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White Helmets co-founder stole aid money destined for Syria – report

RT | July 17, 2020

As Western governments opened their checkbooks for the White Helmets – a controversial ‘rescue organization’ in Syria – their co-founder used the cash to top up his wage and even finance his wedding, according to a Dutch report.

Days before he plunged from a window in Istanbul to his death last year, White Helmets co-founder and British mercenary James Le Mesurier admitted to defrauding Mayday Rescue, an organization that fundraised for the anti-government rescue group in Syria.

According to documents seen by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, Le Mesurier told an accountant sent to audit the charity’s books that he forged receipts for $50,000, pretending that it was sent to finance an evacuation operation in Syria. Instead, the money was paid to Le Mesurier himself. In addition to paying himself a salary of €24,000 ($27,414) per month, Le Mesurier dipped into company cash to finance a lavish wedding in Istanbul in 2018, and to issue loans to his new wife, former diplomat Emma Winberg, the report claims.

The accountant sent to investigate Mayday found that “tens of thousands of dollars in cash” were withdrawn to pay for the “fairytale wedding.”

Meanwhile, governments across the Western world were lining up to support Mayday, and channel money to the White Helmets. According to a 2018 report by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the organization took in $127 million between 2014 and 2018, with only $19 million of this haul coming from non-state donors. The government of the Netherlands paid out almost $11.5 million in this period, while similar donations flowed in from Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Qatar, and others.

Despite being hailed as fearless rescue workers, the White Helmets have been accused of partnering with Al-Qaeda. Operating exclusively in rebel-held territory, the group’s members have been photographed posing with jihadists and have been accused of staging chemical weapons attacks to draw in Western forces against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Le Mesurier’s death was deemed a suicide by Turkish authorities. Shortly afterwards, a number of countries that had donated to Mayday demanded an accountant have another look over the organization’s books. According to De Volkskrant, this probe found that most of Mayday’s financial records are “missing.” Donations were not just handed to the organization in Amsterdam and forwarded to Syria, but distributed through a network of commercial organizations in Turkey and Dubai.

In a letter to donors, Le Mesurier admitted to swindling them out of their cash, but maintained the fraud wasn’t committed on purpose. After these donors discovered their cash had disappeared, they kept the inquiry into Mayday secret, De Volkskrant reported.

The Dutch government pulled its funding from Mayday Rescue almost a year before Le Mesurier admitted the fraud and killed himself. The government in The Hague will not transfer a final subsidy of more than €57,000 ($65,200) to the organization, while Germany is attempting to claim nearly €50,000 ($57,200) back. Cor Vrieswijk, Mayday’s new administrator, told De Volkskrant that the charity will be dissolved in the coming months.

President Assad claimed last November that Le Mesurier’s death was no accident, stating in an interview that the former soldier and mercenary may have been killed because he “knew major secrets.” What Le Mesurier may or may not have known is anyone’s guess, but his death and the subsequent investigation into Mayday has not dried up the White Helmets’ funding.

The group is reportedly receiving subsidies from Western governments through other organizations. At present its members are occupied with fighting the coronavirus outbreak in Syria. However, that hasn’t stopped its leadership from lobbying the US government against Assad and pressing for the maintenance of sanctions, even amid the pandemic.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Bari We Hardly Knew You

Bari Weiss bids The New York Times farewell

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | July 17, 2020

This week’s resignation of neoconservative journalist Bari Weiss from the position of staff editor and contributor on the opinion page at The New York Times provoked considerable discussion both for and against her. Her resignation letter, which was quickly made public, depicts her as a brave non-conformist, a “conservative” among liberals (though she describes herself as a “centrist”), and someone who was willing to write stories that others at the Times would not touch. She was particularly critical of the dominant progressive “group think” at the management levels of the newspaper which created a “hostile environment” that did not tolerate any alternative viewpoints on breaking stories.

The resignation came shortly after the “scandal” at the newspaper that had led to the firing of opinion page chief editor James Bennet in June. Bennet was forced to walk the plank after a piece by Senator Tom Cotton appeared that advocated using military force to put down the unrest that is sweeping America’s cities. “Using military force” is apparently equivalent to “shooting demonstrators” in New York Times-speak, so when Bennett admitted that he had not even read the op-ed, he had to go for approving a piece that “did not meet the Times’ standards.”

Admittedly, Weiss makes some shrewd points about the state of journalism in the United States and how it has become a sounding board for what is appearing on Twitter. To her credit, she has been openly critical of the so-called “cancel culture” which seeks to restrict the free exchange of information and ideas,  but she is also very selective about her own record. She claims that she was derided as a “Nazi, a bigot and a racist” because she questioned the reporting on issues like BLM and was not “inclusive” enough. But while she rightly decries what she describes as the tribalism of the corporate mainstream media, she does so without recognizing that she too has her own particular tribal allegiance. She makes a point of implying that she was the victim of anti-Semitism, accused of “writing about Jews again,” without any recognition that she herself has been a strident hardline apologist for Israel and for Jews in general in a journalism world that has been over-populated by mostly liberal Jews for many years.

Bari Weiss’s letter included an overwrought description of Pulitzer Prize winning black writer Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, as “a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati,” suggesting that she does indeed nurture an agenda focused on Jewish-related issues. Glenn Greenwald recalls how she, in 2012, speaking before a conference of the American Zionist Movement, stated that she had dedicated herself to the “connection between advocacy journalism and Zionism.” Greenwald has also documented how she, starting when she was a sophomore at Columbia, was in the forefront of efforts to silence all criticism of Israel, particularly that which was allegedly coming from professors of Arab background. He observes that her objective was no less than “trying to suppress criticisms of Israel from college campuses… Anyone remotely familiar with the wars over the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia University, in which Weiss played a starring role, knows that her claim here — that the campaign was just a benign attempt to protect students’ rights — is utterly false. The campaign was designed to ruin the careers of Arab professors by equating their criticisms of Israel with racism, anti-Semitism, and bullying, and its central demand was that those professors (some of whom lacked tenure) be disciplined for their transgressions… That the campaign against these Arab professors was about suppressing criticisms of Israel and intimidating and punishing professors who voiced such criticisms was barely hidden. The New York Civil Liberties Union — historically reluctant to involve itself in disputes involving Israel — strongly condemned the campaign against these Arab professors at Columbia that Weiss helped to lead.”

Given all the pressure from Weiss and her associates, as well as threats from prominent Jewish donors to the college, the university investigated the charges. It found that “… for several years, after pieces appeared in the tabloid press blasting the department as anti-Israel, many non-students, clearly hostile and with ideological agendas, had been attending classes in the [Middle East Studies] department, interrupting lectures with hostile asides and inhibiting classroom debate.” All the professors were cleared of the charges leveled against them and the report concluded that they had been the victims and not the perpetrators of an organized harassment campaign.

Weiss, the epicenter of the campaign of vilification and academic censorship, was furious at the exoneration of the instructors and both held a press conference to denounce the findings while also organizing demonstrations by Jewish students. She complained that the issue of “large scale intimidation of pro-Israel students” had not been addressed.

Weiss was hired by The Times in 2017 around the same time that the much better-known Jerusalem Post and Wall Street Journal alumnus Bret Stephens was also brought on board. Both she and Stephens are unflinching in their support of Israel and they joined a Times staff that was hardly anti-Israeli. The Times for long has been something like an uncritical sounding board for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but recently, it has indeed allowed some pieces by Tom Friedman and others that are critical of the Israeli plan to annex much of the Palestinian West Bank. But the arguments are always framed around the premise that the move would be “bad for Israel,” leaving the Palestinian victims on the sidelines as hapless observers of the deliberations.

In retrospect, it is difficult to understand what the stink over Bari Weiss is all about, apart from the fact that she is clearly engaging in self-promotion to get another job. A quick perusal of the list of her undistinguished NYT articles does indeed suggest that roughly half of what she wrote was either about Israel or Jews. As an editor, she commissioned interviews and op-eds by people that she may have considered either “centrist” or “conservative,” but, again, she, and they, hardly had much impact. Whatever her “new perspective” was perceived to be by NYT management when she was hired is somewhat elusive.

Sure, the print media in the United States is run largely by progressives and is subject to groupthink on most issues, but that has been the case since before Weiss arrived and will continue to be so long after she is gone. And she won’t have to worry about pleasing her key constituency. Bret Stephens can continue to beat the drum for Israel at The New York Times in her absence.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Your Body, Their Choice

Corbett • 07/17/2020

Stripped of its contextual baggage, the phrase “My Body, My Choice” makes a compelling rallying cry because it conveys a fundamental truth that we all innately understand: I have the claim to my own body and what is done to it. So why, then, are we being asked to believe that when it comes to vaccinations during a declared pandemic it is “Your Body, Their Choice”?

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Watch on BitChute / LBRY / Minds / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES

Board of Health – September 23, 2019 – Part 1 of 2

Toronto Public Health’s Strategy to Address Vaccine Hesitancy

Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250 (1891)

Schoendorff v. Society of New York Hospital (1914)

Jacobsen v. Massachussetts.

Forced Vaccination: The Tragic Legacy of Jacobson v Massachusetts by Barbara Loe Fisher

Jacobson v Massachusetts is “one of the most important pieces of public health jurisprudence

Buck v. Bell

How & Why Big Oil Conquered the World

Del Debates Dershowitz

State Bar Association’s Health Law Section Report Calls for Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination, Standards for Allocating Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment

How Did Potatoes Get So Popular? – #PropagandaWatch

New COVID-19 restrictions will be needed for anti-vaxxers

WHO: Anti-vaccination campaigns threaten global health

Should the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory? | The Social

But that’s called the death panel and you’re not supposed to have that discussion.

SAGE working group dealing with vaccine hesitancy

REPORT OF THE SAGE WORKING GROUP ON VACCINE HESITANCY

Amid COVID-19 Vaccine Race, Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Aspen Institute Release Report on Vaccine Hesitancy; A Call to Improve Vaccine Acceptance (Gates funding)

Reducing SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission in the UK: A behavioural science approach to identifying options for increasing adherence to social distancing and shielding vulnerable people

Your Body Is a Bioweapon

Anti-vaxxers Stole ‘My Body, My Choice’ from the Abortion Rights Movement

Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2

Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Safe, Generates Immune Response

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Induced Adverse Reactions In “More Than Half” Of Trial Participants

Toronto Board of Health Motion on Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy April 8, 2019

Mandatory vaccination bill defeated 22-20

New Zealand Public Party – what we stand for

Make Americans Free Again

Press Release – Legal Challenge to COVID-19 Measures Filed In Ontario Superior Court

Interview 1563 – Keith Knight and James Corbett Dissect Voluntary Servitude

“…And Then There Were None” – FLNWO #41

Episode 107 – Lessons in Resistance: Non-compliance

Your Guide to Surviving A Crisis

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

How to Bring Liberty and Justice to Blacks (and Everyone Else)

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF |July 17, 2020

If you want to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be black in the context of the war on drugs, just consider what has happened to Sean Worsley, a black Iraq War veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Worsley lives in Arizona, a state that permits medical marijuana, which Worsley has been taking for years to alleviate his condition. He had a state-issued card entitling him to take marijuana for medicinal purposes.

As detailed in an article in the Washington Post, Worsley and his wife decided to visit relatives in the state of Mississippi. They made a big mistake traveling through the state of Alabama, where they stopped at a gas station. While filling his car with gas, the Worsleys were playing their car music loudly, which attracted the attention of a local cop. The Worsleys quickly granted his request to turn down the music.

At that point though the cop said he smelled marijuana. Not realizing that his medical marijuana card wasn’t good in Alabama, Worlsely innocently gave the cop permission to search his vehicle. Worsely explained that his marijuana was to treat his disabilities and showed the cop his Arizona medical marijuana card.

The cop explained that the card wasn’t valid in Alabama and proceeded to arrest Worsely. First time possession of marijuana is normally treated as a misdemeanor, but there is an exception: If the arresting officer thinks that the substance is for more than just personal use, he can charge as a felony, which is what happened here. Worsley has now been hit with a 5-year sentence in the Alabama state penitentiary.

Of course, none of this necessarily means that what happened here was motivated by racial bigotry in the state of Alabama. It’s entirely possible that that police officer and the sentencing judge were just enforcing the state’s drug laws and that they would have done the same thing to a white person.

But all the more reason for just ending the drug war itself. That’s not only a key to liberty and justice for blacks. It’s a key to liberty and justice for everyone.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 2 Comments

The Russians are coming, again! Poorly understood cybercrimes play perfectly into political agendas

By Helen Buyniski | RT | July 16, 2020

Foreign hackers are determined as ever to steal technology, meddle in elections and skew foreign policy, but fear not! The CIA has apparently been authorized to deliver preemptive cyber-strikes based on partisan mythmaking.

US, UK and Canadian intelligence dropped a 16-page report on Thursday accusing “Russian hackers” – specifically APT29, the “Cozy Bear” hacking group of ‘Russiagate’ fame – of targeting unspecified entities involved in developing the (increasingly controversial) Covid-19 vaccine.

However, the report is fraught with the same factual pitfalls plaguing previous unsubstantiated “Russian hacking” tales, seemingly designed to capitalize on the general population’s ignorance about cyber-attacks – or vaccines, for that matter. While Democrat-linked cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike specializes in attributing state actors to malware attacks, more reputable companies avoid doing so based solely on the malware used, since hacking groups often exchange tools or even collaborate.

The best, or just best-funded hackers are able to not only cover their tracks effectively but create a fake trail leading to someone else. The WikiLeaks Vault 7 release in 2017 exposed the disturbing tools the CIA has at its disposal for simulating foreign cyberattacks, tools that allow the agency to make it seem like Moscow or Tehran is behind a hack when the real culprits are in Langley, Virginia.

Russia is far from the only country to be accused of such behavior, of course – China was accused of attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research back in May, while US and UK intelligence agencies warned that same month that other “threat groups” were “actively targeting” local governments, pharmaceutical and research firms, healthcare facilities, and universities for virus-related hacking.

Nor is this latest outbreak of finger-pointing limited to the pandemic. On Thursday, UK foreign minister Dominic Raab denounced “Russian actors” for “almost certainly” seeking to meddle in the 2019 election – not by actually breaking any laws, but by “amplifying” documents leaked by other people on Reddit and circulated around social media in the run-up to December’s contest

Raab didn’t name any of the Russians responsible for circulating the material, perhaps mindful of the embarrassment that befell his ideological brother-in-arms, Atlantic Council bot-hunter Ben Nimmo, who accused several real people of being “Russian bots.” Further covering his bases, Raab in the same statement acknowledged that there was “no evidence of a broad-spectrum Russian campaign against the General Election.”

Even the most nonspecific shrieking about Russian hackers plotting to steal vaccine data, however, distracts from the inconvenient reality that the vaccines under development in the UK and US are performing abysmally. Neither the US company Moderna – initially hailed as the frontrunner despite never having brought a vaccine to market before – nor the UK’s collaboration between Oxford University and pharma giant AstraZeneca have produced any encouraging results in their clinical trials.

That didn’t stop the US from ordering 300 million doses of the Oxford jab, though the Trump administration’s coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci has already begun lamenting the “general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country” he fears will keep Americans away from the needle.

With regard to hacking, however, the world might be more concerned about the CIA than the Russians – especially following Wednesday’s Yahoo News report that the agency had received carte blanche from Trump to wage preemptive (i.e. unjustified) cyber-warfare against any individual or organization it could link to a “handful of adversarial countries.”

According to several former US officials, the CIA has been wielding unprecedented offensive powers against American civilians only tenuously connected to Washington’s geopolitical rivals since 2018, checking off at least 12 cyber-attacks on its “wish list” already. Liberated from the tiresome need to provide “years of signals and dozens of pages of intelligence” justifying raining computer-borne chaos and destabilization on its victims, the CIA has wrought “a combination of destructive things – stuff is on fire and exploding – and also public dissemination of data: leaking or things that look like leaking.”

News of the CIA being given carte blanche appears at the same point in the US election cycle as the 2018 report about a similar measure that freed the hands of the Pentagon to conduct its own cyberattacks without interference from the State Department or any intelligence agencies.

With a hotly anticipated election coming up in November, it’s not hard to imagine how a few well-placed “leaks” or “destructive things” might convince voters to put aside their concerns about the administration’s response to the pandemic – or to place it front and center, depending on whether the CIA has decided it can live with four more years of Trump.

One thing is certain: the “Russian meddling” narrative isn’t going away anytime soon.

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Group that raises money for Israeli soldiers got $2-5 million federal loan

FIDF gala at Waldorf Astoria in New York City (Jewish Post )
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 16, 2020

An organization that holds opulent galas to raise money for foreign soldiers, received a forgivable federal loan of somewhere between $2 million to $5 million, while numerous American mom-and-pop businesses applied in vain for the coronavirus relief program.

The group, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), holds glittering extravaganzas around the U.S. that raise tens of millions of dollars for Israeli soldiers.

These are held despite the fact that numerous organizations have documented massive human rights violations by Israeli forces (see video below). The U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day in military aid.

Last year’s FIDF fundraiser in Manhattan raised $37 million, one of 20 chapters around the country. A 2018 gala in Beverly Hills raised $60 million and a 2017 gala raised over $53 million. Its annual chair, billionaire dual citizen Haim Saban, is a major Clinton donor. (video below)

Celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Larry King, Sylvester Stallone, Robert de Niro, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have helped raise money at the events. Among the donors are Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Sandra Spielberg, and philanthropist Tad Taube. FIDF has over $238 million in net assets.

Small businesses & U.S. veterans go without

Many small businesses around the country have been unable to obtain the coronavirus assistance loans.

One U.S. emergency grant program is already out of money, while nearly half of all small businesses worry that they won’t be able to carry on due to the shutdowns.

The loan program accessed by FIDF, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has been accused of favoritism, as some billionaires received loans while struggling small businesses went bankrupt.

Donations to FIDF are tax-deductible, which means they remove thousands of dollars (perhaps far more) from the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, 40 thousand U.S. veterans are homeless on any given night, and veterans hospitals are often underfunded.

Numerous other organizations that support Israel also received large grants, many in the $1million+ range.

~1,000 pro-Israel groups received millions of dollars in loans

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports:

“More than 1,000 Jewish organizations received federal coronavirus relief loans totaling approximately $540 million to $1.3 billion.”

The vast majority of the organizations, perhaps all, support Israel.

Among the those receiving the forgivable (don’t have to be paid back) loans are the Zionist Organization of America (net assets $38 million), Israeli American Council ($32 million assets), Israel Emergency Alliance (gross receipts $17 million), ADL (gross receipts $80 million), and Jewish National Fund (net assets $445 million), and Israel on Campus Coalition ($5 million net asssets). (Financial information from GuideStar.)

FIDF Gala

Israeli soldiers’ actions:

See the full 8-minute video here.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , | 2 Comments

“Putin Hacked Our Coronavirus Vaccine” Is The Dumbest Story Yet

By Caitlin Johnstone | American Herald Tribune | July 17, 2020

OMG you guys Putin hacked our coronavirus vaccine secrets!

Today mainstream media is reporting what is arguably the single dumbest Russiavape story of all time, against some very stiff competition.

“Russian hackers are targeting health care organizations in the West in an attempt to steal coronavirus vaccine research, the U.S. and Britain said,” reports The New York Times.

“Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday,” Reuters reports.

“Russian news agency RIA cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the Kremlin rejected London’s allegations, which he said were not backed by proper evidence,” adds Reuters.

I mean, there are just so many layers of stupid.

First of all, how many more completely unsubstantiated government agency allegations about Russian nefariousness are we the public going to accept from the corporate mass media? Since 2016 it’s been wall-to-wall narrative about evil things Russia is doing to the empire-like cluster of allies loosely centralized around the United States, and they all just happen to be things nobody can actually provide the public with hard verifiable evidence of.

Ever since the shady cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike admitted that it never actually saw hard proof of Russia hacking the DNC servers, the already shaky and always unsubstantiated narrative that Russian hackers interfered in the US presidential election in 2016 has been on thinner ice than ever. Yet because the mass media converged on this narrative and repeated it as fact over and over again they’ve been able to get the mainstream headline-skimming public to accept it as an established truth, priming them for an increasingly idiotic litany of completely unsubstantiated Russia scandals, culminating most recently in the entirely debunked claim that Russia paid Taliban-linked fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Secondly, the news story doesn’t even claim that these supposed Russian hackers even succeeded in doing whatever they were supposed to have been doing in this supposed cyberattack.

“Officials have not commented on whether the attacks were successful but also have not ruled out that this is the case,” Wired reports.

Thirdly, this is a “vaccine” which does not even exist at this point in time, and the research which was supposedly hacked may never lead to one. Meanwhile, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University reports that it has “successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus,” in Russia.

Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, how obnoxious and idiotic is it that coronavirus vaccine “secrets” are a even a thing??? This is a global pandemic which is hurting all of us; scientists should be free to collaborate with other scientists anywhere in the world to find a solution to this problem. Nobody has any business keeping “secrets” from the world about this virus or any possible vaccine or treatment. If they do, anyone in the world is well within their rights to pry those secrets away from them.

This intensely stupid story comes out at the same time British media are blaring stories about Russian interference in the 2019 election, which if you actually listen carefully to the claims being advanced amounts to literally nothing more than the assertion that Russians talked about already leaked documents pertaining to the UK’s healthcare system on the internet.

“Russian actors ‘sought to interfere’ in last winter’s general election by amplifying an illicitly acquired NHS dossier that was seized upon by Labour during the campaign, the foreign secretary has said,” reports The Guardian.

“Amplifying”. That’s literally all there is to this story. As we learned with the ridiculous US Russiagate narrative, Russia “amplifying” something in such allegations can mean anything from RT reporting on a major news story to a Twitter account from St Petersburg sharing an article from The Washington Post. Even the foreign secretary’s claim itself explicitly admits that “there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the General Election”.

“The statement is so foggy and contradictory that it is almost impossible to understand it,” responded Russia’s foreign ministry to the allegations. “If it’s inappropriate to say something then don’t say it. If you say it, produce the facts.”

Instead of producing facts you’ve got the Murdoch press pestering Jeremy Corbyn on his doorstep over this ridiculous non-story, and popular right-wing outlets like Guido Fawkes running the blatantly false headline “Government Confirms Corbyn Used Russian-Hacked Documents in 2019 Election”. The completely bogus allegation that the NHS documents came to Jeremy Corbyn by way of Russian hackers is not made anywhere in the article itself, but for the headline-skimming majority this makes no difference. And headline skimmers get as many votes as people who read and think critically.

All this new cold war Russia hysteria is turning people’s brains into guacamole. We’ve got to find a way to snap out of the propaganda trance so we can start creating a world that is based on truth and a desire for peace.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

The Real ‘Russian Playbook’ Is Written in English

By Patrick Armstrong | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 17, 2020

I hadn’t given The Russian Playbook much attention until Susan Rice, Obama’s quondam security advisor, opined a month ago on CNN that “I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook“. She was referring to the latest U.S. riots.

Once I’d seen this mention of The Russian Playbook (aka KGB, Kremlin or Putin’s Playbook), I saw the expression all over the place. Here’s an early – perhaps the earliest – use of the term. In October 2016, the Center for Strategic and International studies (“Ranked #1“) informed us of the “Kremlin Playbook” with this ominous beginning:

There was a deeply held assumption that, when the countries of Central and Eastern Europe joined NATO and the European Union in 2004, these countries would continue their positive democratic and economic transformation. Yet more than a decade later, the region has experienced a steady decline in democratic standards and governance practices at the same time that Russia’s economic engagement with the region expanded significantly.

And asks:

Are these developments coincidental, or has the Kremlin sought deliberately to erode the region’s democratic institutions through its influence to ‘break the internal coherence of the enemy system’?

Well, to these people, to ask the question is to answer it: can’t possibly be disappointment at the gap between 2004’s expectations and 2020’s reality, can’t be that they don’t like the total Western values package that they have to accept, it must be those crafty Russians deceiving them. This was the earliest reference to The Playbook that I found, but it certainly wasn’t the last.

Russia has a century-old playbook for ‘disinformation’… ‘I believe in Russia they do have their own manual that essentially prescribes what to do,’ said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI agent. (Nov 2018)

The Russian playbook for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories is the subject of a new three-part video series on The New York Times website titled ‘Operation Infektion: Russian Disinformation: From The Cold War To Kanye.’ (Nov 2018)

I found headlines such as these: Former CIA Director Outlines Russian Playbook for Influencing Unsuspecting Targets (May 2017); Fmr. CIA op.: Don Jr. meeting part of Russian playbook (Jul 2017); Americans Use Russian Playbook to Spread Disinformation (Oct 2018); Factory of Lies: The Russian Playbook (Nov 2018); Shredding the Putin Playbook: Six crucial steps we must take on cyber-security—before it’s too late. (Winter 2018); Trump’s spin is ‘all out of the KGB playbook’: Counterintelligence expert Malcolm Nance (May 2019).

Of course, all these people are convinced Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Somehow. To some effect. Never really specified but the latest outburst of insanity is this video from the Lincoln Project. As Anatoly Karlin observes: “I think it’s really cool how we Russians took over America just by shitposting online. How does it feel to be subhuman?” He has a point: the Lincoln Project, and the others shrieking about Russian interference, take it for granted that American democracy is so flimsy and Americans so gullible that a few Facebook ads can bring the whole facade down. A curious mental state indeed.

So let us consider The Russian Playbook. It stands at the very heart of Russian power. It is old: at least a century old. Why, did not Tolstoy’s 1908 Letter to a Hindu inspire Gandhi to bring down the British Indian Empire and win the Great Game for Moscow? The Tolstoy-Putin link is undeniable as we are told in A Post-Soviet ‘War and Peace’: What Tolstoy’s Masterwork Explains About Putin’s Foreign Policy: “In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Napoleon (like Putin after him) wanted to construct his own international order…”. Russian novelists: adepts of The Playbook every one. So there is much to consider about this remarkable Book which has had such an enormous – hidden to most – role in world history. Its instructions on how to swing Western elections are especially important: the 2016 U.S. election; Brexit; “100 years of Russian electoral interference“; Canada; France; the European Union; Germany and many more. The awed reader must ask whether any Western election since Tolstoy’s day can be trusted. Not to forget the Great Hawaiian Pizza Debate the Russians could start at any moment.

What can we know about The Playbook? For a start it must be written in Russian, a language that those crafty Russians insist on speaking among themselves. Secondly such an important document would be protected the way that highly classified material is protected. There would be a very restricted need to know; underlings participating in one of the many plays would not know how their part fitted into The Playbook; few would ever see The Playbook itself. The Playbook would be brought to the desk of the few authorised to see it by a courier, signed for, the courier would watch the reader and take away the copy afterwards. The very few copies in existence would be securely locked away; each numbered and differing subtly from the others so that, should a leak occur, the authorities would know which copy read by whom had been leaked. Printed on paper that could not be photographed or duplicated. As much protection as human cunning could devise; right up there with the nuclear codes.

So, The Russian Playbook would be extraordinarily difficult to get hold of. And yet… every talking head on U.S. TV has a copy at his elbow! English copies, one assumes. Rachel Maddow has comprehended the complicated chapter on how to control the U.S. power system. Others have read the impenetrably complex section on how to control U.S. voting machines or change vote counts. Many are familiar with the lists of divisions in American society and directions for exploiting them. Adam Schiff has mastered the section on how to get Trump to give Alaska back. Susan Rice well knows the chapter “How to create riots in peaceful communities”.

And so on. It’s all quite ridiculous: we’re supposed to believe that Moscow easily controls far-away countries but can’t keep its neighbours under control.

There is no Russian Playbook, that’s just projection. But there is a “playbook” and it’s written in English, it’s freely available and it’s inexpensive enough that every pundit can have a personal copy: it’s named “From Dictatorship To Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation” and it’s written by Gene Sharp (1928-2018). Whatever Sharp may have thought he was doing, whatever good cause he thought he was assisting, his book has been used as a guide to create regime changes around the world. Billed as “democracy” and “freedom”, their results are not so benign. Witness Ukraine today. Or Libya. Or Kosovo whose long-time leader has just been indicted for numerous crimes. Curiously enough, these efforts always take place in countries that resist Washington’s line but never in countries that don’t. Here we do see training, financing, propaganda, discord being sown, divisions exploited to effect regime change – all the things in the imaginary “Russian Playbook”. So, whatever he may have thought he was helping, Sharp’s advice has been used to produce what only the propagandists could call “model interventions“; to the “liberated” themselves, the reality is poverty, destruction, war and refugees.

The Albert Einstein Institution, which Sharp created in 1983, strongly denies collusion with Washington-sponsored overthrows but people from it have organised seminars or workshops in many targets of U.S. overthrows. The most recent annual report of 2014, while rather opaque, shows 45% of its income from “grants” (as opposed to “individuals”) and has logos of Euromaidan, SOSVenezuela, Umbrellamovement, Lwili, Sunflowersquare and others. In short, the logos of regime change operations in Ukraine, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso and Taiwan. (And, ironically for today’s USA, Black Lives Matter). So, clearly, there is some connection between the AEI and Washington-sponsored regime change operations.

So there is a “handbook” but it’s not Russian.

Reading Sharp’s book, however, makes one wonder if he was just fooling himself. Has there ever been a “dictatorship” overthrown by “non-violent” resistance along the lines of what he is suggesting? He mentions Norwegians who resisted Hitler; but Norway was liberated, along with the rest of Occupied Europe, by extremely violent warfare. While some Jews escaped, most didn’t and it was the conquest of Berlin that saved the rest: the Nazi state was killed. The USSR went away, together with its satellite governments in Europe but that was a top-down event. He likes Gandhi but Gandhi wouldn’t have lasted a minute under Stalin. Otpor was greatly aided by NATO’s war on Serbia. And, they’re only “non-violent” because the Western media doesn’t talk much about the violence; “non-violent” is not the first word that comes to mind in this video of Kiev 2014. “Colour revolutions” are manufactured from existing grievances, to be sure, but with a great deal of outside assistance, direction and funding; upon inspection, there’s much design behind their “spontaneity”. And, not infrequently, with mysterious sniping at a expedient moment – see Katchanovski’s research on the “Heavenly Hundred” of the Maidan showing pretty convincingly that the shootings were “a false flag operation” involving “an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland”. There is little in Sharp’s book to suggest that non-violent resistance would have had much effect on a really brutal and determined government. He also has the naïve habit of using “democrat” and “dictator” as if these words were as precisely defined as coconuts and codfish. But any “dictatorship” – for example Stalin’s is a very complex affair with many shades of opinion in it. So, in terms of what he was apparently trying to do, one can see it only succeeding against rather mild “dictators” presiding over extremely unpopular polities. With a great deal of outside effort and resources.

His “playbook” is useful to outside powers that want to overthrow governments they don’t like. Especially those run by “dictators” not brutal enough to shoot the protesters down. It’s not Russian diplomats that are caught choosing the leaders of ostensibly independent countries. It’s not Russians who boast of spending money in poor countries to change their governments. It’s not Russian diplomats who meet with foreign opposition leaders. Russia doesn’t fabricate a leader of a foreign country. It’s not Russia that invents a humanitarian crisis, bombs the country to bits, laughs at its leader’s brutal death and walks away. It’s not Russia that sanctions numerous countries. It’s not Russia that gives fellowships to foreign oppositionists. Even the Washington Post (one of the principals in sustaining Putindunnit hysteria) covered “The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere“; but piously insisted “the days of its worst behavior are long behind it”. Whatever the pundits may claim about Russia, the USA actually has an organisation devoted to interfering in other countries’ business; one of whose leading lights proudly boasted: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.

The famous “Russian Playbook” is nothing but projection onto Moscow of what Washington actually does: projection is so common a feature of American propaganda that one may certain that when Washington accuses somebody else of doing something, it’s a guarantee that Washington is doing it.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | | 3 Comments

US Presidential Election And Prospects Of Kiev Advance In Eastern Ukraine

By South Front Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson | July 15, 2020 

For the past several years, the war between Ukraine and the breakaway and still-unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic has settled into a tense routine of attritional trench warfare, punctuated by sniping, clashes between patrols, small-scale raids, offensive minelaying, and ambushes using anti-tank guided missiles. There have been few operations by units larger than company. The front line has remained almost entirely unchanged. At the same time, both sides have been preparing for the possible next round of high-intensity warfare. What would happen if the fighting were to break out again?

That particular prediction is made more difficult by the very fact of the long lull in high-intensity fighting during which both sides have undergone a certain degree of transformation which remains relatively unknown to the other party. Both sides have seen certain material improvements, though apparently nothing dramatic. Ukraine’s armored vehicle fleet still relies on the same, but now even more worn out vehicles it went to war with in 2014. The planned re-equipment with the Oplot MBT never took place, and even the upgraded T-64BU Bulat was found to be flawed. Therefore the elderly T-64BV remains the main tank of Ukraine’s forces. Light armored vehicle fleet has seen some improvement thanks to domestic production and deliveries from former Warsaw Pact member states. If there is one area where Ukraine’s military may have made a major step forward, it is the artillery, using the large store of inactive weapons for Soviet-era reserve forces. However, artillery munition production continues to be a problem. While the number of Ukraine’s brigades has grown, the military experiences major problems with recruitment and retention, meaning that many of these brigades have the strength of a reinforced combined arms battalion.

On Novorossia’s side the situation is hardly different. DPR and LPR units continue to use the same types of equipment they used during the campaigns of five years ago. The numeric strength does not appear to have changed much, either, and here too recruitment and retention remains a problem.

The other factor making predictions difficult is the level of morale of these two forces that have been bogged down in an apparently endless war that is beyond their power to finish. The combination of trench warfare boredom and terror means it is debilitating to the units’ morale and proficiency if they are forced to remain in the trenches for too long. While the most offensive-capable forces are kept out of the trenches as mobile reserves, they too can only maintain their state of alert for so long before losing their edge.

Paradoxically, this state of affairs give an advantage to the side that intends to go on the offensive, because the preparations for the attack and associated training would imbue the troops with the hope that, after the next big push, the war will finally be over. At the same time, both sides know such an offensive would be an exceedingly risky proposition, because if it fails, it will grind down the attacking side’s most effective units and render the army vulnerable to a counteroffensive to which it would not be able to respond.

Therefore the likelihood of renewed fighting also heavily depends on who actually makes the decision. While local leaders may be cautious enough, foreign ones in distant capitals may have different considerations in mind.

A big unknown hanging over the future of the Donbass is the position of Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee and the potential winner of the November elections. Biden has already played a highly destructive role in the politics of Ukraine and the US-Russia relations. It is Biden that blackmailed Poroshenko into firing the Chief Prosecutor Shokin due to his interest in the corrupt dealings of the Burisma energy company which infamously had Joe’s son Hunter on its board of directors. It is also Biden who held a lengthy, 30-45 minute telephone conversation with Poroshenko on the day MH17 was shot down and promptly came out blaming Russia for it, even as the wreckage was still smoking where it fell. Biden identified himself as a Russia foe much earlier, during the 2012 vice-presidential debates where he positioned himself as being “hard on Putin”, which in retrospect proved to be an early indicator of where the second-term Obama administration foreign policy would go. It also goes without saying Biden is an ardent promoter of the “RussiaGate” effort to paint Donald Trump as a Russian agent/stooge/fellow traveler/useful idiot.

At the same time, Biden’s line against China has hardened as well, which may have implications for US-Russia relations during the probable Biden presidency. As late as May 2019, Biden would describe People’s Republic of China as “they are not bad folks”, adding that “they are not competition to us”, comments that may yet come to haunt him on the campaign trail. However, once the COVID-19 broke out of control in the United States, Biden sought to out-do Trump in his accusations the high US death toll was due to China misleading the United States on the nature of the virus and not allowing US public health officials access to Wuhan and China’s epidemiology labs. Even before that, Hunter Biden resigned from boards of directors of China-based firms. While that might have been motivated by his, and his dad’s, desire to keep a low profile due to the scrutiny Hunter’s business dealings have attracted during Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, it may also have been preparation for Joe Biden’s anti-China pivot.

The emergence of PRC as Biden’s perceived number one international adversary may mean a desire to improve relations with Russia in the way that Trump, compromised from the start by RussiaGate and without a history of own anti-Russia rhetoric to fall back on, could never deliver. Biden, however, is in the same position as Nixon was in the late 1960s. His earlier anti-Russian rhetoric and actions now make him nearly immune from the same sort of accusations which, even though false, nevertheless effectively stuck to Trump. Nixon’s own enthusiastic participation in McCarthyite witch hunts made it possible for him to do what his Democratic Party predecessor Lyndon Johnson could not: end Vietnam War, engage in arms control treaties with USSR and “go to China” in order to exploit the growing divide between the two main Communist powers. Biden has the political capital necessary to repeat the process: end the war in Afghanistan (something he had proposed already as vice president), enter into arms control treaties with China and…go to Moscow, which is currently seen in Washington in the same way that Beijing was in the 1970s, namely the secondary challenger which needs to be peeled away from the primary one. Moreover, just as in the early 1970s, United States of the 2020s is wracked by a massive internal crisis requiring international retrenchment in order to focus on internal reforms.

But that optimistic scenario remains less likely than the prospect of renewed escalation. Nixon-era United States was not suffering from the hubris of American Exceptionalism. On the contrary, it was a country full of self-doubt and under no illusion concerning the limits of its power. It entered into arms control treaties because it did not feel it could win them. Disasters abroad and at home notwithstanding, the US elite still has not been shaken out of its complacency, and it does appear to sincerely believe it can win a strategic and conventional arms race against both China and Russia. We have not seen any indications so far that Biden intends any moderation in the area of foreign policy or returning to a policy of cooperation with Russia. One should expect that, in the event of Biden victory, Ukraine will launch an offensive against the Donbass shortly after the inauguration, in other words, in February or March of 2020. This offensive would accomplish two objectives for Biden. One, it would establish his hawkish, “patriotic” bona fides, make him look “presidential” in the eyes of the mainstream media and the national security establishment. Secondly, it would allow the US to exert even more pressure on Germany and other EU member states concerning North Stream and other areas of cooperation with Russia.

In order to achieve these goals, particularly the second one, the offensive would not need to overrun the Donbass, in fact, that would not be the aim at all. Rather, the goal would be to force Russian forces to intervene directly in support of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics to justify depicting Russia as the aggressor in the matter. And even if the republics’ militaries can cope with the UAF assault on their own, the sheer level of violence will still make enough headlines to satisfy Biden’s requirements. Whether Zelensky wants that kind of escalation for his country is almost irrelevant. Both he and Biden know very well what the balance of power in that relationship is. Ukraine is a failing state seriously dependent on foreign financial assistance in the form of continual IMF loans, debt rescheduling, favorable trade deals, etc. Biden knew how to use these levers to achieve an important change in Ukraine’s politics that benefited him personally, he will not hesitate to use them again.

Moreover, even if Biden were driven by the Nixonian motives described above, it’s doubtful the foreign policy Deep State would allow him to do that. Biden’s own conversations with Poroshenko no doubt contain a great many embarrassing moments whose release would instantly embroil him in a massive scandal. The fact that Donald Trump was impeached solely due to the desire of national security apparatchiks to continue their pet war in Ukraine is indicative of their power to make foreign policy quite independently of their supposed civilian bosses.

The situation is further complicated by the widening rift between the Western neo-liberal world and conservative societies of eastern European countries. This includes a large part of the Ukrainian population which is committed to traditional values. The rapidly deteriorating social and economic situation in Ukraine contributes to a further antagonism of this part of the society towards the forcefully imposed Western ideology and its local agents. Another point of tension is the existing contradictions between the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) and the artificially assembled pseudo-church organizations in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchy is returning to its former position among the Ukrainian faithful. In the event of a further dissatisfaction of the society by the declared pseudo-Western way of development, positions of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchy will strengthen even more.

While a Ukrainian offensive is relatively unlikely in 2020, its probability increases considerably in 2021, particularly in the event of a Biden victory. The conflict in Ukraine has lasted this long mainly because Ukraine’s current sponsors in the West are not interested in ending it, irrespective of what the will of the Ukrainian people might be. The situation will get even worse should the US presidency be taken over by someone with a well-established hostility toward Russia who believes his aims would be better served by another bloody campaign on the Donbass.

The next US administration will employ every option that it has in order to prevent the return of Russian influence in the country. Besides furthering the conflict in eastern Ukraine, it will expand efforts against it in the ideological sphere as well, likely including direct provocations.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

British nuclear submarine close to disaster after NEAR MISS with packed passenger ferry, report finds

RT | July 16, 2020

A British nuclear-powered submarine was at “serious risk of collision” with a passenger ferry with hundreds on board after the commanding officer made decisions on “inaccurate information,” an investigation has found.

A report conducted by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) – published on Thursday – found that the two vessels came within 50-100 meters of each other during the incident on November 6, 2018. The investigation revealed that it was the third time in four years that a submerged Royal Navy submarine had narrowly missed a calamitous collision with another vessel.

The Stena Superfast V11 ferry was travelling from Belfast to Cairnryan in Scotland when it was forced to take “immediate action” and alter its course to save the 215 passengers and 67 crew onboard – having spotted the submarine’s periscope just 250 yards (229 meters) ahead.

The two-year probe found that the sub had miscalculated that it was 1,000 yards away when the ferry swerved. It was actually a quarter of that distance away from disaster.

This was an unsafe event and placed the ferry’s passengers and crew, as well as the submarine and its crew, in immediate danger.

The report said that the Royal Navy vessel’s control room team “overestimated the ferry’s range and underestimated its speed.” It goes on to say that the commanding officer and its officer of the watch made “safety-critical decisions” that might have appeared rational at the time but were in fact “based on inaccurate information.”

The sub – which is based at Faslane in Scotland – is part of Britain’s nuclear-powered fleet, although it has not been revealed whether it was one of four that carry nuke missiles.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | 2 Comments

Armenian Foreign Ministry Slams Baku’s Threat to Bomb Nuclear Plant as Breaching Int’l Law

Sputnik – 16.07.2020

Azerbaijan’s threat to carry out an airstrike on the Armenian-based Metsamor nuclear power plant (NPP) is in violation of international law, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, calling upon Baku to publicly denounce threats like that.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman Vagif Dargyakhly said that Armenia should beware that Baku has the necessary equipment to conduct a precision strike against the Metsamor NPP.

“The actions threatened by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan are a flagrant violation of the International Humanitarian Law in general and the First Additional Protocol to Geneva Conventions in particular. Such threats are an explicit demonstration of state terrorism and genocidal intent of Azerbaijan,” the Armenian ministry’s statement read.

The ministry emphasized that such statements by Azerbaijan were “a menace to all the peoples of the region, including its own people.”

“We strongly condemn the nuclear threats voiced by Azerbaijan, which demonstrate absolute absence of responsibility and sound judgement from this particular member of the international community. Azerbaijan must publicly denounce such threats at once,” the ministry said.

Clashes broke out in the border area that separates Armenia’s Tavush province and Azerbaijan’s Tovuz region this past Sunday. The escalation is in its fourth day now, a reasonable distance away from the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where the two sides have waged war for decades.

Azerbaijan has by far reported 11 troops killed as a result of armed hostilities, while Armenia has reported four fatalities.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Iran Voices Readiness to Help Ease Tensions between Azerbaijan, Armenia

Al-Manar | July 16, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the wake of deadly border clashes between the two countries.

“As soon as clashes erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran’s diplomatic apparatus got active to mediate and soothe this tension as the region cannot afford another conflict,” ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters in the northwestern city of Ardabil on Thursday.

He further called on both sides to show restraint, voicing Iran’s readiness to help bring an end to tensions between the two former Soviet republics, Tasnim news agency reported.

The clashes broke out on the volatile Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Sunday and have continued over the past days.

At least 16 people, including four Armenian troops, 11 Azeri servicemen and one Azeri civilian, have been killed in the latest outbreak of hostilities between the two neighbors.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment