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Pathologizing conspiracy theories is the lazy government’s method of suppressing dissent

By Helen Buyniski – RT – November 12, 2019

The term ‘conspiracy theory’ has long been used to discredit anyone pointing out collusion between powerful people, but efforts to pathologize dissent as ‘conspiracism’ are doomed to collapse under the weight of reality.

Conspiracy theories are divisive, dangerous, even evil, according to the mainstream media. They cause “violence, including terrorism,” former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein notoriously declared, and the FBI’s Phoenix field office recently reiterated. They’re a way for ignorant people to make sense of the world, academics cry, or a holdover from the caveman era, when primitive man had to suspect enemies around every corner. More recently, they’ve been described as a way for white people to deal with demographic changes.

But conspiracies are everywhere in American politics today in a way that is nearly impossible to ignore. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s sweetheart deal, given an open-door 13-month sentence despite evidence of abusing and trafficking scores of girls (“he belongs to intelligence,” the prosecutor later claimed he was told),  the machinations of the so-called Deep State (“thank God for the Deep State!” ex CIA director John McLaughlin chuckled, live on CSPAN), and the CIA’s fomenting of coups around the world are just the tip of a massive iceberg we are told does not exist except in the minds of crazy or backward people – one on which the ship of state has wrecked itself again and again.

Unable to drive people away from researching secret plots by calling them racist cavemen, academia has revived the word “conspiracism,” a term first coined in the 1980s to describe the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories in politics as a sort of mass psychosis. The not-so-subtle inclusion of the word “racism” might not be intentional, but it certainly doesn’t hurt when you want to slime anyone poking around behind the façade of power – or deny there is such a façade at all.

‘Conspiracy theory’ has become the go-to shorthand in the mainstream media for inconvenient outbreaks of political dissent. CNN’s Jim Acosta applied it to the idea professed by President Donald Trump and many independent journalists that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of the DNC. CNN’s Chris Cillizza applied it to Trump’s claim that Google was suppressing conservative news outlets in its search results, a claim echoed by many right-leaning social media users.

But the mainstream media also reported on Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election, and multiple Google whistleblowers have come forward to confirm the search giant does, in fact, suppress right-leaning sources in its news searches.

Meanwhile, truly unhinged conspiracy theories blaming Russia for any vote that doesn’t go the way the US government likes – whether it’s Brexit in the UK or the election of right-wing candidates in Italy – as well as political dissent both abroad and at home – are passed off as real news. Indeed, the mainstream media has spent so much time peddling fantasies like the “Russian collusion” delusion – which dominated headlines for three years in the absence of concrete evidence before dying ignominiously – that trust in ‘journalism’ is at record lows. The abundance of real conspiracies behind many of the turning points of recent history – Watergate, the Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” hoax, and the CIA arming and training terrorist “mujahideen” in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union being just a few examples – is rarely mentioned amidst the endless mockery of those tinfoil-hat loonies who believe the rich and powerful are working together behind the scenes.

Even some mainstream journalists see through the tripe they’re asked to report, as Project Veritas’ recent leak of an ABC reporter calling out a conspiracy to suppress her story on suspiciously-deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein proved. A media apparatus that can’t even fool the people on its payroll is in a sad state indeed.

Powerful people and intelligence agencies who don’t want the hoi polloi probing their misdeeds are aware they have a crisis of credibility on their hands. Even the FBI, in a memo warning agents that conspiracy theorists (like literally everyone else) are dangerous loonies, had to admit that the “uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures” might be behind the outbreak of conspiracy theorizing that had seized the nation. In other words, conspiracy theories are everywhere because conspiracies are everywhere.

The tradition of labeling ideas conspiracy theories to discredit them is itself a conspiracy – a documented one. The term was weaponized in 1967 in a CIA memo about how to quash criticism of the Warren Report, the product of the government investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s murder. The memo laments that some 46 percent of Americans did not believe the assassin acted alone, and details how the agency might “counter and discredit the claims of the conspiracy theorists” suggesting others were involved. It recommends “employ[ing] propaganda assets to refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.” The agency had infiltrated mainstream media through its Operation Mockingbird, paying or even planting journalists to push favorable viewpoints, and a flood of articles denouncing ‘conspiracy theorists’ followed, pushing the term into the popular lexicon.

Over half a century later, the CIA’s plan hasn’t worked very well – a 2017 poll found that the percentage of Americans who believe JFK’s death was the result of a conspiracy had swelled to 61 percent. But rather than come up with a new strategy, the media’s narrative managers have simply doubled down on the failed one, expanding the range of opinions smeared as “conspiracy theories” and heaping scorn upon their adherents.

Feature  articles  still  try to shame people , diagnosing anyone suspicious of threadbare media narratives with the societal psychosis of ‘conspiracism.’ It may work to keep inconvenient truths out of the mainstream media, but in the absence of a compelling alternative narrative – one that can’t be disproven by the evidence of one’s own senses (or a few minutes’ research on the internet) – conspiracy-shaming is a weak weapon. People are much less likely to look for conspiratorial explanations if the “facts” presented by the media make sense. But if mainstream narratives continue to decline in believability, pretty soon people will be dismissing establishment journalists as “coincidence theorists.”

Also on rt.com:

Only thing clear about the new Transparency Act is that US senators are about to let Google keep manipulating your search results

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Syria: Assad accuses US of ‘supporting terrorism’ in rare interview

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sad Death of James Le Mesurier

By Craig Murray | November 12, 2019

We should never forget that all human deaths are tragedies. No human is perfect and none is completely evil. Even the most wretched, snivelling excuse of a human being you can possibly imagine – say Ian Austin – has known a mother’s love. Le Mesurier leaves a wife and children who will be mourning. We should not forget that.

Unfortunately he worked in a profession where you can very quickly move from an asset to a liability. Le Mesurier’s usefulness to Western security services, Israel and their Gulf allies came to an end when the jihadist headchoppers to whom Le Mesurier had been providing logistic support and invaluable propaganda, lost their last secure footing in Syria. That the White Helmets worked hand in glove with the extreme jihadists, and moved out wherever they moved out, is beyond dispute as a matter of fact, whatever the state of denial of the mainstream media. That there is now nowhere in Syria that people can go around executing Christians with impunity, and simultaneously now nowhere that the White Helmets can operate, is not the coincidence the mainstream media affect to believe. Some of them possibly do believe it. As a wise man once observed, it is amazing what people can believe when their job depends on it.

Having stopped being useful, Le Mesurier became much more of a liability after Turkey took over further control of former jihadist controlled areas in Northern Syria. The chances of Turkey obtaining both documentary and first person testamentary evidence of the relationship between the White Helmets, the jihadists, and western and allied intelligence services increased substantially. Indeed I have reason to believe Turkey may already have done so. His potential liability to his former employers ratcheted up. This resulted in his death. Whether he was killed or took his own life from the resultant stress, I have no information at present.

As regular readers know I have excellent contacts in Turkey of precisely the right kind. Leading a life a great deal more complicated than just being a blogger, I regret that I have been unable to date to tell you the full truth of what I was doing in Ankara in December 2017, and probably will not be able to tell you for a year or two yet. I will now try to get further information from my contacts on Le Mesurier, but please understand it may not be instant.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | 4 Comments

Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | November 12, 2019

War is a grisly business, a horror of epic proportions.

In terms of human carnage alone, war’s devastation is staggering. For example, it is estimated that approximately 231 million people died worldwide during the wars of the 20th century. This figure does not take into account the walking wounded—both physically and psychologically—who “survive” war.

Many of those who have served in the military are among America’s walking wounded.

Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 20 million veterans who have served in World War II through the present day, the plight of veterans today has become America’s badge of shame, with large numbers of veterans impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, suicide, and marital stress, homeless, subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration offices.

According to a recent report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017.

On average, 6,000 veterans kill themselves every year, and the numbers are on the rise.

As Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, observed, “For soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, coming home is more lethal than being in combat.”

Unfortunately, it’s the U.S. government that poses the greater threat to America’s military veterans, especially if they are among that portion of the population that exercises their First Amendment right to speak out against government wrongdoing.

Consider: we raise our young people on a steady diet of militarism and war, sell them on the idea that defending freedom abroad by serving in the military is their patriotic duty, then when they return home, bruised and battle-scarred and committed to defending their freedoms at home, we often treat them like criminals merely for exercising those rights they risked their lives to defend.

The government even has a name for its war on America’s veterans: Operation Vigilant Eagle.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, this Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

Coupled with the DHS’ dual reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics bode ill for anyone seen as opposing the government.

Yet the government is not merely targeting individuals who are voicing their discontent so much as it is taking aim at individuals trained in military warfare.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the DHS has gone extremely quiet about Operation Vigilant Eagle.

Where there’s smoke, there’s bound to be fire.

And the government’s efforts to target military veterans whose views may be perceived as “anti-government” make clear that something is afoot.

In recent years, military servicemen and women have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights.

An important point to consider, however, is that under the guise of mental health treatment and with the complicity of government psychiatrists and law enforcement officials, these veterans are increasingly being portrayed as threats to national security.

In light of the government’s efforts to lay the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data and predict who might pose a threat to public safety based on mental health sensor data (a convenient means by which to penalize certain “unacceptable” social behaviors), encounters with the police could get even more deadly, especially if those involved have a mental illness or disability coupled with a military background.

That the government is using the charge of mental illness as the means by which to immobilize (and disarm) these veterans is diabolical. With one stroke of a magistrate’s pen, these veterans are being declared mentally ill, locked away against their will, and stripped of their constitutional rights.

If it were just being classified as “anti-government,” that would be one thing.

Unfortunately, anyone with a military background and training is also now being viewed as a heightened security threat by police who are trained to shoot first and ask questions later.

Feeding this perception of veterans as ticking time bombs in need of intervention, the Justice Department launched a pilot program in 2012 aimed at training SWAT teams to deal with confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans.

The result?

Police encounters with military veterans often escalate very quickly into an explosive and deadly situation, especially when SWAT teams are involved.

Given the government’s increasing view of veterans as potential domestic terrorists, it makes one think twice about government programs encouraging veterans to include a veterans designation on their drivers’ licenses and ID cards.

Hailed by politicians as a way to “make it easier for military veterans to access discounts from retailers, restaurants, hotels and vendors across the state,” it will also make it that much easier for the government to identify and target veterans who dare to challenge the status quo.

After all, no one is spared in a police state.

Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we all suffer the same fate.

It stands to reason that if the government can’t be bothered to abide by its constitutional mandate to respect the citizenry’s rights—whether it’s the right to be free from government surveillance and censorship, the right to due process and fair hearings, the right to be free from roadside strip searches and militarized police, or the right to peacefully assemble and protest and exercise our right to free speech—then why should anyone expect the government to treat our nation’s veterans with respect and dignity?

Here’s a suggestion: if you really want to do something to show your respect and appreciation for the nation’s veterans, why not skip the parades and the flag-waving and instead go exercise your rights—the freedoms that those veterans swore to protect—by pushing back against the government’s tyranny.

It’s time the rest of the nation did its part to safeguard the freedoms we too often take for granted.

Freedom is not free.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

Israel murders senior Islamic Jihad official and his wife in Gaza

MEMO | November 12, 2019

The Israeli occupation army announced on Tuesday that it had killed a senior military official of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Bahaa Abu Al-Ata was killed in what was described as a complicated joint operation with the internal security agency Shin Bet.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Abu Al-Ata and his wife Asmaa were killed in an Israeli air strike on their house in the east of Gaza City. It also confirmed that their children Salim, Mohammed Layan and Fatima, as well as their neighbour Hanan Hellis, were wounded in the same attack. All are in a stable condition in hospital.

In its own statement on the murder of Abu Al-Ata, Islamic Jihad also announced that a member of its Political Bureau, Akram Al-Ajjouri, survived an Israeli attack on his house in Damascus, although his son and a number of bodyguards were killed.

“These terrorist crimes are a new aggression against the Palestinian people and the declaration of a new Israeli war on them,” said the movement. It blamed the occupation authorities for any consequent escalation in the Gaza Strip. “The Israeli occupation crossed all the red lines with its new crimes which shattered all efforts being made towards the truce and tranquillity.”

Other Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Fatah and the Popular and Democratic Fronts, condemned the Israeli “aggression” and also blamed Israel for any escalation.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

US, Israel won’t partake in confab on WMD-free Mideast

Press TV – November 12, 2019

The United States will not participate in a conference on establishing a zone free of all types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East “because of Israel,” Russia has announced.

“The Americans refused to take part because Israel refuses to participate,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday.

The WMDFZ conference will be held from November 18 to 22, at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. According to Ulyanov, Russia and China will participate as observers.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny having atomic bombs. Estimates show that the regime is currently in possession of 200 to 400 atomic warheads.

The Tel Aviv regime is also believed to possess the capability to deliver its nuclear warheads in a number of methods, including by aircraft, on submarine-launched cruise missiles and the Jericho series of intermediate to intercontinental range ballistic missiles.

Ulyanov also said the Arab countries of the Middle East “proceed from the assumption that Israel has nuclear weapons and does not want to abandon it.”

Last year, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a decision — submitted by the League of Arab States — that requests UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to hold a regional conference on the establishment of the WMDFZ in the Middle East by the end of this year.

Israel and the US have already expressed their strong opposition to the initiative, saying it would target Tel Aviv.

However, “practical work will finally begin, though without the Americans,” said the Russian official.

In a June report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed that the Israeli regime has 30 gravity bombs that can be delivered by fighter jets — some of which are believed to be equipped for nuclear weapon delivery.

Israel also possesses close to 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles, such as Jericho III, said to have a range of 5,500 km, the global security think tank added.

The institute further said that the Israeli regime has modified its fleet of German-built Dolphin-class submarines to carry nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles, giving it a sea-based strike capability.

Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), either.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Iran fully prepared; US never dares to attack: Deputy FM

Press TV – November 12, 2019

A senior Iranian diplomat says the United States does not dare to attack Iran as it knows well that the Islamic Republic stands fully prepared to defend itself against any aggression.

“We are completely ready to defend the country and the Americans are aware of this; therefore, I believe that they do not dare to attack us and that is why we believe that no war will break out in the region,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview with Russia’s RT Arabic television news network on Tuesday.

Tensions have been simmering between the US and Iran since May 2018, when Washington abruptly pulled out of a multilateral deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The White House then moved to unleash a campaign of “maximum” economic pressure, coupled with military provocations and threats, against the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this year, the tensions saw a sharp rise as the US and its allies blamed Tehran for a set of suspicious attacks on oil tankers in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iran rejected the claims, and said those attacks appear more like false-flag operations aimed at framing the Islamic Republic.

Washington, in June, sent an advanced RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone on a spying mission into Iranian airspace, prompting Iran’s air defenses to shoot down the intruding aircraft.

‘Nukes have no place in Iran’s security ideology’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi rejected allegations that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons, saying such arms have no place in the country’s security ideology.

“Using nuclear weapons is forbidden based on a fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and (late Founder of the Islamic Republic) Imam Khomeini and such a plan (to develop nukes) has no place in our security ideology. Iran is committed to fulfilling all of its responsibilities and duties,” he said.

He criticized the Western countries for failing to implement international agreements and recognize other states’ right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

“They [Westerners] are trying to create obstacles in the way of other countries. The issue of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons is very important but the recognition of the countries’ right to use nuclear energy peacefully is also a very significant issue,” the senior Iranian diplomat added.

He noted that Iran proved its goodwill by engaging in 12 years of nuclear negotiations with the aim of allaying the concerns of certain sides prior to the conclusion in 2015 of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After inking the deal, Araqchi added, Iran stayed fully committed to its end of the bargain, while the other parties failed to do the same.

Pointing to Iran’s one year of “strategic patience” after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the diplomat said Tehran decided to gradually decrease its commitments through a step-by-step approach “in order to give diplomacy an opportunity.”

The European signatories to the deal were required by the deal to shield the Iranian economy against the sanctions that the US reinstated after abandoning the JCPOA, but they failed to do so, prompting Tehran to go for the counter-measures.

Araqchi — who served as a member of the Iranian team negotiating with major world powers — explained that the Islamic Republic’s move to scale back its commitments aims to preserve the nuclear deal and not to kill it.

Tehran has so far rowed back its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as the European signatories — France, Britain and the UK — find practical ways to protect the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Uranium Particles Discovered by IAEA in Iran Not Related to JCPOA – Russian Senior Official

Sputnik – November 12, 2019

According to Russian Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov, the undeclared uranium particles found by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Iran has nothing to do with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“There is a lot of speculation around this phrase, it is presented as a kind of ‘hot’ fact, testifying to Iran’s dishonesty. This is a distortion of the real situation because it concerns the discovery of uranium particles that date from a period approximately between the beginning of the 1990s and no later than 2005. This has nothing to do with the JCPOA, nor does it indicate any gross violations by Iran,” Ulyanov stressed.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at the European signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, challenging their assertion that they had ‘fully upheld commitments under the JCPOA‘.

The IAEA said in its latest “confidential” report, which had been leaked to the Western media, that the agency had detected “natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

The Bolivian Coup Is Not a Coup—Because US Wanted It to Happen

By Alan MacLeod | FAIR | November 11, 2019

Army generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup. And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia.

No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup; instead, President Evo Morales “resigned” (ABC News11/10/19), amid widespread “protests” (CBS News11/10/19) from an “infuriated population” (New York Times11/10/19) angry at the “election fraud” (Fox News11/10/19) of the “full-blown dictatorship” (Miami Herald11/9/19). When the word “coup” is used at all, it comes only as an accusation from Morales or another official from his government, which corporate media have been demonizing since his election in 2006 (FAIR.org5/6/098/1/124/11/19).

The New York Times (11/10/19) did not hide its approval at events, presenting Morales as a power-hungry despot who had finally “lost his grip on power,” claiming he was “besieged by protests” and “abandoned by allies” like the security services. His authoritarian tendencies, the news article claimed, “worried critics and many supporters for years,” and allowed one source to claim that his overthrow marked “the end of tyranny” for Bolivia. With an apparent nod to balance, it did note that Morales “admitted no wrongdoing” and claimed he was a “victim of a coup.” By that point, however, the well had been thoroughly poisoned.

CNN (11/10/19) dismissed the results of the recent election, where Bolivia gave Morales another term in office, as beset with “accusations of election fraud,” presenting them as a farce where “Morales declared himself the winner.” Time’s report (11/10/19) presented the catalyst for his “resignation” as “protests” and “fraud allegations,” rather than being forced at gunpoint by the military. Meanwhile, CBS News (11/10/19) did not even include the word “allegations,” its headline reading, “Bolivian President Evo Morales Resigns After Election Fraud and Protests.”

Delegitimizing foreign elections where the “wrong” person wins, of course, is a favorite pastime of corporate media (FAIR.org5/23/18). There is a great deal of uncritical acceptance of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) opinions on elections, including in coverage of Bolivia’s October vote (e.g., BBC11/10/19Vox11/10/19Voice of America11/10/19), despite the lack of evidence to back up its assertions. No mainstream outlet warned its readers that the OAS is a Cold War organization, explicitly set up to halt the spread of leftist governments. In 1962, for example, it passed an official resolution claiming that the Cuban government was “incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.” Furthermore, the organization is bankrolled by the US government; indeed, in justifying its continued funding, US AID argued that the OAS is a crucial tool in “promot[ing] US interests in the Western hemisphere by countering the influence of anti-US countries” like Bolivia.

In contrast, there was no coverage at all in US corporate media of the detailed new report from the independent Washington-based think tank CEPR, which claimed that the election results were “consistent” with the win totals announced. There was also scant mention of the kidnapping and torture of elected officials, the ransacking of Morales’ house, the burning of public buildings and of the indigenous Wiphala flag, all of which were widely shared on social media and would have suggested a very different interpretation of events.

Words have power. And framing an event is a powerful method of conveying legitimacy and suggesting action. “Coups,” almost by definition, cannot be supported, while “protests” generally should be. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, a conservative US-backed billionaire, has literally declared war on over a million people demonstrating against his rule. Corporate media, however, have framed that uprising not as a protest, but rather a “riot” (e.g., NBC News, 10/20/19Reuters11/9/19Toronto Sun11/9/19). In fact, Reuters (11/8/19) described the events as Piñera responding to “vandals” and “looters.” Who would possibly oppose that?

Morales was the first indigenous president in his majority indigenous nation—one that has been ruled by a white European elite since the days of the conquistadors. While in office, his Movement Towards Socialism party has managed to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%, cut unemployment in half and conduct a number of impressive public works programs. Morales saw himself as part of a decolonizing wave across Latin America, rejecting neoliberalism and nationalizing the country’s key resources, spending the proceeds on health, education and affordable food for the population.

His policies drew the great ire of the US government, Western corporations and the corporate press, who function as the ideological shock troops against leftist governments in Latin America. In the case of Venezuela, Western journalists unironically call themselves “the resistance” to the government, and describe it as their No. 1 goal to “get rid of Maduro,” all the while presenting themselves as neutral and unbiased actors.

The media message from the Bolivia case is clear: A coup is not a coup if we like the outcome.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The Conservative Tide Is Losing in Latin America – That’s Why Morales Had To Go

The Removal of Morales is a Minor Victory in a Series of Losses for Washington

By Paul Antonopoulos | November 12, 2019

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned less than three months after completing his third term, ousted by what he denounced as a coup against him that prevented him from carrying out his fourth term that he was democratically elected to.

Morales sent shock waves all across Latin America when he announced he was stepping down from the presidency to avoid continued bloodshed between Bolivians before
accepting asylum in Mexico.

The first indigenous Bolivian president announced his resignation in a message on television, after returning to the coca-producing region of Chapare, his political and Union base, after having unsuccessfully sought in La Paz a political agreement that would allow him to complete his mandate that ends on January 22. Morales blamed the opposition candidate and former president Carlos Mesa (2003-2005), who came second in the last elections, and Luis Fernando Camacho, leader of the street protests, for the widespread violence in several cities that has left at least three dead and more than 300 injured.

The man who had left Bolivia “sovereign and independent economically and politically, with identity and dignity” claimed that he decided to resign as president after pressure from the Bolivian Workers’ Central and the mining unions, the Catholic Church and the military and police commanders – all in the effort to avoid greater bloodshed in the country.

This has come as an unexpected shock for supporters of Morales and is a major victory for Latin American reactionaries who have been suffering a string of major defeats in 2019. The year began with a violent and political coup attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from openly U.S.-puppet Juan Guaidó. Guaidó spectacularly failed despite having the state backing from most of Latin America, North America and the Europe Union, with many of these states cutting diplomatic ties with Caracas and applying sanctions against Venezuela. Venezuela was not left isolated however with China and Russia expanding economic relations with the Bolivarian country.

In the second half of the year, all in short succession, we have seen Ecuador violently rise up against President Lenín Moreno’s attempts to implement strangling International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity measures; Chile violently rose up against President Sebastián Piñera’s attempts to raise the price of public transportation, which then exploded into a wider anti-neoliberal movement as the exploitative economic system has created a high cost of living; Morales’ re-election in Bolivia; the election of Peronist Alberto Fernández against incumbent neoliberal president Mauricio Macri who lost his re-election bid for a second term; the likelihood of Leftist Daniel Martínez winning the Uruguayan election on November 24; and, former Brazilian President Lula’s premature release from prison last week after controversially being charged with corruption.

It certainly has been a very tough year for U.S. President Donald Trump who appears to be desperately clinging onto the Monroe Doctrine, but failing. The U.S. cannot directly control the anger of the people in Ecuador and Chile, it cannot change how people vote in Argentina and Uruguay, and it spectacularly failed in Venezuela for reasons that will be addressed.

Rather, the U.S. specializes in Hybrid Wars for regime change, and Bolivia is easy pickings to wash out of the Pink Tide and into the Conservative Wave, also known as the Blue Tide. Although it is still uncertain what will happen in the near future, the question begs whether there is a suitable replacement for Morales. Although Morales’ policies may be continued by another president, the coup against him is a minor victory for U.S. puppets in Latin America that are facing far more difficult pressures.

Although it is easy to argue that Venezuela and Cuba have experienced far greater pressures – economically, diplomatically and militarily – from the U.S., it must be understood why Morales capitulated so easily to the rioters. Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a former military officer, had radicalized and ideologized the military to Bolivarian dogma and built a people’s militia capable of defending the government from threats. As Morales failed to ideologize the Bolivian military, reactionary and pro-U.S. forces remained, allowing them to apply pressure against the democratically elected Morales.

Morales created economic growth not seen elsewhere in South America, increased the quality of life, reduced illiteracy to 2.4% in 2018 from 13% in 2006, reduced unemployment from 9.2% in 2006 to 4.1%, reduced poverty from 60.6% in 2006 to 34.6%, and extreme poverty to 15.2% from 38.2% in 2006. However, many of these achievements were made by ensuring that industries remained nationalized and by becoming completely independent of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. By becoming independent from the neoliberal order, the country was always at risk of experiencing a Hybrid War via color revolution, especially as Morales had not ideologized the military, essentially meaning he was always at risk of being militarily overthrown.

Despite the Conservative Wave experiencing electoral successes in the latter part of the 2010’s with neoliberalism returning to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and other Latin American states, the short period of time of Conservative Wave rule has meant the return of severe austerity, increasing unemployment and rising poverty to these countries, allowing for a second swing of the Pink Tide. This effectively means that Argentina and probably Uruguay could potentially face color revolutions if they begin to defy the neoliberal order, and Lula will always be at risk of returning to prison. With Ecuadorean protestors smashing any ideas of IMF strangling their country and Chile revolting against the “neoliberal ghost of Pinochet”, U.S. hegemony in Latin America is being severely challenged, and is losing.

Removing Morales was easy pickings and it demonstrates that neoliberalism is always willing to use violence to defend its interests. It also serves as a warning to Argentina that is firmly under IMF control and will surely be challenged when the President-Elect assumes power. It also serves as a warning to any full-time challenge to IMF interests across all Latin American countries. As Latin America begins to swing back against U.S. hegemony in the region, it can be expected we will see intensified violence in Venezuela and color revolutions emerging wherever the neoliberal order is permanently challenged. Morales was unfortunately the easiest target for the Conservative Wave to have a minor victory after a series of major losses for them. Although Morales may not be in power and is now in Mexico, there is every chance that his replacement will continue his policies and maintain Bolivia’s sovereignty and independence, effectively meaning the balance of power in the Andean country is still being contested between Pink Tide and Conservative Wave forces.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

John Brennan’s CIA Trump Task Force

Could it become Obamagate?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • November 12, 2019

There is considerable evidence that the American system of government may have been victimized by an illegal covert operation organized and executed by the U.S. intelligence and national security community. Former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former FBI Director Jim Comey appear to have played critical leadership roles in carrying out this conspiracy and they may not have operated on their own. Almost certainly what they may have done would have been explicitly authorized by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his national security team.

It must have seemed a simple operation for the experienced CIA covert action operatives. To prevent the unreliable and unpredictable political upstart Donald Trump from being nominated as the GOP presidential candidate or even elected it would be necessary to create suspicion that he was the tool of a resurgent Russia, acting under direct orders from Vladimir Putin to empower Trump and damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Even though none of the alleged Kremlin plotters would have expected Trump to actually beat Hillary, it was plausible to maintain that they would have hoped that a weakened Clinton would be less able to implement the anti-Russian agenda that she had been promoting. Many observers in both Russia and the U.S. believed that if she had been elected armed conflict with Moscow would have been inevitable, particularly if she moved to follow her husband’s example and push to have both Georgia and Ukraine join NATO, which Russia would have regarded as an existential threat.

Trump’s surprising victory forced a pivot, with Clapper, Brennan and Comey adjusting the narrative to make it appear that Trump the traitor may have captured the White House due to help from the Kremlin, making him a latter-day Manchurian Candidate. The lesser allegations of Russian meddling were quickly elevated to devastating assertions that the Republican had only won with Putin’s assistance.

No substantive evidence for the claim of serious Russian meddling has ever been produced in spite of years of investigation, but the real objective was to plant the story that would plausibly convince a majority of Americans that the election of Donald Trump was somehow illegitimate.

The national security team acted to protect their candidate Hillary Clinton, who represented America’s Deep State. In spite of considerable naysaying, the Deep State is real, not just a wild conspiracy theory. Many Americans nevertheless do not believe that the Deep State exists, that it is a politically driven media creation much like Russiagate itself was, but if one changes the wording a bit and describes the Deep State as the Establishment, with its political power focused in Washington and its financial center in New York City, the argument that there exists a cohesive group of power brokers who really run the country becomes much more plausible.

The danger posed by the Deep State, or, if you choose, the Establishment, is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable. It also operates through relationships that are not transparent and as the media is part of it, there is little chance that its activity will be exposed.

Nevertheless, some might even argue that having a Deep State is a healthy part of American democracy, that it serves as a check or corrective element on a political system that has largely been corrupted and which no longer serves national interests. But that assessment surely might have been made before it became clear that many of the leaders of the nation’s intelligence and security agencies are no longer the people’s honorable servants they pretend to be. They have been heavily politicized since at least the time of Ronald Reagan and have frequently succumbed to the lure of wealth and power while identifying with and promoting the interests of the Deep State.

Indeed, a number of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directors have implicitly or even directly admitted to the existence of a Deep State that has as one of its roles keeping presidents like Donald Trump in check. Most recently, John McLaughlin, responding to a question about Donald Trump’s concern over Deep State involvement in the ongoing impeachment process, said unambiguously “Well, you know, thank God for the ‘deep state’… With all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that then unleashed everything else. This is the institution within the U.S. government… is institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth. It is one of the few institutions in Washington that is not in a chain of command that makes or implements policy. Its whole job is to speak the truth — it’s engraved in marble in the lobby.”

Well, John’s dedication to truth is exemplary but how does he explain his own role in support of the lies being promoted by his boss George “slam dunk” Tenet that led to the war against Iraq, the greatest foreign policy disaster ever experienced by the United States? Or Tenet’s sitting in the U.N. directly behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the debate over Iraq, providing cover and credibility for what everyone inside the system knew to be a bundle of lies? Or his close friend and colleague Michael Morell’s description of Trump as a Russian agent, a claim that was supported by zero evidence and which was given credibility only by Morell’s boast that “I ran the CIA.”

Beyond that, more details have been revealed demonstrating exactly how Deep State associates have attempted, with considerable success, to subvert the actual functioning of American democracy. Words are one thing, but acting to interfere in an electoral process or to undermine a serving president is a rather more serious matter.

It is now known that President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan created a Trump Task Force in early 2016. Rather than working against genuine foreign threats, this Task Force played a critical role in creating and feeding the meme that Donald Trump was a tool of the Russians and a puppet of President Vladimir Putin, a claim that still surfaces regularly to this day. Working with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Brennan fabricated the narrative that “Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.” Brennan and Clapper promoted that tale even though they knew very well that Russia and the United States have carried out a broad array of covert actions against each other, including information operations, for the past seventy years, but they pretended that what happened in 2016 was qualitatively and substantively different even though the “evidence” produced to support that claim was and still is weak to nonexistent.

The Russian “election interference” narrative went on steroids on January 6, 2017, shortly before Trump was inaugurated, when an “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) orchestrated by Clapper and Brennan was published. The banner headline atop The New York Times, itself an integral part of the Deep State, on the following day set the tone for what was to follow: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.”

With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and Brennan were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Hillary Clinton). After several months, however Clapper revealed that the preparers of the ICA were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA, and NSA. He explained rather unconvincingly during an interview on May 28, 2017, that “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique,” adding later that “It’s in their DNA.”

Task Force Trump was kept secret within the Agency itself because the CIA is not supposed to spy on Americans. Its staff was pulled together by invitation-only. Specific case officers (i.e., men and women who recruit and handle spies overseas), analysts and administrative personnel were recruited, presumably based on their political reliability. Not everyone invited accepted the offer. But many did because it came with promises of promotion and other rewards.

And this was not a CIA-only operation. Personnel from the FBI also were assigned to the Task Force with the approval of then Director James Comey. Former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele’s FBI handler, Michael Gaeta, may have been one of those detailed to the Trump Task Force. Steele, of course, prepared the notorious dossier that was surfaced shortly before Donald Trump took office. It included considerable material intended to tie Trump to Russia, information that was in many cases fabricated or unsourced.

So, what kind of things would this Task Force do? The case officers would work with foreign intelligence services such as MI-6, the Italians, the Ukrainians and the Australians on identifying intelligence collection priorities that would implicate Trump and his associates in illegal activity. And there is evidence that John Brennan himself would contact his counterparts in allied intelligence services to obtain their discreet cooperation, something they would be inclined to do in collegial fashion, ignoring whatever reservations they might have about spying on a possible American presidential candidate.

Trump Task Force members could have also tasked the National Security Agency (NSA) to do targeted collection. They also would have the ability to engage in complicated covert actions that would further set up and entrap Trump and his staff in questionable activity, such as the targeting of associate George Papadopoulos. If he is ever properly interviewed, Maltese citizen Joseph Mifsud may be able to shed light on the CIA officers who met with him, briefed him on operational objectives regarding Papadopoulos and helped arrange monitored meetings. It is highly likely that Azra Turk, the woman who met with George Papadopoulos, was part of the CIA Trump Task Force.

The Task Force also could carry out other covert actions, sometimes using press or social media placements to disseminate fabrications about Trump and his associates. Information operations is a benign-sounding euphemism for propaganda fed through the Agency’s friends in the media, and computer network operations can be used to create false linkages and misdirect inquiries. There has been some informed speculation that Guccifer 2.0 may have been a creation of this Task Force.

In light of what has been learned about the alleged CIA whistleblower there should be a serious investigation to determine if he was a part of this Task Force or, at minimum, reporting to them secretly after he was seconded to the National Security Council. All the CIA and FBI officers involved in the Task Force had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, but nevertheless were involved in a conspiracy to first denigrate and then possibly bring down a legally elected president. That effort continues with repeated assertions regarding Moscow’s malevolent intentions for the 2020 national elections. Some might reasonably regard the whole Brennan affair, to include its spear carriers among the current and retired national security state leadership, as a case of institutionalized treason, and it inevitably leads to the question “What did Obama know?”

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Google sucks up & analyzes healthcare data on millions of Americans in secret AI project… after voluntary opt-in flops

RT | November 12, 2019

Google has teamed up with one of the largest health providers in the US to gather detailed medical records on millions of patients across the country without their knowledge, in a secret project the firm tried to keep under wraps.

Dubbed “Project Nightingale,” the secretive program brought together Google and healthcare giant Ascension in an effort to collect medical records on patients across 21 states, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The data sharing began last year, and has only accelerated in recent months.

At least 150 employees at Google’s Cloud division now have access to the bulk of the data, which amounts to information on tens of millions of patients, according to a source familiar with the records.

The details shared include patient names and dates of birth, hospitalization records, lab results and doctor diagnoses, which together provide a complete medical history for many of the patients – all without their consent.

Google says it hopes to use the data to develop an application employing AI and machine learning to track patients and recommend treatments, and ultimately has its eye on creating a search engine that can aggregate disparate patient data in one place.

“Wow – this is downright alarming. Do you trust Google with your blood test results, diagnoses, sensitive health information?” asked attorney and Republican National Committee member Harmeet K. Dhillon in a tweet. “Google’s secret ‘Project Nightingale’ gathers personal health data on millions of Americans.”

The company launched Google Health in 2008, but shuttered it less than four years later after failing to persuade enough users to hand over their medical records willingly, perhaps uncomfortable with the firm having access to such sensitive information. The tech giant has since cut individual consent out of its quest to amass healthcare data, going over the heads of patients to make deals with health providers instead.

In September, the company allied with the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic to provide cloud services and data analytics in a 10-year “strategic partnership,” which will give Google access to data on up to 1 million patients at the clinic each year.

In another mass data grab earlier this month, the company purchased the maker of the fitness tracking device Fitbit, gobbling up the data of some 28 million active users of the gadget. The data goes beyond simple fitness tracking, such as the number of steps one takes per day, as some users opt to link the device to additional medical or insurance records. While Google vowed to never hand out the Fitbit information to third parties, customers may still have reason to be skeptical about the integrity of their data.

Over the summer, Google and another partnered healthcare facility, the University of Chicago Medical Center, came under fire in a lawsuit alleging the hospital gave Google medical records on hundreds of thousands of patients without stripping them of identifying information. The case mirrored a similar mishap across the pond in 2017, in which the UK’s National Health Service passed the company data on 1.6 million patients in violation of privacy laws.

The data sharing with Ascension is likely permitted under US federal law, however, as the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPA) Act allows hospitals and other healthcare providers to pass data to business partners without informing patients so long as it “help[s] the covered entity carry out its health care functions.”

Ascension – a network of some 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities – says it’s doing just that, seeking to use the data to improve care and identify additional tests patients might need. However, documents reviewed by the Journal also suggest the company, like Google, has its bottom line in mind, hoping to use the data-mining to generate more revenue as well.

Also on rt.com:

NHS patient information illegally shared with Google DeepMind

Google buys Fitbit, acquiring users’ health histories & triggering privacy backlash

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment