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New York Times editor ‘buried’ negative Facebook story to protect friends – Project Veritas

RT | October 11, 2017

Audience strategy editor for NYT Nick Dudich placed a negative report about Facebook in a spot where he knew it wouldn’t draw much attention, while bragging about using his Silicon Valley friendships to make videos trend, according to a new undercover video.

“We actually just did a video about Facebook negatively, and I chose to put it in a spot that I knew wouldn’t do well,” Dudich said in a secretly filmed conversation with someone from the conservative organization Project Veritas.

Dudich claimed that his friends in Silicon Valley helped Times videos trend, while saying he doesn’t want the Times to know about his connections, according to Project Veritas.

“Let’s say something ends up on the YouTube front page, New York Times freaks out about it, but they don’t know it’s just because my friends curate the front page. So, it’s like, a little bit of mystery you need in any type of job to make it look like what you do is harder than what it is,” Dudich says in the recording.

The Project also secretly filmed Earnest Pettie, the Brand and Diversity Curation Lead at YouTube, who explains how YouTube so-called news carousel is formed: “At the very least, we can say this shelf of videos from news partners is legitimate news because we know that these are legitimate news organizations.”

In the recording Pettie also says Dudich is “one of the people I think who has more knowledge about YouTube as a platform than probably anyone else that I know.”

The video released Wednesday is the latest of Project Veritas’ series called “American Pravda,” aimed at the US mainstream media. The installment released Tuesday also featured recordings of Dudich, in which he claims he worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to counter the “threat” of Trump and that he did not join the Times to “be objective.”

It is impossible to assess the credibility of Dudich’s claims, however, as he also claimed that former FBI Director James Comey was his godfather, and that he used to participate in Antifa activities on behalf of the FBI.

Dudich admitted this was not true after Project Veritas interviewed his father, who said he didn’t even know Comey. It was “a good story,” Dudich said when asked why he lied.

In response to the Tuesday video, a New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said that Dudich was a “recent hire in a junior position” who “appears” to have violated the newspaper’s “ethical standards and misrepresented his role.”

James O’Keefe, who founded Project Veritas in 2010, has released a number of controversial undercover videos, including one with CNN political commentator Van Jones this summer. Jones accused O’Keefe of editing the video in such a way that took his words out of context and created a “hoax.”

In the Veritas video Jones was recorded saying the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election was “a big nothing-burger.” Jones said the missing context was that he said Democrats couldn’t use it to impeach Trump, even if the allegations were true.

Read more:

NYT video editor caught bragging about slanting Trump coverage 

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Yemen war ‘unconstitutional’ says trio of US lawmakers

A Yemeni man walks past a destroyed school building on March 16, 2017, that was damaged in an air strike in the southern Yemeni city of Taez. © Ahmad Al-Basha
RT | October 11, 2017

A group of Congressmen from both major parties is hoping to force a vote over Washington’s involvement in Yemen, with a resolution invoking the War Powers Act to force the US to stop aiding the Saudi-led coalition in its bombing campaign.

Three members of the US House of Representatives tried to illustrate the horrors of the Yemen conflict by comparing it to a hypothetical war affecting the US state of Washington ‒ with a population of 7.3 million ‒ “on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that is waiting offshore.”

“This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hand of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding support from the US military that Congress has not authorized and therefore violates the Constitution,” wrote Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) and Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

In March 2015, the Obama administration began aiding the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthis, a rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa. Since then, Washington has supported the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, by providing the Saudis with logistical support, intelligence and ammunition used in airstrikes.

This has led to the deaths of over 10,000 civilians and has plunged much of Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.

The three lawmakers teamed up with colleague Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to introduce House Resolution 81, invoking the War Powers Act to guarantee a full House vote to withdraw US armed forces from the unauthorized war.

“We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians,” the three representatives wrote.

Several more lawmakers have expressed support for the proposal as well.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

UN: Myanmar’s ‘systematic’ crackdown on Rohingya aimed at permanent expulsion

Press TV – October 11, 2017

The United Nations says Myanmar’s “systematic” crackdown on the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community is aimed at permanently expelling them from their home in Rakhine state.

A report published by the UN on Wednesday detailed a campaign by Myanmar’s military to terrorize the Rohingya through atrocities that range from indiscriminate killings to rape.

“Brutal attacks against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State have been well-organized, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning to their homes,” the UN report said.

Myanmar’s troops often operate “in concert with armed Rakhine Buddhist individuals,” the report added.

“In some cases, before and during the attacks, megaphones were used to announce: ‘You do not belong here, go to Bangladesh. If you do not leave, we will torch your houses and kill you’,” it said.

The investigative report also contradicts claims by Myanmar’s government that the crackdown was a response to militant attacks on security posts on August 25. The probe found that the latest wave of military “clearance operations” in Rakhine actually began before that date, possibly in early August.

The investigation outlines an army-led campaign to erase the Rohingya connection to their homeland in the majority Buddhist country.

Teachers, as well as cultural, religious and community leaders have also been targeted in the latest crackdown “in an effort to diminish Rohingya history, culture and knowledge,” the report said.

“Efforts were taken to effectively erase signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their lands would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognizable terrain.”

The latest UN report is based on interviews with refugees who have fled to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area since August 25. The UN team spoke to hundreds of people in a series of 65 interviews, some with individuals and some with groups of up to 40 people.

UN figures show more than half a million people have fled the ongoing violence.

The researchers also found evidence of abuses designed to “instill deep and widespread fear” among the Rohingya. This included accounts of soldiers surrounding homes and firing indiscriminately as residents ran for their lives as well as uniformed men gang-raping women and girls, some as young as five. One statement, “received by an extremely credible source, referred to a (pregnant) woman whose stomach was slit open after she was raped.”

Speaking to reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva, researcher Thomas Hunecke said the UN had “very credible information” that Myanmar’s military had planted landmines along the Bangladesh border. “It is highly likely that these mines have been planted in order to prevent the Rohingya population from returning.”

The United Nations believes the government of Myanmar might have committed ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in its crackdown. The Rohingya are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”
Bangladeshi army personnel direct Rohingya volunteers carrying ice boxes with cholera vaccines at the Thangkhali refugee camp in Ukhia district, October 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

EU to cut ties with Myanmar military chiefs

The European Union is to cut ties with senior Myanmar military chiefs to protest the “disproportionate use of force” against the Rohingya, according to an agreement approved by EU ambassadors and set to be signed off at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday.

The agreement said the rapid flight of so many people from Rakhine “strongly indicates a deliberate action to expel a minority.”

“In the light of the disproportionate use of force carried out by the security forces, the EU and its member states will suspend invitations to the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar/Burma armed forces and senior military officers and review all practical defense cooperation,” the agreement says.

According to the agreement, the EU “may consider additional measures” if the crisis does not improve. The bloc currently bans the export of arms and equipment that can be used for “internal repression.”

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

US must end all military involvement in African continent: Analyst

Press TV – October 11, 2017

The US military must end its growing involvement in Africa and allow the nations of that continent to solve their own problems, otherwise the American people will pay dearly for these misguided actions, an African American journalist in Detroit says.

“We cannot accept the explanation of the US government at its face value. The US should end these military missions in Africa, the drone stations, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stations; all military involvement in the African continent should end,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“Africa must solve its own problems, through its own regional and continent organizations and mass organizations. Otherwise the Unites states and the people inside the United States will pay dearly for these misguided and of course unfortunate military actions,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

The United States Army’s top officer says it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit, he describes as “similar to special forces,” but “not special Forces.”

The US Army’s top officer said Monday it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit.

General Mark Milley made the comments at the Association of the army’s annual meeting in Washington, not long after four special operations commandos were ambushed to death by militants in the Western African country of Niger.

The army’s chief of staff did not mention who was responsible for the attack although he asserted that the US military does know the group.

Two other Green Berets were injured on the October 4 ambush near the Nigerien capital Niamey by militants said to be linked with the Daesh Takfiri group in Iraq and Syria.

This represents yet another escalation by the US military in Africa,” Azikiwe said. “They are claiming that they are there just on a training mission.”

“Even though the US claims to be against these extremist organizations, they have worked with these groups in various geo-political regions including Libya, including Iraq, as well as Syria and Yemen,” he added.

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2007 under former US President George W. Bush and strengthened and enhanced the following year during the presidency of Barack Obama.

The force has been operating in at least 35 countries across the African continent.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs: Stoking Islamophobia and Defending Racism

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | October 10, 2017

Would a farmer ask a fox to help design a security system for her free-range chickens?

A group that stokes Islamophobia and defends an explicitly supremacist organization shouldn’t be part of a Public Consultation on Systemic Discrimination and Racism in Québec. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) should be removed from the “list of selected organizations” for this important initiative.

While groups participating in the just launched consultation are supposed to “develop concrete proposals to combat systemic discrimination and racism”, last summer CIJA campaigned aggressively against a Green Party of Canada resolution calling on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of an explicitly racist organization. The Green’s motion described the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) “discrimination against non-Jews in Israel through its bylaws which prohibit the lease or sale of its lands to non-Jews.” Owner of 13 percent of Israel’s land – mostly seized from Palestinians in 1948 – the JNF systematically discriminates against the 20% of non-Jewish Israeli citizens. JNF racism is not the all too common ‘personal’ or even ‘structural’ variety, rather a legalistic discrimination outlawed in Canada six decades ago.

CIJA and the JNF Canada often work together and sponsor each other’s events. Additionally, JNF Canada CEO Lance Davis previously worked as CIJA’s National Jewish Campus Life director.

Beyond defending racist land-use policies in Israel, CIJA has stigmatized marginalized Canadians by hyping “Islamic terror” and targeting Arab and Muslim community representatives, papers, organizations, etc. In response to a truck attack in Nice, France, last year CIJA declared “Canada is not immune to … Islamist terror” and in February they highlighted, “those strains of Islam that pose a real and imminent threat to Jews around the world.”

In a bid to deter organizations from associating with the Palestinian cause or opposing Israeli belligerence in the region, CIJA demonizes Canadian Arabs and Muslims by constantly accusing them of supporting “terror”. Last week the lobbying arm of Canada’s Jewish Federations said it was “shocked” Ottawa failed to rescind the charitable status of the Islamic Society of British Columbia. CIJA alleges that the Vancouver area mosque supports Hamas, which the federal government considers a terrorist organization but Palestinians (and most of the world) consider a political/resistance organization.

In 2014 CIJA pushed to proscribe as a terrorist entity Mississauga-based IRFAN (International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy). The Jewish group’s press release about the first Canadian-based group ever designated a terrorist organization boasted that “current CIJA board member, the Honourable Stockwell Day … called attention to IRFAN-Canada’s disturbing activities nearly a decade ago.”

In the early 2000s pro-Israel groups and the Conservative Party accused a charity that supported thousands of orphans in a dozen countries of working for Hamas. But, a Canada Revenue Agency audit failed to substantiate the claim. As the two-year audit was about to wrap up at the end of 2004, Stockwell Day and the Canadian Coalition of Democracies (CCD) held a press conference where they accused IRFAN of being a front for Hamas, which prompted a defamation suit (CCD eventually retracted the allegation while Day was protected by parliamentary privilege).

When Day’s Conservatives later took power the CRA renewed their investigation of IRFAN in what appeared to be an effort to prove that Muslim Canadians financed “Hamas terror”. In 2011 the CRA revoked the group’s charitable status, claiming “IRFAN-Canada is an integral part of an international fundraising effort to support Hamas.” A big part of the CRA’s supporting evidence was that IRFAN worked with the Gaza Ministry of Health and Ministry of Telecommunications, which came under Hamas’ direction after they won the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. The Canadian organization tried to send a dialysis machine to Gaza and continued to support orphans in the impoverished territory with the money channelled through the Post Office controlled by the Telecommunications Ministry.

This author cannot claim any detailed knowledge of the charity, but on the surface of it the charge that IRFAN was a front for Hamas makes little sense. First of all, the group was registered with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank when the Fatah-controlled PA was waging war against Hamas. Are we to believe that CRA officials in Ottawa had a better sense of who supported Hamas then the PA in Ramallah? Additionally, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) viewed the Canadian charity as a legitimate partner. In 2009 IRFAN gave UNRWA $1.2 million to build a school for girls in Battir, a West Bank village.

In a sign of how the campaign against IRFAN stigmatized a marginalized group, the CRA’s findings were used to smear the 2012 edition of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto because IRFAN was one of 17 sponsors of one of the largest Muslim gatherings in North America.

While quick to attack Arabs and Muslims’ support for “terror” or “anti-Semitism”, CIJA clams up when explicit Jewish Islamophobia is brought to their attention. In 2012 the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) asked for CIJA’s help with an aggressively anti-Muslim textbook used at Joe Dwek Ohr HaEmet Sephardic School in Toronto. It described Muslims as “rabid fanatics” with “savage beginnings”, but CIJA refused to respond.

In a more recent example of the group stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, CIJA aligned itself with the backlash against the term “Islamophobia” in bill M-103, which called for collecting data on hate crimes and studying the issue of “eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” CEO Shimon Fogel said the “wording of M-103 is flawed. Specifically, we are concerned with the word ‘Islamophobia’ because it is misleading, ambiguous, and politically charged.” It takes chutzpah for a Jewish community leader to make this argument since, as Rick Salutin points out, anti-Semitism is a more ambiguous term. But, Fogel would no doubt label as anti-Jewish someone who objected to the term anti-Semitism as “misleading, ambiguous, and politically charged”.

An initiative promoted by committed anti-racist campaigners, the Public Consultation on Systemic Discrimination and Racism in Québec is important. It should not include a group that stokes Islamophobia and defends an explicitly supremacist organization.

Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli-led “Women’s Peace March” Criticized as Normalization

By Celine Hagbard – IMEMC – October 11, 2017

A two-week march led by Israeli women calling for peace culminated in a rally in Jerusalem Sunday, although the march was largely boycotted by Palestinians who called it a part of the ‘normalization’ of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The organizers of the march called for a return to the failed negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority – negotiations that were harshly criticized by most Palestinians for the power imbalance they maintained between the occupier and occupied.

‘Normalization’ is a term used by Palestinians to refer to efforts that claim to promote ‘peace’ without recognizing or addressing the extreme injustice of the Israeli military occupation. Some have criticized the ‘Women Wage Peace’ movement for its failure to advocate for Palestinian equal rights, instead issuing a vague call for ‘peace’.

Many of the participants in the march voiced a desire to have reconciliation with Palestinians, and said they hoped to meet with Palestinian women, with organizer Anat Negev saying that, “We all want a safe future for our children.” But Palestinian women’s organizations and civil society leaders said that the march was naive in issuing a call for peace without a clear call for justice, and for the end to the Israeli military occupation.

Some women marched for two weeks, in different parts of the West Bank, Israel and Jerusalem – but most of the locations of the march were closed to Palestinians who did not obtain special permits months in advance to be able to enter.

In response to the march and rally, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees issued a statement opposing the event, saying that Palestinian women were being used as props and tokenized by the Israeli women organizing it. The statement also said, “This activity is a shameless fraud that seeks to forcibly impose normalization with the occupier upon Palestinian women, in clear violation of the sacrifices of our women martyrs, prisoners, wounded and strugglers to liberate our people from that occupier. Our position as a Palestinian women’s movement in occupied Palestine against normalization is very clear, as is our demand for the boycott of occupation in all forms, including economic, cultural, academic and all other forms of boycott.”

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump suggests revoking NBC license after series of fake news

RT | October 11, 2017

US President Donald Trump has called an NBC report that he wanted a tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal “pure fiction” and suggested that the network deserves to have its license pulled after a series of reports that were challenged as false.

The president said that NBC News “made up” the report which, citing three unnamed officials, said that Trump wanted to dramatically increase the stockpile of US nuclear weapons.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he wrote on Twitter.

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?” he added.

“It’s frankly disgusting, the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” Trump said Wednesday afternoon, after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington.

“The press should speak more honestly,” he added. “They make up the sources. There are no sources.”

Last week NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposedly called Trump a “moron” and threatened to resign, only to be talked out of it by Vice President Mike Pence. That story also cited three unnamed officials.

Tillerson told reporters he had “never considered leaving” his post and described the story as “petty nonsense.” The vice president likewise denied the claims in the NBC story.

“At no time did he and the secretary ever discuss the prospect of the secretary’s resignation from the administration. Any reporting to the contrary is categorically false,” said Jarrod Agen, Pence’s spokesman.

Trump has long complained about major US media outlets trying to undermine him during and after the election. He labeled a number of them, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN, “fake news.”

“Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Trump tweeted last Thursday, the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee updated reporters about its months-long investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the US election.

Some news outlets will be left “with egg on their face” over their reporting on the Russia investigation, committee chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) told CNN when asked about Trump’s statement.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Journalists covering Russian influence on social media not bothered by US government online psyops

By Danielle Ryan | RT | October 11, 2017

American journalists are having a field day with the latest accusations of “Russian influence” in social media during last year’s presidential election. It would be great if they cared as much about how their own government tries to manipulate them online.

First, some recent history.

On July 2, 2013, the United States Congress silently legalized the use of American propaganda on the American people. Until then, there had been something known as the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which prevented the government from broadcasting its propaganda aimed at foreigners within the US itself. A bipartisan amendment to the 2013 defense authorization bill undid that — and so the ban on dissemination of propaganda produced by the US State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) was no more.

What’s interesting about this is that the very people in Congress who are complaining night and day about the nefarious influence of Russian propaganda actually don’t have a problem with American citizens being targeted with fake news and propaganda at all — just so long as it’s coming from their own government. What’s more, since this amendment was tucked into the defense authorization bill with relatively little fuss being made, one can assume that journalists charged with disseminating the real news aren’t too bothered by it either.

The coverage it did receive was amusing in that journalists appeared to be completely fine with disseminating pro-US government propaganda to foreign audiences, which is precisely what they accuse Russia of doing, and which they pretend to find so uniquely heinous.

One concerned Pentagon official who spoke to BuzzFeed about the amendment said it gave the government sweeping powers to push propaganda on the American people with no oversight. He worried the government could circulate information domestically that is “entirely false.” While that’s not exactly a shocker to anyone who has ever watched a White House or State Department news briefing, it’s interesting because it’s a pretty clear admission from a Pentagon source that the US does spread “entirely false” information abroad. Not a shocker either, but given some recent reportage on Russian influence in the US, it’s pretty clear that many American journalists either don’t care or are completely blind to the role their own government plays in the politics of foreign nations.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression the US government only started using domestic propaganda in 2013. That’s just when they made certain types of it legal. In reality, they were doing it long before then. The best example is Operation Mockingbird — a Cold War project wherein the CIA allegedly supported journalists at major American news publications as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. One CIA operative told the Washington Post that you could get a journalist “cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.”

In 1977 investigative reporter Carl Bernstein wrote that more than 400 American journalists over the previous 25 years had secretly carried out assignments for the CIA. Many times this was done with the consent of the management at top news organizations. The CIA even ran a training program teaching its operatives how to be journalists before planting them at newspapers and broadcasters.

This is worth remembering when we look at the self-righteousness spewing from many of the same news organizations today about the horrible scourge of Russian propaganda. We ought to remember, we’re talking about institutions which not too long ago were knowingly and actively helping the CIA disseminate propaganda not only to foreigners but to Americans who had no idea they were sitting down with their morning coffee to — quite literally — read CIA press releases in the likes of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

So, let’s fast forward a little bit to more modern times and modern methods.

Any consumer of American news media will be aware that journalists are up in arms about the Russian government allegedly using paid ads on Facebook and bots on Twitter to influence the American electorate not only before, but after the election to exacerbate social division.

But where was all the sanctimonious outrage in 2011 when it was revealed the US military was developing software that would allow it to secretly manipulate social media platforms using fake personas to “influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda,” as reported by the Guardian at the time.

“The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sockpuppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies, and non-government organizations to do the same,” The Guardian wrote.

So, if American journalists and politicians want to blame anyone for Russia potentially utilizing social media sockpuppets to influence online conversations, they need look no further than their own military, it seems.

The US military enlisted the services of a California corporation to create the fake online personas. Under the contract, one serviceman or woman would be able to control up to ten separate fake identities worldwide — identities which would need to have their own convincing backgrounds and histories.

Of course, Centcom and the US government explain all this away, promising that they only use programs like these to counter violent and extremist enemy propaganda, but is there anyone naive enough to believe that’s truly all these sock-puppet accounts are used for?

In 2014, the US military studied and recorded the activities of people on Twitter and other social media services to understand how influenced behavior happens on social platforms. The study, which was funded by the US Department of Defense’s military research department (Darpa) went so far as to message unknowing participants to see how they responded. The aim was for the US military to become better at detecting online propaganda campaigns — and running its own. Surprise, surprise, the official description of the study states its aim was simply to “counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.”

We know that is hogwash thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who revealed information showing massive and wide-reaching government efforts to use social media for propaganda and disinformation. The NSA along with the British GCHQ run entire units dedicated to “discrediting their targets online through disinformation campaigns — which include fake blog posts and emails and texts being sent to colleagues, neighbors, and friends.

In 2014, the Obama administration created a “Twitter-like Cuban communications network” which was run through shell companies to give the impression that it was a privately-owned operation, but would actually work to “undermine the communist government” in Cuba. The Cubans who used the service had no idea it was being run by the US government, which was secretly gathering their data to use for political purposes.

It is nothing short of stunning that this kind of operation is roundly ignored by American journalists who claimed to be disturbed by government manipulation of social media.

Then there are the more overt efforts at influence.

In 2009, during anti-government protests in Iran, the US State Department asked Twitter to reschedule maintenance work, so that Iranian protesters could continue to use the social media platform to get the word out about their movement. It’s hardly the most egregious of asks, but can you imagine if Twitter had scheduled maintenance time during the 2016 protests against police brutality in Ferguson and the Kremlin asked Twitter to please hold off on the downtime so that the people of Missouri could keep tweeting about inequality in America? The Russian government would be immediately accused of “meddling” and trying to stoke racial tensions and social divides in the US. When the US does it in Iran, though, that’s not meddling, it’s simply promoting “freedom of expression.”

In 2015, The Guardian reported the British Army was creating a special force of “Facebook warriors” who are “skilled in psychological operations and social media,” to engage in “unconventional warfare” in the information age. It’s interesting too that we’re supposed to call Russians “trolls” and “bots” — but Western social media propagandists get to be “warriors.”

The force would attempt to “control the narrative” in favor of British foreign policy goals. The same Guardian report noted that the Israeli Defense [sic] Forces had pioneered military engagement with social media since its 2008 war in Gaza and was active on 30 platforms in six languages.

Both the US and UK are aggressive in their manipulation of people through online forums — both domestically and abroad. This sparks little outrage and receives practically no coverage in comparison with the coverage that reports of Russian influence on Facebook and Twitter have received in recent weeks.

A global conference held last year in London made clear just how dedicated Western governments and NATO are to exploiting social media to gain influence and support for their military operations abroad. One panel on “digital outreach” described NATO’s aim as “cultivating a global audience through social media to support The Alliance.”

Those are not minced words. Western governments aren’t denying that they are engaging in this sort of behavior — they are simply framing it in such a way as to make it sound honorable and good — a counter to the ‘bad’ kind of propaganda used by their enemies.

The obsessive refrain of “Russia hacked our election” which appears in American media daily — together with a sustained effort in recent years to paint all Russian information as “fake news” is in itself a kind of psychological warfare.

In 2016, a group of crusaders against Russian propaganda wrote a report for a think-tank called the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), which not incidentally, is funded by American arms manufacturers. The authors suggested “deradicalization” programs for anyone who has “fallen victim” to Kremlin propaganda online.

Well, where are the deradicalization programs for those who have fallen victim to American propaganda? Who is going to fund those? Maybe the Kremlin can lend a hand. I’m sure the CIA wouldn’t mind.

This is an opportune moment for American journalists to remind people just how much their own government tries to control their minds and control narratives online. Instead, they’re busy obsessively parroting US intelligence officials and whipping the public into a frenzy about Russia.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website

Read more:

US ends ban on ‘domestic propaganda’

American defense contractors think you have been brainwashed

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy

By Craig Murray | October 10, 2017

Before his speech on Independence to the Catalan parliament, Carles Puigdemont seemed to be in an impossible position. Declare Independence and he would be immediately arrested and direct rule imposed from Madrid. Rajoy appeared to have all the angles covered; the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament. The intergovernmental side of the EU, the Council, had through its President Donald Tusk called on Puigdemont not to declare Independence but rather to enter dialogue, in terms that accepted the Spanish insistence that the very notion of Independence was inadmissible.

So Puigdemont was placed by the right wing governments of Europe into a position where if he declared Independence he would be portrayed as an unreasonable fanatic refusing dialogue, and his imprisonment would be portrayed as justified. On the other hand, if he did not declare Independence he would appear a traitor to his own supporters, would be breaking the referendum law of his own Catalan parliament and the cause of Independence would be damaged by disillusion.

The entire World was wondering how Puigdemont would deal with this fix. His answer was peculiarly brilliant. He started off by speaking at length of the history of Catalonia’s attempts to enter dialogue on more devolution, and their constant rebuttal by Madrid. This was so reasonable and effective that the live blog of the rabidly Unionist Guardian plain refused to translate or summarise any of it (see 18.31 here).

Puigdemont effectively turned the tables on Rajoy by both declaring Independence and not declaring Independence. He proclaimed the result of the referendum and said as a consequence the parliament would declare Independence, but in the next breath announced they would seek dialogue on the way forward with Spain. All media sources are saying that he stated Independence would be declared but suspended for two weeks pending dialogue. Unless the DW interpreter missed it, this did not come across as I listened live and I wonder if there was a last minute change to the circulated text. But the effect of what he said was much the same.

It is Rajoy who is now in the impossible position. The World has seen a very mild and moderate Puigdemont positively pleading for dialogue and mediation. It is going to be very difficult for Rajoy to arrest him for that. More importantly, Puigdemont appears to have acceded to the request of Donald Tusk and the European Council. But he has done so safe in the knowledge that Rajoy will not enter dialogue and never had any intention of doing so.

There are only two possible outcomes of a dialogue or mediation. One is greatly enhanced powers for Catalonia in a new devolution settlement. The second is an an agreed and binding Independence referendum. But Rajoy has taken a line of absolutist opposition to either of these ways forward, which opposition is fundamental to his centralising, Francoist world view. Rajoy, having whipped up Spanish nationalism to violent fever pitch, cannot give any ground to Catalonia without substantially alienating his own Francoist core support.

Puigdemont, in short, has acceded to EU calls for dialogue and negotiation which he knows Rajoy will refuse. As it becomes ever more evident that Rajoy has no plan at all except violence, the popular revulsion across Europe against the Francoists will gather momentum.

Puigdemont appeared boxed in, but he has skipped past Rajoy and left him sitting on his arse in the mud.


I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Russia ready to mediate talks between Saudi Arabia & Iran – deputy FM

RT | October 11, 2017

Russia is ready and willing to mediate in establishing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has stated.

“We tried several times and offered [to help Iran and Saudi Arabia sit down at the negotiating table], but we do not impose our intermediary role,” Bogdanov told reporters.

“But we have always told our partners in both Saudi Arabia and Iran that we are ready to provide both a platform for contacts and friendly services.”

Bogdanov added that Moscow has always highlighted the need to resolve the issues between the two countries.

“Many problems would have been much easier to resolve had there been mutual understanding and trust between Tehran and Riyadh,” Bogdanov said.

He added that the situation in the entire region, especially regarding antiterrorism efforts, depends on mutual understanding and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Bogdanov stressed that Russia always tells Saudi Arabia and Iran that it is ready to report something from one side to another or to organize their bilateral contacts. “These proposals remain on the table both with our Saudi and Iranian partners,” he said.

In May, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism and seeking confrontational policies in the region. He was responding to comments by the Saudi deputy crown prince, who earlier ruled out dialogue with Tehran. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, the kingdom’s defense minister, said it was impossible to mend relations between his country and Iran due to Tehran’s “extremist ideology” and ambitions to “control the Islamic world.”

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister responded by accusing Iran of setting up “terrorist cells” inside the kingdom. Iran then issued a warning that “divine vengeance” would come to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Nimr’s execution as well as for Riyadh’s bombings in Yemen and support for the Bahraini government.

In February of this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while on a visit to Saudi ally Kuwait, said that Tehran would like to restore relations and improve ties with all its Gulf Arab neighbors.

One area where Moscow and Riyadh disagree is Iran’s involvement in Syria.

Riyadh, a main backer of the Syrian opposition, is against the actions of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Hezbollah group in Syria. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, these groups influence the situations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf countries, and Yemen, and have no place in Syria or any other part of the world. Riyadh’s primary objective has been to put an end to Iran’s involvement in the region.

Meanwhile, Russia has argued that Iran and Hezbollah are operating in Syria at the official request of President Bashar Assad.

“We don’t see Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. We believe that both of them [Iran and Hezbollah] – like Russia’s air forces – came to Syria following the request of the legitimate government,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed in April.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments