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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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[Sep 15, 2019] How the UK Security Services neutralised the country s leading liberal newspaper by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis

Highly recommended!
Essentially neoliberal MSM were hijacked. Which was easy to do. The current anti-Russian campaign is conducted under the direct guidance of MI6 and similar agencies
Notable quotes:
"... committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it." ..."
"... These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media". ..."
"... "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story." ..."
"... The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies. ..."
"... The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen". ..."
"... But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member". ..."
"... The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing. ..."
"... In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article. ..."
"... The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files." ..."
"... Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004". ..."
"... The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again. ..."
"... The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law." ..."
"... A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian." ..."
"... The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM ..."
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za

The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.

The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.

The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".

The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.

Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."

' Considerable efforts'

These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".

Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.

At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.

One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.

Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.

" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."

The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."

The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.

According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?

It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.

GCHQ and laptops

The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.

The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."

Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."

Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."

The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.

The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".

Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".

But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".

At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .

The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.

A new editor

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.

But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).

Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.

This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.

In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.

The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."

Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."

Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.

The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.

" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."

Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".

None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.

More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".

The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.

What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".

Decline in critical reporting

Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.

One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".

In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.

Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.

" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."

A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."

While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.

The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.

In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".

Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".

There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork".

We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.

Getting Julian Assange

The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.

Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".

Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.

This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.

The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.

The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.

Acting for the establishment

Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."

On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".

The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.

Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."

Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.

Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."

The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".

Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"

Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."

The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .

Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.

The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism – or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".

The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."

Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.

Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.

At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.

In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.

A reliable publication?

On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".

This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.

A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."

The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.

The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".

Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.

The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM

The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.

Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified – a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article – in November 2019.

Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .

Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 09, 2019] Declassified documents now reveal how extensive Reagan's propaganda project became with inter-agency task forces assigned to develop "themes" that would push American "hot buttons.

Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

retiredmecheng , Sep 9 2019 6:16 utc | 94

Peter AU 1 , Sep 9 2019 6:20 utc | 95

"everyone in journalism appears completely untroubled by the complete paucity of information that an organisation which troubles them"

Robert Parry's pieces on perception management. They come up by putting perception management in the site search at Consortium News. Parry read through the Reagan papers.


"Declassified documents now reveal how extensive Reagan's propaganda project became with inter-agency task forces assigned to develop "themes" that would push American "hot buttons.""

But things were about to change. In a Jan. 13, 1983, memo, NSC Advisor Clark foresaw the need for non-governmental money to advance this cause. "We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding," Clark wrote. (Just five days later, President Reagan personally welcomed media magnate Rupert Murdoch into the Oval Office for a private meeting, according to records on file at the Reagan library.)

As administration officials reached out to wealthy supporters, lines against domestic propaganda soon were crossed as the operation took aim not only at foreign audiences but at U.S. public opinion, the press and congressional Democrats who opposed funding the Nicaraguan Contras."
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/28/the-victory-of-perception-management/

[Sep 09, 2019] Will NPR Now Officially Change Its Name to National Propaganda Radio? by Edward Curtin

The main achievement of neoliberal and imperial (warmongering) propaganda in the USA is that it achieved the complete, undisputed dominance in MSM
Pot Calling the Kettle Black: "The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation machine is being unleashed via new platforms and continues to grow in Russia and internationally. Russia seeks to destroy the very idea of an objective, verifiable set of facts as it attempts to influence opinions about the United States and its allies. It is not an understatement to say that this new form of combat on the information battlefield may be the fight of the 21st century."
Notable quotes:
"... Back in the 1960s, the CIA official Cord Meyer said the agency needed to "court the compatible left." ..."
"... The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites. ..."
"... Then in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire – “The CIA and the Media” – naming names of journalists and media (The New York Times, CBS, etc.) that worked hand-in-glove with the CIA, propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world. ..."
Sep 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Back in the 1960s, the CIA official Cord Meyer said the agency needed to "court the compatible left."

Right-wing and left-wing collaborators were needed to create a powerful propaganda apparatus that would be capable of hypnotizing audiences into believing the myth of American exceptionalism and its divine right to rule the world.

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 between the CIA and the famous literary journal, The Paris Review.

By the mid-1970s, as a result of the Church Committee hearings, it seemed as if the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, confessed their sins, and resolved to go and sin no more.

Then in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire – “The CIA and the Media” – naming names of journalists and media (The New York Times, CBS, etc.) that worked hand-in-glove with the CIA, propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world.

It seemed as if all would be hunky-dory now with the bad boys purged from the American “free” press. Seemed to the most naïve, that is, by which I mean the vast numbers of people who wanted to re-stick their heads in the sand and believe, as Ronald Reagan’s team of truthtellers would announce, that it was “Morning in America” again with the free press reigning and the neo-conservatives, many of whom had been “converted” from their leftist views, running things in Washington.

... ... ...

...read Lansing’s July 10, 2019 testimony before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: “United States Efforts to Counter Russian Disinformation and Malign Influence.”

Here is an excerpt:

USAGM provides consistently accurate and compelling journalism that reflects the values of our society: freedom, openness, democracy, and hope. Our guiding principles—enshrined in law—are to provide a reliable, authoritative, and independent source of news that adheres to the strictest standards of journalism…

Russian Disinformation. And make no mistake, we are living through a global explosion of disinformation, state propaganda, and lies generated by multiple authoritarian regimes around the world. The weaponization of information we are seeing today is real. The Russian government and other authoritarian regimes engage in far-reaching malign influence campaigns across national boundaries and language barriers.

The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation machine is being unleashed via new platforms and continues to grow in Russia and internationally. Russia seeks to destroy the very idea of an objective, verifiable set of facts as it attempts to influence opinions about the United States and its allies. It is not an understatement to say that this new form of combat on the information battlefield may be the fight of the 21st century.

Then research the history of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, etc. You will be reassured that Lansing’s July testimony was his job interview to head National Propaganda Radio.

Edward Curtin writes, and his writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He writes as a public intellectual for the general public, not as a specialist for a narrow readership. He believes a non-committal sociology is an impossibility and therefore sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom through understanding. His website is edwardcurtin.com

[Sep 01, 2019] How Hollywood star Jean Seberg was destroyed by the FBI The Independent

Sep 01, 2019 | independent.co.uk

Jean Seberg on a phone call during the filming of 'Joan of Arc', directed by Otto Preminger, in 1957, in London ( AFP/Getty )
T he circumstances of Jean Seberg 's death 40 years ago in late August 1979 were squalid and pathetic. The American star's body lay decomposing in a car on a street in Paris for 10 days before the French police discovered it. There was a bottle of barbiturates and a suicide note beside the corpse. As the press reported, her body had "baked in the sun" and the odour was "unimaginably foul". This was the actress who, at the start of her career, was described as "so unimaginably fresh" by her colleagues.

Paris was the city with which Seberg was most closely associated. Every film lover remembers her in Jean-Luc Godard 's Breathless (1960) in her white New York Herald Tribune T-shirt, selling newspapers and gallivanting around the streets with her co-star, Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Seberg had one of the strangest and most contradictory careers of any Hollywood star during the postwar years.

"She was so misunderstood. It's not like you need to hero-worship a celebrity, they are just people you want to look at. The fact that people stared at her and fixated on things that were not real, projections: that really ultimately destroyed her," Kristen Stewart , who plays her in the new film, Seberg , commented recently of the ill-fated actress in a Vanity Fair interview. As an actress who has worked on both big Hollywood productions like Twilight and in independent French arthouse features, Stewart seems perfectly qualified to play her.

Seberg , a world premiere at the Venice film festival , isn't a straight biopic. Its focus is its subject's deadly entanglement with the FBI . Days after her suicide, the FBI admitted that its agents had plotted to ruin her reputation as part of their counter-intelligence programme, Cointelpro, authorised by FBI founder, J Edgar Hoover himself. Seberg's crime, in Hoover's eyes, was her involvement in political causes and her support of the Black Panther Party . In particular, they were suspicious of her close links with Black Power leader, Hakim Jamal (played in the film by Anthony Mackie).

Kristen Stewart as Jean Seberg in Benedict Andrews's film ' Seberg ' (Amazon Studios)

In 1970, the FBI planted the false rumour that Seberg was pregnant by a Black Panther Party member in order to "cause her embarrassment" and "cheapen her image" with the American public. Their plan worked. It was dispiriting but inevitable that some gossip columnists followed the false leads that the FBI dangled in front of them. From the FBI's point of view, she was involved in radical politics, had contributed financially to the Black Panthers and was therefore fair game. The story was picked up by gossip columnist, Joyce Haber, who referred obliquely to it in the Los Angeles Times . Newsweek also wrote about it and named Seberg.

"Under the ruthless gaze of the FBI, the threads of Jean's life come apart," Benedict Andrews, the director of Seberg , pointed out. The assault on her reputation set in motion the events that led to her death a decade later. At the time of the leak, Seberg had indeed been pregnant. In the wake of reading the false stories about herself, she went into labour. Her baby was born prematurely and died a few days later.

The woman Hoover set out to crush was the quintessential young American, "the golden sunflower girl" from the midwest, as she was characterised. A pharmacist's daughter who had grown up in Marshalltown, Iowa, she had won Hollywood's version of the Lottery by landing the lead role in Otto Preminger's George Bernard Shaw adaptation, Saint Joan (1957). The autocratic Preminger had launched a nationwide talent hunt for a new Joan of Arc. A reported 18,000 girls had sent in pictures and resumes and 3,000 had been given personal auditions. Seberg got the part. She was the one, as TV show host Ed Sullivan put it, who had "caught lightning in a bottle". It was the equivalent of Vivien Leigh being cast as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939).

Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard's 'Breathless' (Films Around The World)

Preminger was the perfect gentleman off-set but, when the cameras began to roll, he turned into a bad-tempered ogre. He used every ruse at his disposal to publicise the film and its new young star. It would have made the perfect story about overnight stardom if it hadn't been for the fact that the film didn't turn out very well. By her own admission, Seberg wasn't obvious casting. She talked about being burnt at the stake twice, first in making the movie and then by the critics. Preminger cast her in a second film, Bonjour Tristesse (1958) but then discarded her. "He used me like a Kleenex and then threw me away", is how she described her treatment at his hands.

The irony is that Preminger had been right all along. Seberg really was a special talent. She had a spontaneity, mischief and lambent grace on screen that immediately enraptured the young critics and would-be filmmakers from Cahiers du Cinéma in France. "When Jean Seberg is on the screen, which is all the time, you can't look at anything else," Francois Truffaut enthused about her performance in Bonjour Tristesse . Godard and Claude Chabrol were equally smitten with her.

In one of the more bizarre transformations in Hollywood history, the midwestern girl-next-door type became the sacred muse of the French Nouvelle Vague.

Seberg was wryly humorous about the effect she exercised on French male directors. "I was their new Jerry Lewis, I suppose," she told journalist Rex Reed, comparing herself to the American comedian who made goofy films with Dean Martin and was treated with near contempt by American critics but revered as "Le Roi du Crazy" by their French counterparts. "Godard is like a Paul Klee painting, always hiding behind those funny dark glasses," she suggested, going on to call the French auteurs who worshipped her "very strange little men".

Read more

Thanks to Breathless , Seberg also became more highly valued back in Hollywood. Director Robert Rossen, who cast her in one of her greatest roles as the beautiful schizophrenic opposite Warren Beatty and Peter Fonda in Lillith (1964) spoke of her "flawed American girl quality, sort of like a cheerleader who's cracked up". She had prominent roles in all-star blockbusters like Airport (1970) and successfully held her own against such scene-stealers as Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon (1969).

That, though, was the period before Hoover and the FBI set about destroying her just as surely as Otto Preminger had tried to create her as a star in the late Fifties in the first place.

Preminger and Hoover bookend her career. The media colluded with those two patriarchs, building her up and then knocking her down.

Elements of Seberg's story are utterly heartbreaking. As Alistair Cooke told British listeners in one of his Letters from America broadcasts the week after her death, she took her prematurely born baby's corpse back home to Iowa "in a glass coffin as a glaring proof that the baby was white – an excessive reaction perhaps but in 1970, she knew that the FBI could and did destroy hundreds of radicals and non radicals".

On each anniversary of the baby's death, her then-husband Romain Gary later revealed, she had attempted suicide.

Seberg as the beautiful schizophrenic who starred opposite Warren Beatty and Peter Fonda in ' Lillith ' (1964) (Glasshouse/Rex)

Seberg continued to work throughout the 1970s, making an experimental film with Philippe Garrel and collaborating on projects with her third husband, Dennis Berry. She wrote to Ingmar Bergman, the great Swedish director, telling him that she looked a little like Bibi Andersson, who had starred in Bergman films from The Seventh Seal (1957) to Persona (1966), and expressing her fervent desire to work with him. The letter is kept in Bergman's archives. He received it and read it – but didn't deign to reply to it.

If Seberg was feeling marginalised and paranoid in her final years, you could hardly blame her given the FBI harassment, the upheaval in her private life and the alarming way her career had begun to creak. As her biographer David Richards notes, she was putting on weight, drinking too much and seemed to be in a state of permanent "psychological siege". By the late 1970s, she was close to being forgotten. Her death, though, put her right back on the front pages. The public was reminded of just how abominably she had been treated both by Hollywood and by the FBI. There was a sense of frustration over talent that had never been properly fulfilled. Then again, as is pointed out in Mark Rappaport's dramatised documentary, From The Journals of Jean Seberg (1995), most of her films may have been "mediocre", but she made one or two "great ones" and that is more than in most careers. Now, with Stewart portraying her on screen (and already being talked up for awards), Seberg is likely to be rediscovered all over again

'Seberg' is a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday 30 August (labiennale.org). It has its UK premiere at the London Film Festival on 4 and 5 October (bfi.org.uk)

[Aug 30, 2019] Hollywood reboots Russophobia for the New Cold War by Max Parry

See also National Security Cinema The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood by Matthew Alford
Aug 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

It is apparent that the caricature of the Soviet Union in both productions is really a stand-in for the present-day Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As only American exceptionalism could permit, Hollywood did not hold the same disdain for his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, whose legacy of high inflation and national debt have since been eliminated. In fact, most have forgotten that the same filmdom community outraged about Russia's supposed interference in the 2016 U.S. election made a celebratory movie back in 2003, Spinning Boris , which practically boasted about the instrumental role the West played in Yeltsin's 1996 reelection in Russia.

The highly unpopular alcoholic politician benefited from a near universal media bias as virtually all the federation's news outlets came under the control of the 'oligarchs' (in America known simply as billionaires) which his economic policies of mass privatization of state industry enriched overnight.

Yeltsin initially polled at less than 10% and was far behind Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov until he became the recipient of billions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) thanks to his corrupt campaign manager, Anatoly Chubais, now one of the most hated men in all of Russia. After the purging of votes and rampant ballot-box stuffing, Yeltsin successfully closed the gap between his opponent thanks to the overt U.S. meddling.

Spinning Boris was directed by Roger Spottiswoode, who previously helmed an installment in the James Bond series, Tomorrow Never Dies . The 1997 entry in the franchise is one of thousands of Hollywood films and network television shows exposed by journalists Matthew Alford and Tom Secker as having been influenced or directly assisted by the Pentagon and CIA in their must-read book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood. Based on evidence from documents revealed in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, their investigation divulges the previously unknown extent to which the national security complex has gone in exerting control over content in the film industry. While it has always been known that the military held sway over movies that required usage of its facilities and equipment to be produced, the level of impact on such films in the pre-production and editing stages, as well as the control over non-military themed flicks one wouldn't suspect to be under supervision by Washington and Langley, is exhaustively uncovered.

As expected, Hollywood and the military-industrial complex's intimate relationship during the Cold War is featured prominently in Alford and Secker's investigative work. It is unclear whether HBO or Netflix sought US military assistance or were directly involved with the national security state in their respective productions, but these are just two recent examples of many where the correlated increase in geopolitical tensions with Moscow is reflected. The upcoming sequel to DC's Wonder Woman set to be released next year , Wonder Woman 1984, featuring the female superhero " coming into conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s ", is yet another. Reprising her role is Israeli actress and IDF veteran is Gal Gadot as the title character, ironically starring in a blockbuster that will demonize the Eurasian state which saved her ethnicity from extinction. Given the Pentagon's involvement in the debacle surounding 2014's The Interview which provoked very real tensions with North Korea, it is likely they are at least closely examining any entertainment with content regarding Russia, if not directly pre-approving it for review.

Ultimately, the Western panic about its imperial decline is not limited to assigning blame to Moscow. Sinophobia has manifested as well in recent films such as the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival where the extra-terrestrials who reach Earth seem more interested in communicating with Beijing as the global superpower than the U.S. However, while the West forebodes the return of Russia and China to greater standing, you can be certain its real fear lies elsewhere. The fact that Chernobyl and Stranger Things are as preoccupied with portraying socialism in a bad light as they are in rendering Moscow nefarious shows the real underlying trepidation of the ruling elite that concerns the resurgence of class consciousness. The West must learn its lesson that its state of perpetual war has caused its own downfall or it could attempt a last line of defense that would inevitably conscript all of humanity to its death as the ruling class nearly did to the world in 1914 and 1939.

[Aug 28, 2019] Russiagate: It really is that simple

How are "Russian Oligarchs" different than "American Oligarchs" who bought Trump? Inquiring minds want to know :)
Notable quotes:
"... The mass media is desperate to propagate a fake narrative, they keep making "mistakes." Over and over. For 3 freakin years. ..."
Aug 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Mike Krieger summed the farce up best:

Michael Krieger

@LibertyBlitz

Replying to @LibertyBlitz

The mass media is desperate to propagate a fake narrative, they keep making "mistakes." Over and over. For 3 freakin years. It really is that simple.

[Aug 26, 2019] The article about how many intelligence officials (retired) now work for the corporate press is misleading. It does not take into account the "undeclared" operatives such as Anderson Cooper and Rachael Maddow

Aug 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Babyl-on , Aug 25 2019 19:42 utc | 28

The article about how many intelligence officials (retired) now work for the corporate press is misleading. It does not take into account the "undeclared" operatives such as Anderson Cooper and Rachael Maddow. Cooper went to work for the CIA and they out him in his job, Maddow is a Rhodes Scholar, a trained apparatchik for the elites.

This is nothing new, after WWII, when the press was most compliant and the CIA was formed the press was "taken over" by the newly reforming and consolidating of deep state power. There was Operation Mockingbird which was exposed long ago but nothing changes if they get caught they just reorganize and continue.

[Aug 20, 2019] The Pseudo Debate Over Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... However, while throughout Webb's articles she draws linkages that lead to the Mossad, she only suggests CIA connections. This is similar to but milder than a point made in an article written by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, " Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad? " Giraldi writes that the CIA "would have no particular motive to acquire an agent like Epstein." This makes no sense. Of course, it would. The CIA and the FBI have a long record of such activities, and to hold such a club over the heads of presidents, senators, et al to make sure they do their bidding is obviously a strong motivation. ..."
"... The CIA is organized crime, and if Epstein is Mossad connected, he is CIA also, which is most likely. Epstein could not have operated as he did for decades without being sustained and protected. ..."
"... no prosecution of the central operational cog in the gang, Ghislaine Maxwell, or her cohorts named in the fantastic settlement agreement ..."
"... “It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.” ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Death, sex, power, intrigue, murder, suicide -- these are the staples of the 19 th century penny press, mass media and the CIA, writes Edward Curtin .

By Edward Curtin
edwardcurtin.com

W hen phrases such as "the deep state" and "conspiracy theory" become staples of both the corporate mainstream media and the alternative press, we know the realities behind these phrases have outlasted their usefulness for the ruling elites who control the United States and for their critics, each of whom uses them refutably or corroboratively. These phrases are bandied about so often that they have become hackneyed and inane.

Everything is shallow now, in our faces, and by being in our faces the truth is taking place behind our backs. The obvious can't be true since it's so obvious, so let us search for other explanations, and when the searchers search, let us call them "conspiracy nuts." It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.

It is a spectacle of open secrecy, in which the CIA, which created the "conspiracy theory" meme to ridicule critics of the Warren Commission's absurd explanation of the Kennedy assassination, has effectively sucked everyone into a game of to and fro in which only they win.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Outside the Narrative Frame

Only by stepping outside this narrative frame with its vocabulary can we begin to grasp the truth here in our Wonderland of endless illusions.

Death, sex, power, intrigue, murder, suicide – these are the staples of the penny press of the 19 th century, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World , Hearst's New York Journal , the tabloids, today's mass media, and the CIA. People hunger for these stories, not for the real truth that impacts their lives, but for the titillation that gives a frisson to their humdrum lives. It is why post-modern detective stories are so popular, as if never solving the crime is the point.

Robert Pfaller in 2016. (Suzie1212, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

To say "we will never know" is the mantra of a postmodern culture created to keep people running in circles. (Note the commentaries about the Jeffrey Epstein case.) Elusive and allusive indeterminacy characterizes everything in the culture of postmodernity. Robert Pfaller, a professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria, and a founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group "stuzzicandenti," put it clearly in a recent interview :

"The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face. This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure."

The propagandists know this; they created it. They are psychologically astute, having hijacked many intelligent but soul-less people of the right and left to do their handiwork.

Money Buys Souls

Money buys souls, and the number of those who have sold theirs is numerous, including those leftists who have been bought by the CIA, as Cord Meyer, the CIA official phrased it so sexually in the 1950s: we need to "court the compatible left." He knew that drawing leftists into the CIA's orbit was the key to efficient propaganda. For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but taking the money of the super-rich, events like the JFK assassination are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did.

By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell's crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda.

The debate over whether Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide or not is a pseudo-debate meant to keep people spinning their wheels over nothing. It attracts attention and will do so for many days to come. There are even some usually astute people suggesting that he may not be dead but might have been secretly whisked off somewhere and replaced with a dead look-alike. Now who would profit from suggesting something as insane as this? The speculation runs rampant and feeds the spectacle. Whether he was allowed to kill himself or was killed makes little difference.

(Christopher Dombres, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

Debates to Nowhere

It's akin to asking who pulled the trigger that killed President John Kennedy. That's a debate that was intended to go nowhere, as it has, after it became apparent that Lee Harvey Oswald surely did not kill JFK. Kennedy's murder in broad daylight in public view is the paradigmatic event of modern times. It is obvious to anyone who gives minimal study to the issue that it was organized and carried out by elements within the national security state, notably the CIA. Their message was meant to be unequivocal and clear: We can kill him and we can kill you; we are in full control; beware. Then they went on to kill others, including RFK and MLK. It takes little intelligence to see this obvious fact, unless you wish not to or are totally lost in the neighborhood of make-believe.

As it was with Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald, so it is with Epstein. There will be no trial. Nothing is really hidden except the essential truth. Guess, debate, wonder, watch, read to your sad heart's content. You will have gotten nowhere unless you step outside the frame of the reigning narrative.

New York Post: Reigniting the narrative.

A corollary example of another recent national headline grabber, the Mueller investigation, is apropos here. Douglas Valentine, expert on the CIA and author of "The CIA as Organized Crime," said in a recent interview that in all the endless mass media discussions of the Mueller investigation, one obvious question was never asked: What is the CIA's role in it all? It was never asked because the job of the corporate mass media is to work for the CIA, not to expose it as a nest of organized criminals and murderers that it is.

What is important in the Epstein case is the deep back story, a tale that goes back decades and is explored by Whitney Webb in a series of fine articles for the Mint Press. Read her articles and you will see how Epstein is just the current manifestation of the sordid history of the American marriage between various factions of the American ruling elites, whose business is sexual exploitation as a fringe benefit of being willing members of the economic and military exploitation of the world. A marriage of spies, mafia, intelligence agencies, sexual perverts, foreign governments and American traitors who will stop at nothing to advance their interests.

Destroys the Fairy Tale of Democracy

It is a hard story to swallow because it destroys the fairy tale that has been constructed about American "democracy" and the decency of our leaders. Webb's articles are not based on secret documents but on readily available information open to a diligent researcher. It's known history that has been buried, as is most history in a country of amnesiacs and educational illiterates. The average person doesn't have Webb's skill or time to pull it all together, but they can read her illuminating work. Often, however, it is the will to truth that is lacking.

While Webb places the Epstein matter in an historical context, she does not "solve" the case, since there is nothing to solve. It is another story from a long litany of sex/espionage stories openly available to anyone willing to look. They tell the same story. Like many commentators, she draws many linkages to the Israeli Mossad's long-standing connections to this criminal under and over world in the United States and throughout the world. She writes:

"Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group [a secretive group of Jewish billionaires, including Epstein's patron Leslie Wexner], politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations."

If anything is obvious about the Epstein case, it is that he was part of a sexual blackmail operation tied to intelligence agencies. Such blackmail has long been central to the methods of intelligence agencies worldwide and many arrows rightfully point to the Mossad.

However, while throughout Webb's articles she draws linkages that lead to the Mossad, she only suggests CIA connections. This is similar to but milder than a point made in an article written by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, " Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad? " Giraldi writes that the CIA "would have no particular motive to acquire an agent like Epstein." This makes no sense. Of course, it would. The CIA and the FBI have a long record of such activities, and to hold such a club over the heads of presidents, senators, et al to make sure they do their bidding is obviously a strong motivation.

Valentine's point about not asking the question about the CIA's involvement in the Mueller investigation pertains. Does Giraldi believe that the Mossad operates independently of the CIA? Or that they don't work in tandem? His statement is very strange.

The CIA is organized crime, and if Epstein is Mossad connected, he is CIA also, which is most likely. Epstein could not have operated as he did for decades without being sustained and protected. Now that he is dead there will be no trial, just as there will be no mainstream media or justice department revelations about the CIA or Mossad. There will be a lot of gibberish about conspiracy theories and the open secret that is the spectacle of secrecy will roll on. There will, of course, be much sex talk and outrage. We will anxiously await the movie and the TV "exposés." Most people will know, and pretend they don't, that the country is ruled by gangsters who would pimp their mothers if it served their interests.

Those of us who oppose these criminals – and there are growing numbers all over the world – must avoid being sucked into the Establishment narratives and the counter-narratives they spawn or create. We must refuse to get involved in pseudo-debates that are meant to lead nowhere. We must reject the language created to confuse.

If revolutionary change is to come, we must learn to tell a new story in language so beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending that no one will listen to the lying words of child molesters, mass murderers, and those who hate and persecute truth tellers.

As John Berger said, "In storytelling everything depends on what follows what. And the truest order is seldom obvious."

Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, Ed Curtin is a former professor of sociology. His writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom.

This article is from the author's website edwardcurtin.com .

Brent Anderson August 20, 2019 at 12:09

Prince Andrew hung out with Epstein because he made a good tuna on rye. We are all conditioned to accept that powerful people do not have to go to jail. Its just the way it is and will always remain so. There is not an honest person anywhere on planet earth who believes that Bill Clinton and the others did not have sex with “those girls”. America and the west are morally corrupt piles of garbage. No wonder the African Americans and others rage against an unbalanced system of justice. Actually it is just poor people of any color who get the book thrown at them.

I saw the pictures yesterday on the telegraph of the young blond girl leaving Epsteins Manhattan home with Prince Andrew poking his head out the door. The girl looked like she was no older than 14. The dear old Queen doesn’t represent justice either.

Vera Gottlieb, August 20, 2019 at 11:29

Just curious…will the Epstein saga be as prolonged and boring as the Russiagate saga???

Litchfield, August 20, 2019 at 14:00

I don’t think so.

It is in the interest of the puppetmeister to let thing die out ASAP. Not so the Russiagate hoax: the idea was to prolong it in the hopes of finally finding a smoking gun of some kind. With the Epstein story we are awash in smoking guns, but they are being ignored.

Dan D. August 20, 2019 at 09:34

If there is no trial and further revelations about the nature of this operation, which should be expected, it won’t simply be because Epstein is dead, but because there will be no prosecution of the central operational cog in the gang, Ghislaine Maxwell, or her cohorts named in the fantastic settlement agreement. There are more than sufficient facts in the public sphere to proceed.

Bob Van Noy, August 20, 2019 at 09:07

“It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.”

“The CIA is organized crime,…”

Edward Curtin has summarized our contemporary hell as few others can. In the above comments he fully describes our dilemma and underscores the necessity for sites like Consortiumnews to present the truth for citizens to be able to sort truth from lies. Still we cannot forget that our democracy is “a criminal conspiracy”…

https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmockingbird.htm

Jill, August 20, 2019 at 08:47

I actually believe knowing what happened to Epstein is knowable. It is also important because it will reveal who/what has the power to make such a thing happen. However, while this information will take a long time to come out it is our job to push on behalf of his victims right now.

There is information showing that Maxwell and several other people committed multiple rapes of children. We do not see her, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, just to name a few, hauled in for questioning. That really needs to happen. We have built up the powerful into untouchable icons. This needs to full stop now. These are not icons, they are potential and likely guilty child rapists of children. Our power system is held up by unspeakable cruelty to children and to others who simply don’t have the power to fight back unless we offer our support and services to them. There is enough testimony and other evidence to bring them in for questioning.

The conspiracy to commit rape should be ready to go. Investigators have had that information for a long time. I’m not buying that they are too incompetent to move that case forward. We are going to need to push for this. Deliberate infliction of human misery is evil and it is not acceptable to create one’s society on such a thing.

There is ground penetrating radar which can see under Jeff’s concrete pour. It can also show the tunnels on the islands. “Lost” evidence can be relocated from it’s undisclosed location. The ranch in NM can be sealed off and also scanned by this radar. No one should believe agencies with the resources of this government behind them are incapable of doing such things.

In the meantime, there is a tape of Jeff’s wing from that night. There’s one from the hospital and the investigators can offer immunity to anyone guard or hospital/ambulance employee in exchange for their truthful explanation of what they were doing and what they saw. This was not a series of incompetent actions which all went one way and one way only. It took a lot of planning and a lot of resources. That means there are a lot of witnesses.

We do need to uncover and dismantle this chain of human misery. No More.

ML, August 20, 2019 at 11:27

Excellent comment, Jill. As a family medicine nurse practitioner for many years, I have witnessed and helped many teen victims of adults who thought it somehow A-ok to sexually take advantage of them. I understand teen psychology. They are wholly unprepared to deal with the often underhanded tactics of pedophiles who use charm, deceit, threats, flattery, physical violence, tangible needed goods like money, clothing, or even a place to sleep, to get what they want— sex with a young person.

It is truly evil and that is not too strong a word for it. Epstein apparently used all of these tactics on his victims. How I wish there were a hell for the likes of him.

Litchfield, August 20, 2019 at 12:14

I agree with all you say, and thanks for putting it so clearly. There is NO EXCUSE for this case NOT to go forward and for all the parties of interest to be interrogated, and not with velvet gloves on. Clinton, Andrew, Dersh, Wexner, Maxwell, just for starters. Possibly Barr should recuse himself, as he seems to be too intertwined with the Epstein background story.

Brian Murphy, August 20, 2019 at 12:42

Is it really such a mystery what organizations acting together have the capability to have done this? They are identified in the article. The western coalition of intelligence agencies, which includes the Mossad along with NATO powers. In the USA, that includes the entire intelligence apparatus — CIA, NSA, MIA, FBI, Secret Service, as supported and defended by the DOJ.

Which of those entities placed someone in the jail cell to crack his neck is somewhat immaterial. The current President and at least one former President were implicated, which justifies the use of the full arsenal in the minds of those involved, as a “threat to national security,” which of course means strictly “threat to the profits of certain entities.”

Walter, August 20, 2019 at 06:56

There is sparse evidence and zero proof that the charming fellow committed suicide, and only claims (somebody said stuff) that he’s actually dead. (Same for his girlfriend’s dad, same for Skirpal :–)

Whitney Webb at Mintpressnews is doing good job on Mr E.

... ... ...

[Aug 20, 2019] American Pravda How the CIA Invented Conspiracy Theories by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers -- from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption -- could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. ..."
"... Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such ..."
"... by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim. ..."
"... Based on an important FOIA disclosure, the book's headline revelation was that the CIA was very likely responsible for the widespread introduction of "conspiracy theory" as a term of political abuse, having orchestrated that development as a deliberate means of influencing public opinion. ..."
"... So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories." Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continueing right down to the present day. Thus, there is considerable evidence in support of this particular "conspiracy theory" explaining the widespread appearance of attacks on "conspiracy theories" in the public media. ..."
"... But although the CIA appears to have effectively manipulated public opinion in order to transform the phrase "conspiracy theory" into a powerful weapon of ideological combat, the author also describes how the necessary philosophical ground had actually been prepared a couple of decades earlier. Around the time of the Second World War, an important shift in political theory caused a huge decline in the respectability of any "conspiratorial" explanation of historical events. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies. ..."
"... This argument may be more than purely hypothetical. A crucial turning point in America's renewed Cold War against Russia was the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act by Congress, punitively targeting various supposedly corrupt Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the illegal persecution and death of an employee of Bill Browder, an American hedge-fund manager with large Russian holdings. However, there's actually quite a bit of evidence that it was Browder himself who was actually the mastermind and beneficiary of the gigantic corruption scheme, while his employee was planning to testify against him and was therefore fearful of his life for that reason. Naturally, the American media has provided scarcely a single mention of these remarkable revelations regarding what might amount to a gigantic Magnitsky Hoax of geopolitical significance. ..."
"... To some extent the creation of the Internet and the vast proliferation of alternative media outlets, including my own small webzine , have somewhat altered this depressing picture. So it is hardly surprising that a very substantial fraction of the discussion dominating these Samizdat-like publications concerns exactly those subjects regularly condemned as "crazy conspiracy theories" by our mainstream media organs. ..."
"... Such unfiltered speculation must surely be a source of considerable irritation and worry to government officials who have long relied upon the complicity of their tame media organs to allow their serious misdeeds to pass unnoticed and unpunished. Indeed, several years ago a senior Obama Administration official argued that the free discussion of various "conspiracy theories" on the Internet was so potentially harmful that government agents should be recruited to "cognitively infiltrate" and disrupt them, essentially proposing a high-tech version of the highly controversial Cointelpro operations undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. ..."
Sep 05, 2016 | www.unz.com

A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar , and although the plot wasn't any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as "crazy conspiracy theorists." This seems a realistic portrayal of human nature to me.

Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers -- from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption -- could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. Instead, use of that highly loaded phrase is reserved for those theories, whether plausible or fanciful, that do not possess the endorsement stamp of establishmentarian approval.

Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such. I've sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous "conspiracy theories" in the minds of the gullible American public. The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous "conspiracy theory" ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd "lone gunman" theory of the JFK assassination.

Even without such changes in media control, huge shifts in American public beliefs have frequently occurred in the recent past, merely on the basis of implied association. In the initial weeks and months following the 2001 attacks, every American media organ was enlisted to denounce and vilify Osama Bin Laden, the purported Islamicist master-mind, as our greatest national enemy, with his bearded visage endlessly appearing on television and in print, soon becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But as the Bush Administration and its key media allies prepared a war against Iraq, the images of the Burning Towers were instead regularly juxtaposed with mustachioed photos of dictator Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden's arch-enemy. As a consequence, by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim.

These factors of media manipulation were very much in my mind a couple of years ago when I stumbled across a short but fascinating book published by the University of Texas academic press. The author of Conspiracy Theory in America was Prof. Lance deHaven-Smith, a former president of the Florida Political Science Association.

Based on an important FOIA disclosure, the book's headline revelation was that the CIA was very likely responsible for the widespread introduction of "conspiracy theory" as a term of political abuse, having orchestrated that development as a deliberate means of influencing public opinion.

During the mid-1960s there had been increasing public skepticism about the Warren Commission findings that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, had been solely responsible for President Kennedy's assassination, and growing suspicions that top-ranking American leaders had also been involved. So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories." Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continueing right down to the present day. Thus, there is considerable evidence in support of this particular "conspiracy theory" explaining the widespread appearance of attacks on "conspiracy theories" in the public media.

But although the CIA appears to have effectively manipulated public opinion in order to transform the phrase "conspiracy theory" into a powerful weapon of ideological combat, the author also describes how the necessary philosophical ground had actually been prepared a couple of decades earlier. Around the time of the Second World War, an important shift in political theory caused a huge decline in the respectability of any "conspiratorial" explanation of historical events.

For decades prior to that conflict, one of our most prominent scholars and public intellectuals had been historian Charles Beard , whose influential writings had heavily focused on the harmful role of various elite conspiracies in shaping American policy for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, with his examples ranging from the earliest history of the United States down to the nation's entry into WWI. Obviously, researchers never claimed that all major historical events had hidden causes, but it was widely accepted that some of them did, and attempting to investigate those possibilities was deemed a perfectly acceptable academic enterprise.

However, Beard was a strong opponent of American entry into the Second World War, and he was marginalized in the years that followed, even prior to his death in 1948. Many younger public intellectuals of a similar bent also suffered the same fate, or were even purged from respectability and denied any access to the mainstream media. At the same time, the totally contrary perspectives of two European political philosophers, Karl Popper and Leo Strauss , gradually gained ascendancy in American intellectual circles, and their ideas became dominant in public life.

Popper, the more widely influential, presented broad, largely theoretical objections to the very possibility of important conspiracies ever existing, suggesting that these would be implausibly difficult to implement given the fallibility of human agents; what might appear a conspiracy actually amounted to individual actors pursuing their narrow aims. Even more importantly, he regarded "conspiratorial beliefs" as an extremely dangerous social malady, a major contributing factor to the rise of Nazism and other deadly totalitarian ideologies. His own background as an individual of Jewish ancestry who had fled Austria in 1937 surely contributed to the depth of his feelings on these philosophical matters.

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss.

So, through a mixture of Popperian and Straussian thinking, the traditional American tendency to regard elite conspiracies as a real but harmful aspect of our society was gradually stigmatized as either paranoid or politically dangerous, laying the conditions for its exclusion from respectable discourse.

By 1964, this intellectual revolution had largely been completed, as indicated by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the famous article by political scientist Richard Hofstadter critiquing the so-called "paranoid style" in American politics , which he denounced as the underlying cause of widespread popular belief in implausible conspiracy theories. To a considerable extent, he seemed to be attacking straw men, recounting and ridiculing the most outlandish conspiratorial beliefs, while seeming to ignore the ones that had been proven correct. For example, he described how some of the more hysterical anti-Communists claimed that tens of thousands of Red Chinese troops were hidden in Mexico, preparing an attack on San Diego, while he failed to even acknowledge that for years Communist spies had indeed served near the very top of the U.S. government. Not even the most conspiratorially minded individual suggests that all alleged conspiracies are true, merely that some of them might be.

Most of these shifts in public sentiment occurred before I was born or when I was a very young child, and my own views were shaped by the rather conventional media narratives that I absorbed. Hence, for nearly my entire life, I always automatically dismissed all of the so-called "conspiracy theories" as ridiculous, never once even considering that any of them might possibly be true.

To the extent that I ever thought about the matter, my reasoning was simple and based on what seemed like good, solid common sense. Any conspiracy responsible for some important public event must surely have many separate "moving parts" to it, whether actors or actions taken, let us say numbering at least 100 or more. Now given the imperfect nature of all attempts at concealment, it would surely be impossible for all of these to be kept entirely hidden. So even if a conspiracy were initially 95% successful in remaining undetected, five major clues would still be left in plain sight for investigators to find. And once the buzzing cloud of journalists noticed these, such blatant evidence of conspiracy would certainly attract an additional swarm of energetic investigators, tracing those items back to their origins, with more pieces gradually being uncovered until the entire cover-up likely collapsed. Even if not all the crucial facts were ever determined, at least the simple conclusion that there had indeed been some sort of conspiracy would quickly become established.

However, there was a tacit assumption in my reasoning, one that I have since decided was entirely false. Obviously, many potential conspiracies either involve powerful governmental officials or situations in which their disclosure would represent a source of considerable embarrassment to such individuals. But I had always assumed that even if government failed in its investigatory role, the dedicated bloodhounds of the Fourth Estate would invariably come through, tirelessly seeking truth, ratings, and Pulitzers. However, once I gradually began realizing that the media was merely "Our American Pravda" and perhaps had been so for decades, I suddenly recognized the flaw in my logic. If those five -- or ten or twenty or fifty -- initial clues were simply ignored by the media, whether through laziness, incompetence, or much less venial sins, then there would be absolutely nothing to prevent successful conspiracies from taking place and remaining undetected, perhaps even the most blatant and careless ones.

In fact, I would extend this notion to a general principle. Substantial control of the media is almost always an absolute prerequisite for any successful conspiracy, the greater the degree of control the better. So when weighing the plausibility of any conspiracy, the first matter to investigate is who controls the local media and to what extent.

Let us consider a simple thought-experiment. For various reasons these days, the entire American media is extraordinarily hostile to Russia, certainly much more so than it ever was toward the Communist Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s. Hence I would argue that the likelihood of any large-scale Russian conspiracy taking place within the operative zone of those media organs is virtually nil. Indeed, we are constantly bombarded with stories of alleged Russian conspiracies that appear to be "false positives," dire allegations seemingly having little factual basis or actually being totally ridiculous. Meanwhile, even the crudest sort of anti-Russian conspiracy might easily occur without receiving any serious mainstream media notice or investigation.

This argument may be more than purely hypothetical. A crucial turning point in America's renewed Cold War against Russia was the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act by Congress, punitively targeting various supposedly corrupt Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the illegal persecution and death of an employee of Bill Browder, an American hedge-fund manager with large Russian holdings. However, there's actually quite a bit of evidence that it was Browder himself who was actually the mastermind and beneficiary of the gigantic corruption scheme, while his employee was planning to testify against him and was therefore fearful of his life for that reason. Naturally, the American media has provided scarcely a single mention of these remarkable revelations regarding what might amount to a gigantic Magnitsky Hoax of geopolitical significance.

To some extent the creation of the Internet and the vast proliferation of alternative media outlets, including my own small webzine , have somewhat altered this depressing picture. So it is hardly surprising that a very substantial fraction of the discussion dominating these Samizdat-like publications concerns exactly those subjects regularly condemned as "crazy conspiracy theories" by our mainstream media organs.

Such unfiltered speculation must surely be a source of considerable irritation and worry to government officials who have long relied upon the complicity of their tame media organs to allow their serious misdeeds to pass unnoticed and unpunished. Indeed, several years ago a senior Obama Administration official argued that the free discussion of various "conspiracy theories" on the Internet was so potentially harmful that government agents should be recruited to "cognitively infiltrate" and disrupt them, essentially proposing a high-tech version of the highly controversial Cointelpro operations undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

Until just a few years ago I'd scarcely even heard of Charles Beard, once ranked among the towering figures of 20th century American intellectual life . But the more I've discovered the number of serious crimes and disasters that have completely escaped substantial media scrutiny, the more I wonder what other matters may still remain hidden. So perhaps Beard was correct all along in recognizing the respectability of "conspiracy theories," and we should return to his traditional American way of thinking, notwithstanding endless conspiratorial propaganda campaigns by the CIA and others to persuade us that we should dismiss such notions without any serious consideration.

[Aug 20, 2019] The Epstein Case Everyone s a Conspiracy Theorist by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... "I am not into conspiracy theories. But Epstein had destructive information on an extraordinary number of extraordinarily powerful people. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. ..."
"... The meaningless of the term has been clearly illustrated by Russiagate, whose adherents react with sputtering outrage whenever anyone points out that they're engaged in a conspiracy theory, despite the self-evident fact that that's exactly what it is: a theory about a band of powerful Russian conspirators conspiring with the highest levels of the U.S. government. Their objection is not due to a belief that they're not theorizing about a conspiracy, their objection is due to the fact that a highly stigmatized label that they're accustomed to applying to other people has been applied to them. The label is rejected because its actual definition is ignored to the point of meaninglessness. ..."
"... The term "conspiracy theory" should always serve as red flag to any astute reader concerning what follows. The term was reportedly coined by a CIA disinformation guy in the late 1960s to counter and discredit efforts to get at the truth of the Kennedy assassination. ..."
"... Individuals hanging themselves almost never possess information about how it is done. Typically they either hurl themselves off something like a staircase or kick away something they are standing on, as a chair or stool. Neither of those approaches has much probability of producing the classic executioner's result, although the first can certainly break neck bones or even behead someone. Epstein, we know, used neither of those methods. Indeed, he couldn't, given the small, deliberately-bare cell he was in. ..."
"... What is required to achieve the instantly-broken neck, and in just the right place for quick death, is a drop of a certain amount plus a certain positioning of the rope. Those conditions generally are not possible with efforts like hanging by bedsheets. ..."
"... Sheets, incidentally, as I've previously noted, not even available to inmates at this institution. They sleep on special paper sheets. ..."
"... The term 'conspiracy theory' appears to have first been used by the CIA in the 1960s about those who did not believe the findings of the Warren Commission report on the JFK assassination. ..."
"... The assertion that Epstein's death cannot be questioned without accusations of 'conspiracy theory' seems contradicted by the fact that many people, in and out of government, including AG Barr have found the circumstances in need of an investigation. Has anyone yet accused Barr of being a conspiracy theorist for finding the Epstein death questionable? ..."
"... When the "Conspiracy Theorist" sirens are blaring, you can be certain that an elite crime has just been openly committed and they are triggering the populace to suppress any questioning of the narrative; it is all very Pavoliavian. ..."
"... This will then be followed by an endless set of dead-end inquiries which trains are minds to focus on the trivial. Were sheets in Epstein's Prison? Why were the prison guards too exhausted to monitor the prisoner? Or, my favorite – Why were the cameras off, I think a 5-year-old child could answer that question. ..."
"... If you ever wonder how Intelligence Agencies spend their day, with their budget the size of Bulgaria's GNP, I say, look no further. ..."
"... Now we get to the big one, why did Epstein return to the US when he had to know an arrest warrant had been issued? This one bothers me the most. Epstein had the money and the means to live in many countries without extradition to the US. ..."
"... If someone in power wanted him dead, it would make more sense to do it before all of the attention, not after he's arrested. ..."
"... "That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now." ..."
"... The question should be about evidence for or against any conspiracy theory. ..."
"... In the Epstein case there is a very strong motive, by very powerful interests, to have him gone. There was a very strange lapse in the watchfulness of the prison where Epstein was kept. There has to be an inquiry. ..."
"... Part of the use of this 'conspiracy theory' term is an effort by mass, established (corporate) media to discredit and dismiss alternate media. They are aiming to protect their market by intimating that they report the truth (TM) while over there, the internet is full of hyperventilated, wild and rediculous trash. ..."
"... The invariable responses from everyone ever associated with "high-society", sex-addicted, global criminal pimp for the wealthy-and-powerful Jeffrey Epstein, – on his scandalous and disgusting activities across many years, and finally Epstein's world-record-setting-mystery death: "No comment." ..."
"... there are names of actual people who signed off on taking him off suicide watch, removing his cell mate, and telling the guards to not worry about checking in on Epstein that night. Those are all strange things which should have an answer if a reporter with the resources of the powerful behind them cared to know ..."
"... Clearly, the message is, don't ask questions. That's exactly the opposite of what everyone should be doing who wants to understand what has happened. ..."
"... A Fitbit or equivalent on Epstein with preset alarms monitored at a guard station ( or , for that matter , by his family or lawyers over the web ) could have prevented Epstein's death , but in 2019 , that's a big ask , I suppose. Maybe in a few decades. ..."
"... Apparently "pending further investigation" is now code for "national security"/"classified." Come on. They've had the body since Saturday morning. What are the results of the medical examination? This question under FOIA auspices and principle. ..."
"... The entire Russia-gate hoax is a conspiracy theory. What we need then, in advance of the Gestapo on the Doorstep, is to define conspiracy theory properly as either a) founded in facts and logic or b) founded in spin and deceit. We could then apply for Conspiracy-A permits, and have them sitting in our wallets with the rest of our cards. Again, we should be reminded of 1918 and Eugene Debs. ..."
"... – Every organized crime operation is a conspiracy, and many are charged as such. – Watergate was a conspiracy–in fact, it was a collection of conspiracies. (Let me count the ways ) – Iran-Contra was quite an elaborate conspiracy that no one would have believed if the participants hadn't been busted. Tu parles! – The CIA's overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973 was a conspiracy. – The CIA's overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 was a conspiracy. – The CIA's many assassinations of foreign leaders around the world for decades are all conspiracies. – All of the CIA's operations in partnership with Mossad or MI6 are and have been conspiracies. – September 11 was a conspiracy. It's just a question of which version (or "conspiracy theory") you wish to believe–there are many. – The concoction of "evidence" to rush to war in Iraq was a conspiracy. – The concoction of "evidence" for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was a conspiracy, – LBJ's coverup of Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty was a conspiracy. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Plutocratic propaganda outlet MSNBC has run a spin segment about the medical examiner's determination of the cause of Jeffrey Epstein's death "pending further information."

"Our sources are still saying that it looks like suicide, and this is going to set conspiracy theorists abuzz I fear," said NBC correspondent Ken Dilanian. "NBC News has been hearing all day long that there are no indications of foul play, and that this looks like a suicide and that he hung himself in his cell."

Dilanian, who stumbled over the phrase "conspiracy theorists" in his haste to get it in the first soundbite, is a known asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a well-documented fact. A 2014 article in The Intercept titled "The CIA's Mop-Up Man" reveals email exchanges obtained via Freedom of Information Act request between Dilanian and CIA public affairs officers which "show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication." There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations.

When I mentioned Dilanian's CIA ties on MSNBC's Twitter video , MSNBC deleted its tweet and then re-shared it without mentioning Dilanian's name. Here is a screenshot of the first tweet followed by an embedded link to the current one (which I've archived , just in case):

Up until the news broke that Epstein's autopsy has been unable to readily confirm suicide, mass media headlines everywhere have been unquestioningly blaring that that was known to have been the cause of the accused sex trafficker's death. This despite the fact that the FBI's investigation has been explicitly labeling it an " apparent suicide," and despite the fact that Epstein is credibly believed to have been involved in an intelligence-tied sexual blackmail operation involving many powerful people , any number of whom stood to gain plenty from his death .

Berating by Mass Media Narrative Managers

So, things are moving in a very weird way, and people are understandably weirded out. The response to this from mass media narrative managers has, of course, been to berate everyone as "conspiracy theorists."

These outlets generally match Dilanian's tone in branding anyone who questions the official story about Epstein's death as a raving lunatic. Meanwhile, normal human beings all across the political spectrum are expressing skepticism on social media about the "suicide" narrative we're all being force-fed by the establishment narrative managers, many of them prefacing their skepticism with some variation on the phrase "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but "

"I'm not a conspiracy theorist but there are an awful lot of very powerful people who would like to see this Epstein thing go away. Is anyone investigating the guard on duty?" tweeted actor Patricia Heaton.

"I am not into conspiracy theories. But Epstein had destructive information on an extraordinary number of extraordinarily powerful people. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. Especially after being placed on suicide watch. Especially after already allegedly trying," tweeted public defender Scott Hechinger.

Journalist Abi Wilkinson summed up the silliness of this widespread preface very nicely, tweeting , " 'I'm not a conspiracy theorist' is such a weird assertion when you think about it, the idea there's a binary between believing all conspiracies and flat out rejecting the very concept of conspiracy in all circumstances."

Indeed, I think it's fair to say that we are all conspiracy theorists if we're really honest with ourselves. Not everyone believes that the official stories about 9/11 and the JFK assassination are riddled with plot holes or what have you, but I doubt that anyone who really sat down and sincerely grappled with the question "Do powerful people conspire?" would honestly deny it. Some are just more self-aware than others about the self-evident reality that powerful people conspire all the time, and it's only a question of how and with whom and to what extent.

Dictionary Definition

The word "conspire" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement." No sane person would deny that this is a thing that happens, nor that this is likely a thing that happens to some extent among the powerful in their own nation. This by itself is a theory about conspiracy per definition, and it accurately applies to pretty much everyone. Since it applies to pretty much everyone, the label is essentially meaningless, either as a pejorative or as anything else.

The meaningless of the term has been clearly illustrated by Russiagate, whose adherents react with sputtering outrage whenever anyone points out that they're engaged in a conspiracy theory, despite the self-evident fact that that's exactly what it is: a theory about a band of powerful Russian conspirators conspiring with the highest levels of the U.S. government. Their objection is not due to a belief that they're not theorizing about a conspiracy, their objection is due to the fact that a highly stigmatized label that they're accustomed to applying to other people has been applied to them. The label is rejected because its actual definition is ignored to the point of meaninglessness.

The problem has never been with the actual term "conspiracy theory;" the problem has been with its deliberate and completely meaningless use as a pejorative. The best way to address this would be a populist move to de-stigmatize the label by taking ownership of it. Last month Cornell University professor Dave Callum tweeted , "I am a 'conspiracy theorist'. I believe men and women of wealth and power conspire. If you don't think so, then you are what is called 'an idiot'. If you believe stuff but fear the label, you are what is called 'a coward'."

This is what we all must do. The debate must be forcibly moved from the absurd question of whether or not conspiracies are a thing to the important question of which conspiracy theories are valid and to what degree.

And we should probably hurry. Yahoo News reported earlier this month that the FBI recently published an intelligence bulletin describing "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists" as a growing threat, and this was before the recent spate of U.S. shootings got establishment narrative-makers pushing for new domestic terrorism laws . This combined with the fact that we can't even ask questions about extremely suspicious events like Jeffrey Epstein's death without being tarred with this meaningless pejorative by the mass media thought police means we're at extreme risk of being shoved into something far more Orwellian in the near future.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website . She has a podcast and a book " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."


Holger , August 16, 2019 at 12:56

Well, let's call it assisted suicide then.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , August 15, 2019 at 10:10

The term "conspiracy theory" should always serve as red flag to any astute reader concerning what follows. The term was reportedly coined by a CIA disinformation guy in the late 1960s to counter and discredit efforts to get at the truth of the Kennedy assassination.

It's amazing the way it has hung around.

The mainline press loves the phrase, and you'll find it somewhere in their output weekly trying to discredit this or that matter.

The autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein is reported to have shown that his neck was broken, "in several places. "The coroner stated that she "is confident the cause of death is suicide by hanging."

I don't know. I 'm certainly not an expert. In traditional capital-punishment hanging, as in a prison by an executioner, the neck is indeed broken, but as I understand it, cleanly, not "in several places."

That is how a hanged person dies, not by strangulation, something that is the result only of botched hangings.

Virtually all self-hangings are botched hangings.

Individuals hanging themselves almost never possess information about how it is done. Typically they either hurl themselves off something like a staircase or kick away something they are standing on, as a chair or stool. Neither of those approaches has much probability of producing the classic executioner's result, although the first can certainly break neck bones or even behead someone. Epstein, we know, used neither of those methods. Indeed, he couldn't, given the small, deliberately-bare cell he was in.

What is required to achieve the instantly-broken neck, and in just the right place for quick death, is a drop of a certain amount plus a certain positioning of the rope. Those conditions generally are not possible with efforts like hanging by bedsheets.

Sheets, incidentally, as I've previously noted, not even available to inmates at this institution. They sleep on special paper sheets.

Newspaper reports of how Epstein killed himself say that the six-foot man tied a bedsheet to the top of the bunk bed in the small cell and then kneeled towards the floor, strangling himself. It is not easy to see how doing that could result in a neck broken "in several places."

I think the autopsy result, at least to a non-expert, only increases doubts.

Tony , August 15, 2019 at 08:53

The term 'conspiracy theory' appears to have first been used by the CIA in the 1960s about those who did not believe the findings of the Warren Commission report on the JFK assassination.

Some people, apparently, thought that LBJ might have had something to do with it.

Fancy thinking that the person who was facing being dumped as vice president and who had spent so much time trying to get JFK to visit his home state might have had something to do with it!

By any proper investigative standards, Johnson should have been seen as a suspect. And yet he was able to appoint his own panel of investigation and to determine its membership. Absolutely unbelievable!

Anonymous , August 14, 2019 at 23:23

People who run around slinging terms like "conspiracy theorist" are more than just empowered by psychiatry – it is literally what brought this plague of all the stigma against all dissent and doubt being more than just a mere slur. People come up with some flat out absurd nonsense all the time -- but so what.

If it's absurd, ignore it. Argue against it if you think they aren't trolling and weren't just conditioned to be a self unaware sockpuppet – but don't comdemn for it, or you destroy the one thing that stands in the way of this country becoming a tyranny on a level that will make "1984" sound like the Teletubbies.

nwwoods , August 14, 2019 at 21:04

See Whitney Webb's three part (and more to come) series on the Epstein saga at Mint Press News, but be sure do fasten your seatbelts.

Steve Parosns , August 14, 2019 at 16:11

The assertion that Epstein's death cannot be questioned without accusations of 'conspiracy theory' seems contradicted by the fact that many people, in and out of government, including AG Barr have found the circumstances in need of an investigation. Has anyone yet accused Barr of being a conspiracy theorist for finding the Epstein death questionable?

Deniz , August 14, 2019 at 18:04

I have no doubt that Barr is about to launch another investigation that will be long on theatrics, but short on convictions. I assume you have overlooked the uncanny coincidence of Donald Barr's appointment of an unlettered Epstein at Dalton.

Skip Scott , August 15, 2019 at 08:01

Given Barr's history, I have little faith in him. I think he may actually be in there to squelch any real investigation while pretending to support one. And yes, it is ALL theater.

Steve Parsons , August 14, 2019 at 16:09

A glaring non-sequitir should be corrected: "There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations."

Because a journalist had a cozy relation with the CIA does NOT mean "everything" s/he writes IS dismissable as "CIA pulbic relatiions".

The article about the 'cozy relationship" did not prove "everything" he wrote was "CIA public relations" in the past, so there is no reason to believe "everything" he writes in the future is either!

This is one way conspiracy theories work – a part is taken for the whole, a suspicion becomes a proof.

Please edit your statement to something that does follow, like "Since there havbe been well-documented instances of this author writing distorted stories to serve the CIA's interests, anything he writes "could be" the same.

You have written that is should be dismissed without scrutiny. Never a good idea.

manorborn , August 14, 2019 at 14:07

It should be a civic duty to be a conspiracy theorist considering how our rogue government has never once told us the truth about anything and has consistently shown itself as the world's leading aggressor.

Deniz , August 14, 2019 at 12:53

When the "Conspiracy Theorist" sirens are blaring, you can be certain that an elite crime has just been openly committed and they are triggering the populace to suppress any questioning of the narrative; it is all very Pavoliavian.

This will then be followed by an endless set of dead-end inquiries which trains are minds to focus on the trivial. Were sheets in Epstein's Prison? Why were the prison guards too exhausted to monitor the prisoner? Or, my favorite – Why were the cameras off, I think a 5-year-old child could answer that question.

If you ever wonder how Intelligence Agencies spend their day, with their budget the size of Bulgaria's GNP, I say, look no further.

Brian , August 14, 2019 at 11:50

I have this gut feeling that no one is asking the right questions about this case, I respect Caitlin as a journalist, so I'm really surprised she didn't "go there". So let me tighten up my tin foil hat, and dive in.

The first thing I've noticed is everyone and every "news" organization has come to the conclusion that Epstein is dead, why? We have no proof of this, the one photo I've seen has discrepancies of this fact, right off the bat I noticed there was no backboard under the patient on the stretcher. No official EMT would perform CPR on a patient, on a padded stretcher without one. The EMT wasn't positioned to be performing chest compressions properly on the patient (fake?).

Next we are to believe the total breakdown in the prison surrounding this incident was a coincidence and/or failure of the staff. Now I believe in coincidences, but the more there are for a given incident, the less likely that was the cause. Given the high profile of this prisoner, it becomes even less likely. Epstein had the ability to take down many high profile people, why wasn't he under 24/7 surveillance?

No one is questioning the supposed visit to Epstein from AG Barr, why? How often does the AG of the US visit a prisoner, especially one with ties to the prisoner (Barr's father was OSS during WWII, and hired Epstein to teach without a college degree at a prestigious school in NY in the early 1970's)?

Now we get to the big one, why did Epstein return to the US when he had to know an arrest warrant had been issued? This one bothers me the most. Epstein had the money and the means to live in many countries without extradition to the US. Why come back if you didn't have a guarantee of basically getting "off the hook" with a "slap on the wrist", like in south Florida? It makes no sense.

If someone in power wanted him dead, it would make more sense to do it before all of the attention, not after he's arrested.

... ... ...

Guy , August 14, 2019 at 11:47

All options/opinions will be put forward in order to properly obfuscate the truth and the truth might never see the light of day. Much too much at stake for too many .It will probably go down as another event left for the conspiracy theorists .Move on folks, nothing to see here .

Jeff Harrison , August 14, 2019 at 11:45

Here's what Uncle Ray had to offer about "conspiracy theorists":

"That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now."

Randal Marlin , August 14, 2019 at 11:36

Undoubtedly conspiracy theories can be correct or they can be false. An example is 9/11, where a conspiracy between the largely Saudi attackers certainly existed. Some have argued that further conspiracies must have taken place. To have made the accurate decision about exactly where the planes that flew into the twin towers should hit would have required highly sophisticated knowledge about the building's construction, about the amount of fuel the planes should carry, which floor to hit, etc. It is reasonable to suppose other knowledgeable people were in on the conspiracy. There are further more speculative theories, some that are worth pursuing, others not.

The question should be about evidence for or against any conspiracy theory. Which among various conspiracy theories are supported by the evidence?

In the Epstein case there is a very strong motive, by very powerful interests, to have him gone. There was a very strange lapse in the watchfulness of the prison where Epstein was kept. There has to be an inquiry.

Glennn , August 14, 2019 at 10:41

Great article. Here's a quote from Adam Smith about the elites – Smith calls them the masters – combining. "We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combination of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject.

Masters are always and every where in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. "

LH , August 14, 2019 at 10:12

Isn't it strange how all the corporate media are in lock step on 'conspiracy theories' and Epstein?

Part of the use of this 'conspiracy theory' term is an effort by mass, established (corporate) media to discredit and dismiss alternate media. They are aiming to protect their market by intimating that they report the truth (TM) while over there, the internet is full of hyperventilated, wild and rediculous trash.

They are choosing to report that these myriad of views exist, but mainly as a warning their readers/viewers not to bother going there because there is nothing but these 'conspiracy theories'.

Yet, the corporate media seem to echo the same shallow reporting on Epstein.

Susan J Leslie , August 14, 2019 at 08:09

If the narrative doesn't feel right in your gut then it probably isn't

Realist , August 14, 2019 at 05:23

The people running the system can never admit Epstein's death was due to anything other than suicide. If such evidence exists, it will be suppressed. If it were admitted that the guy was knocked off, those in control would be held to account. Nothing could be more un-American than that.

Outside hit men did not just fortuitously waltz in, enter his cell and off him under the noses of the American security state. They would need as much inside assistance as Mr. Phelps had to deviously arrange on a weekly basis in "Mission Impossible." Such sources of help would be limited to rather few suspects and their superiors in the chain of command. Heads would roll.

So I say, the guaranteed finding of any committee "investigating" this will be that the guards assigned to check on Epstein periodically were remiss (overworked, don't ya know?), offering him the small window of 0pportunity to strangle himself with the single-ply Charmin substitute he meticulously hoarded for weeks until it could support the weight of a 200-lb man 2-ft above the floor near his bunk.

It's either the above scenario, or an anorexic double-jointed ninja climbed the outside wall of the building, removed the glass from the 4-inch wide window overlooking the courtyard below, squeezed into Epstein's cell as he slept and strangled him in his bunk. Don't bother dusting for prints, he was wearing latex gloves. Even Mark Furman will never come up with a "plausible" alternative to Epstain's suiciding, no matter who killed him.

Zhu , August 14, 2019 at 05:14

It is legitimate to be suspicious about the circumstance of Epstein's death. But it is also true that most if the conspiracy stories people like to repeat are fantasy fiction. Lizard men from Zeta Reticuli do not rule the world.

Tiu , August 14, 2019 at 03:45

It's done it's job – now this event event is dominating all the headlines. Makes me wonder what it is that isn't supposed to be noticed?!

Vivek Jain , August 14, 2019 at 01:51

"[C]onspiracies do exist. If we define conspiracy as planning in secrecy for illicit purposes while misleading the public as to what is happening, then there have been conspiracies aplenty."
– Michael Parenti

"No social order of any complexity exists without the application of conscious human agency. Ruling elements must intentionally strive to maintain the conditions of their hegemonic rule. The social order of a society does not operate like a mystical abstracted entity. It is directed for the most part by people who deliberately pursue certain goals, using all kinds of power, including propaganda, persuasion, fraud, deceit, fear, secrecy, coercion, concessions, and sometimes even concerted violence and other criminal ploys . we might consider how conspiracy [by which most people seem to mean secret, consciously planned programs by persons in high places] is one of the instruments used by the dominant interests in political life. Some conspiracies are imagined; some are real."
– Parenti

Jerry Alatalo , August 13, 2019 at 23:37

The invariable responses from everyone ever associated with "high-society", sex-addicted, global criminal pimp for the wealthy-and-powerful Jeffrey Epstein, – on his scandalous and disgusting activities across many years, and finally Epstein's world-record-setting-mystery death: "No comment."

CitizenOne , August 13, 2019 at 22:33

Relax folks. There is nothing to get alarmed about. Trustworthy Attorney General William Barr has sleepily assured us in his quiet droll words that he will dig deep into the matter and investigate it with all the force he can muster which is not much. We can relax knowing that the investigation will be thorough like a fresh coat of whitewash on a rotting fence and completed in just a few days or weeks and it will be an open and shut case that some prison guard didn't do his or her job very good like he or she was supposed to. Then the case will be closed as an unfortunate event due to the poor performance of some bad prison guards. Somebody will be suspended for not doing their job real good but real bad and the matter will be officially closed leaving everyone else with questions that persist labeled as supporters of a conspiracy theory A.K.A. a lunatic.

Whew, that was a close one and we are all soon to be glad that the investigation resulted in fingering incompetent prison guards case closed. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Roger Milbrandt , August 13, 2019 at 21:59

This is quite a good discussion of the irresponsible and tendentious use of the phrase "conspiracy theory." I think you should point out that in the case of 9/11 every explanation presupposes a conspiracy, at least by the Merriam-Webster definition of the term. The only exception would be the claim that the hijackers acted independently and that the fact that all of these events occurred on the same day is a coincidence. But who ever offers this non-conspiracy-theory explanation?

Vivek Jain , August 14, 2019 at 01:55

from Michael Parenti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-ofKI8QFWY

excerpt from a transcript of Parenti's comments:

Whenever you ascribe conscious intent and pursuit of self interest at the top, you will hear someone say: 'What are you, a conspiracy theorist?' You can say farmers consciously organize to pursue their interests and everybody will say 'Uh huh, farmers are organized.' You can say machinists or auto workers are organizing and everybody will say 'Uh huh, they're consciously organizing and pursuing their own interests,' or school teachers, and other people. But if you say the people who own most of America and most of the world – if you say they consciously organize and pursue things to get what they want, then you hear people say 'Oh, you have a Conspiracy theory? You think they really do that?'

The alternative to a conspiracy theory is an Innocence theory. That is, they do all of this stuff but they're not pursuing self interest. They just do it, you know. The other alternative is a Somnambulist theory. Somnambulism is the tendency to walk in your sleep. David Rockefeller gets up in the morning and says, 'What am I going to do, to advance and protect my interests? No, no, that would be conspiratorial.' Another alternative would be Coincidence theory: it's just coincidence that this happened. A variation of coincidence theory is Uncanny theory. Then there's Stupidity theory and Incompetence theory. There's also Stochastic theory. It means everything happening by random there's really no causality, as such. Stuff just happens. History is just these eventualities that tumble down on top of each other.

Abby , August 13, 2019 at 21:05

That one of the biggest prisoners in history was being guarded by a person who wasn't a prison guard makes me think that he was either killed in his cell or removed from it to go into the never lands never to be seen again.

Why wouldn't they have taken every possible step to make sure he stayed alive? If they wanted him to testify they would have. I think that this is an in your face and blatant show that the PTB are running on us. "Sure we know that you don't believe the official story, but what can you do about it?"

Tom Kath , August 13, 2019 at 20:57

Caitlin, as you have often remarked, "who controls the narrative controls the world". I have already suggested to Ray that we should concentrate on discrediting and undermining the FAITH in the benevolence of these controlling agencies. We might then deal later with the "truth" (discrediting their narrative).

OlyaPola , August 14, 2019 at 08:08

"Everyone's a Conspiracy Theorist. The only problem with the term is the meaningless use of it as a pejorative " ... "who controls the narrative controls the world"

"Doubling down" in self-absorption obfuscates that who chooses the narratives frames perception, thereby obviating the "need to control" whilst encouraging extrapolations of resort to belief to bridge doubt, sometimes known as "conspiracy theories".

Welcome to the O.K. Corral.

Jill , August 13, 2019 at 20:53

There are so many unanswered questions and conflicting information regarding Epstein's ? that I thought it was very telling that the press of the powerful was worried about conspiracy theories. Why would that be where they put all their energy?

The press of the powerful would be much better engaged in trying to get as much actual information as possible out to the public. Instead it's all unnamed sources say this or that contradictory thing. The strange thing is, in this case there is documented information. The prison has cameras in the hallway which can be reviewed. This might answer the question as to whether there were screams coming from Epstein's cell, what time that occurred, who was around, etc.

Further, there are names of actual people who signed off on taking him off suicide watch, removing his cell mate, and telling the guards to not worry about checking in on Epstein that night. Those are all strange things which should have an answer if a reporter with the resources of the powerful behind them cared to know.

Clearly, the message is, don't ask questions. That's exactly the opposite of what everyone should be doing who wants to understand what has happened. Many of the questions have (or should have) answers. I believe the press of the powerful should attend to getting those answers and quit being concerned about what anyone believes. If the answers to knowable information show that a conspiracy took place, that is simply what happened. Berating people for wanting to know what actually happened, for demanding answers to questions that are knowable, is called propaganda. It most certainly is not journalism.

Marko , August 13, 2019 at 20:32

A Fitbit or equivalent on Epstein with preset alarms monitored at a guard station ( or , for that matter , by his family or lawyers over the web ) could have prevented Epstein's death , but in 2019 , that's a big ask , I suppose. Maybe in a few decades.

Not that it WOULD have prevented Epstein's death. There's always a workaround.

hetro , August 13, 2019 at 20:23

Apparently "pending further investigation" is now code for "national security"/"classified." Come on. They've had the body since Saturday morning. What are the results of the medical examination? This question under FOIA auspices and principle.

hetro , August 13, 2019 at 20:19

Good points, very good points. The fight is for clarity and precision. The brainwashing machinery is working very hard to demonize whatever opposes its will. So a legitimate phrase "conspiracy theory" is pejorated or demonized.

The entire Russia-gate hoax is a conspiracy theory. What we need then, in advance of the Gestapo on the Doorstep, is to define conspiracy theory properly as either a) founded in facts and logic or b) founded in spin and deceit. We could then apply for Conspiracy-A permits, and have them sitting in our wallets with the rest of our cards. Again, we should be reminded of 1918 and Eugene Debs.

Archie , August 15, 2019 at 03:37

The term "conspiracy theory" is used so often and so casually that it's worth exploring its history and meaning.

Right off the bat, when we hear that something is a "conspiracy theory," we're expected to understand that people are talking about a crackpot idea. That much is clear, as Spock says in Star Trek IV.

But if we analyze the term, we can see it's a bit strange. Are conspiracies so unusual?
– Every organized crime operation is a conspiracy, and many are charged as such.
– Watergate was a conspiracy–in fact, it was a collection of conspiracies. (Let me count the ways )
– Iran-Contra was quite an elaborate conspiracy that no one would have believed if the participants hadn't been busted. Tu parles!
– The CIA's overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973 was a conspiracy.
– The CIA's overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 was a conspiracy.
– The CIA's many assassinations of foreign leaders around the world for decades are all conspiracies.
– All of the CIA's operations in partnership with Mossad or MI6 are and have been conspiracies.
– September 11 was a conspiracy. It's just a question of which version (or "conspiracy theory") you wish to believe–there are many.
– The concoction of "evidence" to rush to war in Iraq was a conspiracy.
– The concoction of "evidence" for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was a conspiracy,
– LBJ's coverup of Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty was a conspiracy.

I'm tired of coming up with examples. You get the point.

Now, what's a "theory"?

A theory is an explanation for phenomena in the world for which there is actual evidence. A theory is well on the way to being considered fact, though it may not be established fact without further evidence. A theory is distinct from a hypothesis in that a hypothesis is an explanation that has not received evidence leading to its acceptance or confirmation as fact.

Here are some examples of theories:

1. The Theory of Evolution–Who doubts that apart from evangelical Protestants or people with little education? We aren't 100% sure of all the details, but we accept the overall theory as fact.
2. The Theory of Gravity–Does anyone doubt it? Of course, like evolution, gravity is a lot more complex than most of us know.
3. The Theory of Relativity–This one many people might doubt, but it's generally accepted as fact, and you probably don't doubt it yourself.
4. Newton's Theories (or Laws) of Motion–Most people don't even know them, but they're (all three of them) accepted as fact.
5. Genetic theory–This is vast and complex and certainly subject to modification upon the introduction of new evidence, but we all (mostly) accept that we have genes that determine our physical characteristics at the very least. Genetic determination of intelligence is much more subject to caution (nature vs. nurture).
6. Language Acquisition theory–This is much more subject to change and hard to accept as plain fact, given the very fluid nature of the evidence for and against the various ideas that theory involves.

What about borderline theories, or theories that might better be called "hypotheses"?

The main "theory" that comes to mind is String Theory in Physics. Since there's evidence neither for nor against it and physicists have stated that it is unfalsifiable (or impossible to prove or disprove by experimentation), it might be better to call it "the String Hypothesis."

Mathematical Theory:

There is so much mathematical theory, all of which has a solid underpinning of irrefutable proof. By the standards of modern physics, a major concept in mathematics, the Riemann Hypothesis, would be called "Riemann Theory," since all available evidence appears to confirm it. However, that's not good enough for mathematicians. No proof currently exists (or has yet been verified, but see Attiyah), so it's still considered a "hypothesis."

HISTORY OF THE TERM "Conspiracy Theory": The term was coined by Allen Dulles, the ex-head of the CIA, fired by John Kennedy for having lied to him about the Bay of Pigs. Dulles was the effective head of the Warren Commission, although the titular head was Earl Warren, who was actually a mere figurehead. (See Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable. )

LONG STORY SHORT: The term "conspiracy theory" is strange but typical shorthand for telling us which ideas are taboo to believe or even entertain, but an examination of the term shows just how ridiculous it is.

OlyaPola , August 16, 2019 at 04:08

"However, that's not good enough for mathematicians. No proof currently exists (or has yet been verified, but see Attiyah), so it's still considered a "hypothesis."

Many including Mr. Feynman were aware of many causal networks, developments and consequences in and of "Cargo cult science" and hence it's still considered a (indefinite article) "hypothesis" and illustration of resort to belief to bridge doubt to attain "comfort/confort/confront" by many practitioners not restricted to mathematicians.

Among the consequences of "Cargo cult science" are the "practices and other outcomes" of Boeing and Microsoft not restricted to patching as functions of many causal networks in illustration of decay as a process of fertilisation, akin to doubt as a catalyst in "Science".

[Aug 19, 2019] CIA ( Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:32 am GMT

@Sean McBride Not sure if I'm correct here, but my understanding is that the CIA (& & Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

[Aug 19, 2019] Conspiracy theory label can generate propaganda sufficiently toxic to severely damage or even destroy political opponents. For instance, Russiagate.

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sean McBride says: August 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm GMT 100 Words "dominate both polls" = "dominate both poles"?

A nice analysis of the rhetorical structure of conspiracy theories in general.

Another important aspect of this: the use of conspiracy theories to generate propaganda sufficiently toxic to severely damage or even destroy political opponents. For instance, Russiagate.

The mainstream media, since 2016, while railing against the conspiratorial mindset expressed in Internet alternative media channels, have been wallowing in it, promoting it with all the power at their disposal. Talk about twisty and sinister doublethink. One could almost describe it as diabolical.

They are often portraying false conspiracy theories as truth, and true conspiracy research as lies -- turning reality upside down and inside out.

[Aug 19, 2019] The labelling of a hypothesis as "conspiracy theory" is an attempt to erase uncomfortable evidence by re-prioritising the relevance of certain facts

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jewish economist Murray Rothbard contrasts "deep" conspiracy theories with "shallow" ones. According to Rothbard, a shallow theorist observes an event and asks, who benefits? He or she then jumps to the conclusion that the posited beneficiary is responsible for covertly influencing events. Under this theory, Israel benefiting from the events of 9/11 made it into a prime suspect. This is often a completely legitimate strategy and is exactly how detective and investigative researchers operate. In order to identify the culprit, they may well ask who would benefit from the crime. Of course this is only a first step towards substantiation.

According to Rothbard the "deep" conspiracy theorist begins with a hunch and then seeks out evidence. Rothbard describes deep conspiracy theory as the result of confirming whether certain facts actual fit one's initial 'paranoia.' This explanation pretty much describes a lot of how science works. Any given scientific theory defines the realm of facts that may support or refute its validity. Science is a deductive reasoning process, so that in science, it is the theory that defines the relevance of the evidence. Would Rothbard describe Newtonian physics as 'deeply conspiratorial'? I doubt it. My guess is that, bearing Rothbard in mind, attributing a 'conspiratorial nature' to a theory is an attempt the deny the relevance of the evidence it brings to light.

If for instance, the theory that Epstein was a Mossad agent is 'conspiratorial,' then the facts that he was a business partner of Ehud Barak and involved in a company that uses Israeli military intelligence tactics become irrelevant. The same applies to former Federal Prosecutor Alex Acosta's admission that Epstein belonged to intelligence and that was why he was the beneficiary of a laughable plea deal. If, for example, the theory that it was the Jews who led the 1917 Bolshevik revolution is 'conspiratorial,' then the facts regarding the demography that led the revolution and its criminal nature are of no consequence.

The labelling of a theory as conspiratorial is an attempt to erase uncomfortable evidence by reprioritising the relevance of certain facts.

[Aug 19, 2019] Conspiracy Theories From the Elders of Zion to Epstein's Youngsters by Gilad Atzmon

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

'Conspiracy theory' is how the mainstream media characterizes any narrative that differs from their reporting of the official line. What is a conspiracy theory? Can it be defined in categorical terms? Can a conspiracy theory be validated forensically or refuted by similar means? What criteria can be used to differentiate between a conspiracy theory and theoretical musings?

The labelling of a theory as 'conspiratorial' is an attempt to discredit its author/authors and deny its validity. A 'conspiracy theory' usually involves an explanatory thesis that points to a malevolent plot often involving a secretive interested party. The term 'conspiracy theory' has a pejorative connotation: its use suggests that the theory appeals to prejudice and/or involves a farfetched, unsubstantiated narrative built on insufficient evidence.

Those who oppose conspiracy theories argue that such theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning, that such theories are primarily based on beliefs, as opposed to academic or scientific reasoning.

But this critique is also not exactly based on valid scholarly principles. It isn't just 'conspiracy theories' that resist falsification or are reinforced by circular reasoning. The philosopher Karl Popper, who defined the principle of falsifiability, would categorically maintain that Freudian psychoanalysis and Marxism fail for the same reasons. The Oedipal complex, for instance, has never been scientifically proven and can't be scientifically falsified or validated. Marxism also resists falsification. Despite Marx's 'scientific' predictions, the proletarian revolution never occurred. I have personally never come across anyone who refers to Marx or Freud as 'conspiracy theorists.' 'Resisting falsification' and "reinforced by circular reasoning," are traits of non-scientific theories and do not apply only to 'conspiracy theories.'

The Oxford English Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as "the theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event".

The Oxford dictionary does not set forth the criteria that define a conspiracy theory in categorical terms. The history of mankind is saturated with references to hidden plots led by influential parties.

The problem with refuting conspiracy theories is that they are often more elegant and explanatory than the official competing narratives. Such theories have a tendency to ascribe blame to hegemonic powers. In the past, conspiracy theories were popular mostly amongst fringe circles, they are now becoming commonplace in mass media. Alternative narratives are widely disseminated through social media. In some cases, they have been disseminated by official news outlets and even by the current American president. It is possible that the rapid rise in popularity of alternative explanatory theories is an indication of a growing mistrust of the current ruling class, its ideals, its interests and its demography.

The response to the story of Jeffrey Epstein's suicide is illustrative. The official narrative provoked a reaction that was a mixture of disbelief expressed in satire and inspired a plethora of theories that attempted to explain the saga that had escalated into the biggest sex scandal in the history of America and beyond.

The obvious question is what has led to the increase in popularity of so called 'conspiracy theories'? I would push it further and ask, why is a society that claims to be 'free' is threatened by the rise of alternative explanatory narratives?

In truth, the question is itself misleading. No one is really afraid of 'conspiracy theories' per se. You will not be arrested or lose your job for being a 'climate change denier.' You may speculate on and even deny the moon landing as much as you like. You are free to speculate about Kennedy's assassination as long as you don't mention the Mossad . You can even survive being a 911 truther and espouse as many alternative narratives as you like, however, the suggestion that ' Israel did 911' will get you into serious trouble. Examining 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' as a fictional, however prophetic , piece of literature can lead to imprisonment in some countries. Digging into the true origin of Bolshevism and the demographics of the Soviet revolution is practically a suicidal act. Telling the truth about Hitler's agreement with the Zionist agency will definitely result in your expulsion from the British Labour party and you will be accused of being at the least, theoretically conspiratorial .

[Aug 16, 2019] One of the ways the Deep State undermines conspiracy theories is to plant evidence purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information

Notable quotes:
"... Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms . ..."
"... Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc. ..."
"... "A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed." ..."
"... "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. ..."
"... The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here. ..."
"... This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason. ..."
"... The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty. ..."
"... The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are . ..."
"... Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. ..."
"... The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity ..."
"... I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true" ..."
"... A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. ..."
"... One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense. ..."
"... For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down). ..."
"... 'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner. ..."
OffGuardian

Noam Chomsky has pointed out , the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices. Which brings us to Parramore's embrace of the term "conspiracy theory." Once a neutral and little-used phrase, "conspiracy theory" was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the "lone nut" theory of President Kennedy's assassination, and concerned that "[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization," the agency directed its officers to "discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)" and to "employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."

As Kevin Ryan writes , and various analyses have shown :

In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase 'conspiracy theory' appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week."
While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as "something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true." This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on. Likewise, the authors of the studies she cites, who attempt to connect belief in "conspiracy theories" to "narcissistic personality traits," are not immune to efforts to manipulate the wider culture. Studies are only as good as the assumptions from which they proceed; in this case, the assumption was provided by an interested Federal agency. And what of their suggested diagnosis?

The DSM-5's criteria for narcissism include "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity a need for admiration and lack of empathy." My experience in talking to writers and advocates who -- to mention a few of the subjects Parramore cites -- seek justice in the cases of the political murders of the Sixties , have profound concerns about vaccine safety , or reject the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 , does not align with that characterization.

On the contrary, most of the people I know who hold these varied (and not always shared) views are deeply empathic, courageously humble, and resigned to a life on the margins of official discourse, even as they doggedly seek to publicize what they have learned. A number of them have arrived at their views through painful, direct experience, like the loss of a friend or the illness of a child, but far from having a "negative view of humanity," as Parramore writes, most hold a deep and abiding faith in the power of regular people to see injustice and peacefully oppose it. In that regard, they share a great deal in common with writers like Parramore: ultimately, we all want what's best for our children, and none of us want a world ruled by unaccountable political-economic interests. If we want to achieve that world, then we should work together to promote speech that is free from personal attacks on all sides. Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms.

Who will decide what is false and what is true? ... ... ...

President Kennedy said:

a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
Perhaps we should take a closer look at ideas that so frighten the powers-that-be. Far from inviting our ridicule, the people who insist that we look in these forbidden places may one day deserve our thanks.
John Kirby is a documentary filmmaker. His latest project, Four Died Trying, examines what John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were doing in the last years of their lives which may have led to their deaths.

George
I am responding to an earlier comment you made because, for some reason, I cannot reply to it in the proper place.

"The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here."

Wrong: secrets can be uncovered even if both of them are dead.

"The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked."

Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc.

"A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed."

Always a bad sign when you start to repeat "would have". Lots of presumption here.

"No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves .."

New facts can emerge all the time even regarding the most ancient of events.

" .or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported."

So you now have godlike omniscience?

"A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy "

There's no point in going much further here. You now devolve into psychobabble which, as always, is based on the dogmatic assertion that you are right. (cf. the formerly mentioned godlike omniscience)

Ragnar
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." These words are attributed to Joseph Goebbels.

-So, George, it would hardly make a difference whether the State is Marxist or Capitalist. It's either power or truth. They are inherently different and can not be reconciled. Ultimately, there is no bridge possible.

However, so-called "common" goals are of a lower order and cooperation here is possible, temporarily. These relationships are unstable and prone to breaking up precisely because they're ultimately not common at all. The principle are different and the personalities too. Ships Passing In The Night, like. -See?

George
We all have common goals. Basically the goals of life and health. And these are hardly goals "of a lower order". If that was true then we must be living in a state of "postmodernist relativity" where anyone can decide arbitrarily what matters. And that would certainly lead to your ships-passing-in-the-night scenario i.e. the ultimate divide-and-rule vision.

As for power, the late Marxist writer Ellen Meiksins Wood noted that, in modern times, we have an unprecedented degree of political freedom. But the reason for that is that power no longer lies in politics. It lies in economics. What is the point of having formal rights when your livelihood is gone?

William HBonney

The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here.

The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked. A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people – someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed. No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves, or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported.

A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy. Such people are unable to deal with the complexities of the world as it is, and therefore seek to make it a world of black and white, good and evil, heroes and villains. The internet, with its blurring of fantasy and fact enables them. This is why discussions like this get so polarised.

TFS

1. 9/11 and JFK are false because WILLIAM HBonney has declared it so.

Boom, thanks for watching kids.

2. In other news, some Conspiracy Theorists Imagined 747-E4Bs above Washington at the time of 9/11 and 25+second delay introduced into the Air Traffic Control System but the Official Conspiracy Account of 9/11 didn't discuss it because there was nothing to see.

3. In related news, HWB wack jobs go on one

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/new-york-fire-commissioners-call-for-new-9-11-investigation-about-pre-planted-explosives/

4. Corbett, goes off on one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYswf3lzU8

5. And again, Corbett goes even more mental. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWLis-TVB2w

6. But it's ok kidz, because HWB wack jobs, like first responders, police, fire personnel architects, physicists, former military personnel, pilots, Nobel Peace Prixe winners, medical experts, etc etc all collectively asertained that the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11 is about as usefull as the Warren Commission Report.

7. HOWEVER, HWB THINKS YOU'RE A WACK JOB.

r. rebar
unless & until someone goes to jail -- there are no conspiracies & as silence is -- like any commodity -- only as good as the price paid to maintain it -- those who know have a real vested interest in not talking (it's not a secret if you tell someone)
roger morris
Ms Parramore is doing nothing more than her profession and tenure demands. Witting or un-witting. This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason.

It is the 'Great Wurlitzer' at full throat coinciding with extraordinary reductions in internet freedoms of information flow. The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty.

A read of the Cass Sunstein/Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule Paper describing 'Conspiracy theory' as a 'crippled Epistemology' and determining 'COINTELPRO' type strategies to counter the danger of their truth becoming certainty, will enlighten those in the dark of IIO methodology and expose Ms Parramore as a true MOCKINGBIRD.

The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are .

mathias alexand
Try this for conspiracy thinking

https://lorenzoae.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/part-2/

George
Good link. I like this bit:

"Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. Even the most outlandish "conspiracy theory" in existence -- that people like George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth are shape-shifting, extra-dimensional reptilians -- is closer to the truth than what liberals believe.

The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity "

I've often felt there is a lot of (metaphorical!) truth in David Icke's ravings, although the reptile image is unfortunate in that actual reptiles are amongst the most sedate and peaceful creatures.

Molloy
Eichmann and today's useful idiots; Hannah Arendt

(start Arendt quote)

Despite all the efforts of the prosecution, everybody could see that this man was not a "monster," but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he was a clown. And since this suspicion would have been fatal to the whole enterprise, and was also rather hard to sustain, in view of the sufferings he and his like had caused so many millions of people, his worst clowneries were hardly noticed. What could you do with a man who first declared, with great emphasis, that the one thing he had learned in an ill-spent life was that one should never take an oath ("Today no man, no judge could ever persuade me to make a sworn statement. I refuse it; I refuse it for moral reasons. Since my experience tells me that if one is loyal to his oath, one day he has to take the consequences, I have made up my mind once and for all that no judge in the world or other authority will ever be capable of making me swear an oath, to give sworn testimony.

I won't do it voluntarily and no one will be able to force me"), and then, after being told explicitly that if he wished to testify in his own defense he might "do so under oath or without an oath," declared without further ado that he would prefer to testify under oath? Or who, repeatedly and with a great show of feeling, assured the court, as he had assured the police examiner, that the worst thing he could do would be to try to escape his true responsibilities, to fight for his neck, to plead for mercy -- and then, upon instruction of his counsel, submitted a handwritten document that contained a plea for mercy?

As far as Eichmann was concerned, these were questions of changing moods, not of inconsistencies, and as long as he was capable of finding, either in his memory or on the spur of the moment, an elating stock phrase to go with them, he was quite content.
(end quote)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i

Molloy
Chomsky dealing with the indoctrinated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLcpcytUnWU&app=desktop Why it is important to call out the so-called 'Global Elite' facilitators on here.

And why it is essential to understand what Eichmann was facilitating (and the madness that morphed into the same apartheid bigotry in the 21st century).

Better understand than be hanged.

Gary Weglarz

I appreciate the article, but the sentence below is offered with no logical or rational support – it is simply an evidence free assertion:

("But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; ) – really?

It is quite clear that if someone "is" (an asset of an intelligence service) that they will certainly not be broadcasting this fact to the world or to friends and family. And for someone to assert that "conspiracies" don't exist in the real world requires a level of credulity that most intelligent and rational people the least bit familiar with the historical record would find rather difficult to muster up. I dare say it would be much easier in fact to prove the assertion that our Western history is simply the "history of conspiracies" given the oligarchic control of Western populations for millennia. This is hardly "rocket science" as they say. We do have a rather well documented historical record to fall back on to show the endless scheming of Western oligarchy behind the backs of Western populations.

wardropper
I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true"
John Thatcher
A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. Often people offer as fact conspiracies that only as yet exist as theories,with greater or lesser amounts of evidence to support.I have no doubt that interested parties who are the accused in these theories, will mount efforts to discredit any theory mounted against them or those they represent.

One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense.

Harry Stotle

Isn't it high time we had a term to describe those who always accept the official version of events after controversial political incidents no matter how implausible this account might be?

For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down).

'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner.

Anyway, here's a clip of Henry – the believers in everything the government say would never have considered the objections raised in the film – such questions are tantamount to mental illness according to these 'progressives'.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YcxjJDlbnC4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Jul 28, 2019] Antisemitism prejudices projection on Russians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "You have no evidence for the so-called Russian IO. It is a fabrication." In fact, Putin rejects the claim many times publicly saying that Russia does not meddle in foreign elections as a matter of policy. Maybe I'm gullible, but I find his disclaimer pretty convincing.... ..."
"... Is there an unseen connection between the Democrat leadership and the Intel agencies??? And --if there is-- does that mean we are headed for a one-party system??? ..."
"... The Russians trying to rig the elections meme was a fallback for the failure of the “trump is a russianstooge" meme. ..."
Jul 28, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> catherine... , 27 July 2019 at 11:30 PM
Here are some insights into the minds of many movers and shakers in Russiagate:

Key US officials behind the Russia investigation have made no secret of their animus towards Russia.

"I do always hate the Russians," Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer on the Russia probe, testified to Congress in July 2018. "It is my opinion that with respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life."

As he opened the FBI's probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russians in July 2016, FBI agent Peter Strzok texted Page: "fuck the cheating motherfucking Russians Bastards. I hate them I think they're probably the worst. Fucking conniving cheating savages."

Speaking to NBC News in May 2017, former director of national intelligence James Clapper explained why US officials saw interactions between the Trump camp and Russian nationals as a cause for alarm: "The Russians," Clapper said, "almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned."

In a May interview with Lawfare, former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, who helped oversee the Russia probe, explained the origins of the investigation as follows: "It was about Russia, period, full stop. When the [George] Papadopoulos information comes across our radar screen, it's coming across in the sense that we were always looking at Russia. we've been thinking about Russia as a threat actor for decades and decades."

https://www.thenation.com/article/questions-mueller-russiagate/

It was always about Russians no matter what they do or don't do. Large strata of US so called "elite" is obsessed with Russia. Not even China.

plantman , 27 July 2019 at 12:55 PM

I believe Larry Johnson is right when he says:

"You have no evidence for the so-called Russian IO. It is a fabrication." In fact, Putin rejects the claim many times publicly saying that Russia does not meddle in foreign elections as a matter of policy. Maybe I'm gullible, but I find his disclaimer pretty convincing....

My question for Larry Johnson requires some speculation on his part: How did the claims of "Russia meddling" which began with the DNC and Hillary campaign, take root at the FBI, CIA and NSA???

Is there an unseen connection between the Democrat leadership and the Intel agencies??? And --if there is-- does that mean we are headed for a one-party system???

Walrus , 27 July 2019 at 12:55 PM
The Russians trying to rig the elections meme was a fallback for the failure of the “trump is a russianstooge" meme.

[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 int