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SITREP France: Is Macron a puppet and, if yes, whose puppet is he?

The Saker | February 25, 2019

Check out this video of Emmanuel Macron at the biggest Zionist event of the year in France, the infamous “CRIF dinner”. If you don’t now what the CRIF is, do not bother with the Wikipedia article – it’s all sanitized – but think of the French CRIF like (AIPAC+JINSA+ADL+B’nai B’rith)2: all the power of the Israel Lobby in the USA, but squared (yeah, I know, hard to imagine, but true).

(FYI – the guy holding Macron’s wrist is the CRIF’s President)

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 4 Comments

Another climate panic collapses: Recent harsh winters have killed off invasive pine beetles thought to be linked to global warming

By Dr. Roger Roots, Lysander Spooner University | February 27, 2019

A decade ago, folks in northern states such as Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were watching large swaths of their pine forests die off due to invasive pine beetles. The pine beetles bored beneath the bark of pine trees and introduced a fungus and larvae which weakened and then killed the trees.

Millions of pine trees were killed, prompting environmentalists and state and federal government agencies to link the invasive beetles to catastrophic-manmade-global-warming-by-carbon dioxide. Science Magazine warned that “Climate Change Sends Beetles Into Overdrive” (Mar. 16, 2012). The U.S. Forest Service launched numerous web pages under a “Bark Beetles and Climate Change in the United States” designation.

State and federal agencies collected and spent millions of dollars to mitigate the effects of the beetles. Several states amassed funds in designated ‘beetle epidemic’ accounts.

But colder weather accomplished what the agencies could not. Five years of harsh winters have mostly killed off the beetles in the north woods. Most foresters declared the end of the beetle epidemic around 2017. Almost no one seemed to link the END of the epidemic to earlier claims regarding a link to the CO2 apocalypse.

Now the State of South Dakota has $700,000 remaining in a ‘pine beetle fund’ which was never used. Last week the South Dakota legislature debated about what to do with the excess money. The debate was the topic of Tuesday’s top front page in the Rapid City Journal.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Non-Military Federal Agencies Under Trump Expand Already Enormous Arsenals

Given that during the height of the Iraq War the Army used around 6 million rounds per month, with its planned purchase of 1.6 billion rounds, DHS would have ammo left over after matching the Army’s peak daily outpouring of hot lead for two solid decades.

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | February 27, 2019

WASHINGTON — The massive purchases of ammo and weapons by non-military federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA), that first began under the Obama administration has continued unabated under the Trump administration, while receiving less media coverage.

According to a report released last December by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and recently highlighted by Forbes, the mass purchase of ammunition, weapons and other military-grade items by ostensibly civilian government agencies has continued up through Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, the latest year for which data is available. The report also found that many agencies had misreported the amount and size of their ammo and weapons purchases to the GAO by a significant degree. In one case, the GAO found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had actually spent eight times more on weapons and ammo than it had disclosed to their office.

The budgets that had been proposed for FY 2017 — which ended on September 30, 2017 — had originally been drafted under the Obama administration but were amended by the Trump administration and the then-Republican-led Congress beginning in late January 2017 following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Trump administration chose to leave the massive purchases of ammo and weapons by non-military agencies as they were, despite the controversy they had caused among many Trump supporters and other groups when such purchases were made under the Obama administration.

Among the agencies that acquired ammunition, weapons and related equipment in FY 2017 were:

  • The IRS spent $600,000 on ammunition but refused to disclose to the GAO its intended purpose and told the GAO that it could not provide data on firearms purchases. The IRS has stated in the past that such purchases are used in “investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.” Its current inventory is estimated to include 4,461 firearms, including submachine guns, and over 5 million rounds of ammunition.
  • The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs purchased around 600 firearms and nearly 20,000 rounds of ammunition, along with riot gear and camouflage uniforms. The VHA has claimed that these purchases are for “enforcing federal law at VA medical facilities (and some National Cemetery and Benefits locations).”
  • The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Social Security Administration (SSA) purchased around 300 firearms and 250,000 rounds of ammunition. The SSA’s OIG has stated that it uses these items for investigations into “wrongdoing by applicants, beneficiaries, contractors and third parties, and employees.”
  • The National Park Service (NPS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior purchased nearly 2 million rounds, approximately 1,500 firearms, silencers, riot shields and batons, camouflage uniforms and “pyrotechnics and specialized munitions.” The stated purpose of these items is to protect “the safety and health of NPS visitors, partners, and staff, as well as our natural and cultural resources.”

Though those numbers certainly seem large — maybe even astoundingly so — on their own, they are part of a years-long effort that began during the Obama administration that has seen many non-military federal agencies arm themselves to the teeth.

DHS buys five bullets for every American man, woman and child

As the recently released GAO report notes, from FY 2010 to FY 2017, non-military federal agencies spent $1.5 billion on ammunition, weapons and military grade tactical gear. As an example, during that time frame, the VA bought 11 million rounds of ammunition, roughly equivalent to 2,800 rounds for each of its 3,957 officers. Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has purchased 4 million rounds over the past eight years and acquired 1 million rounds for use by its 461 special agents. The HHS has called its arms purchases “imperative.” In addition, the SSA bought 800,000 rounds for their 270 special agents during this period, amounting to nearly 3,000 rounds per agent. Even the U.S. Postal Service acquired significant amounts of weapons and ammunition.

These purchases in the past have been the subject of some controversy, such as the mass purchases of hollow-point rounds by government agencies including the Forest Service, National Park Service, Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Fiscal Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hollow-point bullets are illegal under the Geneva Convention but government agencies spent at least $426,268 in just two years (FY 2015 and FY 2016) to acquire them.

Ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security in 2013 were also controversial and were subsequently investigated by the GAO. DHS had claimed that is was buying over a billion rounds of ammunition, including hollow-point rounds, in order to “save money.” However, this has long been in doubt, given that hollow-point rounds are significantly more expensive than other rounds that do not expand upon impact.

At the time, Forbes noted that the massive ammo purchases by DHS could be used to sustain a “hot war” for more than twenty years, given that during the height of the Iraq War the Army used around 6 million rounds per month. With its planned purchase of 1.6 billion rounds, DHS would have ammo left over after matching the Army’s peak daily outpouring of hot lead for two solid decades.

DoE goes Samuel Girard on student borrower

Though the initial mass purchases of ammo and weapons by U.S. federal agencies received considerable media attention and provided fodder for numerous conspiracy theories, the fact that those purchases have continued under Trump has received surprisingly less attention. This may be because past concerns over such purchases during the Obama era were often raised along partisan lines, with conservatives being the most vocal critics. This may seem odd given the gun control stances of Obama and his supporters. Many of those who had criticized the Obama administration for these shocking purchases, a large number of whom are now Trump supporters, may perhaps be uninclined to levy similar criticism against a president they now support.

In addition, it is not surprising that the Trump administration would allow these purchases to continue given that such purchases greatly benefit American arms manufacturers, with whom the president has cultivated a close relationship while making arms sales to allies the cornerstone of his foreign policy. Thus, it would make sense that Trump would be willing to support U.S. government purchases of those same arms, by both the military — as evidenced by the Pentagon’s still-ballooning budget — and non-military agencies.

There is no denying that these purchases represent a significant amount of government waste. More importantly, these purchases reveal the gradual yet continual effort to militarize federal agencies that have historically been administrative, a trend that should concern all Americans.

While the militarization of domestic police forces has attracted attention, it is equally important to ask why regulatory agencies are now so heavily armed, considering that virtually all of those pursued by these regulatory agencies are American citizens who are wanted for minor infractions or non-violent crimes. For instance, in 2016, the Department of Education sent armed U.S. marshals after Paul Aker over a $1,500 unpaid student loan. The armed officers arrived at Aker’s home with an arrest warrant, which resulted in a two-hour standoff. “I’m still shaken,” Aker said at the time. “Why send seven guys with guns about a student loan?” The DOE, during the last two years under the Obama Administration, increased its spending on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment by 25 percent.

With so many other civilian, regulatory agencies now heavily armed, how long before Aker’s experience becomes the norm for those who fall behind on their payments to the IRS or whose pets make too much noise at a National Park?

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | | 1 Comment

Belfast Collusion: Supreme Court Rules Finucane Murder Inquiry Failed Miserably

Sputnik – 27.02.2019

The official investigation into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane, one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles, was ineffective and failed to meet human rights standards, the UK Supreme Court has ruled.

In a unanimous judgment, five justices said the investigation carried out by Sir Desmond de Silva in 2011 was frustrated by his inability to compel witnesses to testify about the killing. However, the court did not order a public inquiry, and left it to Whitehall to decide whether a new investigation should be conducted.

Under Article Two of the European convention on human rights, states have a duty not to kill, and an obligation to carry out an effective investigation into deaths.

“If [de Silva] had been able to compel witnesses; if he had been able to probe their accounts; if he had been given the chance to press those whose testimony might have led to identification of those involved in targeting Mr. Finucane… [then] one might have concluded all means possible to identify those involved had been deployed. Absent those vital steps, the conclusion an Article Two-compliant inquiry into Mr. Finucane’s death has not yet taken place is inescapable. It is for the state to decide… what form of investigation, if indeed any is now feasible, is required in order to meet that requirement,” Kerr ruled.

Collusion

Finucane was shot dead at his home in north Belfast 12 February 1989 by Ken Barrett and another masked man, after the pair battered down his front door with a sledgehammer and entered the kitchen, where Finucane’s family were eating a Sunday meal. They immediately opened fire and shot him twice, knocking him to the floor, before firing 12 further bullets into his face at close range. Finucane’s wife Geraldine was slightly wounded in the attack — Finucane’s three children were unharmed, having hidden underneath the kitchen table.

The Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) claimed responsibility, saying Finucane had been a high-ranking officer in the Irish Republican Army — no evidence has ever emerged to support this claim, and Finucane had represented both republicans and loyalists in high profile cases.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) launched an investigation — Detective Superintendent Alan Simpson, who led the probe, stated a notable lack of intelligence on the murder flowed from other agencies regarding the killing. Activists and human rights groups long-suspected the RUC, or other elements of the British security state, had played a role in the attack, and in 2003, the British Government Stevens Report concluded the killing was indeed carried out with the assistance of police in Northern Ireland.

Moreover, it has emerged the loyalist paramilitary responsible for directing UDA attacks, Brian Nelson, was an agent of the British army’s notorious Force Research Unit, which provably colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of civilians. The Unit is also alleged to have carried out an arson attack on the offices of the Stevens Inquiry — the official investigation into British state collusion with paramilitary groups — in order to destroy incriminating evidence on its operational activities collected by Lord Stevens’ team.

In 2001, the UK and Irish governments agreed an international judge would investigate Finucane’s killing, among others, under the auspices of an official inquiry — but the decision was reversed in 2010 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron. In explaining his decision to Finucane’s family, he said “people in buildings all around here [Westminster] won’t let it happen”.

Nonetheless, in a public statement, Cameron acknowledged there’d been “shocking levels of collusion” between loyalist elements and the British state during the Troubles.

See Also:

UK Intel Planned Massacre at Catholic School – Former Ulster Paramilitary

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Cohen testimony: Trump’s former attorney can’t provide ‘any real examples’ of Russia collusion

RT | February 27, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, giving testimony on Capitol Hill, has not been able to provide any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.

Cohen has been giving testimony described as “explosive” by mainstream media to the House Oversight Committee about his “suspicions” that Trump could have worked with Russia during the campaign — but when probed, was not able to provide any evidence to back up those suggestions.

CBS reporter Bo Erickson tweeted during the hearing that Cohen “cannot cite any real examples of Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign “even though he was one of [Trump’s] closest allies.”

“If [Cohen] doesn’t know about any collusion, who does?” Erickson tweeted.

Republicans on the committee have castigated Democrats for inviting a “convicted perjurer,” who they say cannot be trusted, to give testimony. Cohen pleaded guilty last November to making false statements to Congress about a potential deal to build a Trump Tower hotel in Moscow, later admitting that he lied to “protect” Trump.

During the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan accused Cohen of being aggrieved with Trump because he didn’t get a job at the White House — a claim which Cohen denied.

While Republicans immediately took an adversarial tone with Cohen, Democrats on the committee have been pushing him to produce information implicating Trump in a conspiracy to steal the election with help from Russia.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said Democrats will continue to call Trump’s associates before Congress to testify in their “search for the truth” for the foreseeable future, taking advantage of the fact that the party now holds majority powers in the House of Representatives.

Tweeting before the hearing, Trump himself accused Cohen of “lying in order to reduce his prison time.”

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | | 6 Comments

Nuclear Pakistan and India can’t afford miscalculation, should resolve crisis, says PM Khan

RT | February 27, 2019

New Delhi and Islamabad cannot afford a new war with the weapons they now have, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said, adding that he and Indian PM Narendra Modi have to find a way out of the ongoing security crisis.

In a short televised address on Wednesday, Khan said neither he nor his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, would be in control of the situation, if the ongoing hostilities escalate further.

History tells us that wars are full of miscalculation. My question is that given the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation? We should sit down and talk.

Khan added Pakistan is willing to work with India to investigate the suicide bombing of its police officers in Kashmir which happened two weeks ago and led to this week’s conflict between the two countries. The attack was claimed by the jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which India accuses Pakistan of harboring.

But just like any other sovereign nation, Pakistan cannot allow another country to act “as judge, jury and executioners” on its territory, he said. Wednesday’s attack on targets in India by Pakistani warplanes was meant as a show of force and determination to defend its sovereignty, the PM stressed.

“We ensured no casualties and no collateral damage in the operations we undertook,” he said.

India on Tuesday launched an air raid against what is said was a JeM training camp in Pakistani territory. Pakistan on Wednesday launched its own air raid, attacking targets in the disputed region of Kashmir. There are conflicting claims by the two nations on the outcomes and circumstances of both incidents.

At least one Indian fighter jet was shot down on Wednesday. Pakistan claims to have shot down more than one, while India insists it took out one of the Pakistani warplanes.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Forget Venezuela: 80% of Yemenis Require Urgent Humanitarian Aid, Up 30%

Geopolitics Alert – February 27, 2019

Sana’a – While the world focuses on Venezuela to validate coup threats, the manmade humanitarian situation in Yemen continues deteriorating. In fact, the very country claiming to help alleviate Venezuelan suffering, the United States, has played an active and intentional role in creating the crisis in Yemen.

According to a recent report from ReliefWeb, 80% of Yemen’s entire population require urgent humanitarian assistance. This figure is up 30% from last year. That means out of an estimated population of 30.5 million, 24.1 million require immediate aid for survival.

Facing starvation and famine due to the blockade, 20.1 million need urgent food assistance. Healthcare is also a vital concern. 19.7 million Yemenis lack basic access to doctors and lifesaving medicines. To top it off, 17.8 million don’t even have proper water, sanitation, and other supplies for keeping up with basic hygiene. By looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see that a majority of Yemenis need urgent assistance in all three areas.

This is a major problem because the lack of access to clean water and sanitation equipment is directly responsible for the fatal spread of cholera. The UN expects to record up to 350,000 cases of cholera in 2019. In 2017, one million were infected with the preventable illness while several thousand died.

Instead of putting forth any efforts to lift the US-enforced and Saudi-led blockade and siege of Yemen, the UN has appealed for $4.2 billion to meet humanitarian needs.

Famine and Disease as a Weapon of War

The blockade, which is technically illegal under international law, restricts all land, sea, and air imports and exports. It also prohibits the free flow of human movement — which has effectively turned Yemen into an open-air prison. This travel ban, combined with the country’s failing healthcare system, had contributed to the death of over 27 thousand civilians as of August of 2018. It has also caused the death of over 247,000 children who are particularly vulnerable to starvation and disease.

But the starvation, disease, and crumbling healthcare system aren’t merely a byproduct of the blockade: they’re an intentional consequence.

According to a report Geopolitics Alert received from the Republic of Yemen, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has continued targeting civilian infrastructure vital for sustaining life.

During the month of December alone, Saudi coalition warplanes attacked 68 water tanks and pumps, 222 agricultural fields, four markets, 132 livestock, four food warehouses, and much more. To top it off, coalition airstrikes also targeted 190 businesses and factories as well as airports, seaports, boats, and gas stations.

These are direct attacks on Yemen’s food and water supply.

The report also states that hundreds of workers such as fishermen, farmers, and factory workers in Hodeidah province have become unemployed during the month of December due to such attacks on their source of income. The Saudi coalition also detonates cluster munitions and chemical weapons over agricultural fields to further contaminate the land.

The coalition airstrikes on vital civilian infrastructure make it clear that starvation and disease from the blockade are intended weapons of war.

This MintPress documentary examines the gruesome attacks on fishermen who recall horrors of rape and torture after being captured by Saudi coalition warships.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia willing to work with US on cybersecurity, but Washington stalls – national security chief

RT | February 27, 2019

The Russian government is willing to cooperate with the US on cybersecurity issues, but so far it sees no reciprocation of this intention on the other side, said the head of Russia’s National Security Committee.

“On our part, we are prepared to dialogue with our Western partners, once there is responsiveness and a real interest in solving the issues we have accumulated,” Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview.

He added that at the moment there is virtually no progress in this regard.

The US suggested discussing the problems in 2018, but then they derailed a planned Russian-American interagency consultation by failing to send a delegation to Geneva.

The American government accuses Russia of interfering in its domestic affairs by hacking Democrat party officials and leaking stolen emails during the 2016 campaign. Moscow denies the allegations and says unlike Washington, it strictly follows the principle of non-interference.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

McCarthyism Then and Now: But There Was Reality Then

By Patrick ARMSTRONG | Strategic Culture Foundation | 27.02.2019

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. (Karl Marx)

Humor is reason gone mad. (Groucho Marx)

Every now and again, we hear about a “new McCarthyism“. Usually it’s the alternative media like Truthdig or Consortium News or left-wing outlets because mainstream outlets are so sunk in Trumpophobia that they have forgotten what the expression means. It’s not Trump who’s the new McCarthy (Trumpism Is the New McCarthyism or Is Donald Trump The New Joe McCarthy?) it is they: Is Trump Putin’s Puppet?Trump Is Making the Case That He’s Putin’s Puppet; calling other people Moscow puppets is precisely what McCarthy did. And today’s Russhysteria has spread outside the USA: France to Probe Possible Russian Influence on Yellow Vest RiotsWhy Putin Is Meddling in Britain’s Brexit VoteSpain: ‘Misinformation’ on Catalonia referendum came from Russia. Endless torrents of delirium, nothing too absurd: Russia could freeze us to death!Russian cricket agents14-legged killer squid found TWO MILES beneath Antarctica being weaponised by Putin? The Russophobes find Moscow’s influence everywhere: children’s’ cartoonsfishsticksPokemon. People who like to imagine that they’re taken seriously suggest the Russians are threatened by our “quality”.

But not so threatened, it appears, by our mental qualities.

Joseph McCarthy, making much of (and perhaps improving upon) his war record, was elected a US Senator in 1946. After three years in which he attracted little attention, he rose to national prominence with a speech in February 1950 in which he claimed to have a list of Communist Party members active in the US State Department. There is still debate today about the precise numbers he claimed and to what degree he was used by other actors. But he realised he was on to a good thing (he secured re-election in 1952) and kept “revealing” communists in the government and elsewhere. Televised hearings showed his vituperative and erratic nature; the Senate censured him in 1954 and he faded away. “McCarthyism” has become a doubleplusungood swearword so stripped of meaning that it can be shaped into mud to be thrown at Trump.

But – and a very big but – whatever McCarthy’s motivation or cynicism, however unpleasant, shifty and unshaven he looked on TV, there was a reality behind what he was saying.

  • ITEM. August 1945. Elizabeth Bentley approaches the FBI and eventually reveals the spying activities of the CPUSA.
  • ITEM. September 1945. Igor Guzenko defects in Ottawa, revealing the extent of spying on its allies by the USSR. Thanks to his information Alan Nunn May, part of the British contribution to the atomic bomb project, is arrested March 1946. A number of Canadians are arrested – including the MP Fred Rose.
  • ITEM. August 1948. Whittaker Chambers, a CPUSA member disgusted by the Hitler-Stalin pact, in testimony to HUAC, names Alger Hiss, a senior State Department official, as a CPUSA agent.
  • ITEM. February 1950. McCarthy’s speech.
  • ITEM. Beginning in summer 1951 with the defection of Burgess and Maclean and only ending with the discovery of the last member in 1979, the revelation of extensive penetration by the Soviets of British intelligence – the Cambridge Five – caused continuing investigations and suspicions which tied up the CIA and SIS for years.

In conclusion, whatever you think of the man himself, “McCarthyism” was based on reality: there was extensive Soviet penetration in the USA and elsewhere.

+ + +

And today? The equivalent of McCarthy’s speech are the Clinton campaign’s excuses for losing.

We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election. (Hillary Clinton, 19 October 2016.)

That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. [9 November 2016] Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument. (From Shattered, quoted here.)

After the story had been happily re-typed by the complaisant media, the “intelligence community” weighed in with two fatuous “intelligence assessments”:

ITEM. The DHS/FBI report of 29 December 2016 carried this stunning disclaimer:

This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.

ITEM. The DNI report of 6 January 2017 crazily devoted nearly half its space to a four-year old rant about RT. But the real clue that the report was nonsense was its equally stunning disclaimer:

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

In other words, DHS told us to ignore its report and the one agency in the US intelligence structure that would actually know who hacked what refused to sign its name to it.

And not “all 17”, only three. Then – the final nail – not really the three but only “hand-picked” people from them. Eventually, the NYT issued a correction. (“Correction” being presstitute-speak for “you caught us”.)

The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community. (New York Times correction, 29 June 2017)

And that was the beginning of the story that has consumed so much effort, done so much damage, metastasised so far and continues today. No Elizabeth Bentley, no atomic spies, no Venona. Only 1) an excuse for losing, 2) “hand-picked” writers, 3) forced plea deals and 4) the pompous indictment of a Russian click bait farm.

The fons et origo of today’s Russhysteria, I am convinced, was a conspiracy in the security organs to derail Trump’s candidacy and when that failed, to overthrow him. Little by little that story is dribbling out:

Congressional testimony backs up former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s account that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was talking to high-level officials about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.

One can only hope that the conspiracy will finally be so revealed and so proven and so obvious that even the consumers of CNN, MSNBC, The Guardian, the NYT and the rest will understand what was really going on. Then, maybe, we can hope to edge away from the highly dangerous anti-Russia hysteria.

McCarthyism was based on reality, today’s recurrence is not. A significant difference indeed.

+ + +

Lavrenti Beria is reputed to have said “give me the man, and I will give you the crime”. And sleep depravation and teeth and blood on the floor delivered the confession. How little he understood his craft. Maria Butina, an innocent if naïve Russian girl who liked the Second Amendment, arrested, stuck in solitary, on suicide watch (sleep deprivation – Beria knew about that), innumerable charges, after months, makes a plea deal. Michael Flynn, innumerable charges, savings burnt up, makes a plea deal. Paul Manafort, early morning SWAT attack (Beria recognises that), innumerable charges, makes a plea deal. Cohen, Papadopoulos and so on. That’s the American justice system – not Stalin’s “beat, beat and beat again” – just innumerable charges, bankruptcy by lawyers’ fees, endless interrogations, SWAT raids. Then the plea deal. Beria was an amateur.

So the Marx brothers are both wrong: the second time it’s a much more dangerous tragedy and, when you actually see it in reality, reason gone mad isn’t actually very funny.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

The ‘Russian bots’ that weren’t: Twitter backtracks on troll claims, media ignores updated info

RT | February 26, 2019

Twitter quietly revised its public database of ‘Russian bot’ accounts earlier this month, removing 228 accounts it previously said were “connected to Russia”— but the admission has gone almost completely unnoticed by the media.

Bloomberg reported on the “burst of activity” from the bot accounts and claimed that Russia’s “social-media trolling operation” was “stepping up its Twitter presence to new heights.”

Fast-forward to 2019 and Twitter has removed 228 of these accounts from the database, saying they had “initially misidentified” them as being linked to Russia,  but nobody in the media seems to have noticed.

In fact, Bloomberg is the only major US outlet which bothered to correct the story to reflect reality, admitting that Twitter’s changes to the dataset “invalidate central portions” of its original report and that there was “no surge” in this so-called Russian bot activity at the time in question. Oops!

Pivot to Venezuela!

Interestingly, the highlighted accounts have now been linked to Venezuela, another country the US government just so happens to have bad blood with.

In a tweet, Twitter’s “head of site integrity” Yoel Roth said that the company can now “more confidently associate” the 228 accounts with Venezuela. Roth’s short tweet thread on the misidentification was met with little interest receiving only a few retweets and no attention from media figures who supposedly actively follow any and all news remotely related to Russian activity online.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Roth later admitted that “definitive attribution is very, very difficult.” The Bloomberg mea culpa also noted that Twitter is “reluctant to discuss” how it connects accounts to so-called trolling networks in the first place.

Some on Twitter quickly pointed out that the timing of the pivot to focus on Venezuelan bots was curious, given the US’ recent efforts to engineer regime change against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Journalist Sam Sacks tweeted that the new information about Venezuelan bots was “convenient” and said that the vast majority of stories written about Russian trolls and their alleged social media activity are “based on junk research.” Sacks also questioned why anyone should have faith in the credibility of such flawed analyses going forward.

Another Twitter user found it odd that Twitter and Bloomberg had “suddenly discovered” that bots it claimed were Russian had “miraculously turned into Venezuelans.”

Pattern of fake ‘Russian bots’

When it comes to the hot topic of Russian bots and trolls, the media and various social media monitoring groups have suffered unfortunate “misidentification” incidents before.

In 2017, an African American activist Charlie Peach was suspended from Twitter during one of the company’s purges of accounts purportedly linked to Russia, a claim that was happily echoed later by multiple major media outlets. Peach told RT at the time that Twitter was engaging in “suppression of voices” using the “Russian scare tactic.”

Twitter users in the UK have also been swept up into the hysteria over Russian bots based on their political opinions, with some accounts belonging to real people even being listed in a UK government report on nefarious Russian activity online.

More recently, a dodgy US-based cybersecurity firm called New Knowledge was busted by the New York Times for creating an army of fake Russian bots in order to secretly influence an Alabama election by accusing one candidate of being ‘supported’ by the fake accounts. Yet, despite its own dirty tricks being exposed, the firm is still cited by major US media outlets as a legitimate source of information on Russian “disinformation” online.

So it seems media interest in Russian bot stories waxes and wanes based on whether or not the information bolsters the ‘correct’ narrative.

Read more:

‘Fake news’ is okay if it’s about #RussiaGate: Top 7 fake ‘collusion’ stories the media pushed

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment