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Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson – Britain’s Record of Conducting State Sponsored Assassinations

Pat Finucane (right) leaving Court with Pat McGeown, the IRA volunteer who had charges related to the deaths of 2 British soldiers dropped.
By Gavin O’Reilly | American Herald Tribune | March 15, 2018

With the eyes of the world focused on the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, the Russian who worked as a British double-agent before being exiled to the UK in 2010, since he and his daughter were found slumped on a Salisbury public bench last Sunday, one can’t help but notice the hypocritical reaction of the British political establishment to the attack.

Addressing the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May alleged Kremlin involvement in the incident due to ‘Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations’.

These words were spoken in a self-righteous sense, one that suggested the UK held the moral ground over Russia and would never go so far as to conduct assassinations of political opponents on foreign soil.

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of British foreign policy towards Ireland however, would know that this patently isn’t the case.

In 1989, the north of Ireland was at the height of a bloody conflict in which Irish Republican militants were waging a guerrilla campaign on Crown Forces in a bid to end British rule in the region.

In order to counter the threat posed by the IRA and other such groups, Westminster had long decided that anyone charged with Republican activity in the occupied six counties would be brought before a non-Jury ‘Diplock’ court; thus maximising the chances of conviction and imprisonment.

One human rights Lawyer from Belfast however, would quickly gain prominence for successfully defending Republicans charged before these courts.

Pat Finucane first came to public attention through his campaigning for Republican prisoners during the 1981 H-Block hunger strike.

He would quickly become a thorn in the side of the British establishment by representing Republicans in several high-profile cases throughout the 1980s, with the final straw coming in November 1988 when he successfully defended an IRA Volunteer in a case related to the deaths of two British soldiers.

On the 12th of February 1989, a pro-British death squad burst into Pat Finucane’s home and shot him 14 times as he had Sunday dinner with his wife and children.

The death squad in question, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was a then-legal organisation under the control of the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert British military unit tasked with turning the UDA into a more ‘professional’ organisation.

British state involvement in the killing went even higher than the military, with then-Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg lamenting in the weeks before Finucane’s death that there were Lawyers in the north of Ireland who were ‘unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA’.

The murder of Pat Finucane was not an isolated incident however, and not even a tactic confined by the British to intense periods of conflict in Ireland, such as the 1980s were.

Ten years after Finucane’s killing, the level of conflict in Ireland had decreased significantly following the 1998 surrender agreement between the Provisional IRA and British government.

This ‘peace’ however, was and still is maintained by the threat of violence from the British state should anything upset the status quo.

This is what ultimately led to the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

A human rights lawyer, like Pat Finucane, Rosemary had also risen to prominence through her successful defence of Republicans in high-profile cases.

However, it was her representation of the family of Robert Hamill, a young Nationalist beaten to death by a Loyalist mob in 1997 whilst in full view of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) the north of Ireland’s pro-British police force, that drew the most ire from the British establishment.

On the 15th of March 1999, Rosemary Nelson was killed by a car bomb outside her home in Armagh, occupied Ireland. The attack was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a breakaway faction of the UDA.

Rosemary Nelson 79438

The scene of Rosemary Nelson’s murder

In the days following her murder, it emerged that members of the RUC’s covert Special Branch had been involved in a surveillance operation close to Nelson’s home the night before her death, ostensibly to monitor suspected members of the IRA.

Despite the intense surveillance of the area surrounding Nelson’s home, no Special Branch members reported seeing the RHD team that carried out attack; like Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson had also become another victim of Britain’s bloody record of state sponsored assassinations.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

When Dealing with a Bear, Hubris Is Suicidal

The Saker • Unz Review • March 15, 2018

Assuming mankind finds a way not to destroy itself in the near future and assuming that there will still be historians in the 22nd or 23rd centuries, I bet you that they will look at the AngloZionist Empire and see the four following characteristics as some of its core features: lies, willful ignorance, hypocrisy, and hysterics. To illustrate my point I will use the recent “Skripal nerve-gas assassination” story as it really encompasses all of these characteristics.

I won’t even bother debunking the official nonsense here as others have done a very good job of pointing out the idiocy of that narrative. If you are truly capable of believing that “Putin” (that is the current collective designator for the Evil Empire of Mordor threatening all of western civilization) would order the murder of a man whom a Russian military court sentenced to only 13 years in jail (as opposed to life or death) and who was subsequently released as part of a swap with the USA, you can stop reading right now and go back to watching TV. I personally have neither the energy nor the inclination to even discuss such a self-evidently absurd theory. No, what I do want to do is use this story as a perfect illustration of the kind of society we now all live in looked at from a moral point of view. I realize that we live in a largely value-free society where moral norms have been replaced by ideological orthodoxy, but that is just one more reason for me to write about what is taking place precisely focusing on the moral dimensions of current events.

Lies and the unapologetic denial of reality:

In a 2015 article entitled “A society of sexually frustrated Pinocchios” I wrote the following:

I see a direct cause and effect relationship between the denial of moral reality and the denial of physical reality. I can’t prove that, of course, but here is my thesis: Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With “principles” such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all “for the greater glory of God” the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof. Fast forward another 10 centuries or so and we end up with the modern “Gayropa” (as Europe is now often referred to in Russia): not only has God been declared ‘dead’ and all notions of right and wrong dismissed as “cultural”, but even objective reality has now been rendered contingent upon political expediency and ideological imperatives.

I went on to quote George Orwell by reminding how he defined “doublethink” in his book 1984:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality

and I concluded by saying that “The necessary corollary from this state of mind is that only appearances matter, not reality”.

This is exactly what we are observing; not only in the silly Skripal nerve-gas assassination story but also in all the rest of the Russophobic nonsense produced by the AngloZionist propaganda machine including the “Litvinenko polonium murder” and the “Yushchenko dioxin poisoning“. The fact that neither nerve-gas, nor polonium nor dioxin are in any way effective murder weapons does not matter in the least: a simple drive-by shooting, street-stabbing or, better, any “accident” is both easier to arrange and impossible to trace. Fancy assassination methods are used when access to the target is very hard or impossible (as was the case with Ibn al-Khattab, whose assassination the Russians were more than happy to take credit for; this might also have been the case with the death of Yasser Arafat). But the best way of murdering somebody is to simply make the body disappear, making any subsequent investigation almost impossible. Finally, you can always subcontract the assassination to somebody else like, for example, when the CIA tried and failed, to murder Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah by subcontracting his bombing to its local “Christian” allies, killing over 80 innocent people in the process. There is plenty of common crime in the UK and to get somebody to rob and stab Skripal would have probably been the easiest version. That’s assuming that the Russians had any reason to want him dead, which they self-evidently didn’t.

But here is the important thing: every single criminal or intelligence specialist in the West understands all of the above. But that does not stop the Ziomedia from publishing articles like this one “A Brief History of Attempted Russian Assassinations by Poison” which also lists people poisoned by Russians:

  • Skripal by nerve gas
  • Litvinenko by polonium
  • Kara-Murza poisoned not once, but TWICE, by an unknown poison, he survived!
  • Markov poisoned by ricin and the Bulgarians with “speculated KGB assistance”
  • Khattab by sarin or a sarin-derivative
  • Yushchenko by dioxin
  • Perepilichny by “a rare, toxic flower, gelsemium” (I kid you not, check the article!)
  • Moskalenko by mercury
  • Politkovskaya who was shot, but who once felt “ill after drinking some tea that she believed contained poison”

The only possible conclusion from this list is this: there is some kind of secret lab in Russia where completely incompetent chemists try every poison known to man, not on rats or on mice, but on high profile AngloZionist-supported political activists, preferably before an important political event.

Right.

By the way, the gas allegedly used in the attack, “Novichok”, was manufactured in Uzbekistan and the cleanup of the factory producing it was made by, you guessed it, a US company. Just saying…

In any halfway honest and halfway educated society, those kind of articles should result in the idiot writing it being summarily fired for gross incompetence and the paper/journal posting it being discredited forever. But in our world, the clown who wrote that nonsense (Elias Groll, a Harvard graduate and – listen to this – a specialist of “cyberspace and its conflicts and controversies” (sic)) is a staff writer of the award-winning Foreign Policy magazine.

So what does it tell us, and future historians, when this kind of crap is written by a staff writer of an “award winning” media outlet? Does it not show that our society has now reached a stage in its decay (I can’t call that “development”) where lies become the norm? Not only are even grotesque and prima facie absurd lies accepted, they are expected (if only because they reinforce the current ideological Zeitgeist. The result? Our society is now packed with first, zombified ideological drones who actually believe any type of officially proclaimed of nonsense and, second, by cowards who lack the basic courage to denounce even that which they themselves know to be false.

Lies, however ridiculous and self-evidently stupid, have become the main ingredient of the modern political discourse. Everybody knows this and nobody cares. When challenged on this, the typical defense used is always the same: “you are the only person saying this – I sure never heard this before!”.

Willful ignorance as a universal cop-out

We all know the type. You tell somebody that his/her theory makes absolutely no sense or is not supported by facts and the reply you get is some vaguely worded refusal to engage in an disputation. Initially, you might be tempted to believe that, indeed, your interlocutor is not too bright and not too well read, but eventually you realize that there is something very different happening: the modern man actually makes a very determined effort not to be capable of logical thought and not to be informed of the basic facts of the case. And what is true for specific individuals is even more true of our society as a whole. Let’s take one simple example: Operation Gladio:

Gladio” is really an open secret by now. Excellent books and videos have been written about this and even the BBC has made a two and a half hour long video about it. There is even an entire website dedicated to the story of this huge, continent-wide, terrorist organization specializing in false flag operations. That’s right: a NATO-run terrorist network in western Europe involved in false flag massacres like the infamous Bologna train station bombing. No, not the Soviet KGB backing the Baader-Meinhof Red Army Faction or the Red Brigades in Italy. No, the US and West European governments organizing, funding and operating a terrorist network directed at the people of Western, not Eastern, Europe. Yes, at their own people! In theory, everybody should know about this, the information is available everywhere, even on the hyper-politically correct Wikipedia. But, again, nobody cares.

The end of the Cold War was marked by a seemingly endless series of events which all provided a pretext for AngloZionist interventions (from the Markale massacres in Bosnia, to the Srebrenica “genocide”, to the Racak massacre in Kosovo, to the “best” and biggest one of them all, 9/11 of course). Yet almost nobody wondered if the same people or, at least, the same kind of people who committed all the Gladio crimes might be involved. Quite the opposite: each one of these events was accompanied by a huge propaganda campaign mindlessly endorsing and even promoting the official narrative, even when it self-evidently made no sense whatsoever (like 2 aircraft burning down 3 steel towers). As for Gladio, it was conveniently “forgotten”.

There is a simple principle in psychology, including, and especially in criminal psychology which I would like to prominently restate here:

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

Every criminologist knows that and this is why criminal investigators place so much importance on the “modus operandi”, i.e. the particular way or method a suspect or a criminal chooses in the course of the execution of his/her crimes. That is also something which everybody knows. So let’s summarize this in a simple thesis:

Western regimes have a long and well-established track record of regularly executing bloody false-flag operations in pursuit of political objectives, especially those providing them with a pretext to justify an illegal military aggression.

Frankly, I submit that the thesis above is really established not only by a preponderance of evidence but beyond a reasonable doubt. Right?

Maybe. But that is also completely irrelevant because nobody gives a damn! Not the reporters who lie for a living nor, even less so, the brainwashed zombies who read their nonsense and take it seriously. The CIA tried to kill Fidel Castro over 600 times – who cares?! All we know is that the good folks at Langley would never, ever, kill a Russian in the UK, out of respect for international law, probably…

That willful ignorance easily defeats history, facts or logic.

Here is a simple question a journalist could ask: “would the type of people who had no problems blowing up an large train station, or bringing down three buildings in downtown New York, have any hesitation in using a goofy method to try kill a useless Russian ex-spy if that could justify further hostile actions against a country which they desperately need to demonize to justify and preserve the current AngloZionist world order?”. The answer I think is self-evident. The question shall therefore not be asked. Instead, soy-boys from Foreign Policy mag will tell us about how the Russians use exotic flowers to kill high visibility opponents whose death would serve no conceivable political goal.

Hypocrisy as a core attribute of the modern man

Willful ignorance is important, of course, but it is not enough. For one thing, being ignorant, while useful to dismiss a fact-based and/or logical argument, is not something useful to establish your moral superiority or the legality of your actions. Empire requires much more than just obedience from its subject: what is also absolutely indispensable is a very strong sense of superiority which can be relied upon when committing a hostile action against the other guy. And nothing is as solid a foundation for a sense of superiority than the unapologetic reliance on brazen hypocrisy. Let’s take a fresh example: the latest US threats to attack Syria (again).

Irrespective of the fact that the US themselves have certified Syria free of chemical weapons and irrespective of the fact that US officials are still saying that they have no evidence that the Syrian government was involved in any chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the US is now preparing to strike Syria again in “response” to future chemical attacks! Yes, you read that right. The AngloZionists are now announcing their false flags in advance! In fact, by the time this analysis is published the attack will probably already have occurred. The “best” part of this all is that Nikki Haley has now announced to the UN Security Council that the US will act without any UN Security Council approval. What the US is declaring is this: “we reserve the right to violate international law at any time and for any reason we deem sufficient”. In the very same statement, Nikki Haley also called the Syrian government an “outlaw regime”. This is not a joke, check it out for yourself. The reaction in “democratic” Europe: declaring that *Russia* (not the US) is a rogue state. QED.

This entire circus is only made possible by the fact that the western elites have all turned into “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” (to use the wonderful words of Boris Johnson) and that absolutely nobody has the courage, or decency, to call all this what it really is: an obscene display of total hypocrisy and wholesale violation of all norms of international law. The French philosopher Alain Soral is quite right when he says that modern “journalists are either unemployed or prostitutes” (he spoke about the French media – un journaliste français c’est soit une pute soit un chômeur – but this fully applies to all the western media). Except that I would extend it to the entire Western Establishment.

I would further argue that foreign aggression and hypocrisy have become the two essential pillars for the survival of the AngloZionist empire: the first one being an economic and political imperative, the 2nd one being the prerequisite for the public justification of the first one. But sometimes even that is not enough, especially when the lies are self-evidently absurd. Then the final, quasi-miraculous element is always brought in: hysterics.

Hysteria as the highest form of (pseudo-)liberalism

I don’t particularly care for the distinction usually made between liberals and conservatives, at least not unless the context and these terms is carefully and accurately defined. I certainly don’t place myself on that continuum nor do find it analytically helpful.

The theoretical meaning of these concepts is, however, quite different from what is mostly understood under these labels, especially when people use them to identify themselves. That is to say that while I am not at all sure that those who think of themselves as, say, liberals are in any way truly liberal, I do think that people who would identify themselves as “liberals” often (mostly?) share a number of characteristics, the foremost of which is a very strong propensity to function at, and engage in, an hysterical mode of discourse and action.

The Google definition of hysteria is “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people (…) whose symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior”. Is that not a perfect description of US politicians, especially the (putatively) “liberal” ones? Just think of the way US Democrats have capitalized on such (non-)issues as “Russian interference” (externally) or “gun control” (internally) and you will see that the so-called “liberals” never get off a high-emotional pitch. The best example of all, really, is their reaction to the election of Donald Trump instead of their cult-leader Hillary: it has been over a year since Trump has been elected and yet the liberal ziomedia and its consumers are still in full-blown hysteria mode (with “pussyhats”, “sky-screams” and all). In a conversation you can literally drown such a liberal with facts, statistics, expert testimonies, etc. and achieve absolutely no result whatsoever because the liberal lives in an ideological comfort zone which he/she is categorically unwilling and, in fact, unable, to abandon, even temporarily. This is what makes liberals such a *perfect* audience for false-flag operations: they simply won’t process the narrative presented to them in a logical manner but will immediately react to it in a strongly emotional manner, usually with the urge to immediately “do something”.

That “do something” is usually expressed in the application of violence (externally) and the imposition of bans/restrictions/regulations (internally). You can try to explain to that liberal that the very last thing the Russians would ever want to do is to use a stupid method to try to kill a person who is of absolutely no interest to them, or to explain to that liberal that the very last thing the Syrian government would ever do in the course of its successful liberation of its national territory from “good terrorists” would be to use chemical weapons of any kind – but you would never achieve anything: Trump must be impeached, the Russians sanctioned and the Syrians bombed, end of argument.

I am quite aware that there are a lot of self-described “conservatives” who have fully joined this chorus of hysterical liberals in all their demands, but these “conservatives” are not only acting out of character, they are simply caving in to the social pressure of the day, being the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” mentioned above. Again, I am not discussing real liberals or real conservatives here (regardless of what these terms really mean), I am talking about those who, for whatever reason, chose to place that label upon themselves even if they personally have only a very vague idea of what this label is supposed to mean.

So there we have it: an Empire built (and maintained) on lies, accepted on the basis ignorance, justified by hypocrisy and energized by hysterics. This is what the “Western world” stands for nowadays. And while there is definitely a vocal minority of “resisters” (from the Left and the Right – also two categories I don’t find analytically helpful – and from many other schools of political thought), the sad reality is that the vast majority of people around us accept this and see no reason to denounce it, never mind doing something about it. That is why “they” got away with 9/11 and why “they” will continue to get away with future false-flags because the people lied to, realize, at least on some level, that they are being lied to and yet they simply don’t care. Truly, the Orwellian slogans of 1984 “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” perfectly fit our world. However, when dealing with the proverbial Russian bear, there is one lesson of history which western leaders really should never forget and which they should also turn into a slogan: when dealing with a bear, hubris is suicidal.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Labour divided after Corbyn refuses to condemn Kremlin without more evidence

RT | March 15, 2018

The Labour Party is facing internal rupture over the actions of leader Jeremy Corbyn after he refused to condemn Russia. The party leader asked that international law be followed before attributing blame to Moscow.

Theresa May and the Tories labeled the Kremlin as “culpable” over the poisoning over ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, claiming it was “likely” the alleged attack had been ordered by Moscow. However, Corbyn asked the prime minister what proof she had to suggest Putin’s men were behind the incident.

By not supporting the PM’s condemnation, the Labour leader deepened divides in his front bench, and received widespread criticism from his MPs. Corbyn asked: “If the government believes it is still a possibility that Russia negligently lost control of a military-grade nerve agent, what action is being taken through the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]?”

Politicians from all sides have been angered by the comments in the wake of the scandal in Salisbury. One shadow cabinet member told The Telegraph : “Not only did Jeremy misjudge the mood of the chamber, he misjudged the mood of the country. People think this attack is an outrage, they think Putin is a bastard and they want a strong response.”

Labour backbenchers overwhelmingly supported May’s statement, which introduced the toughest sanctions on Russia for decades. Next week, 23 diplomats described as “undisclosed agents” will be expelled, while extra checks will be introduced on Russian private jets.

Some 20 Labour backbenchers signed a debate motion, tabled by John Woodcock, stating that the Commons “unequivocally accepts the Russian state’s culpability” and “fully supports” the statements made by May. Another MP said they were horrified by Corbyn’s comments, and others said privately that they could not back him ever becoming prime minister.

Corbyn had called for any action to be “decisive and proportionate, and based on clear evidence.”

Nia Griffith, shadow defence secretary, quickly came out to support the Tory stance on removing diplomats from the UK, risking her job. The Welsh MP, 61, said: “Looking back, perhaps it would have been easier for us if he had made it clear at the beginning of what he said just how much we support the expulsion of the diplomats.”

However, the heat quickly moved to Corbyn spokesman Seumas Milne, who is Labour’s director of communications. The former-Guardian columnist irked the British press when he raised the possibility that someone other than the Russian state was responsible for the Salisbury attack, including a different former Soviet state.

He also drew parallels between the jump to blame Moscow and previous issues with international threats, including the Iraq war. History of information from UK intelligence agencies was “problematic,” he said.

However, senior party sources said Corbyn’s stance was unchallenged at a shadow cabinet meeting this week. Instead, it has been suggested that one-on-one meetings were called with angered MPs. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, is understood to have stressed that ultimate responsibility was hard to determine, while the shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer urged Mr Corbyn to condemn the attack – which he did, following May’s statement. Corbyn called the attack “abominable” in his statement and condemned the use of chemical weapons.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 4 Comments

Art and history paid for to shape opinions about military

By Yves Engler · March 15, 2018

Would it surprise you to learn the Canadian military spends millions on art and history?

Until April the Canadian War Museum is hosting an exhibition of war art from the Ukraine created through the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP). In 2014–15 eight artists were sent to observe Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s “training” mission to support Ukraine’s armed forces.

Until April the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) is hosting an exhibition of war art from the Ukraine created through the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP). In 2014–15 eight artists were sent to observe Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s “training” mission to support Ukraine’s armed forces.

The purpose of CFAP is to “encourage artists to learn more about our men and women in uniform and to create works of art that document and explore Canada’s military history and experience.” The program pays for artists to spend 7-10 days in the field with troops to document their activities.

While CFAP began in 2001, there have been various iterations of the program over the past century. During World War I, for instance, Canada’s official war art program created almost 1,000 works of art. During WWII the head of the Army’s historical section, Colonel A. F. Duguid, initiated a war art program and over the years the Canadian forces have commissioned sketches of the Korean War, NATO missions, UN operations and the first Gulf War.

Today CFAP is run by the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage. With a 50-person staff, the Directorate also supports the Organization of Military Museums of Canada. The half-century old organization seeks “to preserve the military heritage of Canada by encouraging the establishment and operation of military museums.” Along with more than 60 Canadian Forces’ museums, the Directorate supports the Canadian War Museum.

DND’s Directorate of History and Heritage is “mandated to preserve and communicate Canada’s military history and foster pride in a Canadian military heritage.” They answer “1,000 questions of an historical nature” annually, helping high school students with assignments and academics navigate archival inquiries. The Directorate also works with the media. In the early 1990s, for instance, senior military historian Brereton Greenhous was a special advisor during production of the CBC film Dieppe 1942. Similarly, director of the historical section Charles Stacey vetted Canada At War, the first television miniseries to document Canada’s part in the Second World War, before the National Film Board produced program played on CBC.

The Directorate’s historians also help veterans exert political pressure. After a backlash to a Canadian War Museum exhibit that mentioned the WWII Allied Bomber Command targeting civilians, senior DND historian Serge Bernier was asked to write a report. Bernier concluded the exhibit was hurtful to the veterans.

The Directorate’s roots date back to the end of World War I when the Department of Militia and Defence established a historical section. In Clio’s Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars Tim Cook writes, “it has been the official historians of the Department of National Defence who, for much of the 20th century, have controlled the academic writing on the two world wars.” But, official historians’ influence has extended far beyond the “Great Wars”. In 1919 the historical section published the first in a three-volume series titled “A history of the organization, development and services of the military and naval forces of Canada from the peace of Paris in 1763, to the present time.” Immediately after the Korean War official historians wrote two books on the subject and published another in 1966. (Academics all but failed to revisit Canada’s role in Korea until the late 1990s.)

The minister approves publication of Directorate books. On several occasions cabinet has discussed and recommended changes to their histories.

Official historians published a large share of the early books on Canadian militarism and greatly influenced academia. The Directorate was the “graduate school in military history”, notes DND historian William A. Douglas, until “university departments started producing postgraduates.” In the two decades after World War II individuals who worked in the military’s historical sections filled many academic posts in military history and associated fields. And they were often influential in their field. Head of the War Artist Program and deputy-director of the Historical Section at Canadian Army Headquarters in London, George Stanley led the history department at the Royal Military College after World War II. During his career Stanley was president of the Canadian Historical Association, a member of the Massey Commission Committee on Historic Sites and Monuments and chairman of the federal government’s Centennial Publications Committee.

At the military-run Royal Military College Stanley taught Jack Granatstein and Desmond Morton. These two individuals, who both worked in DND’s historical section, have published hundreds of books and articles on Canadian military history and foreign policy.

A military historian for two decades, Colonel Charles Stacey has had “more influence on how Canadians view their nation’s military history” than any other individual. Director of the army’s historical section for 14 years after WWII, he published a dozen books and in 2000 Granatstein wrote that Stacey’s “books continue to be read and to have great influence on military and foreign policy historians.”

Turns out the military wants to control what you think about them and are willing to spend your tax dollars to do it.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

May blatantly misleads Parliament about Russian “terrorist” law

Theresa May following a tradition of being less than exact in Parliament about a casus belli
OffGuardian | March 14, 2018

When Theresa May said this in the House of Commons today:

While the extra-judicial killing of terrorists and dissidents outside Russia were given legal sanction by the Russian Parliament in 2006.

she was either disgracefully uninformed or was intentionally misleading Parliament on the nature of the Russian laws in question.

Her words completely misrepresent the known and understood facts of the case.

Not only have two experts in Russian law given their view that the laws do not permit the extra-judicial killing of “dissidents” in the manner described, but a British judge ruled in agreement with this conclusion during the Litvinenko Inquiry.

These are the judge’s own words:

The only legal route to extra-territorial action against Mr Litvinenko was therefore under the Terrorism Law. However, action could only have been taken against Mr Litvinenko under this law had he been involved in, or no doubt suspected of involvement in, some form of terrorist activity. Article 3 of the Terrorism Law contains definitions of terrorism and terrorist acts that are broadly conventional, and certainly not as expansive as the definition of ‘extremism’ in the second of the 2006 laws. Mr Batmanov’s letter (above) states that, “Alexander Litvinenko did not make part of a terrorist organization and was not accused by Russian law enforcement bodies of having committed a terrorist crime.” That accords with my understanding of the evidence

On the basis of the evidence currently before me, and in light of the considerations set out above, I am therefore not persuaded that any action could have been taken by the FSB against Mr Litvinenko in 2006 under the terms of either of the 2006 laws.

Put simply, this means the two laws would not have legalised the killing of Litvinenko on foreign soil. And, by extension would not legalise the poisoning of Skripal either.

Alexander Mercouris, a former UK barrister and author of a lengthy study of the Litvinenko Inquiry (published by OffG here and cited above) had this to say to us about May’s words in Parliament today:

Theresa May…was the Home Secretary who – somewhat unwillingly – set up the Litvinenko inquiry, and to whom the inquiry report was formally addressed. It is difficult to believe therefore that she is unaware that there is a British judicial finding that the two Russian laws which were passed in 2006 do not authorise extra judicial assassination attempts such as the one the British say was carried out in 2006 against Litvinenko, or the one which the British say was recently carried out against Skripal – who had of course been previously pardoned for his crimes by the Russian state.

The question arises – if this part of May’s statement contained such a blatant inaccuracy, how much weight can be given to her other as yet unsubstantiated claims of Russian guilt?

Those currently excoriating Jeremy Corbyn for asking for evidence before endorsing what amounts to indirect declarations of war on a nuclear power, might want to consider this fact before continuing on their chosen path.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 4 Comments

The War Against Alternative Information

By Rick Sterling | Consortium News |  January 1, 2017

The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.

The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”

The legislation was initiated in March 2016, as the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia was already underway and was enacted amid the allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and the mainstream media’s furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”

The new law is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian “propaganda” on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth – or Global Engagement Center – to protect the American people from “foreign propaganda and disinformation.”

As part of the effort to detect and defeat these unwanted narratives, the law authorizes the Center to: “Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.” (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”)

Justifying this new bureaucracy, the bill’s sponsors argued that the existing agencies for “strategic communications” and “public diplomacy” were not enough, that the information threat required “a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power.”

The law also is rife with irony since the U.S. government and related agencies are among the world’s biggest purveyors of propaganda and disinformation – or what you might call evidence-free claims, such as the recent accusations of Russia hacking into Democratic emails to “influence” the U.S. election.

Despite these accusations — leaked by the Obama administration and embraced as true by the mainstream U.S. news media — there is little or no public evidence to support the charges. There is also a contradictory analysis by veteran U.S. intelligence professionals as well as statements by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and an associate, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, that the Russians were not the source of the leaks. Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has virtually ignored this counter-evidence, appearing eager to collaborate with the new “Global Engagement Center” even before it is officially formed.

Of course, there is a long history of U.S. disinformation and propaganda. Former CIA agents Philip Agee and John Stockwell documented how it was done decades ago, secretly planting “black propaganda” and covertly funding media outlets to influence events around the world, with much of the fake news blowing back into the American media.

In more recent decades, the U.S. government has adopted an Internet-era version of that formula with an emphasis on having the State Department or the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy supply, train and pay “activists” and “citizen journalists” to create and distribute propaganda and false stories via “social media” and via contacts with the mainstream media. The U.S. government’s strategy also seeks to undermine and discredit journalists who challenge this orthodoxy. The new legislation escalates this information war by tossing another $160 million into the pot.

Propaganda and Disinformation on Syria

Syria is a good case study in the modern application of information warfare. In her memoir Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that the U.S. provided “support for (Syrian) civilian opposition groups, including satellite-linked computers, telephones, cameras, and training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.”

Indeed, a huge amount of money has gone to “activists” and “civil society” groups in Syria and other countries that have been targeted for “regime change.” A lot of the money also goes to parent organizations that are based in the United States and Europe, so these efforts do not only support on-the-ground efforts to undermine the targeted countries, but perhaps even more importantly, the money influences and manipulates public opinion in the West.

In North America, representatives from the Syrian “Local Coordination Committees” (LCC) were frequent guests on popular media programs such as “DemocracyNow.” The message was clear: there is a “revolution” in Syria against a “brutal regime” personified in Bashar al-Assad. It was not mentioned that the “Local Coordination Committees” have been primarily funded by the West, specifically the Office for Syrian Opposition Support, which was founded by the U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

More recently, news and analysis about Syria has been conveyed through the filter of the White Helmets, also known as Syrian Civil Defense. In the Western news media, the White Helmets are described as neutral, non-partisan, civilian volunteers courageously carrying out rescue work in the war zone. In fact, the group is none of the above. It was initiated by the U.S. and U.K. using a British military contractor and Brooklyn-based marketing company.

While they may have performed some genuine rescue operations, the White Helmets are primarily a media organization with a political goal: to promote NATO intervention in Syria. (The manipulation of public opinion using the White Helmets and promoted by the New York Times and Avaaz petition for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria is documented here.)

The White Helmets hoax continues to be widely believed and receives uncritical promotion though it has increasingly been exposed at alternative media outlets as the creation of a “shady PR firm.” During critical times in the conflict in Aleppo, White Helmet individuals have been used as the source for important news stories despite a track record of deception.

Recent Propaganda: Blatant Lies?

As the armed groups in east Aleppo recently lost ground and then collapsed, Western governments and allied media went into a frenzy of accusations against Syria and Russia based on reports from sources connected with the armed opposition. CNN host Wolf Blitzer described Aleppo as “falling” in a “slaughter of these women and children” while CNN host Jake Tapper referred to “genocide by another name.”

War damage in the once-thriving Syrian city of Aleppo

The Daily Beast published the claims of the Aleppo Siege Media Center under the title “Doomsday is held in Aleppo” and amid accusations that the Syrian army was executing civilians, burning them alive and “20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.” These sensational claims were widely broadcast without verification. However, this “news” on CNN and throughout Western media came from highly biased sources and many of the claims – lacking anything approaching independent corroboration – could be accurately described as propaganda and disinformation.

Ironically, some of the supposedly “Russian propaganda” sites, such as RT, have provided first-hand on-the-ground reporting from the war zones with verifiable information that contradicts the Western narrative and thus has received almost no attention in the U.S. news media. For instance, some of these non-Western outlets have shown videos of popular celebrations over the “liberation of Aleppo.”

There has been further corroboration of these realities from peace activists, such as Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research who published a photo essay of his eyewitness observations in Aleppo including the happiness of civilians from east Aleppo reaching the government-controlled areas of west Aleppo, finally freed from areas that had been controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its jihadist allies in Ahrar al-Sham.

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a medical doctor from Aleppo, described the liberation of Aleppo in an interview titled “Aleppo is Celebrating, Free from Terrorists, the Western Media Misinformed.” The first Christmas celebrations in Aleppo in four years are shown here, replete with marching band members in Santa Claus outfits. Journalist Vanessa Beeley has published testimonies of civilians from east Aleppo. The happiness of civilians at their liberation is clear.

Whether or not you wish to accept these depictions of the reality in Aleppo, at a minimum, they reflect another side of the story that you have been denied while being persistently force-fed the version favored by the U.S. State Department. The goal of the new Global Engagement Center to counter “foreign propaganda” is to ensure that you never get to hear this alternative narrative to the Western propaganda line.

Even much earlier, contrary to the Western mythology of rebel “liberated zones,” there was strong evidence that the armed groups were never popular in Aleppo. American journalist James Foley described the situation in 2012 like this:

“Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups. The rebels in Aleppo are predominantly from the countryside, further alienating them from the urban crowd that once lived here peacefully, in relative economic comfort and with little interference from the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad.”

On Nov. 22, 2012, Foley was kidnapped in northwestern Syria and held by Islamic State terrorists before his beheading in August 2014.

The Overall Narrative on Syria

Analysis of the Syrian conflict boils down to two competing narratives. One narrative is that the conflict is a fight for freedom and democracy against a brutal regime, a storyline promoted in the West and the Gulf states, which have been fueling the conflict from the start. This narrative is also favored by some self-styled “anti-imperialists” who want a “Syrian revolution.”

The other narrative is that the conflict is essentially a war of aggression against a sovereign state, with the aggressors including NATO countries, Gulf monarchies, Israel and Jordan. Domination of the Western media by these powerful interests is so thorough that one almost never gets access to this second narrative, which is essentially banned from not only the mainstream but also much of the liberal and progressive media.

For example, listeners and viewers of the generally progressive TV and radio program “DemocracyNow!” have rarely if ever heard the second narrative described in any detail. Instead, the program frequently broadcasts the statements of Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and others associated with the U.S. position. Rarely do you hear the viewpoint of the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, the Syrian Foreign Minister or analysts inside Syria and around the world who have written about and follow events there closely.

“DemocracyNow!” also has done repeated interviews with proponents of the “Syrian revolution” while ignoring analysts who call the conflict a war of aggression sponsored by the West and the Gulf monarchies. This blackout of the second narrative continues despite the fact that many prominent international figures see it as such. For example, the former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.”

In many areas of politics, “DemocracyNow!” is excellent and challenges mainstream media. However in this area, coverage of the Syrian conflict, the broadcast is biased, one-sided and echoes the news and analysis of mainstream Western corporate media, showing the extent of control over foreign policy news that already exists in the United States and Europe.

Suppressing and Censoring Challenges

Despite the widespread censorship of alternative analyses on Syria and other foreign hotspots that already exists in the West, the U.S. government’s new “Global Engagement Center” will seek to ensure that the censorship is even more complete with its goal to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation.” We can expect even more aggressive and better-financed assaults on the few voices daring to challenge the West’s “group thinks” – smear campaigns that are already quite extensive.

In an article titled “Controlling the Narrative on Syria”, Louis Allday describes the criticisms and attacks on journalists Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal for straying from the “approved” Western narrative on Syria. Some of the bullying and abuse has come from precisely those people, such as Robin Yassin-Kassab, who have been frequent guests in liberal Western media.

Reporters who have returned from Syria with accounts that challenge the propaganda themes that have permeated the Western media also have come under attack. For instance, Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett recently returned to North America after being in Syria and Aleppo, conveying a very different image and critical of the West’s biased media coverage. Bartlett appeared at a United Nations press conference and then did numerous interviews across the country during a speaking tour. During the course of her talks and presentation, Bartlett criticized the White Helmets and questioned whether it was true that Al Quds Hospital in opposition-held East Aleppo was attacked and destroyed as claimed.

Bartlett’s recounting of this information made her a target of Snopes, which has been a mostly useful website exposing urban legends and false rumors but has come under criticism itself for some internal challenges and has been inconsistent in its investigations. In one report entitled “White Helmet Hearsay,” Snopes’ writer Bethania Palmer says claims the White Helmets are “linked to terrorists” is “unproven,” but she overlooks numerous videos, photos, and other reports showing White Helmet members celebrating a Nusra/Al Qaeda battle victory, picking up the bodies of civilians executed by a Nusra executioner, and having a member who alternatively appears as a rebel/terrorist fighter with a weapon and later wearing a White Helmet uniform. The “fact check” barely scrapes the surface of public evidence.

The same writer did another shallow “investigation” titled “victim blaming” regarding Bartlett’s critique of White Helmet videos and what happened at the Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo. Bartlett suggests that some White Helmet videos may be fabricated and may feature the same child at different times, i.e., photographs that appear to show the same girl being rescued by White Helmet workers at different places and times. While it is uncertain whether this is the same girl, the similarity is clear. 

The Snopes writer goes on to criticize Bartlett for her comments about the reported bombing of Al Quds Hospital in east Aleppo in April 2016. A statement at the website of Doctors Without Borders says the building was “destroyed and reduced to rubble,” but this was clearly false since photos show the building with unclear damage. Five months later, the September 2016 report by Doctors Without Borders says the top two floors of the building were destroyed and the ground floor Emergency Room damaged yet they re-opened in two weeks.

The many inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of Doctors Without Borders resulted in an open letter to them. In their last report, Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) acknowledges that “MSF staff did not directly witness the attack and has not visited Al Quds Hospital since 2014.”

Bartlett referenced satellite images taken before and after the reported attack on the hospital. The images do not show severe damage and it is unclear whether or not there is any damage to the roof, the basis for Bartlett’s statement. In the past week, independent journalists have visited the scene of Al Quds Hospital and report that that the top floors of the building are still there and damage is unclear.

The Snopes’ investigation criticizing Bartlett was superficial and ignored the broader issues of accuracy and integrity in the Western media’s depiction of the Syrian conflict. Instead the article appeared to be an effort to discredit the eyewitness observations and analysis of a journalist who dared challenge the mainstream narrative.

U.S. propaganda and disinformation on Syria has been extremely effective in misleading much of the American population. Thus, most Americans are unaware how many billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on yet another “regime change” project. The propaganda campaign – having learned from the successful demonizations of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and other targeted leaders – has been so masterful regarding Syria that many liberal and progressive news outlets were pulled in. It has been left to RT and some Internet outlets to challenge the U.S. government and the mainstream media.

But the U.S. government’s near total control of the message doesn’t appear to be enough. Apparently even a few voices of dissent are a few voices too many.

The enactment of HR5181, “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation,” suggests that the ruling powers seek to escalate suppression of news and analyses that run counter to the official narrative. Backed by a new infusion of $160 million, the plan is to further squelch skeptical voices with operation for “countering” and “refuting” what the U.S. government deems to be propaganda and disinformation.

As part of the $160 million package, funds can be used to hire or reward “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Among the tasks that these private entities can be hired to perform is to identify and investigate both print and online sources of news that are deemed to be distributing “disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.”

In other words, we are about to see an escalation of the information war.

Rick Sterling is an independent investigative journalist. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuelan Opposition Protests Proposed UN Electoral Observer Mission

Venezuelanalysis | March 13, 2018

Caracas – Supporters of Venezuela’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition marched on the headquarters of the United Nations in Caracas Monday to protest the possibility of the international body sending an observer mission to monitor the country’s upcoming May 20 elections.

In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the opposition alleged that an observer mission would “give a veneer of legality to an [electoral] process that lacks it.”

Last month, the Venezuelan electoral authorities formally invited the UN to send an observer mission to monitor the upcoming elections as part of an agreement negotiated between the government and the MUD, which the latter ultimately refused to sign. The UN is yet to confirm whether it will send a delegation in May.

Following the breakdown of internationally-mediated talks, the main opposition coalition announced it would boycott the presidential elections – which were then set for April 22 – claiming the date and electoral guarantees were inadequate to ensure a free and fair contest.

However on March 1, several smaller opposition parties led by former Lara Governor Henri Falcon broke ranks with the MUD and signed a deal with the ruling United Socialist Party and its leftist allies moving the presidential election to May 20 and hold municipal and state legislative elections on the same day. Although the agreement featured various safeguards previously demanded by the MUD during talks – including observers from the UN and other international bodies, equal access to media, and an ample window for voter registration – the anti-government coalition dismissed the deal as a “farce” and vowed to go ahead with its boycott.

Turnout in Monday’s demonstration was, nonetheless, small in number, particularly in comparison to the mass protests organized by the MUD to demand early presidential elections last year, which frequently concluded in deadly acts of violence perpetrated by hardline anti-government groups.

The march was organized by the newly formed “Free Venezuela Broad Front” (FAVL), which includes the parties of the MUD alongside the Fedecameras business lobby, representatives of the Catholic and evangelical churches, several university student and professor organizations, as well as a group of ex-government loyalists led by former Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres.

Taking to Twitter Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro criticized the call for electoral boycott and rejection of UN observers from sections of the opposition.

“Why so much contradiction? What do they [the MUD] want? I want the secretary-general to send a strong commission of observers,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Maduro’s principal rival, Henri Falcon, was in New York Tuesday, where he was reportedly meeting with UN officials.

Himself a former Chavista, Falcon was expelled from the MUD last month after he registered his candidacy in violation of the coalition’s boycott.

While center-right pollster Datanalisis has reported that over 70 percent of Venezuelans intend to vote in the upcoming elections, Falcon and other opposition leaders remain concerned about low turnout among their ranks.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the opposition’s new Broad Front denied the organization was promoting abstention.

“We are not partisans of a policy of abstention. Of course, we think that as things are now, one cannot vote, because we want to vote to truly choose and not give the appearance of legality in the country that doesn’t exist,” explained Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, who was secretary general of the MUD between 2009 and 2014, during an interview with Globovision Tuesday.

However, the former MUD leader did not indicate that the FAVL would encourage its supporters to vote for Falcon.

On the contrary, he suggested that the opposition candidate could abandon his presidential bid.

“I don’t at all rule out that Falcon renounces his candidacy, withdraws from the process when he confirms what we, his friends, have told him… that it’s not a real election,” Aveledo added.

The FAVL has called for nationwide protests against the May 20 elections for this coming Saturday.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments