Aletho News


Venezuela blames nationwide blackouts on ‘electromagnetic attack’

RT | July 22, 2019

Massive power outages all across Venezuela were likely caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” the government of President Nicholas Maduro said, stressing that authorities are working to restore the service as soon as possible.

The blackout affected the entire nation, Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodríguez said on Monday evening, claiming that the power was knocked out by outside interference. The government has activated all the necessary protocols to provide safety for Venezuelans and work crews are already working to restore power.

Preliminary probe into the incident has suggested the “existence of an electromagnetic attack that sought to affect the hydroelectric generation system of Guayana, the main provider of this service in the country,” the minister told state channel VTV.

While authorities are struggling to resolve the crisis, the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido has used the power outage to once again attack his political opponent, accusing President Maduro of “destroying” the country’s electrical system.

In March, Venezuela suffered two major blackouts that sent the country into darkness for days. At the time, Caracas blamed it on cyberattacks on the Guri Hydroelectric generation and distribution system and accused the US-backed local opposition of sabotaging the power grid. Maduro also accused Washington of waging an “electricity war” to bring Guaido to power.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | 2 Comments

A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – July 22, 2019

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Clinton Prevails

A mere four days after the WikiLeaks release, a well orchestrated Democratic Convention nominated Clinton, while many Sanders supporters loudly objected. Thus, she began her campaign under a cloud, and as more and more Americans learned of the fraud that oozed through the DNC email correspondence — including the rigging of the Democratic primaries — the cloud grew larger and darker.

On June 12, 2016, six weeks before the convention, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had announced in an interview on British TV, “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication.”

Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016.

The DNC almost certainly knew what had happened — not only that someone with physical access to DNC computers had copied thousands of emails, but also which ones they had copied, and thus how prejudicial to the Clinton campaign they would be when they saw the light of day.

And so, candidate Clinton, the DNC, and the mainstream media (forever quoting anonymous “current and former intelligence officials”) appear to have colluded, deciding the best defense would be a good offense. No one knew how soon WikiLeaks would publish the emails, but the DNC offense/defense would surely have to be put in place before the convention scheduled to begin on July 25. That meant there were, at most, six weeks to react. But it only took two days. As early as July 24, about 48 hours after the leaks were published, and a day before the convention, the DNC first blamed Russia for hacking their emails and giving them to WikiLeaks to sabotage Clinton.

A Magnificent Diversion

Clinton: Already blaming the Russians at DNC 2016 convention. (Wikipedia)

Granted, it was a stretch — and the DNC would have to hire a pliable cybersecurity firm to back up their claim. But they had good reason to believe that CrowdStrike would perform that service. It was the best Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and associates could apparently come up with. If they hurried, there would be just enough time to prepare a PR campaign before the convention and, best of all, there was little doubt that the media could be counted on to support the effort full bore.

When WikiLeaks published the emails on July 22, 2016, just three days before the Democratic convention, the propagandists were ready to deflect attention from the damning content of the DNC emails by repeating incessantly that the Russians hacked the emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to hurt Clinton.

It pretty much worked like a charm. The late Senator John McCain and others were quick to call the Russian “hack” an “an act of war.” Evidence? None. For icing on the cake, then-FBI Director James Comey decided not to seize and inspect the DNC computers. Nor, as we now know, did Comey even require a final report from CrowdStrike.

Eight months after the convention, in remarks at the Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress on April 6, 2017, Clinton’s PR director, Jennifer Palmieri, could scarcely contain her pride that, after a difficult start, she was ultimately successful in keeping the Russian bear front and center.

Transcribed below (verbatim) are some of Palmieri’s more telling remarks when asked to comment, from her insider perspective, on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall.”

“… I did appreciate that for the press to absorb … the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb…. But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. … [Emphasis added.]

“And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum]. How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement – a long statement – that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks. And it named the institutions – WikiLeaks, DC Leaks, and Guccifer – as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. … So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ….”

And so, the Magnificent Diversion worked as intended.

Recognizing Liminal Time

But not all journalists fell for it. Patrick Lawrence (once of The Nation, now of Consortium News) was onto the ruse from the start. He says he had “fire in the belly” on the morning of July 25, 2016, the day the Democratic convention began, and that he dashed off an article “in one long, furious exhale” within 12 hours of when the media started really pushing the “the Russians-did-it” narrative. The title of his article, pointed out to me a few months ago by VIPS member Todd Pierce, was “How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal … a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting.”

Lawrence’s off-the-cuff ruminations, which Salon published the next day are extraordinarily prescient and worth reading in full. He instinctively recognized the email disclosure-cum-media-obfuscation campaign as a liminal event. Here are some excerpts, reprinted here with Lawrence’s permission:

”Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections … Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? …

The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale … in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere … Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction. …

The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook … appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and … CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this … because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so.

the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave). Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. … [Emphasis added.]

Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. … I am developing nitrogen bends … Which way for a breath of air?”

Sad Sequel

A year later Lawrence was commissioned by The Nation to write an investigative report on the so-called “Russian hack.” On August 9, 2017, after he interviewed several Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, among others, The Nation published his findings in an article entitled “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.” Lawrence wrote, “Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”

Again, Lawrence got it right — this time relying less on his own experience and intuition than on applied science as practiced by real technical experts with no axes to grind. But, sadly, that cut across the grain of the acceptable Russia-gate narrative, and a furor erupted among Hillary followers still licking their wounds over her loss. It proved simply too much for them to entertain the notion that Clinton was quite capable, with help from the likes of Mook, to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory — without any help from Vladimir Putin.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. An ex-CIA analyst, his expertise on Russia goes back a half-century. He prepared and briefed The President’s Daily Brieffor Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: Banned in the West but Mandatory Viewing in Israel

By Tim Anderson | American Herald Tribune | July 22, 2019

In his speech on the 13th anniversary of the defeat of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Tel Aviv of the consequences of its constant urging of war against Iran. The Zionist state would be swept up in any such
war and would suffer “a terrible defeat”, he said.

In the upside-down world of western war propaganda, Nasrallah’s warning is portrayed as a ‘terrorist threat’, while Israel’s repeated attacks on Syria and constant urging of war against Iran are presented as self-defense. In this way, war in the entire Middle East region is normalized, for western audiences.

In an apparent paradox, Nasrallah’s voice of resistance is banned in many western countries. Facebook, for example, will automatically block any link to the Hezbollah news site, al Manar. However, in Israel Nasrallah’s words are carefully reported and studied.

There is a good reason for this. The USA and Britain, in particular, want to prohibit Nasrallah’s clear and insistent logic of resistance to the colony in Palestine; while Israel wants colonists to remain up to date on the latest detail from their northern nemesis. Of course, Nasrallah’s speeches carry a fair degree of morale-building rhetoric, of his confidence in victory and so on. But he speaks with the unique credibility of a commander in chief, as well as that of a strategic analyst. When he speaks of inflicting damage on Israel, his southern neighbors know that Hezbollah has done that before, driving zionist forces out of Lebanon throughout the 1990s and again in 2006.

No other resistance commander speaks so plainly and in such detail. Iran’s legendary General Qasem Soleimani, for example, rarely makes any public statements.

This latest message led with the warning over the war against Iran, and specified the vulnerabilities of Israel. Showing a map of occupied Palestine, Nasrallah emphasized the capabilities of the Lebanese resistance and the close proximity of all Israel’s military, logistic and industrial facilities. Hezbollah now has tens of thousands of accurate missiles and its retaliation would focus on the north and on the north coast.

Zionist leaders, recognizing that Hezbollah is now well embedded in the Lebanese government, seem to have abandoned any attempt to distinguish the resistance party from Lebanon. On more than one occasion Minister Yisrael Katz has threatened to send Lebanon back “to the stone age”. This is part of Israel’s (obsessive but futile) campaign to remove Iranian presence from both Syria and Lebanon. In December 2017 Katz threatened “This time, all of Lebanon will be a target … we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age.” Nasrallah responded in kind. Al Manar’s summary of the long speech (‘Sayyed Nasrallah confident of victory: we will pray in al Quds!’, 16 July) emphasized the devastating impact of Hezbollah’s retaliation against Israel.

Lebanon’s resistance forces are prepared for a counter-invasion of Galilee (northern Palestine) and would focus attacks on the coastal strip from Netanya to Ashdod, which included the main airport, arms depots, military facilities, petrochemical plants, power facilities and ports. Israel would suffer a “terrible defeat” and would be “on the verge of vanishing”. Nasrallah repeated his earlier statements about the weakness of Israeli ground forces. In other themes, Nasrallah said the Kushner plan for Palestine was doomed to failure, that with looming victory, Hezbollah had withdrawn many of its forces from Syria and, in Lebanon, the resistance backed internal de-escalation and stability.

In her report on the speech, Dr. Marwa Osman (‘Nasrallah’s surprises for Israel’, 21 July) pointed out that the resistance leader’s central message was a deterrence to the Netanyahu regime’s drive for war on Iran. The Zionist fear of Iran is logical. A bloc led by Tehran remains the main existential threat to Israeli expansion and apartheid.

Iran has told Washington that any attack on its territory will lead to counter attacks on US forces and proxies in the region. The Hezbollah leader has now made explicit the scope of the response of the Lebanese
resistance, on multiple targets in occupied Palestine.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Alan Dershowitz: “Feeling Bad is Part of my Job”

Gilad Atzmon | July 22, 2019

Dershowitz is working hard these days. He understandably desperate to clear his name. This video is a short deconstruction of Dershowitz’ recent appearance on Israeli TV.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

UK’s May Takes Parting Shot at Putin in Desperate Diversion From Failure

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 22, 2019

In what was billed as her last major speech before quitting Downing Street, Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May focused her concerns on Russian President Vladimir Putin, lashing out at his “cynical falsehoods” and admonishing her successor “to stand up to” the Russian leader.

Given her ignominious failure as premier over the Brexit fiasco, it seemed a strange choice of topic as she addressed the Chatham House think tank in London this past week. Her speech dealt with the wider theme of rising “populist politics” in the US and Europe. And she sought to portray Putin as an archetypal sinister figure fomenting populist threat to the “liberal” democratic order.

At one point, May claimed: “No one comparing the quality of life or economic success of liberal democracies like the UK, France and Germany to the Russian Federation would conclude that our system is obsolete.”

This was supposed to be a riposte to an interview given by Putin to the Financial Times last month ahead of the G20 summit in Japan. During a lengthy interview on a wide range of issues, the Russian president was quoted as saying: “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”

Putin was apparently explaining a fairly straightforward and, to many observers, valid assessment of international politics. Namely, that Western establishments and institutions, including the mainstream media, are experiencing a crisis in authority. That crisis has arisen over several years due to popular perception that the governance of the political class is not delivering on democratic demands of accountability and economic progress. That in turn has led people to seek alternatives from the established parties, a movement in the US and Europe which is denigrated by the establishment as “populist” or rabble rousing.

Putin was not advocating any particular politics or political figures. He was merely pointing out the valid observation that the so-called liberal establishment has become obsolete, or dysfunctional.

In her speech this week, May sought to lay on a sinister spin to Putin’s remarks as being somehow him egging on authoritarianism and anti-democratic politics.

Another example of distortion came from Donald Tusk, the European Council President, who also said of Putin’s interview: “I strongly disagree with the main argument that liberalism is obsolete. Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete, also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete… For us in Europe, these are and will remain essential and vibrant values. What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs.”

Tusk’s depiction of Putin being anti-democratic, anti-human rights and anti-law is a specious misdirection, or as May would say, “cynical falsehood”.

Political leaders like May and Tusk are living in denial. They seem to suffer from a charmed delusion that all is rosy with the state of Western democracy. That somehow Western states are the acme of benign “liberalism”.

By blaming evident deep-seated problems of poverty and apathy towards establishment politics on “sinister” targets of “populism” and “authoritarian strong men” is a form of escapism from reality.

In May’s case, she has added good reason to escape from reality. Her political career is ending in disaster and disgrace for having led Britain into a shambles over its Brexit departure from the European Union. Of course, she would like a distraction from her abysmal record, and she seemed to find one in her farewell speech by firing a dud diatribe at Putin.

But let’s re-examine her self-congratulatory claim more closely. “No one comparing the quality of life or economic success of liberal democracies like the UK, France and Germany to the Russian Federation would conclude that our system is obsolete.”

There are two parts to that. First, May is giving the usual establishment spiel about presumed superiority of Western “liberal democracy” as opposed to politics and governance in Russia.

This week coming, May hands in her resignation as Conservative party prime minister to the unelected head of state, Queen Elizabeth. The British monarch and her heirs rule as official head of state by a presumed “divine order”. Some democracy that is!

May’s successor will either be Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt. The next prime minister of Britain will be elected solely by members of Britain’s Conservative party. As the Washington Post noted this week, the Tory party represents less than one per cent of the British population. So, the new leader of the United Kingdom is being decided not by a democratic national mandate, but by a tiny minority of party members whose demographic profile is typically rightwing, ardent nationalists, pro-militarist, white and elderly males. Moreover, the “selection” of new leader comes down to a choice between two politicians of highly dubious quality whose foreign policy tendency is to play sycophants to Washington. The way Johnson and Hunt have, for example, lent support to Trump’s reckless aggression towards Iran is a portent of further scraping and bowing to American warmongering typical of Britain’s “special relationship”.

In the second part of May’s presumed virtuous liberal democracy, she hails the “quality of economic success” of her nation as opposed to Russian society.

No-one, least of all Putin, is denying that reducing poverty is a social challenge for Russia. In a recent nationwide televised Q&A, the “elected” (please note) head of the Russian state called poverty reduction a priority for his government. However, Russia certainly doesn’t need advice from the United Kingdom or many other Western states on that issue.

A recent major study in Britain found that some 21 per cent of the population (14 million people) are living in poverty. Homelessness and aggravated crime figures are also off the charts due to collapsing public services over a decade of economic austerity as deliberate government policy. The inequality gap between super-rich and poverty among the mass of people has exploded to a chasm in Britain, as in the US and other Western states.

These are some of the urgent issues that Putin was referring to when he asserted the “liberal idea is obsolete”. Can anyone objectively surveying the bankrupt state of Western societies honestly dispute that?

Western states are fundamentally broken down because “liberalism” is an empty term which conceals rapacious corporate capitalism and the oligarchic rule of an elite political class. The advocates of “liberalism” like Britain’s May, Johnson, Hunt or Tusk are the ones who are anti-democracy, anti-human rights and anti-law. Their denial about the systemic cause of poverty and injustice within their own societies and their complicity in American imperialist warmongering in the Middle East or belligerence towards Russia and China is the true “quality” of their “democratic principles”.

If that’s not obsolete then what is? And that’s why May took a weird parting shot at Putin… in a desperate diversion from reality.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | | 3 Comments