|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
|News||Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism||Recommended Links||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Whataboutism as a thought crime||Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak|
|Demonization of Putin||Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?||Obama's Putin-did-it fiasco||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton|
|Doublespeak||Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals||The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment||Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte||Patterns of Propaganda||The importance of controlling the narrative|
|MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage||Cold War II||"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place||Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology||Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers||New American Militarism|
|Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention||Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome"||Deception as an art form||The Deep State||National Security State||Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law|
|Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||The attempt to secure global hegemony||American Exceptionalism||Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism||Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"|
|Lewis Powell Memo||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Edward Lucas as agent provocateur||Groupthink||Soft propaganda|
|Diplomacy by deception||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'||The Real War on Reality||Nation under attack meme||Bullshit as MSM communication method|
|Neo-fascism||Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||Big Uncle is Watching You||What's the Matter with Kansas||Media as a weapon of mass deception|
|Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass||The Good Soldier Svejk||Nineteen Eighty-Four||Propaganda Quotes||Humor||Etc|
|For more and more Americans, the other side isnt merely misguided in the extreme. Its
evil in the absolute, and virtue is measured by the starkness with which that evil is labeled
and reviled. There are emotional satisfactions to this. There is also a terrible price.
Frank Bruni, June 17, 2017
Liars always become very touchy when confronted with their falsehoods. They will inevitably attack there accusers with more lies to make them look bad. This is a fundamental reflex all liars respond to critics with. "I'm not lying, you are!" Those who want to believe the real liar love this response, because it gives them an excuse not to investigate if the accuser may be right. Then they can just turn on the accuser and blame them for false accusation without the slightest proof, of course.
Comment at https://consortiumnews.com
The capacity to disseminate misinformation, in order to paint the opposition in wildly negative light, suppressing any rebuttal is now standard tactic of US MSM. It allows sharp polarization of the electorate, the classic "divide and conquer" strategy.
Over the past decade in particular, the internet and social media have changed the game. They speed people to like-minded warriors and give them the impression of broader company or sturdier validation than really exist. The fervor of those in the anti-vaccine movement exemplifies this.
Admirers can now coalesce quickly (like was the case during Sanders run), but the same is true for the opposite side. The Web becomes worldwide Hyde Park, where everyone shows up with his/her personal opinions, convictions, and, of course, truth.
But Web sites with forums of likeminded people create echo camera effect, create a whole new permission structure, a sense of social affirmation for what was once unthinkable... If words can inspire, then they can also incite or debase. As the result, people are surrendering restraint and a socially important thing called tact. And this "verbal extremism" guarantees to widen the divisions between us. Thats true whether those words are spoken from the right or from the left, and the monetization of partisan combat spans the ideological spectrum.
George Orwells Looking Back on the Spanish War, said that for him, history stopped in 1936, because it was there, in Spain, that he discovered for the first time newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts.
It was there that he sensed that the very concept of objective truth, ruined by propaganda. more modern form including "mathiness" -- miring the obvious in a miasma of charts and graphs
Another interesting effect of Web is that now it is not necessary to suppress somebody opinion expressed say in the article on the Web. now it is enough to remove it from Google and couple of other popular search engines.
Also valid, valuable opinions became diluted in tremendous amount of "junk" - irrelevant or clearly erroneous information generated on the Web. If one read attentively Guardian forums (which are one of the most high quality forums on the Web), one can state that there is 5% or less commenters who really know the subject they are talking about; often better/deeper then the author of the article they discuss. But to find them one need to browse pages of irrelevant comments.
Whataboutism is a nickname MSM have given that dirty the tactic of discrediting the opponent, when the opponent questions the USA objectivity because it committed similar or worse crimes in the past. Which, of course, if nor deprive, but greatly diminish the USA status as an objective judge.
Neoliberal channels are ready to come up with numerous conspiracy theories, painting the opponent, especially Russia, as ruthless canning opportunists, devoid of any moral principles. But, unfortunately, this is true about the USA too.
The key idea of this cynical post-modern media strategy, perfected by neoliberal political technologists is to block/suppress/dilute all opposing views in the "neoliberal noise" (like air dominance in war the US MSM practice full airwave dominance). That's why Putin interview is edited in such a wya as to hide any substantial criticism of the US policy. And not only Putin. This is a universal strategy of deciet. Its goal of the US MSM is to confuse whats true with whats not, to the point that the truth vanishes. What it undeniable is that over the past year neoliberals created an artificial reality that matches or exceed the one that existed in the USSR. Along with demonization Russia they also greatly succeeded in demonization of Trump.
This color revolution that Clinton and their supporters in several intelligence agencies launched against Trump in election would be painfully familiar to one who observed , for example, Ukrainian Orange revolution. Templates are identical. just the goals are different (in case of Orange revolution delegitimization of elections to the extent that new elections were called; in case of anti-Trump color revolution the appointment of the Special Prosecutor (aka Grand Inquisitor) was the goal.
This is what must be done by free thinkers if they are to counter and reverse the collectivist nightmare of neoliberalism.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:53:30 PM | 12The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."
This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically.
B makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do.
What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.
Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows:
"Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"
Whataboutism seems to proclaim that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.
Try to avoid false trick of "shaming" under some artificial labels like communist or racist: Social justice relies on shaming tactics, usually by slandering an opponent with a label that does not really apply to him, in order to control his arguments and behavior. If you dont care about being called a bigot, a racist, a sexist, a misogynist, a homophobe, etc., then there is not really much that they can do to you.
Do not self-censor: This does not mean you should go out of your way to be antagonistic or act like an ass, but the thought police have power only if you give power to them. Say what you want to say when you want to say it, and do it with a smile. Let the PC police froth and scream until they have an aneurism. neoliberals are generally weaklings. They avoid physical confrontation like they avoid logic, so why fear them?
Demand facts to back claims: neoliberals tend to argue on the basis of opinion rather than fact. Present facts to counter their claims, and demand facts and evidence in return. Opinions are irrelevant if the person is not willing to present supporting facts when asked.
Do not play the game of "unconscious bias": If social justice cultists can't counter your position with facts or logic, they will invariably turn to the old standby that you are limited in your insight because you have not lived in the shoes of a - (insert victim group here). I agree. In fact, I would point out that this reality of limited perception also applies to THEM as well. They have not lived in my shoes, therefore they are in no position to claim I enjoy "privilege" while they do not. This is why facts and evidence are so important, and why anecdotal evidence and personal feelings are irrelevant where cultural Marxism is concerned.
Let neoliberals know their fears and feelings do not matter: No one is entitled to have their feelings addressed by others. And, a persons fears are ultimately unimportant. Whether the issue is the nonexistent rape culture or the contempt neoliberals feel over private gun ownership, their irrational fears are not our concern. Why should any individual relinquish his liberties in the name of placating frightened nobodies?
Demand that banksters respect your inherent individual rights: Banksters message is that there is no such thing as inherent rights or liberties and that all rights are arbitrary and subject to the whims of the group or the state. This is false. I have written extensively in the past on inherent rights, inborn psychological contents and natural law, referencing diverse luminaries, scientists and thinkers, including Thomas Aquinas, Carl Gustave Jung, Steven Pinker, etc., and I welcome readers to study my many articles on individualism. Freedom is an inborn conception with universally understood aspects. Period. No group or collective is more important than individual liberty. No artificial society has preeminence over the individuals within that society. As long as a person is not directly impeding the life, liberty, prosperity and privacy of another person, he should be left alone.
Maintain your rights as long as they do not hurt other people: PC cultists will invariably argue that every person, whether he knows it or not, is indirectly harming others with his attitude, his beliefs, his refusal to associate, even his very breathing. "We live in a society", they say, "and everything we do affects everyone else...". Dont take such accusations seriously; these people do not understand how freedom works.
Say, for instance, hypothetically, that I refuse to bake a gay wedding cake for a couple and I am accused of violating their rights in the name of preserving my own. I would immediately point out that no one is entitled to a gay wedding cake, baked by me or anyone else and I have every right to choose my associations based on whatever criteria I see fit. Now, a corrupt government entity may claim I do not have that right. But the fact is I do, and no one not even government can force me to bake a cake if I dont want to. Also, I would point out that the gay couple in question has every right in a free society to bake their OWN damn cake or open their own cake shop to compete with mine. This is how freedom works. It is not based on collective entitlement; it is based on personal responsibility.
Refuse to deny the scientific fact of biological gender: Gender is first and foremost a genetic imperative. Society only partially determine gender roles; nature does the most. A man who chops up his body and takes hormone pills to look like a woman is not and will never be a woman. A woman who tapes down her breasts and gets a short haircut will never be a man. There is no such thing as transgendered people. No amount of social justice or wishful thinking will ever allow them to reverse their genetic proclivities. Their psychological and sexual leanings do not change their inborn biological reality.
By extension, we should refuse to play along with this nonsense. I will never refer to a man in a wig and dress as a woman. I will never refer to a woman with identity issues as transgendered. They are what nature made them, and we should not police our pronouns just to falsely reassure them that they can deny nature.
Deny both neoliberal idea of "greed is good" and the illusion of Utopian equality: "Greed is good" proved to be an effective instrument of destruction of the USA society in just 35 years. Now we have "Dis-united States of America." Not the "United States of America." Like traffic light regulation perform a vital fuinction and removing vital regulations inflict a heavy price of the society. Opposite is also true: too much regulations also inflict a price. There is no such thing as pure social equality. It was never achieved in societies that try it, such as early the USSR. Society is not a homogeneous entity, it is an abstraction built around a group of unique individuals. Individuals can be naturally gifted, or naturally challenged. But there will always be some people who are more apt towards success than others and the success of the society depends of promoting such people to more important roles. Financial remuneration actually can pray here secondary role, but different in status is unavoidable. Primates-related concept of 'alpha male" is a precursor to social differentiation in human societies.
I have no problem whatsoever with the idea of equality of opportunity, which is exactly what we have in this country (except in the world of elitist finance which is purely driven by nepotism). I do have a problem with the lie of universal equality through engineered means.
Standards of success should not be lowered in order to accommodate the least skilled people to facilitate artificial parity. For example, I constantly hear the argument that more people with victim group status should be given greater representation in positions of influence and regard within our culture, from science and engineering, to media, to business CEO's, to politics, etc. The key word here is "given", rather than "earned". There is nothing wrong with one group of people excelling in a field more than another group, and there is nothing wrong with inequality when it comes to individual achievement. We must begin refusing to reward people for mediocrity and punishing success simply because the winners are not part of a designated victim group.
If you are a man, embrace your role: I am a man and cannot claim to know what specific solutions women should take to counter cultural Marxism. I would love to read an article written on the subject by a woman in the Liberty Movement. I will say that men in particular have a considerable task ahead in terms of their personal endeavors if they hope to repair the destruction of social justice.
For thousands of years, men have been the primary industrial force behind human progress. Today, they are relegated to cubicles and customer service, to video games and Web fantasies, to drug addictions and a lack of responsibility. If we have any chance of undoing the damage of cultural Marxism, modern men must take on their original roles as producers, inventors, entrepreneurs, protectors, builders and warriors once again. They should do this for their own benefit, and not for the validation of others.
You dont have to prove to anyone you do "manly things", just go out and do them. Most importantly, become dangerous. Men are meant to be dangerous beings. That does not mean we are meant to be indiscriminately violent (just as women arent meant to be indiscriminately violent), but we are supposed to be threatening to those who would threaten us. Modern society has NOT removed the need for masculinity and I believe people will begin realizing this the more our culture sinks into economic despair. Train in martial arts, learn tactical firearms handling, go hunting and dont take lip from people. In my opinion, every man should know how to kill things, even if he never plans on using those abilities.
Resist neoliberal brainwashing of your children: Its simple, if you dont want your kids propagandized, if you truly want them to be free from collectivist conditioning, then you will make the sacrifice and extract them from public schooling. With the introduction of Common Core into U.S. schools in particular, there is no other recourse but home schooling to prevent the brainwashing of cultural Marxism. If you do not do this, you are relying on the hope that your children will escape with their critical thinking abilities intact. Some do, and some dont. Others turn into mindless social justice zombies. You can give them an advantage by removing them from a poisonous environment, and that is what matters.
The insane lie that neoliberals seem to have conned themselves and others into believing is that their activism is somehow anti-establishment. In fact, social justice is constantly coddled and supported by the establishment.
From politicians to judges to media pundits to the blogosphere, the overwhelming majority of people in positions of traditional power (even in supposedly conservative circles) have been more than happy to become the enforcers of the neoliberal agenda (including "fake democratization" agenda). There is no establishment for the army of enforces of political correctness to fight; the establishment bias works vastly more in favor of their ideology than any other. Neoliberals ARE the establishment.
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgNo Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says
Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.
The New York Times sensationally headlines:
Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.
But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.
At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.
But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.
The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.
The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.
When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.
After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?
The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."
But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?
As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.
But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?
Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.
Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...
andIntelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.
How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?
If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?
Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.
Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.
Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink
Aug 08, 2020 | www.rt.com
Following an investigative report the paper of record has revealed that business owners who were stuck in the Capitol Hill Organised Protest 'aren't so sure about abolishing the police'. No sh*t Sherlock.
The New York Times has done something distinctly out of character and actually produced some decent journalism. Taking a break from getting editors sacked for allowing Republican senators to write op-eds and forcing out the few remaining sane people on their staff for not quaffing the identity politics Cool-Aid enthusiastically enough, they dispatched a reporter to Seattle to pick through the remnants of the CHOP , a month after it closed.
The Capital Hill Organised Protest, formally CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), was the area of the city that, for 23 glorious days, declared independence from the United States. A bunch of Black Lives Matter and Antifa radicals hoofed out the police and decided to try and run the area as some sort of Marxist utopia. What they actually established was a gang run hellhole that made the Wild West look like Switzerland.
It wasn't described as such at the time of course. Seattle's mayor said the city was in for a "summer of love" and most of the left-wing press would have had you believe that it was pretty much a hippy commune full of free vegan food and urban collective farms.
The land of soy milk and honey was disbanded on July 1 and was duly eulogised by the usual suspects as basically an extended block party. A month on, the NY Times finally got around to sending a reporter to speak to the people who lived and worked in the area before the protestors moved in and produced an admittedly excellent piece of reportage on the situation. It was headlined, "Abolish the Police? Those Who Survived the Chaos in Seattle Aren't So Sure." The piece, as journalist Michael Tracey observed on Twitter, would have been dismissed as right-wing propaganda just a month ago and shows that this little experiment in anarcho-communism was a million miles away from paradise.
To say they "aren't sure" has to be the understatement of the year. The picture painted by the residents is one of gangs of armed thugs running protection rackets and widespread vandalism. The first person mentioned in the piece, a gay man of Middle Eastern extraction named Faizel Khan, reveals that to get to the coffee shop he runs he had to get permission from "gun wielding white men" who at one point barricaded him and all his customers in the store.
Mr Khan's experiences during these three and a bit weeks of lawlessness were so horrendous that he and a host of other small business owners, described as "lonely voices in progressive areas," are suing Seattle after the local police force refused to respond to their calls for the duration of the CHOP. And as the litany of horrors they were subjected to is laid bare in the NY Times article, it is not hard to see why.
Another character we meet in this saga is Rick Hearns. In his pre-CHOP days, Mr Hearns was a security guard for many years, but after the police vacated the area (their precinct was taken over by protesters and then promptly set on fire) he became part of the "Black Lives Matter Community Patrol". This patrol had locals "pay for their protection." Now what other organisation does that remind you of? If you can't think of it, may I suggest you watch virtually any Martin Scorsese movie and I think you'll get the picture.
It doesn't sound like they were particularly good at ensuring community cohesion either, considering six people were shot under their jurisdiction and two of them died. Interestingly, since they were replacing the "institutionally racist" police force, (run by a black woman incidentally but why let facts spoil it) one of the victims was a black teenager.
Observers also noted that rather than being a multi-racial melting pot of equality, the CHOP turned into a "white occupation" as the numbers of Antifa activists began to outnumber the BLM protesters. They also established "black only segregated areas" within the CHOP, making it frightening similar to the Confederacy, which also, coincidentally, seceded from the union. Oh, and they had a Warlord, Raz from CHAZ, too, just as an icing on the cake.
Quite why these so-called activists felt the need to see how anarchy turns out in a world where Somaila exists is beyond me, and frankly any sane person who is even vaguely aware of history. I'm sure if they'd managed to get hold of the port it wouldn't have been long before they decided to give piracy on the high seas a try, but alas they didn't have the time.
This just makes the tone of the NY Times piece all the more baffling. While it does chart the horrors of the zone well, framing the notion of "abolishing the police" as anything other than irredeemably stupid is frankly ridiculous. I suppose they do deserve praise for finally telling the story, but in no way does it make up for the way they have fomented and given succour to the absurd and dangerous ideas that gave rise to the CHOP for so long.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall 7 Aug, 2020 22:11 Get short URL
Aug 08, 2020 | www.msn.com
Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says Julian E. Barnes 4 hrs ago
Trump falsely claims coronavirus is "disappearing" and Russia Coronavirus updates: School district says 100 students, staff positive for COVID-19 Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
WASHINGTON -- Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.© Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in Wilmington, Del. A new intelligence assessment said Russia continues to interfere in the election on President Trump's behalf, while China prefers Mr. Biden.
At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.
But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.
Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter
The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.
The White House has objected in the past to conclusions that Moscow is working to help Mr. Trump, and Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed growing concern that the intelligence agencies are not being forthright enough about Russia's preference for him and that the agencies are introducing China's anti-Trump stance to balance the scales.© Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times Trump supporters in Ohio on Thursday, during the president's visit to a factory in Clyde.
The assessment appeared to draw a distinction between what it called the "range of measures" being deployed by Moscow to influence the election and its conclusion that China prefers that Mr. Trump be defeated.
It cited efforts coming out of pro-Russia forces in Ukraine to damage Mr. Biden and Kremlin-linked figures who "are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television."
China, it said, has so far signaled its position mostly through increased public criticism of the administration's tough line on China on a variety of fronts.
An American official briefed on the intelligence said it was wrong to equate the two countries. Russia, the official said, is a tornado, capable of inflicting damage on American democracy now. China is more like climate change, the official said: The threat is real and grave, but more long term.
Democratic lawmakers made the same point about the report, which also found that Iran was seeking "to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country" ahead of the general election.
"Unfortunately, today's statement still treats three actors of differing intent and capability as equal threats to our democratic elections," Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement.
Asked about the report during a news conference on Friday night at his golf club in New Jersey, Mr. Trump said, "The last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have." He said that if Mr. Biden won the presidency, "China would own our country."
Aides and allies of Mr. Biden assailed Mr. Trump, saying that he had repeatedly sided with President Vladimir V. Putin on whether Russia had intervened to help him in 2016 and that he had been impeached by the House for trying to pressure Ukraine into helping him undercut Mr. Biden.
"Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly invited, emboldened and even tried to coerce foreign interference in American elections," said Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to the former vice president.
It is not clear how much China is doing to interfere directly in the presidential election. Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent days that much of Beijing's focus is on state and local races. But Mr. Evanina's statement on Friday suggested China was on weighing an increased effort.
"Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration's Covid-19 response, closure of China's Houston Consulate and actions on other issues," Mr. Evanina said.
Mr. Evanina pointed to growing tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea, Hong Kong autonomy, the TikTok app and other issues. China, officials have said, has also tried to collect information on the presidential campaigns, as it has in previous contests.
The release on Friday was short on specifics, but that was largely because the intelligence community is intent on trying to protect its sources of information, said Senator Angus King, the Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
"The director has basically put the American people on notice that Russia in particular, also China and Iran, are going to be trying to meddle in this election and undermine our democratic system," said Mr. King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Intelligence officials said there was no way to avoid political criticism when releasing information about the election. An official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the goal was not to rank order threats and that Russia, China and Iran all pose a danger to the election.
Fighting over the intelligence reports, the official said, only benefits adversaries trying to sow divisions.
While both Beijing and Moscow have a preference, the Chinese and Russian influence campaigns are very different, officials said.
Outside of a few scattered examples, it is hard to find much evidence of intensifying Chinese influence efforts that could have a national effect.
Much of what China is doing currently amounts to using its economic might to influence local politics, officials said. But that is hardly new. Beijing is also using a variety of means to push back on various Trump administration policies, including tariffs and bans on Chinese tech companies, but those efforts are not covert and it is unclear if they would have an effect on presidential politics.
Russia, but not China, is trying to "actively influence" the outcome of the 2020 election, said the American official briefed on the underlying intelligence.
"The fact that adversaries like China or Iran don't like an American president's policies is normal fare," said Jeremy Bash, a former Obama administration official. "What's abnormal, disturbing and dangerous is that an adversary like Russia is actively trying to get Trump re-elected."
Russia tried to use influence campaigns during 2018 midterm voting to try to sway public opinion, but it did not successfully tamper with voting infrastructure.
Mr. Evanina said it would be difficult for adversarial countries to try to manipulate voting results on a large scale. But nevertheless, the countries could try to interfere in the voting process or take steps aimed at "calling into question the validity of the election results."
The new release comes on the heels of congressional briefings that have alarmed lawmakers, particularly Democrats. Those briefings have described a stepped-up Chinese pressure campaign, as well as efforts by Moscow to paint Mr. Biden as corrupt.
"Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process," Mr. Evanina said in a statement.
The statement called out Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia member of Ukraine's Parliament who has been involved in releasing information about Mr. Biden. Intelligence officials said he had ties to Russian intelligence.
Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent weeks on details of the Russian efforts to tarnish Mr. Biden as corrupt, prompting senior Democrats to request more information.
A Senate committee led by Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, has been leading an investigation of Mr. Biden's son Hunter Biden and his work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm. Some intelligence officials have said that a witness the committee was seeking to call was a witting or unwitting agent of Russian disinformation.
Democrats had pushed intelligence officials to release more information to the public, arguing that only a broad declassification of the foreign interference attempts can inoculate voters against attempts by Russia, China or other countries to try to influence voting.
In meetings on Capitol Hill , Mr. Evanina and other intelligence officials have expanded their warnings beyond Russia and have included China and Iran, as well. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put Mr. Evanina in charge of election security briefings to Congress and the campaigns.
Intelligence and other officials in recent days have been stepping up their releases of information about foreign interference efforts, and the State Department has sent texts to cellphones around the world advertising a $10 million reward for information on would-be election hackers.
How effective China's campaign or Russia's efforts to smear Mr. Biden as corrupt have been is not clear. Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.
The first reactions from Capitol Hill to the release of the assessment were positive. A joint statement by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee praised it, and asked colleagues to refrain from politicizing Mr. Evanina's statement.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the acting Republican chairman of the committee, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman, said they hoped Mr. Evanina continued to make more information available to the public. But they praised him for responding to calls for more information.
"Evanina's statement highlights some of the serious and ongoing threats to our election from China, Russia, and Iran," the two men's joint statement said. "Everyone -- from the voting public, local officials, and members of Congress -- needs to be aware of these threats."
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.
Aug 08, 2020 | www.rt.com
Takes one to know one? New 'Russian disinformation' scare-sheet by State Department's propaganda arm is full of projection Helen Buyniski
is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23 6 Aug, 2020 12:42 Get short URL
Aug 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Aug 4 2020 0:59 utc | 21
The Guardian is running a more sophisticated version of the story. It claims the Russians hacked the papers and gave them to Jeremy Corbyn so he could win the General Elections of December 2019:
Russians hacked Liam Fox's personal email to get US-UK trade dossierThe stolen documents – a 451-page dossier of emails – ultimately ended up in the hands of Jeremy Corbyn during last winter's election campaign after Russian actors tried to disseminate the material online.
They had been posted on the social media platform Reddit and brought to the attention of the then Labour leader's team. Corbyn said the documents revealed the NHS "was on the table" in trade talks with the US.
Details of Russia's targeting of Fox's emails were first revealed on Monday by Reuters, which said his account was accessed several times between 12 July and 21 October last year. It was unclear if the documents were obtained when the staunch leave supporter was still trade secretary; he was dropped by Boris Johnson on 24 July.
However, it still is keeping the earliest date as July 12th, thus reproducing the entire Reuters' version.
My guess is that The Guardian adapted the story to its center-left (i.e. Blairite) audience, in a way both Corbyn and the Conservative and Unionist Party could be melded together as a single evil force. If that's the case, then it is circumstantial evidence for a highly and centrally coordinated propaganda machine in the UK, possibly ran directly from the MI5/6, which directly involves all the important British newspapers, TV channels and more.
It's interesting to see how The Guardian sophisticated the clearly fake story. In the excerpt I quoted above, it is clear the source of the leak could've only been secretary Fox (or Fox served as the sacrificial lamb, it doesn't matter for the sake of the argument here).
Then, it connected Fox's leak with Raab's public accusation of Russia (that story where he accused Russia in the name of the British government, but didn't reveal the evidence).
To end with a high note, the Guardian then revived a story of hacked e-mails from 2012 and 2017.
You can then see how the British are capable of recycling old, failed propaganda attacks/fake news to transform then into a new "truth". Very curious and sophisticated methodology of building a long-term, sustained, false narrative. It almost mirrors the Christian method of typology, where a previous event is brought up from oblivion to serve as a prelude for the new event (i.e. the newest fake news).
Richard Steven Hack , Aug 4 2020 1:08 utc | 22Richard Steven Hack , Aug 4 2020 1:12 utc | 24
"The attack bore the hallmarks of a state-backed operation."
There is no such thing.
Look at the Twitter hack last week. Everyone said "must be some sophisticated actor, possibly state-sponsored". Turns out it was a 17-year-old in Florida. That has happened repeatedly in the last ten years or more: hacks that looked "sophisticated" turned out to be done by a single individual. People forget that some organized crime hacker groups earn millions of dollars from their hacks and can afford to put quite an effort into the development of sophisticated hacking tools that are the equal of anything a state intelligence agency can produce.
People in infosec know the truth: it's not that hard to compromise any corporation or individual. And "attribution by target" - that is, the notion that because a particular person or organization is government or media, therefore it has to be a state-related hacker - is completely false. *Any* hacker will hit *any* target that provides 1) a challenge, and/or 2) personal identification information, and/or intellectual property that can be sold on the Dark Web.
Only situations where specialized knowledge that is not commonly available to individuals or civilian groups was used in the hack can clearly indicate a state actor. Stuxnet is the classic example, requiring access to and the ability to test the malware with specific pieces of hardware that aren't commonly available to persons outside of industrial or nuclear engineering.
Stealing some papers from a government individual off his phone or home or office desktop is almost trivial in comparison.Richard Steven Hack , Aug 4 2020 1:21 utc | 25
"his account was accessed several times between 12 July and 21 October"
So for three months they did nothing to fix his security? Good work, guys...you're fired. This is typical - hackers sitting in a corporation's network for months or even years without being detected. It's likely they didn't even notice the unauthorized access until they decided to look back. Not to mention that a government worker isn't supposed to be using "personal email" to host classified information. So the idiot involved should be fired.
Typical infosec clusterfuck. That's assuming it happened at all, of course, which is doubtful.
Well, lost two post due to the VPN being on...sigh...
OK, to quote the old British comedy radio show, "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again"...
"...the attack bore the hallmarks of a state-backed operation."
There is no such thing. *Any* hacker will hack *any* target provided it provides 1) a challenge, and/or 2) personal identification information, and/or 3) intellectual property, the latter two being sold on the Dark Web. Trying to attribute the hacker based on his target is a fool's game - not that there is any lack of fools in the infosec space who use such attribution as marketing, such as CrowdStrike.
Then there's the fact that this guy's account was accessed several times over a three-month period - meaning no one was monitoring his email security, least of all him. Not to mention that he was passing classified papers over a personal email account - which should get him fired. Email is *insecure*, period, unless encrypted between the parties involved. And even then, you just compromise one party's desktop, laptop or phone, and bingo, encryption bypassed. And compromising an individual's or organization's email system is not particularly hard, as any penetration tester knows. One phishing email targeted to the right person usually does it.
Aug 03, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Maritimer , August 1, 2020 at 4:39 am
" have covered up British government lying on the Skripal blood testing and the Novichok evidence."
From Fool Me Once, Twice University:
"Sir Reginald, how is the Covid 19 vaccine propaganda campaign shaping up?"
Plague Species , August 1, 2020 at 10:24 am
I have a comment that was moderated in the vaccine thread that speaks to this. Some yahoo claimed that those engaged in the vaccine hype are on the up and up and have the same motivation all of us unwashed have for an effective and affordable vaccine.
These are the people in charge and we're to believe they are on the up and up and have our best interests at heart -- that they are magnanimous people with the utmost integrity? Yeah, no, I don't think so.
The irony is, a vaccine gone wrong, because caveat emptor is now the rule of the day, will be the REAL Novichok writ large on the world at large.
Steven Tooge , August 1, 2020 at 5:02 am
Okay, so what killed Dawn Sturgess?
John A , August 1, 2020 at 7:34 am
Drug overdose most probably. She was hastily cremated, just to make sure there were no subsequent autopsies.
Susan the other , August 1, 2020 at 11:13 am
So the story about the "perfume bottle" was as fictitious as it sounded? I wonder about the rumors that the Skripals were knocked out with fentanyl might be true.
Olga , August 1, 2020 at 11:47 am
It always seemed to me that Dawn S was just an afterthought. A woman, who was known to use drugs, died (unclear how) – and wouldn't it just help our case if we linked it to Skripals' troubles? The story of a sealed perfume bottle – which seemed to have no effect on her partner – was always something out of an Alice-in- Wonderland narrative.
And to think that there is a whole department, somewhere in the bowels of MI6 – that is paid to come up with such nonsense.
Lies, upon lies, upon more lies. My first reaction on seeing Helmer's report last week was 'et tu, FT-us?' There simply is not a single western media outlet that can be trusted not to lie.
And if anyone is still confused – just think about this: where are the Skripals? We've not seen or heard of them in about two years. Julia is a Russian citizen – who seems to have been kidnapped by another govt (UK). Imagine if Russians had done something like that.
cirsium , August 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm
contaminated batch of drugs – the local police were issuing warnings to drug addicts. See John Helmer's post
John A , August 1, 2020 at 5:31 am
Funnily enough, this is not a big enough bombshell to alert British msm to report it.
Acacia , August 1, 2020 at 5:53 am
So, they lied, then lied about lying, then lost track of their own lies, and then lied about that too.
And now the story is "who are the 'moles' that exposed the lies about the lies?".
Susan the other , August 1, 2020 at 11:15 am
And as usual we will only have to wait for some appropriate amount of time to pass before we get the next British rendition of the story. It'll be a good one because it's possible the British could be dragged into the Hague for this, isn't it?
Ramon , August 2, 2020 at 7:57 am
Delay and delay until people say "who are the Skripals?" Already people are saying "what's the Steele dossier?" (Just googled Steele, comes at 16th place, page two)
David , August 1, 2020 at 7:32 am
"Austria officially confirmed this week that the British Government's allegation that Novichok, a Russian chemical warfare agent, was used in England by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, in March 2018, was a British invention."
Er, OK, could we perhaps have a link to this official confirmation, or at least a summary of what the Austrian government is supposed to have said? Otherwise it's just an assertion without any evidence.
Helmer seems a bit confused. All the article says is that it's been established by the bar-code that the ultimate source of the copy of the OPCW report used by the FT was the Austrians , who as a state party would routinely have received a copy of the report. Since the FT presumably wanted to protect their sources they obscured the origins. And since it's highly unlikely the whoever leaked a copy of the report would have handed it directly to the FT (why would they?) it's likely that it came through intermediaries. He doesn't claim to have seen the report himself, and in the long and complicated story of his to which he links simply quotes an anonymous "expert" who hasn't seen the report either. Bricks wthout straw
It was obvious at the time, and still is, that there was something weird about the Skripal affair, but this doesn't get us any further forward, I'm afraid.
Zamfir , August 1, 2020 at 9:49 am
I am confused as well. The oe24 website doesn't say anything about the contents of the report, and does not say that Austria wrote the report, or that Austria did their own research.
All it says is that Marsalek had the Austrian copy of the document.
Light Rue , August 1, 2020 at 9:55 am
John Helmer seems to spend a lot of words dancing around so that he can selectively quote the the following two paragraphs:
The OPCW's findings confirm the United Kingdom's analysis of the identity of the toxic chemical. It supports our finding that a military grade nerve agent of a type known as Novichok was used in Salisbury. DSTL, our laboratories at Porton Down, established the highest concentrations of the agent were found on the handle of Mr Skripal's front door.
But of course, while the identification of the nerve agent used is an essential piece of technical evidence in our investigation, neither DSTL's analysis, nor the OPCW's report, identifies the country or laboratory of origin of the agent used in this attack.So let me also set out the wider picture, which leads the United Kingdom to assess that there is no plausible alternative explanation for what happened in Salisbury than Russian State responsibility. We believe that only the Russian Federation had the technical means, operational experience, and the motive to target the Skripals.
I.e. Everyone involved is confident Novichok was used, but they were unable to track it to a specific Russian lab. Given all the other evidence, this is hardly exculpatory, nor is it contradictory, unless there have previously been high-profile claims that the specific source of the Novichok was identified. Checking Wikipedia and sources back in 2018 finds multiple statements, including from the UK government, that they had not be able to track down the exact source of the nerve agent.
Harry , August 1, 2020 at 11:12 am
My reading of Mr Helmer's piece is that he is claiming the Lab report did not confirm the presence of a Novichuk type chemical.
From memory, I recall the Russian MFA claiming the Lab report actually specified BZ, another chemical from a different family of chemicals.
It would be good if the ambiguity were removed.
Susan the other , August 1, 2020 at 11:23 am
That's how I read it as well. The Austrians reported that they found no traces of Novichok or other nerve agent in the Skripals' blood samples. At that point, you'd think, they would have run further tests to determine what agent was involved. The smartest poison would have been one that left no trace. So that lets out the "technical means" of the Russian state – it clearly was never needed.
Zamfir , August 1, 2020 at 11:46 am
But that's the weird thing. Helmer says:
"Austria officially confirmed this week that the British Government's allegation that Novichok, a Russian chemical warfare agent, was used in England by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, in March 2018, was a British invention."
But his only link is the Oe24 website, and it does not say anything like that. It only says that the Austrian government had a copy of the OPCW report, and this particular copy was leaked to Marsalek.
The Oe24 website does not say anything about the content of that report, and it does not say that the Austria government did any research of their own.
Perhaps Helmer has other sources, but I can't find them. In particular, I would have expected a link to the official confirmation by the Austrian government, if there is such a thing
David , August 1, 2020 at 12:17 pm
I don't think "the Austrians" have played any role in this at all, in spite of Helmer's confusing suggestions. As OPCW state parties they would have received a copy of the report. That's it. The OE24 story is just that their own copy leaked in some way, which is embarrassing for the Austrian government since these reports are confidential. But there's no suggestion that the Austrians played any other role, or even that they could have if they wanted to. (Why would they?).
To answer your question properly, you'd need an organic chemist who was a specialist in nerve agents. Remember that "Novichok" is not a nerve agent: it just means something like "new one", and is the generic name for at least five known nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union before the end of the Cold War. Each presumably has common characteristics but also differences, and you'd need an expert to tell you what traces they leave, how fast these traces decay, and so on. It may simply have been that, whilst the symptoms of the Skripals were consistent with the use of one or more of the agents, it couldn't be shown clearly exactly what the agent was. Certainly the careful statements of the UK government at the time would support that interpretation.
Don't forget by the way that the Russians, as OPCW state parties, would have a copy of the report, and may have decided that it would suit their interests if it became public in some roundabout manner.
Harry , August 1, 2020 at 10:14 am
I asked Helmer on his own website for the same. There is one step missing from the argument – the content of the OPCW memo. Apparently Helmer in another piece quotes a chemist who appears to have seen the document and says the FT could not have had material which confirmed the British government story. But we are not in a position to judge for ourselves.
The way the other piece reads, the memo may be on the Austrian newspapers website. But when I clicked on the link I could not find it. Quite often, sensitive links like this are moved to prevent a snowjob falling apart. So its possible Helmer might have linked to it and the link was moved. But I cannot say.
However I have to disagree regarding whether this adds information. The FT presented their story to make it appear the document had been leaked by the Russians. They didnt obscure the source, they misrepresented it. Curiouser still is the involvement of the FT Russian correspondent.
But I suspect this is just one installment in the story. I await Mr. Helmer's clarification.
Harry , August 1, 2020 at 10:26 am
This is the key phrase
"The Austrian copy of the OPCW file now confirms this was a misrepresentation of the chemical formula and other evidence the OPCW had gathered."
Is it possible to show us this?
Kurt Sperry , August 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm
It was obvious at the time, and still is, that there was something weird about the Skripal affair, but this doesn't get us any further forward, I'm afraid.
Quite, my reaction as well.
johnson , August 1, 2020 at 7:40 pm
Agreed. The level of reporting here fails to even clear the bar of "anonymous people close to the matter" sourcing that we would be excoriating mainstream media for: he doesn't offer us the contents of the report, or claim to have seen it, or even provide testimony of someone who does claim to have seen it. Helmer comes off, at best, as a crank, and at worst intentionally obfuscatory. Is this typical of his work?
shtove , August 1, 2020 at 7:38 am
Strange report, dancing around the substance underlying its allegation – that the report showed no evidence of novichok.
Mr. House , August 1, 2020 at 7:46 am
Yes yes we lied about that, and that, and yes that, oh and also that, but this time we are telling the TRUTH!
a different chris , August 1, 2020 at 10:08 am
This is my favorite along those lines:
>The leak had been an "explosive secret betrayal"
Letting the unwashed get the truth is a "betrayal" to them. Ok, got it.
jefemt , August 1, 2020 at 9:59 am
Another Paywalled Rag .. WSJ and NYT come to mind
Integrity in the 4th Estate. Clutch yer pearls and ponder the misinformation EVERYWHERE
Hubert Horan , August 1, 2020 at 10:12 am
FYI Dan McCrum, the FT reporter Helmer says was part of the cover up, is also the reporter who broke the recent Wirecard story
Harry , August 1, 2020 at 10:16 am
Absolutely Mr. Horan. Which makes perfect sense given the hedge fund analyst who alerted the FT to the docs was a Wirecard short.
The Rev Kev , August 1, 2020 at 10:48 am
What's the bet that in a coupla years, that there will be a showcase trial of some Russians like they are doing in the Netherlands at the moment over the MH17 shoot down. You would think that being in the same country that they could do it through the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Only problem here is that they cannot stop the accused giving evidence in defence but they can through these show trials. To think that the OPCW had such a great reputation just a few years ago but now they have been corrupted.
Meanwhile in Oz, I see advertised on TV a three-part series coming here called "The Salisbury Poisoning." I can hardly wait-
Alex Cox , August 1, 2020 at 12:05 pm
The series is produced by the BBC and The Guardian. Craig Murray has done a thorough takedown of all three episodes on his site.
KMD , August 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Perhaps it's this one?
Craig Murray has been on this from the beginning. The official explanation(s) never made any sense.
stan6565 , August 1, 2020 at 4:01 pm
I have seen these two strange looking persons here in Esher, south west London. I don't know if they are he's or she's or them's but sure as fek they are evil russkies with their backpacks full of nasty substances.
Save for somewhat lighter facial and bodily complexion they are same as the beach vendors i encountered in Jamaica many years ago, who were not only offering ackee and fish but also a whole array of chemical mind altering substances as well as privileged access to all and any members of their supposed family, especially those of self declared female persuasion.
Synoia , August 1, 2020 at 6:59 pm
If you want to see many strange people I suggest Public Viewing in the House of Commons. Especially at question time.
km , August 1, 2020 at 10:57 am
But but but Bellingcat, which is a totally independent organization interested only in exposing the truth said that it was proven that Russia did it it with the super duper evil novichoks!
And if the official story doesn't quite hang together and the Skripals don't need to be "kept safe", then that begs the question of where are they?
stan6565 , August 1, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Madame Tussaud's is opening next week. The two Skripal drones are already there.
TimH , August 1, 2020 at 10:57 am
Aren't there treaties to not develop nerve agents? So not just the question of who supplied and administered the agent, but being caught at breaking the treaty?
JTMcPhee , August 1, 2020 at 11:45 am
Rules are for little people, not "state actors." "A fig for your treaty." Remember, of course, the sell substantiated comment that the US (and its imperial minions and lackeys" is/are not "agreement-capable."
Interesting, the rigorous and gimlet-eyed analysis being applied to Helmer's article. Too bad people who are doing that did not also apply the same rigor and skepticism to the "government" fish story
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." Evil CIA Director William Casey, Feb. 1981. https://amallulla.org/casey/
Parker Dooley , August 1, 2020 at 12:49 pm
"Innocent pesticide and anesthesiology research. How unfortunate that one of our candidate formulas turned out to be so toxic to humans."
David , August 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm
These agents were developed before the entry into force of the CWC, and it appears that they were deliberately designed to circumvent its likely provisions. According to various published sources, some of the agents were "binaries", ie they were agents which would be created in the field from precursors which would not themselves be subject to the Treaty. It has been suggested that they were developed hidden within a much larger agricultural pesticide programme. The old Soviet regime always drew a distinction between signing a Treaty (which was a political act) and implementing it, which was another matter. I doubt if much has changed in Moscow since then.
Stephen , August 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm
just to add to what appears to be the majority of posts on this matter -- I find the article from Helmer entirely unconvincing, and certainly doesn't supply any evidence, or reasoning, that would justify the view that the Brits claim of Russian use of a Novichock type agent on the Skripals "looks to have fallen apart"
Helmer's article was either very badly written, or very cleverly composed to give it the "look and feel" of a well researched and well footnoted article despite an underlying disconnect between evidence provided and verdict announced.
It's almost impossible to refute such an article, beyond returning it to the author for a rewrite.
I wouldn't go to the wall defending the Brits version of events, but at this point it hangs together WAY better than Mr. Helmer's article does
CanChemist , August 1, 2020 at 1:11 pm
For those interested in better understanding the agents in question, here's a link to a discussion at the time on a well known chemistry blog with chemistry commenters, In the Pipeline:
"A Poisoning in England: But Which Poison?"
Like other commenters I'm not exactly sure what is being asserted by whom here. But I would say generally, given the context of who the Skripals were and the timing with Russian signaling, not to mention the Russians having excellent chemistry capabilities, nobody I know in the chemistry community doubted it was the Russians. I'd struggle to believe they were set up. And if it were traced back conclusively to a Russian fingerprint, that would be a feature not a bug, to keep the expats in line.
harry , August 1, 2020 at 2:09 pm
1) The Uk has fairly good chemistry capabilities too. And so conveniently located
2) The timing was terrible for Russia. But excellent for the UK. Cui bono?
3) This article suggests that the chemical in question was not what was reported in the media. Its interesting that this material is not public domain. The Russians announced the confidential Lab analysis result was BZ. They were ignored. Naturally
4) The Skripals fed ducks by hand after leaving home. They gave bread to local children to feed the ducks. Neither the kids nor the ducks suffered any ill effects.
5) UK government timeline makes no sense
6) Dawn Sturgess' partner is adamant that the "perfume" he gave her was still in its cellophane wrap. There is no explanation for how it was there given the charity bin he took it from had been emptied several times.
7) A doctor at the local hospital wrote a letter to the Times disputing the notion of any poisoning in the area.
This list of inconsistencies is not complete. There are many others. Which is not to say i know what happened. Just that the story the UK told approximates impossible.
CanChemist , August 1, 2020 at 2:48 pm
I'll throw out a few points ;)
1. The UK is certainly capable. However these aren't synthetically difficult, the hard part is not killing yourself in the process.
2. I think it fits with Putin's messaging, and maybe they expected to pull this off like a heart attack or drug OD and the agent screwed up. Historically some of their foreign assassinations were designed to be written off as accidents or suicides.
3. Chemistry reporting is generally terrible so yes. And there are tons of things, not just chemical warfare but even mundane things like cosmetic formulations, that are not in the public domain. As a chemist I wouldn't believe what Russia said unless I'd heard it confirmed through the gravevine. In any case we certainly know it's a nerve agent, and therefore deliberate.
4. Agree that the delivery method isn't clear, but I don't find it hard to believe they came into contact with a sophisticated poison and that once that happened, we saw the result. There are a lot of ways to deliver a poison e.g. remember the ricin umbrella incident. I don't think the UK correctly figured it out.
5,6. I agree, and it's related to 4.
7. Honestly doctors are so generally underinformed that when chemists manage to poison themselves at work, someone else from the lab has to go with them to help the hospital understand how to treat. So I don't put any weight on this.
I think it's possible to agree that the UK story has issues, probably due to not having proper investigation by actual experts, without that eliminating the possibility of the Russian angle. The Russians have a long and storied history of poisoning dissidents in pretty dramatic ways in foreign countries this matches their pattern. Remember the polonium incident? That was messy and they didn't care. And if the UK was doing it 'in house' there would be a lot more pressure not to have collateral damage on a setup like this. Given that history, I think that invoking a setup takes a lot more evidence, when it's already credible that the Russians did it again given who Skripal was.
urblintz , August 1, 2020 at 5:07 pm
see comment below
btw, is your last name Clapper? Maybe Murray?
"If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election," he said. "And just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So, we were concerned." https://observer.com/2017/05/james-clapper-russia-xenophobia/
urblintz , August 1, 2020 at 5:10 pm
comment below should be here
is your last name Clapper? Maybe Murray?
CanChemist , August 1, 2020 at 5:33 pm
I'll clarify my statements and say that they are specific to the Russian government. I have personally had long working relationships with Russian scientists, and they are excellent scientists and people who are deservedly part of the international scientific community. Russian chemistry and physics are first rate.
And now here's two links I quickly pulled,
If you don't like these links, a Google search will show you there are a lot more than just a few people. The Russian government certainly has a track record with this, and I think it's fair to state this criticism publicly.
urblintz , August 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm
"The Russians have a long and storied history of poisoning dissidents in pretty dramatic ways in foreign countries"
links please and I'll need more than one about Litvinenko or the familiar Russo-phobic screed from a deranged British anti-communist still living in the '50's.
Alex , August 1, 2020 at 6:04 pm
No one has explained how the Scripals could have pure novichok on their hands for appox. 4hours feeling fine drinking in the Mill pub and then going for a meal in a Zizzi restaurant and then both very suddenly, a man twice the weight and age of his
daughter, together become. very ill at exactly the same moment
Oh and hey those professional Russian assasins stroll out of Salisbury station undesguised at about 11.30am knowing full well that CCT will catch them out and walk up to the Scripal M16 funded house on a Sunday lunchtime with the Scripals in at the time!
mauisurfer , August 1, 2020 at 9:30 pm
How likely is it that the first person to come to the aid of the Skripals just happened to be
Colonel Alison McCourt, chief nursing officer in the British Army. This fact was kept secret for months afterwards, and only came to be known through happenstance.
McCourt joined the Army in 1988 and became Chief Nursing Officer for the Army on February 1, 2018, just a month before the Skriprals' poisoning. She received the OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) honour from the Queen in 2015. The biography, which includes a posed photo of McCourt outside the prime minister's residence 10 Downing Street, notes, "Alison has deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Sierra Leone." Subsequent assignments include Officer Instructor at the Defence Medical Services Training Centre and a deployment to Kosovo as the Senior Nursing Officer for 33 Field Hospital in 2001. During that operational tour she was the in-theatre lead for the establishment of the joint UK/US hospital facility at Camp Bondsteel."
Sound of the Suburbs , August 2, 2020 at 3:43 am
I read the FT.
It's a neoliberal joke.
I enjoy making comments, giving an alternative explanation of events.
The funniest bit.
The curse of FT.
They always promote neoliberals and are convinced neoliberal leaders will bring success to a country.
It always turns into a disaster.
Sound of the Suburbs , August 2, 2020 at 3:57 am
Another amusing aspect is when they give the game away accidently.
The FT had graphs of growth over the years.
A quick glance revealed that growth was much higher in the Keynesian era, even in the 1970s.
The FT did a timeline of financial crises with each one marked by a vertical bar.
There were lots before the Keynesian era, and lots after the Keynesian era, but hardly any during the Keynesian era.
Surprisingly the FT journalist missed the obvious.
If they had realised they wouldn't have put the timeline in.
John A , August 2, 2020 at 6:31 am
Anybody coming new to the Skripal story could do worse than read this blog, which covers all the absurdities and improbabilities and impossibilities of the official British government story:
David , August 2, 2020 at 6:55 am
Well, we seem to have arrived at a consensus that Helmer has published a story with a click-bait title and introduction making accusations which he doesn't even try to substantiate. Either he's completely confused, or he's just publishing propaganda. Whichever, I won't take him seriously as a journalist any more: a pity, because some of the things he's written in the past have been quite informative.
mauisurfer , August 2, 2020 at 9:28 am
John A , August 2, 2020 at 10:36 am
I also disagree strongly.
'We seem to have arrived at a consensus..' 'We' is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting in your claim.
Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com
Reg Cæsar , says: July 31, 2020 at 10:51 pm GMT
The media could care less about the devastation and ruined lives.
No, they couldn't. It's impossible to care less than they do now.
If you water down your cynicism, you'll never understand these people.
Aug 02, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Austria Confirms OPCW Report On Skripal-Faking By The British, Exposes FT Lies & Cover-Up by Tyler Durden Sun, 08/02/2020 - 08:10 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
Authored by John Helmer via Dances With Bears blog,
Austria officially confirmed this week that the British Government's allegation that Novichok, a Russian chemical warfare agent, was used in England by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, in March 2018, was a British invention.
Investigations in Vienna by four Austrian government ministries, the BVT intelligence agency, and by Austrian prosecutors have revealed that secret OPCW reports on the blood testing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, copies of which were transferred to the Austrian government, did not reveal a Russian-made nerve agent.
Two reports, published in Vienna this week by the OE media group and reporter Isabelle Daniel, reveal that the Financial Times publication of the cover-page of one of the OPCW reports exposed a barcode identifying the source of the leaked documents was the Austrian government. The Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT), the domestic intelligence agency equivalent to MI5 or FBI, have corroborated the authenticity of the documents.
The Austrian disclosures also reveal that in London the Financial Times editor, Roula Khalaf, four of the newspaper's reporters, and the management of the Japanese-owned company have fabricated a false and misleading version of the OPCW evidence and have covered up British government lying on the Skripal blood testing and the Novichok evidence.
On Wednesday afternoon this week, OE24, a news portal of the OE media group in Vienna, broke the first story (lead image, right) that the barcode found on the OPCW document photograph published in London had been traced to several Austrian state ministries . The next day, OE political editor Isabelle Daniel reported the Austrian Foreign, Defence and Economics Ministries had received copies of the barcoded OPCW dossier, and that the Justice Ministry and prosecutors were investigating "potential moles".
Daniel also quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying its copy of the documents had been securely stored in its disarmament department safe, and that there were "no tips" the leak had come from there. Daniel also quoted a BVT spokesman as confirming the authenticity of the OPCW file had been verified. "We have checked it recently. Officially it has not come to us."
Left: Isabelle Daniel of OE, Vienna. Right, Roula Khalaf Razzouk, editor of the Financial Times since her recent appointment by the Nikkei group, the newspaper's owner. Her full name and concealment of her Lebanese political and business interests can be followed here . The names of the four Financial Times reporters who have participated in the misrepresentation and cover-up are Paul Murphy, investigations editor; Dan McCrum, a reporter; Helen Warrell, NATO correspondent; and Max Seddon of the Moscow bureau.
The leak had been an "explosive secret betrayal" and a criminal investigation was under way, OE24 reported. OE is a privately owned Austrian media group, based in Vienna. It publishes a newspaper, the news portal OE.at, radio and television.
The Financial Times report first exposing the OPCW documents appeared on July 9. Details of how the newspaper fabricated the interpretation the OPCW had corroborated Russian involvement in the Novichok attack can be read here . For the full Skripal story, read the book .
At an OPCW Executive Council meeting on April 14, 2018, five weeks after the Skripal attack, the British Government confirmed that a few days earlier "all States parties" had received copies of the OPCW dossier. This included Austria, as the Viennese sources now acknowledge.
"The OPCW responded promptly to our request to send their experts to the United Kingdom," declared Peter Wilson, the British representative to the OPCW on April 14, 2018.
"They conducted a highly professional mission. The OPCW's designated laboratories have also responded professionally and promptly. What the Director-General said was really important on this, and the Technical Secretariat's presentation shows how professional that work was. The report the Technical Secretariat presented to us on 11 April was thorough and methodical. The Technical Secretariat responded quickly to our request to share that report with all States Parties. All have had the chance to see the quality of that work."
Wilson went on to say:
"As you know, on 4 March Yulia and Sergei Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, with a chemical weapon, which United Kingdom experts established to be a Novichok. OPCW has now clearly verified those findings."
The Austrian copy of the OPCW file now confirms this was a misrepresentation of the chemical formula and other evidence the OPCW had gathered.
Wilson went on to conclude:
"the identification of the nerve agent used is an essential piece of technical evidence in our investigation, neither DSTL's [Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down] analysis, nor the OPCW's report, identifies the country or laboratory of origin of the agent used in this attack. So let me also set out the wider picture, which leads the United Kingdom to assess that there is no plausible alternative explanation for what happened in Salisbury than Russian State responsibility. We believe that only the Russian Federation had the technical means, operational experience, and the motive to target the Skripals."
The first qualifying sentence was the British truth; the conclusion was the British lie. The Austrian evidence now verifies there was no evidence of a Russian source in the blood and other test samples; no evidence of Novichok; and no evidence to corroborate the British allegations of a Russian chemical warfare attack.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
In its report, the Financial Times displayed a partial photograph of the cover-page of one of the OPCW documents in its possession (lead image, left). A classification stamp appears to be showing through the title page, but no barcode is visible. The London newspaper appears to have cropped the published picture so as to hide the barcode . That concealment -- proof of the Austrian source – allowed the newspaper reporters to claim the source of the document was unknown, probably Russian, as the headline implied: "Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek touted Russian nerve gas documents."
A British military source was reported as claiming "the documents were 'unlikely' to have come from OPCW member states in western Europe or the US." Khalaf and her reporters added: "The OPCW, which is based in The Hague, said this week that it was investigating the matter, but declined further comment. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment." With the barcode in their possession but hidden, they knew they were publishing a combination of disinformation and lies.
The disclosure of the barcode to the Austrians appears to have followed after they had requested it from Khalaf. She checked with her superiors in the newspaper management before handing it over. They believed they were doing so in secret.
It is not known if Motohiro Matsumoto , the Nikkei executive responsible for the London publishing company, was alerted and gave his authorization; he refuses to answer questions. Matsumoto, one of the five directors of Financial Times Ltd., is the general manager of Nikkei's global business division. He takes his running orders from Nikkei's chairman and a long-time media executive, Tsuneo Kita. Matsumoto replaced Hirotomo Nomura at the head of the Financial Times on March 25, 2020. When Nikkei bought the newspaper from Pearson Plc in 2015, Nikkei became its sole proprietor.
The Austrian press has yet to report how the barcode was obtained from the newspaper. Because the BVT and state prosecutors in Vienna are involved in their search for the "moles", it is likely they contacted their counterparts at MI5 and the Home Office, and that the newspaper agreed to hand over its copy of the OPCW file to the latter. The collaboration of the journalists with the secret services to falsify evidence against Moscow in the Novichok story remains a sensitive secret.
Khalaf has refused repeated requests for comment. Max Seddon, the newspaper's Moscow reporter, was also asked for additional information about the photograph of the cover-page. He will not answer.
Jul 31, 2020 | www.counterpunch.orgFacebook Twitter Reddit Email
The political success of Russiagate lies in the vanishing of American history in favor of a façade of liberal virtue. Posed as a response to the election of Donald Trump, a straight line can be drawn from efforts to undermine the decommissioning of the American war economy in 1946 to the CIA's alliance with Ukrainian fascists in 2014. In 1945 the NSC (National Security Council) issued a series of directives that gave logic and direction to the CIA's actions during the Cold War. That these persist despite the 'fall of communism' suggests that it was always just a placeholder in the pursuit of other objectives.
The first Cold War was an imperial business enterprise to keep the Generals, bureaucrats, and war materiel suppliers in power and their bank accounts flush after WWII. Likewise, the American side of the nuclear arms race left former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA to put their paranoid fantasies forward as assessments of Russian military capabilities. Why, of all people, would former Nazi officers be put in charge military intelligence if accurate assessments were the goal? The Nazis hated the Soviets more than the Americans did.
The ideological binaries of Russiagate -- for or against Donald Trump, for or against neoliberal, petrostate Russia, define the boundaries of acceptable discourse to the benefit of deeply nefarious interests. The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences.
The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. Furthermore, Steinem's aggressive ignorance of the actual history of the CIA illustrates the liberal propensity to conflate bourgeois dress and attitude with an imagined gentility . To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so?
On the American left, Russiagate is treated as a case of bad reporting, of official outlets for government propaganda serially reporting facts and events that were subsequently disproved. However, some fair portion of the American bourgeois, the PMC that acts in supporting roles for capital, believes every word of it. Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business.
Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world.
By the time that (Senator) John F. Kennedy claimed a U.S. 'missile gap' with the Soviets in 1958, the CIA was providing estimates of Soviet ICBMs (Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles), that were wildly inflated -- most likely provided to it by the Gehlen Organization. Once satellite and U2 reconnaissance estimates became available, the CIA lowered its own to 120 Soviet ICBMs when the actual number was four . On the one hand, the Soviets really did have a nuclear weapons program. On the other, it was a tiny fraction of what was being claimed. Bad reporting, unerringly on the side of larger military budgets, appears to be the constant.
Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered.
The historical sequence in the U.S. was WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, to an economy that was heavily dependent on war production. The threatened decommissioning of the war economy in 1946 was first met with an honest assessment of Soviet intentions -- the Soviets were moving infrastructure back into Soviet territory as quickly as was practicable, then to the military budget-friendly claim that they were putting resources in place to invade Europe. The result of the shift was that the American Generals kept their power and the war industry kept producing materiel and weapons. By 1948 these weapons had come to include atomic bombs.
To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind.
What ties the Gehlen Organization to CIA estimates of Soviet nuclear weapons from 1948 – 1958 is 1) the Gehlen Organization was central to the CIA's intelligence operations vis-à-vis the Soviets, 2) the CIA had limited alternatives to gather information on the Soviets outside of the Gehlen Organization and 3) the senior leadership of the U.S. military had long demonstrated that it approved of exaggerating foreign threats when doing so enhanced their power and added to their budgets. Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War.
Where this gets interesting is that American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was working for the Rand Corporation in the late 1950s and early 1960s when estimates of Soviet ICBMs were being put forward. JFK had run (in 1960) on a platform that included closing the Soviet – U.S. ' missile gap .' The USAF (U.S. Air Force), charged with delivering nuclear missiles to their targets, was estimating that the Soviets had 1,000 ICBMs. Mr. Ellsberg, who had limited security clearance through his employment at Rand, was leaked the known number of Soviet ICBMs. The Air Force was saying 1,000 Soviet ICBMs when the number confirmed by reconnaissance satellites was four.
By 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA had shifted nominal control of the Gehlen Organization to the BND, for whom Gehlen continued to work. Based on ongoing satellite reconnaissance data, the CIA was busy lowering its estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provided an account, apparently informed by the CIA's lowered estimates, where he placed the whole of the Soviet nuclear weapons program (in 1962) at roughly one-ninth the size of the U.S. effort. However, given Ellsberg's known count of four Soviet ICBMs at the time of the missile crisis, even Schwarz's ratio of 1:9 seems to overstate Soviet capabilities.
Further per Schwarz's reporting, the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the U.S. had placed in Italy prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis only made sense as first-strike weapons. This interpretation is corroborated by Daniel Ellsberg , who argues that the American plan was always to initiate the use of nuclear weapons (first strike). This made JFK's posture of equally matched contestants in a geopolitical game of nuclear chicken utterly unhinged. Should this be less than clear, because the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith.
The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was met with a promised reduction in U.S. military spending and an end to the Cold War, neither of which ultimately materialized. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control .
The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948.
That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges.
Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?'
The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act came about in part because Nazi hunters kept coming across Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. who told them they had been brought here and given employment by the CIA, CIC, or some other division of the Federal government. If the people in these agencies thought that doing so was justified, why the secrecy? And if it wasn't justified, why was it done? Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. Cue the Sex Pistols .
Aug 02, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"James Murdoch, the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has resigned from the board of News Corporation citing "disagreements over editorial content".
In a filing to US regulators, he said he also disagreed with some "strategic decisions" made by the company.
The exact nature of the disagreements was not detailed.
... ... ..,
I watch a lot of TeeVee news on all the major networks including the two Foxnews channels.
It has become apparent to me over the last year or so that there is an internal ideology contest at Fox between the hard core conservatives like Dobbs. Carlson, Mark Levin, Bartiromo, Degan McDowell, etc. and a much more liberal set of people like Chris Wallace, Cavuto and the newer reporters at the White House. I expect that the departure of James Murdoch will result in more uniformly conservative reporting and commentary on Fox. I say that presuming that James Murdoch was a major force in trying to push Foxnews toward the left.
I am surprised that Murdoch sent his son to Harvard. pl
Deap , 01 August 2020 at 12:19 PMDeap , 01 August 2020 at 12:22 PM
Been noticing a lot of irresponsible reporting of late in the WSJ - not on the opinion page, but in some pretty sloppy reporting with a lot of editorial bias in what is included and what is intentionally left out.
Case in point, reporting today on the newly disclosed Ghisline Maxwell documents only mentioned Prince Andrew and not a word about Bill Clinton . Doesn't WSJ know its readers draw from multiple media sources that have provided original content? Everyday there are several similar, bias by omission, articles.
One can only hope newly constituted management team will finally get rid of Peggy Noonan.
I believe James Murdoch was part of the "we are all gonna die in <11 years" Green New Deal school of thought.
Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Aug 1 2020 2:36 utc | 55
juliania @Aug1 1:58 #51the Skripals being triple spies
Well, I actually disagree with this part.
John Helmer thinks Skripal was going to bring back to Russia info related to Porton Down and military secrets.
But I suspect that Skripal was actually the true "primary sub-source" for Steele's "dirty dossier" (I've voiced this suspicion several times now at moa). I think Skripal knew that that material in the dossier was false and that it was MEANT to be false. Because it was intended to throw shade on Russia without actually tarnishing Trump.
Why would Hillary and the Democrats want a dossier that wasn't true? Trick question! CIA wanted to elect Trump as a nationalist President that would counter Russia and China. Hillary was almost certainly in on it - along with other top US officials (each of whom feel it was the patriotic thing to do).
IMO Skripal was probably trying to run back to Russia. Not necessary to bring British secrets but because he didn't feel safe because he knew too much about the operation to elect Trump.
That's my conspiracy theory -story and I'm stickin' to it! LOL. Until/unless there's info that disproves it.
Aug 01, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
ARIUSARMENIAN July 31, 2020 at 3:39 pm
The US MSM is a giant propaganda machine used by the elites to control major narratives in the heads of the public. They have learned the lesson well from the British and US Empires: divide and conquer – keep the people in fear and hatred fighting with each other so the elites can continue to acquire more power and money and wars while they drop crumbs to the people.
The elites have bought off everything in the US – that is the gift of turbo charged capitalist neoliberal economics which went on a privatization tear after the end of Cold War v1.
They made millions on the outsourcing of jobs and industry to Asia but now that the pickings are getting slim and China is going its own way they are running demonization narratives on China to march the American people into another Cold War while they make more millions (since they are still the insiders pushing the buttons).
And most Americans are just childlike and ignorant enough to march along blaming China for their jobs going overseas. This will go on until US elites have turned America into a dried out husk.
Jul 31, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Jul 31 2020 14:39 utc | 3
John Helmer continues his superb reporting and commentary. He is truly amazing.
- PICK-AXING THROUGH LIES, SLUICING ILLUSIONS
- AUSTRIA CONFIRMS OPCW REPORT ON SKRIPAL FAKING BY THE BRITISH
- SECOND SKRIPAL PLOTTER HAS BEEN OUSTED
Jul 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
WARREN July 27, 2020 at 10:07 am
UK 'Russia report' fear-mongers about meddling yet finds no evidence
10,974 views•25 Jul 2020
Pushback with Aaron Maté
A long-awaited UK government report finds no evidence of Russian meddling in British domestic politics, including the 2016 Brexit vote. But that hasn't stopped the fear-mongering: the report claims the UK government didn't find evidence because it didn't look for it, and backs increased powers for intelligence agencies and media censorship as a result. Afshin Rattansi, a British journalist and host of RT's "Going Underground", responds.
Guest: Afshin Rattansi, British journalist and host of RT's "Going Underground."
Jul 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
People's old ways of understanding what's going on in the world just aren't holding together anymore.
- Trust in the mass media is at an all-time low, and it's only getting lower.
- People are more aware than ever that anything they see can be propaganda or disinformation.
- Deepfake technology will soon be so advanced and so accessible that nobody will even trust video anymore.
- The leader of the most powerful country on earth speaks in a way that has no real relationship with facts or reality in any way, and people have just learned to roll with it.
- Ordinary people are hurting financially but Wall Street is booming, a glaring plot hole in the story of the economy that's only getting more pronounced.
- The entire media class will now spend years leading the public on a wild goose chase for Russian collusion and then act like it's no big deal when the whole thing turned out to be completely baseless.
... ... ...
New Cold War escalations between the U.S.-centralized empire and the unabsorbed governments of China and Russia are going to cause the media airwaves around the planet to become saturated in ever-intensifying propaganda narratives which favor one side or the other and have no interest in honestly telling people the truth about what's going on.
Jul 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Christian J. Chuba , Jul 26 2020 15:54 utc | 7
Made the mistake of watching Fareed Zakaria show
The good , a 5 minute segment where a guest picked winner / loser countries post covid19 world.
Winners: Germany, Taiwan, and Russia, Loser: United States.
It was amusing to watch Zakaria's face contort at the mention of Russia being named a winner, 'wha-whaaaaaaat?' The guest had to reassure Zakaria that Russia is a crap country and only benefits because of Putin's Fortress Russia campaign and low debt making it capable of weathering storms. Zakaria's face still frozen in a mask of horror.
The bad a rather long segment on Russia, China, and Iran's meddling campaign for our next election. This was more painful to me then when I had appendicitis and had to wait several hours before anyone could drive me to the emergency room.
1. Two experts, a China hater and a Russia hater from different 'Institutes'
2. The gratuitous adding of Iran to the list without explanation. Pro-Iranian views are invisible.
3. Russian hatefest was over the top. It was a classic case of accusing Russia of what we do. Russia (aka United States) nihilistically creates trouble and by amplifying discord in other countries in order to deflect from their own domestic problems and foreign adventurism in places like Syria and Ukraine.
Nihilistic spoilers? We the U.S. lost in Syria but are now trying to create a quagmire for Russia and are pulling out all of the stops to make Syrians brutally suffer with a full scale trade embargo and partition of their country.
Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Washington Post has settled a $250 million defamation lawsuit filed by Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann for an undisclosed amount, after the teen claimed the left-leaning news outlet 'led the hate campaign' against him following a racially charged January, 2019 incident at the March for Life Rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
Sandmann was viciously attacked by left-leaning news outlets over a deceptively edited video clip from the incident, in which the teenager, seen wearing a MAGA hat, appeared to be mocking a Native American man beating a drum (a known political grifter who lied about the incident , and stole valor ).
The following day, a longer version of the video revealed that Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong - as the Native American, Nathan Phillips, aggressively approached Sandmann and beat a drum in his face.
In a tweet on his 18th birthday, Sandmann wrote "On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit."
Sandmann - who settled a $275 million lawsuit with CNN over their coverage of the incident, also tweeted "The fight isn't oer. 2 down. 6 to go."
https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890 NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
Sandmann is also suing ABC, CBS, The Guardian, The Hill and NBC Universal.
told_ya_so , 14 seconds agoVideoEng_NC , 9 minutes ago
The kid needs to add NPR to his hit list. Their reporting of it made me permanently stop listening to that channel (in a vain attempt to hear both sides of the narrative, you know give the MSM a chance to be honest etc). Good on him for suing and winning because that's the only way we'll be able to get rid of the drivel that calls itself news these days.ay_arrowMzhen , 22 minutes ago
Every one of these news sources is screwed, it's going to be euphoric knowing each judgment means their accounting dept has to cut a fat check. Nick, don't forget the individuals on the list like Sen Warren & Ellen. Redistribute their wealth to your account young man, tell em' it's for a cause they should be supporting.y_arrownsurf9 , 30 minutes ago
A Washington Post reporter was retweeting the viral video clip by 8:00 a.m. the next morning. The first Washington Post story was being published online that day (Saturday) at the same time a group of about 60 Indians was descending on the Bascilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with the intention of disrupting the mass and reading their list of "demands," which included college educations being denied to Nick and his classmates.
The Post really played up the anti-Catholic angle in ensuing stories. So if there was email coordination between the Indian march organizers and the Post , they couldn't afford to have it come out in discovery.
His lawyers should have required WaPo publish an apology and name those on its staff that were responsible for their intentional libel - in bold, headline font - right on its figging FRONT PAGE - FOR A SOLID MONTH !
Jul 25, 2020 | www.rt.com
Propaganda for kids: UK govt-backed 'news' site teaches children about 'ruthless' Putin & 'shameless' Russia 24 Jul, 2020 19:09 / Updated 1 day ago Get short URL
Jul 24, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Consortiumnews Volume 26, Number 206 Friday, July 24, 2020 AFGHANISTAN , COMMENTARY , FOREIGN POLICY , HISTORY , HUMAN RIGHTS , MEDIA , PROPAGANDA , RUSSIA , RUSSIAGATE , UKRAINE , UNITED KINGDON , UNTIL THIS DAY--HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE NEWS Cold Wars & Profit July 21, 2020 Save
Craig Murray lambasts a Russophobic media that celebrates a supposed cyber attack on UK vaccine research, ignores collapse of key evidence of a "hack" and dabbles in dubious memorabilia.
The Guardian's headquarters in London. (Bryantbob, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
By Craig Murray
... ... ...
Attack on UK Vaccine Research
Andrew Marr, center, in 2014. ( Financial Times , Flickr)
A whole slew of these were rehearsed by Andrew Marr on his flagship BBC1 morning show. The latest is the accusation that Russia is responsible for a cyber attack on Covid-19 vaccination research. This is another totally evidence-free accusation. But it misses the point anyway.
The alleged cyber attack, if it happened, was a hack not an attack -- the allegation is that there was an effort to obtain the results of research, not to disrupt research. It is appalling that the U.K. is trying to keep its research results secret rather than share them freely with the world scientific community.
As I have reported before , the U.K. and the USA have been preventing the WHO from implementing a common research and common vaccine solution for Covid-19, insisting instead on a profit driven approach to benefit the big pharmaceutical companies (and disadvantage the global poor).
What makes the accusation that Russia tried to hack the research even more dubious is the fact that Russia had just bought the very research specified. You don't steal things you already own.
Evidence of CIA Hacks
If anybody had indeed hacked the research, we all know it is impossible to trace with certainty the whereabouts of hackers. My VPNs [virtual private networks] are habitually set to India, Australia or South Africa depending on where I am trying to watch the cricket, dodging broadcasting restrictions.
More pertinently, WikiLeaks' Vault 7 release of CIA material showed the specific programs for the CIA in how to leave clues to make a leak look like it came from Russia. This irrefutable evidence that the CIA do computer hacks with apparent Russian "fingerprints" deliberately left, like little bits of Cyrillic script, is an absolutely classic example of a fact that everybody working in the mainstream media knows to be true, but which they all contrive never to mention.
Thus when last week's "Russian hacking" story was briefed by the security services -- that former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn deployed secret documents on U.K./U.S. trade talks which had been posted on Reddit, after being stolen by an evil Russian who left his name of Grigor in his Reddit handle -- there was no questioning in the media of this narrative. Instead, we had another round of McCarthyite witch-hunt aimed at the rather tired looking Corbyn.
Personally, if the Russians had been responsible for revealing that the Tories are prepared to open up the NHS "market" to big American companies, including ending or raising caps on pharmaceutical prices, I should be very grateful to the Russians for telling us. Just as the world would owe the Russians a favor if it were indeed them who leaked evidence of just how systematically the DNC rigged the 2016 primaries against Bernie Sanders.
But as it happens, it was not the Russians. The latter case was a leak by a disgusted insider, and I very much suspect the NHS U.S. trade deal link was also from a disgusted insider.
When governments do appalling things, very often somebody manages to blow the whistle.
Crowdstrike's Quiet Admission
Crowdstrike's Shawn Henry presenting at the International Security Forum in Vancouver, 2009.
(Hubert K, Flickr)
If you can delay even the most startling truth for several years, it loses much of its political bite. If you can announce it during a health crisis, it loses still more. The world therefore did not shudder to a halt when the CEO of Crowdstrike admitted there had never been any evidence of a Russian hack of the DNC servers.
You will recall the near incredible fact that, even through the Mueller investigation, the FBI never inspected the DNC servers themselves but simply relied on a technical report from Crowdstrike, the Hillary Clinton-related IT security consultant for the DNC.
It is now known for sure that Crowdstrike had been peddling fake news for Hillary. In fact, Crowdstrike had no record of any internet hack at all. There was no evidence of the email material being exported over the internet. What they claimed did exist was evidence that the files had been organized preparatory to export.
Remember the entire "Russian hacking" story was based ONLY on Crowdstrike's say so. There is literally no other evidence of Russian involvement in the DNC emails, which is unsurprising as I have been telling you for four years from my own direct sources that Russia was not involved. Yet finally declassified congressional testimony revealed that Shawn Henry stated on oath that "we did not have concrete evidence" and "There's circumstantial evidence , but no evidence they were actually exfiltrated."
This testimony fits with what I was told by Bill Binney, a former technical director of the National Security Agency (NSA), who told me that it was impossible that any large amount of data should be moved across the internet from the USA, without the NSA both seeing it happen in real time and recording it. If there really had been a Russian hack, the NSA would have been able to give the time of it to a millisecond.
That the NSA did not have that information was proof the transfer had never happened, according to Binney. What had happened, Binney deduced, was that the files had been downloaded locally, probably to a thumb drive.
Bill Binney. (Miquel Taverna / CCCB via Flickr)
So arguably the biggest news story of the past four years -- the claim that Putin effectively interfered to have Donald Trump elected U.S. president -- turns out indeed to be utterly baseless. Has the mainstream media, acting on security service behest, done anything to row back from the false impression it created? No it has doubled down.
The "Russian hacking" theme keeps being brought back related to whatever is the big story of the day.
Brexit? Russian hacking.
U.K. general election 2019? Russian hacking
Covid-19 vaccine? Russian hacking.
Then we have those continual security service briefings. Two weeks ago we had unnamed security service sources telling The New York Times that Russia had offered the Taliban a bounty for killing American soldiers. This information had allegedly come from interrogation of captured Taliban in Afghanistan, which would almost certainly mean it was obtained under torture.
It is a wildly improbable tale. The Afghans have never needed that kind of incentivization to kill foreign invaders on their soil. It is also a fascinating throwback of an accusation the British did indeed offer Afghans money for, quite literally, the heads of Afghan resistance leaders during the first Afghan War in 1841, as I detail in my book "Sikunder Burnes."
Taliban in Herat, Afghanistan, 2001. (Wikipedia)
You do not have to look back that far to realize the gross hypocrisy of the accusation. In the 1980s the West was quite openly paying, arming and training the Taliban -- including Osama bin Laden to kill Russian and other Soviet conscripts in their thousands. That is just one example of the hypocrisy.
The U.S. and U.K. security services both cultivate and bribe senior political and other figures abroad in order to influence policy all of the time. We work to manipulate the result of elections -- I have done it personally in my former role as a U.K. diplomat. A great deal of the behavior over which Western governments and media are creating this new McCarthyite anti-Russian witch hunt, is standard diplomatic practice.
My own view is that there are malign Russian forces attempting to act on government in the U.K. and the USA, but they are not nearly as powerful as the malign British and American forces acting on their own governments.
The truth is that the world is under the increasing control of a global elite of billionaires, to whom nationality is irrelevant and national governments are tools to be manipulated. Russia is not attempting to buy corrupt political influence on behalf of the Russian people, who are decent folk every bit as exploited by the ultra-wealthy as you or I. Russian billionaires are, just like billionaires everywhere, attempting to game global political, commercial and social structures in their personal interest.
The other extreme point of hypocrisy lies in human rights. So many Western media commentators are suddenly interested in China and the Uighurs or in restrictions on the LBGT community in Russia, yet turn a completely blind eye to the abuse committed by Western "allies" such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
As somebody who was campaigning about the human rights of both the Uighurs and of gay people in Russia a good decade before it became fashionable, I am disgusted by how the term "human rights" has become weaponized for deployment only against those countries designated as enemy by the Western elite.
Finally, do not forget that there is a massive armaments industry and a massive security industry all dependent on having an "enemy." Powerful people make money from this Russophobia. Expect much more of it. There is money in a Cold War.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
This article is from CraigMurray.org.uk .
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Please Contribute to Consortium
News on its 25th Anniversary
Donate securely with PayPal here .
Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button: 2840
Tags: Cold War Craig Murray Russophobia Ukrainian Insurgent Army Ukrainian ResistancePost navigation ← COVID-19: The Pentagon Confronts the Pandemic State Dept-Funded Transparency International Silent on Jailed Transparency Activist Julian Assange → 12 comments for " Cold Wars & Profit "
DH Fabian , July 22, 2020 at 19:54
On the core subject here: By necessity, a pandemic requires a cooperative international response. Only one country has refused to do so: The US. In their supreme arrogance, our ruling class lost track the fact that the US needs the rest of the world, not the other way way around.
Zalamander , July 22, 2020 at 19:12
One by one the so-called Russiagate "evidence" have collapsed. The fake Steele Dossier, "Russian spy" Joseph Mifsud who is actually a self-admitted member of the Clinton Foundation, Roger Stone's non-existant Wikileaks contacts, Russian Afgan bounties, etc. But the neoliberal mainstream media still presents these as "facts" with no retractions. This is not journalism, its disinformation designed to distract the American public from the failures of capitalism.
Piotr Berman , July 22, 2020 at 18:03
July 22, 2020 at 06:55
Craig Murray succinctly (and very beautifully) gives us a REAL glimpse of what great journalism really looks like.
Perhaps it is great writing, but is it journalism?
Some people in National Union of Journalists (a trade union in UK) ponder that question for many months, unable to decide if Craig should be allowed to join or not. If he is neither a flack nor a hack, who kind of journalist is he? (More details at Craig Murray's web site).
Peter Janney , July 23, 2020 at 06:06
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed.
Everything else is public relations.
-- George Orwell
rosemerry , July 22, 2020 at 16:42
All of the Russophobia and lies serve the rulers of the USA?UK and their poodles well. The whole year of Skripal mania started by Theresa May and joined in by Trump, with the media such as the Guardian's scurrilous Luke Harding providing fantasy "evidence" and the whole story conveniently disappearing, like the Skripals, when other "news" arrived, has no benefit to seekers of even the minimum of truth.
DH Fabian , July 22, 2020 at 19:46
Certainly, and this is key to understanding the current situation. What we're seeing now is the final stages of the long-sinking West -- those once-mighty partners of empire, the UK/US. This descent appears to have begun with the Reagan/Thatcher years, and is now in the final stages. We've seen a rather dramatic growth of psychosis in the political-media-public discussion over the past 3-4 years, driven by an irrational obsession with China/Russia. (Russia and China both quietly observe, prepared to respond if attacked.) There really isn't anything we can do about it, beyond acknowledging it as what it is.
Jerome J Donnelly , July 22, 2020 at 12:12
Very good, but needs to be supplemented by reference to the interview with NIH Director Franaic Collins on last Sunday's Meet the Press. When host Chuck Todd asked Collins about Russian hacking of US vaccine research Collins smiled and answered by pointing out that the research wasn't intended to be secret and that it was all to be published for "transparency." Todd looked disappointed, mumbled, "OK," and changed the subject. No media have reported this exchange, which is retrievable on the internet.
JOHN CHUCKMAN , July 22, 2020 at 10:58
Brilliant, but that's what one expects of Craig Murray.
Ray McGovern , July 22, 2020 at 10:13
Brilliant article, Craig. You do have a way of saying things. Thanks.
Question: "Team Mueller" forgot to interview you. Have any of the new investigators taken the trouble to talk to you?
Bob Van Noy , July 22, 2020 at 09:18
Can't thank you enough Craig Murray for your professional life of honesty!
Please read: hXXp://off-guardian.org/2020/07/21/globocap-uber-alles/
Peter Janney , July 22, 2020 at 06:55
Craig Murray succinctly (and very beautifully) gives us a REAL glimpse of what great journalism really looks like. I commend his courage for never bending in the face of all the bullshit we have had to tolerate from the mainstream media. Thank you, thank you dear Craig . . .
geeyp , July 22, 2020 at 00:10
Regarding Craig's last summing up paragraph, all one need do to confirm that is read the previous article of Michael T. Klare.
Jul 23, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
COVID-19: 'Putin Hacked Our Vaccine' Is Dumbest Story Yet July 17, 2020 Save
Caitlin Johnstone tackles the latest "Russiavape" story.
By Caitlin Johnstone
O MG you guys Putin hacked our coronavirus vaccine secrets!
Today mainstream media is reporting what is arguably the single dumbest Russiavape story of all time, against some very stiff competition.
"Russian hackers are targeting health care organizations in the West in an attempt to steal coronavirus vaccine research, the U.S. and Britain said," reports The New York Times .
"Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday," Reuters reports .
"Russian news agency RIA cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the Kremlin rejected London's allegations, which he said were not backed by proper evidence," adds Reuters.
I mean, there are just so many layers of stupid.
First of all, how many more completely unsubstantiated government agency allegations about Russian nefariousness are we the public going to accept from the corporate mass media? Since 2016 it's been wall-to-wall narrative about evil things Russia is doing to the empire-like cluster of allies loosely centralized around the United States, and they all just happen to be things for which nobody can actually provide hard verifiable evidence.
Ever since the shady cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike admitted that it never actually saw hard proof of Russia hacking the DNC servers, the already shaky and always unsubstantiated narrative that Russian hackers interfered in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 has been on thinner ice than ever. Yet because the mass media converged on this narrative and repeated it as fact over and over they've been able to get the mainstream headline-skimming public to accept it as an established truth, priming them for an increasingly idiotic litany of completely unsubstantiated Russia scandals, culminating most recently in the entirely debunked claim that Russia paid Taliban-linked fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Secondly, the news story doesn't even claim that these supposed Russian hackers even succeeded in doing whatever they were supposed to have been doing in this supposed cyberattack.
"Officials have not commented on whether the attacks were successful but also have not ruled out that this is the case," Wired reports .
Thirdly, this is a "vaccine" which does not even exist at this point in time, and the research which was supposedly hacked may never lead to one. Meanwhile, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University reports that it has "successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world's first vaccine against coronavirus," in Russia.
Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, how obnoxious and idiotic is it that coronavirus vaccine "secrets" are even a thing?? This is a global pandemic which is hurting all of us; scientists should be free to collaborate with other scientists anywhere in the world to find a solution to this problem. Nobody has any business keeping "secrets" from the world about this virus or any possible vaccine or treatment. If they do, anyone in the world is well within their rights to pry those secrets away from them.
This intensely stupid story comes out at the same time British media are blaring stories about Russian interference in the 2019 election, which if you actually listen carefully to the claims being advanced amounts to literally nothing more than the assertion that Russians talked about already leaked documents pertaining to the U.K.'s healthcare system on the internet.
"Russian actors 'sought to interfere' in last winter's general election by amplifying an illicitly acquired NHS dossier that was seized upon by Labour during the campaign, the foreign secretary has said," reports The Guardian .
"Amplifying." That's literally all there is to this story. As we learned with the ridiculous U.S. Russiagate narrative , with such allegations, Russia "amplifying" something can mean anything from RT reporting on a major news story to a Twitter account from St. Petersburg sharing an article from The Washington Post . Even the foreign secretary's claim itself explicitly admits that "there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the General Election."
"The statement is so foggy and contradictory that it is almost impossible to understand it," responded Russia's foreign ministry to the allegations. "If it's inappropriate to say something then don't say it. If you say it, produce the facts."
Instead of producing facts you've got the Murdoch press pestering Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party candidate, on his doorstep over this ridiculous non-story, and popular right-wing outlets like Guido Fawkes running the blatantly false headline "Government Confirms Corbyn Used Russian-Hacked Documents in 2019 Election." The completely bogus allegation that the NHS documents came to Jeremy Corbyn by way of Russian hackers is not made anywhere in the article itself, but for the headline-skimming majority this makes no difference. And headline skimmers get as many votes as people who read and think critically.
All this new Cold War Russia hysteria is turning people's brains into guacamole. We've got to find a way to snap out of the propaganda trance so we can start creating a world that is based on truth and a desire for peace.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Her work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook , following her antics on Twitter , checking out her podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following her on Steemit , throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of her sweet merchandise , buying her books " Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone " and " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."
This article was re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Putin Apologist , July 19, 2020 at 17:50
"How many more completely unsubstantiated government agency allegations about Russian nefariousness are we the public going to accept from the corporate mass media?"
The Answer is none. Nobody (well, nobody with a brain) believes anything the "corporate mass media" says about Russia, or China, Iran or Venezuela or anything else for that matter.
James Keye , July 19, 2020 at 10:26
Guy , July 18, 2020 at 15:32
But,but, but we never heard the words "highly likely" ,they must be slipping.LOL
DH Fabian , July 18, 2020 at 13:41
The Democrat right wing are robotically persistent, and count on the ignorance of their base. By late last year, we saw them begin setting the stage to blame-away an expected 2020 defeat on Russia. Once again, proving that today's Democrats are just too dangerous to vote for. Donald Trump owes a great deal to his "friends across the aisle."
Jul 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
jayc , Jul 22 2020 18:40 utc | 21
There's no way the trillion in T-bills will be seized/defaulted/whatever. The damage to US credibility will be unrecoverable.
It is certainly crazy time. AG Barr threatened major US corporations Disney & Apple with having to register as "foreign agents" due to their Chinese investments. Earlier in the year, the FBI and Congress decided to destroy the career of one of America's top scientists over failure to submit relatively inconsequential paperwork. These are the types of things which should result in a determined pushback against an intrusive national security state, but the balance of power in USA may have flipped.
J W , Jul 22 2020 17:01 utc | 4
Am I in an IMAX theater? Because there is so much projection going on here.
Jul 21, 2020 | thefederalist.comCNN Whistleblower Reveals Network 'Vendetta' Against Trump, Obsession With Impeachment OCTOBER 14, 2019 By Chrissy Clark
A CNN whistleblower leaked video showcasing CNN President Jeff Zucker's vendetta against President Trump and obsession with pushing stories of impeachment.
"Jeff Zucker, basically the president of CNN has a personal vendetta against Trump," said Nick Neville, a media coordinator at CNN. "It's not gonna be positive for Trump. He hates him. He's going to be negative."
The whistleblower identified himself as Cary Poarch, a satellite uplink technician at CNN's Washington, D.C. bureau.
"When I came to work at CNN, I mean it was my dream job," Poarch said. "And that dream, actually turned into a nightmare."
Poarch recorded the 9:00 a.m. morning calls held by Zucker, in which he urged CNN employees to focus on the impeachment narrative.
"Let's just stay very focused on impeachment," Zucker said. "We're moving towards impeachment. I mean, don't like, you know we shouldn't pretend this is going one way. And so, all these moves are moves towards impeachment."
Zucker also encouraged CNN employees to report on Fox News as if it were a conspiracy outlet.
"I think what's going on in America now is really fundamentally the result of years of fake news, conspiracy nonsense from Fox News," Zucker said. "The fake conspiracy nonsense that Fox has spread for years is now deeply embedded in American society, and frankly that is beyond destructive for America. And I do not think we should be scared to say so."
After the release of this video, Poarch announced he saw no other option but to wear a hidden camera and expose the bias of CNN. Chrissy Clark is a former staff writer at The Federalist. She has work featured in The Daily Signal and received a degree in political science from Michigan State University. Follow her on social media @chrissyclark_. Photo Project Veritas/Twitter
Jul 21, 2020 | www.msn.com
A highly-anticipated report by the U.K. Parliament into Russia n interference in the country was released on Tuesday, claiming that Russian influence in the U.K. is the "new normal."
The Russia Report, published after months of delay, is the culmination of two years of fact finding by the U.K. Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ICS), providing insights on the Salisbury Novichok poisonings , Russian financial influence and social media disinformation. The report said the U.K. was a "top target" for Russian interference.
The publication of the report comes a week after security services in the U.S., U.K. and Canada said that Russian hackers had been attempting to hack into global coronavirus vaccine research . The Kremlin has denied the accusations.
However, the report will likely disappoint observers who expected the ICS to detail how far Russia interfered in the bitterly contested Brexit Referendum of 2016 . Prime Minister Boris Johnson's was accused of withholding the publication of the report until after the election of December 2019, a claim they denied.
Apr 20, 2019 | theduran.comMarcus April 20, 2019
There is something rotten in the state .. of England.
This Skripal thing smelled to high heaven from day 1. My opinion is that Sergei Skripal was involved (to what degree is open to speculation) with the Steele dossier. He was getting homesick (perhaps his mother getting older is part of this) for Russia and he thought that to get back to Russia he needed something big to get back in Putin's good graces. He would have needed something really big because Putin really has no use for traitors. Skripal put out some feelers (perhaps through his daughter though that may be dicey). The two couriers were sent to seal or move the deal forward. The Brits (and perhaps the CIA) found out about this and decided to make an example of Sergei. Perhaps because they found out about this late, the deep state/intelligence people had to move very quickly. The deep state story was was extremely shaky (to put it mildly) as a result. Or they were just incompetent and full of hubris.
Then they were stuck with the story and bullshit coverup was layered on bullshit coverup. 7 Reply FlorianGeyer Reply to Marcus April 20, 2019
To hope to get away with lies, one must have perfect memory and a superior intellect that can create a lie with some semblance of reality in real life, as opposed to the digital 'reality' in a Video game. And a rather corny video game at that.
MI5/6 failed on all parts of Lie creation 2 Reply Mistaron April 21, 2019
If Trump was so furious about being conned by Haspel, how come he then went on to promote her to becoming the head of the CIA? It's quite perplexing.
Jul 20, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MOSCOWEXILE July 19, 2020 at 10:37 am
Not foreign minister: Gavin "Stupid Boy" Williamson was Minister of Defence when he said that Russia should "go away and shut up".
Jul 20, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
CORTES July 19, 2020 at 1:37 pmMOSCOWEXILE July 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm
To paraphrase the famous line from "Jaws":
"You're gonna need a bigger rewrite" as another wheel falls off the Skripals Saga Wagon:
The text of the OPCW document is "enhanced" in FT reports. "Sexed up" was the term used about the UN Weapons Inspectors' report on Iraq's WMD programme way back when.
A Dr. David Kelly was involved. I wonder what became of him?
That term "sexed up" really made me cringe when it suddenly came in vogue amongst UK commenters and "journalists" .
I was already in exile when the the shit hit the fan in the UK as regards criminal Blair's warmongering and was at a loss to understand what "sexed up" meant in the British newspaper articles that I read at the time -- no Internet then, so once a week I used to buy a copy of the "Sunday Times" (Woden forgive me!) in the foyer of of the five-star Hotel National, Moscow. Used to cost me an arm and a leg an' all! Robbing bastards!
Jul 20, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MOSCOWEXILE July 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm
Love this comment below to this offGuardian article:
The "Russian vaccine hack" is a 3-for-1 deal on propaganda – OffGuardian
Jul 17, 2020 8:44 AM
Yikes! The Ruskies are hacking again! Let's not forget that the British Superb plan for Brexit was born out of Vova's cunning mind.
From the people who brought you polonium in a teacup, Basha's bouncing Barrel Bombs, Salisbury Plain Pizza and the Covid- Horrid. Now want you to know Vova is back!
Last weekend they launched their counter move with Luke Harding interviewing himself about his new book
The decline of the Guardian is legend and one of their supposed ace gumshoes, Luke Harding, who has been the chief protagonist of the "Stupid Russia/ Cunning Russia" Guardian editorial line gets this time to interview himself. Displacement in psychology, as I'm sure Luke must have learnt from his handlers, is where we see in others that which we can't or fail to recognise in ourselves.
Those CIFers long in the tooth will recall how he moderated his own BTL comments on Russia until it all got too much for him. At which point they were cancelled. Now it seems it's all gone to a new level as Harding apparently interviews himself about his new book! In the Guardian's new post apocalyptic normal, where self censorship plus self promotion is the norm for their self congratulatory hacks and hackets Harding never fails to amaze at this genre.
As expected the reader is taken into the usual spy vs spy world of allusion and narrative plus fake intrigue and facts, so much the hallmark of Harding's work. None of which stands up to serious analysis as we recall:
where we have Arron Maté, a real journalist doing a superb job of exposing Harding as the crude propagandist he truly is.
This interview is about Harding's last book "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win the 2016 US election".
Now we have a new cash cow where clearly with Harding's latest shtick the Guardian can't be arsed having him interviewed for another piece of self promotion by one of their hacks. So they go for the off the shelf fake interview where they allow Harding to talk to himself.
Clearly as they point out Harding is working for home, with more than one foot in the grave it must be time to furlough him.
You couldn't make this stuff up Luke could you?
Jul 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Eric Felten via RealClearInvestigations.com,
Much of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Donald Trump was built on the premise that Christopher Steele and his dossier were to be believed. This even though, early on, Steele's claims failed to bear scrutiny. Just how far off the claims were became clear when the FBI interviewed Steele's "Primary Subsource" over three days beginning on Feb. 9, 2017. Notes taken by FBI agents of those interviews were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday afternoon.
The Primary Subsource was in reality Steele's sole source, a long-time Russian-speaking contractor for the former British spy's company, Orbis Business Intelligence. In turn, the Primary Subsource had a group of friends in Russia. All of their names remain redacted. From the FBI interviews it becomes clear that the Primary Subsource and his friends peddled warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip that Steele dressed up as formal intelligence memos.
Paul Manafort: The Steele dossier's "Primary Subsource" admitted to the FBI "that he was 'clueless' about who Manafort was, and that this was a 'strange task' to have been given." AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File
Steele's operation didn't rely on great expertise, to judge from the Primary Subsource's account. He described to the FBI the instructions Steele had given him sometime in the spring of 2016 regarding Paul Manafort: "Do you know [about] Manafort? Find out about Manafort's dealings with Ukraine, his dealings with other countries, and any corrupt schemes." The Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI "that he was 'clueless' about who Manafort was, and that this was a 'strange task' to have been given."
The Primary Subsource said at first that maybe he had asked some of his friends in Russia – he didn't have a network of sources, according to his lawyer, but instead just a "social circle." And a boozy one at that: When the Primary Subsource would get together with his old friend Source 4, the two would drink heavily. But his social circle was no help with the Manafort question and so the Primary Subsource scrounged up a few old news clippings about Manafort and fed them back to Steele.
Also in his "social circle" was Primary Subsource's friend "Source 2," a character who was always on the make. "He often tries to monetize his relationship with [the Primary Subsource], suggesting that the two of them should try and do projects together for money," the Primary Subsource told the FBI (a caution that the Primary Subsource would repeat again and again.) It was Source 2 who "told [the Primary Subsource] that there was compromising material on Trump."
And then there was Source 3, a very special friend. Over a redacted number of years, the Primary Subsource has "helped out [Source 3] financially." She stayed with him when visiting the United States. The Primary Subsource told the FBI that in the midst of their conversations about Trump, they would also talk about "a private subject." (The FBI agents, for all their hardnosed reputation, were too delicate to intrude by asking what that "private subject" was).
Michael Cohen: The bogus story of the Trump fixer's trip to Prague seems to have originated with "Source 3," a woman friend of the Primary Subsource, who was "not sure if Source 3 was brainstorming here." AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
One day Steele told his lead contractor to get dirt on five individuals. By the time he got around to it, the Primary Subsource had forgotten two of the names, but seemed to recall Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. The Primary Subsource said he asked his special friend Source 3 if she knew any of them. At first she didn't. But within minutes she seemed to recall having heard of Cohen, according to the FBI notes. Indeed, before long it came back to her that she had heard Cohen and three henchmen had gone to Prague to meet with Russians.
Source 3 kept spinning yarns about Michael Cohen in Prague. For example, she claimed Cohen was delivering "deniable cash payments" to hackers. But come to think of it, the Primary Subsource was "not sure if Source 3 was brainstorming here," the FBI notes say.
The Steele Dossier would end up having authoritative-sounding reports of hackers who had been "recruited under duress by the FSB" -- the Russian security service -- and how they "had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'altering operations' against the the Democratic Party." What exactly, the FBI asked the subject, were "altering operations?" The Primary Subsource wouldn't be much help there, as he told the FBI "that his understanding of this topic (i.e. cyber) was 'zero.'" But what about his girlfriend whom he had known since they were in eighth grade together? The Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI that Source 3 "is not an IT specialist herself."
And then there was Source 6. Or at least the Primary Subsource thinks it was Source 6.
Ritz-Carlton Moscow: The Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI "he had not been able to confirm the story" about Trump and prostitutes at the hotel. But he did check with someone who supposedly asked a hotel manager, who said that with celebrities, "one never knows what they're doing." Moscowjob.net/Wikimedia
While he was doing his research on Manafort, the Primary Subsource met a U.S. journalist "at a Thai restaurant." The Primary Subsource didn't want to ask "revealing questions" but managed to go so far as to ask, "Do you [redacted] know anyone who can talk about all of this Trump/Manafort stuff, or Trump and Russia?" According to the FBI notes, the journalist told Primary Subsource "that he was skeptical and nothing substantive had turned up." But the journalist put the Primary Subsource in touch with a "colleague" who in turn gave him an email of "this guy" journalist 2 had interviewed and "that he should talk to."
With the email address of "this guy" in hand, the Primary Subsource sent him a message "in either June or July 2016." Some weeks later the Primary Subsource "received a telephone call from an unidentified Russia guy." He "thought" but had no evidence that the mystery "Russian guy" was " that guy." The mystery caller "never identified himself." The Primary Subsource labeled the anonymous caller "Source 6." The Primary Subsource and Source 6 talked for a total of "about 10 minutes." During that brief conversation they spoke about the Primary Subsource traveling to meet the anonymous caller, but the hook-up never happened.
Nonetheless, the Primary Subsource labeled the unknown Russian voice "Source 6" and gave Christopher Steele the rundown on their brief conversation – how they had "a general discussion about Trump and the Kremlin" and "that it was an ongoing relationship." For use in the dossier, Steele named the voice Source E.
When Steele was done putting this utterly unsourced claim into the style of the dossier, here's how the mystery call from the unknown guy was presented: "Speaking in confidence to a compatriot in late July 2016, Source E, an ethnic Russian close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, admitted that there was a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership." Steele writes "Inter alia," – yes, he really does deploy the Latin formulation for "among other things" – "Source E acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee [DNC], to the WikiLeaks platform."
All that and more is presented as the testimony of a "close associate" of Trump, when it was just the disembodied voice of an unknown guy.
Perhaps even more perplexing is that the FBI interviewers, knowing that Source E was just an anonymous caller, didn't compare that admission to the fantastical Steele bluster and declare the dossier a fabrication on the spot.
But perhaps it might be argued that Christopher Steele was bringing crack investigative skills of his own to bear. For something as rich in detail and powerful in effect as the dossier, Steele must have been researching these questions himself as well, using his hard-earned spy savvy to pry closely held secrets away from the Russians. Or at the very least he must have relied on a team of intelligence operatives who could have gone far beyond the obvious limitations the Primary Subsource and his group of drinking buddies.
But no. As we learned in December from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Steele "was not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting." Steele, the IG reported "relied on a primary sub-source (Primary Sub-source) for information, and this Primary Sub-source used a network of [further] sub-sources to gather the information that was relayed to Steele." The inspector general's report noted that "neither Steele nor the Primary Sub-source had direct access to the information being reported."
One might, by now, harbor some skepticism about the dossier. One might even be inclined to doubt the story that Trump was "into water sports" as the Primary Subsource so delicately described the tale of Trump and Moscow prostitutes. But, in this account, there was an effort, however feeble, to nail down the "rumor and speculation" that Trump engaged in "unorthodox sexual activity at the Ritz."
While the Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI "he had not been able to confirm the story," Source 2 (who will be remembered as the hustler always looking for a lucrative score) supposedly asked a hotel manager about Trump and the manager said that with celebrities, "one never knows what they're doing." One never knows – not exactly a robust proof of something that smacks of urban myth. But the Primary Subsource makes the best of it, declaring that at least "it wasn't a denial."
If there was any denial going on it was the FBI's, an agency in denial that its extraordinary investigation was crumbling.
bh2, 23 minutes ago
Even Beria would laugh at this kind of "evidence".
Jul 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Primary Subsource was in reality Steele’s sole source, a long-time Russian-speaking contractor for the former British spy’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence. In turn, the Primary Subsource had a group of friends in Russia. All of their names remain redacted. From the FBI interviews it becomes clear that the Primary Subsource and his friends peddled warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip that Steele dressed up as formal intelligence memos.
...Steele’s operation didn’t rely on great expertise, to judge from the Primary Subsource’s account. He described to the FBI the instructions Steele had given him sometime in the spring of 2016 regarding Paul Manafort: “Do you know [about] Manafort? Find out about Manafort’s dealings with Ukraine, his dealings with other countries, and any corrupt schemes.” The Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI “that he was ‘clueless’ about who Manafort was, and that this was a ‘strange task’ to have been given.”
The Primary Subsource said at first that maybe he had asked some of his friends in Russia – he didn’t have a network of sources, according to his lawyer, but instead just a “social circle.” And a boozy one at that: When the Primary Subsource would get together with his old friend Source 4, the two would drink heavily. But his social circle was no help with the Manafort question and so the Primary Subsource scrounged up a few old news clippings about Manafort and fed them back to Steele.
bh2 , 23 minutes ago
Even Beria would laugh at this kind of "evidence".
Versengetorix, 1 hour ago remove
The Durham investigation has been covered over with asphalt.
ze_vodka , 1 hour agojeff montanye , 1 hour ago
After all that has happened, if anyone actually still thinks the Trump = Putin story has any shred of truth... well... there are no words left to write about that.
- It was a lie.
- Everyone involved is pretty much a seditious traitor.
- Everyone who has at least 1 lonely marble floating in the Grey Matter Soup knows it's a lie.
- And no one is ever going to be punished for it.
chris wray needs to go pronto.
Jul 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Ink Pusher , 1 hour agoalex kalish , 1 hour ago
Yahoo! is a digital plague on the internet.
Kinda like a digital form of chlamydia combined with binary syphilis , it never seems to wanna go away no matter how many times you treat it.Encroaching Darkness , 1 hour ago
Oh Yahoo News - why does ZH reprint blatant crap ? Is their source Christopher Steele ? LMAO. A 17 year old pimple face kid could hack the CIA and they are going on the offensive ? They may blow up Hoover damn or shut down the electric grid by mistake....DaBard51 , 1 hour ago
********, top to bottom.
(A) Yahoo news - seriously, Yahoo news?
(B) Brennan wanted to overthrow Flynn / Trump - his proteges are still roaming through the agency. Why would Trump trust Brennan's underlings to hold a cookout at Langley, let alone unsupervised operations?
(C) Why MUST the CIA be responsible for Iran's explosions? Aren't the Israelis (with much higher motivation, closer location and more contacts) capable of doing this all by themselves?
Article full of unsupported and unsupportable assumptions, from a pseudo-news organization, trying to blame Trump for Iranian incompetence. Major fail!Keter , 1 hour ago
The source is... Yahoo News? Yahoo News is the new "Paper of Record"?
The same Yahoo News that "corroborated" the Steele dossier?NoPension , 1 hour ago
Yahoo News? What a scoop.
Yeah right. Russia version 6.5
Jul 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
JLee2027 , 1 hour ago
according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
So, it's made up garbage.
Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Aug 12 2019 2:05 utc | 42@ Posted by: vk | Aug 11 2019 20:42 utc | 11
Oops, it seems I was too optimistic about the NYT. Not even 24h later, we already have these in its home page:
Jeffrey Epstein's Opaque Finances Could Become a Focus for Investigators
[emphasis on the "could"]
Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned
Now, people who are doubting the USG are automatically labelled "conspiracy theorists". Except that, in this case, it is perfectly sensible to doubt about his death. He could've put down really powerful people. He wasn't your daily mafia-boy struggling against his mafia boss over US$ 1 billion in cocaine; no: he could put down half the American royalty.
JW , Aug 12 2019 2:48 utc | 48Ah yes, that self-admitted CIA linked, totally-not deep state propaganda puppet outlet lecturing the rest of us about the virtues of fact-checking and journalistic integrity...bjd , Aug 11 2019 21:33 utc | 19Any NYT reporting on Epstein is meant as a distraction -- to cover up the facts. The NYT is the elites' protector, it punches down instead of up. The NYT 'revelations' about guards are a) punching down to protect elites and b) a distraction to protect elites. The NYT is one of the Augean Stables.
Jul 17, 2020 | off-guardian.org
John Pretty , Jul 16, 2020 9:26 PM
"Guardian announces plans to cut 180 jobs. Revenues expected to be down by more than £25m as effects of pandemic hit media industry."
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch I'm tempted to say this is really good news, but that would be very unkind. By contrast, the Spectator is still growing:
Drilldown , Jul 16, 2020 9:40 PM Reply to John Pretty
The Guardian will use this to become more American controlled. they have two offices there and only one in the UK. I wish they are going under, at least you know Fox is lying to you, the Guardian pretends to be your friend then lies to you. They are just an arm of the Neo-liberal hell, like all the other media.
Straighthrough , Jul 16, 2020 10:01 PM Reply to Drilldown
Guardians of the galaxy, Masters of gaslightling – as are all politico's! media being no exception, and left right centre distractions aside.
Eyes Open , Jul 16, 2020 10:38 PM Reply to Drilldown
Yes. I call the Guardian 'the guardian of neoliberalism'.
Watt , Jul 17, 2020 12:15 AM Reply to Drilldown
'the Guardian pretends to be your friend then lies to you.'
In my kontree, such 'people' are described in the colloquial vernacular as 'worse than useless'.
Jul 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital and hsot of The Portal podcast, has gone scorched earth on the New York Times following the Tuesday resignation of journalist Bari Weiss.Illustration via DanielMiessler.com
Weinstein describes how The Times has morphed into an activist rag - refusing to cover "news" unpaletable to their narrative, while ignoring key questions such as whether Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking ring was "intelligence related."
Jump into Weinstein's Twitter thread by clicking on the below tweet, or scroll down for your convenience.
https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.395.0_en.html#goog_1119462986 NOW PLAYING
Trump Administration is Reportedly Out to Smear Dr. Anthony Fauci for Early Comments on Coronavirus
Image Deleted From Trump's Tweet After NYT Complaint
New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership
Trump Says His Niece Is Not Allowed To Publish 'Tell-All' Book
Book with 'Salacious' Stories on Trump Set to Be Published by His Niece
Jon Stewart Spoke Out About Police Issues
Trump Accuses New York Times Of `Virtual Act Of Treason` Over Russia Story
Ben Smith Departs BuzzFeed To Join New York times
* * *
At that moment Bari Weiss became all that was left of the "Paper of Record." Why? Because the existence of Black Racists with the power to hunt professors with Baseball Bats and even redefine the word 'racism' to make their story impossible to cover ran totally counter-narrative.
At some point after 2011, the NYT gradually stopped covering the News and became the News instead. And Bari has been fighting internally from the opinion section to re-establish Journalism inside tbe the NYT. A total reversal of the Chinese Wall that separates news from opinion.
This is the paper in 2016 that couldnt be interested in the story that millions of Americans were likely lying to pollsters about Donald Trump.
The paper refusing to ask the CIA/FBI if Epstein was Intelligence related.
The paper that can't report that it seeks race rioting:
I have had the honor of trying to support both @bariweiss at the New York Times and @BretWeinstein in their battles simply to stand alone against the internal mob mentality. It is THE story all over the country. Our courageous individuals are being hunted at work for dissenting.
Before Bari resigned, I did a podcast with her. It was chilling. I'd make an innocuous statement of simple fact and ask her about it. She'd reply " That is obviously true but I'm sorry we can't say that here. It will get me strung up ." That's when I stopped telling her to hang on.
So what just happened? Let me put it bluntly: What was left of the New York Times just resigned from the New York Times. The Times canceled itself. As a separate Hong Kong exists in name only, the New New York Times and affiliated "news" is now the chief threat to our democracy.
This is the moment when the passengers who have been becoming increasingly alarmed, start to entertain a new idea: what if the people now in the cockpit are not airline pilots? Well the Twitter Activists at the @nytimes and elsewhere are not journalists.
What if those calling for empathy have a specific deadness of empathy?
Those calling for justice *are* the unjust?
Those calling "Privilege" are the privileged?
Those calling for equality seek to oppress us?
Those anti-racists are open racists?
The progressives seek regress?
The journalists are covering up the news?
Try the following exercise: put a minus sign in front of nearly every banner claim made by "the progressives".
Q: Doesn't that make more sense?NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
Those aren't the pilots you imagine. And we are far closer to revolution than you think.
Bari and I agree on a lot but also disagree fiercely. And so I have learned that she is tougher than tough. But these university and journalistic workplaces are now unworkable. They are the antithesis off what they were built to stand for. It is astounding how long she held out.
Read her letter. I have asked her to do a make-up podcast & she has agreed. Stay tuned If you don't want to be surprised again by what's coming understand this: just as there has been no functioning president, there's now no journalism. We're moving towards a 🌎 of pure activism.
Prepare to lose your ability to call the police & for more autonomous zones where kids die so that Govenors & Mayors can LARP as Kayfabe revolutionaries . Disagree with Ms Weiss all you want as she isn't perfect. But Bari is a true patriot who tried to stand alone. Glad she's out.
We are not finished by a long shot. What the Intellectual Dark Web tried to do MUST now be given an institutional home.
Podcast with Bari on The Portal to come as soon as she is ready.
Stay tuned. And thanks for reading this. It is of the utmost importance.
Thank you all. 🙏
P.S. Please retweet the lead tweet from this thread if you understand where we are. Appreciated.
Jul 13, 2020 | mondoweiss.net
An open letter published by Harper's magazine, and signed by 150 prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new "cancel culture".
The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.
Although the letter doesn't explicitly use the term "cancel culture", it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a "stifling" cultural climate that is imposing "ideological conformity" and weakening "norms of open debate and toleration of differences".
It is easy to agree with the letter's generalized argument for tolerance and free and fair debate. But the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds.
Further, the intent of many them in signing the letter is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.
To understand what is really going on with this letter, we first need to scrutinize the motives , rather than the substance, of the letter.A new 'illiberalism'
"Cancel culture" started as the shaming, often on social media, of people who were seen to have said offensive things. But of late, cancel culture has on occasion become more tangible, as the letter notes, with individuals fired or denied the chance to speak at a public venue or to publish their work.
The letter denounces this supposedly new type of "illiberalism":Tricky identity politics
"We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.
"Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; The result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."
The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting "interventions" in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.
That is one clue that these various individuals have signed the letter for very different reasons.
Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.
Frum, who coined the term "axis of evil" that rationalised the invasion of Iraq, and Weiss, a New York Times columnist, signed because they have found their lives getting tougher. True, it is easy for them to dominate platforms in the corporate media while advocating for criminal wars abroad, and they have paid no career price when their analyses and predictions have turned out to be so much dangerous hokum. But they are now feeling the backlash on university campuses and social media.
Meanwhile, centrists like Buruma and Rowling have discovered that it is getting ever harder to navigate the tricky terrain of identity politics without tripping up. The reputational damage can have serious consequences.
Buruma famously lost his job as editor of the New York Review of Books two years ago after after he published and defended an article that violated the new spirit of the #MeToo movement. And Rowling made the mistake of thinking her followers would be as fascinated by her traditional views on transgender issues as they are by her Harry Potter books.'Fake news, Russian trolls'
But the fact that all of these writers and intellectuals agree that there is a price to be paid in the new, more culturally sensitive climate does not mean that they are all equally interested in protecting the right to be controversial or outspoken.
Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all , because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space.
If those on the progressive left do not defend the speech rights of everyone, even their political opponents, then any restrictions will soon be turned against them. The establishment will always tolerate the hate speech of a Trump or a Bolsonaro over the justice speech of a Sanders or a Corbyn.
By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed the rightwingers and the centrists are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them . They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.
The center and the right have been fighting back ever since with claims that anyone who seriously challenges the neoliberal status quo at home and the neoconservative one abroad is promoting "fake news" or is a "Russian troll". This updating of the charge of being "un-American" embodies cancel culture at its very worst.Social media accountability
In other words, apart from in the case of a few progressives, the letter is simply special pleading for a return to the status quo. And for that reason, as we shall see, Chomsky might have been better advised not to have added his name, however much he agrees with the letter's vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.
What is striking about a significant proportion of those who signed is their self-identification as ardent supporters of Israel. And as Israel's critics know only too well, advocates for Israel have been at the forefront of the cancel culture from long before the term was even coined.
For decades, pro-Israel activists have sought to silence anyone seen to be seriously critiquing this small, highly militarized state, sponsored by the colonial powers, that was implanted in a region rich with a natural resource, oil, needed to lubricate the global economy, and at a terrible cost to its native, Palestinian population.
Nothing should encourage us to believe that zealous defenders of Israel among those signing the letter have now seen the error of their ways. Their newfound concern for free speech is simply evidence that they have begun to suffer from the very same cancel culture they have always promoted in relation to Israel.
They have lost control of the "cancel culture" because of two recent developments: a rapid growth in identity politics among liberals and leftists, and a new popular demand for "accountability" spawned by the rise of social media.Cancelling Israel's critics
In fact, despite their professions of concern, the evidence suggests that some of those signing the letter have been intensifying their own contribution to cancel culture in relation to Israel, rather than contesting it.
That is hardly surprising. The need to counter criticism of Israel has grown more pressing as Israel has more obviously become a pariah state. Israel has refused to countenance peace talks with the Palestinians and it has intensified its efforts to realize long-harbored plans to annex swaths of the West Bank in violation of international law.
Rather than allow "robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters" on Israel, Israel's supporters have preferred the tactics of those identified in the letter as enemies of free speech: "swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought".
Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour party who was reviled, along with his supporters, as an antisemite one of the worst smears imaginable by several people on the Harper's list, including Rowling and Weiss . Such claims were promoted even though his critics could produce no actual evidence of an antisemitism problem in the Labour party.
Similarly, think of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel (BDS), modeled on the one that helped push South Africa's leaders into renouncing apartheid. BDS activists too have been smeared as antisemites and Weiss again has been a prime offender .
The incidents highlighted in the Harper's letter in which individuals have supposedly been cancelled is trivial compared to the cancelling of a major political party and of a movement that stands in solidarity with a people who have been oppressed for decades.
And yet how many of these free speech warriors have come forward to denounce the fact that leftists including many Jewish anti-Zionists have been pilloried as antisemites to prevent them from engaging in debates about Israel's behavior and its abuses of Palestinian rights?
How many of them have decried the imposition of a new definition of antisemitism, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that has been rapidly gaining ground in western countries?
That definition is designed to silence a large section of the left by prioritizing the safety of Israel from being criticized before the safety of Jews from being vilified and attacked something that even the lawyer who authored the definition has come to regret .
Why has none of this "cancel culture" provoked an open letter to Harper's from these champions of free speech?Double-edge sword
The truth is that many of those who signed the letter are defending not free speech but their right to continue dominating the public square and their right to do so without being held accountable.
Bari Weiss, before she landed a job at the Wall Street Journal and then the New York Times, spent her student years trying to get Muslim professors fired from her university cancelling them because of their criticism of Israel. And she explicitly did so under the banner of "academic freedom", claiming pro-Israel students felt intimidated in the classroom.
The New York Civil Liberties Union concluded that it was Weiss, not the professors, who was the real threat to academic freedom. This was not some youthful indiscretion. In a book last year Weiss cited her efforts to rid Columbia university of these professors as a formative experience on which she still draws.
Weiss and many of the others listed under the letter are angry that the rhetorical tools they used for so long to stifle the free speech of others have now been turned against them. Those who lived for so long by the sword of identity politics on Israel, for example are worried that their reputations may die by that very same sword on issues of race, sex and gender.Narcissistic concern
To understand how the cancel culture is central to the worldview of many of these writers and intellectuals, and how blind they are to their own complicity in that culture, consider the case of Jonathan Freedland, a columnist with the supposedly liberal-left British newspaper the Guardian. Although Freedland is not among those signing the letter, he is very much aligned with the centrists among them and, of course, supported the letter in an article published in the Guardian.
Freedland, we should note, led the "cancel culture" campaign against the Labour party referenced above. He was one of the key figures in Britain's Jewish community who breathed life into the antisemitism smears against Corbyn and his supporters.
But note the brief clip below. In it, Freedland's voice can be heard cracking as he explains how he has been a victim of the cancel culture himself: he confesses that he has suffered verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Israel's most extreme apologists those who are even more unapologetically pro-Israel than he is.
He reports that he has been called a "kapo", the term for Jewish collaborators in the Nazi concentration camps, and a "sonderkommando", the Jews who disposed of the bodies of fellow Jews killed in the gas chambers. He admits such abuse "burrows under your skin" and "hurts tremendously".
And yet, despite the personal pain he has experienced of being unfairly accused, of being cancelled by a section of his own community, Freedland has been at the forefront of the campaign to tar critics of Israel, including anti-Zionist Jews, as antisemites on the flimsiest of evidence.
He is entirely oblivious to the ugly nature of the cancel culture unless it applies to himself . His concern is purely narcissistic. And so it is with the majority of those who signed the letter.Conducting a monologue
The letter's main conceit is the pretence that "illiberalism" is a new phenomenon, that free speech is under threat, and that the cancel culture only arrived at the moment it was given a name.
That is simply nonsense. Anyone over the age of 35 can easily remember a time when newspapers and websites did not have a talkback section, when blogs were few in number and rarely read, and when there was no social media on which to challenge or hold to account "the great and the good".
Writers and columnists like those who signed the letter were then able to conduct a monologue in which they revealed their opinions to the rest of us as if they were Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountaintop.
In those days, no one noticed the cancel culture or was allowed to remark on it. And that was because only those who held approved opinions were ever given a media platform from which to present those opinions.
Before the digital revolution, if you dissented from the narrow consensus imposed by the billionaire owners of the corporate media, all you could do was print your own primitive newsletter and send it by post to the handful of people who had heard of you.
That was the real cancel culture. And the proof is in the fact that many of those formerly obscure writers quickly found they could amass tens of thousands of followers with no help from the traditional corporate media when they had access to blogs and social media.Silencing the left
Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of the open letter in Harper's. Under cover of calls for tolerance, given credibility by Chomsky's name, a proportion of those signing actually want to restrict the free speech of one section of the population the part influenced by Chomsky.
They are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.
Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don't like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.
Their criticisms of "cancel culture" are really about prioritizing "responsible" speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy had no real voice.
The new attacks on "cancel culture" echo the attacks on Bernie Sanders' supporters, who were framed as "Bernie Bros" the evidence-free allegation that he attracted a rabble of aggressive, women-hating men who tried to bully others into silence on social media.
Just as this claim was used to discredit Sanders' policies, so the center and the right now want to discredit the left more generally by implying that, without curbs, they too will bully everyone else into silence and submission through their "cancel culture".
If this conclusion sounds unconvincing, consider that President Donald Trump could easily have added his name to the letter alongside Chomsky's. Trump used his recent Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore to make similar points to the Harper's letter. He at least was explicit in equating "cancel culture" with what he called "far-left fascism":
"One of [the left's] political weapons is 'Cancel Culture' driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly."
Trump, in all his vulgarity, makes plain what the Harper's letter, in all its cultural finery, obscures. That attacks on the new "cancel culture" are simply another front alongside supposed concerns about "fake news" and "Russian trolls" in the establishment's efforts to limit speech by the left.Attention redirected
This is not to deny that there is fake news on social media or that there are trolls, some of them even Russian. Rather, it is to point out that our attention is being redirected, and our concerns manipulated by a political agenda.
Despite the way it has been presented in the corporate media, fake news on social media has been mostly a problem of the right. And the worst examples of fake news and the most influential are found not on social media at all, but on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
What genuinely fake news on Facebook has ever rivaled the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that were knowingly peddled by a political elite and their stenographers in the corporate media. Those lies led directly to more than a million Iraqi deaths, turned millions more into refugees, destroyed an entire country, and fuelled a new type of nihilistic Islamic extremism whose effects we are still feeling.
Most of the worst lies from the current period those that have obscured or justified US interference in Syria and Venezuela, or rationalized war crimes against Iran, or approved the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange for exposing war crimes can only be understood by turning our backs on the corporate media and looking to experts who can rarely find a platform outside of social media.Algorithms changed
I say this as someone who has concerns about the fashionable focus on identity politics rather than class politics. I say it also as someone who rejects all forms of cancel culture whether it is the old-style, "liberal" cancel culture that imposes on us a narrow "consensus" politics (the Overton window), or the new "leftwing" cancel culture that too often prefers to focus on easy cultural targets like Rowling than the structural corruption of western political systems.
But those who are impressed by the letter simply because Chomsky's name is attached should beware. Just as "fake news" has provided the pretext for Google and social media platforms to change their algorithms to vanish left-wingers from searches and threads, just as "antisemitism" has been redefined to demonize the left, so too the supposed threat of "cancel culture" will be exploited to silence the left.
Protecting Bari Weiss and J K Rowling from a baying left-wing "mob" a mob that that claims a right to challenge their views on Israel or trans issues will become the new rallying cry from the establishment for action against "irresponsible" or "intimidating" speech.
Progressive leftists who join these calls out of irritation with the current focus on identity politics, or because they fear being labelled an antisemite, or because they mistakenly assume that the issue really is about free speech, will quickly find that they are the main targets.
In defending free speech, they will end up being the very ones who are silenced.
You don't criticise Chomsky however tangentially and respectfully at least not from a left perspective without expecting a whirlwind of opposition. But one issue that keeps being raised on my social media feeds in his defence is just plain wrong-headed, so I want to quickly address it. Here's one my followers expressing the point succinctly:
"The sentiments in the letter stand or fall on their own merits, not on the characters or histories of some of the signatories, nor their future plans."
The problem, as I'm sure Chomsky would explain in any other context, is that this letter fails not just because of the other people who signed it but on its merit too . And that's because, as I explain above, it ignores the most oppressive and most established forms of cancel culture, as Chomsky should have been the first to notice.
Highlighting the small cancel culture, while ignoring the much larger, establishment-backed cancel culture, distorts our understanding of what is at stake and who wields power.
Chomsky unwittingly just helped a group of mostly establishment stooges skew our perceptions of free speech problems so that we side with them against ourselves. There is no way that can be a good thing.
There are still people holding out against the idea that it harmed the left to have Chomsky sign this letter. And rather than address their points individually, let me try another way of explaining my argument:
Why has Chomsky not signed a letter backing the furore over "fake news", even though there is some fake news on social media? Why has he not endorsed the "Bernie Bros" narrative, even though doubtless there are some bullying Sanders supporters on social media? Why has he not supported the campaign claiming the Labour party has an antisemitism problem, even though there are some antisemites in the Labour party (as there are everywhere)?
He hasn't joined any of those campaigns for a very obvious reason because he understands how power works, and that on the left you hit up, not down. You certainly don't cheerlead those who are up as they hit down.
Chomsky understands this principle only too well because here he is setting it out in relation to Iran:
"Suppose I criticise Iran. What impact does that have? The only impact it has is in fortifying those who want to carry out policies I don't agree with, like bombing."
For exactly the same reason he has not joined those pillorying Iran because his support would be used for nefarious ends he shouldn't have joined this campaign. He made a mistake. He's fallible.
Also, this isn't about the left eating itself. Really, Chomsky shouldn't be the issue. The issue should be that a bunch of centrists and right-wingers used this letter to try to reinforce a narrative designed to harm the left, and lay the groundwork for further curbs on its access to social media. But because Chomsky signed the letter, many more leftists are now buying into that narrative a narrative intended to harm them. That's why Chomsky's role cannot be ignored, nor his mistake glossed over.
I had not anticipated how many ways people on the left might find to justify this letter.
Here's the latest reasoning. Apparently, the letter sets an important benchmark that can in future be used to protect free speech by the left when we are threatened with being "cancelled" as, for example, with the antisemitism smears that were used against anti-Zionist Jews and other critics of Israel in the British Labour party.
I should hardly need to point out how naive this argument is. It completely ignores how power works in our societies: who gets to decide what words mean and how principles are applied. This letter won't help the left because "cancel culture" is being framed by this letter, by Trump, by the media as a "loony left" problem. It is a new iteration of the "politically correct gone mad" discourse, and it will be used in exactly the same way.
It won't help Steven Salaita, sacked from a university job because he criticised Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza, or Chris Williamson, the Labour MP expelled because he defended the party's record on being anti-racist.
The "cancel culture" furore isn't interested in the fact that they were "cancelled". Worse still, this moral panic turns the whole idea of cancelling on its head: it is Salaita and Williamson who are accused and found guilty of doing the cancelling, of cancelling Israel and Jews.
Israel's supporters will continue to win this battle by claiming that criticism of Israel "cancels" that country ("wipes it off the map"), "cancels" Israel's Jewish population ("drives them into the sea"), and "cancels" Jews more generally ("denies a central component of modern Jewish identity").
Greater awareness of "cancel culture" would not have saved Corbyn from the antisemitism smears because the kind of cancel culture that smeared Corbyn is never going to be defined as "cancelling".
For anyone who wishes to see how this works in practice, watch Guardian columnist Owen Jones cave in as he has done so often to the power dynamics of the "cancel culture" discourse in this interview with Sky News. I actually agree with almost everything Jones says in this clip, apart from his joining yet again in the witch-hunt against Labour's anti-Zionists. He doesn't see that witch-hunt as "cancel culture", and neither will anyone else with a large platform like his to protect:
This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook's blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/
Jul 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU1 , Jul 13 2020 4:56 utc | 150
Plenty of decent people have headed to five eyes thinking they would find a better life, but we also take in the scum of the world that can be used against their own countries. These generally rise to high places.
Imperial France seems of the same mindset and Chechen freedom fighters are now fighting for their freedom in France. Yankistans freedom fighter Osama Bin Larden was just fighting for freedom apparently. Like the AQ media wing 'White Helmets' that UK and Canada took in, not to mention the nazi's that participated in the genocides in their own countries in WWII.
When peasants living conditions are constantly improving, there will be no revolt and no civil war. Yankistan propaganda can't even come up with an opposition in China.
Angloshere propaganda mostly projects onto target countries what they themselves are doing.
Jul 14, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MARK CHAPMAN July 8, 2020 at 8:08 pmJEN July 8, 2020 at 9:42 pm
"The judge also concluded that Steele's notes of his first interaction with the FBI about the dossier on July 5, 2016 made clear that his ultimate client for his research project was Hillary Clinton's campaign as directed by her campaign law firm Perkins Coie. The FBI did not disclose that information to the court."
Finally we are getting down to where the cheese binds. Hillary Clinton's campaign, with Mrs. Clinton's knowledge, commissioned the Steele dossier to try to torpedo Trump's election prospects. She never thought he could win, but the Dems wanted to make sure.
I'd bet a dollar to a doughnut Skripal was the source of the Russian 'intelligence', and that he was bumped off afterward to make sure he stayed quiet.
The whole Russiagate scandal was just Democrat bullshit, and they kept up with it long after they all knew they were lying. And Biden thinks he's going to get elected, after that revelation? The Democrats deserve to be expelled from politics en masse. Leading with that wretched prick Schiff.MARK CHAPMAN July 9, 2020 at 8:43 am
It would seem likely that had the Klintonator won the 2016 Presidential election, Sergei Skripal might have been left alone mouldering with his guinea pigs and cats in his Salsibury home. Perhaps he had to take the fall for HRC's loss in the election, for whatever reason (not shovelling enough shit into the dossier to bring down Trump perhaps); someone had to take the blame and of course HRC will never admit responsibility for her own failure.ET AL July 9, 2020 at 12:34 am
Well, you never know – Russians are kind of an endangered species in the UK. They turn up dead whenever a public accusation of another Putin 'state hit' would be a useful feature in the papers.MARK CHAPMAN July 9, 2020 at 9:01 am
What I want to know is if the paths of the Skripals passed with those of the supposed Russian assassins (which I assume to be possible decoys) or anyone else in space, but not necessarily time. If Skripal is involved with all the Clinton stuff, then he would want an insurance policy for example on an USB drive that he could leave for someone to pick up, and leak if something foreshortened his life
It could well have been a simple dead-drop and when alerted by their phones being turned off and batteries removed, the priority was to immobilize/incapacitate them. A bit tricky in public, but not at all impossible by a near/passer by to their bench with an aerosol, say a cyclist walking with his bike After all, they did also have the Chief nurse of the BA on hand just in case it went wrong as things sometimes do. Which leads to the question, was it just the Brits alone, together with the Americans, or watching the Americans and then cleaning up their mess? 2 or more likely 3 seem most likely if we look at sheer brazeness.
That concludes my speculation for the day! Maybe I should be a journalist. I could be paid for this!
Yes, you never know, but it's certainly hard to believe Occam was English. It seems pretty clear the simplest explanation is "MI6 bumped him off and blamed it on Russia". When you are trying to arrange a death which is bound to be suspicious, you want to do it in a way that when it becomes public knowledge, the first people the public thinks of is not you. means, motive and opportunity all strongly favour the English side. It seems to be be fairly common knowledge that Skripal wanted to return to Russia; we have no way of knowing if he planned to live there or just visit, more likely the latter. But Putin decides to send an assassination team to England to rub him out. Instead of welcoming him home to Russia, where he could prevent the British from investigating, and then killing him. Presumably in a much more prosaic fashion – say, running him down with a car – rather than employing some exotic poison or isotope which will scream 'Russia!!' How long would the British have been investigating the Skripals' deaths (if they had died) had they been run down with a 7.5 ton lorry which was subsequently found burned to a shell several counties away? Would the British papers have been shrieking "Putin's Truck!!!" next morning? But no – Russian assassins always have to 'send a message', which must inspire Britain to 'send a message' of its own by punishing the entire country. Maybe it's just me, but flash-cooking Skripal in the High Street with a flamethrower in broad daylight would send a message. And then say to the police, "Keep your hands where I can see 'em, unless you want a couple of shashliks, comrade", before speeding away in an Aurus Senat limousine. That would send a message, too.
Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
ET AL July 7, 2020 at 2:53 amMARK CHAPMAN July 7, 2020 at 8:28 am
Ever wondered what happened to our mouth foaming favorite russophobe, Ed Lucas?
Daily Fail: EDWARD LUCAS: At last! The end of the age of appeasing Beijing bullies
Remember, Sir John Sawers is the former chief of MI6 and is in no way linked to the UK government. He is a private individual. This is not Hybrid Warfare.
Which is good, because it allows Ed to earnestly parrot his talking points and add plenty of filler in that well known balanced, independent and journalistically shining star of an outlet, the Daily Fail.
The lesson I think we can take from this is that UK gov has finally been caught in its own bitch 'n' slap China trap and also a victim of t-Rump's bash China campaign. Time has run out on this strategy. It was more than happy to sign on to loud anti-China slogans, as long as it didn't cost UK plc serious cash or future investme nt. The problem is that China has had enough of mostly ignoring those slings and arrows for years.
The new so-called 'Wolf-warrior' China response that the west is publicly bemoaning as 'threatening' comes after so much sinophobia. Thus, UK gov has got the message much more forcefully in the last few days and the opposition like 'ex' directors of British intelligence and others are all hands to the wheel because they do not hold official power and have no other way of influencing the government. 2020 really is a momentous year.
I didn't really have time to read it because I have to leave for work, but the headline alone is enough to showcase classic Lucas behavior – enthusiastically cheer the government 'taking a stand', and leaving the accountants to sort out the damage and try to salvage something from the rubble. You know, it is a miracle Britain has survived as long as it has with the eejits who are let to run it.
Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
I have to confess, I'm having a hard time getting past the headline. There's so much about it that screams of a policy flak who knows how to present things as facts when they are anything but, and lead you into the piece already believing that (a) Britain has been the victim of more than one attack by Russia, (b) that a country supposedly friendless, without allies and with its economy reeling and staggering from punishing sanctions still somehow has sufficient power to not only grip Europe, but to squeeze it until it squeaks, and (c) Britain can do something about it.REPORT THIS AD
Well, let's look; if Mr. Straw is totally unconcerned about potential embarrassment. there's nothing holding us back, is there? As we have often done before, let's look at each of the 'attacks' Russia is supposed to have visited upon Britain. Ready? Litvinenko.
Litvinenko is supposed to have ingested Polonium 210 – a uniquely Russian isotope, although the United States buys enough Polonium from Russia nearly every month to have killed Litvinenko about 8,000 times – which was slipped to him by two Russian agents in the Pine Bar in London. Polonium traces were subsequently found all over London, including on documents Litvinenko had touched, a Fax machine at fellow collaborator Boris Berzovsky's house, and in a cab in which Litvinenko had ridden, which was so toxic thereafter that it had to be withdrawn from service. The problem with that is that neither of Litvinenko's accused murderers was with him in the cab, or touched the documents he handled but Litvinenko never touched Polonium with his hands. He swallowed it, in tea, and once inside him it could not contaminate anything else unless Litvinenko licked it, because Polonium – despite its toxicity – is a low-alpha isotope which cannot penetrate skin. Litvinenko was, remarkably, covered from head to toe in skin.
Litvinenko produced a passionately and eloquently-written deathbed accusation which tabbed Vladimir Putin as his murderer, because he – Litvinenko – 'knew too much', including Putin's secret pedophilia, evidence of which was the subject of KGB videotapes made while Putin was a student, although the first personal video recorder (the Sony Betamax) was not introduced until the year Putin graduated. Litvinenko himself could barely order a cup of coffee in English, but that puzzle was solved when Alexander Goldfarb – a former nuclear scientist in Russia and a close confidante of Boris Berezovsky – stepped up to say that Litvinenko had 'dictated it to him'. Just as an interesting aside, Litvinenko had bragged to his brother how he had lied to British authorities before in the case of a supposed murder attempt against Boris Berezovsky by the Russian state, using a poisoned pen. This fake murder plot was successfully used by Berzovsky to argue against deportation from Great Britain.
Anyway, we don't want to go on and on about Litvinenko – how believable is the British tale of his assassination by the Russian state? Polonium traces all over London in places the alleged assassins had never visited could not have been left by Litvinenko, because he never touched Polonium with his hands, and it cannot penetrate skin. Polonium was not discovered in his urine until after he was dead. We will never know if radiation poisoning made his hair fall out, because his head was shaved by one of Berezovsky's dissident Chechen sidekicks. Berezovsky himself also turned up dead in England, after losing a major legal case, having supposedly hung himself with his tie inside a locked bathroom at his home. Coincidentally, Polonium as a murder weapon led straight back to Russia (if we assume we did not know about the American purchases of Polonium, which had the added cachet of bearing the telltale signature of having been made in a Russian nuclear reactor), and would have been a breathtakingly stupid choice for a Russian assassin. Still, they almost got away with it – British doctors were totally on the wrong track, and the alleged assassins had already left the country, when an 'anonymous tipster' (*cough* Goldfarb *cough*) suggested they check for Polonium 210.
The Skripals – yes, 'pon my word, old chap; what a nefarious example of Russian ruthlessness. Probably ordered straight from the top, by Vladimir Putin himself – "Will no one rid me of this troublesome has-been KGB agent who has been out of Russia since 2010: would that I had snuffed him then, instead of trading him to the UK in a spy swap!" Yes, I know, already stupid, but it gets so much more unbelievable . Once again, a distinctively Russian murder weapon; Novichok, a nerve agent manufactured from commercially-available fertilizers and organophosphates. The helpful BBC miniseries Mr. Straw speaks of was an exercise in retconning – retroactive connectivity, an after-the-fact fix which explains what was unexplainable in previous versions. For instance, the co-poisoning of Detective Nick Bailey, so ill he was nigh unto death. Originally the story was that he was contaminated because he was one of the first responders, when the Skripals were jerking and drooling on a public bench near the restaurant where they had just eaten, in Salisbury. But the first passer-by, who helpfully attended them, just happened to be none other than the senior medical officer in the British Army, and she was in no way affected although she wore no protection than perhaps rubber gloves. Nick Bailey also wore gloves, because it was cold. The next version had him entering the Skripal home – where he was contaminated – via the back door. But the assassins had unhelpfully smeared the poison on the front doorknob. Shit! So, unable to bring the assassins and the Skripals and Nick Bailey all together at the same doorknob within the same period of lethality, the story was changed again. Bailey had actually nipped next door, borrowed the spare key – the existence of which was completely unknown to anyone prior to the television broadcast – from a neighbour, and entered by the front door, where he became contaminated. It was touch and go there for awhile, but he went home 18 days later, none the worse for his brush with one of the deadliest nerve agents known to man. A nerve agent which, incidentally, was not known to the elimination of other possibilities to have killed anyone. Dawn Sturgess died later, in Amesbury, after spraying pure Novichok on her wrists from a fake perfume bottle, we are told. But Dawn Sturgess was a known drug addict, Novichok as an aerosol spray would have taken effect within seconds but she was not stricken for hours, and the medium of infection was not discovered until three days after her death, sitting conspicuously on Charles Rowley's kitchen counter, although the house had already been searched. Perfectly intact and waiting to be discovered, although Charles Rowley's brother reported that the bottle had broken in his brother's hands as Sturgess handed it back to him, which was how he became contaminated. Another insultingly full-of-bullshit story that would not survive press scrutiny for an hour if it had been Russia reporting a poisoning by British agents in Russia.
Well, I spent a lot longer on that than I meant to; let's move on. Suffice it to say that while there indeed is 'overwhelming evidence' in both cases as Mr. Straw avers, it argues strongly that Britain made up both scenarios, and not very competently, while there is actually zero evidence that Russia had anything to do with either except for the screaming 'made in Russia' agents used, which Russian assassins would be beyond foolish to have chosen for that very reason. Would it make sense for a British assassin in Moscow to bump off a former double agent by caving in his skull with a King Dick claw hammer , and then leave it at the scene? Do international test scores suggest an otherworldly degree of reasoning ability on the part of Britons, while Russians are abysmally stupid by comparison? Not that I have ever seen.
Straw claims an 'ever-present threat of Russia's efforts to destabilise the UK and European Union.' Is there anything more destabilizing between the two than Brexit ? Whose idea was that – Putin's?
Mr. Straw claims Russia's alleged belligerence results from insecurity, a feeling of weakness and is a function of how many more times Russia's defense budget other countries and alliances spend. How do you figure? The best fighter aircraft the USA can come up with, for more than $80 Million a copy , is the F-35. The F-35 was unable to defeat previous-generation aircraft from its own armed forces. The Sukhoi S-35 costs less than half as much, and while western sites which match the two grant all sorts of 'excitement points' to the F-35 for its technology and Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) performance, the SU-35 is more maneuverable, has a higher rate of climb, more thrust, has double the speed, and while the F-35's BVR performance is rated much better, its engagement range with its embarked missile is only a bit better than half the SU-35's.
"However, despite high spending on its military, it is no match for the US, which spends 12 times as much, nor China, which spends four times its budget. Russia's population is declining, and its GDP per head is just 50th in the world. It feels isolated, surrounded by potentially hostile forces, and weak."
JENNIFER HOR July 6, 2020 at 2:26 amET AL July 6, 2020 at 3:04 am
I was led to believe by some other online sites (the names of which I've now forgotten) that Sergei Skripal's neighbour, from whom Detective Nick Bailey must have borrowed the spare key 'coz who else could have held it, was none other than Pablo Miller. I'd have thought the D-notice imposed on British media compelling them never to refer to him back in March 2018 was still current. How would the BBC or those Guardian journos who wrote the script for the recent TV series have avoided referring to him when the detective was trying to locate a spare key? I admit I haven't seen the TV series yet and from what I've seen and heard about it so far, it's not worth a look.
Thanks for the new post, Mark, and for making it as detailed and riveting as ever.MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 8:38 am
The D-Notice system (DSMA?) technically only requires voluntary compliance but curiously all the British media consistently go along with it Ho! Ho! Ho!
..Any D-Notices or DA-notices are only advisory requests and are not legally enforceable; hence, news editors can choose not to abide by them. However, they are generally complied with by the media
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSMA-NoticeCORTES July 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm
Thanks, Jennifer; I didn't really have to do much – Moscow Exile was kind and psychic enough to print out Straw's whole editorial, else I might have had to subscribe to The Independent to even see it. *Shudder*. And Straw just opened his head and let the bullshit flow – I only had to redirect the stream a little here and there.
I don't think Miller was the neighbour, I seem to remember a different name nope, that was Ross Cassidy, who was cited by John Helmer as perhaps the only person Skripal trusted enough to have left a key with him, but he didn't live next door. Pablo Miller does indeed also live in Salisbury, but I have seen no mention of where,
Pablo Miller, Mark Urban and Hamish de Bretton-Gordon all served in the same tank regiment in the British Army. I have seen one other source – can't remember where now – that claimed Christopher Steele also served in the same regiment, but that's not true – he was recruited straight out of Cambridge at graduation, by MI6, and worked for them for 22 years. That's not to say there were not connections, though – Steele was also Case Officer for Litvinenko, and was allegedly the first to assess that Litvinenko's death was 'a Russian state hit'.
"Over a career that spanned more than 20 years, Steele performed a series of roles, but always appeared to be drawn back to Russia; he was, sources say, head of MI6's Russia desk. When the agency was plunged into panic over the poisoning of its agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the then chief, Sir John Scarlett, needed a trusted senior officer to plot a way through the minefield ahead – so he turned to Steele. It was Steele, sources say, who correctly and quickly realised that Litvinenko's death was a Russian state "hit"."
You'll enjoy that piece by The Grauniad – it goes on and on about how first-rate credible Steele was, and how the quality of his work is above reproach. His legendary 'dossier', obviously, has since fallen apart and been dismissed as fanciful disinformation.
The spare key was found in the usual place: inside the cane rod of the little angling garden gnome modelled on His Imperial Majesty Tsar Nicholas II, stood by that awkward entrance to the back porch. No need for nosy neighbours. (I added this detail for inclusion in Version 4 of The Skripals, due out in January 2021.)
Thanks again, Mark.
Jul 11, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 8:38 am
Thanks, Jennifer; I didn't really have to do much – Moscow Exile was kind and psychic enough to print out Straw's whole editorial, else I might have had to subscribe to The Independent to even see it. *Shudder*. And Straw just opened his head and let the bullshit flow – I only had to redirect the stream a little here and there.
I don't think Miller was the neighbour, I seem to remember a different name nope, that was Ross Cassidy, who was cited by John Helmer as perhaps the only person Skripal trusted enough to have left a key with him, but he didn't live next door. Pablo Miller does indeed also live in Salisbury, but I have seen no mention of where,
Pablo Miller, Mark Urban and Hamish de Bretton-Gordon all served in the same tank regiment in the British Army. I have seen one other source – can't remember where now – that claimed Christopher Steele also served in the same regiment, but that's not true – he was recruited straight out of Cambridge at graduation, by MI6, and worked for them for 22 years. That's not to say there were not connections, though – Steele was also Case Officer for Litvinenko, and was allegedly the first to assess that Litvinenko's death was 'a Russian state hit'.
"Over a career that spanned more than 20 years, Steele performed a series of roles, but always appeared to be drawn back to Russia; he was, sources say, head of MI6's Russia desk. When the agency was plunged into panic over the poisoning of its agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the then chief, Sir John Scarlett, needed a trusted senior officer to plot a way through the minefield ahead – so he turned to Steele. It was Steele, sources say, who correctly and quickly realised that Litvinenko's death was a Russian state "hit"."
You'll enjoy that piece by The Grauniad – it goes on and on about how first-rate credible Steele was, and how the quality of his work is above reproach. His legendary 'dossier', obviously, has since fallen apart and been dismissed as fanciful disinformation.
Jul 11, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Harper's Magazine's July 7 th " Letter on Justice and Open Debate " is making its rounds in popular political discourse, and takes aim at the "PC" "cancel culture" we are told is being fueled by the most recent round of Black Lives Matter protests. This cancel culture, we are warned, is quickly and perniciously taking over American discourse, and will severely limit the free exploration of competing viewpoints.
The Harper's letter signatories run across the ideological spectrum, including prominent conservatives such as David Brooks and J.K. Rowling, liberals such as Mark Lilla and Sean Willentz, and progressives such as Noam Chomsky and Todd Gitlin. I have no doubt that the supporters of the letter are well meaning in their support for free speech. And I have no interest in singling out any one person or group of signatories for condemnation. Rather, I think it's warranted to focus on the ways in which "free speech" is being weaponized in this case, and in contemporary American discourse, to empower reactionary voices, under the façade of a free exploration of ideas.
The ideas established in the Harper's letter sound just fine in principle, and when examined in a vacuum. The supporters embrace norms of "open debate" and "toleration of differences," and opposition to "dogma[s]," "coercion," and "intolerant climate[s]" that stifle open exploration of competing views. The letter's supporters celebrate "the free exchange of information and ideas," which they deem "the lifeblood of a liberal society," contrary to a rising "vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty." The letter elaborates :
"But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal."
Appealing to Americans' commitment to civic responsibility for open dialogue, the Harper's letter warns, "restriction of debate" "invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away."
One of the main problems with this sort of lofty rhetoric is that it misrepresents the severely deficient reality of American political discourse. We live in a period when the rise of neoliberal capitalism and untrammeled corporate power have cheapened "public" political discourse to serve the interests of plutocratic wealth and power, while assaulting notions of the common good and the public health. Idealistic rhetoric about exploring diverse views falls flat, and is a mischaracterization of reality to the deficiencies in U.S. political discourse under neoliberal corporate capitalism, when debates are perverted by political and economic elites who have contempt for the free exchange of ideas.
Numerous passages in the Harper's letter create the impression that U.S. political discourse is characterized by a vibrant and open exploration of diverse and competing views. The letter includes :
- A lament that the emerging "cancel culture" threatens to "weaken our norms of open debate and toleration."
- The claim that the "free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted."
- The assertion that American discourse is characterized by institutions that "uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters."
- The call "to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences."
All of these claims are romanticizations of American life. They obscure the reality that progressive left and radical dissident views are routinely blacklisted from "mainstream" political, economic, and social discourse by the media and by mainstream academic institutions.
The "let's engage in a diversity of competing views" position sounds great until one realizes that we do not, and have never lived in, that sort of pluralistic democracy. We live in a political culture that, on its face, is committed to free speech protections for all, in which through the respectful exchange of ideas, we arrive at a better understanding of truth, to the benefit of all. But we don't really live in that society. Ours is a reactionary culture, which celebrates ideas that service political and economic power centers. In this society, views that are elevated to being worthy of discussion include milquetoast liberal values that are sympathetic (or at least not antagonistic) to corporate power, apolitical content that's aimed at mindless entertainment and political diversion, and reactionary authoritarian views that border on fascistic, but are vital to demonizing immigrants, people of color, and other minorities, and reinforce a white patriarchal corporate power structure. Radical lefties, or even progressive-leftists, need not apply to be included in this circumscribed discourse. Their views are routinely blacklisted from the mass media, and are increasingly marginalized in higher educational institutions.
I don't draw these conclusions lightly. My understanding of how the mass media operates is based on extensive personal experiences, and those from countless left intellectuals I know. Many of us have struggled (and mostly failed) to break into "mainstream" discourse because of the limited space in corporate news devoted to marginalized perspectives. With this marginalization comes the near erasure of critical views, including those seeking to spotlight record (and rising) economic inequality, repressive institutions that reinforce racial, gender and transphobic systems of repression, the corporate ecocidal assault on the environment, the rise of unbridled corporate power and plutocracy, the rising authoritarianism in American politics, and the increasingly reactionary and fascistic rhetoric that has taken over the American right.
Despite complaints about a pervasive liberal bias in higher education, available evidence reveals the opposite. As I've documented through my own comprehensive analysis of hundreds of national opinion polling questions on Americans' political and economic values, there's virtually no empirical evidence to suggest that increased education in the U.S. is associated with increased likelihood of holding liberal attitudes. The reason for this non-link between education and liberalism is obvious to those leftists who have struggled to carve out a space in the increasingly reactionary American university: there's very little commitment to progressive or leftist values in the modern corporate collegiate "experience"-oriented schooling system.
Reflecting on my own experiences within this system, the very notion of academics serving as public intellectuals has been under systematic assault by the rise of a "professionalization" culture that depicts political engagement as "biased," "unprofessional," and "unacceptable." Whatever lingering commitment to higher education as a public good was rolled back decades ago with the rise of corporatized academic "professional" norms. Scholars are now primarily concerned with publishing in esoteric, jargon-laden journals that no one reads, and almost no one cites, while elevating a discussion of the methods of how one does research over a discussion of the political and social significance of our work. In this process, there's been a suppression of any commitment to producing active citizens who see themselves as having an ethical or moral responsibility to be regularly politically engaged.
The reactionary "professionalization" that's celebrated in the ivory tower is relentlessly promoted at every step of the process through which academics develop and are socialized: in the graduate school experience, in the job hiring, tenure, and promotion processes, and in the process of peer review for academic publications. Those who don't get with the program are filtered out at some point in this process. Very few who are committed to challenging professionalized academic norms make it through PhD programs, and fewer still obtain tenure-track jobs and tenure. It is a rare to find academics who learn how to effectively hide their political values in grad school, and who then actively draw on those same values in their scholarship once they've secured an academic job.
In my more than two decades in higher ed, I can say there's no such thing as a fair hearing for the progressive-radical left when it comes to academic publishing. Thinking of my own research, I see zero interest in elite academic publishing houses – the Oxfords, Princetons, and Cambridges of the world – in making space for openly leftist frameworks of analysis, let alone for the sort of applied Gramscian and Marxian empirical research that I do on media propaganda, hegemony, indoctrination, and mass false consciousness. Neither do any of the reputable journals in most social science disciplines express interest in this sort of research.
Considering the research I do focuses on social movement protests, media propaganda/fake news, and inequality studies, one might think these timely topics would draw a large number of requests for university speaking engagements. These are, after all, defining political issues of our time. But this isn't at all the case. The academy remains as reactionary as ever in terms of sidelining and blacklisting leftist ideas and frameworks for understanding the world. There's little interest in prioritizing high-profile campus speaking events for such topics in the neoliberal corporate academy. Considering the utter contempt for such scholarship, it's difficult for me to focus my limited time and energy lamenting campus attacks on authoritarians like Milo Yiannopoulos, or whatever other reactionary pseudo-intellectual flavor of the week who has been disinvited from paid speaking engagements that I and other leftist scholars couldn't dream of receiving in the first place.
I won't shed a tear for reactionaries who seek to appropriate dwindling university resources for their own personal publicity and self-aggrandizement, considering that their ideology actively supports gutting the very institutions that they so shamelessly take advantage of. The reality of the matter is that there's no First Amendment "free speech" right to be invited to numerous campus engagements, to be paid a generous speaking fee, or to have campus security resources devoted to protecting arch-reactionary authoritarian speakers in light of the large student protests that are mobilized against these campus events.
We should recognize that the recent wave of laments against PC "cancel culture" from the right reinforce a specific power dynamic in American society. It is one in which reactionaries have initiated an assault on what little remains of independent and critical thinking within the media and higher ed.
They have done so by draping their contempt for free and critical inquiry in the rhetoric of "free speech." But U.S. media and educational institutions have never been committed to the free exploration of competing views, at least not for those who question corporate power. The sooner we stop pretending this landscape represents a free and open exchange of ideas, the better.
More articles by: ANTHONY DIMAGGIO
Anthony DiMaggio is Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and is the author of 9 books, including most recently: Political Power in America (SUNY Press, 2019) and Rebellion in America (Routledge, 2020). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul 09, 2020 | www.thekomisarscoop.com
U.S. & UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax
By Lucy Komisar
July 6, 2020, Committee for an East-West Accord .
The U.S. and UK are intensifying their collaborative Cold War against Russia. In Washington, calls for sanctions are based on the fake "bountygate," and the UK has sanctioned selected Russians based on William Browder's Magnitsky hoax.
The "bountygate" charge that Russia paid militants to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan is unproved by U.S. intelligence agencies and even discounted by the international wire-tapping National Security Agency (NSA). The UK sanctions against 25 Russians, judges and court officials, tax investigators, and prison doctors, are based on disproved claims by billionaire investor William Browder that they were responsible for the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.
Browder's Magnitsky story is a pillar of America's Russiagate, which has five. Before bountygate, there was the 2019 Mueller Report which found no evidence that President Trump had colluded with the Russians, the Jan 2017 intelligence agencies' charge of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election which concludes with the admission that they had no proof; and the 2016 accusation that Russians had stolen Democratic National Committee emails, made by the private security group CrowdStrike, later walked back by CrowdStrike's president Shawn Henry at a secret House hearing in Dec 2017, but not revealed till this May.
With the UK, we return to the first pillar of the U.S. Russiagate story, the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which targeted many on the U.S. list. The Magnitsky Act is recognized as the beginning of the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations. It is based on a hoax invented by Browder and easily disproved by documentary evidence, if governments cared about that.
Jul 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Jul 8 2020 11:30 utc | 64
Skeletor @53 Re: Using compromised "Operation Mockingbird" corporate mass media as sources even though that mass media is known to deliberately disinform.
Corporate mass media products, like news segments or written articles, can be viewed on two different levels. The surface level, and the level at which the product is intended to be consumed by the public and installed in their heads as revealed Truth©, is the narrative . Much of this narrative is usually contained in the headline for an article as most people don't read beyond that anyway. This narrative is false, or at least intentionally misleading, 100% of the time.
These articles and news segments can be analysed at a deeper level, though. To build up to their Big Lie of the story's narrative , the corporate mass media must use small pieces of fact and truth, which they assemble in deceptive ways, to make their false narrative palatable. It is the job of the analyst to look beyond the intended narrative of a corporate mass media product to find the fact and truth fragments that they are using to sell the false narrative .
What I get the biggest kick out of is that the creators of these corporate mass media false narratives are often themselves the loudest voices protesting our host using their own products to counter their narratives . They really hate it when their own words are used to discredit their own narratives , and so they whine that if you are not going to swallow their vile narrative , then you should not refer to their words. Poor babies!
While it is true that inattentive readers who are prone to uncritically installing false narratives in their own heads should avoid consuming those mass media products, analysts who are skilled at filtering out and separating the narrative from the supporting text of articles can easily dig out facts from that media ore without risk of contamination of their minds with crap. Our host is one of those kinds of analysts. Unfortunately, since you, Skeletor, cannot tell the difference between narrative and information, you run a great risk of being remote controlled by the false narrative if you consume unprocessed corporate mass media products. I recommend that you avoid them.
Jul 03, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
RAY McGOVERN: Mutiny on the Bounties
Has there been another mutiny in Trump's White House, as Obama's former ambassador to Russia piles on the nonsense about Trump being in Putin's pocket?
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
C orporate media are binging on leaked Kool Aid not unlike the WMD concoction they offered 18 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-UK war of aggression on Iraq.
Now Michael McFaul, ambassador to Russia under President Obama, has been enlisted by The Washington Post 's editorial page honcho, Fred Hiatt, to draw on his expertise (read, incurable Russophobia) to help stick President Donald Trump back into "Putin's pocket." (This has become increasingly urgent as the canard of "Russiagate" -- including the linchpin claim that Russia hacked the DNC -- lies gasping for air.)
In an oped on Thursday McFaul presented a long list of Vladimir Putin's alleged crimes, offering a more ostensibly sophisticated version of amateur Russian specialist, Rep. Jason Crow's (D-CO) claim that: "Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with McFaul meeting Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, on May 7, 2013. (State Department)
McFaul had -- well, let's call it an undistinguished career in Moscow. He arrived with a huge chip on his shoulder and proceeded to alienate just about all his hosts, save for the rabidly anti-Putin folks he openly and proudly cultivated. In a sense, McFaul became the epitome of what Henry Wooton described as the role of ambassador -- "an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." What should not be so readily accepted is an ambassador who comes back home and just can't stop misleading.
Not to doubt McFaul's ulterior motives; one must assume him to be an "honest man" -- however misguided, in my opinion. He seems to be a disciple of the James Clapper-Curtis LeMay-Joe McCarthy School of Russian Analysis.
Clapper, a graduate summa cum laude , certainly had the Russians pegged! Clapper was allowed to stay as Barack Obama's director of national intelligence for three and a half years after perjuring himself in formal Senate testimony (on NSA's illegal eavesdropping). On May 28, 2017 Clapper told NBC's Chuck Todd about "the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique."
As a finale, in full knowledge of Clapper's proclivities regarding Russia, Obama appointed him to prepare the evidence-impoverished, misnomered "Intelligence Community Assessment" claiming that Putin did all he could, including hacking the DNC, to help Trump get elected -- the most embarrassing such "intelligence assessment" I have seen in half a century .
Obama and the National Security State
I have asked myself if Obama also had earned some kind of degree from the Clapper/LeMay/McCarthy School, or whether he simply lacked the courage to challenge the pitiably self-serving "analysis" of the National Security State. Then I re-read "Obama Misses the Afghan Exit-Ramp" of June 24, 2010 and was reminded of how deferential Obama was to the generals and the intelligence gurus, and how unconscionable the generals were -- like their predecessors in Vietnam -- in lying about always seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Thankfully, now ten years later, this is all documented in Craig Whitlock's, "The Afghanistan Papers: At War With the Truth." Corporate media, who played an essential role in that "war with the truth", have not given Whitlock's damning story the attention it should command (surprise, surprise!). In any case, it strains credulity to think that Obama was unaware he was being lied to on Afghanistan.
Clark Gable (l.) with Charles Laughton (r.) in Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935.
Does no one see the irony today in the Democrats' bashing Trump on Afghanistan, with the full support of the Establishment media? The inevitable defeat there is one of the few demonstrable disasters not attributable directly to Trump, but you would not know that from the media. Are the uncorroborated reports of Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops aimed at making it appear that Trump, unable to stand up to Putin, let the Russians drive the rest of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan?
Does the current flap bespeak some kind of "Mutiny on the Bounties," so to speak, by a leaker aping Eric Chiaramella? Recall that the Democrats lionized the CIA official seconded to Trump's national security council as a "whistleblower" and proceeded to impeach Trump after Chiaramella leaked information on Trump's telephone call with the president of Ukraine. Far from being held to account, Chiaramella is probably expecting an influential job if his patron, Joe Biden, is elected president. Has there been another mutiny in Trump's White House?
And what does one make of the spectacle of Crow teaming up with Rep. Liz Cheney (R, WY) to restrict Trump's planned pull-out of troops from Afghanistan, which The Los Angeles Times reports has now been blocked until after the election?
Hiatt & McFaul: Caveat Editor
And who published McFaul's oped? Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial page editor for the past 20 years, who has a long record of listening to the whispers of anonymous intelligence sources and submerging/drowning the subjunctive mood with flat fact. This was the case with the (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S.-UK attack. Readers of the Post were sure there were tons of WMD in Iraq. That Hiatt has invited McFaul on stage should come as no surprise.
To be fair, Hiatt belatedly acknowledged that the Post should have been more circumspect in its confident claims about the WMD. "If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction," Hiatt said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review . "If that's not true, it would have been better not to say it." [CJR, March/April 2004]
At this word of wisdom, Consortium News founder, the late Robert Parry, offered this comment: "Yes, that is a common principle of journalism, that if something isn't real, we're not supposed to confidently declare that it is." That Hiatt is still in that job speaks volumes.
'Uncorroborated, Contradicted, or Even Non-Existent'
It is sad to have to remind folks 18 years later that the "intelligence" on WMD in Iraq was not "mistaken;" it was fraudulent from the get-go. The culprits were finally exposed but never held to account.
Announcing on June 5, 2008, the bipartisan conclusions from a five-year study by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller ( D-WV) said the attack on Iraq was launched "under false pretenses." He described the intelligence conjured up to "justify" war on Iraq as "uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent."
Yogi Berra in 1956. (Wikipedia)
Here's an assignment due on Monday. Read McFaul's oped carefully. It appears under the title: "Trump would do anything for Putin. No wonder he's ignoring the Russian bounties: Russia's pattern of hostility matches Trump's pattern of accommodation."
And to give you a further taste, here is the first paragraph:
"Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have paid Taliban rebels in Afghanistan to kill U.S. soldiers. Having resulted in at least one American death, and maybe more, these Russian bounties reportedly produced the desired outcome. While deeply disturbing, this effort by Putin is not surprising: It follows a clear pattern of ignoring international norms, rules and laws -- and daring the United States to do anything about it."
Full assignment for Monday: Read carefully through each paragraph of McFaul's text and select which of his claims you would put into one or more of the three categories adduced by Sen. Rockefeller 12 years ago about WMD on Iraq. With particular attention to the evidence behind McFaul's claims, determine which of the claims is (a) "uncorroborated"; which (b) "contradicted"; and which (c) "non-existent;" or (d) all of the above. For extra credit, find one that is supported by plausible evidence.
Yogi Berra might be surprised to hear us keep quoting him with "Deja vu, all over again." Sorry, Yogi, that's what it is; you coined it.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed The President's Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Tarus77 , July 6, 2020 at 14:25
Gad, one wonders if it can ever get much lower in the press and the answer is yes, it can and will go lower, i.e. the mcfaul/hiatt tag team. They are still plumbing for the lows.
The question becomes just how stupid these two are or how stupid do they believe the readership is to read and believe this garbage.
Voice from Europe , July 6, 2020 at 11:58
By now the Russia did it ! is in effect a joke in Russia. Economically, politically, geo strategically China and Asia and Africa have become more important and reliable partners of Russia than the USA. And Europe is also dropping fast on the trustworthy partners list…..
John , July 5, 2020 at 12:55
Michael McFaul and Fred Hiatt are both long-time members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), flagship of the globalist “liberal world order”. The CFR and its many interlocking affiliates, along with their media assets and frontmen in government, have dominated US policy since WW2. Most of the Fed chairmen and secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense and CIA have been CFR members, including Jerome Powell and Mark Esper.
The major finance, energy, defense and media corporations are CFR sponsors, and several of their execs are members. David Rubenstein, billionaire founder of the notorious Carlyle Group, is the current CFR chairman. Laurence Fink, billionaire chairman of BlackRock, is a CFR director. See lists at the CFR website.
Anna , July 6, 2020 at 09:38
Michael McFaul and Fred Hiatt are both very active promoters of hate crimes. Neither has any decency hence decency is allergic to war profiteers and opportunistic liars.
The poor USA; to descend to such a deep moral hole that both Michael McFaul and Fred Hiatt are still alive and prospering. Shamelessness and presstituting are paid well in the US.
Juan M Escobedo , July 5, 2020 at 11:35
Dems and Reps are already mad. You cannot destroy what does not exist; like Democracy in these United States. Nor God or Putin could. This has always being a fallacy. This is not a democracy; same thing with ”communist" China or the USSR .Those two were never socialist. There has never being a real Socialist or Communist country.
Guy , July 4, 2020 at 12:26
“It is sad to have to remind folks 18 years later that the “intelligence” on WMD in Iraq was not “mistaken;” it was fraudulent from the get-go. The culprits were finally exposed but never held to account.”
That statement goes to the crux of the matter.Why should journalists care about what is true or a lie in their reports ,they know they will never be held to account .They should be held to account through the court system . A lie by any journalist should be actionable by any court of law . The fear of jail time would sort out the scam journalists we presently have to endure .
As it is they have perverted the profession of journalism and it is the law of the jungle .No true democracy should put up with this. We are surrounded with lies that are generated by the very establishment that should protect it’s citizens from same .
Skip Scott , July 4, 2020 at 15:36
They are spoon fed those lies by our “intelligence” agencies. As CNN’s Jeff Zucker said, “We’re not investigators, we’re journalists”. Replace “journalists” with “toadies” or “shills” for our “intelligence” community and you’ve gotten to the truth of the matter.
Anna , July 6, 2020 at 09:50
The ‘journalists’ observe how things have been going on for Cheney the Traitor and Bush the lesser — nothing happened to the mega criminals. The hate-bursting and war-profiteering Cheney’s daughter has even squeezed into US Congress.
In a healthy society where human dignity is cherished, the Cheney family will be ostracized and the family name became a synonym for the word ‘traitor.’ In the unhealthy society of Clintons, Obamas, Epstein, Mueller, Adelsons, Clapper, and Krystols, human dignity is a sin.
Ricard Coleman , July 6, 2020 at 11:42
Our institutions including journalism are not merely corrupt, they are degenerate. That is, the corruption is not occasional or the exception is is by design, desired and entirely normal.
Stan W. , July 4, 2020 at 12:10
I’m still confident that Durham’s investigation will expose and successfully prosecute the maggots that infest our government.
Skip Scott , July 4, 2020 at 15:29
What is the basis for this confidence?
John Puma , July 4, 2020 at 12:03
Re: whether Obumma “had earned some kind of degree from the Clapper/LeMay/McCarthy School” of Russia Analytics.
It would be a worthy addition to his degree collection featuring that earned from the Neville Chamberlain Night School of Critical Political Negotiation.
Jeff Harrison , July 4, 2020 at 11:16
Hmmm. Lessee. The US attacks Afghanistan with about the same legitimacy that we had when we attacked Iraq and the Taliban are in charge. We oust the Taliban from power and put our own puppets in place. What idiot thinks that the Taliban are going to need a bounty to kill Americans?
Wendy LaRiviere , July 4, 2020 at 18:29
Jeff Harrison, I like your logic. Plus, I understand that far fewer Americans are being killed in Afghanistan than were under Obama’s administration.
AnneR , July 4, 2020 at 10:27
Frankly, I am sick to death of the unwarranted, indeed bestial Russophobia that is megaphoned minute by minute on NPR and the BBC World Service (only radio here since my husband died). If it isn’t this latest trumped up (ho ho) charge, there are repeated mentions, in passing, of course, of the Russiagate, hacking, Kremlin control of the Strumpet to back up the latest bunch of lies.
Doesn’t matter at *all* that Russiagate was debunked, that even Mueller couldn’t actually demonstrably pull the DNC/ruling elites rabbit out of the hat, that the impeachment of the Strumpet went nowhere. And it clearly – by its total absence on the above radio broadcasts – doesn’t matter one iota that the Pentagonal hasn’t gone along, that gaping holes in the confabulation are (and were) obvious to those who cared to think with half a mind awake and reflecting on past US ruling elite lies, untruths, obfuscations. Nope. Just repeat, repeat, repeat. Orwell would clap his hands (not because he agreed with the atrocious politics but the lesson is learnt).
Added to the whipped up anti-Russia, decidedly anti-Putin crapola – is of course the Russian peoples’ vote, decision making on their own country’s changes to the Basic Law (a form of Constitution). When the radio broadcasts the usual sickening anti-Russian/Putin propaganda regarding this vote immediately prior they would state that the changes would install Putin for many more years: no mention that he would have to be elected, i.e. voted by the populace into the presidency. (This was repeated ad infinitum without any elaboration.) No other proposed changes were mentioned – certainly not that the Duma would gain greater control over the governance of the country and over the president’s cabinet. I.e. that the popularly elected (ain’t that what we call democracy??) representatives in the Duma (parliament) would essentially have more power than the president.
But most significantly, to my mind, no one has (well of course not – this is Russia) raised the issue of the fact that it was the Russian people, the vox populi/hoi polloi, who have had some say in how they are to be governed, how their government will work for them. HOW much say have we had/do we have in how our government functions, works – let alone for us, the hoi polloi? When did we the citizenry last have a voting say on ANY sentence in the Constitution that governs us??? Ummm I do believe it was the creation of the wealthy British descended slave holding, real estate ethnic-cleansing lot who wrote and ratified the original document and the hardly dissimilar Congressional and state types who have over the years written and voted on various amendments. And it is the members of the upper classes in the Supreme Court who adjudicate on its application to various problems.
BUT We the hoi polloi have never, ever had a direct opportunity to individually vote for or against any single part of the Constitution which is supposed to be the “democratic” superstructure which governs us. Unlike the Russians a couple of days ago.
Richard Coleman , July 6, 2020 at 15:48
“HOW much say have we had/do we have in how our government functions, works…” See, that’s your mistake right there. WE don’t have a government. We need one, but we ain’t got one. THEY have a government which they let us go through the motions of electing. ‘Member back when Bernie was talking about a Political Revolution?
Here’s a little fact for you. The five most populous states have a total of 123,000,000 people. That’s 10 Senators. The five least populated states have a total of 3.5 million. That’s also 10 Senators. Democracy anyone?
vinnieoh , July 4, 2020 at 09:37
There have been three coup d’état within the US within the lifetimes of most that read these pages. The first was explained to us by Eisenhower only as he was exiting his time from the national stage; the MIC had co-opted our government. The second happened in 2000, with the putsch in Florida and then the adoption by the neocon cabal of Bush /Chaney of the PNAC blueprint “Strategies for Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (Defenses – hahahaha – shit!). The third happened late last year and early this year when the bottom-up grass-roots movement of progressivism was crushed by the DNC and the cold-warrior hack Biden was inserted as the champion of “the opposition party.”
And, make no mistake that Kamala Harris WILL be his running mate. It was always going to be Harris. It was to be Harris at the TOP of the ticket as the primaries began, but she wasn’t even placing in the top tier in any of the contests. However, the poohbahs and strategists of the DNC are nothing if not determined and consistent. If Biden should win, we should all start practicing now saying “President Harris” because that is what the future holds. For the DNC, she looks the part, she sounds the part, but more importantly she is the very definition of the status quo, corporate ass-kisser, MIC tool.
The professional political class have fully colluded to fatally cripple this democratic republic. “Democracy” is just a word they say like, “Where’s my kickback?” (excuse me – my “motivation”.) This bounty scam and the rehabilitation of GW Bush are nothing but a full blitzkrieg flanking of Trump on the right. And Trump of course is so far out of his depth that he actually believes that Israel is his friend. (A hint Donny: Israel is NO-ONE’S friend.)
What is most infuriating? hope-crushing? plain f$%&*#g scary? is that the majority of Americans from all quarters do not want any of what the professional political class keeps dumping on us. The very attempt at performing this upcoming election will finally and forever lay completely bare the collapse of a functioning government. It’s going to be very ugly, and it may very well be the end. Dog help us all.
Richard Coleman , July 6, 2020 at 15:51
Don’t you think that the assassination of JFK counts as a coup d’etat?
Zhu , July 7, 2020 at 02:10
Apres moi, le Deluge.
John Drake , July 7, 2020 at 11:25
Oh gosh how can you forget the Kennedy Assassination. Most people don’t realize he was had ordered the removal of a thousand advisors from Vietnam starting the process of completely cutting bait there, as he had in Laos and Cambodia. All of which made the generals apoplectic. The great secret about Vietnam-which Ellsberg discovered much latter, and mentioned in his book Secrets, another good read- was that every president had been warned it was likely futile. Kennedy was the only one who took that intelligence seriously-like it was actually intelligent intelligence.
Enter stage right Allen Dulles (fired CIA chief), the anti Castro Cubans, the Mafia and most important the MIC; exit Jack Kennedy.
Douglas, JFK why he died and why it matters is the best work on the subject. And no Oswald did not do it; it was a sniper team from different angles, but read the book it gets complicated.
Roger , July 4, 2020 at 09:11
from Counterpunch.org : “Around 15,000 Soviet troops perished in the Afghan War between 1979 and 1989. The US funneled more than $20 billion to the Mujahideen and other anti-Soviet fighters over that same period. This works out to a “bounty” of $1.33 million for each Soviet soldier killed.”
Skip Scott , July 4, 2020 at 08:35
I am wondering how Cheney and Crow can block Trump from withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan. Is Trump Commander in Chief, or not? How can two senators stop the Commander in Chief from commanding troop movements? I realize they control the budget, but aren’t they crossing into illegality by restricting Trump’s ability to “command”?
Toad Sprocket , July 4, 2020 at 16:49
Yeah, I imagine it’s illegal. Didn’t Lindsay Graham threaten the same thing when Trump was thinking of pulling troops/”advisers” from Syria? And other congress warmongers joined in though I don’t think any legislation was passed. They can’t be bothered to authorize the starts of wars but want to step in when someone tries to end them.
Oh, and Schumer on South Korea troops, I think that one did pass. Almost certainly illegal if it came down to it, but our government is of course lawless. And our courts full of judges who are bought off or moronic or both.
dean 1000 , July 4, 2020 at 06:52
The soft coup attempt continues Ray. More lies and bullshit. It may continue until election day. Will the media fess-up to its lies after the fact again?
Francis Lee , July 4, 2020 at 04:49
“Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy.”
Yes, of course it is a well-known ‘fact’ that Putin has nothing better to do than destory American democracy, and I bet he has dreams about it too! But I am minded to think that if anybody has a penchant for destroying American democracy it is the powers that be in the US deep state, intelligence agencies, and zionist cliques controlling the President and Congress.
”Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”
The American establishment seems to be suffering from a bad case of ‘projection’ as psychiatrists call it. That is to say accusing others of what they are themselves actually doing.
The whole idiotic circus would be hilarious if it were not so serious.
Antonia Young , July 4, 2020 at 12:20
Putin’s (and by extension the Russian Federation’s) primary objective is international stability. “Destroying America, dividing Americans is the last thing he wants.) Putin learned many lessons during the break-up of the U.S.S.R. observing the carpet baggers/oligarchs/vultures who descended on the weak nation, absconding with it’s wealth and resources at mere fractions of their real value. The deep state’s worst fear is the co-operation btwn Putin and President Trump to make the world more peaceful, stable, co-operative and prosperous.
rosemerry , July 4, 2020 at 16:10
The whole conceited and arrogant “belief” that
- The USA has any resemblance to a democracy and
- Pres. Putin has nothing else to do but think how he could do a better job of showing the destructive and irresponsible behavior of the USA than its own leaders” and media can do with no help has no basis in reality.
If anything, Putin is such a stickler for international law, negotiations, avoidance of conflict that he is regarded by many as too Christian for this modern, individualistic, LBGTQ, ”nobody matters but me” worldview of the USA!
Steve Naidamast , July 5, 2020 at 19:54
“If the enemy is self destructing, let them continue to do so…”
Zhu , July 7, 2020 at 02:17
“zionist cliques”: Christian Zionist fighting Fundies, eager for the End of the World, the Second Coming of Jesus.
delia ruhe , July 4, 2020 at 01:09
Yup, we got a Bountygate. Since my early morning visit to the Foreign Policy site, the place has exploded with breathless articles on the dastardly Putin and the cowardly Trump, who has so far failed to hold Putin to account. Reminded me of a similar explosion there when Russiagate finally got the attention the Dems thought it deserved.
(Anyone think that the intel community pays a fee to each of the FP columnists whenever one of their a propaganda narratives needs a push to get it off the ground?)
JOHN CHUCKMAN , July 4, 2020 at 08:52
Udo Ulfkotte was a German journalist. He wrote a sensational book about the practices he experienced of the CIA paying German journalists to publish certain stories. The book was a big best seller in Germany. Its English translation was suppressed for years, but I believe is now available.
Susan Siens , July 5, 2020 at 16:30
Reply to John Chuckman: I’d love to read this book but it wasn’t available a few years ago when I looked. I’ll look again!
Voice from Europe , July 6, 2020 at 11:52
Gekaufte journalisten. Ulfkotte admitted he signed off on numerous articles that were prepared for him during his career. The last year’s of his life he changed his mores and advocated “better die in truth than live with lies”.
Richard A. , July 4, 2020 at 00:59
I remember the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from decades ago. Real experts on Russia like Dimitri Simes and Stephen Cohen were the ones to appear on that NewsHour. The NewsHour of today rarely has experts on Russia, just experts on Russia bashing–like Michael McFaul. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Antonia Young , July 3, 2020 at 23:35
Thank you, Ray for your clarion voice in the midst of WMD-seventeen-point-oh. Will the American people have the wisdom to notice how many times we’re being fooled? And finally wake up and stop supporting these questionable news outlets? With appreciation for your excellent analysis, as usual. ~Tonia Young (Formerly with the Topanga Peace Alliance)
Blessthebeasts , July 4, 2020 at 11:55
The majority of Americans have a lot more to worry about than the latest nonsense about Russia. I think most people just tune it out.
The ones being fooled are the fools who have been lapping this crap up from the get go. The supposed educated class who think themselves superior and well informed because they read and listen to the propaganda of PBS, NPR, NYT etc.
They don’t seem to realize the ship is sinking while they’re playing these ridiculous games.
Susan Siens , July 5, 2020 at 16:34
The supposedly educated class, yes! It can be stunning how people believe anything they hear on PBS or NPR, and then they make fun of people who believe anything they hear on Fox News. What’s the difference? Both are propaganda tools.
And, yes, watch us go down in flames while so-called progressives boo-hoo about Trump thinking he’s above the law (like every other president before him). Our local “peace and justice” group sent me an email asking me to sign a petition supporting Robert Mueller. I was gobsmacked, and then I realized our local “peace and justice” group had been taken over by Democratic Party “resisters.” Jeezums, why is every word hijacked?
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Jul 3 2020 5:43 utc | 96
My take on Tucker and Maddow: both serve those who write their paychecks, but one of the two bosses is a better businessman.
Tucker does not duplicate Hannity which lets them serve different (if overlapping) segments of the audience. Showing Paralimpil and Gabbard to the viewers did not lead to any major perturbation in American politics, but it lets his viewer feel that they are better informed than the fools who watch Maddow. And it helps that to a degree they are.
uncle tungsten , Jul 3 2020 6:53 utc | 103
I get that Tucker invites good a reasonable people on his show and gives voice space where they would not otherwise get it. That is deliberate.
I bet you that the stats show that the demented monotone oozing out of MSNBC and CNN etc has been a serious turn off for a sector of audience that is well informed and exercise critical faculties. That is exactly what Tucker needs to pay for his program as I would be fairly sure these people are Consumers of a desirable degree and advertisers like Tucker's formula and Fox Bosses like Tuckers income generator.
I don't think it is more complex than that and his bosses will entertain most heresies as long as the program generates advertiser demand for that time slot.
So Tucker is OK and he is reasonable and he will interview a broad spectrum. Good for him. But he smooths the pillow and caresses the establishment arse.
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Christian J. Chuba , Jul 3 2020 16:13 utc | 162
VK, re: Russia's grip on Europe is gradually tightening from the U.K.'s INDEPENDENT
It's behind a paywall but I read just enough to be curious as to how someone could possibly justify a clickbait title like that.
I suspect that the rest of the article is just going to recap Russia's alleged sins in order to fan hatred but how can someone objectively say that Russia is tightening its grip on Europe?
- FUCKUS banned Russia from the Olympics on a bogus state sponsored steroid scam, no reinstatement on horizon.
- FUCKUS kicked Russia out of the now G7 and imposed a trade embargo that destroyed a large commercial relationship w/Germany.
What is the 'overwhelming' evidence that the Russians poisoned the Skripal's, Novichok can be made by just about anyone.
Some countries like Italy (maybe Germany) are warming to Russia a little bit but Russia has a long way to go just to get back to their pre-2014 status with Europe. That is 'tightening their grip?'. I know, this is how propagandists speak.
Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com
Tulips , says: June 30, 2020 at 11:28 am GMT
I was surprised by the reference to Russia-gate as the prior example of propaganda manipulation of the US public. What about 9-11? Three sky-scrappers in broad daylight, are collapsed by planted demolitions, with explosions, melted structural steel, and perfect complete vertical destruction. Which everyone watched over and over, yet everyone believes that it was planes hijacked by Saudls that did this, on buildings designed to survive a plane crash. And one building was not hit by a plane. Then, the US and NATO attacked Afghanistan, and the US, UK, and their coalition attacked Iraq, because of obvious demolition in NY, blamed on Saudis. Crazy. Double crazy. In plain sight. After the success of those 2 mental manipulations, it is sure that any nonsense story with political implications will work. And there unmentioned is climate heating, accelerating, to the demise of us all, even the so-called elite and their money.
Jun 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgbevin , Jun 29 2020 22:11 utc | 178
Notable also that this ludicrous story, whose promotion by the MI6 Guardian confirms the obvious suspicions about it, also includes the wild claim that the Russian unit responsible for the bounties was also behind the "Novichok" "attack" on the Skripals.
It is another loyalty oath operation designed to force intelligent people into professing to believe incredible nonsense.
The bottom line of the bounty claim is that very few Americans have in fact been killed. If there were an actual bounty the country is full of GIs ripe for plucking. And the money compares well with poppy growing.
Jun 27, 2020 | www.rt.com
The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected a US media report claiming Moscow offered to pay jihadi militants to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. It said such 'fake news' merely betrays the low skill levels of US spy agencies. Citing US intelligence officials unnamed, of course the New York Times reported that, last year, Moscow had "covertly offered rewards" to Taliban-linked militants to attack American troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the NYT story as "fake information."
This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists from US intelligence, who, instead of inventing something more plausible, resort to conjuring up such nonsense.
"Then again, what else can one expect from intelligence services that have bungled the 20-year war in Afghanistan," the ministry said.
Moscow has suggested that this misinformation was "planted" because the US may be against Russia "assisting" in peace talks between the Taliban and the internationally-recognised government in Kabul.
US-led NATO troops have been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2001. The campaign, launched in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has cost Washington billions of dollars and resulted in the loss of thousands of American soldiers' lives. Despite maintaining a military presence for almost two decades, the US has failed to defeat the Taliban, which is still in control of vast swaths of the country.
Moreover, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has compiled several reports detailing how tens of millions of US taxpayers' funds have been spent on dubious regeneration projects.
Jun 28, 2020 | www.rt.comBy Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz
Whenever one sees a news headline ending in "US Intelligence Says", one should always mentally replace everything that comes before it with "Blah blah blah we're probably lying."
"Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill Troops, US Intelligence Says", blares the latest viral headline from the New York Times . NYT's unnamed sources allege that the GRU "secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan -- including targeting American troops", and that the Trump administration has known this for months.
To be clear, this is journalistic malpractice. Mainstream media outlets which publish anonymous intelligence claims with no proof are just publishing CIA press releases disguised as news. They're just telling you to believe what sociopathic intelligence agencies want you to believe under the false guise of impartial and responsible reporting. This practice has become ubiquitous throughout mainstream news publications, but that doesn't make it any less immoral.Also on rt.com There they go again: NYT serves up spy fantasy about Russian 'bounties' on US troops in Afghanistan
In a post-Iraq-invasion world, the only correct response to unproven anonymous claims about a rival government by intelligence agencies from the US or its allies is to assume that they are lying until you are provided with a mountain of independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The US has far too extensive a record of lying about these things for any other response to ever be justified as rational, and its intelligence agencies consistently play a foundational role in those lies.
Voices outside the mainstream-narrative control matrix have been calling these accusations what they are: baseless, lacking in credibility, and not reflective of anything other than fair play, even if true.
"Same old story: alleged intelligence ops IMPOSSIBLE to verify, leaked to the press which reports them quoting ANONYMOUS officials," tweeted journalist Stefania Maurizi.
America to end 'era of endless wars' & stop being policeman, Trump gives same old election promises he broke
"So we are to simply believe the same intelligence orgs that paid bounties to bring innocent prisoners to Guantanamo, lied about torture in Afghanistan, and lied about premises for war from WMD in Iraq to the Gulf of Tonkin 'attack'? All this and no proof?" tweeted author and analyst Jeffrey Kaye.
"It's totally outrageous for Russia to support the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan. Of course, it's totally fine for the US to support jihadi rebels against Russians in Syria, jihadi rebels who openly said the Taliban is their hero," tweeted author and analyst Max Abrams.
On the flip side, all the McResistance pundits have been speaking of this baseless allegation as a horrific event that is known to have happened, with Rachel Maddow going so far as to describe it as Putin offering bounties for the "scalps" of American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is an interesting choice of words, considering that offering bounties for scalps is, in fact, one of the many horrific things the US government did in furthering its colonialist ambitions , which, unlike the New York Times allegation, is known to have actually happened.
It is true, as many have been pointing out, that it would be fair play for Russia to fund violent opposition the the US in Afghanistan, seeing as that's exactly what the US and its allies have been doing to Russia and its allies in Syria, and did to the Soviets in Afghanistan via Operation Cyclone . It is also true that the US military has no business in Afghanistan anyway, and any violence inflicted on US troops abroad is the fault of the military expansionists who put them there. The US military has no place outside its own easily defended borders, and the assumption that it is normal for a government to circle the planet with military bases is a faulty premise.
'Unsophisticated' disinformation: Moscow rebuffs NYT story alleging Russia offered Taliban money to kill US troops in Afghanistan
But before even getting into such arguments, the other side of the debate must meet its burden of proof that this has even happened. That burden is far from met. It is literally the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. The New York Times has an extensive history of pushing for new wars at every opportunity, including the unforgivable Iraq invasion , which killed a million people, based on lies. A mountain of proof is required before such claims should be seriously considered, and we are very, very far from that.
I will repeat myself: it is the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. I will repeat myself again: it is the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. Don't treat these CIA press releases with anything but contempt.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Jun 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Brendan , Jun 28 2020 14:18 utc | 4Trump himself has rubbished the NYT's Russia/Taliban story on Twitter today:
"Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an "anonymous source" by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us..... "
"The Fake News @ nytimes must reveal its "anonymous" source. Bet they can't do it, this "person" probably does not even exist! twitter.com/richardgrenell "
Christian J. Chuba , Jun 28 2020 15:17 utc | 11NYT exclusive: breaking, bombshell report, bombshell report, Russia pays Taliban to kill U.S. Troops
The puppets dance for their puppet masters yet again. I was struck that in all of the MSM responses on CNN and FOX every single host accepted it as an absolute fact that this was true. If an unnamed source said something to a reporter at the NYT then it must have happened in that way and the facts are irrefutable. Wow our 'journalists' are pathetic.
1. The guy who leaked this could be twisting a half or even quarter truth to embarrass Trump, derail our withdrawal from Germany or Afghanistan ... nahh impossible. Our CIA guys never have an agenda.
2. This could be disinformation against Russia ... nahh we are the good guys, that's not how we roll.
The guy on CNN could not believe the WH statement that they were not briefed, 'it strains credibility'. Maybe one POW made an outlandish claim to get better treatment and lower level staff did not think the claim itself had enough credibility. Nope, it was leaked by an Intelligence guy, therefore it must be true.
journalism is dead. buried, dug up, cremated and then scattered over a trash dump in the U.S.
Jun 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgEvidence Free Press Release Claims 'Russia Did Bad, Trump Did Not Respond' - NYT , WaPo Publish It A. Pols , Jun 27 2020 14:34 utc | 1
There were allegations about emails that someone exfiltrated from the DNC and provided to Wikileaks . Russia must have done it. The FBI and other intelligence services were all over it. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.
There were allegations that Trump did not really win the elections. Russia must have done it. The various U.S. intelligence service, together with their British friends, provided all kinds of sinister leaks about the alleged case. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.
A British double agent, Sergej Skirpal, was allegedly injured in a Russian attack on him. The intelligence services told all kind of contradicting nonsense about the case. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.
All three cases had two points in common. The were based on sources near to the U.S. and British intelligence community. They were designed to increase hostility against Russia. The last point was then used to sabotage Donald Trump's original plans for better relations with Russia.
Now the intelligence services make another claim that fits right into the above scheme.
Reporters from the New York Times and the Washington Post were called up by unnamed 'officials' and told to write that Russia pays some Afghans to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. There is zero evidence that the claim is true. The Taliban spokesman denies it. The numbers of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan is minimal. The alleged sources of the claims are criminals the U.S. has taken as prisoners in Afghanistan.
All that nonsense is again used to press against Trump's wish for better relations with Russia. Imagine - Trump was told about these nonsensical claims and he did nothing about it!
The same intelligence services and 'officials' previously paid bounties to bring innocent prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, tortured them until they made false confessions and lied about it. The same intelligence services and 'officials' lied about WMD in Iraq. The same 'intelligence officials' paid and pay Jihadis disguised as 'Syrian rebels' to kill Russian and Syrian troops which defend their countries.
The journalistic standards at the New York Times and Washington Post must be below zero to publish such nonsense without requesting real evidence. The press release like stories below from anti-Trump/anti-Russian sources have nothing to do with ' great reporting ' but are pure stenography.
The New York Times :
Cont. reading: Evidence Free Press Release Claims 'Russia Did Bad, Trump Did Not Respond' - NYT, WaPo Publish ItPosted by b at 13:43 UTC | Comments (3) If the Russians were truly inclined in a direction leading them to "pay bounties" for American scalps in Afghanistan, they would instead be doing what we once did: providing state-of-the-art Manpads to Afghan jihadis. Any sort of bar room or shit house rumor these days is attributed to "intelligence officials" or "intelligence sources", always unnamed of course.
JohnH , Jun 27 2020 14:45 utc | 2Biden is the intelligence services' ideal candidate -- an easily manipulated empty suit. There's a reason why charges of Biden wrongdoing are as easily dismissed as nonsensical charges against Trump and Russia get fabricated. And that reason is that the media is as happy to be manipulated as Biden.Piotr Berman , Jun 27 2020 15:03 utc | 3Two puzzling and disturbing aspects.
The paragraph about "reasons to believe" is vacuous in the extreme:
"The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals. The officials did not describe the mechanics of the Russian operation, such as how targets were picked or how money changed hands. It is also not clear whether Russian operatives had deployed inside Afghanistan or met with their Taliban counterparts elsewhere."
We know from the past that US forces were torturing TOTALLY RANDOM INDIVIDUALS, occasionally to death. Needless to say, "officials did not describe the mechanics" of the interrogation, neither did not describe any corroborative details. The most benign scenario is that "captured Afghan militants and criminals" are pure fiction rather than actual people subjected to "anal inspections", "peroneal strikes", left overnight hanging from the ceiling etc. to spit out random incoherent tidbits about the Russians, like "it is also not clear".... A long list of "not clear"'s.
This is disturbing, although this is precisely the quality of "intelligence" that gets released to the public. The second disturbing aspect is that the article was opened to comments, and as usually in such cases, the comments are full of fury at Russians and Trump, and with the numbers of "recommend"'s reaching thousands. On non-Russian topics, if comments are allowed, one can see a much wider spectrum of opinion, sometimes with huge numbers of "recommend"'s to people who criticize and doubt the official positions. Here I lost patience looking for any skeptical comment.
Together, it is very crude "manufacturing of consent", and unfortunately, this is a workable technique of manipulation. Crudity is the tool, not a defect in this case. I will explain later what I mean, this post is probably too long already.
Jun 21, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
The Miracle of Salisbury. The Skripals Affair By Craig Murray Global Research, June 17, 2020 Craig Murray 16 June 2020 Region: Europe Theme: Intelligence , Law and Justice , Media Disinformation
It turns out that the BBC really does believe that God is an Englishman. When the simple impossibility of the official story on the Skripals finally overwhelmed the dramatists, they resorted to Divine Intervention for an explanation – as propagandists have done for millennia.
This particular piece of script from Episode 2 of The Salisbury Poisonings deserves an induction in the Propaganda Hall of Fame:
Porton Down Man: I've got the reports from the Bailey house
Public Health Woman: Tell me, how many hits?
Porton Down Man: It was found in almost every room of the house. Kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms. It was even on the light switches. We found it in the family car too. But his wife and children haven't been affected. I like to think of myself as a man of science, but the only word for that is a miracle.
Well, it certainly would be a miracle that the family lived for a week in the house without touching a light switch. But miracle is not really the "only word for that". Nonsense is a good word. Bullshit is a ruder version. Lie is entirely appropriate in these circumstances.
Because that was not the only miracle on display. We were told specifically that the Skripals had trailed novichok all over Zizzis and the Bishops Mill pub, leaving multiple deadly deposits, dozens of them in total, which miraculously nobody had touched. We were told that Detective Bailey was found to have left multiple deadly deposits of novichok on everything he touched in a busy police station, but over several days before it was closed down nobody had touched any of them, which must be an even bigger miracle than the Baileys' home.
Perhaps even more amazingly, as the Skripals spread novichok all over the restaurant and the pub, nobody who served them had been harmed, nobody who took their payment. The man who went through Sergei's wallet to learn his identity from his credit cards was not poisoned. The people giving first aid were not poisoned. The ducks Sergei fed were not poisoned. The little boy he fed the ducks with was not poisoned. So many miracles. If God were not an Englishman, Salisbury would have been in real trouble, evidently.
The conclusion of episode two showed Charlie Rowley fishing out the perfume bottle from the charity bin at least two months in the timeline before this really happened, thus neatly sidestepping one of the most glaring impossibilities in the entire official story. I think we can forgive the BBC that lie – there are only so many instances of divine intervention in the story the public can be expected to buy in one episode.
It is fascinating to see that the construction of this edifice of lies was a joint venture between the BBC and the security services' house journal, the Guardian. Not only is all round pro-war propagandist "Colonel" Hamish De Bretton Gordon credited as Military Advisor, but Guardian journalists Caroline Bannock and Steven Morris are credited as Script Consultants, which I presume means they fed in the raw lies for the scriptwriters to shape into miracles.
Now here is an interesting ethical point for readers of the Guardian. The Guardian published in the last fortnight two articles by Morris and Bannock that purported to be reporting on the production of the drama and its authenticity, without revealing to the readers that these full time Guardian journalists were in fact a part of the BBC project. That is unethical and unprofessional in a number of quite startling ways. But then it is the Guardian.
[Full disclosure. I shared a flat with Caroline at university. She was an honest person in those days.]
Again, rather than pepper this article with links, I urge you to read this comprehensive article , which contains plenty of links and remains entirely unanswered.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is Craig Murray
Jun 20, 2020 | taibbi.substack.com
Reporting by Matt Taibbi Subscribe
Sometimes it seems life can't get any worse in this country. Already in terror of a pandemic, Americans have lately been bombarded with images of grotesque state-sponsored violence, from the murder of George Floyd to countless scenes of police clubbing and brutalizing protesters.
Our president, Donald Trump, is a clown who makes a great reality-show villain but is uniquely toolless as the leader of a superpower nation. Watching him try to think through two society-imperiling crises is like waiting for a gerbil to solve Fermat's theorem. Calls to "dominate" marchers and ad-libbed speculations about Floyd's "great day" looking down from heaven at Trump's crisis management and new unemployment numbers (" only" 21 million out of work!) were pure gasoline at a tinderbox moment. The man seems determined to talk us into civil war.
But police violence, and Trump's daily assaults on the presidential competence standard, are only part of the disaster. On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we're watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It's become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.
The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.
They've conned organization after organization into empowering panels to search out thoughtcrime, and it's established now that anything can be an offense, from a UCLA professor placed under investigation for reading Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" out loud to a data scientist fired* from a research firm for -- get this -- retweeting an academic study suggesting nonviolent protests may be more politically effective than violent ones!
Now, this madness is coming for journalism. Beginning on Friday, June 5th, a series of controversies rocked the media. By my count, at least eight news organizations dealt with internal uprisings (it was likely more). Most involved groups of reporters and staffers demanding the firing or reprimand of colleagues who'd made politically "problematic" editorial or social media decisions.
The New York Times, the Intercept , Vox, the Philadelphia Inquirier, Variety , and others saw challenges to management.
Probably the most disturbing story involved Intercept writer Lee Fang, one of a fast-shrinking number of young reporters actually skilled in investigative journalism. Fang's work in the area of campaign finance especially has led to concrete impact, including a record fine to a conservative Super PAC : few young reporters have done more to combat corruption.
Yet Fang found himself denounced online as a racist, then hauled before H.R. His crime? During protests, he tweeted this interview with an African-American man named Maximum Fr, who described having two cousins murdered in the East Oakland neighborhood where he grew up. Saying his aunt is still not over those killings, Max asked:
I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?... Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it's going to be national news, but if a Black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of It's stuff just like that that I just want in the mix.
Shortly after, a co-worker of Fang's, Akela Lacy, wrote, "Tired of being made to deal continually with my co-worker @lhfang continuing to push black on black crime narratives after being repeatedly asked not to. This isn't about me and him, it's about institutional racism and using free speech to couch anti-blackness. I am so fucking tired." She followed with, "Stop being racist Lee."
The tweet received tens of thousands of likes and responses along the lines of, " Lee Fang has been like this for years, but the current moment only makes his anti-Blackness more glaring ," and " Lee Fang spouting racist bullshit it must be a day ending in day ." A significant number of Fang's co-workers, nearly all white, as well as reporters from other major news organizations like the New York Times and MSNBC and political activists (one former Elizabeth Warren staffer tweeted, " Get him !"), issued likes and messages of support for the notion that Fang was a racist. Though he had support within the organization, no one among his co-workers was willing to say anything in his defense publicly.
Like many reporters, Fang has always viewed it as part of his job to ask questions in all directions. He's written critically of political figures on the center-left, the left, and "obviously on the right," and his reporting has inspired serious threats in the past. None of those past experiences were as terrifying as this blitz by would-be colleagues, which he described as "jarring," "deeply isolating," and "unique in my professional experience."
To save his career, Fang had to craft a public apology for "insensitivity to the lived experience of others." According to one friend of his, it's been communicated to Fang that his continued employment at The Intercept is contingent upon avoiding comments that may upset colleagues. Lacy to her credit publicly thanked Fang for his statement and expressed willingness to have a conversation; unfortunately, the throng of Intercept co-workers who piled on her initial accusation did not join her in this.
I first met Lee Fang in 2014 and have never known him to be anything but kind, gracious, and easygoing. He also appears earnestly committed to making the world a better place through his work. It's stunning that so many colleagues are comfortable using a word as extreme and villainous as racist to describe him.
Though he describes his upbringing as "solidly middle-class," Fang grew up in up in a diverse community in Prince George's County, Maryland, and attended public schools where he was frequently among the few non-African Americans in his class. As a teenager, he was witness to the murder of a young man outside his home by police who were never prosecuted, and also volunteered at a shelter for trafficked women, two of whom were murdered. If there's an edge to Fang at all, it seems geared toward people in our business who grew up in affluent circumstances and might intellectualize topics that have personal meaning for him.
In the tweets that got him in trouble with Lacy and other co-workers, he questioned the logic of protesters attacking immigrant-owned businesses " with no connection to police brutality at all ." He also offered his opinion on Martin Luther King's attitude toward violent protest (Fang's take was that King did not support it; Lacy responded, "you know they killed him too right"). These are issues around which there is still considerable disagreement among self-described liberals, even among self-described leftists. Fang also commented, presciently as it turns out, that many reporters were "terrified of openly challenging the lefty conventional wisdom around riots."
Lacy says she never intended for Fang to be "fired, 'canceled,' or deplatformed," but appeared irritated by questions on the subject, which she says suggest, "there is more concern about naming racism than letting it persist."
Max himself was stunned to find out that his comments on all this had created a Twitter firestorm. "I couldn't believe they were coming for the man's job over something I said," he recounts. "It was not Lee's opinion. It was my opinion."
By phone, Max spoke of a responsibility he feels Black people have to speak out against all forms of violence, "precisely because we experience it the most." He described being affected by the Floyd story, but also by the story of retired African-American police captain David Dorn, shot to death in recent protests in St. Louis. He also mentioned Tony Timpa, a white man whose 2016 asphyxiation by police was only uncovered last year. In body-camera footage, police are heard joking after Timpa passed out and stopped moving, " I don't want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom !"
"If it happens to anyone, it has to be called out," Max says.
Max described discussions in which it was argued to him that bringing up these other incidents now is not helpful to the causes being articulated at the protests. He understands that point of view. He just disagrees.
"They say, there has to be the right time and a place to talk about that," he says. "But my point is, when? I want to speak out now." He pauses. "We've taken the narrative, and instead of being inclusive with it, we've become exclusive with it. Why?"
There were other incidents. The editors of Bon Apetit and Refinery29 both resigned amid accusations of toxic workplace culture. The editor of Variety, Claudia Eller, was placed on leave after calling a South Asian freelance writer "bitter" in a Twitter exchange about minority hiring at her company. The self-abasing apology ("I have tried to diversify our newsroom over the past seven years, but I HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH") was insufficient. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer's editor, Stan Wischowski, was forced out after approving a headline, "Buildings matter, too."
In the most discussed incident, Times editorial page editor James Bennet was ousted for green-lighting an anti-protest editorial by Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton entitled, " Send in the troops ."
I'm no fan of Cotton, but as was the case with Michael Moore's documentary and many other controversial speech episodes, it's not clear that many of the people angriest about the piece in question even read it. In classic Times fashion, the paper has already scrubbed a mistake they made misreporting what their own editorial said, in an article about Bennet's ouster. Here's how the piece by Marc Tracy read originally (emphasis mine):
James Bennet, the editorial page editor of The New York Times, has resigned after a controversy over an Op-Ed by a senator calling for military force against protesters in American cities.
Here's how the piece reads now :
James Bennet resigned on Sunday from his job as the editorial page editor of The New York Times, days after the newspaper's opinion section, which he oversaw, published a much-criticized Op-Ed by a United States senator calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities.
Cotton did not call for "military force against protesters in American cities." He spoke of a "show of force," to rectify a situation a significant portion of the country saw as spiraling out of control. It's an important distinction. Cotton was presenting one side of the most important question on the most important issue of a critically important day in American history.
As Cotton points out in the piece, he was advancing a view arguably held by a majority of the country. A Morning Consult poll showed 58% of Americans either strongly or somewhat supported the idea of "calling in the U.S. military to supplement city police forces." That survey included 40% of self-described "liberals" and 37% of African-Americans. To declare a point of view held by that many people not only not worthy of discussion, but so toxic that publication of it without even necessarily agreeing requires dismissal, is a dramatic reversal for a newspaper that long cast itself as the national paper of record.
Incidentally, that same poll cited by Cotton showed that 73% of Americans described protecting property as "very important," while an additional 16% considered it "somewhat important." This means the Philadelphia Inquirer editor was fired for running a headline – "Buildings matter, too" – that the poll said expressed a view held by 89% of the population, including 64% of African-Americans.
(Would I have run the Inquirer headline? No. In the context of the moment, the use of the word "matter" especially sounds like the paper is equating "Black lives" and "buildings," an odious and indefensible comparison. But why not just make this case in a rebuttal editorial? Make it a teaching moment? How can any editor operate knowing that airing opinions shared by a majority of readers might cost his or her job?)
The main thing accomplished by removing those types of editorials from newspapers -- apart from scaring the hell out of editors -- is to shield readers from knowledge of what a major segment of American society is thinking.
It also guarantees that opinion writers and editors alike will shape views to avoid upsetting colleagues, which means that instead of hearing what our differences are and how we might address those issues, newspaper readers will instead be presented with page after page of people professing to agree with one another. That's not agitation, that's misinformation.
The instinct to shield audiences from views or facts deemed politically uncomfortable has been in evidence since Trump became a national phenomenon. We saw it when reporters told audiences Hillary Clinton's small crowds were a " wholly intentional " campaign decision. I listened to colleagues that summer of 2016 talk about ignoring poll results, or anecdotes about Hillary's troubled campaign, on the grounds that doing otherwise might "help Trump" (or, worse, be perceived that way).
Even if you embrace a wholly politically utilitarian vision of the news media – I don't, but let's say – non-reporting of that "enthusiasm" story, or ignoring adverse poll results, didn't help Hillary's campaign. I'd argue it more likely accomplished the opposite, contributing to voter apathy by conveying the false impression that her victory was secure.
After the 2016 election, we began to see staff uprisings. In one case, publishers at the Nation faced a revolt – from the Editor on down – after articles by Aaron Mate and Patrick Lawrence questioning the evidentiary basis for Russiagate claims was run. Subsequent events, including the recent declassification of congressional testimony , revealed that Mate especially was right to point out that officials had no evidence for a Trump-Russia collusion case. It's precisely because such unpopular views often turn out to be valid that we stress publishing and debating them in the press.
In a related incident, the New Yorker ran an article about Glenn Greenwald's Russiagate skepticism that quoted that same Nation editor, Joan Walsh, who had edited Greenwald at Salon. She suggested to the New Yorker that Greenwald's reservations were rooted in "disdain" for the Democratic Party, in part because of its closeness to Wall Street, but also because of the " ascendance of women and people of color ." The message was clear: even if you win a Pulitzer Prize, you can be accused of racism for deviating from approved narratives, even on questions that have nothing to do with race (the New Yorker piece also implied Greenwald's intransigence on Russia was pathological and grounded in trauma from childhood).
In the case of Cotton, Times staffers protested on the grounds that " Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger ." Bennet's editorial decision was not merely ill-considered, but literally life-threatening (note pundits in the space of a few weeks have told us that protesting during lockdowns and not protesting during lockdowns are both literally lethal). The Times first attempted to rectify the situation by apologizing, adding a long Editor's note to Cotton's piece that read, as so many recent "apologies" have, like a note written by a hostage.
Editors begged forgiveness for not being more involved, for not thinking to urge Cotton to sound less like Cotton ("Editors should have offered suggestions"), and for allowing rhetoric that was "needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate." That last line is sadly funny, in the context of an episode in which reporters were seeking to pre-empt a debate rather than have one at all; of course, no one got the joke, since a primary characteristic of the current political climate is a total absence of a sense of humor in any direction.
As many guessed, the "apology" was not enough, and Bennet was whacked a day later in a terse announcement.
His replacement, Kathleen Kingsbury, issued a staff directive essentially telling employees they now had a veto over anything that made them uncomfortable : "Anyone who sees any piece of Opinion journalism, headlines, social posts, photos -- you name it -- that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately."
All these episodes sent a signal to everyone in a business already shedding jobs at an extraordinary rate that failure to toe certain editorial lines can and will result in the loss of your job. Perhaps additionally, you could face a public shaming campaign in which you will be denounced as a racist and rendered unemployable.
These tensions led to amazing contradictions in coverage. For all the extraordinary/inexplicable scenes of police viciousness in recent weeks -- and there was a ton of it, ranging from police slashing tires in Minneapolis, to Buffalo officers knocking over an elderly man, to Philadelphia police attacking protesters -- there were also 12 deaths in the first nine days of protests, only one at the hands of a police officer (involving a man who may or may not have been aiming a gun at police).
Looting in some communities has been so bad that people have been left without banks to cash checks, or pharmacies to fill prescriptions; business owners have been wiped out (" My life is gone ," commented one Philly store owner); a car dealership in San Leandro, California saw 74 cars stolen in a single night. It isn't the whole story, but it's demonstrably true that violence, arson, and rioting are occurring.
However, because it is politically untenable to discuss this in ways that do not suggest support, reporters have been twisting themselves into knots. We are seeing headlines previously imaginable only in The Onion, e.g., " 27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London ."
Even people who try to keep up with protest goals find themselves denounced the moment they fail to submit to some new tenet of ever-evolving doctrine, via a surprisingly consistent stream of retorts: fuck you, shut up, send money, do better, check yourself, I'm tired and racist .
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, who argued for police reform and attempted to show solidarity with protesters in his city, was shouted down after he refused to commit to defunding the police. Protesters shouted "Get the fuck out!" at him, then chanted " Shame !" and threw refuse, Game of Thrones -style , as he skulked out of the gathering. Frey's "shame" was refusing to endorse a position polls show 65% of Americans oppose , including 62% of Democrats, with just 15% of all people, and only 33% of African-Americans, in support.
Each passing day sees more scenes that recall something closer to cult religion than politics. White protesters in Floyd's Houston hometown kneeling and praying to black residents for "forgiveness for years and years of racism" are one thing, but what are we to make of white police in Cary, North Carolina, kneeling and washing the feet of Black pastors? What about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer kneeling while dressed in " African kente cloth scarves "?
There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes, and the press is too paralyzed to wonder at it. In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we've become afraid to ask obvious ones.
On CNN, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender was asked a hypothetical question about a future without police: "What if in the middle of the night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?" When Bender, who is white, answered , "I know that comes from a place of privilege," questions popped to mind. Does privilege mean one should let someone break into one's home, or that one shouldn't ask that hypothetical question? (I was genuinely confused). In any other situation, a media person pounces on a provocative response to dig out its meaning, but an increasingly long list of words and topics are deemed too dangerous to discuss.
The media in the last four years has devolved into a succession of moral manias. We are told the Most Important Thing Ever is happening for days or weeks at a time, until subjects are abruptly dropped and forgotten, but the tone of warlike emergency remains: from James Comey's firing, to the deification of Robert Mueller, to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, to the democracy-imperiling threat to intelligence "whistleblowers," all those interminable months of Ukrainegate hearings (while Covid-19 advanced), to fury at the death wish of lockdown violators, to the sudden reversal on that same issue, etc.
It's been learned in these episodes we may freely misreport reality, so long as the political goal is righteous. It was okay to publish the now-discredited Steele dossier, because Trump is scum. MSNBC could put Michael Avenatti on live TV to air a gang rape allegation without vetting, because who cared about Brett Kavanaugh – except press airing of that wild story ended up being a crucial factor in convincing key swing voter Maine Senator Susan Collins the anti-Kavanaugh campaign was a political hit job (the allegation illustrated, "why the presumption of innocence is so important," she said ). Reporters who were anxious to prevent Kavanaugh's appointment, in other words, ended up helping it happen through overzealousness.
There were no press calls for self-audits after those episodes, just as there won't be a few weeks from now if Covid-19 cases spike, or a few months from now if Donald Trump wins re-election successfully painting the Democrats as supporters of violent protest who want to abolish police. No: press activism is limited to denouncing and shaming colleagues for insufficient fealty to the cheap knockoff of bullying campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days.
The traditional view of the press was never based on some contrived, mathematical notion of "balance," i.e. five paragraphs of Republicans for every five paragraphs of Democrats. The ideal instead was that we showed you everything we could see, good and bad, ugly and not, trusting that a better-informed public would make better decisions. This vision of media stressed accuracy, truth, and trust in the reader's judgment as the routes to positive social change.
For all our infamous failings, journalists once had some toughness to them. We were supposed to be willing to go to jail for sources we might not even like, and fly off to war zones or disaster areas without question when editors asked. It was also once considered a virtue to flout the disapproval of colleagues to fight for stories we believed in (Watergate, for instance).
Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang. Our brave truth-tellers make great shows of shaking fists at our parody president , but not one of them will talk honestly about the fear running through their own newsrooms. People depend on us to tell them what we see, not what we think. What good are we if we're afraid to do it?
Sean Carson Jun 13
This is such an IMPORTANT story. But it's not just happening in newsrooms, it's happening everywhere: college campuses, corporations and the workplace, social media platforms, politics, you name it. These ideologues are the Red Guard of a new Cultural Revolution. Their goal is power and their method is leveraging progressive guilt. I think they are far, far more dangerous than Donald Trump or anything going on with the right. Thank you Matt for writing about this! 163
Dazed and Confused Jun 13
Bravo for writing this Matt. You could, of course, have written it without first establishing your bona fides as a trump detractor. The problem you address has nothing to do with trump and would exist regardless of who was in the white house. This doesn't mean there are no problems with trump, or that he hasn't made a bad situation worse. But that is where we are today. Before anyone can criticize the obviously insane ideological absurdities within the liberal/left wing press they must first take a swing at trump in case anyone thinks criticism of the press is the same thing as supporting trump. How sad.
Jun 16, 2020 | thegrayzone.com
Wikipedia has become a bulletin board for corporate and imperial interests under the watch of its Randian founder, Jimmy Wales, and the veteran US regime-change operative who heads the Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher.
Born from seemingly humble beginnings, the Wikimedia Foundation is today swimming in cash and invested in many of the powerful interests that benefit from its lax editorial policy.
The foundation's largest donors include corporate tech giants Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Craigslist. With more than $145 million in assets in 2018, nearly $105 million in annual revenue, and a massive headquarters in San Francisco, Wikimedia has carved out a space for itself next to these Big Tech oligarchs in the Silicon Valley bubble.It is also impossible to separate Wikipedia as a project from the ideology of its creator. When he co-founded the platform in 2001, Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales was a conservative libertarian and devoted disciple of right-wing fanatic Ayn Rand .
A former futures and options trader, Wales openly preached the gospel of " Objectivism ," Rand's ultra-capitalist ideology that sees government and society itself as the root of all evil, heralding individual capitalists as gods.
Wales described his philosophy behind Wikipedia in specifically Randian terms. In a video clip from a 2008 interview, published by the Atlas Society, an organization dedicated to evangelizing on behalf of Objectivism, Wales explained that he was influenced by Howard Roark, the protagonist of Rand's novel The Fountainhead.
Wikipedia's structure was expressly meant to reflect the ideology of its libertarian tech entrepreneur founder, and Wales openly said as much.
At the same time, however, Wikipedia editors have upheld the diehard Objectivist Jimmy Wales, as the New York Times put it in 2008, as a "benevolent dictator, constitutional monarch, digital evangelist and spiritual leader."
Wales has always balanced his libertarian inclinations with old-fashioned American patriotism. He was summoned before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Operations in 2007 to further explain how Wikipedia and its related technologies could be of service to Uncle Sam.
Wales began his remarks stating, "I am grateful to be here today to testify about the potential for the Wikipedia model of collaboration and information sharing which may be helpful to government operations and homeland security."
"At a time when the United States has been increasingly criticized around the world, I believe that Wikipedia is an incredible carrier of traditional American values of generosity, hard work, and freedom of speech," Wales continued, implicitly referencing the George Bush administration's military occupation of Iraq.
The Wikipedia founder added, "The US government has always been premised on responsiveness to citizens, and I think we all believe good government comes from broad, open public dialogue. I therefore also recommend that US agencies consider the use of wikis for public facing projects to gather information from citizens and to seek new ways of effectively collaborating with the public to generate solutions to the problem that citizens face."
Wikipedia Jimmy Wales Senate Homeland Security committee Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales testifying before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Operations in 2007 In 2012, Wales married Kate Garvey, the former diary secretary of ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Their wedding, according to the conservative UK Telegraph, was "witnessed by guests from the world of politics and celebrity."
Wales' status-quo-friendly politics have only grown more pronounced over the years. In 2018, for instance, he publicly cheered on Israel's bombing of the besieged Gaza strip and portrayed Britain's leftist former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite.
The Wikimedia Foundation's Katherine Maher: US regime-change operative with deep corporate links Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Foundation claim to have little power over the encyclopedia itself, but it is widely known that this is just PR. Wikimedia blew the lid off this myth in 2015 when it removed a community-elected member of its board of trustees, without explanation.
At the time of this scandal, the Wikimedia Foundation's board of trustees included a former corporate executive at Google, Arnnon Geshuri, who was heavily scrutinized for shady hiring practices. Geshuri, who also worked at billionaire Elon Musk's company Tesla, was eventually pressured to step down from the board.
But just a year later, Wikimedia appointed another corporate executive to its board of trustees, Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti.
The figure that deserves the most scrutiny at the Wikimedia Foundation, however, is its executive director Katherine Maher, who is closely linked to the US regime-change network.
Katherine Maher NDI Atlantic Council Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher (right) at a "Disinformation Forum" sponsored by the US government regime-change entity NDI and the NATO- and Gulf monarchy-backed Atlantic Council Maher boasts an eyebrow-raising résumé that would impress the most ardent of cold warriors in Washington.
With a degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University, Maher studied Arabic in Egypt and Syria, just a few years before the so-called Arab Spring uprising and subsequent Western proxy war to overthrow the Syrian government.
Maher then interned at the bank Goldman Sachs, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations and Eurasia Group, both elite foreign-policy institutions that are deeply embedded in the Western regime-change machine.
At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Maher says on her public LinkedIn profile that she worked in the "US/Middle East Program," oversaw the "CFR Corporate Program," and "Identified appropriate potential clients, conducted outreach."
At the Eurasia Group, Maher focused on Syria and Lebanon. According to her bio, she "Developed stability forecasting and scenario modeling, and market and political stability reports."
Katherine Maher LinkedIn Council on Foreign Relations Eurasia Group
Maher moved on to a job at London's HSBC bank – which would go on to pay a whopping $1.9 billion fine after it was caught red-handed laundering money for drug traffickers and Saudi financiers of international jihadism. Her work at HSBC brought her to the UK, Germany, and Canada.
Next, Maher co-founded a little-known election monitoring project focused on Lebanon's 2008 elections called Sharek961. To create this platform, Maher and her associates partnered with an influential technology non-profit organization, Meedan, which has received millions of dollars of funding from Western foundations, large corporations like IBM, and the permanent monarchy of Qatar.
Meedan also finances the regime-change lobbying website, Bellingcat, which is considering a reliable source on Wikipedia, while journalism outlets like The Grayzone are formally blacklisted.
Sharek961 was funded by the Technology for Transparency Network, a platform for regime-change operations bankrolled by billionaire Pierre Omidyar's Omidyar Network and billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations.
Maher subsequently moved over to a position as an "innovation and communication officer" at the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. There, she oversaw projects funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), an arm of the US State Department which finances regime-change operations and covert activities around the globe under the auspices of humanitarian goodwill.
Soon enough, Maher cut out the middleman and went to work as a program officer in information and communications technology at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), which was created and financed directly by the US government. The NDI is a central gear in the regime-change machine; it bankrolls coup and destabilization efforts across the planet in the guise of "democracy promotion."
At the NDI, Maher served as a program officer for "internet freedom projects," advancing Washington's imperial soft power behind the front of boosting global internet access – pursuing a strategy not unlike the one used to destabilize Cuba.
The Wikimedia Foundation CEO says on her LinkedIn profile that her work at the NDI included "democracy and human rights support" as well as designing technology programs for "citizen engagement, open government, independent media, and civil society for transitional, conflict, and authoritarian countries, including internet freedom programming."
After a year at the NDI, she moved over to the World Bank, another notorious vehicle for Washington's power projection.
Katherine Maher LinkedIn World Bank NDI
At the World Bank, Maher oversaw the creation of the Open Development Technology Alliance (ODTA), an initiative that uses new technologies to impose more aggressive neoliberal economic policies on developing countries.
Maher's LinkedIn page notes that her work entailed designing and implementing "open government and open data in developing and transitioning nations," especially in the Middle East and North Africa.
At the time of her employment at the World Bank, the Arab Spring protests were erupting.
In October 2012, in the early stages of the proxy war in Syria, Maher tweeted that she was planning a trip to Gaziantep, a Turkish city near the Syrian border that became the main hub for the Western-backed opposition. Gaziantep was at the time crawling with Syrian insurgents and foreign intelligence operatives plotting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Katherine Maher ✔ @krmaher
Planning to go to Gaziantep in a few days. A timely NYT report from the Turkish-Syrian border: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/middleeast/on-edge-in-turkey-as-syria-war-inches-closer.html?pagewanted=2&smid=tw-share
1 12:25 PM - Oct 13, 2012 Twitter Ads info and privacy
See Katherine Maher's other Tweets Just two months later, in December, she tweeted that was was on a flight to Libya. Just over a year before, a NATO regime-change war had destroyed the Libyan government, and foreign-backed insurgents had killed leader Muammar Qadhafi, unleashing a wave of violence – and open-air slave markets.
Today, Libya has no unified central government and is still plagued by a grueling civil war. What Maher was doing in the war-torn country in 2012 is not clear.
Katherine Maher ✔ @krmaher
I'm on the plane to Libya. Holy wow, batman.
View image on Twitter 2 3:21 AM - Dec 9, 2012 Twitter Ads info and privacy
Maher's repeated trips to the Middle East and North Africa right around the time of these uprisings and Western intervention campaigns raised eyebrows among local activists.
In 2016, when Maher was named executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, a prominent Tunisian activist named Slim Amamou spoke out, alleging that "Katherine Maher is probably a CIA agent."
Amamou briefly served as secretary of state for sport and youth in Tunisia's transitional government, before later resigning. He noted that Maher traveled to the country several times since the Arab Spring protests broke out in 2011, and he found it strange that her affiliations kept changing.
... ... ...
Slim Amamou ✔ @slim404 · Mar 13, 2016
Katherine Maher is probably a CIA agent. She's been in Tunisia multiple times since 2011 under multiple affiliations https://twitter.com/Wikimedia/status/708438130626408449
Wikimedia ✔ @Wikimedia
Chief communications officer Katherine Maher (@krmaher) named interim executive director of Wikimedia Foundation. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2016/03/11/katherine-maher-interim-executive-director/
Slim Amamou ✔ @slim404
Wikmedia foundation is changing.. and not in a good way. It's sad, because rare are organisations that have this reach in developing world
2 11:18 AM - Mar 13, 2016 Twitter Ads info and privacy See Slim Amamou's other Tweets
In April 2017, in her new capacity as head of the Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher participated in an event for the US State Department. The talk was a "Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing," entitled "Wikipedia in a Post-fact World." It was published at the official State Department website.
Maher spoke about the libertarian philosophy behind Wikipedia, echoing the Ayn Randian ideology of founder Jimmy Wales.
When journalists asked how Wikipedia deals "with highly charged topics," where "some entities – sometimes countries, sometimes various other entities – are often engaged in conflict with each other," Maher repeatedly provided a non-answer, recycling vague platitudes about the Wikipedia community working together.
The Grayzone has clearly demonstrated how Wikipedia editors overwhelmingly side with Western governments in these editorial conflicts, echoing the perspectives of interventionists and censoring critical voices.
A few months later, in January 2018, Maher appeared on a panel with Michael Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and NSA, and a notorious hater of journalists, as well with a top Indian government official, K. VijayRaghavan.
The talk, entitled "Lies Propaganda and Truth," was held by the organization behind the Nobel Prize.
The moderator of the discussion, Mattias Fyrenius, the CEO of the Nobel Prize's media arm, asked Maher: "There is some kind of information war going on – and maybe you can say that there is a war going on between the lies, and the propaganda, and the facts, and maybe truth – do you agree?"
"Yes," Maher responded in agreement. She added her own question: "What are the institutions, what is the obligation of institutions to actually think about what the future looks like, if we actually want to pass through this period with our integrity intact?"
... ... ...
Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher in a panel discussion with CIA director Michael Hayden Hayden, the former US spy agency chief, then blamed "the Russians" for waging that information war. He referred to Moscow as "the adversary," and claimed the "Russian information bubble, information dominance machine, created so much confusion." Maher laughed in approval, disputing nothing that Hayden said. In the same discussion, Maher also threw WikiLeaks (which is blacklisted on Wikipedia) under the bus, affirming, "Not WikiLeaks, I want to be clear, we're not the same organization." The former CIA director next to her chuckled.
Wikipedia Katherine Maher Open Technology Fund US government Wikimedia Foundation executive director Katherine Maher is a member of the advisory board of the US government's technology regime-change arm the Open Technology Fund (OPT)
Today, Maher is a member of the advisory board of the US government's technology regime-change arm the Open Technology Fund (OPT) – a fact she proudly boasts on her LinkedIn profile. The OPT was created in 2012 as a project of Radio Free Asia, an information warfare vehicle that the New York Times once described as a "worldwide propaganda network built by the CIA." Since disaffiliating from this CIA cutout in 2019, the OPT is now bankrolled by the US Agency for Global Media, the government's propaganda arm, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Like Maher's former employer the National Democratic Institute, the OPT advances US imperial interests in the guise of promoting "internet freedom" and new technologies. It also provides large grants to opposition groups in foreign nations targeted by Washington for regime change.
Katherine Maher Truman National Security Project
While she serves today as the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher remains a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a Washington, DC think tank that grooms former military and intelligence professionals for careers in Democratic Party politics.
The Truman Project website identifies Maher's expertise as "international development."
As The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal reported, the most prominent fellow of the Truman Project is Pete Buttigieg, the US Naval intelligence veteran who emerged as a presidential frontrunner in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
The extensive participation by the head of the Wikimedia Foundation in US government regime-change networks raises serious questions about the organization's commitment to neutrality.
Perhaps the unchecked problem of political bias and coordinated smear campaigns by a small coterie of Wikipedia editors is not a bug, but a deliberately conceived feature of the website.
Ben Norton Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.
Jun 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
jmNZ , 10 hours ago
We obviously need to see that the MSM propaganda machine is a tool of the banksters.
And Josef Goebbels showed what you can do with a propaganda machine : he drove Germany over a cliff.
And the banksters and corporations are as amoral as Goebbels, believing only in money and power.
First remedy of the American republic should be to break up the "news" cartels, like the Japanese zaibatsu were broken up after the war.
Jun 10, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The media's Russiagate failures were just a trial-run for the last four months.
June 10, 2020|
12:01 amArthur Bloom The most effective kind of propaganda is by omission. Walter Duranty didn't cook up accounts from smiling Ukrainian farmers, he simply said there was no evidence for a famine, much like the media tells us today that there is no evidence antifa has a role in the current protests. It is much harder to do this today than it was back then -- there are photographs and video that show they have been -- which is the proximate cause for greater media concern about conspiracy theories and disinformation.
For all the hyperventilating over the admittedly creepy 2008 article about "cognitive infiltration," by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, it was a serious attempt to deal with the problem of an informational center being lost in American public life, at a time when the problem was not nearly as bad as it is today. It proposed a number of strategies to reduce the credibility of conspiracy theorists, including seeding them with false information. Whether such strategies have been employed, perhaps with QAnon, which has a remarkable ability to absorb all other conspiracy theories that came before it, I leave to the reader's speculation.
Books will one day be written about the many failures of the media during the Trump presidency, but much of the Russiagate narrative-shaping was related to the broader problem of decentralization and declining authority of establishment media. One of the more egregious examples is the Washington Post's report that relied upon a blacklist created by an anonymous group, PropOrNot, that found more than 200 sites carried water for the Russians in some way, and not all on the right either. In fact, if the Bush administration had commissioned a list of news sources that were carrying water for Saddam Hussein in 2006, it would have looked almost the same as the PropOrNot list, except here it was, recast as an effort to defend democratic integrity. On the list was Naked Capitalism, Antiwar.com, and Truthdig.
This should have been a bigger scandal, very good evidence that the war on disinformation was not that but a campaign against officially unapproved information. But virtually nobody except Glenn Greenwald objected. There is some evidence that this style of blacklisting went even further, into the architecture of search engines. My reporting on Google search last year found that one of the "fringe domain" blacklists included Robert Parry's Consortium News. In other words, if Google had been around in the 1980s, Parry's exposes on Iran-Contra would have been excluded from Google News results.
The criteria for inclusion on any of these lists are much more amorphous than a more traditional one: taking money from a foreign power. As of this week, we now have a figure for how much the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have taken from China Daily, a state-run newspaper, since 2016. It's $4.6 million, and $6 million, respectively. This is more than an order of magnitude greater than Russia is thought to have spent on Facebook advertising prior to the 2016 election.
There are other specific Russiagate disgraces one would be remiss to overlook, like star reporter Natasha Bertrand, who was hired at MSNBC after several appearances in which she repeatedly defended the accuracy of the Steele Dossier, which itself was likely tainted by Russian disinformation. The newspaper that published the Pentagon Papers defended the outing of a source to the FBI. How David Ignatius, considered America's top reporter on the intelligence community, can show his face in public after he was allegedly told by James Clapper to "take the kill shot on Flynn," and then two days later doing just that, is disturbing (Clapper's spokesman disputes this account, but Ignatius has not). The scoop, that Flynn, the incoming national security advisor had spoken to the Russian ambassador, is in no way suspicious, but for weeks was treated as if Flynn was making contact with his handler.
What Russiagate amounts to, as Matt Taibbi among others have written, is the use of federal investigative resources to criminalize or persecute dissenters from the foreign policy line of what we here at TAC call the Blob, in the same way that the PropOrNot list amounts to an attempt to suppress unapproved sources of news.
Many of the same figures involved in prolonging the Russiagate hysteria were also big cheerleaders for the Bush and Obama wars. Before Russiagate, there was the Pentagon military analysts scandal, in which it was revealed that dozens of media commentators on military affairs were doing so without disclosing their connections to the Pentagon or defense contractors. It implicated Barry McCaffrey, Bill Clinton's drug war czar, who is now an MSNBC contributor who helped to provide color for the narrative of General Flynn's decline, suggesting he was mentally ill after he had initially been supportive of him getting the job.
In a certain sense, Trump provides journalists who have disturbingly cozy relationships with powerful people a way of looking like they are holding the powerful accountable, without alienating any of their previous friends. Trump is in fact one of the weakest executives in presidential history, partly because of the massive resistance to him in the federal workforce, but also because his White House seems powerless to actually do anything about that. That people actually think the dark cloud of fascism has descended upon the land when Trump can't even figure out how to work those levers of power just shows how obsessed with symbolic matters -- "representation," they call it -- our politics has become.
The subsequent failures of the American information landscape have only served to reinforce this dynamic. Both the self-inflicted economic catastrophe of the coronavirus shutdowns, and the recent civil unrest, will serve to concentrate wealth away from the hated red-state bourgeoise and into the hands of the oligarchs in blue states, including Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post . This bears repeating: COVID and the protests will lead to a large transfer of wealth from a reliably Republican demographic -- small business owners -- to one that is at best split, which is why you saw Jamie Dimon kneeling in front of a bank vault this week.
Untangling the question of intent is difficult in the best of circumstances, and the same is true here. The contrast between news networks ominously reporting on Florida beachgoers a month ago now cheering on mass gatherings in large cities may not in fact be due to the fact that the large consortiums that own the networks stand to benefit financially from the continued shutdown of the country. They may sincerely believe, along with public health officials , that balancing the risks of institutional racism and getting COVID-19 is worth discussing in relation to protests, but balancing the same risks when it comes to going to church or burying a family member is not. Or it may just be studied naivety, like the kind exhibited a few weeks ago when the whole New York media scene rushed to the defense of the New Yorker 's Jia Tolentino, who played the victim after people on social media revealed that her family was involved in what certainly appears to be an exploitative immigration scam.
The rise of the first-person essay and subjectivity in journalism may turn out to be a perfectly congenial development for the powerful people in America; Tolentino is great at writing about herself. For one thing, this is a lot cheaper than reporting; it probably isn't a coincidence that this development has coincided with a huge decline in newsroom budgets. But at the same time blaming this on economics feels like it misses the point, because there are many people who are convinced this trend is good.
But the way it intersects with official corruption has me rather nervous. To give one example, it seems clear that #MeToo degenerated after the Kavanaugh hearings and Biden's nomination. And given the apparent loyalties of someone like David Ignatius, he isn't going to be the one to unravel the intelligence connections involved in the great sexual violence story of our generation, the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. So we are left with the Netflix version, slotted right into the typical narrative, in which the Epstein story looks fundamentally the same as most other stories of sexual coercion, involving a powerful man and less powerful woman, only with an exceptionally powerful man. And yet there are so many indications it was not typical.
So it is today with George Floyd as well. It seems like there are perfectly reasonable questions to be asked about the acquaintance between him and Derek Chauvin, and the fact that the rather shady bar they both worked at conveniently burned down. But by now most of the media is now highly invested in not seeing anything other than a statistic, another incident in a long history of police brutality, and the search for facts has been replaced by narratives. This is a shame, because it is perfectly possible to think that police have a history of poor treatment toward black people and there might be corruption involved in the George Floyd case, which is something Ben Crump, the lawyer for Floyd's family, seems to suggest in his interview on Face the Nation this weekend.
Two incidents in the last week, the freakout among young New York Times staffers over their publication of an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton that has now led to the resignation of the editorial page editor, and the report by Cockburn that Andrew Sullivan has been barred from writing about the protests by New York magazine, are a good indication that all of this is going to get worse. As for the class of people who actually own these media properties, they will probably find that building a padded room for woke staffers, in the form of whatever HR and "safety"-related demands they're making, will suit their interests just fine. about the author Arthur Bloom is managing editor of The American Conservative. He was previously deputy editor of the Daily Caller and a columnist for the Catholic Herald. He holds masters degrees in urban planning and American studies from the University of Kansas. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Spectator (UK), The Guardian, Quillette, The American Spectator , Modern Age, and Tiny Mix Tapes.
Jun 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Max Flasher • 14 hours ago • edited
One of my favorite journalists at the WSJ is Holman Jenkins. In a WSJ article ( May 23 ) he has an article called "Media Cowardice and the Collusion Hoax." In this article he asks "What happens when the press becomes an interest group whose interest isn't the truth?"
Here's my question: What happens when half a country strongly supports a press or an educational system whose interest isn't the truth? What happens is that the country becomes too severely fragmented to function as a country and no longer exists as a country since the inner structure, the commonality, cohesion and trust, the life force of a society, has died. The outer structure that people see then is just the shell of a country that once existed. Like a once beautiful tree that has died leaving only the outer shell standing till a storm knocks it down and scatters the remains.
When can we expect such a terrible storm? Probably November when an attempt is made to have a presidential election for a country that no longer exists as a country. Many are already quite aware of this. The closer we get the more widespread this awareness will be. This does not bode well for our future.
"Challenging the 1619 Project"
Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler, ( 2 min. )
Jun 09, 2020 | www.unz.com
Carlo , says: June 7, 2020 at 6:43 pm GMT@Tsar NicholasAgathoklis , says: June 8, 2020 at 12:59 pm GMT
The contemporary geographical West bears almost nothing of classical Western culture. Another good example is that classical Greco-Roman beauty standards opposes almost all kinds of body modification and mutilations, like tattoos, piercings, scarification, circumcision, etc. Many of these, especially the first two, became predominant in the last 3 decades.@Carlo
Very true. Tattoos, piercings and scarification were deemed the sign of a criminal or a barbarian in the Greco-Roman world. They valued the athletic body as it was and saw no need to disfigure it. That is why they had such a hard time accepting circumcision.
Jun 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
jef , Jun 7 2020 14:09 utc | 1So we had two major pandemic exercises last year projecting almost exactly what did happen with the corona virus. First was Crimson Contagion Jan thru Aug 2019
Then Event 201 the international war gaming of a global pandemic almost exactly like what happened which took place only months before the real pandemic on October 2019
So why is it ok for TPTB to act like it wasn't happening or it was a complete supprise "no one could have known" and were completely unprepared?
Mark2 , Jun 7 2020 14:20 utc | 2Jef @ 1
A week before the Skripal poisoning at Salisbury U.K. 'they had a chemical warfare exercise a few miles up the road on Salisbury Plain.
Jun 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Jun 7 2020 21:05 utc | 30Dave #21
So depressing that nobody in the UK has the guts to ask questions about the Skripal affair.
Parliamentarians and msm are silent but there is always Rob Slane A HREF="https://www.theblogmire.com/">here for one of the more exacting research efforts by himself and his commenters. Its worth a detailed examination as he never bought the Govt fairytale from day one and has the most forensic analysis available given the erasing of all public data and cctv in Salisbury on the day and days that followed. Rob Slane lives in Salisbury and was swept up in the Skripal story from his quiet little social/christian blog. He is a legend.
Or Craig Murray of course but he would prefer to be known as a Scotland man not an englander.
Tom , Jun 7 2020 22:26 utc | 41#30 Uncle Tungstenuncle tungsten , Jun 7 2020 22:35 utc | 42
John Helmer at Dancing with Bears has also written some fine pieces on the Skripal's. His latest piece brings light to the Wiltshire Police report that states
"On July 4 – that is four days after Sturgess and Rowley had been admitted to hospital – the Wiltshire police published the conclusion from their investigation, their roundup of witnesses, and from the hospital evidence that the drugs Sturgess and Rowley had taken were Class A criminal and contaminated. Detective Sergeant Eirin Martin was explicit. "We believe the two patients have fallen ill after using from a contaminated batch of drugs, possibly heroin or crack cocaine." The evidence was so strong, Martin acknowledged that publishing details of the crime was an "unusual step we are also asking anyone who may have information about this batch of drugs we just need to know how these people came to fall ill and where the drugs may have been bought from and who they may have been sold to."
No wonder the bottle of Novichok wasn't discovered during the first search of Rowley's flat. MI6 hadn't planted it there until some time later.
Thank you and I forgot John Helmer. He is a legend on this and other matters of our times. The Sturgess/Rowley story was pure D grade vaudeville. If there is one event that confirms the ignorance of the englander power elite and its running dog media, it was the Sturgess/Rowley fubar. LMAO at that one PLUS the utter BS about the 'novichok contaminated' hotel room that the two 'Russian Lads' stayed in.
Jun 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
by Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 22:00 Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The American Institute for Economic research,
Don't laugh derisively, as people do these days, but I've always admired the New York Times . First draft of history. Talent everywhere. Best production values. Even with its ideological spin, it can be scrupulous about facts. You can usually extract the truth with a decoder ring. Its outsized influence over the rest of the press makes it essential. I've relied on it for years. Even given everything, and I mean everything.
Until now. It's just too much. Too much unreality, manipulation, propaganda, and flat out untruths that are immediately recognizable to anyone. I can't believe they think they can get away with this with credibility intact. I'm not speaking of the many great reporters, technicians, editors, production specialists, and the tens of thousands who make it all possible. I'm speaking of a very small coterie of people who stand guard over the paper's editorial mission of the moment and enforce it on the whole company, with no dissent allowed.
Let's get right to the offending passage. It's not from the news or opinion section but the official editorial section and hence the official voice of the paper. The paragraph from June 2, 2020, reads as follows.
Healing the wounds ripped open in recent days and months will not be easy. The pandemic has made Americans fearful of their neighbors, cut them off from their communities of faith, shut their outlets for exercise and recreation and culture and learning. Worst of all, it has separated Americans from their own livelihoods.
Can you imagine? The pandemic is the cause!
I would otherwise feel silly to have to point this out but for the utter absurdity of the claim. The pandemic didn't do this. It caused a temporary and mostly media-fueled panic that distracted officials from doing what they should have done, which is protect the vulnerable and otherwise let society function and medical workers deal with disease.
Instead, the CDC and governors around the country, at the urging of bad computer-science models uninformed by any experience in viruses, shut down schools, churches, events, restaurants, gyms, theaters, sports, and further instructed people to stay in their homes, enforced sometimes even by SWAT teams. Jewish funerals were broken up by the police.
It was brutal and egregious and it threw 40 million people out of work and bankrupted countless businesses. Nothing this terrible was attempted even during the Black Death. Maximum economic damage; minimum health advantages . It's not even possible to find evidence that the lockdowns saved lives at all .
But to hear the New York Times tell the story, it was not the lockdown but the pandemic that did this. That's a level of ideological subterfuge that is almost impossible for a sane person to conjure up, simply because it is so obviously unbelievable.
It's lockdown denialism.
Why? From February 2020 and following, the New York Times had a story and they are continuing to stick to it. The story is that we are all going to die from this pandemic unless government shuts down society. It was a drum this paper beat every day.
Consider what the top virus reporter Donald J. McNeil (B.A. Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley) wrote on February 28, 2020, weeks before there was any talk of shutdowns in the U.S.:
There are two ways to fight epidemics: the medieval and the modern.
The modern way is to surrender to the power of the pathogens: Acknowledge that they are unstoppable and to try to soften the blow with 20th-century inventions, including new vaccines, antibiotics, hospital ventilators and thermal cameras searching for people with fevers.
The medieval way, inherited from the era of the Black Death, is brutal: Close the borders, quarantine the ships, pen terrified citizens up inside their poisoned cities.
For the first time in more than a century, the world has chosen to confront a new and terrifying virus with the iron fist instead of the latex glove.
And yes, he recommends the medieval way. The article continues on to praise China's response and Cuba's to AIDS and says that this approach is natural to Trump and should be done in the United States. ( AIER called him out on this alarming column on March 4, 20202.)
McNeil then went on to greater fame with a series of shocking podcasts for the NYT that put a voice and even more panic to the failed modeling of Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College London.
This first appeared the day before his op-ed calling for global lockdown. The transcript includes this:
I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I'm being too alarmist or whether I'm being not alarmist enough. And this is alarmist, but I think right now, it's justified. This one reminds me of what I have read about the 1918 Spanish influenza.
Reminder: 675,000 Americans died in that pandemic. There were only 103 million people living in the U.S. at the time.
I'm trying to bring a sense that if things don't change, a lot of us might die. If you have 300 relatively close friends and acquaintances, six of them would die in a 2.5 percent mortality situation.
That's an astonishing claim that seems to forecast 8.25 million Americans will die. So far as I know, that is the most extreme claim made by anyone, four times as high as the Imperial College model.
What should we do to prevent this?
You can't leave. You can't see your families. All the flights are canceled. All the trains are canceled. All the highways are closed. You're going to stay in there. And you're locked in with a deadly disease. We can do it.
So because this coronavirus "reminds" him of one he read about, he can say on the air that four million people could soon die, and therefore life itself should be cancelled. Because a reporter is "reminded" of something.
This is the same newspaper that in 1957 urged people to stay calm during the Asian flu and trust medical providers – running all of one editorial on the topic. What a change! This was an amazing podcast -- amazingly irresponsible.
McNeil was not finished yet. He was at it again on March 12, 2020, demanding that we not just close big events and schools but shut down everything and everyone "for months." He went back on the podcast twice more, then started riding the media circuit, including NPR . It was also the same. China did it right. We need to lock down or people you know, if you are one of the lucky survivors, will die.
To say that the New York Times was invested in the scenario of "lock down or we die" is an understatement. It was as invested in this narrative as it was in the Russia-collaboration story or the Ukrainian-phone call impeachment, tales to which they dedicated hundreds of stories and many dozens of reporters. The virus was the third pitch to achieve their objective.
Once in, there was no turning back, even after it became obvious that for the vast numbers of people this was hardly a disease at all, and that most of the deaths came from one city and mostly from nursing homes that were forced by law to take in COVID-19 patients.
That the newspaper, a once venerable institution, has something to answer for is apparent. But instead of accepting moral culpability for having created a panic to fuel the overthrow of the American way of life, they turn on a dime to celebrate people who are not socially distancing in the streets to protest police brutality.
To me, the protests on the streets were a welcome relief from the vicious lockdowns. To the New York Times , it seems like the lockdowns never happened. Down the Orwellian memory hole.
In this paper's consistent editorializing, nothing is the fault of the lockdowns.
Everything instead is the fault of Trump, who "tends to see only political opportunity in public fear and anger, as in his customary manner of contributing heat rather than light to the confrontations between protesters and authority."
True about Trump but let us remember that the McNeil's first pro-lockdown article praised Trump as perfectly suited to bring about the lockdown, and the paper urged him to do just that, while only three months later washing their hands of the whole thing, as if had nothing to do with current sufferings much less the rage on the streets.
And the rapid turnaround of this paper on street protests was stunning to behold. A month ago, people protesting lockdowns were written about as vicious disease spreaders who were denying good science. In the blink of an eye, the protesters against police brutality (the same police who enforced the lockdown) were transmogrified into bold embracers of First Amendment rights who posed no threat to public health.
Not even the scary warnings about the coming "second wave" were enough to stop the paper from throwing out all its concern over "targeted layered containment" and "social distancing" in order to celebrate protests in the streets that they like.
And they ask themselves why people are incredulous toward mainstream media today.
The lockdowns wrecked the fundamentals of life in America. The New York Times today wants to pretend they either didn't happen, happened only in a limited way, or were just minor public health measures that worked beautifully to mitigate disease. And instead of having an editorial meltdown over these absurdities, preposterous forecasts, and extreme panic mongering that contributed to vast carnage, we seen an internal revolt over the publishing of a Tom Cotton editorial, a dispute over politics not facts.
The record is there: this paper went all in back in February to demand the most authoritarian possible response to a virus about which we already knew enough back then to observe that this was nothing like the Spanish flu of 1918. They pretended otherwise, probably for ideological reasons, most likely.
It was not the pandemic that blew up our lives, commercial networks, and health systems. It was the response to the virus that did that. The Times needs to learn that it cannot construct a fake version of reality just to avoid responsibility for what they've done. Are we really supposed to believe what they write now and in the future? This time, I hope, people will be smart and learn to consider the source.
Jun 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Jun 6 2020 3:29 utc | 88RSH
I'm not suggesting anything more than this:
- 1) Newsweek has already proven to be significantly compromised, even more than most MSM, as described by Caitlin Johnstone (via Consortium News):Newsweek has long been a reliable guard dog and attack dog for the US-centralized empire, with examples of stories that its editors did permit to go to print including an article by an actual, current military intelligence officerexplaining why U.S. prosecution of Julian Assange is a good thing, fawning puff pieces on the White Helmets, and despicable smear jobs on Tulsi Gabbard.
The outlet will occasionally print oppositional-looking articles like this one by Ian Wilkie questioning the establishment Syria narrative, but not without immediately turning around and publishing an attack on Wilkie's piece by Eliot Higgins, a former Atlantic Council Senior Fellow who is the cofounder of the NED-funded imperial narrative management firm Bellingcat. Newsweek also recently published an article attacking Tucker Carlson for publicizing the OPCW scandal, basing its criticisms on a bogus Bellingcat article ...
Moon of Alabama: Media Suppressed Evidence Of The OPCW's 'Chemical Attack' Manipulations - There Is Now More Of It (Lots of good info in the comments)
... ... ...
Apr 26, 2019 | off-guardian.org
In any event, the publication of the Mueller report has cleared things up for me. I get it now. The investigation was never about Trump colluding with Russia. It was always about Trump obstructing the investigation of the collusion with Russia that the investigation was not about. Mueller was never looking for collusion. It was not his job to look for collusion.
His job was to look for obstruction of his investigation of alleged obstruction of his investigation of non-collusion, which he found, and detailed at length in his report, and which qualifies as an impeachable offense.
... ... ...
In other words, his investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation. And, on those terms, it was a huge success. The fact that it didn't prove "collusion" means nothing -- that's just a straw man argument that Trump and his Russian handlers make. The goal all along was to prove that Trump obstructed an investigation of his obstruction of that investigation, not that he was "colluding" with Putin, or any of the other paranoid nonsense that the corporate media were forced to report on, once an investigation into his obstruction of the investigation was launched.
Jul 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
2016 a Russia-Trump campaign collusion conspiracy was afoot and unfolding right before our eyes, we were told, as during his roll-out foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., then candidate Trump said [ gasp! ]:NPR and others had breathlessly reported at the time, "Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the U.S., was sitting in the front row" [ more gasps! ].
" Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries. Some say the Russians won't be reasonable. I intend to find out."
This 'suspicious' "coincidence or something more?" event and of course the infamous Steele 'Dodgy Dossier' were followed by over two more years of the following connect-the-dots mere tiny sampling of unrestrained theorizing and avalanche of accusations...
Here's a very brief trip down memory lane:
2017, Politico: The Hidden History of Trump's First Trip to Moscow
2017, NYT: Trump's Russia Motives (where we were told: "President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia.")
2017, Business Insider: James Clapper: Putin is handling Trump like a Russian 'asset'
2017, USA Today: Donald Trump's ties to Russia go back 30 years
2018, NYT: Trump, Treasonous Traitor
2018, AP: Russia had 'Trump over a barrel'
2018, BBC: Russia: The 'cloud' over the Trump White House
2018, NYT: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered
2018, USA Today: " From Putin with love"
2019, WaPo: Here are 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset
2019, Vanity Fair: "The President Has Been Acting On Russia's Behalf": U.S. Officials Are Shocked By Trump's Asset-Like Behavior
2019, Wired: Trump Must Be A Russian Agent... (where we were told...ahem: " It would be rather embarrassing ... if Robert Mueller were to declare that the president isn't an agent of Russian intelligence." )
"The walls are closing in!" - we were assured just about every 24 hours .
It's especially worth noting that a July 2018 New York Times op-ed argued that President Trump -- dubbed a "treasonous traitor" for meeting with Putin in Helsinki -- should "be directing all resources at his disposal to punish Russia."
Fast-forward to a July 2019 NY Times Editorial Board piece entitled "What's America's Winning Hand if Russia Plays the China Card?" How dizzying fast all of the above has been wiped from America's collective memory! Or at least the Times is engaged in hastily pushing it all down the memory hole Orwell-style in order to cover its own dastardly tracks which contributed in no small measure to non-stop national Russiagate hype and hysteria, with this astounding line:
President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia... -- Editorial Board, New York Times, 7-22-19
That's right, The Times' pundits have already pivoted to the new bogeyman while stating they agree with Trump on Russian relations :
"Given its economic, military and technological trajectory, together with its authoritarian model, China, not Russia , represents by far the greater challenge to American objectives over the long term . That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China ."
[... Mueller who? ]
Remember how recently we were told PUTIN IS WEAPONIZING EVERYTHING! from space to deep-sea exploration to extreme climate temperatures to humor to racial tensions to even 'weaponized whales' ?
It's 2019, and we've now come full circle . This is The New York Times editorial board continuing their call for Trump to establish "sounder" ties and "cooperation" with Russia :
"Even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union often made progress in one facet of their relationship while they remained in conflict over other aspects. The United States and Russia could expand their cooperation in space . They could also continue to work closely in the Arctic And they could revive cooperation on arms control."
Could we imagine if a mere six months ago Trump himself had uttered these same words? Now the mainstream media apparently agrees that peace is better than war with Russia.
With 'Russiagate' now effectively dead, the NY Times' new criticism appears to be that Trump-Kremlin relations are not close enough , as Trump's "approach has been ham-handed " - the 'paper of record' now tells us.
Or imagine if Trump had called for peaceful existence with Russia almost four years ago? Oh wait...
" Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries." -- Then candidate Trump on April 27, 2016
Cue ultra scary red Trump-Kremlin montage.
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.
Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."
Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by CJ Hopkins via The Unz Review,
So the Mueller report is finally in, and it appears that hundreds of millions of Americans have, once again, been woefully bamboozled . Weird, how this just keeps on happening. At this point, Americans have to be the most frequently woefully bamboozled people in the entire history of woeful bamboozlement.
If you didn't know better, you'd think we were all a bunch of hopelessly credulous imbeciles that you could con into believing almost anything, or that our brains had been bombarded with so much propaganda from the time we were born that we couldn't really even think anymore.
That's right, as I'm sure you're aware by now, it turns out President Donald Trump, a pompous former reality TV star who can barely string three sentences together without totally losing his train of thought and barking like an elephant seal, is not, in fact, a secret agent conspiring with the Russian intelligence services to destroy the fabric of Western democracy.
After two long years of bug-eyed hysteria, Inspector Mueller came up with squat. Zip. Zero. Nichts. Nada. Or, all right, he indicted a bunch of Russians that will never see the inside of a courtroom, and a few of Trump's professional sleazebags for lying and assorted other sleazebag activities (so I guess that was worth the $25 million of taxpayers' money that was spent on this circus).
Notwithstanding those historic accomplishments, the entire Mueller investigation now appears to have been another wild goose chase (like the "search" for those non-existent WMDs that we invaded and destabilized the Middle East and murdered hundreds of thousands of people pretending to conduct in 2003). Paranoid collusion-obsessives will continue to obsess about redactions and cover-ups , but the long and short of the matter is, there will be no perp walks for any of the Trumps. No treason tribunals. No televised hangings. No detachment of Secret Service agents marching Hillary into the White House.
The jig, as they say, is up.
But let's try to look on the bright side, shall we?
... ... ...
May 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
guidoamm , May 28 2020 7:05 utc | 60Center For Public Integrity
The Center for Public Integrity has received contributions from a number of left-leaning foundation funders including the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network Fund, Foundation to Promote Open Society, Knight Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation. The foundation has stated that it no longer accepts corporate gifts, but it takes money from the private foundations of many of the richest Americans including actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Seems to be the parent of the UK government's Integrity Initiative boondoggle
May 27, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
If people believe that the media are not playing it straight, trying to be fair, I would direct them to this statement on "diversity, equity, and inclusion" by the Pulitzer Center ,
which administers the Pulitzer Prizes[ UPDATE: I was wrong; the Pulitzer Center does not administer the Pulitzer Prizes -- Columbia University does. I apologize for the error -- RD]. This is a big deal. It represents the abdication of professional journalism standards, and the adoption of those of a left-wing propagandist. Excerpt:
Read it all.
This is what it sounds like when progressive ideologues in journalism use jargon to talk themselves into embracing left-wing propaganda strategies as a virtue. I remind you that the Pulitzer Prize committee this year awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her role in The 1619 Projec t, the big New York Times attempt to rewrite the history of the American founding to make it ideologically useful in advancing progressive identity politics.
I remember around 2004, having a conversation with a fellow conservative journalist, about how frustrating it was to deal with young conservatives who contacted us wanting advice about going into journalism as a career. Believe me, if you are a conservative working in the mainstream media, you dearly want to encourage as many conservatives as you can to join the profession, to help correct its many biases. The problem with those aspiring young people, my conservative colleague and I agreed, is that so few of them actually wanted to learn the craft of journalism. They wanted to become journalists as a form of political activism. This is exactly the wrong reason to go into journalism, we thought. So many of the problems of American journalism stem from crusading reporters being more interested in advancing progressive narratives than in telling the complicated truth about life. But at least the liberals, whatever their faults, usually respected the craft enough to learn how to do it well.
Now? I could not in good conscience advise young conservatives to go into journalism, at least not of the mainstream kind. I don't believe the culture of newsrooms today is reformable. I could be wrong! I haven't worked in a newsroom for eleven years. But I read and listen to the media all the time, and the kind of biases I routinely saw have gotten worse. Now you have the Pulitzer Center openly abandoning fairness in favor of "expand[ing] and democratiz[ing] our narratives" -- Orwellian prog-speak that tells you exactly the kinds of stories they are committing to tell, and the kinds that they will not tell. Some people are more diverse than others, you know.
There is a kind of conservative who thinks that if they just keep pointing out to newsroom leaders the deep inherent biases in their coverage, that the institutions will reform. Does anybody believe that now? Donald Trump may have exploited the mistrust many conservatives have of mainstream journalism, but this wasn't invented by Trump. Professional journalists are among the least self-aware people around. I remember being at a big national journalism conference back in the 2000s, drinking at the bar with the handful of conservatives in the room, all of us telling stories about the total blindness and bigotry we've seen. I'll tell you, if you have been a minority in a professional space, as conservatives (especially religious conservatives) are in professional journalism, you learn first-hand that there is truth in the oft-heard claim that diversity is important in newsrooms, because it has to do with the kinds of stories we tell. You also learn, though, that most people in journalism see "diversity" as going only one way.
Here's a 2019 piece I discovered recently by Amanda Ripley, about how journalism can tell stories better. You might think it's a thumb-sucker of a piece, but it's actually good, even for non-journalists. She writes about how the standard model of conflict-driven journalism actually does not offer an accurate picture of society's divisions. Ripley ended up interviewing people who are involved in professional conflict-resolution, and tries to apply the lessons she learns to the journalism craft. Excerpts:
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I've been a journalist for over 20 years, writing books and articles for Time, the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal and all kinds of places , and I did not know these lessons. After spending more than 50 hours in training for various forms of dispute resolution, I realized that I've overestimated my ability to quickly understand what drives people to do what they do. I have overvalued reasoning in myself and others and undervalued pride, fear and the need to belong. I've been operating like an economist, in other words -- an economist from the 1960s.
For decades, economists assumed that human beings were reasonable actors, operating in a rational world. When people made mistakes in free markets, rational behavior would, it was assumed, generally prevail. Then, in the 1970s, psychologists like Daniel Kahneman began to challenge those assumptions. Their experiments showed that humans are subject to all manner of biases and illusions.
Researchers have a name for the kind of divide America is currently experiencing. They call this an "intractable conflict," as social psychologist Peter T. Coleman describes in his book The Five Percent , and it's very similar to the kind of wicked feuds that emerge in about one out of every 20 conflicts worldwide. In this dynamic, people's encounters with the other tribe (political, religious, ethnic, racial or otherwise) become more and more charged. And the brain behaves differently in charged interactions. It's impossible to feel curious, for example, while also feeling threatened.
In this hypervigilant state, we feel an involuntary need to defend our side and attack the other. That anxiety renders us immune to new information. In other words: no amount of investigative reporting or leaked documents will change our mind, no matter what.
Intractable conflicts feed upon themselves. The more we try to stop the conflict, the worse it gets. These feuds "seem to have a power of their own that is inexplicable and total, driving people and groups to act in ways that go against their best interests and sow the seeds of their ruin," Coleman writes. "We often think we understand these conflicts and can choose how to react to them, that we have options. We are usually mistaken, however. "
Once we get drawn in, the conflict takes control. Complexity collapses, and the us-versus-them narrative sucks the oxygen from the room. "Over time, people grow increasingly certain of the obvious rightness of their views and increasingly baffled by what seems like unreasonable, malicious, extreme or crazy beliefs and actions of others," according to training literature from Resetting the Table , an organization that helps people talk across profound differences in the Middle East and the U.S.
The lesson for journalists (or anyone) working amidst intractable conflict: complicate the narrative. First, complexity leads to a fuller, more accurate story. Secondly, it boosts the odds that your work will matter -- particularly if it is about a polarizing issue. When people encounter complexity, they become more curious and less closed off to new information. They listen, in other words.
There are many ways to complicate the narrative, as described in detail under the six strategies below. But the main idea is to feature nuance, contradiction and ambiguity wherever you can find it. This does not mean calling advocates for both sides and quoting both; that is simplicity, and it usually backfires in the midst of conflict. "Just providing the other side will only move people further away," Coleman says. Nor does it mean creating a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents. That is just simplicity in a cheap suit. Complicating the narrative means finding and including the details that don't fit the narrative -- on purpose.
The idea is to revive complexity in a time of false simplicity. "The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete," novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her mesmerizing TED Talk "A Single Story." "[I]t's impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person."
... ... ...
Something big is happening, though. Read Bari Weiss's op-ed about the $100 million deal that podcast host Joe Rogan -- not a professional journalist -- just made with Spotify.
But there is also a very practical reason Rogan can say whatever he thinks: He is an individual and not an organization. Eric Weinstein , another podcaster and a friend of Rogan, told me, "It's the same reason that a contractor can wear a MAGA hat on a job and an employee inside Facebook headquarters cannot: There is no HR department at 'The Joe Rogan Experience'."
"When you have something that can't get canceled, you can be free," said Rogan.
The ability to be free of censorship is perhaps the thing Rogan prizes most -- and he's very concerned about censorship, especially inside the tech companies that control the most powerful forms of mass communication the world has ever seen.
I'm not a podcast listener, except when I'm driving (very little of that in the past three months), but the few times I've listened to Rogan makes it easy to get why he's got such a massive audience. He brings real curiosity to his interviews with guests. You never really know what he's going to ask, but you know that for all his many quirks (e.g., he's a pothead), Rogan is a real person who has genuine curiosity in the people to whom he speaks. Weiss writes:
His whole ethos -- curious; not particularly ideological; biased toward things that work; baffled by the state of both parties -- is where so many Americans are right now. And that's his power. He's a mirror, when so many publications are broken glass, capable of reflecting only a shard.
Amen to that. Joe Rogan is one of the most popular and influential media figures in America, but he could never be hired at an American newspaper. Seriously, the little Robespierres in the cubicles would raise hell, and the lily-livered managers (like college presidents) would capitulate. Alas for journalism. Rogan is interesting because he's interested in the world as he finds it, not as a screen onto which to project his ideological convictions.
There was a time when American journalism felt like that. It's mostly why I became interested in doing it for a living. If a young person was genuinely interested in journalism for the right reasons, the ascent of Joe Rogan offers hope. We don't need every journalist to be Joe Rogan. We need people who have been trained in the craft of investigative reporting, for example, and professional standards. But we need investigative reporters, and features writers, and national staffers, and everyone else in a standard newsroom, who can be more like Joe Rogan, approaching the world with curiosity, not an agenda, a chip on their shoulder, and fraudulent rationalizations for why the propagandistic approach they take to their work is actually morally and professionally correct. These are educated liberals talking to educated urban liberals about Things Educated Urban Liberals Believe. Who cares?
The Pulitzer Center is not the future of journalism. Thank God. The pothead podcaster's success probably is. That's good news. Look:
In my 7 years & 400,000 miles spent in lower income neighborhoods, talking to countless people, nobody ever mentioned the NYTimes, WP, or CNN, beyond a few unflattering remarks. Everyone mentioned Radio, YouTube, & Instagram personalities. And Joe Rogan https://t.co/RmwsjksfmK
-- Chris Arnade 🐢 (@Chris_arnade) May 25, 2020
KoeniginLuisevonPreussen • 11 hours agoI'm glad you included a Chris Arnade tweet. Arnade's book DIGNITY is great for exactly this reason: he doesn't go in with an Agenda or a Story in mind -- he just wants to talk to people, understand a bit about their lives, and record what they have to say and a little bit of their story.I Don’t Matter • 11 hours ago
Until reading Arnade's book, I didn't realize how much virtually all mainstream media reporting on downtrodden Americans is Agenda-driven. A professional reporter goes in thinking: What's the Problem here, and what's the Solution? What's the Narrative? (e.g. "opioids," "homelessness," "federal programs") and they craft their reporting around the Narrative. But it seems like Arnade's not necessarily committed to a particular Agenda, other than learning a little bit about people and making a little bit of a connection.Rogan has an uncanny ability to get his guests talk about really complex subjects in a clear way. Part of it is no time limit, he has the freedom to allow an answer to his question to run for as long as needed.Thomas Hobbes Rod Dreher • 9 hours ago
This also belies the “no attention span” narrative about (especially) young people. I get my clues about specific Rogan episodes from the MMA crowd, skewing young for obvious reasons, and they have no problem listening to long stretches of complex information about subjects that interest them. There was an episode when Rogan interviewed Pavel Tsatsouline about intricacies of endurance training, for example. Riveting conversation using words like “mitochondria” and such. Credit to Pavel of course, but Rogan was the one steering the conversation.
Turns out maybe there’s a correlation between “reduced attention span” and “crappy talking points-regurgitating journalism devoid of original thinking and basic competency”.You are sort of right, but Donald Trump has been a huge financial benefit to the mainstream news business, which gives them a huge financial incentive as well as views/clicks incentive to continue doing what they are doing. There is certainly a huge liberal bias in the MSN, but that is not the reason they suck so bad at their job. They could pursue the truth and nuance while still having a leftward bias (they also have a pro business and pro war bias), but they don't. Instead they provide drama, outrage, and fear mongering with a liberal bias. This has been going on for my entire life. In the 90s as a teenager I was appalled by the vapidity and over dramatization I saw every day on the nightly news. It hasn't gotten better. There is still good journalism going on, sometimes with a liberal bias and sometimes with a conservative bias, but it is not generating the views and clicks that news about the "End of Civilization!" does. Joe Rogan can do whatever he wants because he already has a built in audience. Journalists that actually worry about their jobs and their incomes have to make sure they have enough twitter followers and that they are generating the clicks/views they need.DavidBN • 11 hours agoDonald Trump and the Mainstream Media have become two forms of the same memetic parasite, the Toxoplasma of Rage .David Naas DavidBN • 10 hours ago
To wit:Toxoplasma is a neat little parasite that is implicated in a couple of human diseases including schizophrenia. Its life cycle goes like this: it starts in a cat. The cat poops it out. The poop and the toxoplasma get in the water supply, where they are consumed by some other animal, often a rat. The toxoplasma morphs into a rat-compatible form and starts reproducing. Once it has strength in numbers, it hijacks the rat’s brain, convincing the rat to hang out conspicuously in areas where cats can eat it. After a cat eats the rat, the toxoplasma morphs back into its cat compatible form and reproduces some more. Finally, it gets pooped back out by the cat, completing the cycle.
What would it mean for a meme to have a life cycle as complicated as toxoplasma?
Consider the war on terror. They say that every time the United States bombs Pakistan or Afghanistan or somewhere, all we’re doing is radicalizing the young people there and making more terrorists. Those terrorists then go on to kill Americans, which makes Americans get very angry and call for more bombing of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Taken as a meme, it’s a single parasite with two hosts and two forms. In an Afghan host, it appears in a form called ‘jihad’, and hijacks its host into killing himself in order to spread it to its second, American host. In the American host it morphs in a form called ‘the war on terror’, and it hijacks the Americans into giving their own lives (and tax dollars) to spread it back to its Afghan host in the form of bombs.
From the human point of view, jihad and the War on Terror are opposing forces. From the memetic point of view, they’re as complementary as caterpillars and butterflies. Instead of judging, we just note that somehow we accidentally created a replicator, and replicators are going to replicate until something makes them stop.On a more mundane level, Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity need each other, yes?Marshal DavidBN • 8 hours agoI thought the point was to move away from simplistic models. You've followed the rejected model perfectly, a simplistic (and doubtful) model which blames the out-group while granting heroic satus to the in-group.Deoxy DavidBN • 7 hours agoThis history of jihad shows that any excuse will do. Including no excuse. The bombs we drop in retaliation may help, they may not, but either way, that's a short-term effect. Long-term, they don't need that excuse. Heck, they still list the loss of Andalusia as a grievance against the West.Mr. Karamazov • 11 hours agoThere are people who still trust the media? I'm not trolling here. If you still trust the media, why?Don Quijote Mr. Karamazov • 8 hours agoOsse Mr. Karamazov • 7 hours agoIf you still trust the media, why?
Because they are pretty damn good at what they do, every thing you know about China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Europe, Africa and the rest of the world, you learned from the media. Fox, MSNBC & CNN are but a tiny fraction of the media, they and local news are also the media outlets who spend most of their time dumbing things down for their US audience and producing programming for the least amount of money possible. (BTW CNN International does a far better job than CNN).
The NYT, WSJ, BBC, CBC, WP, NPR and various other news outlets do a pretty good job of letting you know what the world outside your little corner of the world looks like. If you want to travel to country you've never visited before you can go to your local library and get country X for dummies and you'll know the basics (currency, language, historic monuments, cities to visit, local food specialties,etc...)
If you know what the GDP per capita of Japan or China is, thank the media. If you know approximately how many people have died from the corona virus, thank the media. If you know how many Iraqis died during our last invasion of Iraq, thank the media.Centrist libs in my experience trust the media, except when it criticizes centrist liberal politicians. I am not joking.Commenter Formerly Known as 'G • 11 hours ago
The reason is that it reflects their worldview. The NYT, for instance, is pretty clearly written for upper middle class moderate liberals. Rod will choke at the “ moderate”, but I am not talking about sexual or racial politics. You can be as woke as you want on that and be opposed to single payer health care.
If you express skepticism about the media with centrist libs, they say you are like Trump or that it is an example of horseshoe theory, where the far right and far left are the same. You are showing that you are irrational.
Speaking from experience.
Most people are tribal in their thinking.Generally agree, there's a lot of good stuff to chew on here.Marshal Commenter Formerly Known as 'G • 8 hours ago
- It's interesting to see a decline in trust "on both sides" with "our favorite media" (declining trust among Democrats in the New York Times and MSNBC, declining trust among Republicans in Fox News and WSJ). It would be interesting to hear from "both sides" why they trust "their side media" less. (i.e., I'm not interested in hearing from Republicans why trust in the NYT is declining, we already know what they think, I'm interested in hearing from Democrats why they think trust in NYT is declining among Democrats, and if their reason is the same as the reason that Republicans give, or something else - like do Democrats say that the NYT is too liberal because of things like the 1619 Project, or not liberal enough because they haven't done enough other things like the 1619 Project?)
- I think Joe Rogan does point to a future business model in an era of declining trust in institutions - on many fronts, super-influencers are going to be competing with institution-backed credentialed experts and professionals. As long and the influencers can maintain their credibility and following, coupled with a feasible business model and low barriers to entry (it will probably be easier to break into journalism as an amateur than, say, becoming an amateur brain surgeon). But there are many possibilities besides journalism.
- I think the "curiosity" makes a great journalist. As a long-term reader of this blog, I've actually been wondering if you've ever considered interviewing a Woke activist or LGBTQ activist out of a curiosity of what motivates such a person, what do they say they believe and want, and to see if you can find anything that complicates your narrative of "Woke/LGBT Totalitarianism"? I know you quote the words and deeds of such activists all the time, but have you recently (or ever) had an hour-long interview with one of these people with the intent of finding non-intuitive things that add complexity to the story (per Ripley)? I would find that approach very interesting (out of my own curiosity, of course)do Democrats say that the NYT is too liberal because of things like the 1619 Project, or not liberal enough because they haven't done enough other things like the 1619 Project?)JonF311 Commenter Formerly Known as 'G • 8 hours ago
The problem is not that the 1619 Project is too liberal, it's that the project is too dishonest. Everyone has a limit for what level of partisan hackery they can put up with even if they are teammates.As far as the print media goes, money plays a big role in its decline. Thirty years in-depth analyses and lengthy detailed features could be found in any big city newspaper. Today, there's none of that-- because the newspapers can't afford it. I once could spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon with the local Sunday edition, and then with the New York Times. It takes me about twenty minutes max to go through the Sunday paper now-- maybe ten more if I count the comics and the coupons. And I haven't bought a copy of the NYT in many years.Rod Dreher Moderator JonF311 • 29 minutes agoIt's entirely the fault of the Internet. It really is. It destroyed the business model.Osse Commenter Formerly Known as 'G • 7 hours agoWith Democrats and the NYT, you will find very different reasons.Fran Commenter Formerly Known as 'G • 2 hours ago
People on the far left never trusted the NYT in the first place. The centrist libs don’t like it because they think the NYT is or was too quick to write critical stories about Clinton or other Democrats — I have seen that complaint."I'm interested in hearing from Democrats why they think trust in NYT is declining among Democrats, and if their reason is the same as the reason that Republicans give, or something else - like do Democrats say that the NYT is too liberal because of things like the 1619 Project, or not liberal enough because they haven't done enough other things like the1619 Project?)"SecularMisanthropist • 11 hours ago
I'm a long-time subscriber to the Times, and one of the things I did immediately after Trump's inauguration was subscribe to the Wall Street Journal for six months. I wanted to have a fuller picture of what was going on than the one I'd get from reading the Times alone. More recently, I've found myself skimming over the NYT op-eds, not bothering to click the headlines (with one or two exceptions, Ross Douhat being one of them, Nicholas Kristof being another). I despise Trump and think he's unfit for office, but is it really possible that Trump has never implemented one good policy as president? Has his presidency been a total and unmitigated disaster from Day One? My heart and the Times say yes, but the facts and some of my conservative friends say no, not entirely. (Until COVID--but that's another story.) So I read the Times, but I already know the slant nearly every story and op-ed will take. (And I'm no longer surprised when the Times publishes an editorial about the military and white supremacy over the Memorial Day weekend.)
I was troubled by the 1619 Project because it struck me as deeply flawed in its premises, and I say this as someone who believes that America has yet to fully reckon with its legacy of slavery and that without slave labor the U.S. would have never become the economic force that it's historically been. I say this--brace yourselves--as someone who would like to see reparations made (I just have no idea how it can be done). But when Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded the Pulitzer, I felt my blood pressure go up a little. Because that Pulitzer settled it and certified it--the 1619 Project is good history. It will be taught in schools. And that makes me and my bleeding little heart feel kind of crazy.
My point--and I do have one--is, no, I don't trust the Times as much as I used to because I think it has an agenda beyond reporting the news with as little bias as possible. I find some comfort in knowing that I'm not the only Democrat who feels that way.I understand the Republican decline in trust in the media, but the Democratic decline (even though modest) is striking. It makes me wonder what factors are driving it?Thomas Hobbes SecularMisanthropist • 8 hours agoI mean, have you watched the news? Have they done anything this century to make you think they are not just hysterical buffoons? I say this as someone with a strong leftwing bias.Sean Dougherty SecularMisanthropist • 8 hours agoLook at the comments on outlets like Daily Kos. At times where legacy media is concerned, they can be indistinguishable from anything at RedState.CoyoteTheClever SecularMisanthropist • 8 hours agoA lot of us who identify with the Democratic Party are socialists who do so out of convenience (so we can vote for Democratic Socialist candidates and promote our views within the party.).BillDaytona • 11 hours ago
To a lot of us, the mainstream liberal media is a fundamentally hostile institution. A lot of this is because it is dedicated towards preserving the establishment and established norms we need to break down. Their relentless promotion of the foreign policy establishment is a good example of this.
Another problem is the capitalist basis of these publications, meaning the news is often aggressively selling either a product, or the ideology of capitalism itself through its coverage, working to separate the working classes through identity politics, and burying anything that might lead to looking too closely at class based issues in America.
Just as the liberal news media isn’t publishing their articles with you conservatives in mind as their audience, is socialists are very much not their audience either.The press used to be liberal, as in, plain old liberals. But today, they are leftists, and leftists and liberals used to be very different categories of politics. You could talk to liberals ...liberals were just, "Hey, let's use government to make the world a better place."Marshal BillDaytona • 8 hours ago
And the conservatives would say, "OK, but we really need to watch out that we don't make things worse despite good intentions." Liberals could be arrogant, but not even in the same class as leftists today. Liberals did still some real damage (Vietnam, housing projects, affirmative action, 70s crime), but there was also some good (environmentalism, OSHA, labor standards).
You can't talk to leftists. To a leftist, plain old liberalism was considered reactionary. They didn't distinguish much between Pat Moynihan and Ayn Rand.
So the Pulitzer Center's statement of principles is pure critical theory, that is, wacko leftism.
And it's a shame ... because leftists despite their great passion for justice literally have no idea what they are doing, except damage in every possible way, and in no way pursuing actual justice. There is no end game except destruction of this polity and its replacement by something with far less freedom.Did they become something new? Or did they come to believe it is no longer necessary to hide what they are?Osse BillDaytona • 7 hours agoThis is just painfully confused. Conservatives who talk about the different factions on the left make about as much sense as the typical liberal talking about different factions on the right.Mike W • 10 hours ago • edited
If you followed the fights online between Sanders supporters ( leftists by any rational definition) and supporters of other Democrats, you would see more of the extreme wokeness on the mainstream Democratic side being used to demonize the Sanders movement for caring about class. Rogan endorsed Sanders— which side would you expect the “ woke” element to have been on there? Sanders went to a conservative religious college and spoke ( I forgot which one).
Mainstream liberals are often the ones most ferocious in their denunciation of any Trump voter— leftists are more likely to think that some working class Trump voters could be won over and might have legitimate grievances.My media consumption habits have changed quite a bit. Never watch "news" anymore, except the local weather occasionally. I check in with Rogan on occasion because he has interesting guests, and often asks the kinds of questions I've been thinking about. But mostly I'm watching longer form podcasts, or reading history. I'm on the final book of the Teddy Roosevelt trilogy, and about to start Tom Holland's "Dominion." Anyway, Rod, I think you should give the bald look a go. Maybe coincide the change with the promo of your new book? Huh, whaddya think?Feral Finster • 10 hours agoWith the rise of Trump, the legacy media stopped even trying to pretend to be objective.Brad P. • 10 hours ago
That is not to say that certain of Trump's obsessions are justified. Moreover, the obvious bias merely gives Trump ammunition, even as it underscores the decline of the legacy media into impotence.MSM will double down on their hysterical lying propaganda because that's all these Neo-Marxist useful idiots know how to do. Their half-dozen fat cat overlords that control 90% of the news flow in the US will be just fine, though, in their collusion with the DNC. It's all of a piece, you know. A pox on them, I say.kouroi • 10 hours ago • editedDear. Mr. Dreher,Matt in VA • 10 hours ago
The last three pieces that you have posted are truly a home run! You are really becoming a sage. Thank you for all three of them.
When I read the piece on Trump's Tweets I remember that I was thinking the other day on your interest on him originally, was for the goal of appointing conservative Judges on the SCOTUS and ultimately how misguided and how ultimately undemocratic this approach is.
The undemocratic quibble comes from the numbers' game we end up being caught on. Presently the US is categorized as a Constitutional Representative Republic, with a certain sandbox where rules are set (very efficiently set up by FPTP and especially by the electoral college where un-elected people vote on the US CEO) and decisions are made based on how educated and informed citizens cast their votes. Any educated and informed and intelligent person in this world knows in her/his bones that presently the US is an Oligarchic run Empire, that has been excoriated and exposed many a times quite convincingly here at TAC. Several of the present postings by other TAC staff indicate this.
As such, the fool's game of putting conservative judges on SCOTUS will not further your interests. Same as Pulitzer Prize's mandate, the SCOTUS mandate is to maintain deep divisions within the American Electorate such that matters than truly are important are never, ever even considered, never mind addressed.
Thus, you are misguided to rely on SCOTUS for helping and use a legalistic approach on people. We all know that the Law can be an ass and that one cannot legislate morals.
But there is no replacement for pieces like the last three pieces that you have posted, very thoughtful but introspective in a sense, because you also put yourself under scrutiny (Gorgias: know thyself), but there is also a genuine honesty and conviction on the actual values you are defending. You continue on this righteous path, and at the end of your line we'll be able to get a final and true measure of your success. The measure of success will be in how many people at large you convinced to embrace your values (hope that pro-choice will still be more popular). The more the merrier and full of praise the eulogies for you should be. But that will still be only half the battle if your beloved country will remain a Corrupt Demagogic Oligarchic Republic ( https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/on... where you have One Dollar, One Vote.Something is not right here. We are told that Joe Rogan has carved out a pretty big niche for himself because there's no Human Resources department involved, because he is not utterly controlled and managed by our society and its shibboleth enforcers. And yet we are pointed towards this article about better journalism that recommends this:David Naas • 10 hours ago • edited
Once we get drawn in, the conflict takes control. Complexity collapses, and the us-versus-them narrative sucks the oxygen from the room. “Over time, people grow increasingly certain of the obvious rightness of their views and increasingly baffled by what seems like unreasonable, malicious, extreme or crazy beliefs and actions of others,” according to training literature from Resetting the Table, an organization that helps people talk across profound differences in the Middle East and the U.S.
Look at that! "Training literature" (just LOL at the use of the word "literature" here, a dead giveaway that one is dealing with soulless managerial technocrats when this word is used for workplace and social hygiene manuals) produced by an "organization" that does conflict resolution. The solution to journalism's problem is apparently more Human Resources -- we don't have enough!
This is something like the mentality that says we'll have a real class revolution by reading and hiring socialist Ivy League graduates whose big-city rent is subsidized by Mommy and Daddy who are corporate lawyers or high-ups at Boeing. Or like the mentality that if the Republicans just appoint one more Harvard or Yale Law grad with an impeccable ruling class bio to the Supreme Court, the sacred-to-the-regime rights to abortion and gay marriage will be overturned. The very structure of the "solution" involves empowering the people who are the most dedicated to or even structurally created (in a social sense, so to speak) by the problem.
The idea is to revive complexity in a time of false simplicity. “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete,” novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her mesmerizing TED Talk “A Single Story.” “[I]t’s impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.”
This strikes me as banal mush, utterly predictable, something I've heard a million times before. We are all Unique. We have so many Stories. It seems to me the issue is not "we're not telling enough stories, we're not including enough details" but "are the stories/details any good?" The idea that we need more detail, we need Complexity -- sounds like an academic, and we all know academics are AWFUL storytellers! Simplicity Bad, Complexity Good -- no, this isn't quite right, or at least not enough. It's the opposite of being discerning, or discriminating. Just as the religion of the era is Non-Discrimination, so do we see this idea that we "need to engage with all of the stories of that place and that person," we supposedly need More Voices, we need this kind of leveling mush, this sort of Primordial Ooze. It is a sort of paradox that Camille Paglia is very, very good on -- when you add more and more "complexity" you might just end up with a bland, dull, empty, shapeless mass of nothing, like much academese. Whereas art is about Drawing the Line, sculpture is about cutting away everything that isn't the subject. Perhaps Rogan is just good at cutting through the b.s. to reveal something actually interesting about the people he interviews?
I don't listen to podcasts, and it's just not the medium for me, but it sounds like Rogan is somebody who won (at least for now?) the endless battle with the managers and the Human Resources types, somebody who did it "his way." A very few people do, most of course don't. I suppose this is probably a perpetual problem/conflict that never goes away, although I think some periods must be better and some worse. Deindustrialization, decadence, affluenza, scientism, globalization, nepotism, and feminism--no doubt others things, too!-- have probably all helped to make the Current Era a particularly over-managed and conformist period (with corresponding irritated reactions to that managerialism).And will the end result be an even smaller set of bubbles within which people will stay lest they hear/see something which goes against their bias? Will we descend to a Hobbsean "war of all against all"? Because that is what happens when every faction has a complete world of their own, complete with their own facts, shibboleths, and genealogies.Claire S Bernish • 10 hours ago
Perhaps the reason we don't find any alien civilizations broadcasting from Out There is because their societies already discovered the Internet and Social Media and dissolved into the thing we seem to be headed toward -- maggots disputing possession of a corpse.
Because distrust of the institutions which hold society together, and disdain for continuity and stability will assuredly "inherit the wind".These mantras of progressivism have no comfortable home in our institutions — yet, settled in is the infection of the latter by the former — which thus acts like the most aggressive form of an incurable cancer. An aerial view of this forest might better encapsulate the horror of its individual trees alight, together.RBH • 9 hours agoThe major legacy papers and networks simply no longer report, and people know it. They're advocates for one side, plain and simple. They report the things that support their previously held convictions. People see this and recognize it, and are simply not as dumb as editors think. I used up open up a dozen newspapers and magazines a day, and I literally have not looked at Washington Post, NYT, Atlantic, NPR, CNN, etc. in years now unless someone sends me something. I work in and around politics, so I compare headlines with what actually is going on, and have been a media skeptic for some time, but it's very telling to me when my wife, who doesn't really follow any of this stuff tells me the other day, "I simply don't believe anything I read in these headlines any more." And how could you? Everything is about how they can make Trump look bad. They are truly obsessed. They write headlines about things that are genuinely debatable, if now unknowable, as if they're fact. And they all repeat the same bogus statistics and examples. I think a lot of these publications are just irreparably broken, and maybe even dead and just don't know it yet.
May 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , May 25 2020 18:08 utc | 96Something's happening at the NY Times .
As I pointed out in my 29 above about the front page noting the names and occupations of 1,000 of the 100,000 that have needlessly died due to Trump's Treasonous Do Nothing COVID-19 Policy, today RT reports about a Memorial Day op/ed that disses the Military: "Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?"
That made the Pentagon's Spin Master angry, puff out his chest to fume and moan.
There's not much to the RT report, but I can't recall any similar display done before by the NY Times . IMO, something's happened within the Top Office and it seems to be aimed at Trump.
Of course, I'd never have known about any such happening if it hadn't been for the reporting by RT & Global Times .
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
>Uncle Volodya says, "We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN."
"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan."
We're going to do something just a bit different today; the event I want to talk about is current in the future, actually but the reference which is the subject of the discussion is almost a year old. and the event it discusses is coming up to its sixth anniversary. The past event was the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine, the future event is the trial in absentia of persons accused by the west of having perpetrated that disaster, and the reference is this piece, by Mark Galeotti, for the Moscow Times: "Russia's Roadmap Out of the MH17 Crisis" .
You all know Mr. Galeotti, I'm sure. Here's his bio, for Amazon:
"Professor Mark Galeotti is a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague, and coordinator of its Centre for European Security. Formerly, he was Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and head of History at Keele University. Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is a specialist in modern Russian politics and security and transnational organized crime. And he writes other things for fun, too "
Yes, yes, he certainly does, as you will see. But this bio is extremely modest, albeit he most likely wrote it himself. Mr. Galeotti also authored an excellent blog, In Moscow's Shadows , which was once a go-to reference for crime and legal issues in Russia, a subject in which he seems very well-informed. The blog is still active, although he seems mostly to use it now to advertise podcasts and sell books. That's understandable it's evident from the blur of titles appended to his name that he's a very busy man. Always has been, really; either as a student or an educator. He also speaks with confidence on the details of military affairs and equipment despite never having been in the military or studied engineering; his education has pretty much all been in history, law or political science.
I know what you will say many of the greatest reference works on pivotal battles, overall military campaigns and affairs were written by those who had no personal military experience themselves. Mr. Galeotti studied under Dominic Lieven, whose "Russia Against Napoleon" was perhaps the greatest work of military history, rich with detail and insight, that I have ever read. It won him the Wolfson prize for History for 2010, a well-deserved honour. Yet so far as I could make out, Mr. Lieven never served a day in uniform, and if you handed him an AK-47 and said "Here; field-strip this", your likely response would be a blank look. He most certainly was not a witness to the subject military campaign. No; his epic work on Napoleon's invasion of Russia was informed by research, reading the accounts of others who were there at the time, poring over reams of old documents and matching references to get the best picture we have been afforded to date of Napoleon's ignominious defeat through a combination of imperial overreach, a poor grasp of logistics and, most of all, resistance by an adversary who refused to be drawn into playing to Napoleon's strength the decisive, crushing battle in which the enemy could not retreat, and in which Napoleon would commit all the reserves and crush his enemy to dust.
So it is perfectly possible for an inquisitive mind with no military experience to put together an excellent reference on military happenings which already took place, even if the owner of that mind was not present for the actual event. Given human nature and the capabilities afforded by modern military equipment, it is even possible to forecast future military events with a fair degree of accuracy, going merely by political ambitions and enabling factors, without any personal military experience. After all, the decision-makers who give the orders that send their military forces into battle are often not military men themselves.
Returning for a moment to Mr. Galeotti, it is quite believable that an author with no military background could compose such works as "Armies of the Russian-Ukrainian War" , although there is no serious evidence that Russia is a part of such a conflict in any real military strength. You could write such a book entirely from media references and documentation, which in this case would come almost entirely from the side which claims it is under constant attack by the other Ukraine. Likewise "Kulikovo 1380; the Battle that Made Russia" . None of us were around in 1380, so we all have to go by historical references, and whoever collects them all into a book first is likely to be regarded as an expert.
No, it's more when we get into how stuff works that I have an issue with it. Like " Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces ". Or " The Modern Russian Army ". I'm kind of skeptical about how someone could claim to know the actual internal workings of either organization simply from reading about them in popular references, considering that more than half the material on Russia written in English in western references is rubbish heavily influenced by politics and policy. We would not have to look very far to find examples in which ridiculous overconfidence by one side that it had the other side's number resulted in a horrible surprise. In fact, we would not have to look very far to find an example of this particular author confidently averring to know something inside-out, only to find that version of reality could not be sustained . And I would no more turn to a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague for expert analysis of the "Combat Vehicles of Russia's Special Forces" than I would ask a house painter to cut my hair. Unless I see some recollections of a college-age Galeotti tinkering with drivetrains and differentials until the sun went down from a pure love of mechanics, I am going to go ahead and assume that he knows what the vast majority of us knows about military vehicles he could pick one out of a lineup which included a melon, a goat and an Armored Personnel Carrier, and if it had a flat tire he could probably fix it given time and the essential equipment.
Just before we move on, the future event: the MH-17 'trial' has been postponed until June 8th , to give defense attorneys more time to prepare after the amazingly fortuitous capture of a 'key witness' in Eastern Ukraine. I'm not going to elaborate here on what a kicking-the-can-down-the-road crock this is; we'll pick that up later. The whole MH-17 'investigation' has been such a ridiculous exercise in funneling the pursuit to a single inescapable conclusion that Russia shot it down irrespective of how many points have to be bent to fit the curve that no matter how it comes out, it will stand as perhaps the greatest example of absurd western self-justification ever recorded.
There are a couple of ways of solving a mystery crime. One is to collect evidence, and follow where it takes you. Another is to decide who you want to have been responsible, and then construct a sequence of events in which they might have done it. To do that, especially in this case, we will have to throw out a few assumptions, such as all that stuff about means, motive and opportunity. In the absence of a believable scenario, that is. Let's look at what we have, and what we need, and see how we get from there to here.
First, we need for Ukraine not to have been responsible. That's going to be awkward, because it looks as if the aircraft was shot down by a missile, but the missile had to have come from inside Ukraine, because the aircraft was too far from the nearest point in Russia at the moment it was stricken for the missile to have come from there. But we need Russia to have been responsible, and not Ukraine. Therefore we need a sequence of events in which a Russian missile launcher capable of shooting down an airliner at cruising altitude was inside Ukraine, in a position from which it could have taken the shot.
You know what? We are going to have to look at means, motive and opportunity, just for a second. My purpose in doing so is to illustrate just how improbable the western narrative is, starting from square one. The coup in Ukraine and anyone who believes it was a 'grass-roots revolution' might as well stop reading right here, because we are going to just get further apart in our impressions of events followed by the triumphant promise from the revolutionaries to repeal Yanukovych's language laws and make Ukrainian the law of the land touched off the return of Crimea to its ancestral home in the Russian Federation. Crimea was about 65% ethnic Russian by population at the time, and only about 15% Ukrainian, and Crimea had made several attempts to break free of Ukraine before that yet for some reason the west refused steadfastly to accept the results of a referendum which voted in favour of Crimea becoming a part of the Russian Federation, as if it were more believable that a huge ethnic-Russian majority preferred to learn Ukrainian and be governed by Kiev.
Be that as it may, Washington reacted very angrily; much more so than Europe, considering the distance between the United States and Ukraine versus its proximity to Europe. Perhaps that is owed simply to Washington's assumption that every corner of the world looks to it for leadership, and that it must have a position ready on any given situation, regardless how distant. So Washington insisted there must be sanctions against Russia, for stealing Crimea from its rightful owner, Ukraine. We're not really going to get into struggles for freedom and the right to self-determination right now, except to state that the USA considers nothing more important in some cases, while in others it is completely irrelevant. Washington demanded sanctions but much of Europe was reluctant .
"It is notoriously difficult to secure EU agreement on sanctions anywhere because they require unanimity from the 28 member states. There were wide differences over the numbers of Russians and Crimeans to be punished, with countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain reluctant to penalise Moscow for fear of closing down channels of dialogue. The 21 named were on an original list that ran to about 120 people Expanding the numbers on the sanctions list is almost certain to be discussed at the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. Some EU states are torn about taking punitive measures against Russia for fear of undoing years of patient attempts to establish closer ties with Moscow as well as increase trade. The EU has already suspended talks with Russia on an economic pact and a visa agreement The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said any measure must leave "ways and possibilities open to prevent a further escalation that could lead to the division of Europe" .
The original list of those to be sanctioned was 120 people. The haggling reduced that to 21. Only 7 of those were Russians. Putin was not included. That was pretty plainly not the United Front That Speaks With One Voice that Washington had envisioned, and the notion that Europe would buy into sanctions that might really do some damage to Russia, albeit there would be economic costs to Europe as well, was a dim prospect.
Gosh you know what we need? An atrocity which can be quickly tied to Russia, and which will so appall the EU member states that resistance to far-reaching sanctions will collapse. That's called 'motive'. It's just not a motive for Russia. Having just gone far out on a limb and taken back Crimea, to the obvious and vocal fury of the United States, it is a bit of a stretch that Russia was looking for what else it could do that would stir up the world against it.
Means, now. That presents its own dilemma. Because Russia could have shot down an airliner from its own territory. Just not with the weapon chosen. The S-400 could have done it; it has the range, easily. But if you were setting up a scenario in which something happened that you wanted to blame on Russia, but they didn't really do it, you must have the weapon to do it yourself, or access to it. By any reasonable construct, Ukraine must be a suspect as well there was a hot war going on in Ukraine, Ukraine controlled both the airspace and the aircraft that was lost, and the aircraft was lost over Ukrainian territory. But Ukraine doesn't have the S-400. You could use a variety of western systems, but it would quickly be established that the plane was shot down with a weapon that Russia does not have. In order for the narrative to be believable, Russia must have the weapon but if it wasn't Russia, then whoever did it must have the weapon, too.
Enter the Buk system, with the 9K37 SA-11 missile. It's got the range, it's got the altitude, the Russians have it in active service. Oooo problem. It's got the range, but only if it was fired from inside Ukraine.
Which brings us back to Mr. Galeotti, an expert in Russian combat systems; enough of an expert to write books on them, anyway. And he plainly believes it was an SA-11 missile fired from a single Buk TELAR (Transporter/Erector/Launcher and Radar) which brought down the Boeing; he says that's what the evidence demonstrates, although by this time (2019) most of the world has backed away from saying Putin showed up with no shirt on to close the firing switch personally (cue the instant British-press screaming headlines before the dust had even settled, "PUTIN'S MISSILE!!!" "PUTIN KILLED MY SON!!!"). Now the story is that the disgraceful deed was done by 'Ukrainian anti-government militants', using a weapon supplied by Russia.
"In this context, a full reversal of policy seems near-enough impossible. The evidence suggests that while the fateful missile was fired by Ukrainian anti-government militants, it was supplied by the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade under orders from Moscow and in a process managed by Russian military intelligence.
To admit this would not only be to acknowledge a share in the unlawful killing of 298 innocents, but also an unpicking of the whole Kremlin narrative over the Donbass. It would mean admitting to having been an active participant in this bloody compound of civil war and foreign intervention, to having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences, and to having lied to the world and the Russian people for half a decade."
We don't really have the scope in this piece to broaden the discussion to Russia's probable actual involvement. Suffice it to say that despite non-stop allegations by Poroshenko throughout his presidency of entire battalions of active-service Russian Army soldiers inside Ukraine, zero evidence has ever been provided of any such presence, although there have been some clumsy attempts to fabricate it . To argue that the Russian Army has been trying to overrun Ukraine for six years now, but has been unable to do so because of the combat prowess of the Ukrainian Army is to imply a belief in leprechauns. This is only my own inexpert opinion, but it seems likely to me the complete extent of Russia's involvement, militarily, is the minimum which prevents Eastern Ukraine from being overrun by the Ukrainian military, and including the rebel areas' own far-from-inconsequential military forces. I'm always ready to entertain competing theories, though; be sure to bring your evidence. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Constitution prohibits using the country's military forces against its own citizens. The logic of 'Have cake, and eat it" cannot apply here either the Ukrainian state is in direct and obvious violation of its own constitution or the people of the breakaway regions are not Ukrainian citizens.
Anyway, back to the Buk system. And not a moment before time, either I just re-read that sanctimonious stab above, again; " having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences " What, exactly, is the ridiculous nature of the accusation being presented here? That the Russians gave an anti-aircraft system to the 'militants' without considering they might use it to shoot down an aircraft? How did they not see that coming? The Ukrainian Army shot down a civilian airliner in October of 2001 , and lied about it for as long as it could interestingly, it took place during joint Ukrainian-Russian air defense exercises on the Crimean peninsula, and Russia tried hard to avoid assigning blame to Ukraine, while at least one Israeli television station claimed the Russians had shot down their own aircraft. This disaster and subsequent lying did not prevent the USA from giving the Javelin missile to Ukraine did it not occur to them that they might use it to shoot tanks? No due thought to the consequences, obviously.
The Buk air-defense system normally consists of at least 4 TELAR launchers , each with 4 missiles on the launch rails, a self-propelled acquisition radar designated by NATO nomenclature as Snow Drift (the radar on the nose of the TELAR unit itself is designated Fire Dome), and a self-propelled command post, for a minimum of 6 vehicles. Also usually part of the system is a mobile crane, to reload the launchers. If you were going to supply an air-defense system to militant rebels, why wouldn't you give them the whole system? In a pinch, you might be able to get away without the command post vehicle, although it is the station that collates all the input from the sensors and makes the decision to assign targets for acquisition, tracking and engagement. If you didn't give them the crane vehicle, and perhaps a logistics truck with some reloads, they would be limited to the missiles that came already mounted once those were fired, they'd have to abandon the system, because they couldn't reload it. Seems a little wasteful, don't you think?
What about the acquisition radar? Because acquiring targets is all about scanning capability and situational awareness. We're going to assume for a moment that you don't use an air defense system exclusively to hunt for airliners, but that you want to defend yourself against ground-attack aircraft like the Sukhoi SU-25. Because, when you think about it, who is more likely to be trying to kill you ? A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, or an SU-25? The latter is not quite as fast as an airliner at its cruising height of 30,000 ft+, but it is very agile and will be nearly down in the treetops if it is attacking you. You need to be able to search all around, all the time.
That's where the acquisition radar comes in. A centimetric waveband search radar, the Snow Drift (called the 9S18M1 by its designer) has 360-degree coverage and from 0 to 40 degrees of height in a 6-second sweep in anti-aircraft mode, with a 160 km detection range, obviously dependent on target altitude. An airliner, being a large target not attempting to evade detection, and at a high altitude, would quite possibly be detected at the maximum range of which the system is capable. But then the operators would certainly know it was an airliner. And the narrative says whoever shot it down probably did so by accident.
Maybe if it was his first day on the job. Let's talk for a minute about air-defense deconfliction. It would be nice if your Command parked you somewhere that there was nothing around you but enemies. Well, not as nice as parking you across the street from a pulled-pork barbecue joint with strippers and cold beer, but from a defense standpoint, it'd be nice to know that anything you detected, you could shoot. Know something? It's never like that. Your own aircraft are flying around as if they didn't even know you are dangerous, and as everyone now knows, civilian airliners continue their transport enterprises irrespective of war except in rare instances in which high-flying aircraft have been shot down by long-range missiles. That rarely happens. Why? Because an aircraft flying a steady course, at 30,000 ft+ and not descending, is no threat to you on the ground. From that altitude it can't even see you in the ground clutter, and it'd be quite a bombardier that could hit a target the size of a two-car garage with a bomb dropped from 30,000 ft while flying at 400 knots.
And unless you are an idiot, you know it is an airliner. When you are deployed into the field in an air-defense role, you know where the commercial airlanes are that are going to be active. You know what a commercial-aviation profile looks like aircraft at 30,000 ft+ altitude, flying at ≥400 knots on a steady course, squawking Mode 3 and Charlie = airliner. Might as well take a moment here to talk about IFF ; Identification Friend or Foe. This is a coded pulse signal transmitted by all commercial aircraft whenever they are in flight unless their equipment is non-functional, and you are not allowed to take off with it in that state. Mode C provides the aircraft's altitude, taken automatically from its barometric altimeter. All modern air search radars have IFF capability, and a dashed line just below the raw video of the air track can be interrogated with a light-pen to provide the readout. You already know how high the plane is if you have a solid radar track, but Mode C provides a confirmation.
Military aircraft have IFF transponders, too; in fact, most of the modes are reserved for military use. But military aircraft often turn off their IFF equipment, because it provides a giveaway who and where they are. In Ukraine, which uses mostly Soviet military aircraft, both sides are capable of reading each other's IFF, so all the more reason not to transmit. Foreign nations typically cannot read each other's IFF except for the modes which are for both military and civilian use, other than those nations who are allies. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the Snow Drift acquisition radar has IFF, and if it detected an airliner-like target at 160 km., the operator would have that much more time to interrogate it and determine it was an airliner. Just to reiterate, the western narrative holds that the destruction of the airliner was a mistake.
I'm going a little further with my inexpert opinion, to say that the Buk system was selected as the 'murder weapon', because it provides a limited autonomous capability. To be clear, the Fire Dome radar on the nose of the TELAR does have a limited search capability, and once the radar is locked on to a target, the TELAR vehicle is completely autonomous. The purpose of the surveillance radar is to detect the target from far beyond the Fire Dome's range, assign it to a TELAR and thereby direct it to the elevation and bearing of the target so that the TELAR's radar knows exactly where to look, and continue to update its position until the TELAR to which it was assigned has locked on to the target.
That autonomous capability is probably what made it attractive to those building the scenario; consider. A complete Buk system of 6, maybe 7 vehicles could hardly get all the way inside Ukraine to the firing position without being noticed and perhaps recorded. But perhaps a single TELAR could do it. The aircraft could be shot down by an SA-11 missile and blamed on Russia Ukraine has access to plenty of SA-11's. But it is a weapon in the Russian active-service inventory. Further, Galeotti's commitment to the allegation that the single TELAR was provided by Russia's 53rd Air Defense Brigade tells us he supports the crackpot narrative offered by Bellingcat, the loopy citizen-journalist website headed by failed financial clerk Eliot Higgins. Bellingcat claims the Buk TELAR was trucked into Ukraine on the back of a flatbed, took the shot that slew MH-17, and was immediately withdrawn back to Russia.
Ummm .how was that an accident? The Russians gave the Ukrainian militants a single launcher with no crane or reload missiles, so it was limited to a maximum of four shots. Its ability to defend itself from ground attack was almost nil, since the design purpose of mounting a Fire Dome radar on each TELAR is not to make the launcher units autonomous; it is to permit concurrent engagements by several launchers, all coordinated by the acquisition radar and command post. Without a radar of its own on the launcher, the firing unit would have to wait until each engagement was completed before it could switch to a new target, but with a fire-control guidance radar on each TELAR, multiple targets can be assigned to multiple launchers, while the search radar limits itself to acquisition and target assignment.
The Fire Dome radar mounted on the TELAR can search a 120-degree sector in 4 seconds, at an elevation of 6 to 7 degrees. Its search function is maximized for defense against ground attack aircraft, and a single launcher is not looking at 240 degrees of potential air threat axis during each sweep. It is not looking high enough to see an airliner at 30,000 ft+. More importantly for a system which was not designed to shoot down helpless airliners, it leaves two-thirds of a circle unobserved all the time it is searching for a target. And the Russians provided this to the 'militants' for air defense? They should be shot.
A single TELAR with no reloads and no acquisition radar would have to be looking directly at the target when it was activated in order to even see it; it takes 15 seconds for the launcher to swing into line and elevation even when that information is transmitted to it from the acquisition radar. It takes 4 seconds for a scan to be completed when there is a whole two-thirds of a circle that it is not even looking at, and you have to manually force it to search above 7 degrees because it is not designed to shoot down airliners. All this time, the target is crossing the acquisition scope at 400 knots+. Fire Dome has integrated IFF, so if it did by some miracle pick up an airliner in its search, the operator would know from transmitted IFF that he was looking at an airliner. A single TELAR with no reload capability sent on an air-defense mission would have its ass ripped in half by ground-attack aircraft that it never saw if the autonomous capability is so good, why don't the Ukrainians use them as a single unit? Think of how much air-defense coverage they could provide! Do you see the Ukrainian air-defense units employing the Buk that way? Never. Not once. Four TELARS, acquisition radar vehicle, command vehicle, just the way the system was designed to operate.
Just because it has a limited capability to function in a given capacity should not suggest you would employ it that way. You can use a hockey stick to turn off the bedroom light, and you won't even have to get out of bed. Would you do that? I hope not.
A one-third effective capacity in the air defense role together with the covert delivery and immediate withdrawal suggests that the Russians provided the 'militants' with a single TELAR for the express purpose of shooting down a defenseless airliner. Except nobody is saying that. It was a mistake. Well, except for Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who claimed "Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine." He further claimed that this was motivated by a desire to 'justify an invasion'. I'm pretty sure if any western authority could prove anything even close to that, we would not have had to wait 6 years for a trial.
Which brings us to the covert delivery and extraction. As part of his personal investigation, Max van der Werff drove the route Bellingcat claimed was the extraction route by which the single TELAR, on its flatbed, was returned to Russia. He verified that there is a highway overpass on the route which is too low for a load that tall to pass underneath. When he pointed this out to Higgins, he was told there is a bypass spur which goes around it, which would allow the flatbed to regain the road beyond without having gone through the overpass. Max drew his attention to the concrete barriers which blocked that road at the top of the hill, and which locals claimed had been in place long before the destruction of MH-17. And that was the end of that conversation. I cannot say enough about the quality of Max's work and his diligent, patient dissection of the evidence . His diagrams of the entry and egress routes as provided by Bellingcat illustrate how little sense they make. It was imperative the guilty Russians get the fuck out of Dodge with the greatest possible dispatch so they drove 100 kilometers out of their way? Don't even terrorist murderers have GPS now?
Similarly, the simpleminded flailing of the Ukrainian investigators suggests they do not even have much of a grasp of how Surface-To-Air missiles work. In excited posts like this one , the BBC discloses that an exhaust vent from the tail section of a 'Buk missile' (the missile is actually the SA-11, while Buk is the entire system) was found in the wreckage of the crashed plane, while this one even shows terminally-stunned head prosecutor Fred Westerbeke standing next to what is allegedly part of the rocket body of an SA-11, including legible inventory markings, also 'found at the crash scene'.
Let me review for you how an SA-11 missile shoots down an aircraft. Does it pierce it like a harpoon, blow up in a thunderous explosion, and ride the doomed aircraft down to the crash site? It certainly does not. The missile blasts out of the launcher and flies to the target via semiactive homing, which means it has an onboard seeker that updates the missile trajectory, while the radar on the launcher also communicates with it and the missile and the target are brought together in intercept. When the proximity fuse of the missile this is the important part senses that the missile's warhead is close to the target, the internal explosive detonates, and a shower of prefragmented shrapnel pierces the area of the plane near where the missile detonated, usually the front, because the missile is constantly adjusting to make sure it stays with the target until intercept.
MH-17 traveled on, mostly intact, for miles before it crashed into the ground; the crash site was some 13 miles from where the plane was hit. The missile self-destructed miles away from the crash site, and the only parts of it which accompanied the plane to its impact point were the shrapnel bits of the exploded warhead. The body of the missile, together with the exhaust vent, fell back to the ground somewhere quite close to where the plane was hit, not where it fell. Once the missile's fuel is exhausted, either because it ran out or because it was consumed in the explosion triggered by the proximity fuse, the missile parts do not fly around in formation, seeking out the wreckage and coming gently to rest in it where they can later be found by investigators. I don't know how many times I have to say this, because this is certainly not the first, but there would not be any missile parts in the wreckage of MH-17 because the missile would have blown up in front of the plane without ever touching it. The missile does not hit the plane. The pieces of the warhead do. But reality has to take a back seat to making out an airtight case.
There is no telling what kind of ordnance might be found in the wreckage itself, as the Ukrainian Army continued to shell the site for days after the crash; doubtless various artillery shells could be found at the crash site, as well, but it would be quite a leap of faith to suggest a Boeing 777 was shot down by artillery. What you would not find is pieces of the SAM that shot it down.
Several witnesses claimed to have seen an SU-25 near the plane before it exploded. They quite possibly did the Ukrainian Air Force was observed to be using civilian airliners as cover to allow them to get close to Eastern-Ukrainian villages which might be protected by hand-held launchers known as MANPADS (for Man-Portable Air Defense System), reasoning the defenders would not shoot if they were afraid they might hit a civil aircraft. Once they were close enough to the village or other target to make an attack run, they would then return to the vicinity of the airliner for protection while withdrawing; the rebel side complained about this illegal and immoral practice a month before the destruction of MH-17. But there is no evidence I am aware of linking the destruction of MH-17 to an attack by aircraft.
It may no longer be possible to look at the shooting-down of the Malaysian Boeing objectively; the event has become a partisan rush to judgment which was rendered immediately, after which an investigation began which plainly had as its goal proving the accusations already made. Means and motive clearly favour the accusers rather than the accused, and opportunity is mostly irrelevant as a consideration. Ukraine obviously had to be a suspect the destruction of the aircraft occurred over Ukraine while Ukraine was in control of it and the airspace in which it traveled. Yet Ukraine was allowed to lead the investigation, and to gather and safeguard evidence, while the owner of the aircraft Malaysia was excluded until the investigation had been in progress for four months. Russia was not allowed any part in it save to yield whatever evidence the investigators demanded, while all its theories were widely mocked. Demonstrations set up by Almaz-Antey, the designers and builders of the SA-11, were unattended by any investigating nation small wonder they do not have Clue One how the missile works, and believe they are going to find big chunks of it in the wreckage, perhaps with Putin's passport stuck to one of them. If any of these conditions prevailed in an investigation which favoured Russia, NATO would scream as if it were being run over with spiked wheels if the Boeing had been shot down over Russia, who thinks Russia would have been heading the investigation, and custodian of the evidence?
Nor is that by any means all. The Dutch investigation which concluded with the preliminary report implied that nothing of any investigative value was found on the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or the Flight Data Recorder (FDR). Nothing to indicate what might have happened to the aircraft just that it was flying along, and suddenly it wasn't. How likely is that? No transcript was provided, and I guess that would be expected if there was no information at all. Funny how often that happens with Malaysian airliners; they really need to look at their quality control. Oh; except they don't build the aircraft. Boeing does. I could see there not being any information after the plane began to break up, because both the CVR and the FDR are in the tail , and that broke off before the fuselage hit. But the microphones are in the ceiling of the cockpit and in the microphone and earpiece of the pilots' headsets, which they wear at all times while in flight. The last audio claimed to have been recorded was a course alteration sent by Ukrainian ATC.
According to the Malaysian government, there was an early plan by NATO for a military operation involving some 9000 troops to 'secure the crash site', which was forestalled by a covert Malaysian operation which recovered the 'black boxes' and blocked the plan. I have to say that given the many, many other unorthodox and bizarre happenings in the conduct of what was supposed to be a transparent and impartial international investigation, it's getting so nothing much is unbelievable. The Malaysian Prime Minister went on record as believing that the western powers had already concluded that Russia was responsible, and were mostly just going through the motions of investigating.
The telephone recordings presented by the SBU as demonstrating Russian culpability were analyzed by OG IT Forensic Services, a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, which concluded the recordings were cut, edited and fabricated . Yet they are relied upon as important evidence of guilt by the Dutch and the JIT.
The conduct of the investigation has been all the way across town from transparent, and in fact seems to represent a clique of cronies getting their heads together to attempt nailing down a consistent narrative, which is in the judgment of forensic professionals based upon clumsy fabrications. The investigators plainly have no understanding of how the weapons systems involved perform, or they would not claim confidently to have discovered pieces of the very missile that destroyed the plane in the wreckage of it. But rather than take an objective look at how this flailing is perceived, they continue to rely on momentum and the appearance of getting things done while being scrupulously impartial, all the while that more mountains of evidence are collected, which they cannot disclose to the public, although it is all right to let the prime suspect keep it safe under wraps.
Make of that what you will.
" Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person's obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. "
-Harry G. Frankfurt
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Jen May 24, 2020 at 4:35 pm" The point is that we often tend to believe satellite photography shows what its presenters say it shows because we do not have the skill to interpret it ourselves "
This was Bellingcrap's bread-and-butter function, to use satellite photos and make them say whatever Bellingcrap had been tasked to say they were, relying on the fact that mainstream media organisations rarely employ people expert in interpreting satellite imagery, before people outside the MSM environment started voicing suspicions about how the "evidence" for the official MH17 narrative was being worked and whipped into shape to fit that narrative.
It's my understanding that there is a company in Colorado, called Digital something or other, that supplies a huge amount of satellite imagery to the US government and other big clients.
Aha, just found the company: Digital Globe .
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.
The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.
Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.
Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.
By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.
His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.
If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.
So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."
"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.
Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.
Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.
Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.
As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.
New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."
The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.
Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.
George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist
Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.
The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.
A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.
It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.
However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'
It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.
May 20, 2020 | www.unz.com
Patagonia Man , says: Show Comment May 9, 2020 at 8:03 am GMT@Godfree Roberts Just a headsup The Economist is a Rothschild publication, now part-owned, The wife, Lynn Forester de Rothschild used to be Editor. Personally, I wouldn't believe a single article in The Economist – its all propaganda to fit their narrative, which is your point, I know.Godfree Roberts , says: Show Comment May 9, 2020 at 9:51 am GMT@Patagonia Man I believe the current editor, Zanny Minton-Beddowes, is married to the former head of MI6!!
It's a piece of shit now almost 100% propaganda, and very little useful information.
May 20, 2020 | theintercept.com
Donald J. Trump: I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism and I think also the coverage by the mainstream media was disgraceful. And I think it's going to take a long time for the mainstream media to recover its credibility.
JS (Jeremy Scahill): Trump's absolutely bizarre legal marionette Rudy Giuliani was also gleeful.
Rudy Giuliani: The Justice Department and the Special Counsel's Office said that the story was inaccurate and the inaccuracy is that there's no evidence that the president told him to lie.
JS: Now, I have no idea if BuzzFeed's report is accurate. It may be. Or some of it may be wrong and some of it correct. But if it does turn out to be wrong in its major assertion, if Trump did not in fact instruct Michael Cohen to lie, then this would be the latest in a string of highly inflammatory stories relating to Trump and Russia and published by major news organizations that turned out to be false.
The British Guardian newspaper has still not addressed why it is that no other news outlet has reported that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort met three times with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. No one else has been able to confirm any of that. Paul Manafort denies it. Julian Assange denies it. That is the most surveilled embassy door on planet earth and no video has emerged to support the Guardian's report. The story came. It was a very big deal. No one else confirmed it and now it's just floating out there on the internet.
CNN and NBC also made a huge error when they reported on Don Jr. supposedly having advance knowledge of Wikileaks publications during the campaign. Well, that turned out to be false too and that the sources that gave that information to CNN and apparently NBC had actually gotten dates wrong on emails sent to Don Jr. about Wikileaks. The emails were sent after the publication of documents. Same is true of the salacious story -- this was a while ago, but I'm sure you remember it -- that Trump had set up a secret Russian server to communicate with the Kremlin. It was also untrue that Russian hackers had hacked into the U.S. electrical grid in Vermont. Not true. Just not true.
I'm bringing all of this up not to say that there is no scandal with Trump or Trump/Russia and move along, look the other way. I bring it up because all of these false stories help Trump, they bolster his very dangerous narrative about the news media and about fake news. They also potentially hurt the actual, provable assertions and allegations against Donald Trump because Trump can now say, "Oh, well the waters are muddy and look at all these false stories that have been published about me." He can use it to confuse the actual, provable narrative.
And the fact that the public is drowning in sensationalized coverage of Trump and Russia and Mueller, it's almost certainly going to set the public up for a very confusing, underwhelming reality when the Special Counsel's report is made public. At least, that's what ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl seems to think.
Jonathan Karl: This is all building up to the Mueller report and raising expectations of a bombshell report and they've been expectations that have been building of course, for over a year on this. But people who are closest to what Mueller has been doing, interacting with the Special Counsel caution me that this report is almost certain to be anti-climactic.
JS: Earlier this month, the veteran national security journalist William Arkin of NBC News published an email that he sent to colleagues informing them that he was no longer working for the network. In the letter, Arkin blasted NBC for its obsession over Trump, writing: "I find myself completely out of sync with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus." Arkin went on to say that, at NBC, investigative journalism "got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush. The national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself -- busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play." Arkin continued: "I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism."
William Arkin: The national security community itself has gotten stronger and has gained strength under Donald Trump and part of our responsibility as journalists is to cover the government not just the president. And so, I feel like people should know more.
JS: I could not agree more with Bill Arkin's summation of how the national security establishment, the CIA, the U.S. war machine has benefitted from the media's hyper-obsession over Trump/Russia. At the same time, we have to cover stories that could potentially bring down a president, or potentially conclude that the president has engaged in criminal conduct. It's not a question of if this story deserves to be covered. It most certainly does and there has been a lot of great journalism happening on Trump/Russia. But the real question is how unhinged and unsubstantiated some of the most serious accusations are handled, including by major established U.S. news organizations.Journalist Michael Isikoff on Media Coverage of Trump/Russia, The Mueller Investigation, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump
JS: For more on all of this and the BuzzFeed story and the way Trump/Russia is covered, I am joined by one of the most experienced investigative journalists in Washington, Michael Isikoff. He is the chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News. Before that, he was an investigative correspondent for NBC as well as a staff writer for Newsweek and the Washington Post. Isikoff has written two best-sellers, "Uncovering Clinton" and along with David Corn "Hubris," which was about the selling of the Iraq War. Isikoff has broken several major stories on Donald Trump and he is the co-author with Corn of the book "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump."
Michael Isikoff, welcome to Intercepted.
MI: Good to be with you.
JS: I would be remiss in not kicking this off by asking you about this BuzzFeed story. What is your assessment of what was reported in that piece and the veracity of the central allegation which is that Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about these negotiations to build the Trump Tower in Moscow?
MI: Well, before we even get to the Mueller statement, just take the story on its face. It's got this, you know, very bold, provocative lede that has enormous implications but there's absolutely no backup in it at all -- directed him to lie which is what the lede said "The president directed Cohen to lie" is a characterization of something. What is it a characterization of? A conversation between Trump and Cohen? When? Where? How? How was it documented if it was documented at all? And then when the story refers to texts and emails, from whom? Where did they come from? I mean all the things you would want to know when you're reading that story, or frankly, editing that story were not in it.
So, it's two anonymous federal law enforcement officials characterizing something but you don't know what they're characterizing. So, the story raised lots of questions for me about you know what to make of this because there were no facts in there. It was just somebody's characterization of facts that we haven't seen. Then as the day went on, you know, you have this disconnect between the two reporters on the story. One, Anthony Cormier tells CNN that no, they hadn't seen any documents that underlie the gist of the story. And the other reporter Jason Leopold tells MSNBC he has seen -- "We've seen the documents."
Brian Stelter: Anthony, you said on CNN on Friday that you had not seen the documents you described in the story. Jason Leopold said on MSNBC we've seen documents. Can you explain that to us?
Anthony Cormier: Yeah, I can't really get into the details there but we're really at this point, because of the calls for a leak investigation and the sort of sensitivity around that matter, we really can't go any further at all in order not to jeopardize our sources.
MI: So, you know it's sort of, they couldn't get their story straight.
JS: One of the reasons that I really wanted to talk to you is not just because of your reporting on Trump/Russia but because of the totality of your reporting particularly in the post 9/11 world that we live in and your ability to tell stories that very few journalists are able to nail down. And I've always particularly admired your work on the Valerie Plame story and the Iraq lack of WMDs. Have you in all of your muck-raking that you've been doing, heard anything to back up what BuzzFeed reported about Trump directing Cohen to lie?
MI: Look, I think that the Trump Tower Moscow story is a hugely significant one because it was an effort by the Trump organization to do business in Moscow during the presidential campaign. So, when you add into the mix the fact -- unknown to the American public at the time -- that Trump is simultaneously trying to do a deal in Moscow that presumably would have required on some level the Kremlin's approval, it really was a significant conflict of interest and an important one. And I think when Michael Cohen pled guilty at the end of November of last year to the fact that he lied to the Senate about this, that the talks went on much further than had been previously testified the fact that he was in direct communication with somebody in Putin's office about securing land and financing for the deal, that is a major story and something that should not be minimized or forgotten. In fact, it needs a full accounting. But that said, the specifics in the BuzzFeed story about directing to lie, that's on its face an impeachable offense. That's subordination of perjury. That's telling a witness to lie to the Congress. So, yeah.
JS: Just to share with people the specific statement issued by the Special Counsel's Office, it was as follows: "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate." How do you read that?
MI: There is, I suppose, some ambiguity there because to say something is not accurate, I mean, I and I'm sure, you and virtually every reporter has gotten pushback on stories we've written that your story is not accurate and of course, the first thing you want to know is well what is not accurate? Is it something minor? Is it something peripheral or does it go to the heart of the story? But that said, the way that statement is worded I take it as going to the heart, to the core of the story. And it's worth just taking a step back and looking at what The Washington Post reported about this which is they got the email that Jason Leopold sends to Peter Carr. The email says "We are going to report that Trump directed Cohen to lie." And Carr responds "We'll decline comment." So, it makes perfect sense to me that he would pass after receiving that first email. But apparently he did something more. He did something else. He then sends to Leopold a copy of what Cohen actually said about this when he pled guilty in federal court. And what Cohen said was, I lied about this in order to be consistent with Donald Trump's messaging during the presidential campaign and out of loyalty to him. He doesn't say anything about being told to lie.
So, at a minimum the reporters if they had not gone back and looked at what Cohen said in federal court in the first place, having been advised that they should look at it by Mueller's office, should have included that in the story because there is an inconsistency between what they were reporting and what Cohen himself said in federal court when he was pleading guilty. And so, you know, in terms of the journalistic screw-ups here I would have to include that one as sort of basic you know, responsible reporting is you've got to look at what the public record says about this matter and the public record was not in sync with what the BuzzFeed guys were reporting.
JS: When major news organizations get these big big stories wrong about Trump, how does it impact the politics of this and the potential outcome?
MI: Just as we all learned a lesson on Friday to avoid the 'if true' construction, we should probably also avoid the 'if not true' construction, OK. At this point, I want to hear from Michael Cohen himself. He's supposed to testify February 7th before the House Oversight Committee. All questions on the table going to the core of the Russia story should be asked of him. He should be directed to answer. At this point, Congress has a responsibility to get to the facts on its own regardless of whether Robert Mueller raises an objection or not. We really do deserve a full accounting at this point. We've had more than two years of investigations into this now.
It is in my view, outrageous that the House and the Senate investigating committees have done virtually everything behind closed doors. We, the public has never seen the testimony of key players including Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, all of that took place behind closed doors. We'll see what the Democrats in the House are now going to do whether they will step up to the plate and perform their constitutional responsibility. I was disheartened to see that Adam Schiff right off the bat after his first week on the job pledging a new era of transparency at the Intelligence Committee said he wanted to have Cohen behind closed doors. This is something that the public deserves answers. Congress needs to have the answers on its own not outsourcing its constitutional responsibilities to an executive branch official which is what they've done here for well over a year and a half now with Robert Mueller. So, and look, a lot of the stories that you're citing are about Michael Cohen himself.
JS: Well, okay, what about Paul Manafort visiting Assange three times in the Ecuadorian embassy?
MI: Sure, yeah, that's -- Look, I mean, there are legitimate questions. There've been stories that nobody else has corroborate and that's not good for us. Yeah, now that said, there's also been a lot of really terrific reporting by people --
JS: For sure, no question.
MI: -- Across the board. So, I don't want to, you know --
JS: No, no question about that.
MI: -- This is not a news media scandal. It is first and foremost --
JS: I agree.
MI: -- A scandal about Trump and Russia. But that said yeah, there's been a lot of stories that have gotten people all whipped up and with very little backup.
JS: Well part part of why I'm asking you this, Michael, is because one of the concerns that I've had from the beginning with this is that I think a lot of people are, unfortunately, willing to believe you know any dung that's thrown on the wall of Trump because it just looks so perfect sitting there. And when major news organizations get major stories wrong, I think it hurts the investigation not just the official investigations but the kinds of investigations you're doing because Trump can use it as part of his narrative. Have we been groomed to think that there's going to be this cataclysmic finding by Mueller and that the facts are going to be much shadier? I mean do you get what I'm saying? Like doesn't this undermine the impact of the real investigation?
MI: As for Mueller's report? I don't know. I don't think anybody does. I do think that there's been a little too much of this sort of fetish about Mueller as though you know, he's God and he's going to come down with the you know with the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai that will answer all our questions and direct us what to do from here. You know, Mueller's job is actually very tailored and specific, is to find violations of federal statutes and prosecute them if he can make them hold up in court. And that's you know, kind of much narrower brief than I think you know, most of us would want at this point. And also the Mueller report -- I'm not even sure -- we don't know what the Mueller report is. I mean, is it going to be a detailed accounting of everything he's discovered or is it just going to be you know, a short terse memo saying "I've prosecuted these people and I've declined to prosecute these other people?" And you know, then after that there's the questions of grand jury secrecy and executive privilege, all of which could restrict what we see in any report from Bob Mueller. So, as a general sense yes, I think we've spent too much time waiting for the magic bullet from Robert Mueller to come and all the more reason -- I go back to my point before -- is it's Congress job to resolve all the many questions we have about this, not Robert Mueller's job.
JS: What do you make of the multiple performances by Rudy Giuliani this past weekend and the statements that he made specifically about BuzzFeed and Michael Cohen? And you have this other layer about the accidental revelation by Manafort's attorneys that he had shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik who worked with Manafort as a political consultant in Ukraine. What do you make of Rudy Giuliani's position representing the Trump administration right now?
MI: Oh God knows, I mean, you know, he's all over the map. He says something one day then he clarifies it the next day. Clarifying his comments on Meet the Press on Sunday --
RG: Throughout 2016, weren't a lot of them but there were conversations. Can't be sure of the exact dates. But the president can remember having conversations with him about it.
Chuck Todd: Throughout 2016 --
RG: The president also remembers -- yeah, probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election. So, anytime during that period they could have talked about it. But the president's recollection of it is --
MI: In his clarification, he says he's only speaking hypothetically and not based on any conversations with his client. Well, if he's not basing it on conversations he's had with his client or evidence he's accumulated as the president's lawyer, then on what basis is he talking at all and why are people having him on TV? I mean, you know, he's only there because he's the president's lawyer and if he's not speaking from a position of knowledge about the facts then and only riffing on his own, I mean, you know, I don't know what to make of it. But you know, some people see some kind of you know 'crazy like a fox' strategy here maybe but you know based on the record so far you know it just seems to me he's the befuddled guy who can't keep his facts straight.
JS: Michael, I wanted to ask you about William Arkin leaving NBC and his open letter that he wrote about his departure from NBC where he was basically saying that because of the overwhelming focus on Trump/Russia, we aren't paying attention or as close of attention as we did under Bush or Obama to basically everything else happening in the world particularly on a national security level with wars, with drone strikes, with what's happening with the process with North Korea, in Afghanistan, Syria. Do you share some of Bill Arkin's analysis or concerns about this?
MI: As you just articulated them, yes. Yeah, should we be paying more attention to what's going on in the world in terms of U.S. foreign policy, U.S. military policy, what's going on, what our military is doing in Africa and the Middle East and Afghanistan? Absolutely. You know, we were talking before the podcast began about drone strikes something that we were all very heavily focused on back during the Obama years because Obama had ramped them up and you know, what kind of oversight there was of them, what kind of accountability there was for screw ups. You know, how many innocent civilians were being killed by our drone strikes? You know, those were all legitimate questions then. They are legitimate questions now and you know, we should not forget about them while we're also simultaneously dealing with what I do think is a legitimate scandal that we need to get to the bottom of and that's the story of Trump and Russia.
JS: Do you believe that this story ends with Trump getting indicted in any jurisdiction?
MI: [Laughs.] Look, I mean, you know what Justice Department policy is and that is you can't indict a sitting president. And by the way, I happened to, just happened to be looking last night at the Special Counsel regulations it very explicitly says that the Special Counsel should adhere to all Justice Department policies and so, no, I don't think that Donald Trump is going to be indicted certainly by a federal grand jury while he is president. I suppose it is conceivable that a state grand jury in New York or somewhere else could indict him. But there'd be a legal battle you know, that would go to the Supreme Court about that. So, anyway, now what happens after he leaves office? You know, assuming he leaves at the end of 2020, he doesn't get re-elected, then you know all bets are off and he can be indicted then. But you know, right now we still do not have a specific criminal charge. The closest we've got are the campaign finance violations but we still have -- in New York, on the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal -- but we still have not seen the specific evidence on that.
JS: Right, and none of that is Russia.
MI: And none of that is Russia, correct.
JS: All right, Michael Isikoff, thank you very much for joining us.
MI: Good to be with you.
JS: Michael Isikoff is the chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News. He is the author of "Uncovering Clinton," "Hubris" and most recently "Russian Roulette."
Jan 20, 2019 | theintercept.comBuzzFeed was once notorious for traffic-generating "listicles," but has since become an impressive outlet for deep investigative journalism under editor-in-chief Ben Smith. That outlet was prominently in the news this week thanks to its "bombshell" story about President Trump and Michael Cohen: a story that, like so many others of its kind, blew up in its face , this time when the typically mute Robert Mueller's office took the extremely rare step to label its key claims "inaccurate."
But in homage to BuzzFeed's past viral glory, following are the top ten worst media failures in two-plus-years of Trump/Russia reporting. They are listed in reverse order, as measured by the magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and cable news, the level of journalistic recklessness that produced them, and the amount of damage and danger they caused. This list was extremely difficult to compile in part because news outlets (particularly CNN and MSNBC) often delete from the internet the video segments of their most embarrassing moments. Even more challenging was the fact that the number of worthy nominees is so large that highly meritorious entrees had to be excluded, but are acknowledged at the end with (dis)honorable mention status.
Note that all of these "errors" go only in one direction: namely, exaggerating the grave threat posed by Moscow and the Trump circle's connection to it. It's inevitable that media outlets will make mistakes on complex stories. If that's being done in good faith, one would expect the errors would be roughly 50/50 in terms of the agenda served by the false stories. That is most definitely not the case here. Just as was true in 2002 and 2003, when the media clearly wanted to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and thus all of its "errors" went in that direction, virtually all of its major "errors" in this story are devoted to the same agenda and script:10. RT Hacked Into and Took Over C-SPAN (Fortune)
On June 12, 2017, Fortune claimed that RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and that C-SPAN "confirmed" it had been hacked. The whole story was false:
C-SPAN Confirms It Was Briefly Hacked by Russian News Site https://t.co/NUFD662FMz pic.twitter.com/POstGFzvNE-- Fortune Tech (@FortuneTech) January 12, 2017
Kremlin-funded Russian news network RT interrupted C-SPAN's online feed for about ten minutes Thursday afternoon https://t.co/Z25LqoCW2H-- New York Magazine (@NYMag) January 12, 2017
Holy shit. Russia state propaganda (RT) "hacked" into C-SPAN feed and took over for a good 40 seconds today? In middle of live broadcast. https://t.co/pwWYFoDGDU-- Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) January 12, 2017
RT America ominously takes over C-SPAN feed for ten minutes @tommyxtopher reviews today's events for #shareblue https://t.co/uiiU5awSMs-- Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) January 12, 20179. Russian Hackers Invaded the U.S. Electricity Grid to Deny Vermonters Heat During the Winter (WashPost)
After investigation, C-SPAN has concluded that the RT interruption was not the result of a hack, but rather routing error.-- ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) January 18, 2017
On December 30, 2016, the Washington Post reported that "Russian hackers penetrated the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont," causing predictable outrage and panic, along with threats from U.S. political leaders. But then they kept diluting the story with editor's notes – to admit that the malware was found on a laptop not connected to the U.S. electric grid at all – until finally acknowledging, days later, that the whole story was false, since the malware had nothing to do with Russia or with the U.S. electric grid:
Breaking: Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont https://t.co/LED11lL7ej-- The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 31, 2016
NEW: "One of the world's leading thugs, [Putin] has been attempting to hack our electric grid," says VT Gov. Shumlin https://t.co/YgdtT4JrlX pic.twitter.com/AU0ZQjT3aO-- ABC News (@ABC) December 31, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/embed/9ktNVW_TblI?autoplay=0&rel=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftheintercept.com&widgetid=18. A New, Deranged, Anonymous Group Declares Mainstream Political Sites on the Left and Right to be Russian Propaganda Outlets and WashPost Touts its Report to Claim Massive Kremlin Infiltration of the Internet (WashPost)
Washington Post retracts story about Russian hack at Vermont utility https://t.co/JX9l0926Uj via @nypost-- Kerry Picket (@KerryPicket) January 1, 2017
On November 24, 2016, the Washington Post published one of the most inflammatory, sensationalistic stories to date about Russian infiltration into U.S. politics using social media, accusing "more than 200 websites" of being "routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans." It added: "stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign [on Facebook] were viewed more than 213 million times."
Unfortunately for the paper, those statistics were provided by a new, anonymous group that reached these conclusions by classifying long-time, well-known sites – from the Drudge Report to Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute. – as "Russian propaganda outlets," producing one of the longest Editor's Note in memory appended to the top of the article (but not until two weeks later , long after the story was mindlessly spread all throughout the media ecosystem):
Russian propaganda effort helped spread fake news during election, say independent researchers https://t.co/3ETVXWw16Q-- Marty Baron (@PostBaron) November 25, 2016
Just want to note I hadn't heard of Propornot before the WP piece and never gave permission to them to call Bellingcat "allies" https://t.co/jQKnWzjrBR-- Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) November 25, 20167. Trump Aide Anthony Scaramucci is Involved in a Russian Hedge Fund Under Senate Investigation (CNN)
Marty, I would like to more about PropOrNot, "experts" cited in the article. Their website provides little in the way of ID. https://t.co/ZiK8pKzUwx-- Jack Shafer (@jackshafer) November 25, 2016
On June 22, 2017, CNN reported that Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci was involved with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, under Senate investigation. He was not. CNN retracted the story and forced the three reporters who published it to leave the network. 6. Russia Attacked U.S. "Diplomats" (i.e. Spies) at the Cuban Embassy Using a Super-Sophisticated Sonic Microwave Weapon (NBC/MSNBC/CIA)
On September 11, 2017, NBC News and MSNBC spread all over its airwaves a claim from its notorious CIA puppet Ken Dilanian that Russia was behind a series of dastardly attacks on U.S. personnel at the Embassy in Cuba using a sonic or microwave weapon so sophisticated and cunning that Pentagon and CIA scientists had no idea what to make of it.
But then teams of neurologists began calling into doubt that these personnel had suffered any brain injuries at all – that instead they appear to have experienced collective psychosomatic symptoms – and then biologists published findings that the "strange sounds" the U.S. "diplomats" reported hearing were identical to those emitted by a common Caribbean male cricket during mating season.
An @NBCNews exclusive: After more than a year of mystery, Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials in Cuba. @MitchellReports has the latest. pic.twitter.com/NEI9PJ9CpD-- TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 11, 2018
Wow >> U.S. has signals intelligence linking the sonic attacks on Americans in Cuba and China to *Russia* https://t.co/FbNla0vu9W-- Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) September 11, 2018
Following NBC report about sonic attacks, @SenCoryGardner renews calls for declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror https://t.co/wrnubfecom-- Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) September 11, 2018
5. Trump Created a Secret Internet Server to Covertly Communicate with a Russian Bank (Slate)
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU-- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 20164. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)
It's time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia. https://t.co/D8oSmyVAR4 pic.twitter.com/07dRyEmPjX-- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major "bombshell" that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world's most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.
Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this ; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake:
Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump's campaign, the Guardian has been told. https://t.co/Fc2BVmXipk-- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 27, 2018
The sourcing on this is a bit thin, or at least obscured. But it's the ultimate Whoa If True. It's...ballgame if true.-- Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 27, 2018
https://www.youtube.com/embed/4A2cuuRK2NU?autoplay=0&rel=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftheintercept.com&widgetid=73. CNN Explicitly Lied About Lanny Davis Being Its Source – For a Story Whose Substance Was Also False: Cohen Would Testify that Trump Knew in Advance About the Trump Tower Meeting (CNN)
The Guardian reports that Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the same month that Manafort joined Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, a meeting that could carry vast implications for the Russia investigation https://t.co/pYawnv4MHH-- Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 27, 2018
On July 27, 2018, CNN published a blockbuster story : that Michael Cohen was prepared to tell Robert Mueller that President Trump knew in advanced about the Trump Tower meeting. There were, however, two problems with this story: first, CNN got caught blatantly lying when its reporters claimed that "contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment" (in fact, Davis was one of CNN's key sources, if not its only source, for this story), and second, numerous other outlets retracted the story after the source, Davis, admitted it was a lie. CNN, however, to this date has refused to do either: 2. Robert Mueller Possesses Internal Emails and Witness Interviews Proving Trump Directed Cohen to Lie to Congress (BuzzFeed)
BREAKING: President Trump personally directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in order to obscure his involvement. https://t.co/BEoMKiDypn-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 18, 2019
BOOM! https://t.co/QDkUMaEa7M pic.twitter.com/9kcZZ8m1gt-- Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) January 18, 2019
The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date. We will do what's necessary to find out if it's true. https://t.co/GljBAFqOjh-- Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 18, 2019
If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached.-- Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 18, 2019
Listen, if Mueller does have multiple sources confirming Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, then we need to know this ASAP. Mueller shouldn't end his inquiry, but it's about time for him to show Congress his cards before it's too late for us to act. https://t.co/ekG5VSBS8G-- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 18, 2019
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the special counsel is disputing BuzzFeed News' report. https://t.co/BEoMKiDypn pic.twitter.com/GWWfGtyhaE-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 19, 2019
To those trying to parse the Mueller statement: it's a straight-up denial. Maybe Buzzfeed can prove they are right, maybe Mueller can prove them wrong. But it's an emphatic denial https://t.co/EI1J7XLCJe-- Devlin Barrett (@DevlinBarrett) January 19, 2019
. @Isikoff : "There were red flags about the BuzzFeed story from the get-go." Notes it was inconsistent with Cohen's guilty plea when he said he made false statements about Trump Tower to Congress to be "consistent" with Trump, not at his direction. pic.twitter.com/tgDg6SNPpG-- David Rutz (@DavidRutz) January 19, 2019
We at The Post also had riffs on the story our reporters hadn't confirmed. One noted Fox downplayed it; another said it "if true, looks to be the most damning to date for Trump." The industry needs to think deeply on how to cover others' reporting we can't confirm independently. https://t.co/afzG5B8LAP-- Matt Zapotosky (@mattzap) January 19, 2019
Washington Post says Mueller's denial of BuzzFeed News article is aimed at the full story: "Mueller's denial, according to people familiar with the matter, aims to make clear that none of those statements in the story are accurate."-- andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) January 19, 2019
If you're one of the people tempted to believe the self-evidently laughable claim that there's something "vague" or unclear about Mueller's statement, or that it just seeks to quibble with a few semantic trivialities, read this @WashPost story about this https://t.co/0io99LyATS pic.twitter.com/ca1TwPR3Og-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 19, 2019
You can spend hours parsing the Carr statement, but given how unusual it is for any DOJ office to issue this sort of on the record denial, let alone this office, suspect it means the story's core contention that they have evidence Trump told Cohen to lie is fundamentally wrong.-- Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 19, 2019
New York Times throws a bit of cold water on BuzzFeed's explosive -- and now seriously challenged -- report that Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress: https://t.co/9N7MiHs7et pic.twitter.com/7FJFT9D8fW-- ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) January 19, 2019
I can't speak to Buzzfeed's sourcing, but, for what it's worth, I declined to run with parts of the narrative they conveyed based on a source central to the story repeatedly disputing the idea that Trump directly issued orders of that kind.-- Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 19, 20191. Donald Trump Jr. Was Offered Advanced Access to the WikiLeaks Email Archive (CNN/MSNBC)
FWIW in all our reporting I haven't found any in the Trump Org that have met with or been interviewed by Mueller. https://t.co/U4eV1MZc8p-- John Santucci (@Santucci) January 18, 2019
The morning of December 9, 2017, launched one of the most humiliating spectacles in the history of the U.S. media. With a tone so grave and bombastic that it is impossible to overstate, CNN went on the air and announced a major exclusive: Donald Trump, Jr. was offered by email advanced access to the trove of DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks – meaning before those emails were made public. Within an hour, MSNBC's Ken Dilanian, using a tone somehow even more unhinged, purported to have "independently confirmed" this mammoth, blockbuster scoop, which, they said, would have been the smoking gun showing collusion between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over the hacked emails (while the YouTube clips have been removed, you can still watch one of the amazing MSNBC videos here ).
There was, alas, just one small problem with this massive, blockbuster story: it was totally and completely false. The email which Trump, Jr. received that directed him to the WikiLeaks archive was sent after WikiLeaks published it online for the whole world to see, not before. Rather than some super secretive operative giving Trump, Jr. advanced access, as both CNN and MSNBC told the public for hours they had confirmed, it was instead just some totally pedestrian message from a random member of the public suggesting Trump, Jr. review documents the whole world was already talking about. All of the anonymous sources CNN and MSNBC cited somehow all got the date of the email wrong.
To date, when asked how they both could have gotten such a massive story so completely wrong in the same way, both CNN and MSNBC have adopted the posture of the CIA by maintaining complete silence and refusing to explain how it could possibly be that all of their "multiple, independent sources" got the date wrong on the email in the same way, to be as incriminating – and false – as possible. Nor, needless to say, will they identify their sources who, in concert, fed them such inflammatory and utterly false information.
Sadly, CNN and MSNBC have deleted most traces of the most humiliating videos from the internet, including demanding that YouTube remove copies. But enough survives to document just what a monumental, horrifying, and utterly inexcusable debacle this was. Particularly amazing is the clip of the CNN reporter (see below) having to admit the error for the first time, as he awkwardly struggles to pretend that it's not the massive, horrific debacle that it so obviously is:
Knowingly soliciting or receiving anything of value from a foreign national for campaign purposes violates the Federal Election Campaign Act. If it's worth over $2,000 then penalties include fines & IMPRISONMENT. @DonaldJTrumpJr may be in bigly trouble. #FridayFeeling https://t.co/dRz6Ph17Er-- Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 8, 2017
boom https://t.co/9RPPltRq8k pic.twitter.com/eyYHkOMEPi-- Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 8, 2017
CNN is leading the way in bashing BuzzFeed but it's worth remembering CNN had a humiliation at least as big & bad: when they yelled that Trump Jr. had advanced access to the WL archive (!): all based on a wrong date. They removed all the segments from YouTube, but this remains: pic.twitter.com/0jiA50aIku-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 19, 2019
- ABC News' Brian Ross is fired for reporting Trump told Flynn to make contact with Russians when he was still a candidate; in fact, Trump did that after he won.
- The New York Times claimed Manafort provided polling data to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a person "close to the Kremlin"; in fact, he provided them to Ukrainians, not Russians.
- Crowdstrike, the firm hired by the DNC, claimed they had evidence that Russia hacked Ukrainian artillery apps; they then retracted it .
- Bloomberg and the WSJ reported Mueller subpoenaed Deustche Bank for Trump's financial records; the NYT said that never happened .
- Rachel Maddow devoted 20 minutes at the start of her show to very melodramatically claiming a highly sophisticated party tried to trick her by sending her a fake Top Secret document modeled after the one published by the Intercept, and said it could only have come from the U.S. Government (or the Intercept) since the person obtained the document before it was published by us and thus must have had special access to it; in fact, Maddow and NBC completely misread the metadata on the document ; the fake sent to Maddow was created after we published the document, and was sent to her by a random member of the public who took the document from the Intercept's site and doctored it to see if she'd fall for an obvious scam. Maddow's entire timeline, on which her whole melodramatic conspiracy theory rested, was fictitious.
- The U.S. media and Democrats spent six months claiming that all "17 intelligence agencies" agreed Russia was behind the hacks; the NYT finally retracted that in June, 2017: "The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community."
- AP claimed on February 2, 2018, that the Free Beacon commissioned the Steele Dossier; they thereafter acknowledged that was false and noted, instead: "Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it."
- The national media have offered multiple, conflicting accounts of how and why the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia began.
- Widespread government and media claims that accused Russian agent Maria Butina offered "sex for favors" were totally false (and scurrilous).
- After a Russian regional jet crashed on February 11, 2018, shortly after it took off from Moscow, killing all 71 people aboard, Harvard Law Professor and frequent MSNBC contributor Laurence Tribe strongly implied Putin purposely caused the plane to go down in order to murder Sergei Millian, a person vaguely linked to George Papadopoulos and Jared Kushner; in fact, Millian was not on the plane nor, to date, has anyone claimed they had any evidence that Putin ordered his own country's civilian passenger jet brought down.
May 17, 2020 | astutenews.com
We remember that in 1898, William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, in order to increase the sales of their daily newspapers, published false information in order to deliberately provoke a war between the United States and the Spanish colony of Cuba. This was the beginning of "yellow journalism" (publishing anything to make money). Today it is called "fake news".
It is not known at this time whether tycoons deliberately spread panic about Covid-19, making this vulgar epidemic seem like the "end of the world". However, one distortion after another, governments have become involved. Of course, it is no longer a question of selling advertising screens by frightening people, but of dominating populations by exploiting this fear.
... ... ...
Modern propaganda should not be limited to the publication of false news as the United Kingdom did to convince its people to enter the First World War, but should also be used in the same way as Germany did to convince its people to fight in the Second World War. The recipe is always the same: to exert psychological pressure to induce subjects to voluntarily practice acts that they know are useless, but which will lead them to lie [ 5 ]. For example, in 2001, it was common knowledge that those accused of hijacking planes on 9/11 were not on the passenger boarding lists. Yet, in shock, most accepted without question the inane accusations made by FBI Director Robert Muller against "19 hijackers". Or, as is well known, President Hussein's Iraq had only old Soviet Scud launchers with a range of up to 700 kilometers, but many Americans caulked the windows and doors of their homes to protect themselves from the deadly gases with which the evil dictator was going to attack America. This time, in the case of the Covid-19, it is the voluntary confinement in the home that forces the person who accepts it to convince himself of the veracity of the threat.
May 15, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
et Al May 9, 2020 at 10:53 amal-Beeb s'Allah: Coronavirus: Belarus WW2 parade defies pandemic and upstages Putin
the Fraudian: Victory Day: Belarus swaggers on parade as Russians leave Red Square deserted
May 15, 2020 | www.unz.com
Bill Jones , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 9:24 am GMT@Sgt. Joe Friday "Actually, Maddow considers herself a Serious Journalist. She "speaks truth to power," and she'd probably be the first to tell you that. Repeatedly.
Limbaugh on the other hand, if asked to pick a word to describe his profession would likely say "entertainer.""
While in actuality, the roles are very nearly reversed. (Nearly only because I don't find Maddow amusing)
May 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
The New York Times continues its anti-Russia campaign with a report about an old cyberattack on German parliament which also targeted the parliament office of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel Is 'Outraged' by Russian Hack but Struggling to Respond
Patience with President Vladimir Putin is running thin in Berlin. But Germany needs Russia's help on several geopolitical fronts from Syria to Ukraine.
NYT Berlin correspondent Katrin Bennhold writes:Chancellor Angela Merkel used strong words on Wednesday condemning an "outrageous" cyberattack by Russia's foreign intelligence service on the German Parliament, her personal email account included. Russia, she said, was pursuing "a strategy of hybrid warfare."
But asked how Berlin intended to deal with recent revelations implicating the Russians, Ms. Merkel was less forthcoming.
"We always reserve the right to take measures," she said in Parliament, then immediately added, "Nevertheless, I will continue to strive for a good relationship with Russia, because I believe that there is every reason to always continue these diplomatic efforts."
That alleged attack happened in 2015. The attribution to Russia is as shoddy as all attributions of cyberattacks are.Intelligence officials had long suspected Russian operatives were behind the attack, but they took five years to collect the evidence, which was presented in a report given to Ms. Merkel's office just last week.
Officials say the report traced the attack to the same Russian hacker group that targeted the Democratic Party during the U.S. presidential election campaign in 2016.
This is really funny because we recently learned that the company which investigated the alleged DNC intrusion, CrowdStrike, had found no evidence , as in zero, that a Russian hacker group had targeted the DNC or that DNC emails were exfiltrated over the Internet:CrowdStrike, the private cyber-security firm that first accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails and served as a critical source for U.S. intelligence officials in the years-long Trump-Russia probe, acknowledged to Congress more than two years ago that it had no concrete evidence that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee's server.
[CrowdStrike President Shawn] Henry personally led the remediation and forensics analysis of the DNC server after being warned of a breach in late April 2016; his work was paid for by the DNC, which refused to turn over its server to the FBI. Asked for the date when alleged Russian hackers stole data from the DNC server, Henry testified that CrowdStrike did not in fact know if such a theft occurred at all : "We did not have concrete evidence that the data was exfiltrated [moved electronically] from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated," Henry said.
The DNC emails were most likely stolen by its local network administrator, Seth Rich , who provided them to Wikileaks before he was killed in a suspicious 'robbery' during which nothing was taken.
The whole attribution of case of the stolen DNC emails to Russia is based on exactly nothing but intelligence rumors and CrowdStrike claims for which it had no evidence. As there is no evidence at all that the DNC was attacked by a Russian cybergroup what does that mean for the attribution of the attack on the German Bundestag to the very same group?
While the NYT also mentions that NSA actually snooped on Merkel's private phonecalls it tries to keep the spotlight on Russia:As such, Germany's democracy has been a target of very different kinds of Russian intelligence operations, officials say. In December 2016, 900,000 Germans lost access to internet and telephone services following a cyberattack traced to Russia.
That mass attack on internet home routers, which by the way happened in November 2016 not in December, was done with the Mirai worm :More than 900,000 customers of German ISP Deutsche Telekom (DT) were knocked offline this week after their Internet routers got infected by a new variant of a computer worm known as Mirai. The malware wriggled inside the routers via a newly discovered vulnerability in a feature that allows ISPs to remotely upgrade the firmware on the devices. But the new Mirai malware turns that feature off once it infests a device, complicating DT's cleanup and restoration efforts.
This new variant of Mirai builds on malware source code released at the end of September . That leak came a little more a week after a botnet based on Mirai was used in a record-sized attack that caused KrebsOnSecurity to go offline for several days . Since then, dozens of new Mirai botnets have emerged , all competing for a finite pool of vulnerable IoT systems that can be infected.
The attack has not been attributed to Russia but to a British man who offered attacks as a service. He was arrested in February 2017:A 29-year-old man has been arrested at Luton airport by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) in connection with a massive internet attack that disrupted telephone, television and internet services in Germany last November. As regular readers of We Live Security will recall, over 900,000 Deutsche Telekom broadband customers were knocked offline last November as an alleged attempt was made to hijack their routers into a destructive botnet.
The NCA arrested the British man under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) who have described the attack as a threat to Germany's national communication infrastructure.
According to German prosecutors, the British man allegedly offered to sell access to the botnet on the computer underground. Agencies are planning to extradite the man to Germany, where – if convicted – he could face up to ten years imprisonment.
The British man, one Daniel Kaye, plead guilty in court and was sentenced to 18 month imprisonment :During the trial, Daniel admitted that he never intended for the routers to cease functioning. He only wanted to silently control them so he can use them as part of a DDoS botnet to increase his botnet firepower. As discussed earlier he also confessed being paid by competitors to takedown Lonestar.
In Aug 2017 Daniel was extradited back to the UK to face extortion charges after attempting to blackmail Lloyds and Barclays banks. According to press reports, he asked the Lloyds to pay about £75,000 in bitcoins for the attack to be called off.
The Mirai attack is widely known to have been attributed to Kaye. The case has been discussed at length . IT security journalist Brian Krebs, who's site was also attacked by a Mirai bot net, has written several stories about it. It was never 'traced to Russia' or attributed it to anyone else but Daniel Kaye.
Besides that Kennhold writes of "Russia's foreign intelligence service, known as the G.R.U.". The real Russian foreign intelligence services is the SVR. The military intelligence agency of Russia was once called GRU but has been renamed to GU.
The New York Times just made up the claim about Russia hacking in Germany from absolutely nothing. The whole piece was published without even the most basic research and fact checking.
It seems that for the Times anything can be blamed on Russia completely independent of what the actually facts say.
Posted by b on May 14, 2020 at 14:38 UTC | Permalink
J Swift , May 14 2020 15:05 utc | 1Good article!Petri Krohn , May 14 2020 15:26 utc | 2
Along the same lines, it always bothered me that among all the (mostly contrived) arguments about who might have been responsible for the alleged "hacking" of DNC as well as Clinton's emails, we never heard mentioned one single time the one third party that we absolutely KNOW had intercepted and collected all of those emails--the NSA! Never a peep about how US intelligence services could be tempted to mischief when in possession of everyone's sensitive, personal information.The "Fancy Bear" group (also knowns as advanced persistent threat 28) that is claimed to be behind the hacks is likely little more than the collection of hacking tools shared on the open and hidden parts of RuNet or Russian-speaking Internet. Many of these Russian-speaking hackers are actually Ukrainians .Brendan , May 14 2020 15:41 utc | 4
Some of the Russian hackers also worked for the FSB, like the members of Shaltai Boltai group that were later arrested for treason. George Eliason claims Shaltai Boltai actually worked for Ukrainians. For a short version of the story read this:Patrick Armstrong , May 14 2020 15:27 utc | 3 Wow! You've done it again. I was just writing my Sitrep and thinking what an amazing coincidence it is that, just as the Russian pipelaying ship arrived to finish Nord Stream, Merkel is told that them nasty Russkies are doing nasty things. I come here and you've already solved it. Yet another scoop. Congratulations.
Cyberanalyst George Eliason Claims that the "Fancy Bear" Who Hacked the DNC Server is Ukrainian Intelligence – In League with the Atlantic Council and Crowdstrike
Cyberanalyst George Eliason has written some intriguing blogs recently claiming that the "Fancy Bear" which hacked the DNC server in mid-2016 was in fact a branch of Ukrainian intelligence linked to the Atlantic Council and Crowdstrike. I invite you to have a go at one of his recent essays...The NYT has removed that sentence about the attack on internet/phone access:Norwegian , May 14 2020 15:45 utc | 5
"Correction: May 14, 2020
An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed responsibility for a 2016 cyberattack in which 900,000 Germans lost access to internet and telephone services. The attack was carried out by a British citizen, not Russia. The article also misstated when the attack took place. It was in November, not December. The sentence has been removed from the article. "
That was there for at least 13 hours from yesterday evening onwards. The page was archived this morning though before that edit:
https://web.archive.org/web/20200513221700/https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/13/world/europe/merkel-russia-cyberattack.htmlFrom this we can learn that anything can be blamed by MSM, completely independent of what the facts are. It is not limited to allegations related to Russia or China, but any and all claims by MSM that have no direct reference to provable fact.james , May 14 2020 15:45 utc | 6great coverage b... thank you... facts don't matter.. what matters is taking down any positive image of russia, or better - putting up a constantly negative one... of this the intel and usa msm are consistent... the sad reality is a lot of people will believe this bullshit too...Brendan , May 14 2020 15:48 utc | 7
i was just reading paul robinsons blog last night - #DEMOCRACY RIP AND THE NARCISSISM OF RUSSIAGATE .. even paul is starting to getting pissed off on the insanity of the media towards russia which is rare from what i have read from him!
@ 3 patrick armstrong.. keep up the good work!! thanks for your work..OK I don't know how to fix the formatting in my last link but you can look up https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/13/world/europe/merkel-russia-cyberattack.html on https://web.archive.org for 10:46 May 14 2020m droy , May 14 2020 15:51 utc | 8There is already a correction made to the DT attack - someone reads MofA! Shame they don't get more of their new interpretation form here.tucenz , May 14 2020 16:22 utc | 9
Whole piece reads here like it started as a Merkel gets close to Russia piece, shown around to colleagues and politicians for feedback, and a ton of fake "why Merkel actually hates the Russians" nonsense was added in.
After all pretty much everyone has tapped Merkel's phone by now.Fairy tales told by Danny Kaye....
May 14, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.comJen, May 10, 2020 at 3:54 am
Ben Norton, "Russian Journalists accuse NY Times of stealing stories that earned it the Pulitzer Prize – for second time"
"The New York Times has been accused for a second time of stealing major scoops from Russian journalists. One of those stories won the Times a Pulitzer Prize this May.
The journalists who have accused the Times of taking their work without credit also happen to be the same liberal media crusaders against Vladimir Putin [my emphasis] that Western correspondents at the Times and other mainstream outlets have cast as persecuted heroes
As Yasha Levine further down the page says, the NYT takes whatever it wants from whomever has got it, without giving anything back or acknowledging any help or assistance, if it thinks it can get away with it because it believes that, like the Empire it serves, it is Exceptional.
May 13, 2020 | www.rt.com
CNN's latest installment of its 'Facts and Fears' town hall on the coronavirus pandemic will feature teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as one of its experts. What expertise Thunberg can offer on the virus is a mystery.
May 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
Under the subtitle The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, Thomas Rid helps remind us how we reached this morass, one with antecedents reaching back to Czarist Russia and the Bolshevik revolution. To be sure, the US can use all the help it can get as it navigates the current election cycle and the lies, rumours and uncertainty that shroud the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rid was born in West Germany amid the cold war. The Berlin Wall fell when he was a teenager. He is now a professor at Johns Hopkins.
So what are “active measures”? Previously, Rid testified they were “semi-covert or covert intelligence operations to shape an adversary’s political decisions”.
“Almost always,” he explained, “active measures conceal or falsify the source.”
The special counsel’s report framed them more narrowly as “operations conducted by Russian security services aimed at influencing the course of international affairs”. Add in technology and hacking, and an image of modern asymmetric warfare emerges.
Rid travels back to the early years of communist Russia, recounting the efforts of the government to discredit the remnants of the ancien régime and squash attempts to restore the monarchy. The Cheka, the secret police, hatched a plot that involved forged correspondence, a fictitious organization, a fake counter-revolutionary council and a government-approved travelogue.
Words and narratives morphed into readily transportable munitions. The émigré community was declawed and the multi-pronged combination deemed “wildly successful”. The project also “served as an inspiration for future active measures”. A template had been set.
Fast forward to the cold war and the aftermath of the US supreme court’s landmark school desegregation case. The tension between reality and the text and aspirations of the Declaration of Independence was in the open again. Lunch-counter sit-ins and demands for the vote filled newspapers and TV screens. The fault lines were plainly visible – and the Soviet Union pounced.
In 1960, the KGB embarked on a “series of race-baiting disinformation operations” that included mailing Ku Klux Klan leaflets to African and Asian delegations to the United Nations on the eve of a debate on colonialism. At the same time, Russian “operators posed as an African American organization agitating against the KKK”.
More than a half-century later, Russia ran an updated version of the play. Twitter came to host the fake accounts of both “John Davis”, ostensibly a gun-toting Texas Christian and family man, and @BlacktoLive”, along with hundreds of others.
The Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll factory, organized pro-Confederate flag rallies. As detailed by Robert Mueller, the IRA also claimed that the civil war was not “about slavery” and instead was “all about money”, a false trope that continues to gain resonance among Trump supporters and proponents of the “liberate the states” movement. According to Brian Westrate, treasurer of the Wisconsin Republican party, “the Confederacy was more about states’ rights than slavery.”
Depicting West Germany as Hitler’s heir was another aim. At the time, “some aging former Nazis still held positions of influence”, Rid writes. In the late 1960s, “encouraging ‘anti-German tendencies in the West’ was very much a priority”.
In 1964, with Russian assistance, Czech intelligence mounted Operation Neptun, sinking