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|The original falsehood behind the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended
to use them against America either directly or by giving them to al-Qaeda. The opening lie about the Ukraine crisis was that Russian
President Vladimir Putin instigated the conflict as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer much of Europe.
Yet, while the Hussein-WMD claim was hard for the common citizen to assess because it was supposedly supported by U.S. intelligence information that was kept secret, the Putin-Ukraine lie collapses under the most cursory examination based simply of what’s publicly known and what makes sense.
The tempest over whether Russian state hackers were behind the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party emails is really a battle for the narrative of the 2016 Presidential election. Just as Bush v Gore gave birth to the slogan of an illegitimate Bush presidency, so do the Democrats (and some Republican anti-Trumpists) want “Putin stole the election for his friend Trump” to be the narrative of the Trump Presidency.
With the Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, the Russian hacking story is the last weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal. They will pursue it with vigor.
Hacking accusation is a perfect propaganda tool, because usually nothing can be proven as form the time operation was performed to the time it was detected most traces are gone. And indirect evidence such as IP from which the attack came, code style, code page of discovered malware code, etc can easily be faked. Also unscrupulous security firms, hungry for funding, serve as a powerful amplifier, predicting rich variety of propaganda warmongering alarmist nonsense the initiators want for free. As most of such firms depends on government funding in no way they can say: Obama administration is lying, even is they see blatant discrepancies in the evidence presented. But discrepancies or complete absence of evidence is not a barrier for launching powerful propaganda campaign, brainwashing public in anti-Russian paranoia in cane of Obama administration, anti-Russian campaign. Not that Russians are perfect, but this is a clear case of pot calling the kettle black.
|Hacking accusation is a perfect propaganda tool, because usually nothing can be proven as form the time operation was performed to the time it was detected most traces are gone. And indirect evidence such as IP from which the attack came, code style, code page of discovered malware code, etc can easily be faked.|
When it is the USA or its allied did it in Iran with Flame and Stuxnet they were protected by the USA status of superpower. There were no UN resolution condemning the USA for such blatant disregard of international norms and unleashing a new, more dangerous phase of cyber war. Most methods used in those works are not entered the arsenal of state actors as well as regular criminals, especially those who specialize on banking fraud.
Who would risk calling the USA government irresponsible and gangrenous cybercriminals. But other countries are a fair play and can be scapegoated any time it is convenient. And what is more dangerous cyber attacks are perfect for false flag operations.
My impression is that if there were attempts to hack US sites from Russian IP space some of them were a false flag operation. As one commenter noted: "The Ukrainian government have been trying to drive a wedge between the West and Russia for years for their own political advantage."
If so the agenda outside obvious attempt to poison US-Russian relations just before Trump assumes presidency coincide with internal need of neocon fifth column in Washington, DC. Neocon in Washington are really afraid of losing their level of influence and their lucrative positions. And there is the whole colony of such "national security professionals" in Washington DC. For example, what other employment Robert Kagan can find, if he can't do anything useful outside his favorite Russophobic agenda? He might well to became unemployed along with his wife, who brought us the Ukrainian disaster. So in way there is some kind of neocon coupe which is centered on undermining the legitimacy of Trump election (The Battle Over Russian Hacking Is Over The Legitimacy Of The Trump Presidency):
The tempest over whether Russian state hackers were behind the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party emails is really a battle for the narrative of the 2016 Presidential election. Just as Bush v Gore gave birth to the slogan of an illegitimate Bush presidency, so do the Democrats (and some Republican anti-Trumpists) want “Putin stole the election for his friend Trump” to be the narrative of the Trump Presidency. With the Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, the Russian hacking story is the last weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal. They will pursue it with vigor. We need desperately to study Russian hybrid warfare, but not in a narrow political forum.
The Washington Post’s “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” cites unnamed sources “briefed on the matter” that "intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman." The Post article cites an unnamed senior U.S. official that the "consensus view" of the intelligence committee is that Russia's goal was to get Trump elected.
President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has challenged the credibility of the CIA’s secret assessment: "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction…The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"
The third player in this drama, Vladimir Putin, has remained consistent in his denials. In an interview carried by his foreign propaganda arm, RT, Putin declared:
“I wouldn’t know anything about it [hacked emails]. You know, there are so many hackers today and they work with such finesse, planting a trail where and when they need. Not even their own trail but masquerade their actions as those of other hackers acting from other territories, nations. It’s difficult to trace, if even possible. Anyway, we certainly don’t do such things on the state level.”
Putin’s press secretary denied Russian interference in the US election: “Russia will never intervene in the internal affairs, much less electoral process of other countries. Moscow scrupulously avoids any actions or words that could be regarded as direct or indirect interference in an electoral process.”
... ... ...
Trump has resisted pressure to agree that Russia was behind the hacks and was trying to get him elected. Instead, Trump has stated that “once they hack if you don't catch them in the act you're not going to catch them. They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.” Trump’s political instincts are again serving him well. If he were to endorse the leaked intelligence community’s “high level of confidence” not only in the hacking but also in its intent, he would be signing on to the illegitimate President narrative the Democrats are pushing.
Here Ukrainians would be very convenient tools for Putin-did-it agenda, especially during post election Monday morning quarterbacking. 200PM Water Cooler 12-30-2016 naked capitalism
UPDATE “With Russia sanctions move, Obama leaves Trump with tough choices” [Japan Times].
FWIW, I view Obama’s moves as half-hearted, particularly given that Clintonites regard Trump as a witting agent of Putin (that is, a traitor (hence, should be prevented from taking office on January 20 by any means necessary)). If Obama wanted to send a strong signal, he wouldn’t be closing down Russian compounds that have been around 44 years, he’d be recalling our Ambassador from Moscow.
I think he’s out to make life hard for Trump, and to get the Clintonites — and The Blob — off his back, and not much more.
We’ll see what the long-promised report shows, but my guess is that there will be no exposed evidence, and no named sources. That is, Obama’s case will be even worse than the case Bush put together to justify the Iraq War, which at least had the status of a National Intelligence Estimate and the benefit of an inter-agency process that produced dissent (in the form of footnotes).
... ... ...
“By all accounts, Bill and Hillary Clinton never had any such qualms, and now their quarter-century project to build a mutual buy-one, get-one-free Clinton dynasty has ended in her defeat, and their joint departure from the center of the national political stage they had hoped to occupy for another eight years. Their exit amounts to a finale not just for themselves, but for Clintonism as a working political ideology and electoral strategy” [Politico]. If this article, and Yglesias’s “Smoking Rubble” piece in Vox, are indicative of the political class hive mind, whatever the Clintonites are ginning up with their Russian War Scare isn’t going to work (ergo, Trump will take the oath of office on January 20.)
Yes, in a way Obama’s case is even worse than the case Bush put together to justify the Iraq War, which at least had the status of a National Intelligence Estimate and the benefit of an inter-agency process that produced dissent (in the form of footnotes).
Sep 17, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com
He set the tone in his opening statement, mocking Democrats and ridiculing what he called the "fake Russia collusion narrative."
"We as a nation would be better served if elected officials like you concentrated your efforts to combat the true crises facing our country as opposed to going down rabbit holes like this hearing," Lewandowski said. "If instead of focusing on petty and personal politics, the committee focused on solving the challenges of this generation, imagine how many people we could help."
... ... ...
He also took a swipe at Trump's 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and her handling of emails, and criticized the "Obama-Biden administration" for its inability to stop Russia election interference -- dropping the name of the former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate.
"Donald Trump was a private citizen and had no more responsibility than I did to protect the 2016 election," he said. "That fell to the Obama-Biden administration and they failed. "
... ... ...
At times the hearing was almost comical. When Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) asked Lewandowski, "Are you the hit man, bag man, the lookout or all of the above?" Lewandowski replied: "I think I'm the good-looking man, actually."
Lewandowski also scolded Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) for saying the tooth fairy was not real: "My children are watching, so thank you for that."
Republicans, meanwhile, used their time to praise the president and sympathize with Lewandowski because Democrats asked him to testify.
"Why do Dems continue this charade?" Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) asked. Lewandowski replied: "I think they hate this president more than they love their country."=== 5 minutes ago Lewandowski made everyone including himself look foolish and today’s circus proved nothing except Nadler is an incompetent idiot with a Napoleon complex. Why did this hearing ever happen and televised when it was certain it was going to be a bust. 1 minute ago One of the commentators said this was exactly to be expected … He said the Dems requested this hearing because their constituents wanted it. I think plenty of us knew what was gonna happen -- as it often does in these situations, regardless of party. More of our vicious, counterproductive political duopoly. This was just one example of what is happening in general with our current political processes - a lot of stagnation.
I think we need to get away from parties, they naturally lead to antagonism, and an "us vs them" mentality, and fighting. I have some ideas (humble and basic) on doing away with parties at ourconstitution.info , Outreach, Other Comments.
We must do something; take back Washington's lead -- he couldn't stand parties. Much scarier stuff as well -- rise of the Medical-Military Industrial, " a lot of killers" (Trump to O'Reilly, video on my LInks page), in and out of hospitals. Some are concerned also that the military and CIA are running the Country -- I see a big problem with these career positions vs desires of an oncoming president. Apparently, these orgs, if they don't like a president or policy, just wait them out (or kill them), "contributing" to this current disgrace of a Constitutional Republic. What to do about that? Something needs to be done... Maybe those personnel should be changed out, they can be as much or more dangerous than a president for life...
It is Our Republic, Of, By, and For The People, as long as we can keep it. Protest with me in Miami, or wherever you are, before it is too late.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Seminole Nation , 5 hours agoGilbert Perea , 9 hours ago
"Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs" – Dan Bongino (3-24-19)RIC shady , 7 hours ago
You have to laugh , I wonder if Mr. Cowen has a chicken wing in his jacket pocket.ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago
"The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all." - Valery Legasov, Soviet chemistZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago
Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.Jim Carpenter , 6 hours ago
Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.Forever Joy , 9 hours ago
Nadler provides so much comic relief!!!! He is definitely one of my all time favorite oafs.Bobwehada Babyitzaboy , 3 hours ago
40 million tax payer dollars wasted...boom! Pathetic, thanks Democrats!Dr.Roberto Rodriguez Jr. , 5 hours ago
3rd time. If that were good for the left they wouldn't shut up about it. This is another witch hunt with attempt to deceiveRicky Alfaro , 5 hours ago
What a joke. Democratic live in a fantasy worldTeresa Upchurch , 8 hours ago
Corey is toast!
This is obviously a Dog & Pony show by the Nadler nerd group of Demonrats! Can't even follow the House rules. Sickening !!!
Sep 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
The saga of daring escape by a supposed Russian CIA agent from the Kremlin's clutches and then the added twist of a security-risk American president putting the agent's life in danger does indeed sound like a pulp fiction novel, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov put it.
How to explain this sensational story? "Opportunism" is one word that comes to mind.
The news media who pushed the story, CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post, are vehemently "anti-Trump". Any chance to damage this president and they grab it.
Also, perhaps more importantly, these media are desperate to salvage their shot-through journalistic credibility since the "Russiagate" narrative they had earnestly propagated died a death, after the two-year Mueller circus finally left town empty-handed.
This damage to supposed bastions of US journalism cannot be overstated. More than two years of spinning speculation-cum-reporting about Russian collusion with Trump and/or interference in US politics has produced not a crumb of substantive fact. That means those media responsible for the "Russiagate" nonsense have forfeited that precious quality – credibility. They no longer deserve to be categorized as news services, and are more appropriately now listed as fiction peddlers.
So when they got the chance to seemingly resurrect their buried "Russiagate" yarn with this latest fable about agent Oleg Smolenkov being exfiltrated from Russia to the US, they leapt at it because their equally buried reputations are also at stake.
As far as we can tell, an anonymous intelligence source started the ball rolling. The source is likely to be former CIA chief John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both are hangouts for the anti-Trump media since they lost their intel jobs at the beginning of 2017, and both are believed to have seeded the "Russiagate" narrative in 2016 from before Trump was elected.
Notably, the current CIA assessment of the latest US media reporting on the exfiltrated spy is that the reporting is "false" and "misguided". In particular, the CNN spin that the agent (Smolenkov) had to be extricated from Russia in 2017 because Langley feared that Trump may have endangered the supposed Kremlin mole when he hosted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House in May 2017.
Also of note is the dismissive response from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who rubbished the reports. He was head of the CIA during 2017. (Admittedly, Pompeo is a self-confessed liar.)
According to CNN, NY Times and Washington Post, the former spy in the Kremlin, named as Oleg Smolenkov by subsequent Russian media reporting, was a top mole with direct access to President Vladimir Putin. It is claimed that Smolenkov confirmed allegations about a Putin-directed plot to interfere in US presidential elections. The agent is said to have also confirmed that Putin (allegedly) ordered the hacking of the Democratic party's central database to obtain scandalous material on Hillary Clinton which was then fed to the Wikileaks whistleblower site for the purpose of scuttling her bid for the presidency in November 2016, thus favoring Trump.
Smolenkov was allegedly providing this information on a purported Kremlin interference campaign in 2016.
The US media claim Smolenkov was exfiltrated from Russia by the CIA in June 2017 – out of concern for his safety, which CNN reported was being jeopardized by President Trump due to his implied compromised relations with Putin. Smolenkov and his family disappeared while on a holiday in Montenegro in June 2017.
After the story broke earlier this week about the exfiltrated Kremlin mole, subsequent media reporting tracked down Oleg Smolenkov and his wife living in a $1-million-dollar mansion in Stafford, Virginia. Curiously, public records showed the house purchase was in their names, which seems odds for a supposed top-level spy, who had apparently committed extreme betrayal against the Kremlin, to be living openly. The family apparently fled the house to unknown whereabouts on September 9 after the story about his alleged spy role broke this week.
Who is Oleg Smolenkov? The Kremlin said this week that he previously worked in the presidential administration, but he was sacked "several years ago". He did not have direct access to President Putin's office, according to the Kremlin. For his part, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says he never heard of the man before, never mind ever having met him.
It is understood that Smolenkov previously worked in the Russian embassy in Washington under ambassador Yuri Ushakov (1999-2008). Smolenkov reportedly continued working for Ushakov when the diplomat returned to Moscow after his ambassadorial tenure in the US.
Here is where we may speculate that Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA during his diplomatic assignment in the US. But we assume that the Kremlin's assessment is correct; he did not have a senior position or access to Putin's office. By contrast, the US media are claiming Smolenkov was "one of the CIA's most valuable assets" in the Kremlin and that he was providing confirmatory information that Putin was (allegedly) running an interference campaign to subvert the US presidential elections.
The discerning detail as to the truth of the imbroglio is revealed by the US media claims that Smolenkov corroborated the alleged hacking into the Democratic party database in 2016. However, that specific allegation has been disproven by several top hacker experts, notably William Binney who was formerly technical head at the US National Security Agency. There was no hacking. The damaging information on Hillary Clinton was leaked by a Democratic party insider, possibly Seth Rich, who soon after was shot dead by an unknown attacker. In short, the entire narrative about the Kremlin hacking into the Democratic party is a fiction. The premise to "Russiagate" is baseless.
Thus, if Smolenkov is peddling fiction to his former handlers in the CIA, that means he has no credibility as a "top mole".
Again, opportunism is the key. Somebody came up with a lurid story about "Russian interference" in US democracy and "collusion" with Trump. Maybe it was Smolenkov who saw an opportunity to win a big pay day from his CIA patrons by flogging them a blockbuster. Or maybe, Brennan and Clapper (known liars in the public record) dreamt up a scheme of Kremlin malignancy to benefit Trump, and if that could be tied to Trump then his election would be discredited and nullified. But what they needed was a "Kremlin source" to "corroborate" their readymade story of "Russian interference". Step forward Oleg Smolenkov – fired and out of work – to do the needful "corroboration" and in return he gets a new life for himself and family with a mansion in a leafy Virginian suburb.
CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Brennan and Clapper are so much damaged goods from past failure of "Russiagate" fabrications, they find an opportunity to salvage their disgraced names by outing the hapless Smolenkov at this juncture.
That then raises the grave question of why he was permitted to live openly in his own name?
There is a sinister similarity here to the Sergei Skripal case in England. Is Smolenkov being set up for hit which can then be conveniently blamed on Russia as "revenge" by the Russophobic, anti-Trump, deep state US media?
Sep 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
A retired Australian diplomat who served in Moscow dissects the emergence of the new Cold War and its dire consequences.
I n 2014, we saw violent U.S.-supported regime change and civil war in Ukraine. In February, after months of increasing tension from the anti-Russian protest movement's sitdown strike in Kiev's Maidan Square, there was a murderous clash between protesters and Ukrainian police, sparked off by hidden shooters (we now know that were expert Georgian snipers) , aiming at police. The elected government collapsed and President Yanukevich fled to Russia, pursued by murder squads.
The new Poroshenko government pledged harsh anti-Russian language laws. Rebels in two Russophone regions in Eastern Ukraine took local control, and appealed for Russian military help. In March, a referendum took place in Russian-speaking Crimea on leaving Ukraine, under Russian military protection. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, a request promptly granted by the Russian Parliament and President. Crimea's border with Ukraine was secured against saboteurs. Crimea is prospering under its pro-Russian government, with the economy kick-started by Russian transport infrastructure investment.
In April, Poroshenko ordered full military attack on the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. A brutal civil war ensued, with aerial and artillery bombardment bringing massive civilian death and destruction to the separatist region. There was major refugee outflow into Russia and other parts of Ukraine. The shootdown of MH17 took place in July 2014.
Poroshenko: Ordered military attack.
By August 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates, 13,000 people had been killed and 30,000 wounded. 1.4 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced, and 925,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Russia and to a lesser extent Poland.
There is now a military stalemate, under the stalled Minsk peace process. But random fatal clashes continue, with the Ukrainian Army mostly blamed by UN observers. The UN reported last month that the ongoing war has affected 5.2 million people, leaving 3.5 million of them in need of relief, including 500,000 children. Most Russians blame the West for fomenting Ukrainian enmity towards Russia. This war brings back for older Russians horrible memories of the Nazi invasion in 1941. The Russia-Ukraine border is only 550 kilometres from Moscow.
Russian forces joined the civil war in Syria in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian Government, faltering under the attacks of Islamist extremist rebel forces reinforced by foreign fighters and advanced weapons. With Russian air and ground support, the tide of war turned. Palmyra and Aleppo were recaptured in 2016. An alleged Syrian Government chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017 resulted in a token U.S. missile attack on a Syrian Government airbase: an early decision by President Trump.
NATO, Strategic Balance, Sanctions
An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)
Tensions have risen in the Baltic as NATO moves ground forces and battlefield missiles up to the Baltic states' borders with Russia. Both sides' naval and air forces play dangerous brinksmanship games in the Baltic. U.S. short-range, non-nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles were stationed in Poland and Romania, allegedly against threat of Iranian attack. They are easily convertible to nuclear-armed missiles aimed at nearby Russia.
Nuclear arms control talks have stalled. The INF intermediate nuclear forces treaty expired in 2019, after both sides accused the other of cheating. In March 2018, Putin announced that Russia has developed new types of intercontinental nuclear missiles using technologies that render U.S. defence systems useless. The West has pretended to ignore this announcement, but we can be sure Western defence ministries have noted it. Nuclear second-strike deterrence has returned, though most people in the West have forgotten what this means. Russians know exactly what it means.
Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten after the 2014 events in Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to block the nearly completed Nordstream Baltic Sea underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Sanctions are accelerating the division of the world into two trade and payments systems: the old NATO-led world, and the rest of the world led by China, with full Russian support and increasing interest from India, Japan, ROK and ASEAN.
Return to Moscow
In 2013, my children gave me an Ipad. I began to spend several hours a day reading well beyond traditional mainstream Western sources: British and American dissident sites, writers like Craig Murray in UK and in the U.S. Stephen Cohen, and some Russian sites – rt.com, Sputnik, TASS, and the official Foreign Ministry site mid.ru. in English.
In late 2015 I decided to visit Russia independently to write Return to Moscow , a literary travel memoir. I planned to compare my impressions of the Soviet Union, where I had lived and worked as an Australian diplomat in 1969-71, with Russia today. I knew there had been huge changes. I wanted to experience 'Putin's Russia' for myself, to see how it felt to be there as an anonymous visitor in the quiet winter season. I wanted to break out of the familiar one-dimensional hostile political view of Russia that Western mainstream media offer: to take my readers with me on a cultural pilgrimage through the tragedy and grandeur and inspiration of Russian history. As with my earlier book on Spain 'Walking the Camino' , this was not intended to be a political book, and yet somehow it became one.
I was still uncommitted on contemporary Russian politics before going to Russia in January 2016. Using the metaphor of a seesaw, I was still sitting somewhere around the middle.
My book was written in late 2015 – early 2016, expertly edited by UWA Publishing. It was launched in March 2017. By this time my political opinions had moved decisively to the Russian end of the seesaw, on the basis of what I had seen in Russia, and what I had read and thought during the year.
I have been back again twice, in winter 2018 and 2019. My 2018 visit included Crimea, and I happened to see a Navalny-led Sunday demonstration in Moscow. I thoroughly enjoyed all three independent visits: in my opinion, they give my judgements on Russia some depth and authenticity.
Russophobia Becomes Entrenched
Russia was a big talking point in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the initially unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump's chances improved, anti-Putin and anti-Russian positions hardened in the outgoing Obama administration and in the Democratic Party establishment which backed candidate Hillary Clinton.
Russia and Putin became caught up in the Democratic Party's increasingly obsessive rage and hatred against the victorious Trump. Russophobia became entrenched in Washington and London U.S. and UK political and strategic elites, especially in intelligence circles: think of Pompeo, Brennan, Comey and Clapper. All sense of international protocol and diplomatic propriety towards Russia and its President was abandoned, as this appalling Economist cover from October 2016 shows.
My experience of undeclared political censorship in Australia since four months after publication of 'Return to Moscow' supports the thesis that:
We are now in the thick of a ruthless but mostly covert Anglo-American alliance information war against Russia. In this war, individuals who speak up publicly in the cause of detente with Russia will be discouraged from public discourse.
In the Thick of Information War
When I spoke to you two years ago, I had no idea how far-reaching and ruthless this information war is becoming. I knew that a false negative image of Russia was taking hold in the West, even as Russia was becoming a more admirable and self-confident civil society, moving forward towards greater democracy and higher living standards, while maintaining essential national security. I did not then know why, or how.
I had just had time to add a few final paragraphs in my book about the possible consequences for Russia-West relations of Trump's surprise election victory in November 2016. I was right to be cautious, because since Trump's inauguration we have seen the step-by-step elimination of any serious pro-detente voices in Washington, and the reassertion of control over this haphazard president by the bipartisan imperial U.S. deep state, as personified from April 2018 by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Bolton has now been thrown from the sleigh as decoy for the wolves: under the smooth-talking Pompeo, the imperial policies remain.
Truth, Trust and False Narratives
Let me now turn to some theory about political reality and perception, and how national communities are persuaded to accept false narratives. Let me acknowledge my debt to the fearless and brilliant Australian independent online journalist, Caitlin Johnstone.
Behavioural scientists have worked in the field of what used to be called propaganda since WW1. England has always excelled in this field. Modern wars are won or lost not just on the battlefield, but in people's minds. Propaganda, or as we now call it information warfare, is as much about influencing people's beliefs within your own national community as it is about trying to demoralise and subvert the enemy population.
The IT revolution of the past few years has exponentially magnified the effectiveness of information warfare. Already in the 1940s, George Orwell understood how easily governments are able to control and shape public perceptions of reality and to suppress dissent. His brilliant books 1984 and Animal Farm are still instruction manuals in principles of information warfare. Their plots tell of the creation by the state of false narratives, with which to control their gullible populations.
The disillusioned Orwell wrote from his experience of real politics. As a volunteer fighter in the Spanish Civil War, he saw how both Spanish sides used false news and propaganda narratives to demonise the enemy. He also saw how the Nazi and Stalinist systems in Germany and Russia used propaganda to support show trials and purges, the concentration camps and the Gulag, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, German master race and Stalinist class enemy ideologies; and hows dissident thought was suppressed in these controlled societies. Orwell tried to warn his readers: all this could happen here too, in our familiar old England. But because the good guys won the war against fascism, his warnings were ignored.
We are now in Britain, U.S. and Australia actually living in an information warfare world that has disturbing echoes of the world that Orwell wrote about. The essence of information control is the effective state management of two elements, trust and fear , to generate and uphold a particular view of truth. Truth, trust and fear : these are the three key elements, now as 100 years ago in WWI Britain.
People who work or have worked close to government – in departments, politics, the armed forces, or top universities – mostly accept whatever they understand at the time to be 'the government view' of truth. Whether for reasons of organisational loyalty, career prudence or intellectual inertia, it is usually this way around governments. It is why moral issues like the Vietnam War and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq were so distressing for people of conscience working in or close to government and military jobs in Canberra. They were expected to engage in 'doublethink' as Orwell had described it:
Even in Winston's nightmare world, there were still choices – to retreat into the non-political world of the proles, or to think forbidden thoughts and read forbidden books. These choices involved large risks and punishments. It was easier and safer for most people to acquiesce in the fake news they were fed by state-controlled media.
'Trust, Truth and False Narratives'
Fairfax journalist Andrew Clark, in the Australian Financial Review , in an essay optimistically titled "Not fake news: Why truth and trust are still in good shape in Australia", (AFR Dec. 22, 2018), cited Professor William Davies thus:
"Most of the time, the edifice that we refer to as "truth" is really an investment of trust in our structures of politics and public life' 'When trust sinks below a certain point, many people come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham."
Here is my main point: Effective information warfare requires the creation of enough public trust to make the public believe that state-supported lies are true.
The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.
Caitlin Johnstone a few days ago put it this way:
" Power is being able to control what happens. Absolute power is being able to control what people think about what happens. If you can control what happens, you can have power until the public gets sick of your BS and tosses you out on your ass. If you can control what people think about what happens, you can have power forever. As long as you can control how people are interpreting circumstances and events, there's no limit to the evils you can get away with."
The Internet has made propaganda campaigns that used to take weeks or months a matter of hours or even minutes to accomplish. It is about getting in quickly, using large enough clusters of trusted and diverse sources, in order to cement lies in place, to make the lies seem true, to magnify them through social messaging: in other words, to create credible false narratives that will quickly get into the public's bloodstream.
Over the past two years, I have seen this work many times: on issues like framing Russia for the MH17 tragedy; with false allegations of Assad mounting poison gas attacks in Syria; with false allegations of Russian agents using lethal Novichok to try to kill the Skripals in Salisbury; and with the multiple lies of Russiagate.
It is the mind-numbing effect of constant repetition of disinformation by many eminent people and agencies, in hitherto trusted channels like the BBC or ABC or liberal Anglophone print media that gives the system its power to persuade the credulous. For if so many diverse and reputable people repeatedly report such negative news and express such negative judgements about Russia or China or Iran or Syria, surely they must be right?
We have become used to reading in our quality newspapers and hearing on the BBC and ABC and SBS gross assaults on truth, calmly presented as accepted facts. There is no real public debate on important facts in contention any more. There are no venues for dissent outside contrarian social media sites.
Sometimes, false narratives inter-connect. Often a disinformation narrative in one area is used to influence perceptions in other areas. For example, the false Skripals poisoning story was launched by British intelligence in March 2018, just in time to frame Syrian President Assad as the guilty party in a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma the following month.
The Skripals Gambit
The Skripals gambit was also a failed British attempt to blight the Russia –hosted Football World Cup in June 2018. In the event, hundreds of thousands of Western sports fans returned home with the warmest memories of Russian good sportsmanship and hospitality.
How do I know the British Skripals narrative is false? For a start, it is illogical, incoherent, and constantly changes. Allegedly, two visiting Russian FSB agents in March 2018 sprayed or smeared Novichok, a deadly toxin instantly lethal in the most microscopic quantities, on the Skripals' house front doorknob. There is no video footage of the Skripals at their front door on the day. We are told they were found slumped on a park bench, and that is maybe where they had been sprayed with nerve gas? Shortly afterwards, Britain's Head of Army Nursing who happened to be passing by found them, and supervised their hospitalisation and emergency treatment.
Allegedly, much of Salisbury was contaminated by Novichok, and one unfortunate woman mysteriously died weeks later, yet the Skripals somehow did not die, as we are told. But where are they now? We saw a healthy Yulia in a carefully scripted video interview released in May 2018, after an alleged 'one in a million' recovery. We were assured her father had recovered too, but nobody has seen him at all. The Skripals have simply disappeared from sight since 16 months ago. Are they now alive or dead? Are they in voluntary or involuntary British custody?
A month after the poisoning, the UK Government sent biological samples from the Skripals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , for testing. The OPCW sent the samples to a trusted OPCW laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland.
Lavrov Spiez BZ claims, April 2018
A few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dramatically announced in Moscow that the Spiez lab had found in the samples a temporary-effect nerve agent BZ, used by U.S. and UK but not by Russia, that would have disabled the Skripals for a few days without killing them. He also revealed the Spiez lab had found that the Skripal samples had been twice tampered with while still in UK custody: first soon after the poisoning, and again shortly before passing them to the OPCW. He said the Spiez lab had found a high concentration of Novichok, which he called A- 234, in its original form. This was extremely suspicious as A-234 has high volatility and could not have retained its purity over a two weeks period. The dosage the Spiez lab found in the samples would have surely killed the Skripals. The OPCW under British pressure rejected Lavrov's claim, and suppressed the Spiez lab report.
Let's look finally at the alleged assassins.
'Boshirov and Petrov'
These two FSB operatives who visited Salisbury under the false identities of 'Boshirov' and 'Petrov' did not look or behave like credible assassins. It is more likely that they were sent to negotiate with Sergey Skripal about his rumoured interest in returning to Russia. They needed to apply for UK visas a month in advance of travel: ample time for the British agencies to identify them as FSB operatives, and to construct a false attempted assassination narrative around their visit. This false narrative repeatedly trips over its own lies and contradictions. British social media are full of alternative theories and rebuttals. Russians find the whole British Government Skripal narrative laughable. They have invented comedy skits and video games based on it. Yet it had major impact on Russia-West relations.
The Douma False Narrative
I turn now to the claimed Assad chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018.This falsely alleged attack triggered a major NATO air attack on Syrian targets, ordered by Trump. We came close to WWIII in these dangerous days. Thanks to the restraint of the then Secretary of Defence James Mattis and his Russian counterparts, the risk was contained.
The allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used outlawed chemical weapons against his own people was based solely on the evidence of faked video images of child victims, made by the discredited White Helmets, a UK-sponsored rebel-linked 'humanitarian' propaganda organisation with much blood on its hands. Founded in 2013 by a British private security specialist of intelligence background, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmets specialised in making fake videos of alleged Assad regime war crimes against Syrian civilians. It is by now a thoroughly discredited organisation that was prepared to kill its prisoners and then film their bodies as alleged victims of government chemical attacks.
As the town of Douma was about to fall to advancing Syrian Government forces, the White Helmets filled a room with stacked corpses of murdered prisoners, and photographed them as alleged victims of aerial gas attack. They also made a video alleging child victims of this attack being hosed down by White Helmets. A video of a child named Hassan Diab went viral all over the Western world.
Hassan Diab later testified publicly in The Hague that he had been dragged terrified from his family by force, smeared with some sort of grease, and hosed down with water as part of a fake video. He went from hero to zero overnight, as Western governments and media rejected his testimony as Russian and Syrian propaganda.
In a late development, there is proof that the OPCW suppressed its own engineers' report from Douma that the alleged poison gas cylinders could not have possibly been dropped from the air through the roof of the house where one was found, resting on a bed under a convenient hole in the roof.
I could go on discussing the detail of such false narratives all day. No matter how often they are exposed by critics, our politicians and mainstream media go on referencing them as if they are true. Once people have come to believe false narratives, it is hard to refute them.
So it is with the false narrative that Russian internet interference enabled Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential elections: a thesis for which no evidence was found by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, yet continues to be cited by many U.S. liberal Democratic media as if it were true. So, even, with MH17.
Managing Mass Opinion
This mounting climate of Western Russophobia is not accidental: it is strategically directed, and it is nourished with regular maintenance doses of fresh lies. Each round of lies provides a credible platform for the next round somewhere else. The common thread is a claimed malign Russian origin for whatever goes wrong.
So where is all this disinformation originating? Information technology firms in Washington and London that are closely networked into government elites, often through attending the same establishment schools or colleges like Eton and Yale, have closely studied and tested the science of influencing crowd opinions through mainstream media and online. They know, in a way that Orwell or Goebbels could hardly have dreamt, how to put out and repeat desired media messages. They know what sizes of 'internet attraction nodes' need to be established online, in order to create diverse critical masses of credible Russophobic messaging, which then attracts enough credulous and loyal followers to become self-propagating.
Firms like the SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories) and the now defunct Cambridge Analytica pioneered such work in the UK. There are many similar firms in Washington, all in the business of monitoring, generating and managing mass opinion. It is big business, and it works closely with the national security state.
Starting in November 2018, an enterprising group of unknown hackers in the UK , who go by the name 'Anonymous', opened a remarkable window into this secret world. Over a few weeks, they hacked and dumped online a huge volume of original documents issued by and detailing the activities of the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) and the Integrity initiative (II). Here is the first page of one of their dumps, exposing propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn.
We know from this material that the IfS and II are two secret British disinformation networks operating at arms' length from but funded by the UK security services and broader UK government establishment. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, often nominally retired, journalists and academics, to produce and disseminate propaganda that serves the agendas of the UK and its allies.
Stung by these massive leaks, Chris Donnelly, a key figure in IfS and II and a former British Army intelligence officer, made a now famous seven-minute YouTube video in December 2018, artfully filmed in a London kitchen, defending their work.
He argued – quite unconvincingly in my opinion – that IfS and II are simply defending Western societies against disinformation and malign influence, primarily from Russia. He boasted how they have set up in numerous targeted European countries, claimed to be under attack from Russian disinformation, what he called 'clusters of influence' , to 'educate' public opinion and decision-makers in pro-NATO and anti-Russian directions.
Donnelly spoke frankly on how the West is already at war with Russia, a 'new kind of warfare', in which he said 'everything becomes a weapon'. He said that 'disinformation is the issue which unites all the other weapons in this conflict and gives them a third dimension'.
He said the West has to fight back, if it is to defend itself and to prevail.
We can confirm from the Anonymous leaked files the names of many people in Europe being recruited into these clusters of influence. They tend to be significant people in journalism, publishing, universities and foreign policy think-tanks: opinion-shapers. The leaked documents suggest how ideologically suitable candidates are identified: approached for initial screening interviews; and, if invited to join a cluster of influence, sworn to secrecy.
Remarkably, neither the Anonymous disclosures nor the Donnelly response have ever been reported in Australian media. Even in Britain – where evidence that the Integrity Initiative was mounting a campaign against [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn provoked brief media interest. The story quickly disappeared from mainstream media and the BBC. A British under-foreign secretary admitted in Parliamentary Estimates that the UK Foreign Office subsidises the Institute of Statecraft to the tune of nearly 3 million pounds per year. It also gives various other kinds of non-monetary assistance, e.g. providing personnel and office support in Britain's overseas embassies.
This is not about traditional spying or seeking agents of influence close to governments. It is about generating mass disinformation, in order to create mass climates of belief.
In my opinion, such British and American disinformation efforts, using undeclared clusters of influence, through Five Eyes intelligence-sharing, and possibly with the help of British and American diplomatic missions, may have been in operation in Australia for many years.
Such networks may have been used against me since around mid-2017, to limit the commercial outreach of my book and the impact of its dangerous ideas on the need for East-West detente; and efficiently to suppress my voice in Australian public discourse about Russia and the West. Do I have evidence for this? Yes.
It is not coincidence that the Melbourne Writers Festival in August 2017 somehow lost all my sign-and-sell books from my sold-out scheduled speaking event; that a major debate with [Australian writer and foreign policy analyst] Bobo Lo at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne was cancelled by his Australian sponsor, the Lowy institute, two weeks before the advertised date; that my last invitation to any writers festival was 15 months ago, in May 2018; that Return to Moscow was not shortlisted for any Australian book prize, though I entered it in all of them ; that since my book's early promotion ended around August 2017, I have not been invited to join any ABC discussion panels, or to give any talks on Russia in any universities or institutes, apart from the admirable Australian Institute of International Affairs and the ISAA.
My articles and shorter opinion commentaries on Russia and the West have not been published in mainstream media or in reputable online journals like Eureka Street, The Conversation, Inside Story or Australian Book Review . Despite being an ANU Emeritus Fellow, I have not been invited to give a public talk or join any panel in ANU (Australian National University) or any Canberra think tank. In early 2018, I was invited to give a private briefing to a group of senior students travelling on an immersion course to Russia. I was not invited back in 2019, after high-level private advice within ANU that I was regarded as too pro-Putin.
In all these ways – none overt or acknowledged – my voice as an open-minded writer and speaker on Russia-West relations seems to have been quietly but effectively suppressed in Australia. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but the evidence is there.
This may be about "velvet-glove deterrence" of my Russia-sympathetic voice and pen, in order to discourage others, especially those working in or close to government. Nobody is going to put me in jail, unless I am stupid enough to violate Australia's now strict foreign influence laws. This deterrence is about generating fear of consequences for people still in their careers, paying their mortgages, putting kids through school. Nobody wants to miss their next promotion.
There are other indications that Australian national security elite opinion has been indoctrinated prudently to fear and avoid any kind of public discussion of positive engagement with Russia (or indeed, with China).
There are only two kinds of news about Russia now permitted in our mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS: negative news and comment, or silence. Unless a story can be given an anti-Russian sting, it will not be carried at all. Important stories are simply spiked, like last week's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok, chaired by President Putin and attended by Prime Ministers Abe, Mahathir and Modi, among 8500 participants from 65 countries.
The ABC idea of a balanced panel to discuss any Russian political topic was exemplified in an ABC Sunday Extra Roundtable panel chaired by Eleanor Hall on July, 22 2018, soon after the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. The panel – a former ONA Russia analyst, a professor of Soviet and Russian History at Melbourne University, and a Russian émigré dissident journalist introduced as the 'Washington correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio' spent most of their time sneering at Putin and Trump. There were no other views.
A powerful anti-Russian news narrative is now firmly in place in Australia, on every topic in contention: Ukraine, MH17, Crimea, Syria, the Skripals, Navalny and public protest in Russia. There is ill-informed criticism of Russia, or silence, on the crucial issues of arms control and Russia-China strategic and economic relations as they affect Australia's national security or economy. There is no analysis of the negative impact on Australia of economic sanctions against Russia. There is almost no discussion of how improved relations with China and Russia might contribute to Australia's national security and economic welfare, as American influence in the world and our region declines, and as American reliability as an ally comes more into question. Silence on inconvenient truths is an important part of the disinformation tool kit.
I see two overall conflicting narratives – the prevailing Anglo-American false narrative; and valiant efforts by small groups of dissenters, drawing on sources outside the Anglo-American official narrative, to present another narrative much closer to truth. And this is how most Russians now see it too.
The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018 was damaged by the Skripal and Syria fabrications. Trump left that summit friendless, frightened and humiliated. He soon surrendered to the power of the U.S. imperial state as then represented by [Mike] Pompeo and [John] Bolton, who had both been appointed as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in April 2018 and who really got into their stride after the Helsinki Summit. Pompeo now smoothly dominates Trump's foreign policy.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Gage Skidmore)
Finally, let me review the American political casualties over the past two years – self-inflicted wounds – arising from this secret information war against Russia. Let me list them without prejudging guilt or innocence. Slide 20 – Self-inflicted wounds: casualties of anti-Russian information warfare.
Trump's first National Security Adviser, the highly decorated Michael Flynn lost his job after only three weeks, and soon went to jail. His successor H R McMaster lasted 13 months until replaced by John Bolton. Trump's first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lasted just 14 months until his replacement by Trump's appointed CIA chief (in January 2017) Mike Pompeo. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon lasted only seven months. Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail.
Defence Secretary James Mattis lasted nearly two years as Secretary of Defence, and was an invaluable source of strategic stability. He resigned in December 2018. The highly capable Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman lasted just two years: he is resigning next month. John Kelly lasted 18 months as White House Chief of Staff. Less senior figures like George Papadopoulos and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen both served jail time. The pattern I see here is that people who may have been trying responsibly as senior U.S. officials to advance Trump's initial wish to explore possibilities for detente with Russia – policies that he had advocated as a candidate – were progressively purged, one after another . The anti-Russian U.S. bipartisan imperial state is now firmly back in control. Trump is safely contained as far as Russia is concerned .
Russians do not believe that any serious detente or arms control negotiations can get under way while cold warriors like Pompeo continue effectively to control Trump. There have been other casualties over the past two years of tightening American Russophobia. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning come to mind. The naive Maria Butina is a pathetic victim of American judicial rigidity and deep state vindictiveness.
False anti-Russian Government narratives emanating from London and Washington may be laughed at in Moscow , but they are unquestioningly accepted in Canberra. We are the most gullible of audiences. There is no critical review. Important contrary factual information and analysis from and about Russia just does not reach Australian news reporting and commentary, nor – I fear – Australian intelligence assessment. We are prisoners of the false narratives fed to us by our senior Five Eyes partners U.S. and UK.
To conclude: Some people may find what I am saying today difficult to accept. I understand this. I now work off open-source information about Russia with which many people here are unfamiliar, because they prefer not to read the diverse online information sources that I choose to read. The seesaw has tilted for me: I have clearly moved a long way from mainstream Western perceptions on Russia-West relations.
Under Trump and Pompeo, as the Syria and Iran crises show, the present risk of global nuclear war by accident or incompetent Western decision-making is as high as it ever was in the Cold War. The West needs to learn again how to dialogue usefully and in mutually respectful ways with Russia and China. This expert knowledge is dying with our older and wiser former public servants and ex-military chiefs.
These remarks were delivered by Tony Kevin at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday.
Watch Tony Kevin interviewed Friday night on CN Live!
Tony Kevin is a retired Australian diplomat who was posted to Moscow from 1969 to 1971, and was later Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His latest book is Return to Moscow, published by UWA Publishing.
Bruce , September 17, 2019 at 08:58
Excellent article. It's very interesting to see how the state and its media lackey set the narrative.
Most of this comment relates to the Skripals but also applies to other matters (the Skripals writing was some of Craig Murray's finest work in my opinion). One of the hallmarks of a hoax is a constantly evolving storyline. I think governments have learned from past "mistakes" with their hoaxes/deception where they've given a description of events and then scientists/engineers/chemists etc have come in and criticised their version of events with details and scientific arguments. Nowadays, governments are very reluctant to commit to a version of events, and instead rely on the media (their propaganda assets) to provide a scattergun set of information to muddy the waters and thoroughly confuse the population. The government is then insulated from some of the more bizarre allegations (the headlines of which are absorbed nonetheless), and can blame it on the media (who would use an anonymous government source naturally). Together with classifying just about everything on national security grounds, they can stonewall for as long as they want.
The British are masters of propaganda. They maintained a global empire for a very long time, and the prevailing view (in the west at least) was probably one of tea-drinking cricket playing colonials/gentlemen. But you don't maintain an empire without being absolutely ruthless and brutal. They've been doing this for a very long time.
When we hear something from the BBC or ABC, we should think "State Media".
That's probably why its got a nice folksy nickname of "aunty" .build up the trust.
Leslie Louis , September 17, 2019 at 04:00
Society is suffering the extreme paradox; there is the potential for everyone to have a voice, but the last vestiges of free speech have been whittled away. Fake news is universal, assisted by the fake "left". It is impossible to get published any challenge to even the most outlandish versions of identity politics. As the experience of Tony Kevin exemplifies, all avenues for dissent against hegemonic orthodoxies are closed off.
Disinformation is now an essential weapon in waging hot and cold wars. Cold War historians are well informed on false flags, "black ops", and other organised dirty tactics. I do not know what happened to the Skripals, and while it is legitimate to bear in mind KGB assassinations, despite the enormous resources at its disposal, the English security state has been unable to construct a credible case. Surely scepticism is provoked by the leading role being played by the notorious Bellingcat outfit.
Zenobia van Dongen , September 17, 2019 at 00:29
Here is part of an eyewitness account:
"After the Orange Revolution which began in Kiev, the country was divided literally into two parts -- the supporters of integration with Russia and the supporters of an independent Ukraine. For almost 100 years belonging to the Soviet Union, the propaganda about the assistance and care from our "big brother" Russia, in Ukraine as a whole and the Donbass in particular has borne fruit. At the end of February 2014, some cities of the Southeast part were boiling with mass social and political protest against the new Ukrainian government in defense of the status of the Russian language, voicing separatist and pro-Russian slogans. The division took place in our city of Sloviansk too. Some people stood for separation from Ukraine, while Ukrainian patriots stood for the unity of our country.
On April 12, 2014 our city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was seized by Russian mercenaries and local volunteers. From that moment onward, armed assaults on state institutions began. The city police department, the Sloviansk City Hall, the building of the Ukraine Security Service was occupied. Armed militants seized state institutions and confiscated private property. They threatened and beat people, and those who refused to obey were taken away to an unknown destination and people started disappearing. The persecution and abduction of patriotic citizens began."
Michael McNulty , September 16, 2019 at 11:36
Watching Vietnam news coverage as a kid in the '60s I noticed the planes carpet-bombing South East Asia were American, not Russian. And as I only watched the footage and never listened to the commentary (I was waiting for the kids programs that followed) the BS they came out with to explain it all never reached me. I saw with my own eyes what the US really was and is, and always believed growing up they were the belligerent side not Russia. Once the USSR fell it was clear there were no longer any constraints on US excesses.
dean 1000 , September 15, 2019 at 18:17
Doublethink, not to mention doublespeak, is so apt to describe what is happening. If Orwell was writing today it would have to be classified as non-fiction.
Free speech is impossible unless every election district has a radio/TV station where candidates, constituents, and others can debate, discuss and speak to the issues without bending a knee to large campaign contributors or the controllers of corporate or government media. It may start with low-power pirate radio/TV broadcasts. No, the pirate speakers will not have to climb a cell tower to broadcast an opinion to the neighborhood or precinct.
If genuine free speech is going to exist it will start as something unauthorized and unlawful. If it sticks to the facts it will quickly prove its value.
Download a free pdf copy of '1984.' https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/1984.pdf
Njegos , September 15, 2019 at 03:39
Excellent article. The only exhibit missing was reference to Bill Browder's lies. Browder's rubbish has been exposed by intrepid journalists and documentary makers such as Andrei Nekrasov, Sasha Krainer and Lucy Komisar but to read or listen to our media, you'd think BB was some sort of human rights hero. That's because BB's fairy tale fits nicely into the MSM's hatred of Putin and Russia. Debunk Browder and a major pillar of anti-Russia prejudice collapses. Therefore, Browder will never face any serious questions by the MSM.
John A , September 16, 2019 at 09:18
judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
MSM propaganda by omission. Anything that doesn't fit the government narrative gets zero publicity.
Jim Ingram , September 14, 2019 at 21:12
Well said and needing to be said Tony.
Mr. Dan , September 14, 2019 at 19:41
I have stopped following australian mainstream media including the darlings of the 'left' ABC/SBS over a decade ago, completely. My disgust with their 'coverage' of the 2008 GFC was more than enough. Since 2008-9 things have deteriorated drastically into conspiracy theory propaganda by omission la-la land *it seems*, given I don't tune in at all.
The author has a well supported view. I find it a little naive in him thinking that the MSM has that much power over shaping public opinion in australia.
People who want to be informed do so. The half intelligent conformists on hamster wheel of lifetime mortgage debt have 'careers' to hold onto, so parroting the group think or living in ignorance is much easier. The massive portion of australian racists, inbred bogans and idiots that make up the large LNP, One Nation etc. voting block are completely beyond salvation or ability to process, and critically evaluate any information. The smarter ones drool on about the 'UN Agenda 21' conspiracy at best. Utterly hopeless.
I don't expect things to change as the australian economy is slowly hollowed out by the rich, and the education system (that has always been about conforming, wearing school uniform and regurgitating what the teacher/lecturer says at best) is gutted completely. Welcome to australistan.
Fran Macadam , September 14, 2019 at 19:21
Note that the prohibition against false propaganda to indoctrinate the domestic population by the American government was lifted by President Obama at the tail end of his administration. The Executive Order legalizes all the deceptive behavior Tony itemizes in his article.
Josep , September 17, 2019 at 04:10
I thought it was Reagan who did that by abolishing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. At least in terms of television and radio (?) broadcasts.
Stephen Morrell , September 14, 2019 at 19:02
Thank you Tony for your thoughtful talk (and interview on CN Live! too).
What's encouraging is this cohort of what might be called 'millennial journalists' coming through willing to do 'shoe-leather' journalism and stand up to smears and flack for revealing uncomfortable facts and truth. They're the online 5th estate holding the 4th to account (to steal Ray McGovern's apt view), and they're congealing against the onslaught.
Some include Max Blumenthal and Rania Kahlek (both now being pilloried by MSM and others for visiting Syrian government held areas and reporting that life isn't hellish as MSM would have everyone believe heaven forbid); Vanessa Bealey who's exposed a lot of White Helmet horrors and false-flag attacks in Syria (and being attacked by all and sundry for exposing the White Helmets in particular); Abby Martin whose Empire Files are excellent and always edifying; Dan Cohen who has written the best expose of the actors behind the Hong Kong rioting and co-authored the best expose of the background of Guaido et al.; Whitney Webb of Mint Press whose series on Epstein is overwhelming and likely a ticking timebomb; Caitlin Johnstone of course; and Aaron 'Buzzsaw' Mate who made his first mark with a wonderful takedown interview of Russiaphobe MI6 shill Luke Harding. Others too of course, with most appearing or having written pieces on CN. John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, et al. won't drop off their twigs disappointed.
This, along with the fact that MSM -- that cowed and compromised fourth estate -- increasingly is held in such laughable contempt by most people under about 50 yr, is highly encouraging indeed. Truth is the new black.
nwwoods , September 15, 2019 at 11:49
The Blogmire is an excellent resource for detailed analysis of the Skripal hoax. The author happens to be a long-time resident of Salisbury, and is intimately familiar with the topography, public services, etc., and a very thorough investigator.
John Wright , September 14, 2019 at 18:35
I'm not surprised that Mr. Kevin is being isolated and shunned by the Australian establishment. Truth and truth tellers are always the first casualties of war. I do hope that his experience will encourage him to increase his resistance to the corrosiveness of mendacious propaganda and those who promulgate it.
Truth is the single best weapon when fighting for a peaceful future.
If Australia is to flourish in the 21st century, it really needs to understand Russia and China, how they relate to each other, and how this key alliance will interface with the rest of the world. Australia and Australians simply cannot afford to get sucked down further by facilitating the machinations of the collapsing Anglo-American Empire. They have served the empire ably and faithfully, but now need to take a cold hard look at reality and realign their long-term interests with the coming global power shift. If not, they could literally find themselves in the middle of an unwinnable and devastating war.
* * *
The first Anglo-American Russian cold war began with the Russian revolution and was only briefly suspended when the West needed the Soviet people to throw themselves in front of the Nazi blitzkrieg in order to save Western Europe. Following their catastrophically costly contribution to the victory on the Continent, the Russians were greeted with an American nuclear salute on their eastern periphery, signalling their return to the diplomatic and economic deep freeze.
While the Anglo-American Empire solidified and extended its hold on the globe, the enlarged but war-ravaged and isolated Soviet Union hunkered down and survived on scraps and sheer will until its collapse in 1989. Declaring the cold war over, and with promises to help their new Russian friends build a prosperous future, the duplicitous West then ransacked their neighbors resources and sold them into debt peonage. The Russians cried foul, the West shrugged and Putin pushed back. Unable to declaw the bear, the west closed the cage door again and the second cold war commenced.
* * *
The first cold war was essentially an offensive war disguised as a defensive war. It enabled the Anglo-American Empire to leverage its post-war advantage and establish near total dominance around the globe through naked violence and monetary hegemony.
Today, with its dominance rapidly slipping away, the Anglo-American Empire is waging a truly defensive cold war. On the home front, they fight to convince their subjects of their eternal exceptionalism with ever more absurd and vile propaganda denigrating their adversaries . Abroad, they disrupt and defraud in a desperate attempt to delay the demise of the PetroDollar ponzi.
The Russians and the Chinese, having both been brutally burned by the Western elites, will not be fooled into abandoning their natural geographic partnership. They are no longer content to sit quietly at the kids' table taking notes. While they may not demand to sit at the head of the table, it is clear that they will insist on a round table, and one that is large enough to include their growing list of friends.
If the Americans don't smash the table, it could be the first of many peaceful pot lucks.
John Read , September 15, 2019 at 02:11
Well said. Great comments. Thanks to Tony Kevin.
Mia , September 14, 2019 at 18:33
Thank you Tony for continuing to shine light on the pathetic propaganda information bubble Australians have been immersed in .. you demonstrate great courage and you are not alone ??
Peter Loeb , September 14, 2019 at 12:58
WITH THANKS TO TONY KEVIN
An excellent article.
There is a lack of comments from some of the common writers upon whose views I often rely.
Personally, I often avoid the very individual responses from websites as I have no way
of checking out previous ideas of theirs. Who funds them? With which organizations are they
affiliated? And so forth and so on.
Peter Loeb, Boston, Massachusetts
Peter Sapo , September 14, 2019 at 10:24
As a fellow Australian, everything Tony Kevin said makes perfect sense. Our mainstream media landscape is designed to distribute propaganda to folk accross the political spectrum. Have you noticed that the ABC regurgitates stories from the BBC? The BBC has a long history (at least since WW2) of supporting government propaganda initiatives. Based on this fact, it is hard to see how ABC and SBS don't do the same when called upon by their minders.
Francis Lee , September 14, 2019 at 09:48
I just wonder where the Anglo-Zionist empire thinks it is going. It should be obvious that any NATO war against Russia involving a nuclear exchange is unwinnable. It seems equally likely the even a conventional war will not necessarily bring the result expected by the assorted 'experts' – nincompoops living in their own fantasy world. The idea that the US can fight a war without the US homeland becoming very much involved basically ended when Putin announced the creation of Russia's set of advanced hypersonic missile system. But this was apparently ignored by the 'defence' establishment. It was not true, it could not possibly be true, or so we were told.
Moreover the cost of such wars involving hundreds of thousands of troops and military hardware are massively expensive and would occasion a massive resistance from the populations affected. It was the wests wars in Korea, and Indo-China that bankrupted the US and led to the US$ being removed from the gold standard. The American military is rapidly consuming the American economy, or at least what is left of it. From a realist foreign policy perspective this is simply madness. Great powers end wars, they don't start them. Great powers are creditor nations, not debtor nations. Such is the realist foreign policy view. But foreign policy realists are few and far between in the Washington Beltway and MIC/NSA Pentagon and US/UK/AUSTRALIAN MSM.
Thus the neo-hubris of the English speaking world is such that if it is followed to its logical conclusion then total annihilation would be the logical outcome. A sad example of not very bright people who face no domestic opposition, believing in their own bullshit:
"American elites proved themselves to be master manipulators of propaganda constructs But the real danger from such manipulations arises not when those manipulations are done out of knowledge of reality, which is distorted for propaganda purposes, but when those who manipulation begin to sincerely believe in their own falsifications and when they buy into their own narrative. They stop being manipulators and they become believers in a narrative. They become manipulated themselves." (Losing Military Supremacy – Andrei, Martyanov)
Or maybe just the whole thing is a bluff. Those policy elites maybe just want to loot the US Treasury for more cash to be put their way.
John Wright , September 15, 2019 at 19:15
The self-serving Israeli Zionists know that the American cow is running dry and their days of freely milking it are coming to an end. They have an historic relationship with Russia and, leveraging their nuclear arsenal, know they can make a deal with the emerging China-Russia-centric global paradigm to extort enough protection to maintain their armed enclave for the foreseeable future. Their no so hidden alliance with the equally sociopathic Saudis will become even more obvious for all to see.
Israel, like China and Russia, knows how to play a long game. Thus, Israel will consolidate its land grab with the just announced expansion into the Jordan Valley and quietly continue as much ethnic cleansing as possible while the rest of the world is preoccupied with the incipient global power shift (True victims of history, the Palestinians have no real friends). While they will bemoan the loss of their muscular American stooge, Israel enjoyed a very lucrative 70 year run and will part with a pile of useful and deadly toys. They're also fully aware that no one else will ever let them take advantage to the degree they've been able to with the U.S.A. (Unlimited Stupidity of Arrogance?)
Eventually, the social schizophrenia that is the state of Israel will catch up with them and they will implode. Let's hope that breakdown doesn't involve the use of their nuclear arsenal.
Yes, the U.S. Treasury will continue to be looted until the last teller turns the lights out or the electricity is shut off, whichever comes first.
The Western transnational financial elites will accept their losses, regroup and make deals with the new bosses where they can; but their days of running the game unopposed are over.
Today is a good day to learn Mandarin (or Russian, if you prefer to live in Europe).
Bill , September 16, 2019 at 03:36
Very well said and I agree with a lot of what you say.
Tiu , September 14, 2019 at 06:01
Won't be too long before writing articles like this will get you busted for "hate-speech" (e.g. anything that is contrary to the official version prescribed by the "democratically elected" government)
Personally I always encourage people to read George Orwell, especially 1984. We're there, and have been for a long time.
geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 01:15
Tony Kevin – Nice rundown of what ails society. You have a fine writing style that gets the point across to the reader. Kudos and cheers.
Michael , September 13, 2019 at 22:34
The 'modernization' of the Smith Mundt Act in 2013 "to authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material [PROPAGANDA] about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences" was a major nail in the Democracy coffin, consolidating the blatant ruling of the US Police State by our 17 Intelligence Agencies (our betters). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lead to ownership of (>80%) of our media (the MSM by a handful of owners, all disseminating the same narratives from above (CIA, State Department, FBI etc) and squelching any dissenting views, particularly related to foreign policies.
Tony's article sadly just confirms the depth and breadth of our Global Stasi, with improved, innovative and (mostly) subtle surveillance, and the controlling constant interference with alternate viewpoints and discussions, the real basis for free societies. It is bad enough to be ruled by neoliberal psychopathic hyenas and jackals, soon we won't be able to even bitch about what they are doing.
Tom Kath , September 13, 2019 at 21:42
The most impressive article I have read in a very long time. I congratulate and thank Tony.
I have myself recently addressed the issue of whether it is a virtue to have an "open mind". – The ability to be converted or have your mind changed, or is it the ability to change your own mind ?
Tony Kevin clearly illustrates the difference.
Litchfield , September 13, 2019 at 16:11
Please keep writing.
Do start a website, a la Craig Murray.
There are people who are proactively looking for alternative viewpoints and informed analysis.
How about starting a website and publishing some excerpts of your book there?
Or, sell chapters separately by download from your website?
You could also have a discussion blog/forum there.
John Zimmermann , September 13, 2019 at 16:02
Excellent essay. Thanks Mr. Kevin.
rosemerry , September 13, 2019 at 15:37
At least Tony Kevin was an Australian ambassador, not like Mike Morrell and the chosen russop?obes the USA assumes are needed as diplomats!! Now he is treated as Stephen Cohen is- a true expert called "controversial" as he dares to go by real facts and evidence, not prejudice.
If instead of enemies, the West could consider getting to understand those they are wary of, and give them a chance to explain their point of view and actually listen and reflect on it.
(Dmitri Peskov valiantly explained the Russian official response as soon as the "Skripal poisoning" story broke, but it was fully ignored by UK/US media, while all of Theresa May's fanciful imaginings were respectfully relayed to the public).
geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 23:26
As you usually are with your comments, you are spot on again, rosemerry.
Martin - Swedish citizen , September 13, 2019 at 14:46
I find the mechanics of how the propaganda is spread and the illusion upheld the most important part of this article, since this knowledge is required to counter it.
When (not if) the fraud becomes more common knowledge, our societies are likely to tumble.
Pablo Diablo , September 13, 2019 at 14:45
Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.
peter mcloughlin , September 13, 2019 at 13:40
' The present risk of global nuclear war is as high as it ever was in the Cold War.' And possibly higher. The Cold War, though dangerous, was the peace. The world has experienced periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war. The powers that are leading us towards conflagration see this as a re-run of the first Cold War. They are dangerously mistaken.
Guy , September 13, 2019 at 13:21
With so many believing the lies ,how will this mess ever come to light . I don't reside in Australia but anywhere in the Western world the shakedown is the same .In my own house ,the discussion on world politics descends into absolute stupidity . As one can't get past the constant programming that has settled in the minds of the comfortable with the status quo of lies by our media. There are intelligent sources of news sources but none get past the absolutely complete control of MSM.So the bottom line is ,for now ,the lies and liars are winning the propaganda war.
Anton Antonovich , September 13, 2019 at 13:16
He speaks the truth. Liars and dissemblers have won over the minds and hearts of so many lazy shameful citizens who will not accept the truth Tony Kevin wants to share with the world.
junaid , September 13, 2019 at 13:08
Washington resumes military assistance to Kyiv. According to American lawmakers, Ukraine is fighting one of the main enemies. "Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine
"Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine
Lily , September 13, 2019 at 23:42
The Pentagon is using the Ukrainian territory for experiments on chemical weapons.
John A , September 14, 2019 at 06:55
Anyone or article who spells Kiev as Kyiv can be safely ignored as western anti-Russia propaganda. It's a true tell.
Robert Edwards , September 13, 2019 at 12:53
The Cold war is totally manufacture to keep the dollars flowing into the MIC – what a sham . and a disgrace to humanity.
Cavaleiro Marginal , September 13, 2019 at 12:52
"The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining."
This had occurred in Brazil since the very first day of Lula's presidency. Eleven years late, 2013, a color revolution began. Nobody (and I mean REALLY nobody) could realize a color revolution was happening at that time. In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was kicked from power throughout a ridiculous and illegal coup perpetrated by the parliament. In 2018 Lula was imprisoned in an Orwellian process; illegal, unconstitutional, with nothing (REALLY nothing) proved against him. Then a liar clown was elected to suppress democracy
I knew on the news that in Canada and Australia the police politely (how civilized ) went to some journalist's homes to have a chat this year. Canadians and Aussies, be aware. The fascism's dog is a policial state very well informed by the propaganda they call news.
Robert Fearn , September 13, 2019 at 12:48
As a Canadian author who wrote a book about various tragic American government actions, like Vietnam, I can relate to the difficulties Tony has had with his book. I would mail my book, Amoral America, from Canada to other countries, like the US, and it would never arrive. Book stores would not handle it, etc. etc.
Josep , September 17, 2019 at 05:21
Not to disagree, but some years ago I read about anecdotes of anti-Americanism in Canada, coming from both USians and Canadians, whether it be playful banter or legitimate criticism. I believe it is more concentrated among the people than among the governmental elites (with the exception of the Iraq War era when both the people and the government were against it). And considering what you describe in your book and the difficulty you've faced in distributing it abroad, maybe the said people are on to something.
Stephen , September 13, 2019 at 11:44
This interview by Abby Martin with Mark Ames is a little dated but is a fairly accurate history. I post it to try and counter the nonsense.
All the empire wants is to do it all again.
Jeremy Kuzmarov , September 13, 2019 at 10:33
Outstanding article and analysis. Thank you Sir! Jeremy Kuzmarov
Jeff Harrison , September 13, 2019 at 10:17
Thank you, sir. A far better peroration than I could have produced but what I have concluded nonetheless.
Skip Scott , September 13, 2019 at 10:10
Fantastic article. Left unmentioned is the origin of the west's anti-Russia narrative. Russia was being pillaged by the west under Yeltsin, and Russia was to become our newest vassal. Life expectancy dropped a full decade for the average Russian under Yeltsin. The average standard of living dropped dramatically as well. Putin reversed all that, and enjoys massive popular support as a result. The Empire will never tolerate a national leader who works for the benefit of the average citizen. It must be full-on rape, pillage and plunder- OR ELSE. Keep that in mind as we watch the latest theatrical performances by our DNC controlled "Commander in Chief" wannabes.
Realist , September 17, 2019 at 05:48
?The ongoing success of the "Great Lie" (that Washington is protecting the entire world from
anarchy perpetrated by a few bad actors on the global stage) and all of its false narrative subtexts
(including but far from limited to the Maidan, Crimea, Donbass, MH-17, the Skripals, gassing
"one's own people," piracy on the high Mediterranean, etc) just underscores how successful was
the false flag operation known as 9-11, even as the truth of that travesty is slowly being
unraveled by relentless truth-seekers applying logic and the scientific method to the problem.
Most Americans today would gladly concur, if queried, that Osama bin Laden was most certainly
a perfidious tool of Russia and its diabolical leader, Mr. Putin (be sure to call him "Vlad," to
conjure up images of Dracula for effect). The Winston Smith's are rare birds in America or in
any of its reliable vassal states. Never mind that the spooks from Langley (and the late
"chessmaster") concocted and orchestrated all these tales from the crypt.
Lily , September 13, 2019 at 07:54
Great summary of the developement of a new cold war. The narrative of the Mainstream Media is dangerous as well as laughable. I am glad to hear the Russian reaction to this bullshit propaganda. As often the people are so much wiser than their government – at least in the West.
During the Football WM a famous broadcaster of the German State TV channel ARD, who is a giftet propagandist, regrettet publicly the difficulty to convince the stubborn Germans to look at Russia as an enemy because they have started to look at Russia as a friend long ago.
Contrary to the people and the big firms who are completely against the sanctions against Russia and 100 % pro Northstream the German government with Chancelor Merkel is one of the top US vassalles. Even the Green Party which started as an environmental and peace party are now against North Stream and in favour of the filthy US fracking gas thanks to NATO propaganda although Russia has never let them down. Most of "Die Grünen" party have been turned into fervent friends of our American occupants which is very sad.
Thank you Tony Kevin. It has been great to read your article. I cant wait to read your book 'Return to Moscow' and to watch your interview on CN Live.
Godfree Roberts , September 13, 2019 at 07:37
Good summary of the status quo. From my experience of writing similarly about China, precisely the same policies and forces are at work.
The good news is that they are failing.
junaid , September 13, 2019 at 07:15
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the end of the war in Syria and the country's return to a state of peace. "Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war
"Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war
Gezzah Potts , September 13, 2019 at 05:47
You hit several nails squarely on the head with your excellent article Tony. Thank you for the truth of how the media is in Australia. It is indeed chilling where all this is leading. The blatant lies just spewed out as fact by both ABC and SBS. They, in my opinion are nothing but stenographers for the Empire, of which Australia is a fully subservient vassal state, with no independence.
I try to boycott all Australian presstitutes . Oops, I mean 'media' now. Occasionally, I do slip up and watch SBS or The Drum or News on ABC.
Virtually all my news comes from independent news sites like this one.
I have been accused of being a 'Putin lover', a Russian troll, a conspiracy theorist, while people I know have claimed that "Putin is a monster whose murdered millions of people".
On and on this crap goes. And the end result? Ask Stephen Cohen. Things are very surreal now. Sadly, you've been made an Unperson Tony.
Robyn , September 13, 2019 at 04:08
Bravo, Tony, great article. I enjoyed your book and recommend it to CN readers who haven't yet read it.
The world looks entirely different when one stops reading/watching the MSM and turns to CN, Caitlin Johnstone and many others who are doing a sterling job.
Cascadian , September 13, 2019 at 03:52
I don't know which is worse, to not know what you are (reliably uninformed) and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be (reliably informed) and feel alone.
Realist , September 14, 2019 at 00:19
Knowing the truth has always seemed paramount to me, even if it means realising that the entire world and all in it are damned, and deliberately by our own actions. Hope is always the last part of our essence to die, or so they say: maybe we will somehow be redeemed through our own self-immolation as a species.
Deb , September 13, 2019 at 02:54
As an Australian I have no difficulty accepting what Tony Kevin has said here. He should do what Craig Murray has done start a website.
Sep 17, 2019 | irrussianality.wordpress.com
September 10, 2019
15 CommentsYou may have missed it in the all the excitement around the world, but Canada has a general election coming up in October. As you know, elections equal Russian meddling. They're when our Eastern friends pull out all their computer bots, fire up their trolls, and start spreading shedloads of disinformation in order to confuse and disorientate us, so that we lose our faith in democracy and then we we well I'm not sure what we're meant to do then; the ultimate aim of it all rather defeats me. We vote for one party which is 100% anti-Russian rather than for another party which is 100% anti-Russian? Is that the point? Because here in Canada, that's basically the choice on offer. Those pesky Russkies can confuse us all they like with their dezinformatziia, active measures , and maskirovka , but at the end of the day we're still going to end up electing somebody determined to prove that he or she is more anti-Russian that the next guy or girl. Meddling, schmeddling – it's not going to make a blind bit of difference to the result.
None of this stops the fearmongers, however, and so it was that yesterday the Canadian press was happily quoting a new report from the University of Calgary, saying that, 'Russia could meddle in Canada's election due to "growing interest" in Arctic'. Now, I've been saying for a while now that these worries are exaggerated, but for some reason 'Professor at University of Ottawa says it's a load of nonsense' doesn't generate any headlines, whereas 'part-time lecturer in Calgary says it's so' is national news. Well, so be it. We all know that the press has its biases. So rather than rely on the media, I thought I'd better check out what the report in question actually has to say, and it turns out that it's not quite what you'd imagine, at least not entirely.
The report is written by one Sergey Sukhankin who is said to be 'a Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation' in Washington DC, and to be currently 'teaching at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University (Edmonton)'. According to his Linkedin page, he has a 3 month contract to teach a single course at the former, and a 9 month contract as a lecturer in the latter. He's also listed as an 'Associate Expert at the International Center for Policy Studies (Kyiv).' Anyway, he starts off his report encouragingly enough by declaring that he aims 'to give a more balanced and nuanced picture of the situation, particularly with regard to Canada', and it is a 'tactical error to label as disinformation or propaganda every news item emanating from Russia. This creates the perception of a Russian disinformation machine that is much more powerful than it really is.' Personally, I would say that it's not a 'tactical error', it's just plain wrong, but at least Sukhankin isn't trying to overdo things. But this praiseworthy restraint doesn't mean that he wants us to let down our guard. No, he says, 'the peril is real', 'the West must stick to confronting the Kremlin', and (and this is the bit which got the headlines):
The Kremlin has a growing interest in dominating the Arctic, where it sees Russia as in competition with Canada. This means Canada can anticipate escalations in information warfare Perceived as one of Russia's chief adversaries in the Arctic region, Canada is a prime target in the information wars, with Russia potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election.
There's a leap of logic here which I must admit I failed to understand. Why does 'competition' in the Arctic 'mean' that Canada 'can anticipate escalations in information warfare', let alone 'meddling' in the election? Why does the one necessarily lead to the other? I don't see it. It would only make sense if the second part (the meddling) helped achieve some objectives in the first part (competition in the Arctic) but Sukhankin doesn't show how they would. He just connects two unconnected things. But we'll get back to the Arctic a little later. For now, let's return to the report.
This essentially has two parts. The first is a fairly standard summary of the general argument that Russia is engaged in some sort of information war designed to undermine the West from within. It makes reference to the normal vocabulary of Soviet active measures and the like, as well as to the conventional list of sources, such as Peter Pomerantseve, Michael Weiss, and Edward Lucas (not the most reliable types in my opinion). In short, it doesn't add anything new. By contrast, the second part, which specifically focuses on alleged Russian information operations against Canada, is much more interesting.
Russian disinformation about Canada, says Sukhankin, is centred on four themes:
- 'Canada as a safe haven of russophobia and (neo)fascism.
- 'Canada as part of the colonial forces in the Baltic Sea region'.
- 'Canada as Washington's useful satellite'.
- 'Canada as a testing ground for the practical implementation of immoral Western values.'
The extent to which these could all be called 'disinformation' is debatable ('Canada as Washington's useful satellite' doesn't seem entirely inaccurate to me). But the key point Sukhankin makes is that these themes reflect the Russian government's own internal, domestic political priorities – i.e. its desire to convince its own citizens that its policies are right, by means of discrediting others. In general, says Sukhankin, Russian propaganda targets 'the following audiences, prioritized from the greatest to the smallest'.
- The Russian domestic audience
- The post-Soviet area (including the russophones in the three Baltic States)
- The Balkans and east-central Europe
- Western and southern Europe
- The U.S.
- The rest of the world
Canada, therefore, falls into the lowest priority of targets. This reflects the fact that, as Sukhankin says, 'Russians don't see Canada as a fully independent political actor'. To be frank, we're not high on Russia's information war hitlist. The Russian government doesn't care that much about us, and it cares even less about our internal politics. Consequently, says Sukhankin, while the Russian media and social media do publish anti-Canadian stories, the point of them isn't to 'meddle' in Canadian internal affairs. Rather, he says, in what to me is the most crucial statement in his report:
Russia's anti-Canadian propaganda, which still plays a marginal part compared to other theatres, is primarily tailored for domestic Russian consumption – it is not designed for a Canadian audience. [my underlining]
Here, therefore, we run into a huge problem. We're told to fear the genuine 'peril' of Russian disinformation, and Russian 'meddling' in Canada's election, but we're also told that Russia doesn't actually care very much about Canadian internal affairs and that in any case Russian disinformation isn't targeted at Canadians. It seems to me that you can't have it both ways. If it's not targeted at Canadians, then it doesn't constitute meddling, interference, or anything else of the sort. The logical conclusion of Sukhankin's analysis is that we should calm down a little and stop worrying so much.
That, however, would not fit with the current zeitgeist . Although his logic points him in one direction, Sukhankin apparently feels a desperate need to nonetheless throw in something about the dangers of Russian interference in Canadian internal affairs. So all of a sudden, completely out of the blue, and unconnected with anything else, in his final paragraph he suddenly throws in a quotation from the head of that most neutral of trustworthy academic sources, the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alexandra Chiczij, saying that, 'The Kramlin's propaganda machine will increasingly target our country with anti-Canadian fabrications in an attempt to sow discord, conflict, and to undermine our democratic institutions.' Sukhankin then adds that this might happen 'during the 2019 Canadian federal election.' No evidence to support this claim – which is entirely at odds which everything which preceded it – is produced. Why would Russia suddenly become so interested in Canadian internal affairs? Sukhankin thinks he has an answer, 'from this author's point of view, Moscow's next theme could be the Arctic', he says. But since this is his last paragraph, he doesn't have time to develop this thought. As I said, it just comes out of the blue.
It's also rather odd. As I said earlier, it's not at all clear why interfering in Canada's election (exactly how, Sukhankin never makes clear) would promote Russia's interests in the Arctic. But more than that it ignores the nature of Russian-Canadian Arctic politics. In my conversations with both Canadian and Russian officials, the Arctic is always mentioned as a zone of cooperation rather than competition. In an era when Canadian and Russian diplomats barely talk to each other, the Arctic is the one subject they both think it's actually possible to discuss in a constructive manner. Conversations about how to improve Canada-Russia relations generally take the form of something like, 'Let's not aim too high. Let's just take little steps, and focus on areas where agreement is possible, especially the Arctic'. To pick on the Arctic as the subject likely to provoke Russia (for purposes unknown) to 'meddle' in Canada's oncoming election (by means and to effect unknown) seems to me to completely misread the situation.
In short, what we have here is a report which tells us that Canada doesn't matter much to Russians, and that to date Russians have shown little or no interest in targeting Canadian public opinion, let alone interfering in Canadian politics, and yet which nonetheless concludes that we face the 'peril' of Moscow 'potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election'. I don't know about you, but that doesn't make any sense to me.
- Mitleser says: September 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm "4. Canada as a testing ground for the practical implementation of immoral Western values.'"
Reminds me of one of the comments to an another article of yours.
" Canada has generally been the test case for new features of this "western universalism," and, as a peripheral resource-based economy tightly tied into globalized value-chains, we have often been intellectually colonized by liberal-internationalist views (for good and ill). Unlike Russia, as we are small in population and sit next to the US, we have rarely had the capacity (or the will) to resist US-led "universalism," but our analysis when we have tried has been much the same as Remizov's ."
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- Mao Cheng Ji says: September 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm "in order to confuse and disorientate us"
May I ask: do you, Canadians, typically say " disorientate ", in the British manner? Or was it your British identity speaking?
Anyhow. I envy the hack who thought of "sow discord". I love it. It's so biblical: "he that soweth discord among brethren."
Clearly, it could only be SATAN.
- dewittbourchier says: September 10, 2019 at 4:13 pm We should not be surprised at how febrile things are.
Quite literally US diplomats in Cuba, and with them many US policymakers and journalistic organisations descended into mass hysteria about Cicadas.
- Alex Kramer says: September 10, 2019 at 6:35 pm Makes sense to me as both Canadian academia and media are full of dipshit Russophobes.
- Karl Kolchak says: September 10, 2019 at 8:22 pm If Russia wants the weakest possible Canada, wouldn't it be in their interests to see a feckless little poodle like Trudeau remain as PM?
- Lyttenburgh says: September 11, 2019 at 5:21 am "We vote for one party which is 100% anti-Russian rather than for another party which is 100% anti-Russian? Is that the point? Because here in Canada, that's basically the choice on offer [A]t the end of the day we're still going to end up electing somebody determined to prove that he or she is more anti-Russian that the next guy or girl. "
This is very lowbrow, but relevant
Now, on a more serious note – about propacondom Sergey Sukhankin (formerly from Kaliningrad oblast, RF).
He's one of those "professional victims of the Putinist Regime", that "miraculously" escaped our Northern Mordor, and now spends ink, bytes and bodily fluids in a ceaseless struggle with the Dark Overlord. "Russian interference" is both his idea fix and bread and butter. E.g., check out his logorrhea on "Russian trace" in Catalonia's referendum (published by his sponsors in Jamestown foundation AKA CIA). There are many stock accusations, about RT, "pro-Kremline profiles" in FB and Twitter, and, the horror of horrors, the fact that the Immortal Regiment now dares to happen on the sacred soil of the country, which dispatched the Blue Division to the Abode of all Evil. He admits, that to proof the fact that the "Russian meddling" was the cause of what transpired in Catalonia (uh, you remember what happened back then, right?) is difficult, but what is without doubt, is that it benefits Kremlin and the Terrible Russkiy Mir.
Sukhankin is also an active participant in the anti-Russian propaganda efforts of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), where he regularly rubs shoulders and tries to imitate another well known "researcher" and expert on Russian maskirovka, dezinformatsiya and active measures, Russophobic fantasy and sci-fi author Mark Galeotti.
- archie1954 says: September 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm For Heaven's sake, the worst country for meddling in other nations' internal affairs is the US, by far! With respect to the Arctic, both Canada and Russia signed the Treaty of the Sea, under which various challenges to ownership of the seabed are settled by the terms of the treaty. The US, of course didn't sign it. Why would they when they sincerely believe that their impressive military can just grab whatever pieces of the Arctic they want.
As a matter of fact, the US wants to separate Canada right across the middle by designating the waterway between the mainland and the Arctic Islands as an international one. It is the US which is meddling in Canada's internal affairs, not Russia!
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- Patrick Armstrong says: September 11, 2019 at 7:35 am The guys just trying to get a job by saying what the Boss wants to hear.
- Josh says: September 11, 2019 at 8:45 am It always baffles me how, usually motivated by an American Russophobe, the Arctic gets used or abused for this polemic. As you correctly point out, the Arctic council is an example of multipolar peaceful talks. In addition, we forget that when we look at the Arctic sea routes opening up, that it is primarily the NEP – the route along Russia and in Russian waters – is the one more navigable. Yet even to keep that one open for the small amount of time per year, Russia has a lot of maintenance to do with expensive ice breakers. It follows quite logically that Russia puts a lot of effort and money into this; and the regimented discipline of the army is the better and cheaper option for the safety and rescue services.
If Canada wanted to do the same thing in the NWP, not only is this route much more treacherous, iced up and difficult, the investment would be higher than that which Russia is making, while global warming will only help this passage marginally.
All this to say that the sea routes are the most talked about issues here; mineral, oil and other deposits along the continental shelves are dealt with rigourously and with full support from all sides through the UN. The only small conflict is the disputed island between Canada and the US.
Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Transmedia001 , 8 minutes ago linkKoba the Dread , 21 minutes ago link
Another media spin in preparation of the public proof that the Steale dossier and Russia Gate was a soft coup and media hoax. Articles like this allow the traitors to argue that they didn't know it was fake or that certain assets were not Russian because the Russians were several steps ahead manipulating the situation using FBI hacked coms.
Time to start setting fire to every MSM outlet and making s'mores as we watch it all burn.MaxThrust , 25 minutes ago link
What a terrible typographical error. Somehow the word "Russian" was inserted in this text when the word "Israeli" was supposed to be used. Hey, typographers, pay more attention.NiggaPleeze , 31 minutes ago link
"The technical break-through allowed Russian spies in American cities, key insights into how FBI surveillance teams were operating. "
The Russians learned how the FBI goes about lying to cover up for it's actions. How "False Flag" operations are coordinated and how entrapment schemes are run.beemasters , 47 minutes ago link
We didn't understand that they were at political war with us already in the second term
Spying is not political war, moron. But fact is the Evil Empire never stopped its war against Russia - under Yeltsin they just moved it inside the country with their *** oligarch traitors, getting Russia to dismantle its industry, etc.Neochrome , 52 minutes ago link
According to a report this week, Israel has been spying on the White House. While that news itself isn't shocking, the Trump administration's response – or lack thereof – has taken many in DC by surprise.
But, unlike past administrations, the Trump team has not taken any action against surveillance by one of its closest allies, and spying on US soil has had no real consequences for Israel, American officials said.
Israeli spying is not new – but the Trump administration's response is
They are now voting for the next POTUS in Israhell, as we speak. Will it be Netanyahu again?youshallnotkill , 54 minutes ago link
We didn't understand that they were at political war with us
Is that why US was (is) spying on Merkel?Joiningupthedots , 1 hour ago link
Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years
And this headline makes abundantly clear which side the Tylers cheer for.
(Not that there was any doubt about it).Heroic Couplet , 1 hour ago link
So the FBI wants more money for "integrated" communications or something?
This **** is not dissimilar to the CIA/MI6 pet rock trasmitters in the Moscow parks.
Spy agencies spy on each other....its their job LOLbooboo , 1 hour ago link
"Shortly before the Obama administration approved a deal granting Russia 20% of America's uranium," LInk? If Russia mines uranium in the Western Hemisphere, it cannot export it. See Forbes Magazine, 13Dec2018, the article debunking Hillary-Uranium One.truthalwayswinsout , 1 hour ago link
All roads lead to that neocon infested festering cesspool of anti American shitlips called the State Department. With friends like that who needs "the Russians"Totally_Disillusioned , 1 hour ago link
How can you believe this?
If the Russians did crack certain communications and the US knew it, they would use that to really screw the Russians and let them think they had us by the balls.
And they certainly would no be admitting any of it in an article.
And all the while the FBI / DOJ was running cover for the Clintonn Foundation and the Clintons, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Awan brothers and surveilling American citizens with help of contractors. NOT ONE FBI whistle blower came forward...
I have been asking "Why?" At first I thought perhaps the threats to self/family may be the reason, but I'm now convinced THEY WERE ALL IN ON THE CORRUPTION. This agency is totally and thoroughly corrupt and beyond redemption. This is why Wray continues to carry water for the corrupt FBI leadership. Time to completely dismantle and re-engineer into the US Marshalls office.
Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Manhattan DA Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump Tax Returns
by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:45 0 SHARES
It never ends.
New York state prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns according to the New York Times , citing "several people with knowledge on the matter" - the gold standard in modern sources.
The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan DA's office last month following the launch of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen - who pleaded guilty last year to eight charges; seven of which were unrelated to the Trump campaign, and one for breaking federal campaign finance laws. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.
At issue - Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (whose daddy was Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State - and who took money from Harvey Weinstein while declining to prosecute him for sexual assault - and who sought a reduced sex-offender status for Jeffrey Epstein) wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense.
In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.
But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken . Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns. - New York Times
Congressional Democrats have been hunting down Trump's tax returns for years after the billionaire refused to do so, citing an ongoing IRS audit as well as the position that Trump Organization competitors would then have access to industry secrets.
Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.
The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York state law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump's team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year . - New York Times
And while Trump and the Treasury Department have proven thus far successful in thwarting Democratic lawmakers' inquiries, it may not be as easy to fend off a subpoena in Manhattan .
According to Mazars, they will "will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations," adding that the company was legally prohibited from commenting on its work.
If the Manhattan DA is able to obtain Trump's tax returns, the Times notes that "the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case."
The Times does not note, however, that the records would likely be leaked within 30 minutes to the Washington Post or similar.
State prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization in early August for records of the payments to Daniels and Cohen's reimbursement - a request which has been complied with according to the report.
"It's just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons," said Trump Org attorney, Marc L. Mukasey in a statement last month.
As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance's office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.
Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney's office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank. - New York Times
Will the Democrats' gambit pay off? Or will the ongoing "witch hunts" into President Trump backfire and turn him into a martyr?
Tachyon5321 , 43 minutes ago linkrgraf , 53 minutes ago link
There is no evidence that any crimes of any type has been committed.
There is no legal grounds for a subpoena to be issued without evidence that a crime has been committed.
Cearly, the Manhattan DA is violating the civil right of a citizen for asking for 8 years of tax records with no indication of a crime. Trump should sue the DA and the jutice department should look into the DA violation of due process and legal rights of a citizen.William Dorritt , 3 hours ago link
Has he subpoenaed Epstein's docs? Is he going to claim tax fraud is worse than child molestation? Why don't Trump supporters file a class action lawsuit and RICO against this clown?DBAustin , 3 hours ago link
"Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
- (whose daddy was Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State -
- took money from Harvey Weinstein while declining to prosecute him for sexual assault -
- sought a reduced sex-offender status for Jeffrey Epstein)
wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. "
Love to see the Bio on the Judge that approved the Subpeonabeemasters , 4 hours ago link
How many people reading this think that the IRS never reviewed Trump's tax returns?
How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS did NOT make a special effort to go over Trump's taxes in great detail, even as Obama's FBI and DOJ spied on Trump and his campaign?
How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS would NOT have charged Trump with tax evasion even if they could have?
How many people reading this think that making Trump's tax return public is NOT an effort to twist, distort, and misinterpret complex tax returns in an attempt to make Trump look bad as bad as possible for taking legitimate, legal, but large tax deductions?
How many people reading this think that it is perfectly fine for democrat leaders, such as Pelosi, Schumer, and multimillionaire Maxine Waters NOT to have to release their tax returns while Trump has to release his?
Why did Weinstein and Epstein get such special treatment?
Both did get the same treatment- in escaping from justice. Oh, you mean not producing tax returns? No one is demanding them, for one plus they are not public servants. All government officials should submit their tax returns to ensure they are not compromised by those who have access to them.
Sep 09, 2019 | original.antiwar.com
When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."
In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one?
The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.
But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.
The Hot War
Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.
The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."
When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.
The Cold War
It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.
The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.
In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.
So did Churchill. If Roosevelt's motivation was getting the UN, Churchill's was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire's borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.
Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, "how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill's account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.
Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.
That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.
The New Cold War
Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."
At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker's terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions , Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev's account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not 'take advantage' of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."
But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker's promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "'For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.' And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: 'As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.'"
A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."
Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb's width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."
Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: 'The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.' Where are those guarantees?"
Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that "[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany." And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."
That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.
It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia's borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was "the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second." What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.
When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."
The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.
The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending 'with no losers, only winners.'"
The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev's recognition of the Soviet Union's own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war "well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union." The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's December 7, 1988 address to the UN
Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.
When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.
Bush's broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.
Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act , which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.
Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia's borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.
Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.
The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."
The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."
Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn't get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more."
By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.
But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.
In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.
Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders.
Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done 'quite well' in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."
On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin's troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin's troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin's massacre , claiming that "I don't see that he had any choice . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton's Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin's suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."
In 1996, elections were looming, and America's hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn't going to happen without help. Yeltsin's popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton's interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy . And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections . Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton's White House," secretly ran Yeltsin's reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story , "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign."
"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996."
More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton's Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory , in his book, Behind the Oval Office , Morris says that, with Clinton's approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.
Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin's odds of winning.
The US not only helped run Yeltsin's campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund's decision."
Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine's cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership we would see a considerably different Russia today." That's a confession of election interference.
Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.
Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Robert McGregor , September 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm
I'm no fan of Trump, but I would like to see a comparison of the total "US instigated foreign fatalities" for his last 2 & 1/2 years compared with Obama's last 2 & 1/2 years, and what we guess the number would have been under Hillary. I'm sorry, but I think Trump's number would be the lowest. In coming up with an explanation, I like to use the "Reality Show Entertainment Value" theory which many have described. In this case, people like to watch Trump bullshitting and freaking out the establishment, but they really don't like watching dead bodies burn up or be carried away in body bags. That reality is not attractive entertainment, despite the fantasy of it being bankable entertainment when Tarantino flame throws a teenager at the end of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Obama and Hillary are not "reality TV fans." They are more immersed in their megalomaniac view of themselves as world actors, and will willfully kill a few hundred thousand if they think it advances their misguided objectives.
Jonathan Holland Becnel , September 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm
Whoa there, buddy.
-Tarantino fan :)
P.S. 'It 2' is def one of the best movies of the year. Still need to see Parasite and the Joker.
Punxsutawney , September 13, 2019 at 7:21 pm
Well, the "Liberal" excuse for this is that Putin is controlling him. Well if so, that's one thing to thank the Russians for.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.orgPhilip Giraldi September 12, 2019 © Photo: Wikimedia Certainly, there are many things that President Donald Trump can rightly be criticized for, but it is interesting to note how the media and chattering classes continue to be in the grip of the highly emotional but ultimately irrational "Trump derangement syndrome (TDS)." TDS means that even the most ridiculous claims about Trump behavior can be regurgitated by someone like Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow without anyone in the media even daring to observe that they are both professional dissemblers of truth who lie regularly to enhance their professional resumes.
There are two persistent bogus narratives about Donald Trump that are, in fact, related. The first is that his campaign and transition teams collaborated with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton. Even Robert Mueller, he of the famous fact-finding commission, had to admit that that was not demonstrable. The only government that succeeded in collaborating with the incoming Trumpsters was that of Israel, but Mueller forgot to mention that or even look into it.
Nevertheless, Russia as a major contributing element in the Trump victory continues to be cited in the mainstream media, seemingly whenever Trump is mentioned, as if it were demonstrated fact. The fact is that whatever Russia did was miniscule and did not in any way alter the outcome of the election. Similarly, allegations that the Kremlin will again be at it in 2020 are essentially baseless fearmongering and are a reflection of the TDS desire to see the president constantly diminished in any way possible.
The other narrative that will not die is the suggestion that Donald Trump is either a Russian spy or is in some other, possibly psychological fashion, controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin. That spy story was first floated by several former senior CIA officers who were closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently because they believed they would benefit materially if she were elected.
Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell was the most aggressive promoter of Trump as Russian spy narrative. In August 2016, he wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled "I Ran the CIA. Now I'm endorsing Hillary Clinton." Morell's story began with the flat assertion that "Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president – keeping our nation safe Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security."
In his op-ed, Morell ran through the litany of then GOP candidate Trump's observed personality and character failings while also citing his lack of experience, but he delivered what he thought to be his most crushing blow when he introduced Vladimir Putin into the discussion. Putin, it seems, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
How can one be both unwitting and a recruited agent? Some might roll their eyes at that bit of hyperbole, but Morell, who was a top analyst at the Agency but never acquired or ran an actual spy in his entire career, goes on to explain how Moscow is some kind of eternal enemy. For Morell that meant that Trump's often stated willingness to work with Putin and the nuclear armed state he headed was somehow the act of a Manchurian Candidate, seen by Morell as a Russian interest, not an American one. So much for the presumed insider knowledge that came from the man who "ran the CIA."
The most recent "former intelligence agents'" blast against Trump appeared in the Business Insider last month in an article entitled "US spies say Trump's G7 performance suggests he's either a 'Russian asset' or a 'useful idiot' for Putin." The article cites a number of former government officials, including several from the CIA and FBI, who claimed that Trump's participation at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz France was marked by pandering to Putin and the Kremlin's interests, including a push to re-include Russia in the G-7, from which it was expelled after the annexation of Crimea.
One current anonymous FBI source cited in the article described the Trump performance as a "new low," while a former senior Justice Department official, labeled Trump's behavior as "directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office." An ex-CIA officer speculated that the president's "intent and odd personal fascination with President Putin is worth serious scrutiny," concluding that the evidence is "overwhelming" that Trump is a Russian asset, while other CIA and NSA veterans suggested that Trump might be flattering Putin in exchange for future business concessions in Moscow.
Another recently retired FBI special agent opined that Trump was little more than "useful idiot" for the Russians, though he added that it would not surprise him if there were also Russian spies in Trump's inner circle.
The comments in the article are almost incoherent. They come from carefully selected current and former government employees who suffer from an excess of TDS, or possibly pathological paranoia, and hate the president for various reasons. What they are suggesting is little more than speculation and not one of them was able to cite any actual evidence to support their contentions. And, on the contrary, there is considerable evidence that points the other way. The US-Russia relationship is at its lowest point ever according to some observers and that has all been due to policies promoted by the Trump Administration to include the continuing threats over Crimea, sanctions against numerous Russian officials, abrogation of existing arms treaties, and the expansion of aggressive NATO activity right up to the borders with Russia.
Just this past week, the United States warned Russia against continuing its aerial support for the Syrian Army advance to eliminate the last major terrorist pocket in Idlib province. Once against, Washington is operating on the side of terrorists in Syria and against Russia, a conflict that the United States entered into illegally in the first place. Either Donald Trump acting as "the Russian agent" actually thinks threatening a Moscow that is pursuing its legitimate interests is a good idea or the labeling of the president as a "Putin puppet" or "useful idiot" is seriously misguided.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
et Al September 9, 2019 at 9:14 amI only mentioned Mark 'Gerasimov' Galeotti recently linked to a MT source one of you posted and hey, presto
Dances With Bears: MARK GALEOTTI IS A FACT FAKER – HIS BOOK ON RUSSIAN CRIME IS A HATE CRIME, A WAR CRIME
Repeating lies over and over makes old-fashioned Joseph Goebbels-type propaganda. Repeating lies, then contradicting them; moving them from one government-paid think-tank to another; footnoting a new lie to an older version; quoting policemen and gangsters saying fatuities; adding slang and the words of pop songs -- this is still Goebbels-type but stretched out and product-diversified to make its author more money. This is Mark Galeotti's method .
The rest at the link and a deep dive on Galeotti himself.
Sep 11, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Some former intelligence officials said the president's closed-door meetings with Mr. Putin and other Russian officials , along with Twitter posts about delicate intelligence matters , have sown concern among overseas sources.
"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit," said Steven L. Hall, a former C.I.A. official who led the agency's Russia operations. "He does it in front of our adversaries. He does it by tweet. We are in uncharted waters."
But the government had indicated that the source exis