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Mueller’s Indictments Debunked by NSA Whistle-blower Bill Binney

The Jimmy Dore Show | August 13, 2018

VIPS Professional Bill Binney sets the record straight on Guccifer 2.0 and Mueller’s latest indictments.

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August 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Video | | Leave a comment

‘Too Big to Fail’: Russia-gate One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | August 13, 2018

A year has passed since highly credentialed intelligence professionals produced the first hard evidence that allegations of mail theft and other crimes attributed to Russia rested on purposeful falsification and subterfuge. The initial reaction to these revelations—a firestorm of frantic denial—augured ill, and the time since has fulfilled one’s worst expectations. One year later we live within an institutionalized proscription of proven reality. Our discourse consists of a series of fence posts and taboos. By any detached measure, this lands us in deep, serious trouble. The sprawl of what we call “Russia-gate” now brings our republic and its institutions to a moment of great peril—the gravest since the McCarthy years and possibly since the Civil War. No, I do not consider this hyperbole.

Much has happened since Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity published its report on intrusions into the Democratic Party’s mail servers on Consortium News on July 24 last year. Parts of the intelligence apparatus—by no means all or even most of it—have issued official “assessments” of Russian culpability. Media have produced countless multi-part “investigations,” “special reports,” and what-have-yous that amount to an orgy of faulty syllogisms. Robert Mueller’s special investigation has issued two sets of indictments that, on scrutiny, prove as wanting in evidence as the notoriously flimsy intelligence “assessment” of January 6, 2017.

Indictments are not evidence and do not need to contain evidence. That is supposed to come out at trail, which is very unlikely to ever happen. Nevertheless, the corporate media has treated the indictments as convictions.

Numerous sets of sanctions against Russia, individual Russians, and Russian entities have been imposed on the basis of this great conjuring of assumption and presumption. The latest came last week, when the Trump administration announced measures in response to the alleged attempt to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal, a former double agent and his daughter, in England last March. No evidence proving responsibility in the Skripal case has yet been produced. This amounts to our new standard. It prompted a reader with whom I am in regular contact to ask, “How far will we allow our government to escalate against others without proof of anything?”

This is a very good question.

Cover of 2001 book that looks at an earlier era of anti-Russia hysteria

There have been many attempts to discredit VIPS50 as the group’s document is called. There has been much amateurish journalism, false reporting, misrepresentation, distortion, misquotation, and omission. We have been treated to much shoddy science, attempts at character assassination, a great deal of base name-calling, and much else. Russia is routinely advanced as the greatest threat to democracy Americans now face. Is there any denying that we live amid an induced hysteria now comparable to the “Red under every bed” period of the 1950s?

None of this has altered the basic case. VIPS and forensic scientists working with it have continued their investigations. New facts, some of which alter conclusions drawn last year, have come to light, and these are to be addressed. But the basic evidence that Russia-gate is a false narrative concocted by various constituents of national power stands, difficult as this is to discern. Scrape back all that is ethically unacceptable and unscrupulously conveyed into the public sphere and you find that nothing has changed: No one “hacked” the Democratic party’s mail in the summer of 2016. It was leaked locally, from what one can make out, to expose the party leadership’s corrupt efforts to sink Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign to win the Democratic nomination.

But in another, very profound way, more has changed since VIPS50 was published than one could have imagined a year ago. American discourse has descended to a dangerous level of irrationality. The most ordinary standards of evidentiary procedure are forgone. Many of our key institutions—the foreign policy apparatus, the media, key intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, the political leadership—are now extravagantly committed to a narrative none appears able to control. The risk of self-inflicted damage these institutions assume, should the truth of the Russia-gate events emerge—as one day it surely will—is nearly incalculable. This is what inspires my McCarthy and Civil War references. Russia-gate, in a phrase, has become too big to fail.

This column is an attack on no one. However it may be read, it is not intended as another round of vituperative argument adding to the din and fog we already suffer daily. No shred of ideology informs it. I write a lament—this for all we have done to ourselves and our institutions this past year, and to the prospect of an orderly world, and for all that must somehow be done to repair the damage once enough of us indeed recognize what has been done.

New VIPS Findings

Binney: Dares anyone to prove remote speeds

The forensic scientists working with VIPS continued their research and experiments after VIPS50 was published. So have key members of the VIPS group, notably William Binney, the National Security Agency’s former technical director for global analysis and designer of programs the agency still uses to monitor internet traffic. Such work continues as we speak, indeed. This was always the intent: “Evidence to date” was the premise of VIPS50. Over the past year there have been confirmations of the original thesis and some surprises that alter secondary aspects of it. Let us look at the most significant of these findings.

At the time I reported on the findings of VIPS and associated forensic scientists, that the most fundamental evidence that the events of summer 2016 constituted a leak, not a hack, was the transfer rate—the speed at which data was copied. The speed proven then was an average of 22.7 megabytes per second. That speed matches what is standard when someone with physical access uses an external storage device to copy data from a computer or server and is much faster than a remote hack reliant on an internet service provider could achieve—either at the time or since, Binney has found.

Binney experimented into the autumn. By mid-autumn he had tested several routes—from East Coast locations to cities in eastern Europe, from New Jersey to London. The fastest internet transfer speed achieved, during the New Jersey–to–Britain test, was 12.0 megabytes of data per second. Since this time it has emerged from G-2.0’s metadata that the detected average speed—the 22.7 megabytes per second—included peak speeds that ran as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, impossible over the internet. “You’d need a dedicated, leased, 400–megabit line all the way to Russia to achieve that result,” Binney said in a recent interview.

To my knowledge, no one with an understanding of the science involved, including various former skeptics, any longer questions the validity of the specific finding based on the observed transfer rate. That remains the bedrock evidence of the case VIPS and others advance without qualification. No one—including the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA—has come out against this finding,” Binney said Monday. “Anyone who says the speed we demonstrated can be achieved remotely, our position is ‘Let’s see it. We’ll help any way we can.’ There hasn’t been anyone yet.”

There is also the question of where and when leaks were executed. Research into this has turned out differently.

Evidence last year, based on analysis of the available metadata, showed that the copy operation date-stamped July 5, 2016, took place in the Eastern U.S. time zone. But Forensicator, one of the chief forensic investigators working on the mail-theft case anonymously, published evidence in May that, while there was activity in the Eastern zone at the time of that copy, here was also a copy operation in the Pacific time zone, where clocks run three hours earlier that EST. In an earlier publication he had also reported activity in the Central time zone.

Plainly, more was awaiting discovery as to the when and where of the copy operations. The identity of Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be a Romanian hacker but which the latest Mueller indictment claims is a construct of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, has never been proven. The question is what G–2.0 did with or to the data in question. It turns out that both more, and less, is known about G–2.0 than was thought to have been previously demonstrated. This work has been completed only recently. It was done by Binney in collaboration with Duncan Campbell, a British journalist who has followed the Russia-gate question closely.

Peak Speed Established

Binney visited Campbell in Brighton, England, early this past spring. They examined all the metadata associated with the files G–2.0 has made public. They looked at the number of files, the size of each, and the time stamps at the end of each. It was at this time that Binney and Campbell established the peak transfer rate at 49.1 megabytes per second.

But they discovered something else of significance, too. At some point G–2.0 had merged two sets of data, one dated July 5, 2016, which had been known, and another dated the following September 1, which had not been known. In essence, Campbell reverse-engineered G–2.0’s work: He took the sets of data G–2.0 presented as two and combined them back into one. “G–2.0 used an algorithm to make a downloaded file look like two files,” Binney explained. “Those two shuffled back together like a deck of cards.”

G–2.0 then took another step. Running another algorithm, he changed all the dates on all the files. With yet another algorithm, he changed the hours stamped on each file. These are called “range changes” among the professionals. The conclusion was then obvious: G–2.0 is a fabrication and a fabricator. Forensicator had already proven that the G–2.0 entity had inserted Russian “fingerprints” into the document known as the “Trump Opposition Report,” which he had published on June 15, 2016. It is clear that no firm conclusions can be drawn at this point as to when or where G–2.0 did what he did.

“Now you need to prove everything you might think about him,” Binney told me. “We have no way of knowing anything about him or what he has done, apart from manipulating the files. We detected activity in the Eastern time zone. Now we have to ask again, ‘Which time zone?’ The West Coast copy operation [discovered by Forensicator] has to be proven. All the data has been manipulated. It’s a fabrication.”

This throws various things into question. The conclusions initially drawn on time and location in VIPS50 are now subject to these recent discoveries. “In retrospect, giving ‘equal importance’ status to data pertaining to the locale was mistaken,” Ray McGovern, a prominent VIPS member, wrote in a recent note. “The key finding on transfer speed always dwarfed it in importance.”

The indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers announced in mid–July by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney-general, also come into question. They rest in considerable part on evidence derived from G–2.0 and DCLeaks, another online persona. How credible are those indictments in view of what is now known about G–2.0?

Binney told me: “Once we proved G–2.0 is a fabrication and a manipulator, the timing and location questions couldn’t be answered but really didn’t matter. I don’t right now see a way of absolutely proving either time or location. But this doesn’t change anything. We know what we know: The intrusion into the Democratic National Committee mail was a local download—wherever ‘local’ is.” That doesn’t change. As to Rosenstein, he’ll have a lot to prove.”

What Role does Evidence Play?

Rosenstein’s predicament—and there is no indication he understands it as one—brings us to an essential problem: What is the place of evidence in American public discourse? Of rational exchange?

The questions are germane far beyond the Russia-gate phenomenon, but it is there that answers are most urgent. What is implicit in the Rosenstein indictments has been evident everywhere in our public sphere for a year or more: Make a presumption supported by circumstantial evidence or none and build other presumptions upon it until a false narrative is constructed. The press has deployed this device for as long as I have been a practitioner: “Might” or “could” or “possibly” becomes “perhaps,” “probably” and “almost certainly,” and then moves on to unqualified fact in the course of, maybe, several weeks. Now this is how our most basic institutions—not least agencies of the Justice Department—routinely operate.

Rosenstein at the Department of Justice July 13, 2018 announcing indictments against 12 Russian GRU. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is what I mean when I refer to ours as a republic in peril.

There is the argument that certain things have been uncovered over the past year, and these are enough to conclude that Russia plots to undermine our democracy. I refer to the small number of Facebook advertisements attributed to Russians, to strings of Twitter messages, to various phishing exercises that occur thousands of times a day the world over. To be clear, I am no more satisfied with the evidence of Russian involvement in these cases than I am with the evidence in any other aspect of the Russia-gate case. But for the sake of argument, let us say it is all true.

Does this line up with the Russophobic hysteria—not too strong a term—that envelops us? Does this explain the astonishing investments our public institutions, the press, and leading political parties have made in advancing this hysteria as they did a variant of in the 1950s?

As global politics go, some serious thought should be given to a reality we have created all by ourselves: It is now likely that America has built a new Cold War division with Russia that will prove permanent for the next 20 to 30 years. All this because of some Facebook ads and Twitter threads of unproven origin? Am I the only one who sees a weird and worrisome gap between what we are intent on believing—as against thinking or knowing—and the consequences of these beliefs?

There was an orthodoxy abroad many centuries ago called Fideism. In the simplest terms, it means the privileging of faith and belief over reason. It was the enemy of individual conscience, among much else. Fideism has deep roots, but it was well around in the 16th century, when Montaigne and others had to navigate its many dangers. Closer to our time, William James landed a variant on American shores with an 1896 address called “The Will to Believe.” Bertrand Russell countered this line of thinking a couple of decades later with “Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” a lecture whose title I will let speak for itself. Twenty years ago, none other than Pope John Paul II warned of a resurgence of Fideism. It is still around, in short.

Do we suffer from it? A variant of it, I would say, if not precisely in name. There seems to be a givenness to it in the American character. I think we are staring into a 21st century rendition of it.

To doubt the hollowed-out myth of American innocence is a grave sin against the faith. It is now unpatriotic to question the Russia-gate narrative despite the absence of evidence to support it. Informal censorship of differing perspectives is perfectly routine. It is now considered treasonous to question the word of intelligence agencies and the officials who lead them despite long records of deceit. Do we forget that it was only 15 years ago that these same institutions and people deceived us into an invasion of Iraq the consequences of which still persist?

This was the question Craig Murray, the former British diplomat (who has vital information on the DNC mail theft but who has never been interviewed by American investigators) posed a few weeks ago. Eugene Robinson gave a good-enough reply in a Washington Post opinion piece shortly afterward: “God Bless the Deep State,” the headline read.

How we got here deserves a work of social psychology, and I hope someone takes up the task. Understanding our path into our self-created crisis seems to me the first step to finding our way out of it.


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Taliban Praises Recent Talks With Washington as ‘Very Helpful’

Sputnik – August 13, 2018

The Arch enemies entered into talks following the successful implementation of a three-day ceasefire in June for the Muslim holiday of ‘Eid al-Fitr.’

A Senior Taliban official has described peace talks held last month with the US as “very helpful” in envisaging a path out of Afghanistan’s seventeen year old war.

The leader, from an organisation within the Taliban called ‘Quetta Shura,’ has been quoted as saying that both sides intend to hold the next round of talks in September, and that these “will be more specific and focused on key issues.” He also added that, “once the breakthrough is started it will be stunning for all.”

The comments come on the heels of a string of reports since the end of July, which describe an unprecedented face-to-face meeting held in the Qatari capital, Doha, between a Taliban delegation and officials from the US State Department, led by senior diplomat Alice Wells. Representatives from the Islamist insurgency were quick to laud discussions at that time too, describing them as “very positive.”

While Washington officials with detailed knowledge of the negotiations remain tight-lipped, Taliban delegates who were in attendance let a few of the specifics loose: allegedly, a key US demand is for Washington to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan while peace talks are ongoing. While initially hostile to such a suggestion, reports suggest that the insurgency’s leadership council has since suggested that it could be open to the idea on the condition that the US plays an active political role in the peace process.

The Taliban has long refused to hold discussions with Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul until it is given the opportunity for direct talks with the US. However, leading talks for reconciliation between the central government in Kabul and the Taliban has long been anathema to Washington, which has maintained that it would not heavily involve itself in “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” negotiations. Echoing that sentiment in early July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed that the Trump administration would “support, facilitate and participate in peace discussions, but peace must be decided by the Afghans and settled among them.”

Yet, as time has ticked by, reports suggest that President Donald Trump has grown impatient with the tactical stalemate on the ground and NATO’s inability to retake chunks of territory controlled by the Taliban. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, as of January 30 2018, approximately 56.3% of Afghanistan was under the Taliban’s sway. Frustration at such a reality may have culminated in the US president’s decision to dispatch envoys to Afghanistan in early July to open up channels for backdoor diplomacy.

The US’ sudden willingness to sit down with the Taliban has likely been bolstered by the group’s apparent commitment to extirpating foreign terrorist groups from Afghan territory — namely Daesh. This month, a Taliban onslaught reportedly caused 200 Daesh fighters to surrender in the North of the country. Additionally, the group are advancing on a Daesh stronghold in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where a large-scale battle is expected to take place.

Despite the optimism among the Taliban’s echelon, fighting with the Afghan Security Forces continues unabated. In the early hours of Friday, the group’s fighters launched an assault for control of the eastern city of Ghazni. According to the country’s 1TV television station, so far 100 people have been killed. In an effort to repel the advance, the US Air Force launched a series of air strikes on Taliban positions, raising questions as to how likely it is that these old foes are ready to sit down at the negotiating table.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Washington Freezes Open Sky Treaty With Moscow in New Defense Bill

Sputnik – 13.08.2018

US President Donald Trump signed the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2019 at Fort Drum, New York on Monday.

The bill funds the Department of Defense as well as funding to accelerate US efforts to field a conventional prompt strike capability before 2022, $6.3 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), and will obligate Defense Secretary James Mattis to submit a plan to Congress that would stop Turkey from getting F-35 aircraft if it purchases the Russian S-400 air defense system.

“An assessment of the potential purchase by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the S-400 air and missile defense system from the Russian Federation and the potential effects of such purchase on the United States-Turkey bilateral relationship, including an assessment of impacts on other United States weapon systems and platforms operated jointly with the Republic of Turkey,” the legislation said.

The measure also includes $250 million in lethal defensive items for Ukraine.

Moreover, according to the NDAA, Trump must submit a report to the US Congress by January 2019 regarding whether Russia is in breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

“Not later than January 15, 2019, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a determination whether — (1) the Russian federation is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty; and (2) the prohibitions set forth in Article VI of the INF Treaty remain binding on the United States as a matter of United States law,” the NDAA said.

In addition, the United States will discuss with Russia if the latter’s new strategic weapon systems are in compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty.

“Not later than December 31, 2018, the President shall… submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report as to whether… the President has raised the issue of covered Russian systems in the appropriate fora with the Russian Federation under Article V of the New START Treaty or otherwise,” the legislation said.

The NDAA also notes that the Russian systems of concern include the heavy intercontinental missile system Sarmat, the air-launched nuclear-powered cruise missile X-101, the unmanned underwater vehicle the US government calls “Status 6,” and the long-distance guided flight hypersonic glide vehicle Avangard.

Trump must report if Russia will agree to declare the covered systems as strategic offensive arms or otherwise pursuant to the New START Treaty, the legislation said.

The White House will notify the appropriate congressional committees as to whether the position of Russia threatens the viability of the New START Treaty or requires appropriate US political, economic or military responses, the legislation also said.

Moreover, the 2019 US National Defense Authorization Act revealed that Trump must present to Congress within 90 days a report on persons involved in transactions with Russia’s intelligence or military sectors.

“Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes those persons that the President has determined under section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act [CAATSA]… have knowingly engaged, on or after August 2, 2017, in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation, the NDAA showed on Monday.

The NDAA also requires the US President to update such a report every 90 days following the first submission for the next five years.

Meanwhile, the bill also reinforces US partnership with Israel and authorizes co-production of missile defense systems as well as enhances US support for European partners against Russia by funding the European Deterrence Initiative.

Particularly, the Department of Defense must submit a report to Congress by next March on the feasibility of permanent deployment of US troops in Poland.

“Not later than March 1, 2019, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing United States forces in the Republic of Poland,” the document said.

“The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following: An assessment of the types of permanently stationed United States forces in Poland required to deter aggression by the Russian Federation and execute Department of Defense contingency plans, including combat enabler units in capability areas such as (A) combat engineering; (B) logistics and sustainment; (C) warfighting headquarters elements; (D) long-range fires; (E) air and missile defense; (F) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and (G) electronic warfare,” the NDAA said.

The NDAA also explained that an assessment of the permanent deployment feasibility should include an evaluation whether a US permanent deployment would increase deterrence against Russian as well as an assessment of Russia’s possible response.

In addition, the report should consist of an “assessment of the international political considerations of permanently stationing such a brigade combat team in Poland, including within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),” the NDAA said.

Notably, the United States will also accelerate its hypersonic missile defense program and provide a report within 90 days to congressional defense committees.

“Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shall accelerate the hypersonic missile defense program of the Missile Defense Agency,” the document said.

The NDAA requires head of the Missile Defense Agency to “deploy such program in conjunction with a persistent space-based missile defense sensor program.”

NDAA provides 90 days for Missile Defense Agency to submit a report on the hypersonic missile defense program to the US Senate and House of Representatives defense committees.

The report, which may include classified annex along with unclassified content, should provide an estimate of the cost, technical requirements and acquisition plan, the NDAA said.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

The US’ Rebuff Of Russia’s Cooperation Request In Syria Shows Its Cynicism

By Andrew KORYBKO – Oriental Review – 13/08/2018

The head of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Valery Gerasimov asked his closest American counterpart Joseph Dunford to assist his country in jointly stabilizing Syria.

Reuters reported that the proposal to cooperate on the repatriation of refugees and reconstruction projects in the Arab Republic was met with an “icy reception” by US decision makers, though this could have been expected considering that Washington had previously said that any assistance that it might provide to the government-controlled areas of Syria would be tied to the implementation of UNSC 2254’s constitutional reform and new elections. Furthermore, President Assad declared in late June that his government wouldn’t accept reconstruction funds from the same countries that contributed to destroying his own, though if the leaked details of Gerasimov’s message to Dunford are to be believed, then Russia’s assessment is that Damascus “lacks the equipment, fuel, other material, and funding needed to rebuild the country in order to accept refugee returns”, hence the reason for reaching out to the US.

While there were high hopes that Presidents Putin and Trump might have reached an understanding on Syria during last month’s Helsinki Summit, it appears as though expectations might be dashed after this latest setback. The US veritably has an interest in focusing its reconstruction efforts and post-war development projects on the Kurdish-controlled proxy state in the northeastern agriculturally and energy-rich corner of the country that it’s already deployed roughly two thousand troops to, so there’s a certain logic to rebuffing the latest Russian offer. Even though the Kurds and Damascus have reportedly entered into talks with one another, this is unlikely to lead to the dissolution of the US’ protectorate and will probably find a way to “formalize” it through mutually acceptable “compromises” that figure into the ongoing constitutional reform process.

Although the leaking of Gerasimov’s proposal to Dunford was probably done by Trump’s “deep state” enemies in a desperate attempt to undermine what they may have feared was the President’s “secret deal” with Putin, it inadvertently harms the US’ soft power standing because it confirms that America doesn’t really care about the welfare of the Syrian people or the return of refugees from the region and beyond in spite of its repeated statements to the contrary over the years. Making humanitarian and developmental assistance conditional on political factors is Machiavellian to the core but unsurprising to those who have a solid understanding of the cynicism behind American strategic planning. It’s also proof that the US is indirectly weaponizing refugees and developmental assistance in order to advance its objectives, something that its supporters have always denied but which is now beyond debate.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

‘US Creating Huge Amount of Antagonism Toward Itself in Iran’

Sputnik – August 13, 2018

Last week the US reimposed its first round of sanctions on Iran with more economic sanctions aimed at Iran’s oil industry to follow in November. This comes after US President Donald Trump announced his decision in May to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi, from the University of Tehran, told Sputnik that the US will isolate itself on the international stage by introducing more anti-Iranian sanctions.

Sputnik: I’d like to begin by asking you about the effect these new sanctions are likely to have on Iran, on Iran’s economy?

Seyed Mohammad Marandi: They will have a substantial effect, especially in November. The sanctions that take effect today (last week) have a more limited impact and the psychological impact has already shown itself over the past two weeks. So I don’t think that today is a major event, but in general I think, though, that the United States is miscalculating because by trying to strangle the Iranian economy and by trying to make ordinary Iranians suffer: men, women, children, young, old, the United States is creating a huge amount of antagonism towards itself.

Contrary to what the Americans would like to think it has unified not only the political establishment but the population as a whole. There is, of course, dissatisfaction among people because of the economic situation, the fall of the Iranian rial but a lot of blame is being directed towards Trump.

I also think that at the international level the United States has isolated itself because the international community sees the United States weaponizing financial institutions and the dollar. This is the sort of new way the United States carries out warfare.

In the past, they would bomb countries, they’d destroy countries, they’d kill hundreds of thousands of people through airstrikes, and through invasion. Now they no longer have that capability because of the sheer amount of money that they have to spend and the damage that it causes to the US economy, so they’re using financial warfare, but financial warfare has its own problems, and that is that gradually countries begin to create defense mechanisms.

The more they’re used, the more countries are encouraged to move away from the US dollar and to use alternative methods of trade and financial transaction to become less vulnerable.

Sputnik: When the November sanctions hit, what do you see happening? What industries will be affected the most?

Seyed Mohammad Marandi: Well it depends, I think that in some respect some industries will benefit because one of the mistakes that the Iranian administration, the current administration made, and it’s not just their mistake, previous administrations have done the same, (is to depend on oil revenues).

Because of Iran’s addiction, the addiction of all oil-producing countries to oil and oil wealth, they regularly use oil money to boost up the local currency, and the Iranian currency has always been boosted or supported by this oil wealth. So while people’s wages increase and liquidity rises, the rate between the Iranian currency and the dollar stays about the same, and this gradually creates a bigger and bigger bubble. Not only does it create a bubble, it also makes local production very difficult.

Many factories over the past few years, because of this bubble in Iran, have been shut down or they’re facing major problems. Iranian goods have been becoming more expensive than imported goods, so the fall of the rial to a more realistic rate does have its benefits, it hurts Iranians, obviously, and it creates inflation but it has made Iranian products more competitive, much more competitive. So if the government manages the situation, there could be a rise in employment and the local industries could benefit enormously from it.

The industries that will be hit are those that are linked to foreign investment, especially, from Europe and South Korea, and Japan, but their investments really haven’t been all that great, because ever since the JCPOA was signed, the United States never really implemented it. So the JCPOA, the nuclear deal, wasn’t even implemented under Obama.

So, for example, in the last three years, if I wanted to send you a single dollar to your bank account or you wanted to send me a single dollar, you couldn’t, even though Iran was supposed to be re-integrated into the global banking system. Obama prevented this from happening. So the JCPOA was never implemented in full and therefore it was very difficult for foreign investors to come in, and the United States behind the scenes was also putting pressure on foreign companies not to do trade or business, or to carry out investment in the country. So there wasn’t a great deal of investment in the first place, but this is one sector that will be hit.The second, of course, is the oil industry, where the United States will attempt to prevent Iran from exporting oil. I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but the Iranians are trying to devise mechanisms where they will continue to be able to export oil, and that is by selling oil to private companies.

As oil goes through these companies it would be more difficult for the United States to monitor where it goes and also the Iranians will be using, I think, the yuan more extensively, so they will not be reliant on the US dollar, and probably to a degree they’ll be trying to be less reliant on the euro as well, because to the Europeans it’s not clear how capable they are in standing up to the United States.

I think the Iranians will, probably, be trying to keep their oil production as high as possible, or they will probably will be able, to a large degree, to keep exporting oil at a relatively significant high amount, perhaps, closer to the current levels, but they’ll probably have to give discounts to those private companies who want to take the oil.

For more information listen to this edition of Weekend Special with Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi:

READ MORE:

China’s Energy Giant CNPC Takes Over Total’s Share in Iran Gas Project — Reports

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

The goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself

Why the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are not what they seem

By MarkGB | The Renegade | August 10, 2018

Propaganda has reached its zenith when each member of the target population thinks the same; when they are afraid to think differently. At this point ‘leadership’ may commit whatever atrocities it sees fit… in the certainty that the population will either not ‘see’ it, or will view the expression of criticism as a more heinous crime than the act being observed. This is achieved through cementing a ‘false equivalence’ in the mind of the group. Such a false equivalence is being cemented in the UK right now – the idea that criticism of Israel’s persecution of Palestinians is an act of anti-Semitism.

The propagandist seeks to bend the ‘group mind’. Thoughts and actions consistent with the ‘narrative’ are deemed to be socially acceptable & politically correct… ones that challenge it are regarded as socially UN-acceptable & politically IN-correct. Overtime this is reinforced through a dynamic that exists within every human grouping, and many species of mammal – fear of disapproval. Ergo, the propagandist is employing a form of ‘crowd control’.

When the fear of disapproval becomes so strong that one’s sense of belonging, or even physical survival, depend on adherence to the narrative… when failure to comply with it attracts immediate rebuke from other members of the group… then the population can be said to be policing itself. That is how ‘cults’ function, and more frequently than you might imagine… it’s how intelligence agencies and other governmental figures attempt to work through the media.

This is what Orwell warned of in the dystopia of ‘1984’. The Party had achieved what we might call a ‘maintenance state’ for the narrative – society was policing itself. For example, in Oceania, children were taught to report their parents to the ‘Thought Police’ if they demonstrated any sign of disloyalty to The Party. Disloyalty was considered a ‘thought crime’:

 “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage – torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them” – George Orwell, ‘1984’

This process is happening now. The false equivalence of ‘criticism of Israel’ with ‘anti-Semitism’ is being inculcated into society in general, into the Labour Party in particular, and in its sharpest manifestation, into the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

As you will already be aware (unless you’ve been trapped behind the fridge for several weeks) Corbyn is the target of a virulent campaign from a number of different directions, which have made ‘common cause’ on the accusation of anti-Semitism. Here, for example, are three major Jewish Newspapers, competitors of each other, who made the extraordinary decision to agree a common headline and verdict on ‘Corbyn’s Labour Party’:

And here is the Jewish Chronicle after Margaret Hodges attacked Corbyn in public with ‘you’re a fucking racist and anti-Semite’:

The mainstream media has not missed any opportunity to bash Corbyn either. Here’s a relatively mild headline from the Sun, who selected a comment from one of Corbyn’s backbenchers, Wes Streeting:

And to demonstrate that upmarket & downmarket means little when it comes to this stuff, here’s a hysterical comment from the usually ‘sober’ Telegraph :

What you will probably NOT have seen, however, is coverage of a statement published by 650 members of the Jewish Community, who are passionately opposed to the narrative. Here is the statement from ‘Independent Jewish Voices’ whose aim is ‘human rights and a just and peaceful solution’:

Neither is it likely that you will have heard the following statement from a Jewish academic, a person I’ve never met, but one who strikes me as a thoroughly intelligent and compassionate human being, Professor Annabelle Sreberney:

At this point, let me spell out my personal opinion regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitism:

You have to be a propagandist, an opportunist, or a complete idiot to discount decades of evidence demonstrating that Jeremy Corbyn is an enemy of racism. Wake up and smell the coffee – the guy stands up for the underdog… racists, by stark contrast, are always bullies

The reality I perceive, is not that Corbyn hates Jews, or loves Arabs… it’s that he challenges injustice where he sees it – and he sees it in the treatment that Palestinians receive from the State of Israel.

The Propagandists in this situation must ‘redirect’ the attention of the population to the ‘false equivalence’: Criticism of Israel = Anti-Semitism.

The Opportunists in the equation are many:

  • This is a wonderful distraction for a Tory government that couldn’t run a kid’s party at Willy Wonka’s
  • The Blairites in the Labour Party who’ve been trying to get rid of Corbyn since Day 1, have been handed a much more powerful weapon than anything they’ve tried up-to-now, and boy do they love it
  • There are a number of other groups who would rather invite Dracula over the threshold than see Corbyn enter Number Ten. The banks and the Murdoch empire are two examples

As for the Complete Idiots… sadly ‘careful thought’ is about as popular as ‘listening’, and to be fair to younger folk & millennials, this has been the case for the six decades I’ve been observing my fellow ‘talking monkeys’. In short, propaganda relies on people ‘not thinking’ – there’s a lot of it about.

Now, let’s look at some ‘nitty gritty’ – the everyday stuff. This isn’t something that only happens in the newspapers – it’s a real part of everyday thinking and discourse. Here is an example I encountered a few days ago, which will serve to illustrate the process:

Context

A Labour supporter on Twitter made an accurate observation that the BBC’s coverage of Jeremy Corbyn is so biased that it’s painful to listen to. I will keep his identity confidential since I have no desire to embarrass him – my purpose is to demonstrate ‘false equivalence’ in action.

Secondly, I should add that the Israeli Embassy has a fearsome reputation amongst journalists for making its feelings known if Israel doesn’t get the coverage it feels it deserves. This is no secret… and it’s not new. Here is Tim Llewellyn, former Middle East correspondent for the BBC, writing in The Observer in June 2004:

“The reasons for this tentative, unbalanced attitude to the central Middle East story are powerful. BBC news management is by turns schmoozed and pestered by the Israeli embassy. The pressure by this hyperactive, skilful mission and by Israel’s many influential and well organised friends is unremitting and productive, especially now that accusations of anti-Semitism can be so wildly deployed

And here is a clip from a suppressed Al-Jazeera film, showing Israeli Embassy staff advising Labour activists about how to discredit MPs who support an end to the abuse of Palestinians:

The conversation

Labour Supporter:

Will the Media ever accept Corbyn as the leader of Lab Party, No! Listen to Justin Webb’s Masterclass in unconscious bias, in a short interview with John McDonnell he trundled out every Anti-Corbyn narrative and the newest or oldest That Corbyn is like Trump

MarkGB:

When ‘journalists’ at BBC interview Jeremy Corbyn, they repeat what they hear in the echo chamber of Whitehall, itself an echo of the fears of corps, banks & other ‘lobbyists’… but the thing that scares the veritable ‘crap’ out of the BBC is a call from the Israeli Embassy

Labour Supporter:

You know that sounds like Paranoia and to my ears Anti-Semitic. If we are going to convince the media to give us a fair crack of the whip and balance reporting we need to be careful in our use of language

MarkGB:

‘To your ears’. There is no anti-Semitism in my tweet whatsoever. Don’t buy the conflation between criticism of Israeli government policy and anti-Semitism, or if you do, don’t try to pin it onto me. There’s none here.

As expected, he did not reply.

My comments

So here is a guy who is so scared of being seen as anti-Semitic he does the following, albeit probably unconsciously

  1. Sacrifices truth on the altar of the need to be careful. I.E. don’t tell the truth – it gets us into trouble. It may bring me disapproval
  2. Projects his fear onto another, in this case myself, who is thus cast as the ‘anti-Semitic’ one… so that people know that he isn’t
  3. Imagines that there is the remotest possibility that the media will give Labour or Corbyn, a ‘fair crack of the whip’

There is no way that Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party will ever get a ‘fair crack of the whip’ on this issue. The narrative requires that Corbyn’s support for Palestinians goes away… if you are entertaining the possibility that there is any place for ‘rational argument’ or ‘objective reporting’ from or with the people driving this narrative… you are deluding yourself. This is Propaganda… this is how it’s supposed to work

And it is working… have you noticed how the media is utterly obsessed with talking about Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’… at the expense of the underlying issue he calls attention to – Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people?

What then, is a person to do?

The solution to this is not quick, and it’s not easy. However, one action that any human being can take, is to stay alert to the meaning of words and how they are structured. If the communication is verbal, also to the body language and vocal tonalities. Pay attention to what is really being said… and also notice what is not being said or skirted around… and refuse to sacrifice your truth for an easier life. Do not let the false equivalence stand. As Gandalf said to the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad Dum…“You shall not pass”. 

Propaganda is a thought virus. Speaking your truth is the antidote. Here is the antidote in action – the splendid Dr Norman Finkelstein, giving an impassioned reply to an audience intent on using ’emotional blackmail’ to shut him up:

Here is my personal response to this thought virus, and to anyone who tries to infect me with it:

I don’t care if you worship in a synagogue, a church, a temple, or a mosque. I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, brown or green. I don’t give a monkey’s what you eat for dinner & I don’t care who you sleep with… provided it’s a consenting adult. I cannot abide bullies, liars and sociopaths. Benjamin Netanyahu and the current government of Israel are war criminals… & your guilt-trip won’t work on me.

Finally, to those who are having thoughts like ‘this is all a misunderstanding’ or ‘common sense will prevail’, or ’a few concessions is enough to fix this’… it isn’t, it won’t, & it never will be… that isn’t how this works.

You cannot appease a smear campaign.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

The Judgment of Jeremy Corbyn

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.08.2018

For a man who is assailed and accused of lacking judgment even more than US President Donald Trump, it’s amazing how often British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has already been proven courageously and presciently right.

In 1990, Corbyn opposed the most powerful and successful peace time prime minster of the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher when she tried to impose a so-called poll tax on the population of the UK. His judgment was vindicated: Thatcher’s own party rose up and threw her out of office.

At the beginning of the 21st century Corbyn was pilloried throughout the UK media for his outspoken opposition to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s support for the US invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Blair was prime minister for a full decade and won three landslide general elections, yet today he is discredited and politically virtually a recluse. Corbyn‘s opposition to both wars looks wise, as well as principled and courageous.

Corbyn’s support for the revolutionary Irish Republican movement was so strong that the UK security service MI5 monitored him for two decades listing him as a potential “subversive” who might undermine parliamentary democracy. On the contrary, in the late 1990s, Prime Minister Blair engaged the Irish Republican Army and its political wing Sinn Fein in a peace process that has led to a lasting peace in Ireland. Corbyn, who supported strongly the 1998 Good Friday Agreement proved once again to be ahead of his time.

Corbyn has never been afraid of taking ferociously unpopular positions. In 2015, after shocking Islamic State terror attacks in Paris he advocated the urgent need for a political settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. His advice was ignored by every major Western government. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more turned into destitute refugees flooding into the European Union since then.

Corbyn was also ahead of his time in seeking to engage Iran constructively. He hosted a call-in show on an Iranian TV channel for three years from 2009 to 2012 even though he knew that at the time such activities would seem to rule him out from ever being a serious contender to lead the Labour Party. But in 2015, the Conservative government of the UK, along with those of the United States, France and Germany joined in signing a far reaching nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Corbyn’s economic positions have long been despised by the Western liberal intellectual elites who have been spared the price of having their livelihoods destroyed by such policies. He strongly advocates using the power of government to encourage the rebuilding of major national industries and manufacturing power. These views are hardly radical, Robert Skidelsky, one of the most influential UK economists of the past generation has given significant support to Corbyn’s proposal of a National Investment Bank. These policies are neither Marxist nor revolutionary. But they can certainly be described as Social Democratic and humane.

Corbyn is no unprincipled careerist either. In voting his convictions and his conscience, he puts 99 percent of the UK parliamentarians of his generation to shame. Between 1997 and 2010, during the Labour governments of Blair and Gordon Brown, Corbyn voted most often against the official party line than any other member of parliament (MP) – a total of 428 times and an astonishing figure. In 2005 he was labeled the second most rebellious Labour MP of all time when his party ran the country.

One of the few areas Corbyn was clearly ambiguous on was the question of whether the UK should remain in the 28-nation European Union or leave it, and even here his ambivalence appeared honestly come by and reflected the genuine divisions in his country. Corbyn recognized the enormous differences between both extremes that have been tearing the British public apart on the EU issue.

Ironically, only Donald Trump in the United States – a figure for whom Corbyn certainly has no personal or policy sympathy whatsoever – is comparable to the degree to which he has defied the Conventional Wisdoms of the political media establishment yet done impressively well in fighting elections that were supposed to be impossible.

In fact, the record and pattern of Corbyn’s career has been very clear: His real “crime”- which he has repeated consistently – is to be years, often decades, ahead of Conventional Wisdom.

In routine, tranquil times, people like Corbyn are usually seen as troublemakers or even as dangerous lunatics. But at times of crisis when the wisdom of mediocrities is exposed as worthless, such figures prove vital to national survival.

When told that General James Wolfe, the UK’s one brilliant general of the mid-18th century, was believed to be insane, King George II replied “Mad is he? Then I wish he’d bite some of my other generals!”

The UK political establishment has sneered at Jeremy Corbyn’s bark. Perhaps it is time they need to experience his bite.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Resignation matter or fake news? Attack on Corbyn over ‘terrorist wreath laying’

RT | August 13, 2018

The latest anti-Semitism story to hit Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has polarised debate. His critics want him to resign immediately, while supporters are rushing to his defence, denying the accusations and crying ‘fake news.’

Photographs, taken in 2014 and published by the Daily Mail on August 11, show Corbyn holding a wreath at a service in Tunisia close to the graves of the Black September terrorists, who were implicated in the Munich attacks, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed in 1972.

The original story is headlined “Corbyn’s wreath at Munich terrorists’ graves,” goes on to accuse the Labour leader of attending a “tribute event for Palestine ‘martyrs’ including plotters behind 1972 slaughter of Israeli Olympic athletes.”

The Labour Party has rejected calls for an apology, reiterating that Corbyn’s statement that he was laying a wreath honoring the 47 victims of an Israeli attack on a Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) base outside of Tunis in 1985.

Responding to a follow up story, in which relatives of the Munich victims state that Corbyn should be “ashamed and apologize,” the party’s press team posted that the relatives were being “misled” by the story.

Writing in the left-wing Morning Star after the visit to the Tunisian cemetery, Corbyn stated that wreaths were laid to mark the 1985 Israeli bombing, adding: “After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991.”

It is unclear who Corbyn was referring to as there are no known Israeli killings in Paris in that year. However, Mossad agents did reportedly kill the PLO’s liaison officer with foreign intelligence agencies, Atef Bseiso, a suspected Black September member in 1992 in the French capital.

The article’s perceived inaccuracies prompted certain Corbyn supporters to call on him to sue the Daily Mail and over what they insist is ‘inaccurate reporting.’

In turn, right-wing Twitter condemnations of Corbyn were rife. Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer mocked the Labour leader, and staunch Corbyn critic and Daily Mail journalist, Dan Hodges posted: “Dear Corbynites. It’s clear your hero honoured one, or a number of, the terrorists responsible for the Munich attack.”

The accusations led to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to demand Corbyn resign. “If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now.” stated the Conservative.

While Jewish Leadership Council, Jonathan Goldstein, told the Jewish News : “This man is not fit to be a Member of Parliament, let alone a national leader.”

Another piece published by the Daily Mail on the same day attacked Corbyn for attending the wedding of a Palestinian ambassador who was accused of Holocaust denial in 2014, a claim he denies. Corbyn attended the wedding in 2010.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment