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These Scrubbed Reports Reveal New Secrets Into the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein Relationship

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | October 14, 2019

While the Jeffrey Epstein scandal has largely faded from media coverage in the United States, it has continued to attract attention abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom in connection with Epstein’s long-standing association with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the Queen’s son.

The Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship has long been a fascination of the U.K. press, with numerous articles dating back to the early 2000s detailing the most outrageous aspects of their relationship. Prior to that, Epstein had also garnered attention from U.K. newspapers regarding his association with Ghislaine Maxwell, whose reputation in the U.K. is rather notorious, as was that of her father, Robert Maxwell.

Yet, since Epstein’s arrest in July, many of these older articles on Epstein and Maxwell, as well as those focusing on the Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship, have disappeared from the archives of several prominent U.K. media outlets that reported on these relationships years ago.  

Several of these articles, though largely scrubbed from the internet, were recently obtained by MintPress and a review of their contents makes the likely motive behind their disappearance clear: several articles not only reference Epstein’s connection to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence years before the first investigation into Epstein’s exploitation of minors had even begun, but also reveal surprising aspects of Prince Andrew’s involvement with Epstein that strongly suggest that the Prince partook in illicit sexual activities with minors to a much greater extent than has previously been reported.

New, disturbing details of Prince Andrew’s early links to Epstein

Since Epstein was arrested the first time in 2006 and even more so after he was arrested again this past July, those named in press reports as his associates have made every effort to distance themselves from the accused pedophile and sex trafficker. For this reason, press reports that discuss Epstein long before there was any hint of the larger scandal are particularly important for understanding the true nature of Epstein’s past associations with the rich and powerful.

In light of what is now known about Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation and sex trafficking activities, several reports from the late 1990s and early 2000s contain details long since forgotten regarding Epstein’s relationship with Prince Andrew.

One particularly censored article that appeared in London’s Evening Standard in January 2001, for instance, gives several indications regarding the apparent entrapment of Prince Andrew as part of Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation, which is now known to have been connected to intelligence — specifically Israeli military intelligence, according to recent revelations in the case.

The article, written by Evening Standard journalist Nigel Rosser, quotes a personal friend of both Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein as saying the following about their friendship with Prince Andrew:

A screenshot from a now-deleted 2001 Evening Standard article

Another friend of Maxwell and Epstein made similar claims that appear in the same article:

A screenshot from the same Evening Standard article

The article further describes Epstein and Prince Andrew as having a “curious symbiotic relationship,” adding that “wherever Ghislaine is seen with Prince Andrew, Epstein isn’t far behind.”

These quotes are particularly telling now that it is a matter of record that Epstein was seeking out rich and powerful individuals and entrapping them with minors for the purpose of blackmail. The fact that personal friends of Epstein and Maxwell at the time openly stated that their “manipulative” relationship with Prince Andrew was “very premeditated” and “probably being done for Epstein” strongly suggests that not only was the Prince entrapped, but that this type of entrapment activity was known to occur among those who were close to Epstein and Maxwell at the time.

Prince Andrew — as a member of the Royal Family, which is very protective of its social reputation, as well as the U.K. envoy for investment and trade — certainly fits into the category of people that Epstein entrapped on behalf of intelligence: rich, politically powerful, wary of damaging their social reputation, and thus susceptible to blackmail.

Notably, the year this article was published (2001), is the same year that Epstein’s most well-known accuser and victim, Virginia Giuffre (then Virginia Roberts), claims that she was introduced to Prince Andrew by Maxwell and Epstein and forced to have sex with the Prince on at least three occasions. She has also claimed that Epstein would subsequently instruct her to describe the encounters in order to learn compromising information about the Prince’s sexual habits and preferences. Her claims regarding Epstein’s trafficking of her, specifically to Prince Andrew, have since been largely corroborated by photographic evidence, flight logs, and public records.

This undated photo released by Virginia Giuffre shows Prince Andrew posing with a young Giuffre, Ghislaine Maxwell is shown in the background

While it appears that Prince Andrew was deliberately entrapped as part of Epstein’s intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation, the article further suggests that Andrew’s involvement with the minors exploited by Epstein went far beyond his alleged three encounters with Giuffre.

Rosser quotes a friend of Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sara Ferguson as saying that Andrew “used to be smart when he came back from abroad… He’s started having a girl massage him… He even travels abroad with his own massage mattress.”

During this same time period, Epstein and Maxwell also introduced Prince Andrew to “sex aid entrepreneur” Christine Drangsholt during a trip to Mar-a-Lago and describes Andrew traveling to Los Angeles, where he was seen “flirting… with a group of young girls,” and to Phuket, Thailand where he “wandered around the sex bars in the area’s red light district.” The Los Angeles trip saw Andrew accompanied by artist and close friend of Michael Jackson, Bruce Livingstone Strong, and Ghislaine Maxwell accompanied Andrew to Thailand.

The mentions of massages from a “girl” and Andrew traveling around with Maxwell and Epstein while bringing along “his own massage mattress,” are particularly striking given what is now known about Epstein’s sex trafficking and sexual blackmail operation. Court documents, police reports, and other evidence have since made it clear that “massage” was the code word Epstein and his co-conspirators used for sex with the minors he exploited and massage tables and sex toys were frequently present together in the rooms of his various residences where he forced underage girls to engage in sexual acts with him and others.

Most notable of all is the fact that claims of Prince Andrew receiving “massages” from girls during his trips with Epstein and Maxwell were published in January 2001, at least two months before Virginia Giuffre states that she was first introduced to and forced to have sex with the Prince in March of 2001. This means that the claims of Epstein- and Maxwell-brokered “massages” refer to at least one other girl, strongly suggesting that Andrew’s involvement with minors exploited by Epstein is greater than has been recently acknowledged.

Other recently reported information has added to the likelihood that Prince Andrew engaged in illicit activities with more minors than Virginia Giuffre. For instance, the FBI recently expanded its probe into Epstein’s sex trafficking network to include a specific focus on the Prince’s role. The FBI has claimed that they are reviewing claims regarding Prince Andrew made by other Epstein victims aside from Giuffre, but did not specify the nature of those claims.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s open secret

Media reports cite Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell as having developed a close relationship at least by February 2000, when Andrew had spent a week at Epstein’s controversial New York penthouse at 9 East 71st Street. One report published in 2000 by London’s Sunday Times claimed that the two were introduced by Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, often referred to as “Fergie” in the press, and further claims that this introduction had taken place several years prior. Epstein is alleged to have first been introduced to Andrew via Maxwell in 1999.

Years after this introduction was made, Jeffrey Epstein would provide financial assistance to Ferguson at Prince Andrew’s behest by paying Ferguson’s former personal assistant £15,000, allegedly in order to allow for “a wider restructuring of Sarah’s £5 million debts to take place,” according to The Telegraph.

Oddly, by April of that year, Maxwell and Prince Andrew were spotted by their fellow diners at a posh New York restaurant holding hands, prompting both the Prince and Maxwell to claim that their relationship was merely “platonic.” However, a separate report from 2007 in the Evening Standard refers to Maxwell as one of Prince Andrew’s former girlfriends.

Within a year of their close relationship having become public, Andrew and Ghislaine were reported to have gone on eight different vacations together, of which Epstein accompanied them for five. Andrew also brought Maxwell and Epstein to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in 2000 as his personal guests.

Several reports from this period also provide interesting insight into Maxwell’s business activities and private life. One article from 2000, published in London’s Sunday Times, states that “for all her high-profile appearances on Manhattan’s A-List merry-go-round, she [Maxwell] is secretive to the point of paranoia and her business affairs are deeply mysterious.” It goes on to say that Maxwell “has been building a business empire as opaque as father’s” — referencing Robert Maxwell’s business empire, which included multiple front companies for Israeli intelligence — and adds that “her office in Manhattan refuses to confirm even the nature or the name of her business.”

On her relationship with Epstein, it states that “he’s always kept her secrets, no one knows what their relationship is really about.” An article from 2001 claims that Maxwell’s Manhattan lifestyle, her New York residence and her vehicles were all purchased by Epstein and that she was employed as his “consultant” while also acting as his social organizer and interior designer.

One report on Maxwell — which was published by the Evening Standard in 2003, years before Epstein was first publicly revealed to be exploiting minors — contains very telling information about Maxwell’s work for Epstein. It states “Ghislaine has risen, largely thanks to property developer Epstein bankrolling her, to become queen of the billionaires’ social circuit,” adding that “Jeffrey only likes billionaires or very young women and uses Ghislaine as his social pimp.” It then discusses “rumors” that Maxwell was hosting “bizarre parties at her house to which she invites a dozen or so young girls, then brandishes a whip and teaches them how to improve their sexual techniques.”

Given what is now known about Maxwell’s role as Epstein’s procurer of underage girls and her role in “training” them in sexual techniques, this passage — again from 2003 — reveals that Epstein’s and Maxwell’s dark acts were pretty much an open secret for years prior to Epstein’s first arrest in 2007.

Jeffrey Epstein, spy and property mogul?

One recurring theme in many of these older reports from the U.K. is their mention of Epstein’s alleged ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. For instance, Nigel Rosser’s 2001 article contains the following passage:

A screenshot from a now-deleted 2001 Evening Standard article

Another article, published in 1992 in the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday, describes “rumors” that linked Epstein to the CIA and the Mossad and claimed that he had worked as “a corporate spy hired by big businesses to uncover money that had been embezzled.” In addition, an article published in 2000 in London’s Sunday Times also states of Epstein that “nobody knows whether he’s a concert pianist, property developer, CIA agent, a math teacher or a member of Mossad.”

A screenshot from a now-deleted 2000 Sunday Times article

Notably, these rumors of Epstein’s links to intelligence have since been confirmed. The CIA-Mossad links to Epstein were detailed in a recent MintPress investigative series and several mainstream media reports have corroborated Epstein’s time as a self-described “financial bounty hunter” who hunted down embezzled funds and also hid stolen money for powerful people and governments.

Another odd commonality among these now-scrubbed articles on Epstein from the 1990s and early 2000s is that the majority of them refer to Epstein not as a “financier” or “hedge fund manager,” as has become common in more recent reports, but as a “New York property developer” and even as a “property mogul.”

For instance, the 2001 Evening Standard article introduces Epstein as an “immensely powerful New York property developer and financier” with an “intensively secret business life” who “owns properties all over the country [the U.S.].” It also states that Epstein had made millions from “his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner” during the 1990s and beyond.

A screenshot from a now-deleted 2001 Evening Standard article

Wexner, in addition to his other close financial ties to Epstein, was involved in several Manhattan real estate deals with Epstein and Epstein’s brother Mark while Donald Trump was then best known for his career as a New York property developer and real estate mogul. Trump is also cited in a separate article from January 2001 as being good friends with both Prince Andrew and his ex-wife. In addition, this article’s claim regarding Epstein’s most notable “business links” in 2001 contradicts Bill Gates’ recent assertions that he never had any business relationship with Epstein and did not meet with him until 2013. Notably, Gates’ former chief scientific adviser was recently named as an alternate executor for Epstein’s will and Gates appears on the flight logs of Epstein’s now-infamous private plane. Gates, one of the world’s richest men, has since claimed that he only had met with Epstein in order to meet other wealthy people and to discuss “philanthropy.”

Donald and Melania Trump with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida in 2000. Photo | Davidoff Studios

Another article in the Evening Standard refers to Epstein as a “property mogul.” Several other articles — such as a 2000 article from Australia’s Sunday Mail, a 1995 article from Australia’s Sun Herald, and a 1995 article from the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday — also refer to Epstein as chiefly a “property developer.” Interestingly, references to Epstein as a property developer continued to occur (though less frequently) after his first arrest in 2007 and then again after his recent arrest this past July, yet oddly only in non-U.S. newspapers. Another article states that Ghislaine Maxwell had sold property on Epstein’s behalf and was also involved in the New York real estate market.

While several articles in the early 2000s describe Epstein as both “property developer” and “financier,” even earlier articles about Epstein refer to him exclusively as a “property developer.” For instance, the 1992 article in the Mail on Sunday cited above referred to Epstein as “a shadowy, almost maverick New York property developer” and noted that, even then, Epstein appeared “to have an inexhaustible supply of money and yet no one seems able to answer the question of precisely what the source.”

As will be revealed in an upcoming MintPress investigative series, these references allude to Epstein’s shady business activities in the New York and Palm Beach real estate markets from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s that were used to launder massive amounts of money for organized crime and intelligence. It is likely for this reason that Epstein’s real estate activities during this period have been so deliberately ignored by the U.S. press, even though other aspects of his financial activities were heavily scrutinized in recent months.

Indeed, in examining Epstein’s involvement in real estate markets, particularly in New York, it becomes clear that those activities have no shortage of controversial tie-ins to the current U.S. presidential administration as well as major New York power players involved in suspect financial activity immediately prior to the September 11 attacks as well as the 2008 financial crisis. All of those connections and more will be explored in MintPress’ upcoming investigative series on the financial crimes of Jeffrey Epstein and their broader implications.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | 1 Comment

One out, another one in: Retreating US military meets advancing Syrian Army

RT | October 14, 2019

An unlikely road meeting of US and Syrian troops was captured in northern Syria as the American vehicles were retreating from the Kurdish-held town of Kobani, while the Syrians rushed to protect it from the Turkish-led offensive.

Getting American and Syrian government forces into a single image is quite a difficult task despite the protracted – and illegal – US military presence in the war-torn country. Nonetheless, RT’s video agency Ruptly managed to snap a rare shot at a highway between northern Syrian towns of Tabaqqa and Kobani.

The short clip from the scene shows a US military convoy of several armored vehicles leaving the border town of Kobani. A Syrian military unit, transported on apparently less fancy vehicles, is seen heading towards the town.

It was not immediately clear if the servicemen somehow reacted to seeing one another, as both parties seemed to be in a rush.

The US military has been withdrawing from northeast Syria following the orders by President Donald Trump, issued last Monday. The withdrawal has been sped up by the Turkish-led military operation against the Kurdish militia, one-time ally of the US, that incidentally heads the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controlling around one-third of Syria’s territory. Washington used the SDF as a ground force in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Ankara regards Kurdish militia groups as terrorists over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging insurgency in Turkey’s southeast for decades, ultimately seeking secession from the country. However, the Turkish incursion into Syria, which aims to establish a 30-km wide “safe zone” and plant previously displaced refugees and Ankara-backed Islamist rebel groups there, was not met with open arms by Damascus.

After apparently striking a deal with the Kurds, the Syrian Army said it was moving in to secure the strategic border area and entered the towns of Qamishli and Manbij. Kobani, once famously besieged by ISIS, is likely to become a hotspot of conflict again due to its position right on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Moscow on Monday said it never approved of the occupation of Kobani in security discussions with Ankara, with the Defense Ministry dismissing reports that such a question was ever brought up.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

The EU’s conditional aid and suppression of Palestinian rights

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | October 14, 2019

The European Union’s incoming Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has already signalled a continuation of the bloc’s prevailing politics when it comes to Palestine – preserve the two-state compromise by ensuring funding to the Palestinian Authority.

“If anyone helps the Palestinians today and their right to have their own state, that is Europe,” Borrell declared at the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. The truth is Europe does neither; it is merely concerned with maintaining its influence when it comes to the two-state compromise and peace-building narratives, all of which serve the EU’s political agenda.

Summarising the gist of the EU’s foreign policy when it comes to Palestine, Borrell tweeted: “The EU contributes almost one million € a day to attend the Palestinian Authority. We must continue to defend a peaceful coexistence and the two states solution.” A succinct description of what EU funding constitutes – providing the PA with the necessary backing to function without the existence of a Palestinian state.

For the EU, maintaining the two-state paradigm at the helm of policy works better than implementation, which is now inapplicable anyway. The pretence of state-building, which the PA forms part of, is also a veneer that shifts focus away from the EU’s lucrative trade deals with Israel. Borrell has already stated, unsurprisingly, that the EU’s trade agreements with Israel will not be broken. In 2017, Israel-EU trade amounted to €36.2 billion, which pales in comparison to EU assistance to the PA.

For Palestinians, therefore, the EU only finances hypotheses – in Borrell’s words, “the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state that can coexist peacefully with an Israeli state.” The EU can claim to be the biggest donor to the Palestinians, yet it is financing its own agenda, rather than providing the means for Palestinians to demand their legitimate political rights.

The Oslo Accords, which allowed Israel to colonise additional Palestinian land, have not been repudiated by the EU. On the contrary, there has been no contestation of the framework on the grounds that it has stripped Palestinians of what remained of their land and freedom. With the PA a willing accomplice, the EU has never been challenged by Palestinian political bureaucrats to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people. Conversely, the PA reaches out to the EU for assistance in maintaining the violations imposed by Israel and to which the international community turns a blind eye.

Europe is not helping Palestinians towards statehood – it is maintaining the illusion of statehood as an interim project, while Israel colonises what remains of Palestinian territory. The Oslo Accords are vague and so is EU policy towards Palestine. Instead of seeking clear parameters to decolonise Palestine, the EU is adopting the same ambiguities that have transformed Palestinians into a humanitarian project against their will.

The EU is merely financing its unwarranted justification of the two-state paradigm and forcing Palestinians into conditional financial aid. While nothing new is expected when it comes to the EU’s farcical peace and state-building for Palestinians, Borrell has indicated the EU’s agenda upfront – the financing of agendas and illusions to enable Israel’s ongoing colonial project.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

Fake news fail! ABC claims footage from Kentucky gun range shows Turkish attack on Kurdish civilians

RT | October 14, 2019

In a scarcely believable display of extreme incompetence or bald-faced lying, ABC News has broadcast footage from a Kentucky gun show, claiming it shows a Turkish assault on Kurdish civilians in northern Syria.

The news organization made the humiliating fumble on its World News Tonight show on Sunday and then again on Good Morning America on Monday. It featured in a package that was heavily critical of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.

“Slaughter in Syria,” the on-screen graphic screamed as anchor Tom Llamas introduced the footage. “This video, right here, appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town,” Llamas said as the tape rolled.

There’s just one problem, the video wasn’t from northern Syria, it was filmed about 6,200 miles (10,000km) away during a gun show at the Knob Creek Gun Range near West Point, Kentucky.

The open air gun range holds the dramatic shows twice a year and they have been immortalized in numerous YouTube videos. ABC played a video from 2017 in its Sunday snafu.

Viewing the clips clearly shows that it’s the same scene but the video has been edited to crop out the audience watching in the foreground.

After broadcasting the fake footage into homes across the US, ABC also uploaded it to YouTube. The video was subsequently deleted when the massive error came to light.

World News Tonight issued a correction on Monday, saying that ABC News “regrets the error.” “We’ve taken down video that aired on ‘World News Tonight’ Sunday and ‘Good Morning America’ this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy,” it tweeted.

ABC’s mistake is made even more glaring by the fact that footage from the Kentucky gun show previously went viral in another fake news fail when it was claimed that it showed Kurdish forces destroying Turkish tanks in January 2018. Too bad ABC don’t employ any good fact checkers.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Sam Husseini: The Entire US Establishment Helped Lie Their Way into the Iraq War

By Slava Zilber | American Herald Tribune | October 14, 2019

Sam Husseini is a senior analyst with the Institute for Public Accuracy, independent journalist and contributor to The Nation and FAIR.

Slava Zilber: Sam, three years ago, you appeared on Talk Nation Radio with David Swanson and spoke about the case of the GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun. You pointed out that the people involved in the spying on the UN and the people authorizing the Iraq War were not held accountable:

“Virtually everybody who went along with the war, whether it is Kerry or Clinton, of course, the Bush administration themselves has falsified their own records in terms of why, what they did, when they did, why they did it, to the extent that they’ve been scrutinised at all.”

You also address it in a recent article. And recently, Joe Biden has been lying about his position on the Iraq War. How can such an important issue escape meaningful scrutiny?

Sam Husseini: Because the media and the political system uses constant distractions of other issues, of personalities, of punditry to distract from these core issues. The entire US establishment helped lie their way into the Iraq War. More than that, the Katharine Gun case, which is featured in a new movie, Official Secrets, shows how the US attempted to blackmail other members of the Security Council by spying on them to try to get a second UN Security Council resolution authorizing the Iraq War. It shows the length to which they wanted to go to make sure that they got their war, both the US and Britain and others.

So all of these diabolical efforts to launch an aggressive war haven’t been seriously held accountable to it. Biden is a very notable example. I mean, the entire political system is guilty, but he is incredibly important because he was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, during the build-up of the Iraq War. It is not just that he voted wrong, as some people say. Even somebody like Bernie Sanders says it was the wrong vote. It was far worse than the wrong vote. Biden, in his hearings, prevented meaningful scrutiny and dissent and the basic facts from being highlighted in terms of the false case that was being put forward for war in 2002 and in 2003.

And he has continued to lie about his own record. Biden recently has said all kinds of things: That he was opposed to the war as soon as it started, which is totally false. He continued to back it. He even said at one point that he was always against it, which is utterly ridiculous. I mean, he always couched his criticism in bizarre ways basically agreeing with the war but saying that Bush had to do a better job of getting the UN on board. Well, as the Katharine Gun case shows, the Bush administration and the Blair government were going so far as to spy on other countries to blackmail them in order to get them on board. So saying that the US needed to do a better job of getting the UN on board is a way of saying that it should have been even more coercive than it was. His story is, in a sense, an indictment of the entire political system since before the Iraq War because he, in the 1990s, said all kinds of aggressive things about Iraq.

And it is also an indictment of the media. Do you see you a connection to what you describe in another FAIR article titled “Triumph of Conventional Wisdom: AP Expunges Iran/Contra Pardons from Barr’s Record”? Are they giving those lies a pass for the same reason they are doing this with the record of Attorney General William Barr?

It is funny that you mention that. Part of what I know about Barr is that Biden was a big backer of his.

The really notable thing about Barr’s record is that he was Attorney General for George H. W. Bush and when Iran/Contra pardons happened. This was a huge scandal during the Reagan/Bush years, and at the end of it, it was basically ended. As the prosecutor, L. Walsh, a straight-shooting Republican, said, it was a cover-up pardon. Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger and others. And Barr basically approved all of that. And what’s remarkable about that is that just as Barr was rehabilitated by the media, so too was – Biden helped rehabilitate him as well.

Biden’s record closely parallels that of the major media. Very often, his claims dovetail very strongly with them. He is sort of the closest thing that the Democrats have to a John McCain: Somebody who constantly appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows and pulled together what the late great journalist Robert Parry called conventional wisdom. So a whole series of fabrications about the Iraq War, before and after it happened, were perpetrated by the major media as well as people like Joe Biden. And Biden was rehabilitating criminal, basically, figures like Barr who was Bush’s Attorney General and helped cover-up the Iran/Contra scandal and who now is Trump’s Attorney General and, I think, playing a major role in terms of ensuring that the Trump administration maintains an establishment orientation in terms of foreign policy as well as other things. I think that he is playing a very nefarious role, and he was largely rehabilitated by Biden. We have transcripts of Biden in the mid-1990s talking him up: “What a great guy! And we have disagreements, but I have a lot of respect for you” and so on and so forth. So Biden continuously helps resurrect figures like that and does other things to maintain a very militaristic orientation in terms of foreign policy.

I had to think about a recent incident: The talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres attended a game with former President G.W. Bush. Could you please talk about what her response to the criticism that followed and the reactions from, for example, Obama administration officials Samantha Power and David Axelrod indicate? Is it also this kind of cooperation that you have just described with Mr. Barr and Mr. Biden?

Yes, I think since the Bush administration there’s been an attempt to rehabilitate it and that has gone into overdrive during the Trump administration: That is the establishment media attempt to contrast the gentlemanly Bushes, both of them, the father and the son now, as fundamentally decent, earnest people who are trying to do the right thing in contrast to this crass baffoon Donald Trump. So you had literal Obama embrace of the Bushes since Bush leaving the White House and then his father’s funeral a year ago. Barr was brought on as Attorney General just after Bush the father’s funeral at the National Cathedral. And in the Trump years, you had a total Trumpwashing of Bush and other people in his administration, much of the former CIA officials some of whom actually were already Trumpwashed before Trump because Obama brought them into his administration. Obama brought in Brennan. Obama even brought in Gates. He kept the same so-called “Defense Secretary” that Bush had. So there is a longstanding cooperation between what are sometimes called liberal interventionists and sometimes called neocons. But they all fundamentally share the same neo-imperial, colonialist mindset in terms of how the US should deal with the rest of the world. And I think that does include certain people like Samantha Power. Her rationale around the Iraq War – sort of backing it without backing it or backing it and facilitating it while attempting to pretend that they had a critique of how Bush was doing it – is actually quite similar to Biden’s as I recall. I have not looked at her record recently but recalling that record, there is a serious interplay there. So it is interesting that you’ve mentioned her as well. But it’s all based on the same sort of falsifications for war.

But again, they started and they were articulated by the major media and by figures like Biden before the Iraq War itself. For example, the weapons inspections regime of the 1990s was ended because then-President Clinton bombed Iraq and withdrew the weapons inspectors. And then he had to figure what the heck you were going to do after that. The media and people like Joe Biden continually talked about: ‘Saddam Hussein kicked out the weapons inspectors’ and ‘When are we going to get them back in?’ The weapons inspections regime didn’t end because Saddam Hussein kicked out the weapons inspectors. It ended because the US government pulled them out in order to launch a bombing campaign which people might recall happened just as Clinton’s scheduled impeachment vote was supposed to happen in 1998. And you saw much the same thing happen in 2003. How did the Iraq War begin? It didn’t begin because Saddam Hussein was not cooperating with the weapons inspectors. He was totally cooperating with the weapons inspectors. He said over and over again, including on US shows like 60 Minutes, that he had no weapons of mass destruction. So how did the war begin? The war began with G. W. Bush saying: ‘This process has gone on long enough. You, Saddam Hussein, have 48 hours to get out of Bagdad with your sons.’ And then they put out a statement that even if he got out of Iraq in 48 hours with his sons, they would still start the bombing. And they told the UN to get the weapons inspectors out of the country so they wouldn’t bomb them. And then they started their shock and awe bombing campaign. That’s how the war started.

Some people claim that Biden is now becoming senile or something. And that’s why he hasn’t been able to articulate his position on Iraq. Hardly! He has been lying about his position on Iraq for years. In 2007, he was asked about his Iraq War vote, and he actually had the temerity to say: ‘Why didn’t Saddam Hussein say that he didn’t have the weapons!’ Of course, Saddam Hussein was saying that he didn’t have the weapons! But there he is: Biden pretending that it wasn’t known that Saddam Hussein was denying they had the weapons. And that’s also another lie that major media themselves perpetrated, including 60 Minutes itself. 60 Minutes had an interview with Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War in which he said ‘I don’t have any weapons of mass destruction.’ And then several years later, after the Iraq War, they did some so-called reporting about: ‘Why didn’t Saddam Hussein say that he didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction?’ So it’s the level of absurdity you have with the record of establishment media and establishment figures like Joe Biden. And there is a remarkable lack of scrutiny, especially when it most matters. One of Biden’s falsifications, when he had an interview with NPR, got a little bit of scrutiny. It wasn’t nearly enough, and sometimes the scrutiny actually helped build up other Iraq War lies. But none of the scrutiny in the major media happened right after the Democratic debates. He has lied about his Iraq War record during each of the Democratic debates. It is Sanders who I think needs to be far more forceful if he is to comport with the indicting facts in this case. But he at least brought it up. In his words: He led the effort against the Iraq War in the Senate, and Biden voted for it. That’s an understatement again. But at least he has brought it up, and that has compelled Biden to explain his position and lie about it in the process.

It is such a loser strategy as well because it’s quite similar to Kerry’s position. You remember Kerry looked ridiculous in 2004 because he was forced to explain his position then, and he was saying things like ‘I was for the war before I was against it’ and this kind of doubletalk. Biden, if anything, is even worse than that. So it’s factually vacuous and demented, and it is probably not going to galvanize voters and be a very poor strategy electorally. 

You have been covering the Iraq War and the discourse about the Iraq War. Do you have the impression that invading another country and causing immense suffering is either considered irrelevant or treated just as something one disagrees with, especially from episodes like the one with Ms. DeGeneres, Samantha Power, and David Axelrod? Do you think it would have been different had there been an Iran/Contra trial with convictions and had the Obama administration prosecuted the people involved in torture? Would it have made a difference?

Yes, I think it would have made a difference. All of those things could have made some difference to try to have some kind of meaningful accountability in US law and political life, that people who engage in torture or launching war of aggression or other war crimes be held accountable for that. It would get those people out of public life, make them pay some measure of penalty for their own conduct, and become an example so that others don’t simply perpetuate as it is. We have some of the same figures coming back. There you have Elliott Abrams, and John Bolton, who committed criminal acts under the Bush administrations, come back under the Trump administration. In spite of its isolationist veneer, it has basically adopted a Bush type of foreign policy in many respects.

And I mean this ‘Let’s all get along even if we have disagreements!’ Well, you know, ok. So I fully expect Ellen DeGeneres to have somebody from ISIS on to talk about how she can have disagreements with him. But perhaps they can be fond of each other personally. Or pick the group of your choice that is totally distasteful or allegedly totally distasteful. I mean, in some ways, people allege the US has coordinated with groups like ISIS in terms of destabilizing Syria. But pick whatever group the US establishment most despises, and it’s not as if their members or leadership are humanized. I mean Hezbollah and Hamas are regarded as terrorist organizations even though they are political parties that do a lot of good for people. I have serious disagreements with them. And they do use violence, on a far smaller scale than the US and Israel and other states do. But it would be very refreshing if Ellen DeGeneres and other political talk show hosts took their word seriously, that they want to have a dialogue with people, even people they disagree with, and they still view them as human. So let’s have Nasrallah and the leader of Hamas on late-night talk shows. Well, I don’t think it is going to happen any time soon. It is just an exercise in making the criminality of the US establishment palatable to the public.

And it is interesting that in this case there was a fair amount of pushback. I think that’s partially because you still have some semblance in social media of evenhandedness of discourse, but I think that that has been pushed away gradually as Twitter and Facebook and other social media are tilting the playing field more and more, excluding voices, using opaque algorithms to marginalize some voices further and increase others. So the war against accountability and for meaningful dialogue about issues of war and peace – on many levels, that fight is happening.

Sam, are there cases where the question of whether one opposed the war in Iraq or supported it is being reduced to a talking point, for example, in 2016 against Hillary Clinton? How many people actually care about the human cost of that war to Americans and Iraqis?

I think a lot of US political system is trying to make the Iraq War an irrelevant thing in the distant past and the decision and the mechanisms used to launch the Iraq War. It is not a coincidence that Obama cast himself as an anti-war candidate. And he won. Trump cast himself as an anti-war candidate. And he won. I think there is a hunger in the American public for a different way to orient itself to the rest of the world. It’s a very difficult thing for the American public to sort out because it doesn’t get adequate information. Instead, it gets lies upon lies upon lies. But it is notable that the candidates that were brazenly part of the pro-war establishment have generally lost on the national stage. Now, Obama and in different ways, Trump were deceitful in casting themselves as anti-war. But I think it doesn’t change the fact that there is this underlying hunger. And there are serious opportunities because the wars continue and they continue to threaten to spiral further out of control, and they continue to have this devastating effect as most recently Turkey killing Kurds not only on its side of the border but dramatically escalating their killing of Kurds on the Syrian side of the border. And the colonial prerogatives are still the same: We can invade Iraq because we can invade Iraq. And now we can do all kinds of things in Syria because we can do all kind of things in Syria.

I think there is an attempt to reduce the Iraq War to a mere talking point. And it is facilitated in part because virtually nobody left in ruling circles got it right. Sanders did not get the Iraq War right. He bought some of the establishment lines. And I think it would do him some good to say: ‘Even I bought part of the establishment line!’ Sanders was not out there saying: ‘Iraq doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction.’ There were some people like Scott Ritter, who was saying that. I was saying there has been no evidence for saying that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. But Sanders was not saying that. He was simply saying: ‘War is a bad idea. It is going to make things worse. It could compel Saddam Hussein to use his weapons of mass destruction.’ Sanders actually made that argument. Pelosi and others made even worse arguments even though they cast their votes against war. Some of them actually helped to facilitate war even though they technically cast their votes against it.

So the entire political system – right now, I feel the correct analogy is geology in the 17th century. Geology in the 17th century was a debate between people who thought that the earth was 5000 years old versus people who thought that the earth was maybe a hundred million years old. The correct answer – that the earth was over a billion years old – was off the charts. It wasn’t part of the mainstream discussion. And I think we have a similar thing right now with coming to grips with fundamental questions of US foreign policy like the Iraq War. The correct, empirically-driven answer is well outside the current acceptable discourse. And this leads to all kinds of perversities one of which is the rise of somebody like Trump who does say perverse truths at times and that grants him a measure of legitimacy because nobody who articulates those truths in a principled way is allowed to take part in a meaningful way in public discourse because of the constrictions of major media. So these are some of the problems that have to be overcome.

Do you see them being overcome? What can be done to change things?

There is a pat answer to that: Getting information out, doing what you can. And there are all kinds of good webpages and periodicals out there. And some people try to use social media as best they can. Your program is a very good example, as well.

But I think we need to get to concrete proposals. One proposal I wanted to start building for some time and perhaps some of your listeners can help is to build what would now be called a Wiki with the relevant lies and fabrications of the establishment figures: In very short concise format so there would be a go-to place for whatever establishment figure, whether it is Biden or Wolf Blitzer or Samantha Power, to in very concise form have a thing contríbuted to by many people doing research, but then distilled so it is not a mass of treaties. So it is literally about 500 words but linked to, with substantial documentation of their various fabrications, whether it is about Iraq WMDs or other issues that we might achieve a culture of accountability so that these people could be challenged when they speak at universities or elsewhere. You could have it as a PDF so that it can be printed out and then distributed at events where these individuals are speaking. It could be distilled into a graphic form that could proliferate over social media, for example. I think it is a matter of people who do have a commitment to relevant facts and to a fundamental humanity, driven by respect for things like opposing aggressive war to organise our efforts better so we can more effectively challenge and expose people who deceit on such a massive scale to do things that have caused such harm and will continue to cause more and more harm, potentially threatening nuclear war.

I’ve been doing work lately with the Institute for Public Accuracy about the Plowshares actions. They have had an action in Georgia with these religiously-driven activists to destroy nuclear weapons symbolically. And many of them have spent much of the last year and a half in jail. Now they are facing decades in prison, and their trial begins in a couple of weeks.

I wanted to be inspired by their dedication in terms of their actions: to try to have the same dedication for laying out the critical facts in a way that is irrefutable and solidly documented and working with others to do that so that the force of that is so great that it, in effect, winds its way into the mechanisms of war and the lies that feed them and causes them to come to a grinding halt.

Slava Zilber is the host of the political podcast “Conversations with Slava” and a guest contributor to The Canary.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Washington’s Sum of All Fears: Kurdish Militants Cut a Deal with Damascus

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | October 14, 2019

Last night, Kurdish officials in northeastern Syria issued a statement that an agreement has been reached with the government in Damascus allowing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to takeover key strategic positions along the Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Not surprisingly, cheers can he heard from Damascus to Moscow, and Tehran too, while leaving Washington’s foreign policy blob visibly moaning in agony.

The reality of the situation is that Turkey sprung a trap set by Damascus and its allies. In doing so, Turkey helped to clean up what was previously a near impossible situation for Damascus.

While much of the western mainstream media has laboured over ‘Trump’s decision‘ to pull-out US troops from Syria, there are other factors which have been driving the current situation. If you’ve been monitoring the Turkish press over the last few years, you would know that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been eager to fire-up his AKP base at home and project Neo-Ottoman power regionally, so this latest Turkish foray into Syria can be seen as a resumption of the ‘New Turkey‘ – the AKP’s gradual transformation of Turkey from a secular Kemalist state, to an Islamic one. This gradual revolution is not confined within Turkey’s own borders though, as it hopes to extend its micro-colonial project of Sunnification to include areas in question located inside and along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. Hence, Ankara has moved its forces into Syrian territory for the third time in as many years, this time dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” and with Erdogan justifying the move under the auspices of ‘fighting terrorism,’ vowing once again to secure the country’s national security by stamping-out the Kurdish YPG-PKK ‘terrorist threat’ embedded in northern Syria. He may have achieved some marginal success in this department, but not in the way most mainstream pundits think.

Unknowingly perhaps (or not), Turkey helped towards resolving at least three separate problems which had been grating at Damascus and Moscow for at least the last three years. Firstly, the Turkish incursion has finally displaced uninvited US military forces that had begun illegally occupying northeastern Syria since late 2016, effectively propping-up their SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Kurdish-led proxy militants, many of whom share membership with Kurdish YPG/PKK militant groups. This weekend has shown the world that without its US protection, Kurdish-led forces are not as viable as they have been depicted in the western media, now exposed to the painful reality that their ‘autonomous’ status in northeastern Syria is on borrowed time, evidenced by the fact that they failed to protect Kurdish residents from the Turkish military and their jihadi vanguard ground forces, formerly known as Free Syrian Army (FSA), who’ve rather cynically rebranded themselves now to the ‘Syrian National Army’. With Syrian Kurdish forces now on their back heels, they were left with no other option than to approach Damascus to negotiate an alliance. That agreement was inked this weekend, with the SAA now heading towards key towns and cities in the northeast of Syria including one of the centers of fighting – the hotly contested Syrian border town of Kobani. This new reality also means that Turkish military will not willingly fire upon SAA forces inside of Syrian sovereign territory, although Turkey’s jihadist FSA/SNA militias might engage with its old nemesis. Those side skirmishes could prolong instability, but they are not nearly as insurmountable as entrenched US forces in the area.

Reports show the SAA’s arrival in these areas as being met with cheers from crowds – which is a public relations disaster for Washington and its Kurdish ‘Rojava’ nation-building project in northern Syria.

Lastly, aside from securing its key northern border crossings, Damascus in now one step closer to reclaiming its oil and gas fields situated north of the Euphrates river near the city of Deir Ezor, and which have been continuously occupied by ISIS and SDF forces respectively since 2014. Liberating its own domestic energy supply will go a long way towards helping Damascus mitigate some of the economic suffering felt as a result of the imposition of joint EU-US  sanctions, a punitive embargo designed by western powers to strangle the country and foment more domestic unrest.

A New Middle East

The Kurdish request for Damascus protection also flies in the face of years of western propaganda which tried to justify Washington’s policy of military occupation and nation-building by convince the world that the Syrian government was unwelcome in the northeastern region of its own country, and that “Kurdish independence” was a fait accompli. Moreover, Damascus is a step closer to securing previously vulnerable stretches of is eastern border with Iraq which the US was previously ‘managing’ and which allowed ISIS the move through and use as a staging ground for attacks further afield in areas like Sweida and Al Tanf. If a mutual security arrangement can be reached between Syria and Iraq to secure its shared border, then this would potentially revolutionise political and economic affairs in the region, and even globally.

If these events do come to pass, it would be a complete defeat for decades of Washington-led efforts in the region. Together with its allies, the US has worked long and hard to keep this part of the Middle East unstable and divided. It was in this US-led and Saudi and Israeli-engineered environment of destablisation that both al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists were able to emerge and thrive for so long. Its adversaries should remain vigilant though, as history demonstrates, both Washington and Israel are not above provoking instability in order to achieve their shared short-term and long-range goals for the region.

Regardless, the board has been flipped in Syria. Unable to either hold territory or keep thousands of ISIS prisoners in custody, US-backed SDF militias have been exposed as the latest in a long lineage of hapless pawns of Washington in the Great Game. Once new ground locations are secured by SAA forces, then Damascus could invite Russian air support to secure this airspace – an outcome which can only mean that terrorists’ days will be numbered going forward. Any remaining ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists brigades active in north of the Euphrates will have few remaining escape routes, other than north to seek refuge in the various AKP-sanctioned terrorist enclaves located across the border in southern Turkey.

As this author said back in early 2018, the US-Kurdish dance in northeastern Syria was always a game of musical chairs, and sooner or later, someone had to leave. And that someone is the USA, and immediately followed by ISIS.

As President Bashar al-Assad said already, Syria is determined to reclaim “every inch” of its territory. So it might behoove western powers not to underestimate the will and determination of a country and army which has withstood eight years of a fully internationalised regime change war waged against it.


Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting in the Middle East including work in Syria and Iraq.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 2 Comments

Washington is Wrong Once Again – Kurds Join Assad to Defend Syria

By Ron Paul | October 14, 2019

When President Trump Tweeted last week that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars,” adding that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Washington went into a panic. Suddenly Republicans, Democrats, the media, the think tanks, and the war industry all discovered and quickly became experts on “the Kurds,” who we were told were an “ally” being sent to their slaughter by an ignorant President Trump.

But it was all just another bipartisan ploy to keep the “forever war” gravy train rolling through the Beltway.

Interventionists will do anything to prevent US troops from ever coming home, and their favorite tactic is promoting “mission creep.” As President Trump Tweeted, we were told in 2014 by President Obama that the US military would go into Syria for just 30 days to save the Yazidi minority that they claimed were threatened. Then that mission crept into “we must fight ISIS” and so the US military continued to illegally occupy and bomb Syria for five more years.

Even though it was the Syrian army with its Russian and Iranian allies that did the bulk of the fighting against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, President Trump took credit and called for the troops to come home. But when the military comes home, the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex loses its cash cow, so a new rationale had to be invented.

The latest “mission creep” was that we had to stay in Syria to save our “allies” the Kurds. All of a sudden our military presence in Syria was not about fighting terrorism but rather about putting US troops between our NATO ally Turkey and our proxy fighting force, the Kurds. Do they really want us to believe that it is “pro-American” for our troops to fight and die refereeing a long-standing dispute between the Turks and Kurds?

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground. While their interest in fighting ISIS was limited, they were happy to use Washington’s muscle in pursuit of their long-term goal of carving out a part of Syria (and eventually Turkey) for themselves.

We can never leave because there will be a slaughter, Washington claimed (and the media faithfully repeated). But once again, the politicians, the mainstream media, and the Beltway “experts” have been proven wrong. They never understand that sending US troops into another country without the proper authority is not a stabilizing factor, but a de-stabilizing factor. I have argued that were the US to leave Syria (and the rest of the Middle East) the countries of the region would find a way to solve their own problems.

Now that the US is pulling back from northern Syria, that is just what is happening.

On Sunday the Kurds and the Syrian government signed an agreement, brokered by the Russians, to put aside their differences and join together to defend against Turkey’s incursion into Syrian territory.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 4 Comments

‘You’ve been duped by spooks & terrorists’: Russian military reveals flaws in NYT’s report on hospital bombings

RT | October 14, 2019

A damning report by the New York Times, which accused Russia of bombing four UN-protected hospitals in Syria, is a product of misinformation by Western intelligence services and jihadists, the Russian military said.

On Sunday, the leading US newspaper said it had irrefutable proof that Russian warplanes had bombed four sites in Syria, which it knew to be locations of civilian hospitals. The accusation stems from analysis of social media, interviews with witnesses, data provided by local plane spotters and records of communications of the Russian military deployed in Syria. The bombings, which happened on May 5 and 6, are just a faction of attacks on civilian infrastructure, for which Moscow carries responsibility, the newspaper alleged.

Responding to the accusation on Monday, the Russian military said Times report was flawed for several reasons, including failure to explain that Idlib Governorate, where the four alleged bombings took place, lives under rule of brutal jihadists. That detail affects the entire narrative, indicating its flawed sourcing.

“Gadgets, modern radio scanners, protected notebooks, internet connection are all things that the local civilian population simply cannot afford. They are more interested in daily surviving under the yoke of the terrorists,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

He was referring to the equipment used by “plane spotters”, who provided their data to Times. The newspaper said those observers “insisted on anonymity for their safety”, but the Russian military says they shouldn’t have bothered and identified them as the people behind a “combat intelligence system” based on equipment developed by a US company called Hala Systems.

The system known as Sentry is a collection of suitcase-sized sensors connected into a network plus an AI-based algorithm, which uses signals from those sensors as well as social media data to analyze and predict airstrikes in Idlib. Hala Systems says it’s a for-profit company that develops and operates the system on grants from governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark the United States, and Germany.

The company deemed it necessary to explain in its FAQ that it is not a front for the CIA, but acknowledges that it deployed the system in conjunction with the notorious White Helmets, the group that operated in jihadist-held parts of Syria with strongly suspected ties to Western intelligence services.

The statement by Konashenkov said Times chose to omit those details because they clearly expose its source as potentially compromised rather than to protect anyone.

“The ‘evidence’ published by NYT are not worthy even of the paper it was printed on.”

He added there were inconsistencies with other parts of the report, in particular a claim that a Russian pilot received coordinates for his target openly on the air, which would have been in violation of military operating procedures.

He also questioned identification of one of the locations named by the Times as a civilian hospital, saying it was not clear how one can operate in a remote cave.

“Just a week ago we took over 80 journalists from leading Russian and international media to a cave located in that general area. They saw with their own eyes what is kept in such caves, or rather reinforced terrorist bunkers,” the Russian general said.

“There were large stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, including those Western-made, prisons, holes to cover tanks, gas masks, food and medical supplies.”

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Retracted Ocean Warming Paper & the IPCC

A new UN report relies on discredited research – and on academics who conceal vital information

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | October 14, 2019

Last Halloween, the Washington Post ran a dramatic headline: Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming.

This story was huge news worldwide. Fortune magazine quoted Laure Resplandy, the Princeton University oceanographer who was the research paper’s lead author. “The planet warmed more than we thought,” she said. “It was hidden from us just because we didn’t sample it right.”

In fact, the problem wasn’t hiding in the ocean, but in the paper’s own mathematical calculations. Within days Nic Lewis, a UK private citizen and math whiz, had published the first of four detailed critiques of the paper’s statistical methodology (see here, here, here, and here).

We’re told that research published in prestigious scientific journals is reliable, and that peer review is meaningful. Yet 19 days after those Halloween headlines, the journal announced the authors had acknowledged a number of errors.

Two weeks ago, presumably after months of attempting to rescue the paper, the journal threw in the towel and retracted it wholesale.

What happened in between? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a 1,200-page report about oceans. Chapter 5 of that report cites this now-retracted research (see pages 5-27 and 5-183 here).

In fairness, this single citation may just be a typo. There’s a good chance the IPCC meant to cite a different 2018 paper, in which Resplandy was also the lead author.

But the matter doesn’t end there. The UK-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is now pointing out that a crucial conclusion of the IPCC’s report relies heavily on a second paper titled How fast are the oceans warming?

Written by Lijing Cheng and colleagues John Abraham, Zeke Hausfather, and Kevin Trenberth, it was published in January 2019 in Science. The journal calls it a ‘Perspective,’ because rather than being a research paper, it’s more of an argument.

In three places, the Halloween research is cited to support its conclusions. Nowhere do Cheng and his colleagues acknowledge that the statistical methodology of the Halloween research had already been torn to shreds, that the paper’s authors had already conceded it was flawed.

The bottom line? Chapters 4 and 5 of the IPCC’s ocean report rely on the 2019 Cheng ‘Perspective.’ The Cheng ‘Perspective’ relies on research that has now been officially retracted.

The even worse bottom line? Lijing Cheng – an academic who concealed vital information in an article published in Science this year – was intimately involved in the preparation of the IPCC’s ocean report. He was a lead author for Chapter 1. He was a contributing author for Chapters 3 and 5. And he helped draft the Summary for Policymakers.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment