems – for US presidential elections in the full-franchise period, the winner is voted for by 29% of the eligible population; you would be horrified to look at US Senate results).

So when the new unhappy lords (and their Little Eichmann bureaucrat enablers) promulgate laws based on assertions of legitimacy because of a constitutional Grundnorm and/or the representative nature of government both of those things are pretty obvious furphies; they are objectively not 'truth' and no amount of heel-clicking and wishing will make it so.

Which brings us to a key legal aphorism that has a jurisprudential history going back four centuries: Ratio legis est anima legis, et mutata legis ratione, mutatur ex lex – which dates from Milborn's case ( Coke 7a KB [1609]).

The reason for a law is the soul of the law, and if the reason for a law has changed, the law is changed .

What this means – explicitly – is that " no law can survive the [extinction of the] reasons on which it is founded ".

American courts re-expressed this as " cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex " (the reason for a law having ceased, the law itself ceases) – e.g., in Funk v. United States , 290 US 371 (1933) in which Justice Sutherland opined –

This means that no law can survive the reasons on which it is founded. It needs no statute to change it; it abrogates itself . If the reasons on which a law rests are overborne by opposing reasons, which in the progress of society gain a controlling force, the old law, though still good as an abstract principle, and good in its application to some circumstances, must cease to apply as a controlling principle to the new circumstances.

(Emphasis mine)

Again: try running this argument in a court: " The asserted basis for all laws promulgated by the government, is provably false. Under a doctrine with a 4-century jurisprudential provenance, the law itself is void ."

See how far you get.

So Hopkins makes a good-but-obvious point – power does not respect either rights or truth; as such it does you no good whatsoever to have the actual truth on your side. He should have made the point better.

References (links are to PDFs of each paper)

[1] Arrow (1950). " A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare