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Media trust ranker NewsGuard launches in UK by greenlighting tabloids, adding ex-NATO chief to board

RT | April 24, 2019

NewsGuard, the trust-rating outfit that continues to approve of US media that spread the Russiagate conspiracy theory, has expanded operations to the UK and added a former NATO chief to its advisory board.

Announcing its UK debut on Wednesday, NewsGuard bragged about including Anders Fogh Rasmussen to their advisory board, describing him only as “former prime minister of Denmark.” While he did serve in that capacity between 2001 and 2009, his most recent public office was secretary-general of NATO (2009-2014), which NewsGuard omits from their tweet – but not from the Advisory Board page.

Rasmussen’s colleagues on NewsGuard’s board include former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, as well as the self-described former “chief propagandist” for the US government Richard Stengel.

Other new additions to the board are Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Richard Sambrook, former “Director of Global News for the BBC” who now provides “editing and editorial guidance” for NewsGuard’s “nutrition labels.”

Those labels rank news outlets оn a number of categories, which are then combined into a trustworthiness score, expressed as a green checkmark or red “x.” There is a certain pattern in which kinds of outlets get the former and which get the latter.

Three major UK tabloids – The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Star – all got an overall “green” rating, for instance. While NewsGuard claims to be rating outlets rather than individual articles, if you have their extension installed in your browser (and it comes by default with Microsoft’s Edge), you’ll see a NewsGuard symbol next to actual story headlines in your searches.

Media critic John Nolte of Breitbart – in the “red” category just like RT – pointed out on Monday that NewsGuard’s seal of approval can be found on nine of the top 12 debunked stories pushing the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory. He provided screenshots.

Even after the 448-page report by special counsel Robert Mueller spelled out “no collusion” between US President Donald Trump and Russia, multiple mainstream media outlets that have pushed this conspiracy for almost three years have refused to apologize or correct their reporting, claiming instead it was “mostly” proven correct.

“That big, green checkmark of approval still sits next to some of the most misleading stories in history,” Nolte wrote, adding, “In all my decades of following the media, I have never seen a more Orwellian attempt to mislead people by deliberately labeling lies as truth and truth as lies.”

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Peter Ridd vs The Dishonourables

A powerful bureaucracy bullies, berates, isolates, and intimidates a lone critic.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | April 24, 2019

The Peter Ridd court ruling, released last week, is a re-telling of David and Goliath. This is a story about a bureaucratic in-group persecuting a dissenting voice. It’s also a story about widespread dishonourable conduct.

Ridd formerly ran the physics department, and managed James Cook University’s marine geophysical laboratory for 15 years. He was fired in May 2018, after alleging that Great Barrier Reef research affiliated with his university was misleading politicians and the public.

When Ridd first reached out to journalist Peter Michael at the Courier-Mail about his concerns, Michael didn’t protect his source by shielding Ridd’s identity. Instead, he betrayed Ridd by forwarding the full e-mail, accompanied by a few questions of his own, to one of the organizations being criticized – the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

Biologist Terry Hughes was at that time, and continues to be, the person in charge at the ARC Centre. That entity’s website tells us “He has published so far 20 papers in Science and Nature. In scientific circles, therefore, he’s a golden boy. Getting published once in these prominent venues is an academic career boost.

This same biographical sketch begins by telling us:

In December 2016, Professor Terry Hughes was recognized by Nature as one of the “10 people who mattered this year” for his leadership in responding to the global coral bleaching event caused by climate change…Nature’s 10 dubbed him “Reef Sentinel”, for the global role he plays in applying multi-disciplinary science to securing reef sustainability.

Apparently reveling in the role of a brave sentinel sounding the alarm over climate change, Hughes presents this characterization of himself up front, at the top of the page.

Elsewhere, we learn that his current and recent research funding amounts to a staggering $31 million, with the vast bulk provided by Australian taxpayers. At many universities, professors share their research grants 50/50 with the administration. Hughes, therefore, is a source not only of international prestige for James Cook, but of significant funding.

According to the written judgment of Judge Salvatore Vasta, after receiving a forwarded copy of the detailed e-mail Ridd had sent to the journalist, Hughes declined to respond to the journalist’s questions. He made no attempt to address Ridd’s concerns, to explain why they were unfounded.

Like a child in a sandbox, he instead went running to the teacher. Before two hours had expired, he’d sent an e-mail to Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Chris Cocklin (to whom both he and Ridd ultimately reported), saying he wished to file a complaint against Ridd.

From that point forward, it was unlikely Ridd would receive a fair hearing, despite the lofty language about impartiality and natural justice in that institution’s Code of Conduct.

University officials were in a clear conflict-of-interest. Their own fortunes were aligned with one side.

They didn’t dare investigate whether their star professor was misusing photographs or exaggerating his scientific conclusions. Such a finding could be humiliating for the university, whose reputation they themselves were supposed to be safeguarding.

Then there was the money angle. Anything that reflected negatively on Hughes could call into question his research grants past, present, and future. When a professor is bringing tens of millions of dollars onto campus, no administrator in their right mind wants to capsize that boat.

Last but not least, the powers-that-be at James Cook needed to worry about offending Hughes. The well-connected biologist might take his toys and go elsewhere.

Judge Vasta twice points to a double standard on the part of the administration. When Ridd did something, it was wrong. When others behaved similarly, it wasn’t even noticed. (See paragraphs 68-70 and 220-222 of the court judgment). In the judge’s words, the “hypocrisy is breathtaking,” and the “irony is even more spectacular.”

As a result of Hughes’ complaint, the university formally censured Ridd. He was found guilty of misconduct, including a failure to “uphold the integrity and good reputation of the University.”

The final sentence in his formal letter of censure urges him, in so many words, to get counseling – providing the telephone number of the university’s “free and confidential” service. The message couldn’t have been plainer. Ridd was the problem.

Three months later, Ridd made a guest appearance on Australian television. A book had just been published to which he’d contributed a chapter about the “extraordinary resilience of Great Barrier Reef corals.” In his view, corals are highly adaptable. They do well in water of various temperatures, and are therefore unlikely to be seriously harmed by climate change.

Ridd talked about the fact that most scientific research isn’t

properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions. And the fact is, I do not think we can anymore.

When an interviewer suggested some coral reef scientists were shamelessly “telling the government what they want to hear,” Ridd protested:

that’s possibly a bit harsh. I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff, they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef. I just don’t think that they are very objective about the science they do. I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject, and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.

He did, however, point out that scientists with whom he differs

will never debate. I’ve often tried, you know. Let’s have a debate of a couple of hours and thrash this out. But they never will.

Once again, Terry ‘crybaby’ Hughes complained to James Cook administrators, and once again the university declared that Ridd had violated the Code of Conduct. Its longstanding position that how Ridd was saying things was the problem would seem to be contradicted by many of its statements, including this one:

The University does not accept that academic freedom justifies your criticism of key stakeholders of the University…

Hughes had specifically complained that Ridd was threatening the institution’s relationships with other entities. Ergo, Ridd needed to be crushed.

Following that television appearance, James Cook initiated a relentless campaign of enforced secrecy. Ridd was repeatedly told he had “confidentiality obligations to the University,” that he was expected “to maintain the confidentiality of this matter,” and that certain actions of his were considered “a direct breach of confidentiality.”

“It is very important,” he was told, “that you comply.” Ridd was forbidden from discussing “these matters with the media or in any other public forum, including social media.” Moreover, during a three-week period in September 2017, the university insisted he wasn’t allowed to tell even his wife what was going on.

Administrators kept pointing to a clause in the employment contract to justify this secrecy. But Judge Vasta says that clause “is written for the benefit and protection of the employee.” It imposes an obligation on the university to keep personal information private. Employees, on the other hand, are at perfect liberty to discuss their own situation with whomever they choose.

In the judge’s words, the confidentiality obligations Ridd was repeatedly told to respect “do not exist.”

The overall picture, therefore, is of widespread dishonourable conduct. A powerful bureaucracy bullies and berates. It isolates and intimidates a lone critic who, in another universe, would have been receiving whistleblower protections.

The pettiness here is shocking. Ridd was forbidden from saying anything that “directly or indirectly trivializes…or parodies the University taking disciplinary action against you.” Administrators claim he disobeyed that order when he sent an email to a student with the subject line: “for your amusement.”

Worried that Ridd’s troubles might adversely affect a joint project, Fernando Pinheiro Andutta, an academic colleague who worked elsewhere, sent Ridd an e-mail wondering “if maybe you could avoid stirring the pot for a little bit.”

Ridd’s response included this sentence: “In any case I am not sure I have any influence on the outcome.” According to James Cook administrators, those words were proof he’d denigrated the university to a third party.

The judge characterizes further administrative allegations against Ridd as “totally bereft of logic,” “extremely peculiar,” having “no substance whatsoever,” and lacking “the slightest scintilla of evidence.”

While officials at James Cook University excelled at making Ridd’s life miserable, they collectively appear to have lost sight of the reason society spends enormous amounts of money on higher education.

A university is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas. It’s supposed to be an arena where conflicting perspectives are examined and challenged. That process won’t always be pleasant for those involved, but the last thing administrators are supposed to do is prevent this from taking place. In the words of Judge Vasta:

Incredibly, the University has not understood the whole concept of intellectual freedom. In the search for truth, it is an unfortunate consequence that some people may feel denigrated, offended, hurt or upset.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

‘I Was Set Up’: Papadopoulos Tells Sputnik He Was Target of US, UK Intelligence

Sputnik – 24.04.2019

George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the first person to plead guilty in the Russiagate investigation, told Sputnik Tuesday that he was targeted by UK and US intelligence to serve as a “patsy” who would ease their targeting of the Trump campaign.

“I was set up to become some sort of patsy in this conspiracy, which I believe was designed for two reasons: one was to initially cover up that I was being spied on for other reasons,” Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday, “and two, to then use me and frame me to eventually undermine the Trump presidency and use me as some sort of conspiracy person that connects all the dots that never existed in the first place.”

In October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in what was the first guilty plea of those charged in the Russia probe. In the two years since, he has become a household name. A former volunteer foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of the FBI regarding his contacts in 2016 related to US-Russian relations. In the end, he took a plea to the throwaway charge of making a false statement. He now has a book out called “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.”

​Papadopoulos explained that in the summer of 2015, he went to Europe for work after his initial approach to the Trump campaign was rebuffed and Ben Carson’s campaign fell apart. When he was preparing to leave after Trump did eventually approach him with an offer of work, he was invited by Arvinder Sambei, a co-director of the London Center of International Law Practice, to a conference on the Link Campus University in Rome, where he could meet well-connected people that would help him in future political work with the Trump campaign.

It was in March 2016 at the Link Campus, a CIA spy school that trained Italian intelligence services, that he met a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud, who offered to introduce Papadopoulos to Eurasian politicos, including in Russia, and to be a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It was this meeting, which Papadopoulos says he misreported the date of to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, that got him charged.

However, Papadopoulos said the Trump campaign was in general ambivalent and noncommittal about the idea of a foreign policy trip to Russia, which the adviser suggested in order to present image of worldliness and diplomatic credentials to US public, not to coordinate with Russia.

Papadopoulos said he never told the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s sudden revelations one night that the Russians ostensibly had “thousands” of Hillary Clinton’s emails, because he “never found this person credible.”

He noted that “in Europe there was open speculation that Hillary Clinton’s personal server had been hacked, so when Joseph Mifsud told me this information I thought he was validating a rumor, but then I was confused as to how he could have had inside information when this person couldn’t even introduce me to the Russian ambassador in London after I asked him to at least five times.” The former adviser said he “gossiped about it with the Greek foreign minister,” Nikos Kotzias, but never told Alexander Downer, then the Australian high commissioner to the UK, at a meeting at which Papadopoulos supposedly drunkenly blabbed about Russia having Clinton’s emails.

However, Papadopoulos told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that Downer requested the meeting with him and that he believed the diplomat was recording him, so he remained “very cognizant of my surroundings at that meeting” — suspicions he said were later vindicated by conversations with FBI agents.

Papadopoulos told Sputnik he thought he was set up by US intelligence as a “patsy.”

“I believe I had been under surveillance immediately upon joining the campaign. And then there was this understanding that I was trying to organize this meeting with Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, and he drops this information in my lap, and they hoped that I would repeat it to the campaign, but I never did.”

The former adviser said he was emailed out of the blue by Stefan Halper seeking a report on Greek and Cypriot politics at Cambridge University, where Halper heads the Department of Politics and International Studies. However, when they met in Britain, Papadopoulos says the scholar berated his opinions and asked very open-ended and leading questions about him and the Trump campaign’s goals, which Papadopoulos forcefully rejected.

The adviser told Sputnik that when Halper asked those questions, he pulled out his phone “similarly to how Alexander Downer had done, so I suspected right away that he was spying or he was recording my conversation.” Indeed, Halper was outed by US media as an FBI informant in May 2018 and, as the Intercept reported at the time, had also worked as a CIA operative to illegally spy on President Jimmy Carter’s administration during the 1980 presidential election.

“The Reagan campaign — using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-vice-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush — got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration,” the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote. “The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”

Papadopoulos said Halper was a spy, used to try and frame him as well as to “spy on me for my ties to the Israeli and Cypriot energy business, which I’ve been told I had a FISA warrant issued on me for, and that’s why he paid me $3,000 and lured me to London, where the CIA has jurisdiction, not the FBI, and where MI6 has jurisdiction… obviously Stefan Halper has very close links to MI6,” he said. Papadopoulos noted that Downer and Mifsud also have “suspicious links” to both each other and to MI6, the British intelligence agency.

Papadopoulos said he didn’t speak out after being implicated because he had a gag order, but also the FBI threatened his girlfriend Simona, “because she knew too much about Joseph Mifsud and his connections to Italy,” and she was serving as his voice during that period.

“Without her I would’ve had no credibility,” he told Sputnik, “and I think that’s actually why the Mueller team arrested me in the savagelike manner that they did, the reason they had me under a gag order and why they had me under a sealed indictment the way that they did, because they never wanted any of this story ever coming out. But unfortunately for them, it is coming out, and my testimony has been used by the Republicans to help launch new investigations into the investigators.”

None of this, he noted, could have ever taken place without the initiative of the Obama administration and the cooperation of foreign governments.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran Is No One’s Colony

By Christopher – New Eastern Outlook – Black 24.04.2019

The American aggression against Iran is escalating to a level that threatens world war. On Monday April 22, the USA declared that it has withdrawn “waivers” given to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, under the illegal US economic warfare campaign being conducted against Iran under the name of “sanctions.” The stated objective is to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, crippling the Iranian economy, damaging the economies of countries that purchase Iranian oil and raising the price of oil for the rest of the world suppliers, including of course the US and Saudis, that have pledged to fill the gap, at a higher price of course.

The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared, with all the arrogance of Herr Garbage in Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator,

The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets.”

In other words, “we are going to bring Iran to its knees while we make a pile of dough doing it.”

Iran responded by stating that it will continue to ship oil and both Turkey and China quickly stated that they do not accept the US actions and will continue to buy Iranian oil. Italy and Greece have said nothing, but they kowtowed months ago and have not purchased Iranian oil despite being given the waivers by the US. It has to be assumed that they knew what was coming and so sought oil supplies elsewhere.

The Iranians have threatened to close the Straight of Hormuz if the waivers are suspended and the Americans use force to block Iranian oil shipments which would mean the blocking of oil shipments from the Arabian peninsular, thereby threatening oil supplies to many nations in the world that depend on those supplies, including Europe and North America. An attempt to block the Straight of Hormuz would result in the Americans trying to eliminate the Iranian naval vessels closing the passage, major naval engagements and outright war. It may be that the US is hoping to provoke such a clash to give it the pretext for war against Iran. Everything points to that conclusion.

Armed action to block Iranian exports of oil is the logical step the US will have to take if the illegal “sanctions” are ignored and the US maintains its threat to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Any such action would not only be aggression against Iran, it would also be an act of aggression against China and the other nations relying on that oil. But armed conflict and the risk of a major war is a risk the US seems willing to take. Whether they are reckless or that is the American objective is difficult to say but if it comes to that it won’t much matter for the consequences will be terrible and world wide. But, looking at US actions, real war, not just economic, appears to be their objective.

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal a few months ago and immediately reimposed its panoply of “sanctions” against Iran affecting Iranian trade, banking, shipping, transportation and communications. It has since declared a formation of the Iranian armed forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be a “terrorist organisation” a bizarre action since the armed forces of any nation cannot be considered “terrorists” in any sense. Iran quickly retaliated by declaring American armed forces as “terrorists,” and so it goes.

On April 3 the Pentagon repeated Wikileaks’ claims from 2010, which were also based on US Army sources, that Iran was responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq when, in fact, it was the Iraqi Resistance forces, that fought the Americans so valiantly, who inflicted the casualties on the US forces in Iraq.

On October 22, 2010, The Columbia Journalism Review commented on the Wikileaks release of documents and their use in the media on that date regarding Iraq that,

Just as it focused on Pakistan’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan in its reporting on WikiLeaks’s July dump, The New York Times focuses heavily on the involvement of Iran in the Iraq War logs released today.”


The Times’s current online lead WikiLeaks story is “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias” which details the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ backing of Iraqi militias.

The piece draws on specific incidents from the logs to demonstrate that Iran’s Quds Forces mostly maintained a low-profile, arranging for Hezbollah to train Iraqi militias in Iran, and financing and providing weaponry to insurgents. Other times the Iranian forces sponsored assassinations; at others, they sought to influence politics, and otherwise coordinated attacks on US forces in Iraq.”

All these claims, based on US Army sources, were accepted without question by Wikileaks and the major newspapers that published them such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and are now resurrected by the Pentagon and the media to fan the flames of hostility towards Iran in a more visceral way. Syria stated the claims were suspicious. Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharaova stated that Russia was surprised by the allegations, that Washington had some explaining to do and that the US better not use the claims as a pretext for conflict.

The objective of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and resurrecting the dubious US Army-Wikileaks claims that Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq is of course to criminalise the Iranian government in the eyes of the western, particularly American public. Criminalisation of the enemy is always a sign that an attack is coming. They painted Manuel Noriega as a criminal. They did the same with Slobodan Milosevic, with Saddam Hussein, with Muammar Ghaddafi. Negotiations, diplomacy are not possible with “criminals” is the US refrain and their targets end up dead or in an American prison.

The same logic applies to Iran. They are portraying the Iranian government as criminals and no matter how much Iran bends its principles in order to avoid war it will never be enough so long as Iran tries to act as an independent country. The economic warfare will continue for as long as the Americans have the power to wage it.

The excuse will vary with the time and circumstance but the strategy will remain. This is war, illegal and immoral, against an entire people, for the private gains of the elites in the west whose only concern is to make profit at the expense of everyone else.

I have said this before but it needs repeating that I have used the word “sanction” in parentheses because the word, “sanction,” means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition; obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.

This is the definition yet every day we hear of the “sanctions” imposed on Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those who inferior to them.

Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade set up against Iran by the United States and its subject states in the NATO alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter they are economic war crimes, economic aggression for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.

It is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does this power exist.

Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It is clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Iran is an attempt to “punish” Iran for defending its strategic position, independence and sovereignty. Once a war has started it can only proceed to its logical end. Iran has the legitimate right to defend itself against the economic warfare and threat of war presented by the United States for Iran is no one’s colony, and never will be.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate ‘Bombshells’ Spread By The MSM

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/23/2019

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one – absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated.

Except, they weren’t vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood.

To that end, Breitbart‘s John Nolte isn’t about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

John Nolte Via Breitbart

Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

Not to mention, millions and millions of establishment media tweets and Facebook posts.

Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Chuck Todd, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter, Erin Burnett, et al.,  are alone responsible for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of lies and conspiracy-mongering.

This list of 51 doesn’t count the half-million — half-MILLION — Russia collusion stories published over the past two years, almost all of which were premised on the idea that Trump did, indeed, collude with a foreign power to steal the 2016 presidential election.

This list cannot begin to count the countless times these 51 fake stories were repeated as fact throughout other news outlets, social media, and thousands upon thousands of cumulative broadcast hours.

What’s more, this list of 51 can’t begin to count the countless examples of fake news launched against Trump that have nothing to do with Russia — desperate and deliberate lies involving fish food and ice cream scoops…

Before we begin, credit where it’s due. This list would not have been possible without the lists already compiled by Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

  1. New York magazine, McClatchy:

Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

  1. BuzzFeed:

Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

  1. The New York Times:

Paul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

  1. Axios:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein forced out.

  1. NBC News:

Federal investigators wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, have recordings of Trump.

  1. Associated Press:

Phony Russia dossier was initially funded by Republican group.

  1. ABC News:

Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign

  1. Talking Points Memo:

Russian social media company provided documents to Senate about communications with Trump official.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks.

  1. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

Robert Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records.

  1. ABC News:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with Russia intelligence-connected official as late as December 2017.

  1. The New York Times:

Trump Deputy National Security adviser K.T. McFarland lied about another official’s contacts with Russians.

  1. CNN:

Trump’s campaign was never wiretapped.

  1. NBC News:

Manafort notes from Russian meeting refer to political contributions.

  1. The New York Times:

Seventeen intelligence agencies concur Russia hacked the 2016 presidential race.

  1. CNN:

Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.

  1. The New York Times:

Former FBI Director James Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him not to call Russia probe an investigation but “a matter.”

  1. CNN:

James Comey will testify he never told Trump he was not under investigation.

  1. NBC News:

Putin admits he has compromising information about Trump.

  1. Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal:

Trump fired Comey after Comey asked for additional resources for the Russia investigation.

  1. The New York Times:

Numerous contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.”

  1. MSNBC:

Among others, a Trump family member will be indicted on February 8.

  1. The Guardian:

Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on three occasions.

  1. The Washington Post:

Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Ukraine.

  1. The Atlantic:

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  1. McClatchy:

Michael Cohen really did visit Prague.

  1. CNN:

Trump is lying when he calls Russia dossier “phony.”

  1. Fortune:

RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and C-SPAN “confirmed” it had been hacked.

  1. USA Today, MSNBC, Associated Press:

Russia’s hacked the election systems of 21 American states.

  1. The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN:

Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

  1. The Washington Post:

“More than 200 websites” were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.”

  1. NBC News, MSNBC:

Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats.

  1. Slate:

Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

  1. CNN:

Mueller Report will show Trump “has helped” Putin “destabilize” the United States.

  1. NBC:

Russia supports Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

    1. CNN:

Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador.

  1. Vox:

“There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”

  1. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRReutersthe Guardian, USA Today, CNN, BuzzFeed:

Trump revealed classified information to Russians.

  1. The Washington Post:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Russia paid Trump.

  1. Fox News:

Mueller can show Trump campaign “had a connection to Russian intelligence.”

  1. MSNBC:

“Rudy Giuliani just told America that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.”

  1. The Washington Post:

Evidence suggests Trump could be a Russian “asset.”

  1. NBC:

Russians began hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails on the day Donald Trump joked about it in July 2016.


Russia spy visited Trump’s Oval Office.

  1. CNN:

Phony Russia dossier has been “corroborated.”

  1. NPR:

Donald Trump Jr. lied under oath about Trump Tower deal in Moscow.

  1. NBC, The Hill, New York Daily News:

Russia successfully hacked voting systems in a number of states.

  1. CNN:

Trump is “bonkers” for claiming Hillary Clinton behind Russia dossier.

  1. CNN:

“Every intelligence expert, both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration,” agrees with the assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

  1. BBC:

Ukrainian president “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017 meeting with President Trump.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Modi government caves in to US diktat on Iran oil

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 24, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels around the country every day claiming to be the defender of national interests in Pulwama, Balakot, ASAT and so on. But he’s keeping deafening silence on the one issue that has come up in the foreign policy that is going to have devastating impact on the Indian economy and affect the lives of common people — US diktat to India to stop oil imports from Iran.

The White House diktat is certain to lead to a spike in India’s oil bill. And, yet, only the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has voiced concern. If foreign policy is about enabling the country’s development, Modi government should show the political courage to tell the Trump administration that its attempt to hurt India’s economic interests will be resisted.

Instead, alas, the media reports suggest that the government is meekly caving in to the White House decision on Monday to block other countries from trading in Iranian oil. Most regrettably, what we see here is an abject surrender of national interests by our government, which is completely contrary to Modi’s claims of being the custodian of India’s development and prosperity.

The government has given a spin that it has arranged “alternate sources” of supply of oil. This is plain sophistry. The real issue is that Iran has been supplying oil to India in highly concessional terms — and not about the availability of oil as such. Buying oil from the spot market has always been an option, but the government could significantly reduce its import bill by availing of Iran’s favourable terms. Not only that, oil trade is a sleazy affair and only middle men stand to gain if India switches to the spot market. The common man will bear the burden of hidden kickbacks. Iran was keen on long-term arrangements with India.

The White House announcement on Monday claimed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have agreed to offset lost barrels from Iran. However, Saudi Arabia has since given a measured response, saying only that it would add supply if needed. The point is, Saudi Arabia also has to keep output below its ceiling as part of the OPEC+ deal (with Russia), which means that while in theory it could add a few hundred thousand barrels per day above current levels (approximately, 500,000 bps), that may not be enough to compensate for outages in Iran. (And this doesn’t take into account other disruptions in oil supply due to US sanctions against Venezuela and the civil war in Libya.)

The Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih has already gone to lengths to try to assuage the concerns of the OPEC+ group, stating that Riyadh would “coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance.” In sum, Saudi Arabia won’t act unilaterally and won’t act preemptively.

Furthermore, aside the strategic goal of keeping the OPEC+ group together, Riyadh also has budgetary concerns to keep oil price as high as possible. The IMF estimates that Saudi Arabia would need oil prices at US$ 80-85 per barrel in order to balance its 2019 budget. According to OPEC figures, the oil and gas sector generates around 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP, and accounts for some 70 percent of its export earnings. Besides, Saudi Arabia relies on proceeds from oil to fund its hugely ambitious transformation programme known as Vision 2030, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand project to channel billions upon billions of US dollars in investments to diversify the Saudi economy.

Therefore, all factors taken into account, the oil price is bound to shoot up in the months ahead, vastly increasing India’s import bill. The government’s calculation would be that if the BJP is returned to power, the increase in oil price can be simply passed on to the consumer, which was what the Modi government has been doing through the past 5-year period. Of course, the danger of a worldwide economic recession due to high oil prices is already talked about.

The Modi government caved in under American pressure without even token resistance. Two countries similarly placed as India with high dependence on Iranian oil — China and Turkey — have shown the grit to stand up to Washington. At a news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, used harsh words to criticise the US decision and suggested that China has already taken pre-emptive actions.  He said, “The Chinese side urges the US to seriously respect China’s interests and concerns and refrain from taking wrong actions that damage China’s interests. China has already made representations to the US side.” Geng added that China “firmly opposed” the US actions and cooperation between Iran and the international community, including China, “must be respected and protected.” (China steps up criticism of US sanctions in Iran oil, Global Times )

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu asked in indignation: “Why are you (US) putting pressure on other countries? Take your own measures. Why do other countries have to obey your unilateral decisions?” He said, “We support an international system and multilateralism established through legal rules. The fact that a country alone disrupts this and puts pressure on everyone to comply with its decisions is damaging and jeopardising the international legal system.”

In comparison, Modi and his cabinet colleagues will not join issue with the American bully. The really bizarre part is that Washington is linking India’s compliance with its diktat on Iran with its symbolic support for India’s case on Masood Azhar! This is blackmail. An appropriate quid pro quo should have been that the US blacklisted Pakistan as a state sponsoring terrorism? Will Trump dare to do that? No, he won’t, because the US bases in Afghanistan are critically dependent on supply lines via Pakistan.

Trump apparently thinks Modi is a man of straw, contrary to the latter’s self-projection. Indeed, he says insulting things about Modi every now and then but the latter simply ducks and ingratiates himself even more. Trump hikes tariffs on India’s exports to the US but Modi won’t take reciprocal measures. Trump demands duty reduction for Harley Davidson motorbikes, and Modi not only complies but phones up POTUS to personally convey the good news that he complied. Modi invited Trump as Republic Day chief guest but Trump declined disdainfully.

Does it come as a surprise that the US decided to squash Modi’s grand vision to expand and deepen economic cooperation with Iran via a payment mechanism that bypasses dollar? Washington estimated correctly that Delhi would chicken out and surrender. Such shameful behaviour must be in our Hindu DNA — prostrating before the superior power while kicking the lowly underdog?

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Right On Cue, Indian Media Blames Pakistan For The Sri Lankan Terrorist Attacks

The Cheap Shot That The Whole World Saw Coming

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-24

It was only a matter of time before Indian media predictably blamed Pakistan for the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, which just happened earlier this week in a piece by Vicky Nanjappa for “Oneindia” about “How ISI radicalised Sri Lanka through the Pakistan High Commission“. The writer wasted no time in reminding the reader about a years-long scandal in Sri Lanka initiated by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and claiming that a Pakistani diplomat on the island nation was responsible for plotting a Mumbai-style attack in South India, never mind the fact that the allegedly masterminded incident that this was being based on was actually a false flag. In fact, it can be argued that one of the consequences of the Mumbai attacks is that India capitalized on the manufactured notion that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency was behind it in order to portray its rival as a regional bogeyman who all of South Asia had to be suspicious of from then on out, so it’s logical in hindsight why India’s RAW intelligence agency would also cook up a conspiracy about this in Sri Lanka in an attempt to weaken historically strong Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations.

Convoluted And Conspiratorial Claims

The enduring motivation to divide Pakistan from its regional partners and opportunistically misportray it as a “state sponsor of terrorism” is what’s also behind the latest attempt trying to connect it to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks. Mr. Nanjappa reminds his reader about the fake news claims that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Buddhist nationalist organization is supposedly being bankrolled by the ISI, which is more than likely another weaponized narrative that ultimately originated with RAW. According to Mr. Nanjappa’s far-reaching theory, the Pakistani diplomat supposedly responsible for organizing a Mumbai-style attack in South Asia also paid the BBS to incite anti-Muslim violence in order to improve the ISI’s recruitment prospects of local Muslims afterwards, with the clear innuendo being that this somehow makes Islamabad responsible for last weekend’s Easter suicide bombings. This convoluted narrative is understandably confusing for most people to follow, but for as much as it turns off readers from outside the region, it nevertheless is meant to be ultra-intriguing for its intended audience in South Asia, especially the Indian one.

Fearmongering For Votes

It can’t be forgotten that Prime Minister Modi is battling for his political life during his country’s ongoing month-long electoral process and that he’s hoping to win re-election on a platform that heavily emphasizes national security. India was just utterly humiliated, however, following the dogfight that it initiated with Pakistan in late February after the Bollywood-style “surgical strike”, which led to New Delhi’s rival capturing one of the downed pilots prior to releasing him as a gesture of peace and then Modi’s own Defense Minister later publicly contradicting her own government by admitting that not a single person was injured in the Balakot attack. For a political leader who prides himself on his notion of national security, these events were certainly embarrassing and reduced his dwindling credibility among the electorate, hence the need to distract voters with more fearmongering scandals in the meantime so that he can improve his re-election odds. Therein lays the relevance of the ridiculous claims that Pakistan is conspiring with Russia and China to wage Hybrid Wars against the entire world and specifically India, respectively.

The BJP’s Hybrid War On India

In reality, these public accusations by the state and civil society are actually a form of Hybrid War in and of themselves, one that’s being waged not only on the minds of the international audience that India intends to trick into thinking that Pakistan is a “state sponsor of terrorism” and therefore should be subject to unilateral US sanctions and multilateral UN ones, but also against its own citizens who these perception management practitioners want to imbue with a deep sense of fear that they can then exploit to mislead their targets into thinking that India can only be protected by re-electing Modi and continuing his “muscular” foreign policy. I predicted in my piece earlier this week about my “Initial Assessment Of The Terrorist Attacks In Sri Lanka” that “it’ll be tempting for some [international forces] to imply that their rivals’ intelligence agencies might have had a hand in the latest events, or at the very least present themselves as super tough on terrorism for domestic political reasons (e.g. Modi during the elections)” which is exactly what India is now doing.

Political Purposes

India’s “Hindi Heartland/Cow Belt”, the stronghold of the BJP’s support, has yet to go to the polls but is about to real shortly in the election’s upcoming phases, so spinning the narrative that Pakistan might have indirectly had a hand in the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks is meant to ensure that as many of Modi’s supporters come out to vote as possible in order to help him win this neck-and-neck election. As an added benefit, New Delhi would be delighted if the Sri Lankan media picked up on Mr. Nanjappa’s piece and provoked one of their pro-Indian politicians to publicly praise it and/or demand an investigation into what India is framing as “Pakistan’s Hybrid War” in the country. Even better, since his article was written in English, international media further abroad might republish it too, especially some of the forces that have an interest in sparking a so-called “Clash of Civilizations”. It would be a dream come true for Modi if these weaponized fake news claims eventually made it to the UN, too.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s unsurprising that an Indian writer decided to opportunistically spin a convoluted and conspiratorial story purporting to link Pakistan’s ISI to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks since the fake news claims and attendant innuendo being put forth appeal to the preconceived notions of the BJP’s base and will probably succeed in improving voter turnout for this constituency during the next phases of the country’s ongoing month-long electoral process. The introduction of this weaponized narrative into the Internet’s information ecosystem also carries with it the chance that it’ll be picked up by Sri Lankan media and consequently provoke a pro-Indian politician there to publicly praise the piece in order to trigger a crisis in Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations. Moreover, it’s too early to rule out the possibility of other forces republishing it with the intent of intensifying the so-called “Clash of Civilizations”, which might have the horrifying effect of inspiring right-wing “reprisal” attacks against the Western-based Pakistani diaspora in an attempt to trigger more inter-civlizational violence that would superficially advance this false divide-and-rule narrative.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

‘Lift sanctions & apologize if you want to talk,’ Iran’s Rouhani tells Washington

RT | April 24, 2019

The US should first drop sanctions and apologize, if it wants to sit down for negotiations, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, after Washington stepped up “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

“Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.

He stated that Tehran is open to talks with Washington, but the US is simply “not ready for any dialogue” and only seeks to “subdue the people of Iran.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, said that the country will thwart any attempts of the US to block its oil trade.

“The efforts to boycott the sale of Iran’s oil won’t get them anywhere. We will export our oil as much as we need and we intend,” Khamenei wrote on Twitter.

“They should know that their hostile measure won’t be left without a response.”

The warning came after US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that Washington will stop issuing sanction waivers for the buyers of Iranian oil. It was done as part of the campaign to apply “maximum pressure” on Tehran, he said.

The two states remained in a diplomatic standoff after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program last year. The US then re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors.

Iran blasted the sanctions as illegal under international law and vowed to retaliate should Washington make moves to attack its oil shipment.

Earlier this month, the US listed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization.” Tehran responded in kind by doing the same with the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

From the Folks Who Lie, Cheat and Steal for a Living — Project Fake Duck

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | April 24, 2019

Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and now chief diplomat of the United States, made the following remarks in a recent interview:

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s — it was like — we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

That perhaps won’t come as too much of a surprise to many people, but it is nonetheless welcome to have it admitted by no less a person than the former director of that organisation.

However, in the light of the stunning, albeit unwitting, revelation in The New York Times, that the then deputy director of the CIA (now director), Gina Haspel, used pictures of sick children and dead ducks allegedly from the Salisbury poisoning to persuade Donald Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats — even though no children became ill and no ducks died — one wonders whether those entire training courses Mr Pompeo refers to include modules on “How to lie to the President,” and “The use of fowl play to manipulate the Commander-in-Chief”.

But there is, I think, even more to the duck story than meets the eye. In order to explain why this is so, it is necessary to first set out a timeline of events connected with it:

4th March
Two people were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings in Salisbury in what was initially thought to be a Fentanyl overdose.

5th March
Military personnel in HazMats intensely searched a bin located adjacent to the Avon Playground (see here and here)

13th March
Theresa May spoke to Donald Trump by phone. According to Downing Street’s report of the conversation:

“The Prime Minister set out the conclusion reached by the UK government that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. President Trump said the US was with the UK all the way, agreeing that the Russian government must provide unambiguous answers as to how this nerve agent came to be used.”

According to the British Government, no further phone calls took place between the two leaders after this until 28th March.

18th March*
The parents of Aiden Cooper and the two other boys involved in feeding the ducks were contacted by police and checked out for possible symptoms of poisoning, but were given the all clear.
(*I have stated 18th March, but this is an approximate date based on an interview with Aiden Cooper’s father, Luke, who said that the police came knocking on the door “two weeks after” the incident, which would make it on, or close to, 18th March.)

20th March
President Trump called President Putin, to congratulate him on his election win. He did not, however, mention the Skripal case. According to the Washington Post:

“Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow… Trump’s failure to raise Moscow’s alleged poisoning of the former spy in Britain risked angering officials in London, who are trying to rally Britain’s closest allies to condemn the attack.”

Between 20th and 23rd March

The Deputy Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, used fake images of sick children and dead ducks to persuade President Trump to take the toughest action against the Russian state, which involved the expulsion of 60 diplomats and the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Saturday 24th March

The first mention in the media (The Mirror ) that Mr Skripal fed ducks near the Avon Playground, giving bread to three boys. The article also contained two very significant statements. The first was this:

“The incident involving the boys, who are believed to have been given the all-clear, was confirmed by Public Health England and described by British officials to US authorities [my emphasis].”

The second was the first mention in the media of the possibility of the door handle as the place of poisoning:

“The shocking revelation is one of a series we can make today, including how investigators are now focusing on the double agent’s front door handle as the “ground zero” where spooks planted the deadly poison.”

25th March
At his Mar-a-Lago resort, President Trump was briefed by his aides who explained that the number of diplomats the US would be expelling – 60 – was roughly the same amount as the Europeans.

26th March

The expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats by the US was publicly confirmed. On the same day, Theresa May made a statement to the House of Commons, in which she said the following:

“And as I announced today, 18 countries have announced their intention to expel more than 100 Russian intelligence officers, including 15 EU member states as well as the US, Canada and the Ukraine. And this is the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.”

It should also be noted that her statement contained an outright falsehood. She stated:

“Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain critically ill in hospital. Sadly, late last week doctors indicated that their condition is unlikely to change in the near future and they may never recover fully.”

This was not true, since “late last week”, Yulia Skripal was being taken out of an induced coma by doctors, which was completed by 23rd or 24th March (see here for further details).

28th March
The door handle as the place of poisoning was said to have been confirmed. On the same day, The Sun carried an interview with Aiden Cooper and his parents about the duck feed incident. In the piece, Aiden’s father, Luke, confirmed that it was “two weeks” after the poisoning that police had contacted them.

What can we make of this?

The first thing to say is that a key piece of evidence in this whole saga is to be found in the event that took place 5th March. Approximately 24 hours after the incident on the bench, military personnel in Hazmats were filmed searching very intensely in a particular bin. But there are three very curious points to note about this bin:

  1. It is not located near the bench on which the poisoned pair were found.
  2. It is absolutely not on the route from the Sainsbury’s car park to Zizzis or The Mill, and would in fact constitute a bizarre detour, if your intended destination was Zizzis or The Mill.
  3. It absolutely is located next to the Avon Playground, and is in fact the exact location of the duck feed.

It seems to me that the only explanation for why this bin, which is a good 50 yards or so away from the bench, and which is not on the route from the car park to Zizzis or The Mill, was the focus of such intense scrutiny, is that it was known already by the evening of 5th March that the Skripals had been there. Why else would it have been checked? Whether this was because police had already seen the clear CCTV footage of the Skripals in this area that was subsequently shown to the parents of the three children two weeks later, or whether it was known because Mr Skripal was being watched on 4th March, I do not know. But I can think of no reason why this particular bin would have been searched so meticulously, other than the one I have advanced, which is that it was already known on 5th March that the Skripals had been around it.

But if this is the case, it raises the following point:

That as early as 5th March, police knew that Mr Skripal had been in contact with three boys near that bin, and that he had shared bread with them in order to feed ducks.

If this is so, it leads to the huge question of why the boys’ parents were not contacted until two weeks later. Clues to why that might be are also in the timeline I have set out.

Mrs May spoke to Mr Trump on 13th March, the day after she originally set out the case against Russia in the House of Commons, and the day before she formally charged the Russian Government with being behind the case, expelling 23 Russian diplomats. On the surface of it, it seems that Mr Trump stood fully behind Mrs May, and that he would agree with whatever action was proposed to him, since — according to the British Government’s summary of the call — he said that “the US was with the UK all the way.”

However, the fact that this was not so was seen by what happened on 20th March. This was the day when Mr Trump phoned the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and despite being advised by his aides not to congratulate him on his re-election, Mr Trump ignored them and did so anyway. But even more crucially, he also failed to mention anything about the Skripal case, which again went against the advice of his aides, who had urged him to condemn it in the conversation. Given that his reaction to seeing Ms Haspel’s fake pictures was to agree to the expulsion of 60 diplomats, I think we can safely say that at the time of his call to Mr Putin, he had not yet seen these images.

The fake pictures of the sick children and dead ducks were, I submit, very probably a reaction to that conversation. Although Mr Trump was apparently “with the UK all the way” on 13th March (at least that’s how Downing Street put it), it seems that on 20th March, he still wasn’t nearly as troubled by the event as Ms Haspel and Co. hoped he would be. She was angling for the “strong option” of expelling 60 diplomats, and there was Mr Trump not even bothering to mention it in his conversation with Mr Putin. And so he had to be “persuaded” by the deputy director of the organisation that “lies, cheats and steals”.

(As an aside, I have stated that this meeting with Ms Haspel probably took place between 20th and 23rd March. The reason for the former data is that, as stated above, I am sure that Mr Trump had not been shown these pictures when he spoke to Mr Putin on 20th March. The reason for the latter date is that the New York Times tells us that this meeting occurred at the White House, and by late afternoon on 23rd March Mr Trump was on his way to his Mar-a-Lago resort, and he didn’t return until late on Sunday 25th, the day before the public announcement of the expulsion of the diplomats. So Project Fake Duck had to have happened between those two dates).

All this raises huge issues in the US, where it appears that the CIA deputy director fed the President of the United States false information to twist his arm to achieve the outcome she wanted to see. That’s for journalists in the US to take up, if they care to, but what happened in Britain?

As I mentioned above, the activity around the bin next to the Avon Playground convinces me that the duck feed must have been known to the authorities as early as 5th March. And yet the parents of the boys involved were only contacted on 18th March. If Mr Skripal had really been contaminated with “Novichok” at the time of that incident, the best you could say of the investigators in relation to this is that they were woefully incompetent; the worst being that they were criminally negligent.

But of course, the fact that none of the boys or ducks became contaminated with the “Novichok” that Mr Skripal was apparently so covered with that they had to incinerate the table in Zizzis at which he was sat a few minutes after this incident, and the fact that the authorities didn’t bother contacting the parents of the boys for a fortnight, all indicates that he was not in fact contaminated at all at that time.

But if this is the case, why did the duck feed make it into the media at all? Given that it was almost certainly known about on 5th March, but the authorities decided not to do anything about it for two weeks (i.e. no public appeals showing the CCTV of Mr Skripal with the boys), why was it ever even mentioned at all? I think that there are two reasons, which are not mutually exclusive.

The first is that the British authorities, aware that their claims of a poisoning by the world’s deadliest nerve agent didn’t exactly match what actually happened — only three people ever experienced symptoms of poisoning and needed treatment — wanted to make it look far more dramatic than it actually was. And so they not only decided to finally visit the boys and their parents two weeks after the fact, but the story was then leaked to the media intentionally to add another sinister dimension to the event — the possible poisoning of children!

To give credence to the theory that officials were intent on exaggerating the fallout of the poisoning, because their claims of what happened didn’t actually match well with the facts, look at what Theresa May said of the incident in her statement to the House of Commons on 26th March:

“While Public Health England have made clear that the risk to public health is low — and this remains the case — we assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.”

She really should win an award for the use of the most weasel words in one sentence, although I appreciate that she herself has set the bar pretty high on a number of other issues. More than 130? Could have been? Potentially exposed to this nerve agent? Absolute rot of course. Firstly, if the world’s deadliest nerve agent had been used and traipsed all over Salisbury by Mr Skripal and his daughter, as we were told, then an awful lot more than 130 would have been exposed. But more to the point, this didn’t actually happen. What happened is that three people were affected. Not four. Not five. Not 10. Not 130. Not 10,000. No, just three.

In other words, there was a blatant attempt to exaggerate what happened, or what might have, could have, potentially happened, with the Prime Minister getting in on the act. The duck feed, in my view, was part of this blatant attempt to embellish the story, even though the truth was that it had been known from 5th March that it had happened, yet nobody bothered to contact the parents because it was known that the children were never in any danger.

I am, of course, unsure whether British officials fed this story, together with fake pictures, to the CIA, or whether the CIA faked them, or whether both worked in concert together on Project Fake Duck. However, I have to say that the latter of these three possibilities seems to me to be by far the most plausible. I simply cannot imagine that British officials would dare to feed the CIA fake pictures, in the knowledge that these could be used to deceive the President. And I simply cannot imagine that the CIA would pass off pictures as being received from British Intelligence, in order to deceive the President.

What I can imagine is that both sides had a need to find a way to exaggerate the case. British officials needed to make what happened seem more dramatic, and what better way than to finally get around to visiting the boys who had received bread from Mr Skripal, and then pass the details to a journalist in a major British newspaper, who would then publish a story showing the sheer callousness of the poisoning — children were involved. As for the deputy director of the CIA, she also had a need to exaggerate the case, since it was her desire to take the harshest diplomatic response against Russia, and yet the President was probably too bored or distracted by Twitter to care or even notice. “Any pictures you’ve got will be welcome.” “Oh yes, we can get those for you.” And so the lying, cheating and stealing was used on the President himself, and Duckgate was spawned. Except no mainstream journalist will touch it of course.

But I think that there is another reason why the duck feed made it into the media, despite the fact that the boys and their parents were ignored for two weeks. It is to do with that other significant incident mentioned in the timeline above: the naming of the door handle as the place of poisoning.

I believe I have pretty conclusively shown why the door handle was not, and indeed could not have been, the location of the poisoning. The duck feed itself is ample evidence, since none of the boys became contaminated and no ducks died. But if that doesn’t convince you, the fact that in the days following 4th March unprotected police officers were seen going in and out of Mr Skripal’s house via the same front door which, weeks later, was said to have the highest concentration of the world’s deadliest nerve agent on, really ought to put it to bed for good (you can read a more detailed debunking here).

If you accept this conclusion, it necessarily follows that the door handle theory, rather than being an honest account of what really happened, was actually an attempt to divert attention from the actual place of poisoning, and also an attempt to try to explain how it was that Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey became the third person to be poisoned. And indeed this explains why the duck feed, which was ignored for two weeks (because it was known that the boys were not in any danger), suddenly became a thing. Why? Well imagine that investigators had come out with the claim that Mr Skripal had been poisoned at the door handle, but the boys and their parents were not contacted. That would have left open the potential for the boys’ parents, at some point, to raise the claim that their sons had been in contact with Mr Skripal, and the authorities had done nothing to contact them, thus putting their lives in danger. And so I believe that by far the most plausible explanation for this is that it was decided to contact the parents of the boys, even though it was two weeks after the incident, and even though it was known that they were never in any danger, in order to ensure that there was no possible comeback after the door handle explanation was made public.

However, like the whole of this saga, the incident has merely ended up raising more questions. It has raised the question of why the boys and their parents weren’t contacted for a whole fortnight, even though it was surely known by 5th March that they had fed ducks with Mr Skripal. It has raised the question of why these boys and the ducks they fed did not become ill. It has raised the question of why the incident was then used, together with fake pictures, to deceive the President of the United States.

The answer, as I have attempted to set out above, is essentially two-fold:

Firstly, because the poisoning and its aftermath didn’t actually chime with the claim of “Novichok” being used, something more dramatic was needed to up the ante. The fact that children were known to have been with Mr Skripal that afternoon was then exploited by both British officials and the CIA to further their own agendas.

Secondly, because the duck incident presented a potential problem for the door handle theory, in that the boys received bread from the apparently highly contaminated Mr Skripal just 15-30 minutes after he left his house, a visit to the parents of the boys was deemed necessary to avoid a potential claim of negligence later on.

Let me end by saying this: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first mention of the duck feed, the first mention of the door handle explanation, and the first mention of British officials describing the duck feed incident to US authorities all appeared in the same article (The Mirror ). The issues are intrinsically tied together, and they all provide more evidence that the truth has been covered up. But then again, when you’re talking about the sorts of people who think nothing of lying, cheating and stealing for a living, I don’t suppose that should surprise us.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment