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Israel seizes 30 cryptocurrency wallets allegedly funding Hamas

MEMO | March 1, 2022

Israeli authorities have seized dozens of cryptocurrency wallets from accounts allegedly affiliated with the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, in what they claim is a crackdown on funding to the group through digital means.

The seizure of around 30 wallets from 12 accounts was approved by Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, who said in a statement that “We continue to expand our tools to deal with terrorism, and with companies that supply it with an economic oxygen pipeline.”

The wallets – reportedly owned by an exchange company named Al-Mutahadun in the Gaza Strip and having had an estimated value of tens of thousands of Israeli shekels – were confiscated in a joint operation by the Defence Ministry, police and military.

According to Israeli news outlets, the wallets were the result of Hamas’s efforts to acquire funds from international donors through the use of cryptocurrencies – an experimental project launched by the group around three years ago to help counter its financial troubles and circumvent the traditional banking system.

Al-Mutahadun is reportedly owned by the Shamlah family, prominent amongst the Hamas leadership, who Gantz said “assists the Hamas terror group, and especially its military wing, by transferring funds amounting to tens of millions of dollars a year.”

In 2020, Gantz authorised the seizure of $4 billion in funding allegedly transferred from Iran to Hamas and, last year, Israel claimed that it seized $121,000 sent to the group from members in Turkey.

While the Israeli reports cannot be verified, if true, then Tel Aviv’s seizure of the digital wallets signifies its advancing capability to counter alleged financial aid to Hamas in the form of cryptocurrencies – a commodity that has long been lauded by many as relatively safe from the reach of states and banking institutions. It was in July when the Israeli government launched its campaign to target crypto wallets it says is used by Hamas.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Creating New Enemies


It should come as no surprise that many observers, from various political perspectives, are beginning to note that there is something seriously disconnected in the fumbling foreign policy of the United States. The evacuation failure in Afghanistan shattered the already waning self-confidence of the American political elite and the continuing on-again off-again negotiations that were by design intended to go nowhere with Iran and Russia provide no evidence that anyone in the White House is really focused on protecting American interests. Now we have an actual shooting war in Ukraine as a result, a conflict that might easily escalate if Washington continues to send the wrong signals to Moscow.

To cite only one example of how outside influences distort policy, in a phone call on February 9th, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett advised President Joe Biden not to enter into any non-proliferation agreement with Iran. Biden was non-committal even though it is an actual American interest to come to an agreement, but instead he indicated that as far as the US is concerned, Israel could exercise “freedom of action” when dealing with the Iranians. With that concession has ended in all probability the only possible diplomatic success that the Administration might have been able to point to.

The Biden Administration’s by default global security policy is currently reduced to what some critics have described as “encirclement and containment.” That is why an overstretched US military is being tasked with creating ever more bases worldwide in an effort to counter perceived “enemies” who often are only exercising their own national sovereignty and right to security within their own zones of influence. Ironically, when nations balk at submitting to Washington’s control, they are frequently described as “aggressors” and “anti-democratic,” the language that has most particularly been used relating to Russia. The Biden policy, such as it actually exists, appears to be a throwback to the playing field in 1991-2 when the Soviet empire collapsed. It is all about maintaining the old American dream of complete global dominance coupled with liberal interventionism, but this time around the US lacks both the resources and the national will to continue in the effort. Hopefully the White House will understand that to do nothing is better than to make empty threats.

Meanwhile, as the situation continues to erode, it is becoming more and more obvious that the twin crises that have been developing over Ukraine and Taiwan are “Made in Washington” and are somewhat inexplicable as the US does not have a compelling national interest that would justify threats to “leave on the table” military options as a possible response. The Administration has yet again responded to Russian moves by initiating devastating sanctions. But Russia also has unconventional weapons in its arsenal. It can, for starters, shift focus away from Ukraine by intervening much more actively in support of Syria and Iran in the Middle East, disrupting feeble American attempts to manage that region to benefit Israel.

According to economists, Russia has also been effectively sanction-proofing its economy and is capable of selective reverse-sanctioning of countries that support an American initiative with any enthusiasm. Such a response would likely hurt the Europeans much more than it would damage the leadership in the Kremlin. Barring Russian gas from Europe by shutting down Nord Stream 2 would, for example, permit increased sales to China and elsewhere in Asia and would inflict more pain on the Europeans than on Moscow. Shipping US supplied liquid gas to Europe would, for example, cost more than twice the going rate being offered by the Kremlin and would also be less reliable. The European NATO members are clearly nervous and not fully behind the US agenda on Ukraine, largely because there is the legitimate concern that any and possibly all options being considered by Washington could easily produce missteps that would escalate into a nuclear exchange that would be catastrophic for all parties involved.

Apart from the real immediate danger to be derived from the fighting currently taking place in Ukraine, the real long-term damage is strategic. The Joe Biden Administration has adroitly maneuvered itself into a corner while America’s two principal adversaries Russia and China have drawn closer together to form something like a defensive as well as economic relationship that will be dedicated to reducing and eventually eliminating Washington’s assumed role as the global hegemon and rules enforcer.

In a recent article in the New Yorker foreign affairs commentator Robin Wright, who might reasonably described as a “hawk,” declares the new development to be “Russia and China Unveil[ing] a Pact Against America and the West.” And she is not alone in ringing the alarm bell, with former Donald Trump National Security Council (NSC) Russia watcher Fiona Hill warning that the Kremlin’s intention is to force the United States out of Europe while former NSC Ukrainian expert Alexander Vindman is advising that military force be used to deter Russia now before it is too late.

Wright provides the most serious analysis of the new developments. She argues that “Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the two most powerful autocrats, challenge the current political and military order.” She describes how, in a meeting between the two leaders before the Beijing Olympics, they cited an “agreement that also challenges the United States as a global power, NATO as a cornerstone of international security, and liberal democracy as a model for the world.” They pledged that there would be “No ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation” and a written statement that was subsequently produced declared that “Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions, intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose color revolutions, and will increase cooperation.” Wright notes that there is considerable strength behind the agreement, “As two nuclear-armed countries that span Europe and Asia, the more muscular alignment between Russia and China could be a game changer militarily and diplomatically.” One might add that China now has the world’s largest economy and Russia has a highly developed military deploying new hypersonic missiles that would give it the advantage in any conflict with NATO and the US. Both Russia and China, if attacked, would also benefit because they would be fighting close to their bases on interior lines.

And, of course, not everyone agrees that nudging the United States out of its self-proclaimed hegemonic role would be a bad thing. Former British diplomat Alastair Crooke argues that there will be a perpetual state of crisis in the international order until a new system emerges from the status quo that ended the Cold War, and it would be minus the United States as the semi-official transnational rules maker and arbiter. He observes that “The crux of Russia’s complaints about its eroding security have little to do with Ukraine per se but are rooted in the Washington hawks’ obsession with Russia, and their desire to cut Putin (and Russia) down to size – an aim which has been the hallmark of US policy since the Yeltsin years. The Victoria Nuland clique could never accept Russia rising to become a significant power in Europe – possibly eclipsing the US control over Europe.”

What is happening in Europe and Asia should all come down to a very simple realization about the limits of power: America has no business in risking a nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine or with China over Taiwan. The United States has been fighting much of the world for over two decades, impoverishing itself and killing millions in avoidable wars starting with Iraq and Afghanistan. The US government is cynically exploiting memories of old Cold War enemy Russia to create a false narrative that goes something like this: “If we don’t stop them over there, they will be in New Jersey next week.” It is all nonsense. And besides, who made the US the sole arbiter of international relations? It is past time Americans started asking what kind of international order is it that lets the United States determine what other nations can and cannot do.

Worst of all, the bloodshed in Ukraine has all been unnecessary. A little real diplomacy with honest negotiators weighing up real interests could easily have come to acceptable solutions for all parties involved. It is indeed ironic that the burning desire to go to war with Russia demonstrated in the New York Times and Washington Post as well as on Capitol Hill has in fact created a real formidable enemy, tying Russia and China together in an alliance due to their frustration at dealing with a Biden Administration that never seems to know what it is doing or where it wants to go.

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, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Can Germany disconnect from Russian gas?

By Paul Antonopoulos | March 1, 2022

It is not an exaggeration to say that the course of the war in Ukraine will determine the geopolitics and economy of Eastern Europe for the decades to come. Although it appears that the West is making great effort to oust Russia from Ukraine, they also hope to liberalise their energy supplies, especially Germany – but can the European Union’s biggest economic powerhouse separate itself from Russian gas?

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner dispels the hopes that Moscow will succeed in “blackmailing” the launch of Nord Stream-2 in an interview. He also points out, without any ambiguous allusions, that the economy of Germany and the EU as a whole will inevitably collapse if Russian gas stops flowing. In fact, the German Minister is saying the obvious outcomes according to data, but this is ignored by other senior German politicians and EU states.

Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine have been asking Washington for years to impose sanctions on Russian energy, and now it is beginning to be supported by many European leaders. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who recently returned from talks in Moscow, ordered the Ministry of Economy to withdraw its conclusion that launching Nord Stream-2 does not pose a risk to the German gas market.

News circulated that the Chancellor had suspended the certification process for the Russian pipeline. However, the certification of the pipeline is not carried out by the Ministry of Economy, but by the Federal Network Agency, which operates under its legislative package. No one has yet announced a certification deadline, and the Ministry of Economy, having withdrawn its report, is obliged to prepare another report and submit it again for consideration to the Federal Network Agency.

Germany ranks eighth in the global list of natural gas and buys more blue fuel abroad every year. By comparison: In 2013, the Germans imported only 97 billion cubic meters of gas but by 2020 it reached 155.5 billion. By the end of this year, when Germany’s last three nuclear power plants will stop, these figures will be even more inflated.

The European country is not only the leader in natural gas imports, but also the main buyer of electricity – the supply from abroad accounts for more than 10% of the energy balance. Therefore, it must be questioned whether Berlin believes that the supply of LNG from the US can fulfil their energy needs.

In January, it was reported that 106 ships arrived at gas terminals in the EU, bringing a record 7.1 million tons of liquefied gas. This rate is not only a record high, but is 37% higher than the average for previous periods. However, American traders delivered no more than 76 billion cubic meters to Europe in the record year of 2021.

Another issue for the German government is that Europe has now exhausted its physical capacity to import LNG. In total, there are 29 gas terminals in the EU, most of them in Spain and France. Britain, which is no longer part of the eurozone, has three and Germany does not have any LNG terminals. This is why American gas can only enter German storage facilities through resellers with an additional mark-up.

Recently, Qatar’s energy minister said that there was simply nothing to replace Russian gas. Qatar is incapable of increasing LNG production, and current volumes have been condensed under long-term agreements. Earlier, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio mentioned the same thing.

Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, said that allowing coal-fired power plants to run longer than planned was an option, challenging Berlin’s scheduled exit from coal energy by 2030.

“There are no taboos on deliberations,” Habeck said, adding that it was Germany’s goal to ultimately choose which country will supply its energy. “Being able to choose also means, in case of doubt, saying goodbye to Russian gas, coal or oil. And should Russia wilfully cut off this supply, then the decision has of course to be made. In that case they will never be rebuilt. I think the Kremlin knows that, too.”

For all the hope in American LNG or using coal in the interim, they are not realistic prospects, and for this reason, even if Berlin wanted to, it cannot divorce itself from Russian gas in the foreseeable future despite some defiant voices.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics | | 3 Comments

Lavrov: US Nuclear Weapons in Europe are Unacceptable for Russia, Time to Return Them Home

Sputnik – 01.03.2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has declared that the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe is simply unacceptable for Moscow.

In the current situation, Lavrov argued, it is important to prevent a new round of the arms race, and said that Russia calls upon the United States and its allies to join a moratorium on the deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

“It is unacceptable for us that, contrary to the fundamental principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, US nuclear weapons are still present on the territory of some European countries,” he said while addressing the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva via a video call.

Lavrov also criticised the practice of the so called “joint nuclear missions” that involve non-nuclear NATO members, and which he said include scenarios where nuclear weapons are used against Russia.

“It is high time the US nuclear weapons are returned home, and the infrastructure in Europe related to them completely dismantled,” he said.

Lavrov also warned that Russia is doing everything it can to prevent Ukraine from acquiring nuclear weapons.

He argued that Kiev’s statements about procuring nuclear weapons are not just empty bravado as Ukraine has Soviet nuclear technology and delivery systems.

Also, Lavrov suggested that Western powers should refrain from creating military installations in former Soviet states that are not members of NATO.

He also expressed hope that Ukraine will realise the seriousness of the current situation, and that it needs to show independence during the negotiations with Russia.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Romney’s self-fulfilling Russia prophecy

The degradation of the Russian-US relations is the byproduct of the American foreign policy

By Scott Ritter | RT | March 1, 2022

A decade ago, then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was lambasted by the media for calling Russia “America’s number one geopolitical foe.” Today, he is being lauded for being a visionary. Romney’s self-fulfilling prophecy says more about bad US policy than Russian malfeasance.

It was the hot mic moment heard around the world. On March 26, 2012, as reporters were being led into a photo opportunity involving President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the eve of a global nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, their microphones picked up an exchange between the two leaders.

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

The context of the conversation—delicate negotiations between the US and Russia regarding ballistic missile defense systems in Europe—was irrelevant to what happened next.

That night,while being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Obama’s Republican opponent in the 2012 US Presidential race, Mitt Romney, chided the Democratic incumbent for his comments. “Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage,” Romney said. “And for this president to be looking for greater flexibility, where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia, is very, very troubling, very alarming.” Calling Russia America’s number one geopolitical foe, Romney declared, “they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [President Barack Obama] has some more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling, indeed.”

The issue of Obama’s hot mic moment came up again, during a televised debate on October 22, 2012. Obama, aware of the potential negative political exposure his hot mic incident could create, came loaded with a zinger. “A few months ago,” he told Romney, “when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia… and the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

All Romney could do was repeat his assessment of Russia being America’s number one geopolitical foe, before declaring: “I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I’m certainly not going to say to him, ‘I’ll give you more flexibility after the election.’”

Obama’s mic-drop moment was devastating for Romney, who lost the election in a landslide.

Years later, some of Romney’s biggest critics appear to have changed their minds about his “Cold War” moment. “Look, I’m willing to say that in 2012 when we all scoffed at Mitt for saying that, gee, Russia was our No. 1 geopolitical foe, think we were a little off there,” former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau noted in 2017.

In the aftermath of Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine, Mitt Romney’s 2012 pronouncements have been, in the eyes of many political observers in America, vindicated.

Romney certainly believes so, commenting on CNN’s State of the Union last Sunday that “a geopolitical foe they obviously were and continue to be, because Russia continues to fight us in every venue they have. They support the world’s worst actors.”

Romney expressed concern over a trend by three former presidents—George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump—who sought to reset relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “John McCain was right,” Romney said. “He said he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw the KGB. And that’s what we’re seeing: a small, evil, feral-eyed man who is trying to shape the world in the image where once again Russia would be an empire. And that’s not going to happen.”

To the geopolitically uninitiated, Romney’s 2012 remarks, when viewed through the lens of the present, certainly seem prescient. What is missing, however, is the context of history over time, the factual connectivity between events circa 2012, and the moment. When Obama and Medvedev had their hot mic incident, the US and Russia were still in their “reset” phase of the Obama first term, where the US hoped against hope that they would be able to weaken Putin’s hold on power by promoting the political fortunes of Medvedev.

This gambit failed, not because of any malfeasance on the part of Russia, but the lack of integrity in the Obama administration when it came to fulfilling promises made to Medvedev concerning arms control and the NATO intervention in Libya. While the US notion that Medvedev could somehow supplant Putin as the leading political figure in Russia was always an American pipe dream (the brain child of none other than Michael McFaul, Obama’s foremost Russian expert in the national security council who went on to become Obama’s Ambassador in Moscow), the notion that improving US-Russian relations through meaningful diplomatic engagement was not far-fetched. Indeed, had the Obama administration delivered on missile defense, and limited the intervention in Libya to purely humanitarian pursuits, there was a good chance that relations between the US and Russia during Putin’s second incarnation as Russia’s President could have been constructive.

The duplicity and deceit of the Obama administration, when combined with the flagrant Russophobia that defined the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, so soured relations that even before Joe Biden took office in early 2021, the level of US-Russian discourse had sunk to Cold War-era levels. The Trump administration had inherited a dark mess from its predecessor when it came to US-Russian relations, colored not only by the false allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the 2016 US Presidential election, but a proxy conflict in Ukraine which had emerged in the aftermath of the so-called Maidan Revolution. The 2014 US-backed insurrection overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, replacing him with ultra-nationalists whose anti-Russian stance led to the reabsorption of Crimea by the Russian government and the outbreak of fighting between the new Ukrainian government and pro-Russia separatists in the Donbass region.

The US had become so entangled in the Ukrainian web that Trump was impeached based upon a phone call he made in the summer of 2019 to newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During that call, he allegedly held US military aid hostage to a promise by Zelensky to investigate the relationship between Joe Biden’s son and a Ukrainian energy holding company, Burisma. The way the impeachment manager, Representative Adam Schiff, described the importance of this aid was telling when it came to the state of US-Russian relations.

“This military aid, which has long enjoyed strong bipartisan support, was designed to help Ukraine defend itself from the Kremlin’s aggression. More than 15,000 Ukrainians have died fighting Russian forces and their proxies, and the military aid was for such essentials as sniper rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, radar, night vision goggles and other vital support for the war effort,” Schiff said in his opening address to the US Senate presiding over the impeachment trial of Trump, on January 22, 2020.

He continued: “Most critically, the military aid we provide Ukraine helps to protect and advance American national security interests in the region and beyond. America has an abiding interest in stemming Russian expansionism and resisting any nation’s efforts to remake the map of Europe by dint of military force, even as we have tens of thousands of troops stationed there. Moreover, as one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry: ‘The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.’”

Seen in this light, there was nothing prescient about Mitt Romney’s 2012 categorization of US-Russian relations. Far from representing a maintenance of a decade-long status quo linked to the pernicious personality of a single Russian president, the degradation of relations between Russia and the US from 2012 to the present was the byproduct of an American foreign policy which was inherently anti-Russian in its construct. Romney’s 2012 pronouncements represent little more than a self-fulfilling prophecy, the consequence of a relationship marked by bad faith on the part of the United States.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

German insurance executive who warned of the high vaccine side-effect rate revealed by billing data, has been fired

eugyppius | March 1, 2022

Two weeks ago, BKK ProVita chairman Andreas Schöfbeck caused a small uproar by writing to Germany’s vaccine regulator, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, to inquire about the high rate of vaccine side-effects evident from BKK billing data.

Schöfbeck has now been fired following an hours-long company meeting this morning, at which he was called upon to defend his letter.

Representatives from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, including its president, Klaus Cichutek, had agreed to meet with Schöfbeck and other BKK officials about their concerns this afternoon. Schöfbeck’s termination was obviously timed to prevent his participation at that meeting, which will now go forward without him.

This is the behaviour of people who have deep confidence in the safety and effectiveness of our Corona vaccines.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

The Nudge: Ethically Dubious and Ineffective


More and more people in the US will be wising up to their government’s use of behavioural science – or ‘nudging’ – as a means of increasing compliance with Covid-19 restrictions. These psychological techniques exploit the fact that human beings are almost always on ‘automatic pilot,’ habitually making moment-by-moment decisions without rational thought or conscious reflection.

The use of behavioural science in this way represents a radical departure from the traditional methods – legislation, information provision, rational argument – used by governments to influence the behaviour of their citizens. But why expend all that time and energy when, by contrast, many of the ‘nudges’ delivered are – to various degrees – acting upon the public automatically, below the level of conscious thought and reason?

By going with the grain of how we think and act, the state-employed ‘nudgers’ can covertly shape our behaviour in a direction deemed desirable by the regime of the day – an appealing prospect for any government. The ubiquitous deployment of these behavioural strategies – which frequently rely on inflating emotional distress to change behaviour – raises profound moral questions.

The UK has been an innovator in these methods, but they are now raising widespread disquiet here. In fact serious concerns about our Government’s use of behavioural science were previously raised in relation to other spheres of government activity. In 2019, a Parliamentary report found that the distress evoked in people targeted by behavioural insights in relation to tax collection may, in some instances, have led to victims taking their own lives.

In the Covid-19 era, it appears the behavioural scientists have been given free reign. As a retired consultant clinical psychologist, I – and 39 professionals from the psychology/therapy/mental health sphere – have become so concerned we are calling on the UK Parliament to formally investigate the government’s use of behavioural science. People across the world can glean from the UK experience what may also have been done to them, and what may be next.

The Behavioural Insights Team

The appetite for using covert psychological strategies as a means of changing people’s behaviour was boosted by the emergence of the ‘Behavioural Insights Team’ (BIT) in 2010 as ‘the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural science to policy.’ The membership of BIT rapidly expanded from a seven-person unit embedded in the UK Government to a ‘social purpose company’ operating in many countries across the world. A comprehensive account of the psychological techniques recommended by the BIT is provided in the document, MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, where the authors claim that their strategies can achieve ‘low cost, low pain ways of nudging citizens … into new ways of acting by going with the grain of how we think and act.’

Since its inception in 2010, the BIT has been led by Professor David Halpern who is currently the team’s chief executive. Professor Halpern and two other members of the BIT also currently sit on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which advises the Government on its Covid-19 communications strategy. Most of the other members of the SPI-B are prominent UK psychologists who have expertise in the deployment of behavioural-science ‘nudge’ techniques.

‘Nudges’ of concern: fear inflation, shaming, peer pressure

The BIT and the SPI-B have encouraged the deployment of many techniques from behavioural science within the UK Government’s Covid-19 communications. However, there are three ‘nudges’ which have evoked most alarm: the exploitation of fear (inflating perceived threat levels), shame (conflating compliance with virtue) and peer pressure (portraying non-compliers as a deviant minority) – or “affect,” “ego” and “norms,” to use the language of the MINDSPACE document.

Affect and Fear

Aware that a frightened population is a compliant one, a strategic decision was made to inflate the fear levels of all the UK people. The minutes of the SPI-B meeting dated the 22nd of March 2020 stated, ‘The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent’ by ‘using hard-hitting emotional messaging.’ Subsequently, in tandem with the UK’s subservient mainstream media, the collective efforts of the BIT and the SPI-B have inflicted a prolonged and concerted scare campaign upon the UK public. The methods used have included:

– Daily statistics displayed without context: the macabre mono focus on showing the number of Covid-19 deaths without mention of mortality from other causes or the fact that, under normal circumstances, around 1,600 people die each day in the UK.

– Recurrent footage of dying patients: images of the acutely unwell in Intensive Care Units.

– Scary slogans: for example, ‘IF YOU GO OUT YOU CAN SPREAD IT, PEOPLE WILL DIE,’ typically accompanied by frightening images of emergency personnel in masks and visors.

Ego and Shame

We all strive to maintain a positive view of ourselves. Utilising this human tendency, behavioural scientists have recommended messaging that equates virtue with adherence to the Covid-19 restrictions and subsequent vaccination campaign. Consequently, following the rules preserves the integrity of our egos while any deviation evokes shame. Examples of these nudges in action include:

– Slogans that shame the non-compliant: for example, ‘STAY HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES.’

– TV advertisements: actors tell us, ‘I wear a face covering to protect my mates’ and ‘I make space to protect you.’

– Clap for Careers: the pre-orchestrated weekly ritual, purportedly to show appreciation for NHS staff.

– Ministers telling students not to ‘kill your gran.’

– Shame-evoking adverts: close-up images of acutely unwell hospital patients with the voice-over, ‘Can you look them in the eyes and tell them you’re doing all you can to stop the spread of coronavirus?’

Norms and Peer Pressure

Awareness of the prevalent views and behaviour of our fellow citizens can pressurise us to conform, and knowledge of being in a deviant minority is a source of discomfort. The UK Government repeatedly encouraged peer pressure throughout the Covid-19 crisis to gain the public’s compliance with their escalating restrictions, an approach that – at higher levels of intensity – can morph into scapegoating.

The most straightforward example is how, during interviews with the media, Government ministers often resorted to telling us that the vast majority of people were ‘obeying the rules’ or that almost all of us were conforming.

However, in order to enhance and sustain normative pressure, people need to be able to instantly distinguish the rule breakers from the rule followers; the visibility of face coverings provides this immediate differentiation. The switch to the mandating of masks in community settings in summer 2020, without the emergence of new and robust evidence that they reduce viral transmission, strongly suggests that the mask requirement was introduced primarily as a compliance device to harness normative pressure.

Ethical questions

Compared to a government’s typical tools of persuasion, the covert psychological strategies outlined above differ in both their nature and subconscious mode of action. Consequently, there are three main areas of ethical concern associated with their use: problems with the methods per se; problems with the lack of consent; and problems with the goals to which they are applied.

First, it is highly questionable whether a civilised society should knowingly increase the emotional discomfort of its citizens as a means of gaining their compliance. Government scientists deploying fear, shame, and scapegoating to change minds is an ethically dubious practice that in some respects resembles the tactics used by totalitarian regimes such as China, where the state inflicts pain on a subset of its population in an attempt to eliminate beliefs and behavior they perceive to be deviant.

Another ethical issue associated with these covert psychological techniques relates to their unintended consequences. Shaming and scapegoating have emboldened some people to harass those unable or unwilling to wear a face covering. More disturbingly, the inflated fear levels will have significantly contributed to the many thousands of excess non-Covid deaths that have occurred in people’s homes, the strategically-increased anxieties discouraging many from seeking help for other illnesses.

Furthermore, a lot of older people, rendered housebound by fear, may have died prematurely from loneliness. Those already suffering with obsessive-compulsive problems about contamination, and patients with severe health anxieties, will have had their anguish exacerbated by the campaign of fear. Even now, after all the vulnerable groups in the UK have been offered vaccination, many of our citizens remain tormented by ‘COVID-19 Anxiety Syndrome’), characterised by a disabling combination of fear and maladaptive coping strategies.

Second, a recipient’s consent prior to the delivery of a medical or psychological intervention is a fundamental requirement of a civilised society. Professor David Halpern explicitly recognised the significant ethical dilemmas arising from the use of influencing strategies that impact subconsciously on the country’s citizens. The MINDSPACE document – of which Professor Halpern is a co-author – states that, ‘Policymakers wishing to use these tools … need the approval of the public to do so’ (p74).

More recently, in Professor Halpern’s book, Inside the Nudge Unit, he is even more emphatic about the importance of consent: ‘If Governments … wish to use behavioural insights, they must seek and maintain the permission of the public. Ultimately, you – the public, the citizen – need to decide what the objectives, and limits, of nudging and empirical testing should be’ (p375).

As far as we are aware, no attempt has ever been made to obtain the UK public’s permission to use covert psychological strategies.

Third, the perceived legitimacy of using subconscious ‘nudges’ to influence people may also depend upon the behavioural goals that are being pursued. It may be that a higher proportion of the general public would be comfortable with the government resorting to subconscious nudges to reduce violent crime as compared to the purpose of imposing unprecedented and non-evidenced public-health restrictions. Would UK citizens have agreed to the furtive deployment of fear, shame and peer pressure as a way of levering compliance with lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccination? Maybe they should be asked before the government considers any future imposition of these techniques.

A truly independent and comprehensive evaluation of the ethics of deploying psychological ‘nudges’ – during public health campaigns and in other areas of government – is now urgently required, not only in Britain, but in all countries where these interventions have been used.

Dr Gary Sidley is a retired consultant clinical psychologist who worked in the UK’s National Health Service for over 30 years, a member of HART Group and a founder member of the Smile Free campaign against forced masking.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Backed by Big Pharma, NewsGuard Brings ‘Fact Checking’ to Tens of Millions of Kids in Schools

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | February 28, 2022

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is partnering with NewsGuard — a for-profit “fact-checking” company with deep ties to Big Pharma — to help students in U.S. classrooms “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”

AFT is the second-largest teachers’ union in the U.S. It’s also a staunch advocate of mandatory COVID vaccination and masks for schoolchildren.

Under a deal announced last month, AFT agreed to purchase NewsGuard licenses for its entire membership of teachers — 1.7 million in total — making the NewsGuard tool available to tens of millions of public school students and their families.

Teachers will receive licensed copies of NewsGuard’s internet browser extension, providing access to its “traffic light” ratings and “nutrition label” reviews evaluating the purported reliability of news and information websites when those sites are visited.

Announced during “News Literacy Week,” AFT touted the agreement as an opportunity for its member teachers to play a bigger role in helping their students “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”

AFT stated:

“For years, educators have fought battles against suspect sourcing, with their students often misled by dubious outlets and spam sites posing as ‘news’. NewsGuard offers a practical solution, alerting students and educators to those sites while also providing a valuable lesson in media literacy.

“Students and their teachers will be able to see how NewsGuard applies nine criteria of journalistic practice to thousands of websites and will get an immediate read on the truthfulness and rigor of the information they encounter when searching online.”

Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, added:

“We are constantly trying to help our students, particularly our middle, high school and post-secondary students, separate fact from fiction, as we help them develop their critical-thinking and analytical skills.

“NewsGuard is a great tool in this regard. It is a beacon of clarity to expose the dark depths of the internet and uplift those outlets committed to truth and honesty rather than falsehoods and fabrications. This historic deal will not only help us steer clear of increasingly fetid waters—it will provide a valuable lesson in media literacy and a discussion point for teachers in class on what can, and can’t, be trusted.

“The hallmark of good journalism is fair, richly sourced reporting that gives citizens an insight into how the world works. Sadly, the foundational role of the fourth estate is in danger of being poisoned by torrents of trash. NewsGuard reminds us of the importance of an independent press that students can rely on to form their own views and opinions so they can participate as active citizens in our democracy.”

Axios described the deal as one in which American schoolchildren are getting “an internet librarian,” adding that “[t]he hope is that students with the skills to spot disinformation will grow into more thoughtful and better-informed citizens and voters.”

Drawing on the library analogy, NewsGuard stated:

“Imagine you walked into a library, and there were a trillion pieces of paper flying around in the air, and you grabbed one, and you didn’t know anything about it, or where it came from or who’s financing it.

“That’s the internet, that’s your Facebook feed, that’s your Google search.”

Helping children become more media literate and better able to spot misinformation online appears, at face value, to be a noble goal.

However, a closer look at NewsGuard’s advisers, partners and investors reveals a web of interests closely linked to the military, intelligence, media and political establishments, as well as to the world of corporate marketing — including an advertising agency sued for illegally marketing opioids.

How does NewsGuard work?

Launched in March 2018 as an effort to “fight fake news,” NewsGuard maintains a database of news and information outlets, which are ranked for their supposed “trustworthiness.”

These rankings then become available to the public via extensions that are available for mainstream browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

Once installed, the browser extension displays green or red warning labels next to a ranked website’s address, indicating whether the site is considered to be “trustworthy” or not.

As of January 2022, NewsGuard had evaluated and ranked 7,466 domains which it claims covers 95% of online news engagement.

Algorithms alone are insufficient for identifying “fake news,” according to NewsGuard:

“Our goal isn’t necessarily to stop [fake news] but to arm people with some basic information when they’re about to read or share stuff,” Brill said. “We’re not trying to block anything.

“Our goal is to help solve this problem now by using human beings—trained, experienced journalists—who will operate under a transparent, accountable process to apply basic common sense to a growing scourge that clearly cannot be solved by algorithms.”

How does this evaluation process take place?

NewsGuard uses nine weighted criteria to rate and analyze news websites along two broad categories: credibility and transparency.

The following five criteria are incorporated into the “credibility” category, listed alongside their respective “weights”:

  • Does not repeatedly publish false content (22 points).
  • Gathers and presents information responsibly (18 points).
  • Regularly corrects or clarifies errors (12.5 points).
  • Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly (12.5 points).
  • Avoids deceptive headlines (10 points).

Under the “transparency” category are these four criteria:

  • Discloses ownership and financing (7.5 points).
  • Clearly labels advertising (7.5 points).
  • Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest (5 points).
  • Provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information (5 points).

It is unclear how the respective “weights” were determined and set, or how they are measured.

Connected to these nine criteria, NewsGuard implemented a “Nutrition Label” system, which it uses to rate news sites according to one of four categories: “Green,” “Red,” “Satire” or “Platform.” The corresponding icon then appears in browsers when a rated website is visited.

These categories are connected to the previously mentioned point system, such that sites with a “score” of 60 points or higher earn a “Green” label, while those below 60 points are given a “Red” label.


  • A “Green” label indicates the website “generally adheres to basic standards of credibility and transparency.”
  • A “Red” label indicates the website “generally fails to meet basic standards of credibility and transparency.”
  • Α “Satire” (yellow) label indicates the website is “not a real news website.”
  • A “Platform” (gray) label indicates the website “primarily hosts user-generated content that it does not vet” and the information on this site “may or may not be reliable.”

The “Nutrition Labels,” aside from the color-coded system indicated above, also include a more detailed analysis about each news site. As explained by NewsGuard:

“The labels will explain the history of the site, what it attempts to cover, who owns it, who edits it, and make transparent other relevant factors, such as financing, notable awards or missteps, whether the publisher participates in programs such as the Trust Project, which holds publishers to transparency standards, or has repeatedly been found at fault by one of the established programs that check individual articles.”

In other words, there is a direct connection between NewsGuard’s website-level rating system and the various “fact-checking” entities that evaluate the content of individual news stories.

Each website is initially “independently reviewed” by a NewsGuard analyst against the nine criteria. The analyst prepares the “Nutrition Label,” the website is contacted for comment, and then “at least one senior editor and NewsGuard’s co-CEOs review every Nutrition Label prior to publication to ensure that the rating is as fair and accurate as possible.”

In addition to its formal ratings process, a separate NewsGuard “SWAT Team” is “on call on a 24/7 basis to receive and act on alerts about sites that are suddenly trending, but that have not yet been rated — including because the site was just launched to promote a fictitious, sensational story.”

The “SWAT Team” then rates these websites in real time.

NewsGuard also works on social media platforms — specifically, on links to news articles on other websites that are posted on social media.

Additionally, NewsGuard maintains what it calls “advertiser inclusion lists.” As of January, these lists contained 4,247 so-called “quality news sites.” The lists are used to help online advertisers direct their advertising expenditures toward websites NewsGuard deems reliable.

NewsGuard, which received $6 million in seed funding from various investors and venture capitalists, is subscription-based.

A NewsGuard subscription costs $2.95 per month, which includes the browser extension and a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. (The browser extension is available for free on the Microsoft Edge browser, thanks to a licensing agreement with Microsoft).

AFT deal not first time NewsGuard has ventured into education arena

For some, fighting “fake news” on websites and social media isn’t enough — they believe the “battle” needs to reach educational institutions.

As stated in 2019 by Jonathan Anzalone, assistant director and lecturer at Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy:

“Our problems are much larger than identifying a bogus website or a piece of propaganda. It’s like we just invented fire, and we’re trying to learn how to deal with it. It will take more than a few tools, as valuable as they may be.”

As a solution, Anzalone recommended “large-scale educational intervention” and “constant reinforcement in class and at home that we have to be critical of the news.”

These calls for “educational intervention” in 2019 perhaps foreshadowed NewsGuard’s later turn toward educational institutions.

NewsGuard’s past educational collaborations may also provide more than a few hints as to the types of learning materials it will provide as part of its new agreement with AFT.

Prior to NewsGuard’s new agreement with AFT, it had maintained a collaboration with Turnitin, a tool commonly used in secondary and higher education to evaluate students’ written assignments and identify possible cases of plagiarism.

NewsGuard’s partnership with TurnItIn, announced May 4, 2020, was touted as an initiative “that will help many million students and teachers spot and avoid misinformation, improve their research abilities and develop critical media literacy skills.”

On its end, Turnitin promoted its collaboration with NewsGuard as a marriage between “academic integrity” and “digital literacy” that would enable students to “navigate 21st-century news with 21st-century skills” and to “imbue [their] work with integrity right from the source.”

Offering NewsGuard through the Turnitin service would allow “students and instructors, writers and researchers [to] confidently discern the legitimacy of digital news and information, using only the sources best suited for their needs.”

Commenting on this partnership in 2020, Crovitz described it as a “perfect match,” and stated:

“From the start, our mission has been to help people tell the difference between trustworthy sources and the many online sources that have hidden agendas, publish misinformation, or exist to promote hoaxes.

“We have heard from many teachers how valuable NewsGuard has been to help students in their research and writing find sources that publish with accuracy and integrity and to stay away from the others. To be able to provide that information to Turnitin’s millions of students and teachers is a tremendously important milestone in advancing that mission.”

Free access to NewsGuard via Turnitin appears to have ended with the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic year. However, a series of NewsGuard learning materials developed as part of the partnership with Turnitin remain online, and provide a likely indication as to the nature and content of the resources NewsGuard will now make available to schools and teachers as part of its new collaboration with AFT.

These resources, which offer an eye-opening look at how students are instructed to identify so-called “misinformation,”  include:

The lesson materials for the so-called COVID-19 “Infodemic,” which are targeted primarily to high school students, but also, middle school and university students, include the following statement:

“As misinformation about COVID-19 proliferates online, and as remote learning and social distancing cause students to spend even more of their time on social media and other platforms, media literacy skills have taken on greater importance.

“To address this need, NewsGuard has created a suite of plug-and-play resources for educators to teach a media literacy lesson through the lens of COVID-19 misinformation.”

A set of PowerPoint slides on “Coronavirus Conspiracies & Other Health Hoaxes,” includes a quiz wherein one of the questions asks students to identify which sources they would trust, out of the following list:,,,,, and (the ‘correct’ answers, we are told, are, Patient.Info, and

An accompanying “tip sheet” unironically advises students, educators, and parents to “be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to take action quickly,” and to “teach yourself and your kids to ask the tough questions.”

In turn, the “best practices” recommended by NewsGuard and Turnitin include a suggestion that “students should reference NewsGuard throughout the semester/year,” whenever “they need to do research for a project or paper or any time they need to consult current events.”

As part of this, educators are advised to “have students annotate their bibliographies with explanations for why they selected each source, drawing from NewsGuard’s Nutrition Label reviews to provide evidence for why they deemed certain sources reliable.”

NewsGuard partnerships extend to businesses, ad agencies and the WHO

NewsGuard’s line of products extends beyond its browser extension, “Nutrition Labels,” and educational materials.

For example, it offers a product called “Misinformation Fingerprints,” a “catalog of all the top current hoaxes on the internet.”

According to NewsGuard, the product is “purpose-built for use by both human analysts and AI tools” which “provide a continuously updated view of the digital information environment — and a powerful way to track narratives that are emerging and spreading online,” specifically, the “top misinformation narratives spreading online.”

The users of “Misinformation FIngerprints” include the Pentagon’s Cyber Command and the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center.

For businesses, an “Insights Dashboard” helps clients access NewsGuard’s news reliability ratings and misinformation fingerprints “through a powerful, searchable web interface purpose-built for use by businesses seeking to identify and mitigate risks from misinformation and disinformation.”

BrandGuard” targets advertisers and advertising agencies. It is touted as “the only humanly generated, constantly updated solution” to help such companies “avoid advertising on misinformation sites while finding valuable new inventory on trustworthy news sites.”

Similarly, NewsGuard’s “HealthGuard” product targets the healthcare industry and global public health authorities.

Described as “a vaccine against medical information,” HealthGuard, we are told, “helps patients, healthcare workers and anyone involved in the medical field identify trustworthy sources of health information — and avoid dangerous misinformation.”

How does HealthGuard purport to accomplish this? 

It maintains a set of ratings for more than 3,000 online health information sources, as well as a catalog of “false health narratives — from bogus cancer cures to COVID vaccine myths,” through which it “provides a solution to the “infodemic” of rampant online health misinformation.”

The WHO said it relies on NewsGuard “to fight health hoaxes.  Andy Pattison, head of the WHO’s Digital Channels Team, said:

“Though health misinformation circulates online, it causes real life consequences. We must put tools in the hands of people everywhere so they can better assess the credibility of health information online in order to make informed health choices in their life.

“NewsGuard has been instrumental in helping WHO and partners keep people safe by identifying and combating online COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation.”

NewsGuard on Aug. 24, 2020, announced a partnership agreement, “to provide the WHO and the technology platforms that WHO advises on healthcare-related online safety with a variety of reports and data aimed at fighting online COVID-19 misinformation online.”

Dr. Sylvie Brand, director of the WHO’s infectious hazards management department, described the partnership with NewsGuard:

“WHO has been fighting an infodemic of misinformation on multiple fronts, working hand in hand with governments, the private sector and civil society.

“It is vital that people everywhere get the right information at the right time to protect themselves and their loved ones. That’s why we are looking forward to working with NewsGuard and other platforms to fight misinformation and disinformation.”

In turn, NewsGuard claims that, through the provisions of this agreement where it will provide information about health “hoaxes” to social media and search platforms, “digital platforms will finally be able to act before these new myths — whether it’s about a vaccine or another supposed source of the virus—spread on their platforms.”

As it turns out, NewsGuard since 2020 has filed at least 29 such reports with the WHO As described by NewsGuard, these reports have highlighted:

“… trending health hoaxes and conspiracies across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which the WHO has been able to share with digital platforms to alert them to misinformation and hoaxes on their platforms.

“These reports identify large social media pages, accounts, and public and private groups that encourage the spread of false and often dangerous narratives about the virus and vaccines.”

One such report, dated Oct. 28, 2021, is titled “Despite NewsGuard’s prior warnings in reports to the WHO, Facebook and Instagram have allowed known anti-vaccine misinformation superspreaders to flourish on their platforms.

A June 22, 2021 report, “COVID-19 and Vaccine Misinformation Groups and Pages on Facebook” prominently features Children’s Health Defense (CHD), among other pages and groups.

NewsGuard included CHD on its list of websites that spread “vaccine myths,” lamenting that “[s]ome of the websites NewsGuard identified have become more popular online than trustworthy sources of information about COVID-19,” while specifically stating that CHD’s website “has received more engagement … than the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.”

A February 2021 NewsGuard interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was “annotated in italics in footnote form with fact checks debunking the dozens of arguments Kennedy employed to bolster his false claim that Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.”

NewsGuard’s involvement in health-related matters also extends to the creation of a “COVID-19 Misinformation Tracking Center,” which “reports on fake news, rumors and bad actors related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.”

What constitutes a “bad actor” does not appear to be defined.

Via this “tracking center,” NewsGuard compiled a list of 53 supposed COVID  myths. The list appears in a September 2021 NewsGuard “special report” on “Top COVID-19 vaccine myths.”

In addition to partnering with the WHO, NewsGuard’s HealthGuard partners with the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

Described by Mercola as “a progressive cancel-culture leader,” CCDH has “extensive ties to government and global think tanks that has labeled questioning the COVID-19 injection as ‘threats to national security.’”

Who are the people behind NewsGuard?

NewsGuard was founded by two veterans of mainstream journalism: Steven Brill (who previously founded Court TV, the Yale Journalism Initiative and The American Lawyer), and Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

When it launched, NewsGuard had a team of 25 professional journalists, purportedly to evaluate the reliability of news sources.

Two other key founding members of NewsGuard, who are still with the company, include James Warren and Eric Effron.

Brill and Crovitz are members of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, a highly influential U.S. foreign policy establishment think tank.

This stance is further reflected in the makeup of NewsGuard’s advisory board, which includes a who’s who of individuals from the political, intelligence, Big Tech and media establishments, including:

  • Don Baer, who served as White House communications director during the administration of Bill Clinton
  • Arne Duncan, who served as Secretary of Education during the administration of Barack Obama.
  • (Ret.) General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, former director of the NSA, and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
  • Leo Hindery, Jr., the former chairman of the National Cable Television Association.
  • Elise Jordan, a political analyst for NBC News and a former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, under the administration of George W. Bus.
  • Kate O’Sullivan, general manager for digital diplomacy of Microsoft.
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former general secretary of NATO, former prime minister of Denmark, and founder of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation.
  • Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security, under the administration of George W. Bush.
  • Richard Stengel, former editor of Time Magazine and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy under the administration of Barack Obama. He is the author of “Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It.”
  • Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia.

NewsGuard says members of the advisory board play “no role in the determination of ratings or the Nutrition Label[s] … unless otherwise noted” and “have no role in the governance or management of the organization.”

However, members’ association with the military and intelligence community and their connections to major technology companies and media outlets that support COVID measures and mandatory vaccination cannot be overlooked.

Looking at NewsGuard’s team members, similar connections can be made to the media, political and intelligence establishments.

Two team members, Alex Cadier and Amy Westfeldt, have previous “fact-checking” experience. Cadier worked with Agence France-Presse’s AFP Fact Check Service since 2020, with a focus on “COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, 5G conspiracy theories and other myths.”

Westfeldt produced The Associated Press’ first fact checks, soon after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in conjunction with Facebook. She also founded the “Not Real News” fixture.

Two other team members, Nerissa Beekharry and Cynthia Brill, were previously associated with Verified Identity Pass, operator of the Clear Pass for airport security checkpoints.

And at least two team members, Sam Howard and Sruthi Palaniappan, were involved in presidential campaigns: Howard with the Obama 2012 campaign and Palaniappan with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, the same year he was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention .

NewsGuard’s partnerships also reflect an affinity for entities associated with Big Tech, the military and intelligence establishments and government more broadly — even as a private initiative.

For example, NewsGuard partners include:

  • Microsoft (including Microsoft Bing, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Education and MSN).
  • The WHO.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department.
  • The U.S. National Security Innovation Network.
  • The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
  • The News Media Alliance (a U.S.-Canada newspaper trade association).
  • The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
  • GumGum (a “contextual intelligence” company).
  • Dartmouth University, Northeastern University and the University of Michigan.
  • Advertising and marketing firms such as IPG, Peer39, TripleLift and the Publicis Groupe.

Backed by Big Pharma?

As mentioned above, NewsGuard received approximately $6 million in venture funds for its launch.

One of its major early investors was the Publicis Groupe, a multinational advertising agency and communications conglomerate.

Publicis, the third largest communications group in the world, divides its businesses into four “solutions hubs”: Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient and Publicis Health.

It is Publicis’ health division that has generated significant controversy. The company names “40 clients in the life sciences industry,” including “being a preferred partner with 13 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies.”

These clients include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, Bayer, Abbot, Allergan, Biogen, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Gilead, Sanofi and Purdue Pharma.

In October 2018, GlaxoSmithKline sent its $1.5 billion media account to the Publicis Group, then added an additional $400 million account — for its new portfolio of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare brands such as Advil, Caltrate, and Centrum, as part of a joint venture with Pfizer.

In August 2019, Publicis secured the account of another pharmaceutical giant, Novartis, worth $600 million.

However, it was its partnership with Purdue Pharma that directly generated controversy and legal trouble for the Publicis Groupe.

In May 2021, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Publicis Health, accusing it of helping Purdue Pharma develop deceptive marketing materials and advertising campaigns, used to mislead doctors into prescribing OxyContin, a widely-abused opioid.

According to the lawsuit:

“From 2010 until 2019, Publicis worked with opioid companies, particularly Purdue Pharma, to increase sales of dangerous opioids like OxyContin, including in Massachusetts, in ways that increased the risk to patients and the public of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death.

“Publicis devised and deployed unfair and deceptive marketing campaigns designed to push doctors to prescribe opioids to more patients, in higher doses, and for longer periods of time.”

So while NewsGuard purports to be fighting against online misinformation and deception pertaining to public health — it has no problem taking money from a major advertising and communications conglomerate that has itself been accused of deceptive practices relating to health care.

Maurice Lévy, chairman of the Publicis Group, made the following remarks on the occasion of NewsGuard’s launch:

“Advertisers are increasingly concerned about their brand safety and do not want to help finance and appear alongside fake news.

“NewsGuard will be able to publish and license ‘white lists’ of news sites our clients can use to support legitimate publishers while still protecting their brand reputations.”

As noted by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Seeing how Publicis represents most of the major pharmaceutical companies in the world and funded the creation of NewsGuard, it’s not far-fetched to assume Publicis might influence NewsGuard’s ratings of drug industry competitors, such as alternative health sites.

“Being a Google partner, Publicis also has the ability to bury undesirable views that might hurt its clientele.”

Publicis is a partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and, indeed, appears as a partner of the WEF’s “Great Reset” (as are pharmaceutical companies and COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer).

What appears to be a common thread connecting NewsGuard employees, investors and partners is  connections to organizations that have a vested interest in promoting COVID vaccination and pandemic countermeasures;

And now NewsGuard is coming to children’s schools.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

© 2022 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Czechs Could Face 3 Years in Prison For Supporting Russia on Social Media

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | March 1, 2022

People in the NATO-member state of Czechia have been warned that they could face up to three years in prison if they express support for Russia on social media.

Yes, really.

The country’s Attorney General Igor Stríž announced in a press release that it was “necessary to inform citizens that the current situation associated with the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine may have implications for their freedom of expression.”

The limitations are being imposed under the umbrella of criminal code measures that make it a crime to approve a criminal offence or deny, question, approve or justify genocide.

“[F]reedom of speech also has its limits in a democratic state governed by the rule of law,” asserted Stríž, announcing that anyone who “publicly (including at demonstrations, on the Internet or on social networks) agreed (accepted or supported the Russian Federation’s attacks on Ukraine) or expressed support or praised the leaders of the Russian Federation in this regard, they could also face criminal liability under certain conditions.”

The official Czech Police website also announced that they were “closely monitoring” the content of “dozens of comments in internet discussions approving the Russian invasion and the activities of the Russian army.”

According to a report by Radio Prague International, someone found in breach of the criminal code could be imprisoned for up to three years, although it would be difficult to bring charges.

Breitbart’s Jack Montgomery asked if “someone might be open to prosecution for merely questioning NATO’s eastward expansion, the West’s decision to back the Euromaidan coup in 2014, or the extent to which claims the Ukrainian government has mistreated civilians in Donbas might be true.”

As we previously highlighted, before the outbreak of war, Czech President Miloš Zeman said Russia would be “crazy” to invade Ukraine.

One wonders how far governments working in cahoots with Big Tech will try to milk the war for more domestic censorship.

Will simply pointing out brazen examples of war propaganda pushed by the pro-NATO political media class also be characterized as ‘Russian disinformation’?

Leftist blue checkmark journalists on Twitter must be licking their lips.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Netflix refuses to carry Russian TV channels

All major streaming services making a profit in the country are required by law to include them on their platform

RT | March 1, 2022

US streaming giant Netflix will not comply with a Russian law that requires all video content providers with over 100,000 daily views to add 20 free-to-air TV channels to their platform. “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety on Monday.

The entertainment news website called the required package “propaganda channels,” and stated that one of them was “Spa, a channel operated by the Russian Orthodox Church.” The religious outlet it was referring to is called Spas, which means ‘Savior’ in Church Slavonic. The two packages comprising the obligatory set also include several entertainment channels, a children’s cartoon channel, and a music channel.

Netflix localized in Russia over a year ago. Its Russian subsidiary was added to the official list of content providers in late December, after pressure that its competitors put on media regulator RKN. The service had two months to comply with the rules about the 20 must-have channels after that, with the deadline expiring on Tuesday.

Unlike many other Western companies that pledged to stop doing business in Russia due to the ongoing military operation against Ukraine, Netflix will continue to provide services to Russian subscribers, “while monitoring the situation closely,” Variety reported.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Is the Internet being censored?

The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter | March 1, 2022

We know social media platforms have been censoring information for a while. Today, YouTube announced that it is blocking channels linked to Russia’s RT and Sputnik across Europe. Facebook has said it would restrict access to RT in the EU and Twitter will reduce the visibility of Russian media. Furthermore, the EU have announced a ban on Russian state-backed channels.

However, is the actual Internet now being censored? I have been trying to read the translated versions of Vladimir Putin’s recent speeches which have been available on the Kremlin website. Now, all I get is this.

We need to be able to read both sides of the story to understand the nuances of the situation. Yes, invasion of another country is never acceptable, yes war is never justifiable but I want to be able to understand why the person ordering it, thinks that it is. Without nuanced discussion the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.

Can anyone else access the website in your country or through a VPN?

UPDATE – You can access the website via a VPN set to Russia.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 5 Comments


Amazing Polly | October 10, 2019

I discuss how *G.Soros* & Canada are pivotal to the Globalist takeover of Ukraine. This seems to involve the CIA in its capacity as part of an underground international Intelligence Apparatus which I believe was set up during & after WW2 in Project RUSTY.

I have the BEST audience on the internet! and I want to thank you all for your support & comments. If you would like to send a financial contribution so that I can keep doing this work, please click the following link or go to my website,

I also focus on the major role Canadians have played in Ukraine.. There’s a lot going on here, so grab a pen. :)

NOTE: the photo I say is of Oleh Havrylyshyn is not him. I put in the wrong file. more…

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Chrystia Freeland Macleans:

Anti Trump Freeland Macleans:

The World According to Soros:

Halyna Freeland and Soros:

Soros & Ukraine:

US caused Orange Revolution:

Orange Revolution aftermath:

NYT Clinton Pinchuk:

Zelensky Pinchuk Kuchma together again:

European Dev Bank, ..

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment