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Counter-Propaganda Bill Quietly Creates US Propaganda Factory

By John Laurits | December 12, 2106

On Thursday December 8th, the US senate quietly passed the National Defense Authorization Actor the ‘NDAA’ ) for the fiscal year of 2017. Basically, the NDAA is passed every year to re-approve & add to the United States’ so-called “defense” spending — which is sort of like Christmas for the officials who run the profitable death-machine called “US foreign policy.” However, many would likely be shocked by the ridiculous & terrifying laws that our treacherous congress usually buries inside the yearly bill — for example, congress just used the NDAA to create a “Global Engagement Center,” headed by the Secretary of State. Sounds harmless, right? Well, it might seem that way until you realize that “Global Engagement Center” is code for our new “Ministry of US Propaganda.”

Counter-Propaganda = Propaganda


Where congress buried their approval of official, state-funded propaganda

Hidden in the fantastically boring depths of the 1,576-page NDAA, in §1259C, below Subtitle E, labeled “Other Matters,” below Title XIII, is approval for the funding of a new propaganda agency which will be managed by the secretary of state. The text was pretty much lifted word-for-word from the Portman-Murphy Countering Disinformation & Propaganda Act,” except that congress changed the name from the slightly ominous-sounding “Center for Information Analysis and Response” to a happier “Global Engagement Center.” Among other things, the center’s function is to —

develop, plan, and synchronize… whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests
— §1259C, a3

Or — to put it simply — they’re going to help the US government distribute information that will support their interests, especially those interests that face scrutiny in other countries. However, as I’ve written about before, it’s often very difficult or impossible for the public to verify whether the godless communists or whoever else are actually messing with us or whether our public officials are only making excuses for their own corruption.

Regardless, it seems reasonable to assume WikiLeaks-style journalism (like the email leaks during our “elections”) will now be considered “foreign propaganda and misinformation...”

A Threat to a Free & Open Press
& to Free Thought in Education

If this isn’t a big enough red flag for you already, consider the fact that, not only does the new Ministry of Propaganda plan to “proactively advance fact-based narratives,” they plan on doing it with the help of both our schools & the private sector:

To establish cooperative or liaison relationships with foreign partners and allies… and other entities, such as academia, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector
— §1259C, a5

Or, in other words, they’ll be planting their people in academic situations & working with pretty much any industry they think will enhance their propaganda’s reach & effectiveness. The section even approves funding to spy on journalists, social media groups, political parties, & NGOs — all of this is to “proactively advance fact-based narratives,” of course. See for yourself — the NDAA lists one of the center’s functions as:

“Identifying current and emerging trends in… information obtained from print, broadcast, online and social media, support for third-party outlets such as think tanks, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations… and the use of covert or clandestine special operators and agents to influence targeted populations and governments…
— §1259C, b4

Is this the end of journalism?

Lastly, I’d like to show you the part of all of this that, as a journalist, I find most worrying:

AUTHORITY FOR GRANTS.—The Center is authorized to provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally-funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:
[…]to counter efforts by foreign governments to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States
— §1259C, f(1) & §1259C, f(1)D

In plain English, this is saying that the US is going to start subsidizing journalists, researchers, & even schools who agree with the regime — which, incidentally, will punish & potentially threaten the viability of truly independent media altogether.

Government Propaganda is Dangerous

Now, this bill does contain vague wording, like the Global Engagement Center’s function being “to demonstrate new technologies, methodologies and concepts relevant to the missions of the Center,” which could mean pretty much anything. This has always been one of congress’ favorite tricks — to pass legislation that could be interpreted in different ways, so that they can deny responsibility while making funds available to do whatever they want.

That means that this legislation is a lot like a loaded gun — harmless in one person’s hands but potentially devastating & destructive in the hands of another, depending on how the scope & language of the bill is interpreted. Which “new technologies” will they “demonstrate” and what will the “missions of the Center” be? Which “populations” will they “target” and who’s “fact-based narratives” will they be “targeted” with? What will the “interests” of the US be, who is “foreign,” & will journalists who report this foreign “disinformation” be considered propagandists for foreign agents?

The answers to these questions depend on who is in charge of interpreting them — which means that the most important question of all is do you trust the United States, and particularly the incoming administration, to make those decisions?

I know I don’t.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception | | 1 Comment

Ex-CIA Officer: No Evidence of Russian Government Involvement in US Election

Sputnik – 13.12.2016

Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and current executive director of the Council for the National Interest, has dissected public statements regarding the claims that Russia hacked the Democratic Party on behalf of Trump, and has concluded that evidence is lacking.

In a report for the American Conservative, Giraldi detailed that the CIA report claims to represent intelligence community consensus on the issue, and that the use of the word “consensus” implies that there was dissent over the conclusions. He also noted that there is a suggestion that not all representatives of the community signed off on the final draft.

“It is also important to note how critics of Russia in Congress, including Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are already exploiting the allegations to block any possible initiatives by Trump to improve ties with Moscow, which might have serious consequences down the road,” Giraldi noted. Giraldi explained that, to understand what is being alleged, one must rely on media reports from shadowy “unnamed sources,” as neither the CIA nor the White House has made public the classified report.

“Some anonymous government officials are reportedly conceding that the direct link from the Russian government to the actual hackers and then on to the disseminators of the information is lacking,” Giraldi wrote. “If the intelligence community is nevertheless claiming that they know enough to conclude that it was directed from the top levels of the Russian government, then they should be able to produce documentary or other evidence of officials’ ordering the operation to take place.”

In other words, Giraldi observed, if the CIA wants to maintain credibility, it must produce the report containing the evidence, and that evidence must be clear, even if the document contains redactions.

“Do they have that kind of information? It is clear that they do not, in spite of their assertion of ‘high confidence,’” Giraldi said. “And there is a suggestion by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a persistent critic of Russian spying who is on the House Intelligence Committee, that the information they do have consists of innuendo and is largely circumstantial.”

Instead, Giraldi believes that the intelligence community simply has bits and pieces of information it has gleaned over the previous election cycle. The former CIA officer stated that his ex-employer and its allied security groups in the US are likely presuming that it was the Russian government.

Giraldi believes that because of former-candidate Hillary Clinton’s open hostility toward Russia, and Trump’s eagerness to mend fences, it would be unsurprising if the Kremlin sought to bolster the Trump campaign in support of their own self-interest.

“The CIA certainly uses its media assets worldwide to place stories supportive of politicians and parties favored by the administration in power in Washington,” he said. “I would have to assume that President Barack Obama has, for example, approved CIA-generated favorable press coverage of endangered politicians like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose policies he strongly supports.”

The spy-turned-pundit suggested that the lesson to be learned here is not that Russians allegedly promoted a candidate they favored, or that information shared digitally is no longer private, it is that there are consequences for aspirants to high office if they are careless with their words.

“The lesson is not that the Russians spied on the United States and covertly assisted a candidate they favored. That should be a given, well understood by people in the White House and elsewhere in the administration,” Giraldi said, also noting, “That information is no longer private in an age where electronic intrusion or hacking can be run out of someone’s garage should also be a given. But when aspirants to high office are careless in what they say, when they say it, and how they communicate to associates, there will be consequences.”

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , | 2 Comments

Israel’s Defense Minister Outlines Plan to Divide Syria and Iraq along Sectarian Lines

American Herald Tribune | December 11, 2016

Israel’s “defence” minister Avigdor Lieberman has penned an article for Defense News to explain his regime’s struggles in a turbulent Middle East.

In a similar tone to those of the Israeli politicians, Lieberman wastes no time to call the legitimate forces of Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon as terrorist forces. He says, “The massive convulsions that in recent years have swept through North Africa and erupted in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere throughout the region, and which have seen the empowerment of semi-territorial terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah, represent an earthquake of historic proportions. Multi-ethnic states such as Libya, Syria and Iraq have descended into chaotic civil wars as many aspects of the region’s enduring political order, whose origins lie in the aftermath of World War One, disintegrate.”

Lieberman goes on to draw three conclusions as the solutions for ending the crisis in the Middle East. The second conclusion is clearly a call to attack the sovereignty of the independent countries. Lieberman says, “many of the countries in the Middle East were established artificially, as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and based on colonial considerations that did not take into account the pattern of habitation and the deep sectarian rifts within the respective societies.

Thus, to genuinely solve the region’s problems, borders will have to be altered, specifically in countries like Syria and Iraq. Boundaries need to be redrawn between Sunnis, Shia and other communities to diminish sectarian strife and to enable the emergence of states that will enjoy internal legitimacy. It is a mistake to think that these states can survive in their current borders.

A similar conclusion holds true for the Israeli-Palestinian arena and for the borders that will ultimately need to be drawn for the achievement of a stable two-state outcome. We need “out of the box” analysis to avoid being misled by habitual ways of thinking.”

One can not better understand the reason behind the “civil wars” in Syria and Iraq without reading Israel’s defense minister’s call to divide Syria and Iraq.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Prof. Anthony Hall Vindicated

By Kevin Barrettt | American Herald Tribune | December 12, 2016

The witch-hunt against University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall may have just ended not with a bang but with a whimper. And it is the Israel lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, and its flunkies at the University of Lethbridge, who are whimpering.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) just issued a stinging reprimand for University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon, a glorified gym teacher who unilaterally suspended Professor Hall without pay because he disagrees with Hall’s political views. See:

Lethbridge University President Says He Can Fire Tenured Faculty at Will for No Reason

Here is CAUT’s statement:


CAUT is using extremely strong language. The statement accuses Mike Mahon of violating “all principles of due process and natural rights” and “denying… legal rights” i.e. violating the law.

CAUT is not only threatening all-out legal action, but also “imposing censure” on the University of Lethbridge. This is a formal process that amounts to a complete boycott of the University of Lethbridge by the entire Canadian academic community – a sort of scholarly BDS action. Professors would refuse to work there, students would refuse to study there, and all Canadian academicians would essentially consider that the “University of Lethbridge” no longer existed.

How could the University of Lethbridge resolve the situation? I spoke to Professor Hall this morning. He was optimistic about the long-term prospects of his academic freedom struggle, and grateful to CAUT for doing the right thing. But he also hastened to point out that Mike Mahon and others at the University had created an extremely hostile work environment for him, and that the University of Lethbridge needs to do much more than merely allowing him to return to teaching in the horrendous environment they have created for him.

By suspending Professor Hall without pay, without any form of due process, the University essentially endorsed the outrageous, libelous lies concocted by the B’nai Brith and its suspected confederates. The biggest lie, the one that launched the entire witch hunt, was a Zionist-fabricated “kill all Jews” image that was mysteriously planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page without his knowledge. B’nai Brith and Facebook conspired to create a media scandal about the image, and despite Hall’s complete innocence, media outlets including the Lethbridge Herald and CBC labored to fabricate a spurious link between the horrific, genocidal image and Professor Hall in their coverage of the incident. Rather than reporting the truth – that Professor Hall was the innocent victim of a smear campaign – they absurdly implied that Professor Hall himself wanted to “kill all Jews” !

The genocidal image was created by a Florida-based Jewish Zionist false flag terrorist named Joshua Goldberg (who has been arrested for plotting fake “Islamic terrorism”) and then planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page by persons unknown. Though the planted image was credited to “Glen Davidson,” an Alberta resident, Davidson  says he was not the source of the image, and does not know how it came to be surreptitiously planted, under his name, on Professor Hall’s Facebook page. See:

The PLANTED weaponized image that got Professor Anthony Hall suspended

Why would B’nai Brith and its accomplices target Professor Hall for this kind of slander operation? Presumably they disapprove of Hall’s research and public statements on various controversial issues, especially his work on false flag terrorism. (Hall has interpreted such events as 9/11 and the Ottawa capitol shooting as apparent false flag public relations stunts designed to further the Zionist war on Islam and Muslims.)

The University of Lethbridge, by implicitly endorsing B’nai Brith’s libelous big lie, has managed to tarnish Professor Hall’s reputation on campus to the point that many students and colleagues have accepted the false notion that Hall is a “genocidal anti-Semite.” Hall has suffered hostile treatment on and off campus as a result of the University’s going along with the B’nai Brith’s witch hunt.

At a very minimum, the University needs to:

*Fire president Mike Mahon and Board Chairman Kurt E. Schlachter;

*Apologize in the strongest possible terms;

*Vow to support Professor Hall’s academic freedom to study, write, and speak about any and all issues;

*And make it absolutely clear that Professor Hall has done nothing wrong, but has in fact been doing exactly what all tenured professors are implicitly required to do by virtue of their tenure: Investigate the  most controversial issues and pursue the truth wherever it leads, no matter how much  powerful interest groups may be displeased.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 3 Comments

Spies recruited me then ‘threw me to the wolves’ – terrorism convict

RT | December 12, 2016

A convicted terrorist suspect who aided the Brussels bombers has claimed that he was recruited and groomed by UK spies before being thrown “to the wolves” once he was no longer deemed useful.

Zakaria Boufassil, who was sentenced to three years in jail on Monday after being convicted of aiding terrorism, had handed £3,000 to a jihadist named Mohammed Abrini in the city of Birmingham in July of 2015, just months before Abrini was involved in the 2016 Brussels bombing.

Moroccan-born Abrini became known as ‘the man in the hat’ after being spotted on CCTV in the Belgian capital ahead of the suicide bombings that killed 32 civilians. Abrini was also connected with the 2015 Paris attacks.

Boufassil claims that he was groomed by MI5 – Britain’s internal security agency – starting six weeks after Abrini was arrested in April of 2016, when Boufassil was approached and befriended by spies, who allegedly bought him cigarettes, clothes, and a phone, and also gave him £3,000.

He was later arrested upon returning from a Moroccan holiday that he claimed to have paid for with the MI5 money.

Despite vain attempts by prosecutors to keep his claim from being reported, the Guardian reported on Monday that his barrister said, “in Zakaria’s eyes, he feels he was effectively picked up by MI5 and was pumped and dumped.

“He found himself approached by the security service and he was reluctant at first, then more gradually, he told them what he knew about Abrini and the meeting in the park,” Dorian Lovell-Park QC argued in court.

“He was told by MI5 he wasn’t in any trouble and was told they were interested in signing him up or having him on their books.

“He feels he ceased to be of any use to them and he was effectively thrown to the wolves,” Boufassil’s lawyer said.

The prosecution has refused to confirm or deny the defendant’s claims, as is standard MI5 procedure.

Boufassil was convicted along with another man, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, who was given eight years for the same offences.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment

‘US nukes in Germany are Cold War relics, should go in dustbin of history’ – top Russian diplomat

RT | December 12, 2016

American nuclear weapons placed in Germany during the Cold War are relics of that era and should be removed as they no longer serve any purpose, according to a senior diplomat at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“American nuclear weapons in Germany are relics of the Cold War, for a long time they do not serve the implementation of any practical tasks and are subject to being thrown down the dustbin of history,” Sergey Nechayev, chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department responsible for relations with Germany, among a number of other European countries, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

He noted that US nuclear weapons first appeared on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953, and since then have been a constant presence – although their placement was only approved by the German authorities retroactively in 1958.

“All the related issues are regulated in the context of Germany’s obligations in the framework of its NATO cooperation. Since Berlin does not have full sovereignty in making decisions in this regard too, the topic is not the subject of [Russia’s] negotiations with the German side,” Nechayev noted.

According to Nechayev, the issue of the deployment of US nuclear weapons has been the focus of political debate in Germany for some time now.

“In March 2010, the majority in the Bundestag voted to call upon the German government to persistently work with US allies on ensuring the withdrawal of US nuclear arsenal from the country. […]

“The last time the public’s attention was drawn to the presence of US nuclear weapons in Germany was a little over a year ago, when Washington decided to modernize 20 of its nuclear warheads, which are stationed at a base in Büchel [Rhineland-Palatinate region],” the minister said.

He also mentioned that among those most consistently expressing their opposition to the presence – or deployment – of US nuclear weapons in Germany were the Left Party, the liberal FDP and Alternative for Germany (AfD). This position is also shared by many members of the ruling parties.

“However, the German authorities do not dare to put the issue up before Washington,” Nechayev stated.

According to public data, since the end of the Cold War, US aerial nuclear bombs have remained in five countries on the other side of the Atlantic: Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey. In August this year, German media reported that the US was planning to modernize its nuclear arsenal stationed at Büchel air base, placing there a latest generation V61-12 atomic bomb. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 nuclear warheads from the Cold War period are stationed in Büchel today. The area is under strict protection, with US soldiers also stationed there.

The German government has long wanted US nuclear weapons to be removed from the German soil, but so far this has not happened.

“We have by no means given up on this matter, but it is just as difficult as it has been over the past few years,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in parliament last spring. And given Germany’s obligations to NATO, it may have become even more difficult.

READ MORE: ‘We’ve never sought enemies, we need friends’: Top quotes from Putin’s annual address

NATO has been actively deploying weapons to Eastern European states in the recent months, as well as conducting showy military drills right along Russia’s borders – including in the Baltic Sea. Its official position has long been that military activity in Eastern Europe was a defensive response to alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine. NATO said Russia was responsible for “annexing” Crimea from Ukraine, although the region voted to join the Russian Federation in March 2014 in a referendum, following the coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected government. In September this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the bloc was ready to further increase its presence in the area, as a gesture of support to its Eastern European members. NATO has also just finished the ‘Iron Sword’ military exercises, which started on November 20 and involved 4,000 troops from 11 NATO countries. The drills were taking place in Lithuania, Russia’s neighbor and the largest Baltic nation.

Moscow has not let NATO activity go unanswered, as it repeatedly addressed it as infringement on Russia’s sovereignty and safety. In August this year, Russia deployed S-400 missile defense systems to Crimea, while ballistic Iskander missiles were deployed in the Kaliningrad exclave after an American ABM (anti-ballistic missile) system was stationed in two Eastern European NATO countries – Romania and Poland.

In his annual address to the Federal Assembly earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed regret that the time since the end of the Cold War had passed by in vain for NATO, which continues to “infringe on the interests of the Russian Federation.” Putin noted, however, that if unprovoked, Russia “does not want confrontation” and “does not seek enemies.”

“We are committed to a friendly, equal dialogue, to upholding the principles of justice and mutual respect in international affairs; we are ready for serious discussion on the creation of a stable system of international relations in the 21st century. Unfortunately, in this respect, the decades since the end of the Cold War have gone by in vain,” he said.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Claims of Russia’s Involvement in Cyberattacks Groundless – Kremlin

Sputnik | 12.12.2016

MOSCOW – Accusations that Russia is involved in cyberattacks are unprofessional and groundless, and have nothing in common with reality, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Last week, media reports emerged citing the US Central Intelligence Agency accusing Russia of interfering in the US elections in November to help Donald Trump, who won the vote, secure victory.

“Different media outlets publish such information with an enviable constancy. Many high-ranking officials in the United States and the United Kingdom make such statements with an enviable constancy. And, with an enviable constancy, neither of these groundless statements have ever been backed with any information, I’m not even talking about proof. So this all looks like a completely groundless, unprofessional, unqualified claim and accusation, which have nothing in common with reality,” Peskov told reporters.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The Agenda of Corporate Media Is Regime Change in Syria

Russia Insider | December 11, 2016

Independent journalist Eva Bartlett (who has done incredible work in Gaza as well) sets a smug Norwegian reporter straight during a UN Syria Mission press conference.

Russia Insider was started in September 2014 by a group of expats living in Russia who felt that coverage of Russia is biased and inaccurate. The mission of Russia Insider is media criticism and reform.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Angela Merkel, desperate to stay in power, is now claiming Russian hackers are ready to attack Germany’s 2017 elections

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | December 12, 2016

Remember when the Obama administration spied on German media as well as the German government, and specifically Angela Merkel.

The Duran remembers.

In 2015 CNN‘s Jake Tapper reported…

An investigation by the German parliament is raising questions on whether the Obama administration not only spied on journalists in that country, but also interfered in the exercise of the free press under the guise of U.S. national security.

That the NSA was spying on German officials is not new, though it continues to upset free press advocates and those with memories of repressive governments both Communist and Nazi. In 2013, the German magazine Der Spiegel, using information gleaned from files stolen and leaked by Edward Snowden, first reported that the NSA was intercepting German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone communications.

On Thursday, WikiLeaks released more information, presumably from that surveillance, from a conversation between Merkel and her personal assistant in October 2011, saying the Chancellor “professed to be at a loss” between two courses of action to take in the Greek financial crisis. The WikiLeaks release also suggested that the NSA was spying on German ministers in addition to Merkel. The U.S. ambassador to Germany, John Emerson, was summoned to meet with the Chancellery chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, to discuss the news.

Less observed this week was news that the NSA was eavesdropping not only on Merkel, but also in some capacity on Germany’s free press, specifically Der Spiegel.

Merkel appears to have forgiven and forgotten the FACT that the US hacked and spied on Germany.

American “factual” hacking of Germany… no problem. Russian “imaginary” hacking of Germany… problem.

Following on Obama’s “Russian hacker” witch hunt, Germany is also sounding the alarm bells of Kremlin influenced hacking meant to weaken Germany and the European Union.

Reuters reports that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has reported an increase in Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns “aimed at destabilising German society, and targeted cyber attacks against political parties.”

The German agency’s statement to Reuters seems to be perfectly timed with the CIA claim of Russian election hacking. Coincidence?

“We see aggressive and increased cyber spying and cyber operations that could potentially endanger German government officials, members of parliament and employees of democratic parties,” Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV spy agency, said in statement.

Maassen, who raised similar concerns about Russian efforts to interfere in German elections last month, cited what he called increasing evidence about such efforts and said further cyber attacks were expected.

The agency said it had seen a wide variety of Russian propaganda tools and “enormous use of financial resources” to carry out “disinformation” campaigns aimed at the Russian-speaking community in Germany, political movements, parties and other decision makers.

The goal was to spread uncertainty, strengthen extremist groups and parties, complicate the work of the federal government and “weaken or destabilise the Federal Republic of Germany”.

The agency said it had seen a “striking increase” in spear-phishing attacks attributed to Russian hacking group APT 28, also known as “Fancy Bear” or Strontrium. It is the same group blamed for the hack of the U.S. Democratic National Committee this year and a cyber attack on the German parliament in 2015.

The attacks were directed against German parties and lawmakers and were carried out by government bodies posing as “hacktivists”, the agency said.

German officials have accused Moscow of trying to manipulate German media to fan popular angst over issues like the migrant crisis, weaken voter trust and breed dissent within the European Union so that it drops sanctions against Moscow.

But intelligence officials have stepped up their warnings in recent weeks, alarmed about the number of attacks.

Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she could not rule out Russia interfering in Germany’s 2017 election through Internet attacks and misinformation campaigns.


Russian officials have denied all accusations of manipulation and interference intended to weaken the European Union or to affect the U.S. presidential election.

For an economy in “tatters”, as Barack Obama famously noted, Russia sure has a lot of power in hacking election systems, and manipulating global media. Zerohedge adds…

Either Russian intelligence officials have suddenly become extremely efficient at disrupting national elections in the world’s largest democracies or the establishment leaders of those democracies have intentionally launched a coordinated, baseless witch hunt as a way to distract voters from their failed policies. We have our suspicions on which is more likely closer to the truth…

Like accusations made by Hillary and Obama in the U.S., German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have asserted that Russian intelligence agents and media outlets have attempted to spread “fake news” in an effort to “fan popular angst over issues like the migrant crisis.”  Of course, it can’t simply be that voters disagree with Merkel’s “open border” policies which have resulted in a massive influx of migrants that have been linked to increasing crime, terrorist attacks and sexual assaults on German citizens… that would just be silly and racist and xenophobic.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Democratic Losers and their Media Backers Seek a Scapegoat for Their Own Disaster

The fake campaign to blame ‘the Russians’

By Dave Lindorff | This Can’t Be Happening! | December 11, 2016

The New York Times and Washington Post, the nation’s two top national newspapers, have been breathlessly reporting of late, with little sign of any appropriate journalistic skepticism, on a purported massive and successful Russian conspiracy to throw the US election to their “favored” candidate, Donald Trump. But the Chicago Tribune has weighed in with a more measured piece, suggesting that while the CIA, a particularly secretive and politically driven organization, may be making that claim, the FBI is not convinced.

While even the Tribune sometimes ignores inserting the requisite “alleged” that should precede any reference to unproven claims that Russia is behind the hacking of the Democratic Party’s (and the Republican Party’s) email server, the paper does also note that Democrats in particular are “frustrated” by the “murky nature” of the FBI’s analysis, with outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), calling on FBI Director James Comey to resign.

The reason for the Democrats’ frustration is also made clear. As the Tribune reports:

With so much of the evidence about Russia’s alleged role in the election shrouded in secrecy because of strict classification rules, Democrats and Republicans in Washington who have access to the underlying intelligence say they have struggled to make their respective cases, leaving an already deeply divided public convinced that both sides are shading their conclusions to help the candidate they backed on Election Day.

The reality is that the CIA has presented no hard evidence that Russia is behind the hacking of the DNC’s or or Clinton’s private home server. The excuse is given that the Agency doesn’t want to disclose any of its sources, so the reader is left with the pathetic plea, from both the Agency and the White House: “Trust us.”

But why would anyone trust the CIA or the White House on anything? We’re talking about an agency and a Executive Branch that between them are known to have lied (during the GW Bush years) about anthrax labs in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, lied about what were aluminum tubes imported to make irrigation equipment being evidence of missile-building, lied about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda, and (during the Obama years) lied about Syria’s government using Sarin gas on its own people in Damascus, lied about the details of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, lied about the role of a murderous CIA agent captured by Pakistani police while posing as a US consular employee, lied about the extent of National Security Agency Spying both at home and abroad, and lied about Russia invading Ukraine and shooting down a civilian Malaysian jumbo jet.

If one were to take a moment and think about what is being alleged here by Democrats — that a national presidential election was successfully subverted by the releasing of hacked emails showing major corruption and malfeasance by the Democratic Party leadership in undermining the fairness of the party’s presidential primary to benefit one candidate — Hillary Clinton — and to destroy the candidacy of her opponent Bernie Sanders — it should lead to one of two alternative conclusions.

Either the Russians did Americans a favor, by exposing the epic corruption of one of their two major parties and one of the candidates seeking to become president — something that a more independent and aggressive domestic media would have and should have done on their own, if not by hacking then by paying attention to, instead of ignoring and blacking out, what frustrated insiders like DNC Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii who quit in disgust saying the DNC was undermining the primaries on behalf of Clinton’s campaign. Or alternatively, we’re being told that our 240-year-old democracy is so shriveled and weak that an outside government can easily undermine it and manipulate the outcome as if we were some corrupt and fragile banana republic.

Either conclusion is rather pathetic and depressing to contemplate.

Meanwhile, the media feeding frenzy over unsubstantiated claims over Russian subversion of our last election ignores the reality that this kind of thing is something the US has been doing abroad at least since the end of World War II and the onset of the Cold War. Not content to just undermine elections through dirty tricks, fake news and secret payments in Europe, Latin America, later in Eastern Europe and Russia, and in Asia, the US has also fomented countless coups to overthrow or attempt to overthrow existing elected governments, most recently in Honduras, Ukraine, Venezuela and Brazil, and so has no grounds to complain by claiming that the Russians were allegedly doing the same thing here.

On the other hand, if the Democratic Party leadership had kept its hand off the scale during the primaries, and had not made such heavy-handed efforts to get major news organizations like the Times, MSNBC, the Daily News, Post and others to help it undermine Bernie Sanders, Sanders would have won both the party’s nomination and the presidency, and probably the Congress also into the bargain, and we wouldn’t be looking at a looming Trump presidency and Republican Congress.

Not only that, but with a genuinely popular candidate running for president in both parties (like it or not Trump was wildly popular among a significant segment of the population), no Russian propaganda campaign would have had a prayer of impacting voter opinion or the results of the voting.

If indeed there really was a Russian effort to swing this recent election, it could only have succeeded in a situation where the electorate was disgusted by its choices and was voting negatively for a lesser evil. And that situation only could arise where the two major parties were so corrupted that they were trying desperately to keep genuinely popular candidates from winning the nomination.

In fact that is what happened. The Republican leadership tried mightily to keep Donald Trump, a loose cannon who has disavowed many basic and long-held Republican principles, such as backing US empire and Israel, supporting any and all trade agreements, and viewing Russia as an existential enemy, from winning their party’s nomination. They failed, but not for lack of trying. The Democratic leadership tried everything, too, to prevent insurgent self-described “socialist” candidate Sanders from winning the nomination, and thanks to underhanded manipulation of the primaries, corrupt meddling in media coverage of Sanders, an anti-democratic voting block of locked-in “super delegates,” committed to backing Clinton whatever the result of the primaries, and some crooked efforts to depress voting in key primary states including New York and California, they succeeded in throwing the nomination to Clinton. She of course was doomed, by their very ham-handed interference in the primaries, to go on to lose the general election.

That corrupt fiasco has left Democratic Party leadership hacks and their backers in the corporate media with nothing to do but find a scapegoat for their disastrous performance, hence the fake “Russia-did-it” claims.

It’s a sad commentary on the pathetic decline of democracy in the United States, but is also a clarion call for a rebirth of grassroots democratic resurgence.

If there’s a bright spot in the new situation, it’s that progressives, socialists, radicals and disaffected citizens of all kinds now should have a clear understanding of how corrupt the Democratic Party really is.

One of two things must happen. That party must be completely swept clean of the hacks, frauds, crooks, compromisers and charlatans who populate its leadership and who hold most of the elected posts remaining in Democratic hands in Congress. Alternatively, the Democratic Party must be abandoned as unsalvageable, with progressive forces, from labor organizations, advocates of the poor and elderly, environmental activists, human rights and peace groups, women’s rights and minority rights organizations, civil libertarians and others rallying both to create something new to replace it, and organizing in the street to resist the new Trump government.

Any new left party needs to abandon the fraudulent tactics of so-called “identity politics,” in which a basically pro-corporate Democratic Party has sought to appease and cajole support for its corporatist candidates and agenda by catering to individual issues of various groups leaning its way by default. Instead, the really big issues need to be tackled head on: expanding Social Security, making Medicare universal for everyone of all ages, restoring genuine progressive taxation on the wealthy, ending foreign wars, closing overseas bases and slashing the military, obeying international law (including treaties with sovereign Native American nations), making public college free to all, nationalizing support for primary and secondary education so that all communities have well-funded, quality public schools, declaring a national mobilization to quickly end reliance upon fossil fuels to combat climate change, and creating jobs for everyone through a massive public spending program on job training and infrastructure repair and modernization.

These and other ideas are things that most Americans can and would get behind, not simply efforts to pander to various specific interest groups.

Do this and the Russians — assuming they even have been trying to manipulate our elections — wouldn’t have a chance of influencing anyone.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peace in Syria – it’s the last thing the US wants

By Neil Clark | RT |December 12, 2016

Last week US President Obama waived military aid restrictions for “foreign forces” and others in Syria. When hopes were raised for an end to the Syrian conflict following the recapture of most of eastern Aleppo, the US is pouring more petrol on the fire.

Now, we can question as to whether this will make a massive difference on the ground as we know the US and its allies have already been backing “foreign forces” in Syria. However, at least it shows people who may have had their doubts, as to what Washington’s game is. Namely, to prolong the agony for the people of Syria for as long as it can. The attitude is: “If we cannot topple Assad, then we’ll damn well make sure we’ll keep his country burning.” And all this – lest we forget- brought to us by an American President who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The truth is that every time there’s been a real chance of an end to the conflict in Syria, Uncle Sam has stepped in to sabotage it.

Members of the Syrian opposition who wanted to participate in democratic politics under Syria’s new constitution were deliberately sidelined. Instead, the US and their pro-regime-change allies backed radical militants who wanted the violent overthrow of the country’s government. In March 2012, a six-point peace plan to end the conflict (then just over a year old) was put forward by the Arab League and the UN. The Syrian government was reported to have accepted the so-called Kofi Annan plan, and the initiative also got thumbs up from opposition figures in Syria. So what did ‘Fireman’ Uncle Sam and his allies do? Yes, that’s right: They poured more petrol onto the fire at a time when the blaze could have been extinguished.

“Within days of Annan’s peace plan gaining a positive response from both sides in late March, the imperial powers openly pledged, for the first time, millions of dollars for the Free Syrian Army; for military equipment, to provide salaries to its soldiers and to bribe government forces to defect. In other words, terrified that the civil war is starting to die down, they are setting about institutionalizing it”, wrote Dan Glazebrook in Al-Ahram Weekly.

Just imagine if the Annan peace plan had succeeded in 2012. How many Syrians, now dead, would still be alive?

However, Washington only wanted to escalate the conflict – not to end it.

It was a similar story in the Balkan wars in the 1990s. The 1992 Lisbon agreement provided for the peaceful division of an independent Bosnia. But, US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman urged Alija Izetbegovic to renege on his acceptance of the deal telling him “If you don’t like it, why sign it.”

Result: a brutal war in Bosnia in which many thousands of people lost their lives including around 8,000 at Srebrenica. Again, it could all have been avoided if the US had genuinely wanted peace. Instead, the US set fire to Bosnia and then blamed the Serbs.

Seven years later, the State Department was at it again, deliberately preventing a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Kosovo, a conflict which – as in Syria and Bosnia – they had done much to ignite in the first place. Horrified that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was ready to accept international peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and therefore deprive NATO of a pretext for bombing his country, the US and the UK added an Appendix to the document at Rambouillet allowing for NATO’s military occupation of Yugoslavia, which they knew Milosevic could not possibly agree.

Later, Lord Gilbert, a UK Minister for Defence Procurement, admitted: “I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time. I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable: how could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate.”

In Afghanistan, the US has spent decades in making sure that peace does not prevail. For most of the 80s, the Soviet leadership was looking to withdraw its forces from the country and negotiate a peace deal. In their book “Cold War,” Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing, note how Yuri Andropov, Soviet leader from 1982-1984, offered a timetable for withdrawal if the US (and Pakistan) stopped supplying the anti-government Mujahedeen and a government similar to the one in power in Kabul stayed in place. “From the archives, we know that the Soviets were trying to disengage honorably, leaving behind a friendly regime in Kabul,” say Isaacs and Downing. However, the US “concentrated instead on supplying arms to the Mujahedeen and on letting the Soviet Union ‘bleed’.”

Even after the Soviet Union formally signed up to withdrawal in accords in 1988, the US was still pumping arms into the country. “A long civil war dragged on for years,” note Isaacs and Downing.

And still drags on to this day. In his farewell speech in 2014, Afghanistan’s outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who had come to power following the US-led invasion of his country in 2001, blamed the US for the fact that his country was still at war. “One of the reasons was that the Americans did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objective,” Karzai said. He warned the new Afghan government to be “extra cautious in its dealings with the West.”

Across the world, as I detailed here, the US has fought consistently against the peace.

As a foreign policy, it’s hard to think of a more devilish one than starting fires and then doing everything to stop those fires being put out. But of course, while it is bad news for the ordinary people on the ground, it is good news for the arms manufacturers and those who want certain strategically important countries kept permanently weakened.

The question is: Will things change under Trump, whom only last week pledged “We will stop trying racing to topple regimes” and that the policy of ‘intervene and chaos’ would come to an end?

Perhaps it’s just words, but some, clearly, are worried that there will be a shift. You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to acknowledge that the US ‘Deep State’ and much of the establishment media is doing all it can to de-legitimize his election win.

And you’d be very naïve indeed to think that they’re doing this because of things he said about women.

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Hudson Bay could be ice-free in winter within 5-10 years, says seal researcher

By Susan J Crockford | Polar Bear Science | December 7, 2016

Ringed seal biologist Steven Ferguson, in a statement to a reporter from the Winnipeg Free Press, made one of the boldest predictions I’ve ever heard:

“Hudson Bay could experience its first free winter within 5-10 years.”

You heard it here, folks. It appears Ferguson thinks Hudson Bay was never ice-free in winter even during the Eemian Interglacial, when the Bering Sea was ice-free in winter – something that has not come close happening in recent years (Polyak et al. 2010:1769).

Sounds like a bit of ill-advised grandstanding to me.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported Ferguson’s claim yesterday that ringed seal numbers in Hudson Bay declined by almost 80% the spring after the late freeze-up year of 2010, as part of a non-peer reviewed conference paper he gave (so no one can see the data he’s talking about).

However, polar bear surveys were done that summer and found no decline in numbers. The mark-recapture study (Lunn et al. 2016), you will recall, surveyed only about 1/2 of Western Hudson Bay territory so their estimate of about 800 bears was invalid for comparison to previous years. An aerial survey of the entire subpopulation the same year (Stapleton et al. 2014) found about 1030 bears – statistically, no change since the last estimate in 2004 (the IUCN PBSG uses 1030 as the official population size).

Southern Hudson Bay bears also showed no decline in numbers after 2010, as indicated by a survey undertaken in 2011 and 2012 (Obbard et al. 2015, 2016). The most recent Foxe Basin survey (Stapleton et al.2015) was done just before (summers of 2009 and 2010) the supposed decline of seals in the spring of 2011.

So, if Hudson Bay ringed seals suffered a “near-catastrophic” decline in numbers in the spring of 2011 after the late freeze-up in fall 2010, there must still have been plenty of seals left to feed the polar bears that depended on them for survival.

Apparently, ringed seal numbers rebounded after the spring decline of 2011 but Ferguson either failed to say to what levels or the reporter failed to mention it.

Well yes, I guess they did recover because how else could polar bears have come ashore this summer in such spectacularly good condition if seal numbers were still profoundly low?

For perspective, have a look at this previous post on Hudson Bay seals and the effect of variations in snow cover (for which Ferguson provided much of the data).

Quotes from the WFP article:

Ringed seal population in the Hudson Bay is declining.

A near-catastrophic plunge in the population of ringed seals in Hudson Bay is being blamed on melting sea ice caused by global warming, says a study led by a Manitoba researcher.

The population has been diminished by 75 per cent since aerial surveys started 20 years ago, according to data that will be presented to the ArcticNet conference of scientists in Winnipeg this week.

Lead researcher Steve Ferguson, a scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Manitoba, said global warming is causing sea ice to disappear earlier in spring and form later in the fall, and there is less of it in Hudson Bay.

And in turn, the polar bear population will suffer because seals are the main component of their winter diet. The problem is compounded, as less sea ice means the bears have less area to hunt.

Hudson Bay could experience its first ice-free winter within five to 10 years, Ferguson said

“I don’t think polar bears and seals will be able to adapt. I think they’ll just die out in places like Hudson Bay. There’s little to stop the trend in loss of sea ice, even if we stop producing greenhouse gasses,” he said.

The study’s findings portend disaster for the Arctic generally.

“Hudson Bay is the early warning area of climate change because it is so far south,” Ferguson said. “We’re seeing the changes more dramatic in Hudson Bay, and it’s showing us how the rest of the Circumpolar Arctic will be impacted.”

Ferguson said while many people believe climate change is gradual, aerial surveys reveal mammals can disappear in huge numbers in a short period of time.

After a particularly warm 2010, the seal population plunged almost 80 per cent. Seal immune systems seemed to weaken, making them more susceptible to pathogens. Some of that loss has been recovered, he said.

Aerial surveys are not really “population surveys,” but are the most accurate available indicator, and they show a definite trend. They’re done each spring by counting seals on the ice.” [my bold]


Lunn, N.J., Servanty, S., Regehr, E.V., Converse, S.J., Richardson, E. and Stirling, I. 2016. Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range – impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Ecological Applications, in press. DOI: 10.1890/15-1256

Obbard, M.E., Stapleton, S., Middel, K.R., Thibault, I., Brodeur, V. and Jutras, C. 2015. Estimating the abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation with aerial surveys. Polar Biology 38:1713-1725.

Obbard, M.E., Cattet, M.R.I., Howe, E.J., Middel, K.R., Newton, E.J., Kolenosky, G.B., Abraham, K.F. and Greenwood, C.J. 2016. Trends in body condition in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation in relation to changes in sea ice. Arctic Science, in press. 10.1139/AS-2015-0027

Polyak, L., Alley, R.B., Andrews, J.T., Brigham-Grette, J., Cronin, T.M., Darby, D.A., Dyke, A.S., Fitzpatrick, J.J., Funder, S., Holland, M., Jennings, A.E., Miller, G.H., O’Regan, M., Savelle, J., Serreze, M., St. John, K., White, J.W.C. and Wolff, E. 2010. History of sea ice in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews 29:1757-1778.

Stapleton S., Atkinson, S., Hedman, D., and Garshelis, D. 2014. Revisiting Western Hudson Bay: using aerial surveys to update polar bear abundance in a sentinel population. Biological Conservation 170:38-47.

Stapleton, S., Peacock, E., and Garshelis, D. 2015. Aerial surveys suggest long-term stability in the seasonally ice-free Foxe Basin (Nunavut) polar bear population. Marine Mammal Science 32(1):181-201.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment