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Iran Jet Disaster Setup

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 13.01.2020

The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.

Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.

The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people onboard were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.

“A smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper. In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.

The anonymous videographer is the person who caught the 19-second clip which shows a missile striking Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomenei airport at around 6.15 am. This person, who remains silent during the filming while smoking a cigarette (the smoke briefly wafts over the screen), is standing in the suburb of Parand looking northwest. His location was verified by the NY Times using satellite data. The rapid way the newspaper’s technical resources were marshaled raises a curious question about how a seemingly random video submission was afforded such punctilious attention.

But the big question which many people on social media are asking is: why was this “videographer” standing in a derelict industrial area outside Tehran at around six o’clock in the morning with a mobile phone camera training on a fixed angle to the darkened sky? The airliner is barely visible, yet the sky-watching person has the camera pointed and ready to film a most dramatic event, seconds before it happened. That strongly suggests, foreknowledge.

Given that something awful has just been witnessed it is all the more strange that the person holding the camera remains calm and unshaken. There is no audible expression of shock or even the slightest disquiet.

Turns out that Nariman Gharib, the guy who received the video and credited by the NY Times for submitting it, is a vociferous anti-Iranian government dissident who does not live in Iran. He ardently promotes regime change in his social media posts.

Christiaan Triebert, the NY Times’ video expert, who collaborated closely with Gharib to get the story out within hours of the incident, previously worked as a senior investigator at Bellingcat. Bellingcat calls itself an independent online investigative journalism project, but numerous critics accuse it of being a media adjunct to Western military intelligence. Bellingcat has been a big proponent of media narratives smearing the Russian and Syrian governments over the MH17 shoot-down in Ukraine in 2014 and chemical weapons attacks.

In the latest shoot-down of the airliner above Tehran, the tight liaison between a suspiciously placed anonymous videographer on the ground and an expatriate Iranian dissident who then gets the prompt and generous technical attention of the NY Times suggests a level of orchestration, not, as we are led to believe, a random happenstance submission. More sinisterly, the fateful incident was a setup.

It seems reasonable to speculate that in the early hours of January 8 a calamitous incident was contrived to happen. The shoot-down occurred only four hours after Iran attacked two US military bases in Iraq. Those attacks were in revenge for the American drone assassination on January 3 of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. General Qassem Soleimani.

Subsequently, Iranian air-defense systems were on high alert for a possible counter-strike by US forces. Several reports indicate that the Iranian defense radars were detecting warnings of incoming enemy warplanes and cruise missiles on the morning of 8 January. It does seem odd why the Iranian authorities did not cancel all commercial flights out of Tehran during that period. Perhaps because civilian airliners can normally be differentiated by radar and other signals from military objects.

However, with the electronic warfare (EW) technology that the United States has developed in recent years it is entirely feasible for enemy military radars to be “spoofed” by phantom objects. One such EW developed by the Pentagon is Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) which can create deceptive signals on enemy radar systems of incoming warheads.

What we contend therefore is this: the Americans exploited a brink-of-war scenario in which they anticipated Iranian air-defense systems to be on a hair-trigger. Add to this tension an assault by electronic warfare on Iranian military radars in which it would be technically feasible to distort a civilian airliner’s data as an offensive target. The Iranian military has claimed this was the nature of the shoot-down error. It seems plausible given the existing electronic warfare used by the Pentagon.

It’s a fair, albeit nefarious, bet that the flight paths out of Tehran were deliberately put in an extremely dangerous position by the malicious assault from American electronic warfare. A guy placed on the ground scoping the outward flight paths – times known by publicly available schedules – would be thus on hand to catch the provoked errant missile shot.

The shoot-down setup would explain why Western intelligence were so quick to confidently assert what happened, contradicting Iran’s initial claims of a technical onboard plane failure.

The disaster has gravely undermined the Iranian government, both at home and around the world. Protests have erupted in Iran denouncing the authorities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp for “lying” about the crash. Most of the 176 victims were Iranian nationals. The anger on the streets is being fueled by the public comments of Western leaders like Donald Trump, who no doubt see the clamor and recriminations as an opportunity to push harder for regime change in Iran.

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 7 Comments

Why a Shadowy Tech Firm With Ties to Israeli Intelligence Is Running Doomsday Election Simulations

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera for MintPress News
By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | January 4, 2020

Election Day 2020: 32 Americans dead, over 200 injured, martial law declared and the election itself is canceled. While this horrific scenario seems more like the plot of a Hollywood film, such was the end result of a recent simulation examining the preparedness of U.S. officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Secret Service against “bad actors” seeking to undermine the upcoming presidential election.

Yet, this simulation was not a government-organized exercise but was instead orchestrated by a private company with deep ties to foreign and domestic intelligence services, a company that is also funded by investors with clear connections to individuals who would stand to benefit if such a catastrophic election outcome were to become reality.

Much of the rhetoric since the last presidential election in 2016 has focused on the issue of foreign meddling by U.S. rival states like Russia, while China has emerged as the new “meddler” of choice in American corporate media as the 2020 election approaches. Though time has revealed that many of the post-2016 election meddling claims were not as significant as initially claimed, the constant media discussion of foreign threats to U.S. democracy and electoral processes – whether real or imagined – has undeniably created a climate of fear. 

Those fears have since been preyed upon by neoconservative groups and the U.S. military-industrial complex, both of which are hardly known for their love of democratic processes, to offer a series of ready-made solutions to these threats that actually undermine key pillars of American democracy, including independent reporting and voting machine software.

However, many of the very same media outlets and groups that frequently fretted about Russia, China or another rival state meddling in U.S. democracy have largely ignored the role of other nation states, such as Israel, in efforts to sway the last U.S. election in 2016 and meddle in numerous elections in Africa, Latin America and Asia in the years since.

As a consequence of this climate of fear, it should be hardly surprising that the corporate media lauded the recent 2020 election simulation that ended in an abysmal failure for U.S. officials, the cancellation of the U.S. election and the imposition of martial law. Yet, none of those reports on the exercise noted that the company that hosted the simulation, called Cybereason, is led by ex-members of Israel’s military intelligence unit 8200, advised by former top and current officials in both Israeli military intelligence and the CIA. In addition, it is funded by and partnered with top U.S. weapons manufacturer and government contractor Lockheed Martin and financial institutions with clear and direct ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Also left unmentioned in media reports on Cybereason’s election simulations is the fact that Cybereason’s CEO, Lior Div, has openly admitted that he views his work at Cybereason as a “continuation” of his service to Israel’s intelligence apparatus.

With Cybereason planning to host more simulations in cooperation with federal agencies as the U.S. election inches closer, a deeper exploration of this company, its ties to intelligence and military contractors in the U.S. and Israel and its financial ties to key Trump allies both domestically and abroad warrants further investigation.

In this two part series, MintPress will not only explore these aspects but also how many of the technologies wielded by the “bad actors” in the Cybereason election simulation have been pioneered and perfected, not by U.S. rival states, but by Israeli companies and start-ups with clear ties to that country’s intelligence apparatus.

Also notable is the fact that Cybereason itself has covertly become a major software provider to the U.S. government and military through its direct partnership with Lockheed Martin, which followed the defense company’s decision to open an office at the Israeli military’s new cyber operations hub in the Negev desert. In examining all of these interlocking pieces, a picture emerges of a potentially sinister motive for Cybereason’s simulations aimed at gauging how U.S. federal officials respond to crisis situations on Election Day.

Understanding “Operation Blackout”

In early November, a team of “hackers” working for the private U.S.-based, Israeli-founded company Cybereason conducted a 2020 election simulation with members of various U.S. agencies, namely the DHS, FBI and the U.S. Secret Service. The simulation was organized by Cybereason and the law firm Venable and the U.S. agencies in attendance were invited and appear to not have been charged to participate.

The simulation, titled “Operation Blackout,” was set in a fictional swing state called “Adversaria” and pitted “ethical hackers” from Cybereason against a team of federal and local law enforcement officials. The opposing teams were supervised by a “white team” composed of members of Cybereason’s staff and Ari Schwartz — a former member of the White House’s National Security Council and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — who set the rules of the simulation and would ultimately decide its outcome. Schwartz also used to work for the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a major backer of Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software.

Operation Blackout did not involve hackers targeting election software or voting machines, instead, it focused on civilian infrastructure and psychological operations against the American citizens in the fictitious “Adversaria” on election day. The hacker team was led by Cybereason co-founder Yonathan Striem-Amit, a former contractor for Israeli government agencies and a former operative for the elite Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200, best known for its cyber offensives against other governments.

“In a country as fragmented as the US, the number of people needed to influence an election is surprisingly small,” Striem-Amit told Quartz of the exercise. “We attempted to create havoc and show law enforcement that protecting the electoral process is much more than the machine.”

Streim-Amit’s team completely devastated the U.S. law enforcement team in Operation Blackout by not only causing chaos but murdering numerous civilians. Hackers took control of city buses, ramming them into civilians waiting in line at polling stations, killing 32 and injuring over 200. They also took control of city traffic lights in order to cause traffic accidents, used so-called “deepfakes” to conduct psychological operations on the populace and created fake bomb threats posing as the terror group ISIS, which incidentally has its own ties to Israeli intelligence. Telecom networks and news outlets within the fictitious states were also hacked and flooded with deepfakes aimed at spreading disinformation and panic among U.S. citizens.

A map of targets in Adverseria is shown during Operation Blackout in Boston’s John Hancock Tower. Mark Albert | Twitter

The supervising team, composed of Cybereason employees and former NSC member Ari Schwartz, decided that the outcome of the face-off between the hacker and law enforcement teams was the outright cancellation of the 2020 election, the declaration of martial law by authorities, the growth of public fear regarding terrorism and allegations of U.S. government collusion with a foreign actor. Cybereason has stated that they will soon conduct another 2020 election simulation with federal authorities as the election draws closer.

Given how the simulation played out, it is quite clear that it is a far cry from the actual scope of alleged foreign meddling during the 2016 election, meddling which was allegedly the motivation behind Operation Blackout. Indeed, the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election amounted to $100,000 worth of Facebook ads over three years, 25 percent of which were never seen by the public, and claims that Russian state actors were responsible for leaking emails from the then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In contrast, Operation Blackout went well beyond any observed or even imagined “foreign meddling” related to the 2016 election and appears more like a terror attack targeting elections than a covert means of manipulating their outcomes.

Several mainstream publications have covered Operation Blackout but have failed to note that the company behind them has deep ties to foreign intelligence outfits and governments with a documented history of manipulating elections around the world, including the 2016 U.S. election.

Quartz framed the exercise as important for “preparing for any and all possibilities in 2020,” which “has become an urgent task for US regulators and law enforcement.” Similarly, CyberScoop treated the simulation as a “sophisticated exercise to help secure the vote.” Other articles took the same stance.

A series of simulations

In the weeks after the Washington area election simulation, Cybereason repeated the same exercise in London, this time with members of the U.K. Intelligence agency GCHQ, the U.K. Foreign Office and the Metropolitan Police. The law enforcement team in the exercise, which included the U.K. officials, was headed by a Cybereason employee — Alessandro Telami, who formerly worked for the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI). Like the prior simulation conducted in the U.S., Cybereason did not appear to charge U.K. government agencies for their participation in the exercise.

Cybereason has — with little fanfare — been promoting extreme election day scenarios since before the 2016 election. Cybereason’s first mention of these tactics appears in a September 2016 blog post written by the company’s CEO and former Israeli government contractor Lior Div — a former leader of offensive cyberattacks for the IDF’s elite Unit 8200 and a former development group leader at the controversial Israeli-American corporation Amdocs.

Div wrote that hackers may target U.S. elections by “breaking into the computers that operate traffic lighting systems and interfering with the ones around polling stations to create massive traffic jams, “hacking polling companies,” and “targeting live election coverage on cable or network television stations.” A follow-up post by Div from October 2016 added further meddling tactics such as “cut power to polling stations” and “mess with a voter’s mind.”

Two years later, Cybereason held its first election meddling simulation, touting many of these same tactics, in Boston. The simulation focused on local and state responses to such attacks and saw Boston-based Cybereason invite Massachusetts state and local officials as well as Boston police officers and a former police commissioner to participate. “Twitter accounts spreading fake news,” “turning off a city’s closed-circuit cameras,” “hacking self-driving cars and navigation apps,” and “targeting a city’s 911 call center with a DDoS attack” were all used in the simulation, which saw Cybereason’s “ethical hackers” attempt to disrupt election day. Media coverage of the simulation at the time framed it as a necessary preparation for countering “Russian” threats to U.S. democracy. Like the more recent simulations, the mock election was canceled and voter confidence in the electoral process was devastated.

This past July, Cybereason conducted a similar simulation with officials from the FBI, DHS and the Secret Service for the first time. That simulation, which also took place in Boston, was remarkably similar to that which occurred in November. One intelligence officer from DHS who participated in the July exercise called the simulation “very realistic.” Another claimed that the simulation was a way of applying “lessons learned from 9/11” by preventing the government’s “failure of imagination” that officials have long alleged was the reason for the government’s inability to thwart the September 11 attacks. Notably, The U.S. military simulated a scenario in which terrorists flew airplanes into the Pentagon less than a year before the September 11 attacks.

In this undated photo from Cybereason’s website, a faux ballot box is shown in the company’s Boston office.

Participating government officials, Cybereason staff and the media have consistently touted the importance of these simulations in securing elections against extreme threats, threats which — to date — have never materialized due to the efforts of foreign or domestic actors on election day. After all, these exercises are only simulations of possibilities and, even if those possibilities seem implausible or unlikely, it is important to be prepared for any eventuality.

But what if the very figures behind these simulations and the investors that fund them had a history of election meddling themselves? Cybereason’s deep ties to Israeli intelligence, which has a documented history of aggressive espionage and election meddling in the United States and in several nations worldwide, warrant a deeper look into the firms’ possible motives and the myriad conflicts of interest that arise in giving it such unprecedented access to the heart of America’s democracy.

What Does Cybereason Do?

Cybereason’s interest in terror events during elections seems out of place given that the company itself is focused on selling technological cybersecurity solutions like antivirus and ransomware protection software, software products that would be minimally effective against the type of threat encountered in the company’s election day simulations.

Cybereason is often described as offering a comprehensive technological defense platform to companies and governments that combines a next-generation antivirus with endpoint detection and response (EDR), which enables the company to respond to typical viruses and malware as well as sophisticated, complex attacks. The platform makes heavy use of artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing and specifically uses Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is used by a litany of private companies as well as U.S. intelligence agencies.

While many cybersecurity platforms combine antivirus and antimalware with EDR and AI, Cybereason claims that their military background is what sets them apart. They have marketed themselves as offering “a combination of military-acquired skills and cloud-powered machine learning to endpoint detection and response” and actively cite the fact that most of their employees are former members of Unit 8200 as proof that they are “applying the military’s perspective on cybersecurity to enterprise security.”

In 2018, Cybereason’s former senior director for intelligence, Ross Rustici, described the platform to CBR as follows:

Our founders are ex-Israeli intelligence who worked on the offensive side. They basically wanted to build a tool that would catch themselves. We follow the kill chain model started by Lockheed Martin [now a major investor in Cybereason] and try to interrupt every stage once an intruder’s inside a target network.”

Lior Div, Cybereason’s CEO described the difference between his company’s platform and that of past market leaders in this way to Forbes :

The old guard of antivirus companies like Symantec and McAfee would install something to block endpoints and you needed to do a lot [of monitoring] to make sure you weren’t under attack. We came with a different approach to see the whole enterprise and leverage AI to be able to fully autonomously identify where attackers are and what they’re doing.”

Thus, in looking at Cybereason’s product and its marketing objectively, it seems that the only innovative component of the company’s system is the large number of ex-military intelligence officers it employs and its tweaking of a previously developed and automated model for threat engagement, elimination and prevention.

Instead, Cybereason’s success seems to owe to its prominent connections to the private and public sectors, especially in Israel, and its investors who have funneled millions into the company’s operations, allowing them to expand rapidly and quickly claim a dominant position in emerging technology markets, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced healthcare systems.

A screenshot from a live stream of a 2019 Cybereason cyber-attack simulation

Their considerable funding from the likes of Lockheed Martin and Softbank, among others, has also helped them to expand their international presence from the U.S., Europe and Israel into Asia and Latin America, among other places. Notably, while Cybereason is open about their investors and how much funding they receive from each, they are extremely secretive about their financial performance as a company and decline to disclose their annual revenue, among other indicators. The significance of Cybereason’s main investors in the context of the company’s election simulations and its ties to Israeli and U.S. intelligence (the focus of this article) will be discussed in Part 2.

Cybereason also includes a security research arm called Nocturnus, currently headed by a former Unit 8200 officer. Nocturnus will be explored further in Part 2 of this series, as it essentially functions as a private intelligence company in the tech sector and has been behind several recent claims that have attributed alleged hacks to state actors, namely China and North Korea. For now, it is important to keep in mind that Nocturnus utilizes Cybereason’s “global network of millions of endpoints” for its intelligence gathering and research, meaning the endpoints of every device to which Cybereason’s software has access.

Given what Cybereason provides as a company, their interest in offering election simulations to government officials free of charge seems odd. Indeed, in the simulations hosted by Cybereason for U.S. officials, there is little opportunity for the company to market their software products given that the simulation did not involve electronic voting infrastructure at all and, instead, the malevolent actors used deep fakes, disinformation and terror attacks to accomplish their goals. Why then would this company be so interested in gauging the response of U.S. law enforcement to such crises on election day if there is no sales pitch to be made? While some may argue that these simulations are an altruistic effort by the company, an investigation into the company’s founders and the company’s ties to intelligence agencies suggests that this is unlikely to be the case.

The People Behind Cybereason

Cybereason was created in 2012 by three Israelis, all of whom served together as officers in the Israel Defense Force’s elite technological and signals intelligence unit, which is most often referred to as Unit 8200. Unit 8200 has been the subject of several MintPress investigative reports over the past year focusing on its ties to the tech industry.

Unit 8200 is an elite unit of the Israeli Intelligence corps that is part of the IDF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence and is involved mainly in signal intelligence, surveillance, cyberwarfare and code decryption. It is also well-known for its surveillance of Palestinian civilians and for using intercepted communications as blackmail in order to procure informants among Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank.

The unit is frequently described as the Israeli equivalent of the NSA and Peter Roberts, a senior research fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, characterized the unit in an interview with the Financial Times as “probably the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stand[ing] on a par with the NSA in everything except scale.” Notably, the NSA and Unit 8200 have collaborated on numerous projects, most infamously on the Stuxnet virus as well as the Duqu malware.

Given the secrecy of the work conducted by Unit 8200, it is hard to know exactly what Cybereason’s co-founders did while serving in the controversial unit, however, a brief biography of the company’s current CEO and co-founder Lior Div states that “Div served as a commander [in Unit 8200] and carried out some of the world’s largest cyber offensive campaigns against nations and cybercrime groups. For his achievements, he received the Medal of Honor, the highest honor bestowed upon Unit 8200 members (emphasis added).”

Lior Div speaks during the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 25, 2019. Corinna Kern | Reuters

After having served in leadership positions within Unit 8200, all three Cybereason co-founders went on to work for private Israel-based tech or telecom companies with a history of aggressive espionage against the U.S. government.

Cybereason co-founders Yonathan Striem Amit (Cybereason’s Chief Technology Officer) and Yossi Naar (Cybereason Chief Visionary Officer) both worked for Gita Technologies shortly before founding Cybereason with fellow Unit 8200 alumnus Lior Div. Gita, according to public records, is a subsidiary of Verint Systems, formerly known as Comverse Infosys.

Verint/Comverse was initially funded by the Israeli government and was founded by Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer who was wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes for over a decade until he was finally extradited to the United States and pled guilty to some of those charges in 2016.

Despite its history of corruption and foreign intelligence connections, Verint/Comverse was hired by the National Security Agency (NSA) to create backdoors into all the major U.S. telecommunications systems and major tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google. An article on Verint’s access to U.S. tech infrastructure in Wired noted the following about Verint:

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. ‘Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,’ said Gefen.”

Federal agents have reported systemic breaches at the Department of Justice, FBI, DEA, the State Department, and the White House going all the way back to the 1990s, breaches they claimed could all be traced back to two companies: Comverse/Verint and Amdocs. Cybereason’s other co-founder and current CEO, Lior Div, used to work for Amdocs as the company’s development group leader.

After leaving Amdocs, Div founded a company called Alfatech. Alfatech publicly claims to specialize in “professional Head Hunting and Quality Recruiting services,” yet it has no functional website. Despite its publicly stated mission statement, Israeli media reports that mention Alfatech describe it as “a cybersecurity services company for Israeli government agencies.” No reason for the obvious disconnect between the company’s own claims and those made by the media has been given.

Div left Alfatech in 2012 to found Cybereason alongside Striem-Amit and Naar. According to an interview that Div gave to TechCrunch earlier this year, he stated that his work at Cybereason is “the continuation of the six years of training and service he spent working with the Israeli army’s 8200 Unit (emphasis added).” Div was a high-level commander in Unit 8200 and “carried out some of the world’s largest cyber offensive campaigns against nations and cybercrime groups” during his time there. TechCrunch noted that “After his time in the military, Div worked for the Israeli government as a private contractor reverse-engineering hacking operations,” an apparent reference to his work at Alfatech.

Even deeper ties to intelligence

Not only do Cybereason’s own co-founders have considerable links to the Israeli government, Israeli intelligence and intelligence-connected private companies, but it also appears that the work of Cybereason itself is directly involved with Israeli intelligence.

The company periodically publishes reports by a secretive faction of the company called the Cybereason Intelligence Group or CIG. The only description of CIG’s composition available on Cybereason’s website is as follows:

The Cybereason Intelligence Group was formed with the unique mission of providing context to the most sophisticated threat actors. The group’s members include experts in cyber security and international security from various government agencies, including the Israel Defense Forces’ Unit 8200, which is dedicated to conducting offensive cyber operations. Their primary purpose is to examine and explain the Who and the Why behind cyber attacks, so that companies and individuals can better protect themselves (emphasis added).”

It is unclear how many members comprise CIG and if its members are employees of only Israeli government agencies, or if it includes officials from the U.S. government/Intelligence or other governments. However, what is clear is that it is composed entirely of government officials, which include active members of Unit 8200, and that the purpose of the group is to issue reports that place blame for cyberattacks on state and non-state actors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of CIG’s reports published by Cybereason focus exclusively on Russia and China. When discussing nation-state cyber threats in general, Cybereason’s website only mentions China, North Korea, Iran and Russia by name, all of which are incidentally rival states of the U.S. government. Notably, Israel’s government — listed as a “leading espionage threat” to U.S. financial institutions and federal agencies by the U.S.’ NSA — is absent from Cybereason’s discussions of state actors.

In addition to CIG, Cybereason’s cybersecurity research arm, Nocturnus, includes several Unit 8200 alumni and former Israeli military intelligence and government contractors and has assigned blame to state actors for several recent hacks. It also has claimed to have discovered more such hacks but has declined to publicly disclose them due to the “sensitive” nature of the hacks and companies affected.

Other hints at Cybereason’s connections to state intelligence can be seen in its advisory board. Robert Bigman, the former Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who oversaw the spy agency’s “commercial partner engagement” program (i.e. alliances with the private tech sector), is a key figure on the company’s advisory board. According to his biography, Bigman “ contributed to almost every Intelligence Community information security policy/technical standard and has provided numerous briefings to the National Security Council, Congress and presidential commissions. In recognition of his expertise and contributions, Bigman has received numerous CIA and Director of National Intelligence Awards.”

Cybereason’s leadership team features a who’s who of Israeli and US intel officials

Unmentioned in his biography published on his own website, or on Cybereason’s website, is that Bigman is also an advisor to another Israeli tech company, Sepio Systems. The chairman of Sepio, Tamir Pardo, is a self-described “leader” in the cybersecurity industry and former director of Israel’s Mossad. Sepio is funded by a venture capital firm founded by the creators of the controversial Israeli spy tech company NSO Group, which has received a slew of negative press coverage after its software was sold to several governments who used it to spy on dissidents and human rights activists.

In addition to Bigman, Cybereason’s advisory board includes Pinchas Buchris, the former head of Unit 8200 and former managing director of the IDF. Not unlike Bigman, Buchris’ bio fails to mention that he sits on the board of directors of Carbyne911, alongside former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Nicole Junkerman, both well-known associates of intelligence-linked sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein. Epstein himself poured at least $1 million into Carbyne, an Israeli company that seeks to run all 911 call centers in the U.S. at the national level and has close ties to the Trump administration. More information on Carbyne and its ties to Israeli and U.S. intelligence as well as its connection to coming pre-crime policies to be enacted in 2020 by the U.S. Department of Justice can be found in this MintPress report from earlier this year. Given that Cybereason’s election day simulations involve the simulated collapse of 911 call center functionality, Buchris’ ties to both Cybereason and Carbyne911 are notable.

Another notable Cybereason advisor is the former commissioner of the Boston Police Department, Edward Davis. Davis heavily promoted Cybereason’s disturbing election day simulations and even participated directly in one of them. He was also police commissioner of the Boston PD at the time of the Boston Marathon bombing and oversaw the near-martial law conditions imposed on the city during the manhunt for the alleged perpetrators of that bombing (who themselves had a rather odd relationship with the FBI). This is notable given that Cybereason’s election day simulations ended with martial law being imposed on the fictional city used in the exercise

Cybereason also has several advisors who hold top positions at powerful U.S. companies that are also — incidentally — U.S. government contractors. These include the Vice President Security and Privacy Engineering at Google, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Lockheed Martin and CISO at Motorola. Both Motorola and Lockheed Martin use Cybereason’s software and the latter is also a major investor in the company. Furthermore, as will be explained in Part 2 of this article, Lockheed Martin has used its privileged position as the top private contractor to the U.S. government to promote the widespread use of Cybereason’s software among U.S. government agencies, including the Pentagon.

Much more than a cybersecurity company

Given Cybereason’s deep and enduring ties to Israeli intelligence and its growing connections to the U.S. military and U.S. intelligence through its hiring of top CIA officials and partnership with Lockheed Martin, it’s worth asking if these disturbing election simulations could serve an ulterior purpose and, if so, who would benefit. While some aspects regarding clear conflicts of interest in relation to the 2020 election and Cybereason will be discussed in Part 2, this article will conclude by examining the possibility that Cybereason is acting as a front company for Israeli intelligence based on that country’s history of targeting the U.S. through private tech companies and on Cybereason’s own questionable characteristics.

First, Cybereason as a company presents several oddities. Its co-founder and CEO openly states that he views Cybereason’s work as a continuation of his service for Israeli military intelligence. In addition, he and the company’s other founders — after they left Unit 8200 — went to work for Israeli tech companies that have been known to spy on U.S. federal agencies for the Israeli government.

In addition, as previously mentioned, Cybereason has sought out former intelligence officers from the CIA and Unit 8200 for its management team and board of advisors. The company itself also functions as a private intelligence firm through CIG and Nocturnus, both of which employ former and current intelligence officials, and have made significant claims regarding the attribution of specific cybercrimes to state actors. It appears highly likely that these claims are influenced by those same intelligence agencies that boast close ties to Cybereason. Furthermore, Nocturnus’ access to Cybereason’s “global” network of endpoints makes it a private intelligence gathering company as it gathers and analyzes data from all devices that run Cybereason’s software.

Yet, even more telling is the fact that Israel’s government has an open policy of outsourcing intelligence-related activity to the private sector, specifically the country’s tech sector. As MintPress previously reported, this trend was first publicly acknowledged by Israel in 2012, the same year that Cybereason was founded by former Israeli military intelligence officers then-working for private contractors for Israel’s government (Alfatech) or private companies known to have ties to Israeli intelligence, including Verint/Comverse.

As noted in an article on the phenomenon from the Israeli media outlet The Calcalist:

Israel is siphoning cyber-related activities from its national defense apparatus to privately held companies. Since 2012, cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and Israel’s main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that in some cases were built for this exact purpose.”

Mention of Israel’s policy of blurring the lines between the public and private sector when it comes to cybersecurity and intelligence gathering has even garnered the occasional mention in mainstream media, such as in a 2018 Foreign Policy article:

Israel, for one, has chosen to combat the problem on a statewide level by linking the public and private spheres, sometimes literally. The country’s cyberhub in the southern city of Beersheba is home not just to the Israeli military’s new technology campus but also to a high-tech corporate park, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s cyber-research center, and the Israel National Cyber Directorate, which reports directly to the prime minister’s office. “There’s a bridge between them—physically,” [Gabriel] Avner, the security consultant, said by way of emphasis.”

Notably, a year before Lockheed Martin invested in and partnered with Cybereason, the U.S.-based weapons company opened an office at the IDF’s public-private cyber hub in Beersheba. At the inauguration ceremony for Lockheed’s Beersheba office, company CEO Marilyn Hewson stated:

The consolidation of IDF Technical Units to new bases in the Negev Desert region is an important transformation of Israel’s information technology capability… By locating our new office in the capital of the Negev we are well positioned to work closely with our Israeli partners and stand ready to: accelerate project execution, reduce program risk and share our technical expertise by training and developing in-country talent.”

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, inaugurates the Lockheed Martin Israel Demonstration Center in Tel Aviv.

Further evidence of this public-private merger can be seen in how two of Israel’s intelligence agencies, Shin Bet and Mossad, have both recently launched a private start-up accelerator and a hi-tech venture capital fund, respectively. The Shin Bet’s accelerator, called Xcelerator, usually makes its investments in private companies public, while Mossad’s Libertad Ventures refuses to disclose the tech companies and start-ups in which it invests. Former directors of both Mossad and Shin Bet have described these intelligence agencies themselves of being like start-ups, clearly showing how much the line between intelligence apparatus and private company has been blurred within the context of Israel’s tech industry and specifically its cybersecurity industry.

The advantages of outsourcing cyber intelligence operations to private companies have been noted by several analysts, including Sasha Romanosky, a former Cyber Policy Advisor at the Department of Defense and current analyst at RAND Corporation. Romanosky noted in 2017 that private intelligence and cybersecurity firms “do not necessarily face the same constraints or potential repercussions” as their public counterparts when it comes to designating blame for a cyberattack, for example. In addition, outsourcing intelligence objectives or missions to private companies provides a government with plausible deniability if that private company’s espionage-related activities or ties are made public.

Furthermore, Israeli intelligence has a long history of using private tech companies for the purposes of espionage, including against the United States. While Amdocs and Verint/Comverse were already mentioned as having been used by the state of Israel in this way, other private companies have also been used to market software backdoored by Israeli intelligence to countries around the world, both within the U.S. and elsewhere. The most well-known example of this is arguably the mass sale and distribution of the bugged PROMIS software, which was discussed at length in several recent MintPress News reports.

Given Cybereason’s ties to intelligence and Israeli intelligence’s history of placing backdoors in its software, it is worth pointing out that Cybereason’s main product, its antivirus and network defense platform, offers a major espionage opportunity. Blake Darché, a former N.S.A. operator, told the New York Times in 2017 that antivirus programs, which Cybereason’s defense platform includes, is “the ultimate backdoor,” adding that it “provides consistent, reliable and remote access that can be used for any purpose, from launching a destructive attack to conducting espionage on thousands or even millions of users.” Whether a company like Cybereason would use its software for such ends is unknown, though the company does acknowledge that its cybersecurity arm does gather intelligence from all systems that use the company’s software and currently employs and works with active duty Unit 8200 officials through CIG. This is notable because Unit 8200’s main task for Israeli military intelligence is signals intelligence, i.e. surveillance.

More of a mystery, however, is why a company like Cybereason is so interested in U.S. election security, particularly when Israeli intelligence and Israeli intelligence-connected private companies have been caught in recent years meddling in elections around the world, including the United States.

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

January 4, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

21st Century Wire YEAR IN REVIEW: 2019 Top Ten (Real) Conspiracies

21st Century Wire

It’s New Year’s Eve again, which means it’s time for our annual wrap-up, looking at some of the most important and unusual, and dare we say conspiratorial events of 2019. This past year was built on the back of a highly polarizing 2018, which saw the post-World War II world order coming apart at the seams, and the 20th century religions of neoliberalism and globalization being relegated to the ideological depths in the face of an evolving nationalist and mercantilist Anglo-American-dominated transatlantic order. Following on from 2018, this year saw the collapse of the seemingly sacrosanct ‘official conspiracy theory’ narratives of improbable ‘chemical attacks’ like Skripal in the UK, and Douma in Syria, both of which had profound geopolitical ramifications at the time. These are just a few stories which helped to shape the zeitgeist this past year. If 2019 taught us anything, it’s that conspiracies are real

There were a number of honorable mentions this past year which would have normally been good enough to break into the top ten in previous years, but not this time…

Honorable Mentioned Highlights – One event which would’ve normally made it into the top ten, but didn’t, was President Trump’s grand decree in October that he would be “pulling US troops out of Syria” – only this was the third time he made such an announcement in the past 24 months, and just like the previous ones, this one was another bait and switch. To compensate for leaving US forces to illegally occupy Syria’s own oil fields, Trump was able to ‘close the file’ on alleged ISIS leader Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi. We’re told that the illusive Caliph was supposedly chased-down, “whimpering and crying,” by a US military German Shepherd in a dead-end underground tunnel in Idlib. Of course, we’ll never know what actually happened because the US military proceeded to level the compound with an airstrike, thus destroying any evidence. Other official conspiracy theories of note included the untimely death of British mercenary entrepreneur, James Le Mesurier, who was founder of the controversial White Helmets ‘search and rescue’ group. After his death, ruled a likely suicide under the influence of medication (falling from his balcony while his wife was sleeping in the adjacent room) by Istanbul police, Le Mesurier’s defenders in mainstream media and intelligence agencies began blaming his death on members of public, journalists and academics who had either questioned or criticized Le Mesurier and the nature of US and UK-backed White Helmets operations alongside listed terrorist organizations in Syria. On a related geopolitical front, Iran featured heavily in what some dubbed as the Tanker Wars in 2019, which included a series of unidentified attacks on western and Gulf flagged oil tankers traveling in the Persian Gulf. Naturally, these were blamed on Iran by the US, and were followed by the British military hijacking and seizing an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar and preventing it from delivering fuel to the sanctions-hit economy of Syria. It seemed the West was testing various mechanisms to trigger a war with Iran, maybe hoping for an irrational response which never came. The US also baited the Iranians by flying in its airspace with their $150 million Globalhawk drone, which Iran shot down with their $12,000 anti-aircraft unit. Tensions remain high. 2018’s “Antisemitism in the Labour Party” canard was ramped-up and weaponized in 2019 to form part of an all-out establishment propaganda effort to reduce electoral support for Britain’s Labour Party in the run-up to the General Election. Sadly, it worked, but the political assassination of Jeremy Corbyn will go down in history as one of the darkest political acts ever, perpetrated by a shrewd coalition that included the Israeli Lobby, the Conservative Party, the Tony Blair wing of the Labour Party, and the mainstream media. Other honorable mentions for 2019 may include Brussels moving ever-closer to finalizing its new “EU Army”, aka EU Defense Union, something which Tories happily avoided talking about before the last election, possibly because they have quietly committed to opt-in to the new defense arrangement – even if there’s a Brexit. In Asia, the western press began ramping-up the human rights rhetoric in order to condemn China for its treatment of Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, claiming China has interned millions of Uyghurs in cruel concentration camps. But the US seems to be taking a leaf from China’s authoritarian book, as Silicon Valley’s Kafkaesque political censorship and de-platforming program reach new highs in 2019, and looks set to continue in 2020 with the US elections. Twitter was also exposed as employing Saudi spies to dig up dirt on critics of the regime, as well as British spooks from Brigade 77 information warfare unit embedded at the tech firm too. Late in the year, the US also saw a bizarre mass shooting by a ‘rogue’ Saudi pilot training at the US base there, which was quietly swept under the rug by US officials. Around the same time, we saw yet another alleged ‘ISIS inspired’ terror attack on London Bridge – a quintessential Daily Shooter event if there ever was one, featuring another known wolf, on the radar of intelligence, wearing a tag, and even attending a ‘prisoner reform’ conference next door. Unfortunately the perp won’t be interrogated because he was executed on the city pavement before anyone could get to the bottom of what happened, and more importantly, why. Shades of Jean Charles de Menezes, and so many others by now.

One important thing to consider about 2019 is the slow motion break-down of all the western establishment’s official Russian conspiracy theories, all of which have featured so heavily in American and European politics since 2014. In other words, this worn-out framework has all but collapsed, but that won’t stop the usual media maven and political opportunists from still flogging that old horse.

With that in mind, here are some of the absolute blockbuster top real conspiracies of 2018…


10. Hong Kong’s ‘Democracy’ Protests – Hong Kong ends 2019 with more ‘democracy’ protests, supposedly disrupting normal festivities and shopping in China’s unique financial hub. Both US Democrats and Republicans gushed over protest leader Joshua Wong, flying him to Washington for photo-ops with Nancy Pelosi and Marco Rubio. However, it soon became known that the US government was actually directing and funding this supposed ‘grass roots uprising’ in China’s troubled territory. The US mainstream media then spun a propaganda campaign to try and paint the Chinese police in Hong Kong as ‘brutal’ and ‘repressive’, when in fact they were the opposite. Then evidence began to emerge showing extreme violence being used by the US-backed protest mobs, where Wong’s masked foot soldiers could be seen beating innocent passers-by, and even attacking elderly residents as well. ‘Pro-Democracy’ violence featured one particularly grisly attempted murder of multiple Hong Kong residents, including State Department-backed ‘freedom demonstrators’ who set a man on fire, attempting to burn him alive on the street. This push to demonize China can be viewed as part of the new US focus to disrupt and damage China’s reputation internationally as it attempts to forge ahead with its world-beating Belt and Road Initiative. Of course, the US is not taking China’s ascendancy lying down, but by the same token, fielding street thugs on the streets of Hong Kong may not net any long-term dividends, other than anger China and re-polarize the Pacific Rim. Maybe, that’s the plan.


9. Reconquista: Washington’s Take-down of South America – In 2019, Washington began turning back the clock to CIA’s golden years of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, where democratically Latin American governments were toppled one by one, and replaced by US-installed fascists and military juntas. The year started off with a bang, as the US State Department and its various operatives, over the span of three months, attempted no less than three failed coups in Venezuela. They even wheeled-out Jurassic neocon Elliot Abrams from the basement of Foggy Bottom to see if he had any of his 1980’s dark clandestine magic left in him. But the public support of the government of Nicholas Maduro was much stronger than the policy maven and spooks in Washington had anticipated. Comically, Neocons even went so far as to appoint their own President for Venezuela, a marionette named Juan Guaidó, which half of Venezuela hadn’t even heard of. A year on, the entire escapade has become a joke. Not surprisingly, a humiliated Trump Administration has quietly backed off of Venezuela, opting instead to continue sanctioning its economy, shorting its currency, stealing its foreign assets – all in all, punishing its citizens for rejecting a hostile US takeover. But Washington had better luck in Bolivia where a US-backed ultra rightwing fascist column was used in violent street protests demanding the removal of democratically elected President Evo Morales. To pull off the final move, the US had effectively bought off the country’s military and police forces who were used to depose Evo – in classic 1960’s CIA style. Evo was forced to flee his own country to Mexico, as US-backed mobs ransacked his home, and began hunting down and intimidating his political allies. That’s freedom and democracy, American style.


8. Yemeni Drones & Saudi Aramco – In September, an incredible underdog event took place. After nearly five years of a relentless war being waged against Yemen by its neighbor Saudi Arabia along with accomplices the United States, UK and the UAE – Yemen struck back, with its Houthi Resistance fighters launching a makeshift drone attack hitting two major Saudi Aramco oil installations across the border. Even though the Houthi Rebels immediately claimed responsibility for the assault on Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil processing plant, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately rejected the claim, and instead the US and Saudi invented a new official conspiracy theory which blamed Iran, accusing the regional rival of having “now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Saudi put on an legendary TV press performance to show the world the ‘evidence’ it had of drone fragments, supposedly implicating Iran. They hoped this could raise tensions enough to justify military action against Iran. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” said Pompeo on Twitter. In the end, this intricate conspiracy theory spun by Washington simply fizzled out due to a lack of evidence to support their tenuous claim. As with its embarrassing failure in Venezuela, Washington just backed off quietly, and hoped no one would talk about it any more. What this incident really showed was that under-equipped, under-funded, and fully embargoed Yemen – could deliver a fatal blow inside of Saudi Arabia, and influence world energy markets by doing so. Make no mistake about it: Saudi and the US have been put on notice in Yemen.


7. Mueller and the Collapse of RussiaGate – Remember the official conspiracy theory pushed by the US establishment – that Russia somehow intervened in the 2016 US Presidential Election on behalf of Donald Trump, thus catapulting him into the White House? This past spring, the hysteria and excitement reached such a fever pitch, that Robert Mueller was canonized as the new patron saint of the Resistance movement. But it was a house of cards. Well after three long and torturous years, in an big top circus featuring 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and staff assigned to investigate, more than 2,800 subpoenas issued by the Special Counsel Mueller’s office, some 500 search warrants executed, more than 230 orders for communication records, 50 authorized orders (lets the government know who someone is communicating with and when, but not what they said), 13 evidence requests to foreign governments, 500 witnesses interviewed, well over $30 million taxpayer costs… the much-anticipated Mueller Report and investigation found no evidence that Trump had conspired with Russia. No collusion, and no election ‘interference’ by Russia. Nothing. RussiaGate R.I.P.

It should go down in history as one of the biggest phony official conspiracy theories of all-time. During his own testimony, the vaunted former FBI director Mueller came off as an incompetent old crank. The entire affair was a disaster for Democrats and their loyal mainstream media networks, all of whom had relentlessly hyped this conspiracy for years. In the end, this epic dud can only help Trump in his 2020 re-election bid. Let that sink in for a minute…


6. UkraineGate and Trump’s Impeachment – Alas, the death of RussiaGate gave way to a brand new gate… UkraineGate, and with it came that impeachment hammer which Democrats had been promising from before Trump was even sworn in office. Suddenly, Trump was facing the most perilous threat to a tenure of POTUS since Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson before that – all because of a telephone call on July 25th (the day after Robert Mueller tanked with his disastrous congressional testimony) with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenksy. According to House Democrats, during the call, Trump threatened Zelensky with withholding a free donation of US weapons to Ukraine unless the Ukrainian president re-opened a corruption investigation into 2016 US election meddling under the previous President Poroshenko, and more importantly the activities former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. According to lead inquisitor Adam Schiff (CA-D), someone told someone about the call, who then told a “whistleblower” (a CIA analyst and friend of Obama and the Bidens) about it, who then then filed a complaint. In the end, Ukraine got its free stash of US missiles as ordered, but Democrats claimed Trump abused his power by asking for a “Quid Pro Quo” that somehow placed the national security of the US in grave danger, and that Trump tried to railroad a political opponent (Joe Biden is supposedly the DNC’s pre-determined selection for presidential nominee) by asking a foreign power to investigate him and his son, all of which they say rises to the level of “high crimes” by Trump. When asked, even Zelensky said there was no quid pro quo. This hardly mattered, as the verdict was already written before the hearings. Another grand official conspiracy theory cooked up by the establishment? Seems so. So shaky are Democrats about their case, that House leader Nancy Pelosi has failed to send her Articles of Impeachment before Christmas to the US Senate for the next step which is an Impeachment trial. This kicks the whole affair into the new year, and with poll numbers steadily rising against Democrat’s impeachment misadventure, it does not look good at all for Democrats heading into the 2020 election.


5. Greta – On paper, it sounded like the stuff of Hollywood: a 15-year-old Swedish student started a school strike for ‘the climate’ outside the Swedish Parliament, and her campaign went viral around the globe, and a new youth climate change movement was born. Incredible. Inspiring. Al Gore and associates were over the moon; their Joan of Arc had finally arrived to help save the planet. Time Magazine even named her “Person of the Year” in 2019. But on closer examination, the rise of Greta Thunberg was anything but grassroots. From the very first day, her campaign was driven by a multi-million dollar public relations machine that includes dozens of NGOs and media outlets, foundations and trusts, as part of an environmental astroturf extravaganza, the likes of which we’ve never seen. The practice is known as greenwashing – and in this case, Wall Street and City hedge funds, as well as a gaggle of foundations and NGOs – all hoping to capitalize on the new green bubble, and all determined to use this young child as their political battering ram to drive home an international ‘climate’ agenda. Greta gained headlines after scolding the public with her angry prose, “How dare you!” scowled the angry Swede at the infamous UN panel. “You have stolen my dreams!” railed the youngster to a room full of jovial stakeholders (while putting on an injured voice, reading off the script provided to her by a team of handlers). Their ‘climate emergency’ narrative is based on the theory that man-made CO2 is heating up the Earth’s atmosphere which will cause seas levels to rise and cause the “sixth mass extinction.” However, real data actually indicates that the Earth is heading into a cooling phase and that any changes in climate have nothing to do with man-made activity, but rather from the sun’s activity. Both sides of the debate do not appear to be budging, but the cooling camp seems to have real data in its favor, while the warmists seem to be relying heavily theory and computer-modeled climate predictions – programmed by scientists eager to show that man-made global warming is a real phenomenon. In the end, this unsuspecting child is being used by a cynical class of millionaires and billionaires, clearly stoking-up a generational culture war, with angry middle class youth demanding that western governments ‘unlock’, or rather rob trillions from existing pension funds in order to finance the bold dream of a ‘Green New Deal’ and the promise of a green utopia – they just need you to give them some $51 trillion to fund various and sundry “green tech,” which activists are convinced can lower the earth’s temperature and stave off the inevitable extinction of the human race by 2030, or maybe 2050, or is it 2100? We’re actually not sure, but we promise it’s totally real. What could possibly go wrong?


4. Epstein – As horrendous as revelations of Jimmy Saville were for western high society, the chronicles of billionaire VIP sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein were more devastating by orders of magnitude. His exploits ensnared US President Bill Clinton, and high-flying lawyer Alan Dershowitz, along with a long list of high-ranking VIPs. The fallout didn’t spare the British Royal Family either, with Prince Andrew being cast out into social oblivion for his own role in the scandal. The more the story marinated, the more seedy it became. His was a story of one locked door after another, concealing the adjoining halls of a castle dark which can only be acquired by navigating the circles of extreme wealth and influence. Many believe this was part of a high level blackmail operation designed to create leverage over top decision makers in politics and industry. There are also indications that Epstein “belonged to intelligence,” although it’s not certain which agencies he may have been supplying information to. For his own part, Epstein’s story ended abruptly after he was reportedly unconscious in a federal jail cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday August 10, 2019. The death was quickly ruled a “suicide by hanging.” Somehow, the CCTV camera footage appears to have gone missing. The guards, we’re told, were not on duty. “It was a horrible series of coincidences,” so says the official conspiracy theory of the highly unlikely death of Jeff Epstein in federal custody. He was awaiting a federal trial for charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking of underage girls dating back to the early 2000s. After his death, the trial was shelved. So it goes without saying that many ‘important’ and powerful people benefited from this outcome. His main accomplice is still at large, Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon and Israeli super spy, Robert Maxwell. Many of the female victims are now speaking out publicly. Will there be any justice? Certainly, the mainstream media appear disinterested in pursuing the criminal segues of this story. Or will it become another grand conspiracy for the ages, alongside JFK, RFK and MLK?


3. A Global Uprising? – In 2019, we saw major uprisings and popular mobilzations on the streets in France, in the Spanish province of Catalan, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, India, Lebanon, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Hong Kong, as well as protests building in Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. Many of experts are scratching their heads, asking ‘what does it all mean’? Are these event interconnected, or are they being driven by the same underlying social or economic forces? Many of these events appear to be genuine grassroots events. However, others quite clearly were being co-opted and fueled by foreign powers seeking to capitalize on any succession of power that might be occurring, as was the case with protests in Hong Kong, Iraq, Russia and certainly there was evidence of this in Lebanon, although not as blatant as in other locations. Regardless, this trend is real and potentially world-changing and cannot be ignored, as billions of people (many of them younger) around the globe begin to realize that 20th century stalwarts like neoliberal vudoo economics, savage capitalism, US dollar and IMF debt-based control of the developing world, along with US-led neocolonial foreign policy and endless ‘regime change’ wars – are simply no longer going to cut it going forward. It seems that this new generation won’t settle for business as usual any more. Look out…


2. The OPCW Leaks – Never has there been such a profound story which was being categorically denied and ignored by the entire mainstream press. This past year saw a series of leaks coming out of the UN appointed watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which reveal that the alleged ‘chemical attack’ which the West and MSM said took place in Douma, Syria on April 2018 – never actually happened. Which means that the US, UK and France launched a retaliatory strike against Syria on the basis of a well-orchestrated ‘false flag’ hoax. Worst yet, there is proof the OPCW perpetrated an internal cover-up of evidence which would’ve exonerated Damascus. Consider this as Iraq WMD 2.0, because the very same fraudulent practices and heavy-handed US tactics, along with total media acquiescence to the official conspiracy theory narrative – has happened again. Like with the Integrity Initiative leaks which broke in late 2018, the OPCW leaks have been dripping out, some via WikiLeaks, and it’s been death by a thousand cuts for the US, UK and NATO establishment, who’ve been caught not only tampering with an investigation of what was meant to be a neutral international watchdog group, but have summarily closed ranks in an information blackout, even though the scandal is there for the world to see (for those willing to look). The reason for their evasive action is now clear: when the Douma ‘chemical attack’ happened, it was the mainstream media who colluded with western governments, and who relied on US and Saudi-backed terrorists Jayash al-Islam and the White Helmets – all working hand-in-hand to spin-up the West’s official narrative that somehow “Assad had gassed his own people.” And the leaks are still ongoing. Will the media and bamboozled politicians ever address this scandal, or will they play the ostrich until it’s too late? Either way, their credibility is now shot.


1. The Capture of Julian Assange – In April, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested and bundled out of his safe haven in the Ecuadorian embassy after his asylum and citizenship were suddenly revoked by the host country – very clearly part of a coordinated conspiracy waged by the governments of the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador – to prepare Assange for extradition to the US to face espionage charges by disingenuously re-framing Assange and WikiLeaks, a journalist and a publication – now as a “cyber terrorist” and a “hostile foreign intelligence service.” His removal from the embassy by British police was an act of extraordinary rendition. Despite interventions and rulings by multiple UN representatives, determined British authorities continue to hold Assange without charge in solitary confinement, and heavily sedated (by his own admission), inside of London’s Belmarsh super max prison. The UN’s has ruled that his detention constitutes torture. He is also unable to prepare for his US extradition hearing in February – one of the most important precedent cases, maybe in history, for the future of the freedom of the press. His legal team even requested for more time to submit evidence and postpone of the extradition hearing, but the fix was already in, and the judge flatly refuse to entertain any argument or admit Assange should no longer be held on remand without charge in high security confinement. With his physical and mental health deteriorating rapidly, there is a real risk now that Assange could even die in custody. How long can the supposed guardians of freedom and democracy in the West stand idle while this incredible injustice continues to unfold? Whatever your preferred outcome, the answers to these questions may come soon in the new year. Needless to say, many are hoping that the plutocracy in Washington and London come to their senses, and realize what a historic mistake they are making – and reverse course on this unprecedented judicial disaster.. 

What a wild year. Expect more of the same in 2020.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

SEE PREVIOUS TOP TEN CONSPIRACIES:

2018 Top Ten Conspiracies

2017 Top Ten Conspiracies

2016 Top Ten Conspiracies

2015 Top Ten Conspiracies

2014 Top Ten Conspiracies

December 31, 2019 Posted by | Economics, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

The OPCW Scandal is Now a Bona fide Cover-up

21st Century Wire | December 30, 2019

Last Friday night saw the fourth round of internally leaked documents found on WikiLeaks from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), showing once again how the organisation’s official report on an alleged 2018 ‘chemical attack’ attack in Douma, Syria – was in fact doctored by the chemical watchdog’s executives in order to justify a three-way attack by the US, UK and France against the Syrian government.

RT International’s Murad Gazdiev reviews the key takeaway points of this latest round of leaks:

December 31, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , | Leave a comment

Senior OPCW official ordered deletion of ‘all traces’ of dissenting report on ‘Douma chemical attack’ – WikiLeaks’ new leak

RT | December 27, 2019

The leadership of the chemical weapons watchdog took efforts to remove the paper trail of a dissenting report from Douma, Syria which pointed to a possible false flag operation there, leaked documents indicate.

In an internal email published by the transparency website WikiLeaks on Friday, a senior official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ordered that the document be removed from the organization’s Documents Registry Archive and to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever.”

The document in question is a technical assessment written by inspector Ian Henderson after a fact-finding mission to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, in the wake of an alleged chlorine gas attack. Western politicians and media said at the time that the government forces had dropped two gas cylinders as part of an offensive against jihadist forces, killing scores of civilians.

The OPCW inspector said evidence on the ground contradicted the airdropping scenario and that the cylinders could have been placed by hand. Considering that the area was under the control of anti-government forces, the memo lends credence to the theory that the jihadists had staged the scene to prompt Western nations to attack their opponents.

The final report of the watchdog all but confirmed that Damascus was behind the incident, but in the past months an increasing number of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies have emerged, pointing to a possible fabrication. The OPCW leadership stands accused of withholding opinions contravening the West-favored narrative and using misleading language to report what the inspectors found on the ground.

The alleged email was written by Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW. Its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, but the organization never said any of the previously leaked documents were not real.

Another document published on Friday outlines a meeting with several toxicology experts and their opinions on whether symptoms shown and reported in alleged victims of the attack were consistent with a chlorine gas poisoning. “The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure,” the document said, adding that the chief expert suggested that the event could have been “a propaganda exercise.”

The Douma incident in April 2018 spurred Western governments into action, with the US, the UK and France delivering a barrage of missiles at what was dubbed chemical weapons sites in Syria days after. This didn’t prevent the government from seizing control over the neighborhood, but put the reputations of the three governments at stake. The OPCW report gave credence to the Western show of force.

December 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mysterious Frank Taylor Report: The 9/11 Document that Launched US-NATO’s “War on Terrorism” in the Middle East

By Prof. Niels Harrit – Global Research – March 21, 2018

We call them ‘the 9/11 wars’ – the seemingly unending destruction of the Middle East and North Africa which has been going on for the last seventeen years. As revealed by Gen. Wesley Clark,[1] these wars were already anticipated in September 2001.

The legal foundation for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 has been challenged in several countries. The best known is the Chilcot Inquiry in the UK, which began in 2009 and concluded in a report in 2016. The inquiry was not about the legality of military action, but the British government was strongly criticised for not having provided a legal basis for the attack.

Even though the invasion of Iraq was planned[2] prior to 9/11, most observers note that the attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was a required precursor.

However, the legal basis for attacking Afghanistan has attracted almost no attention. One obstacle in addressing this has been the assumption that the key document was still classified.[3][4]

But as demonstrated below, this document was apparently declassified in 2008.

On the morning of 12 September 2001, NATO’s North Atlantic Council was summoned in Brussels. This was less than 24 hours after the events in USA. The council usually consists of the permanent ambassadors of the member states, but in an unprecedented move, the EU foreign ministers participated as well.[5]

Lord Robertson, Secretary General of NATO, wrote a draft resolution invoking Article 5 in the Washington treaty – the famous ‘musketeer clause’ – as a consequence of the terror attacks. The decision to do so had to be unanimously approved by the governments in all 19 NATO countries. This general agreement was obtained at 9.20 pm and Lord Robertson could read out the endorsements at a packed press conference:[6]

“The Council agreed that if it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

There was a reservation. Article 5 would not be formally activated before “it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad”.

Apparently NATO had a suspect. But the forensic evidence was still pending, and hence also the formal invocation of Article 5.

Formally, this evidence was provided by Frank Taylor (image on the right), a diplomat with the title of Ambassador from the US State Department. On 2 October he presented a brief to the North Atlantic Council, and Lord Robertson could subsequently conclude:[7]

“On the basis of this briefing, it has now been determined that the attack against the United States on 11 September was directed from abroad and shall therefore be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack on one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

“Today’s was classified briefing and so I cannot give you all the details. Briefings are also being given directly by the United States to the Allies in their capitals.”

Since the invocation of Article 5 had to be unanimous, Frank Taylor’s report would have been integral in the briefings announced to take place.

In Denmark – the country of the present author – there was a meeting in the Foreign Affairs Committee on 3 October 2001, where parliamentarians were briefed by the government about the proceedings in Brussels.

Parallel briefings must have been given in the 17 other NATO capitals. In each city, the resolution must have been approved, since Lord Robertson could announce NATO’s unanimous adoption of Article 5 and the launch of the war on terror on 4 October.[8]  The first bombs fell in Kabul on 7 October.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty says:[9]

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations,…..”

That is, any military action taken by NATO is confined by the restrictions in Article 51, which emphasises the right to self-defence and reads:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations,….”.[10]

That is, military action is forbidden in the absence of an armed provocation, and the legality of the attack on Afghanistan depends exclusively on the evidence presented in Frank Taylor’s report. But it was classified together with the minutes from the pertinent meetings.

However, on 19 May 2008, the US State Department declassified the dispatch which was sent in 2001 to all US representations world-wide, including the ambassadors to NATO headquarters, regarding what to think and say about the 9/11 events.

It is titled: “September 11: Working together to fight the plague of global terrorism and the case against al-qa’ida”.

The text is freely accessible here.

The document is dated 01 October 2001. But as hinted by the URL, it seems to  have been distributed on 2 October five days before the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 20101. That is, the day Frank Taylor gave his presentation for the North Atlantic Council and the EU foreign ministers, and the day before the US ambassadors were briefing the governments in the respective NATO capitals.

The text of the dispatch begins by requesting “all addressees to brief senior host government officials on the information linking the Al-Qa’ida terrorist network, Osama bin Ladin and the Taliban regime to the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.”

The document appears to be a set of ‘talking points’. The recipients are instructed to use the information provided in oral presentations only and to never leave the hard copy document as a non-paper. Specifically, there is reference to “THE oral presentation”.

These instructions are followed by 28 pages of the specific text.

Tellingly, a section of this dispatch is copy-pasted into Lord Robertson’s statement on 2 October:7

“The facts are clear and compelling[…] We know that the individuals who carried out these attacks were part of the world-wide terrorist network of Al-Qaida, headed by Osama bin Laden and his key lieutenants and protected by the Taliban.”

The conclusion is inescapable – this dispatch IS the Frank Taylor report. It is the manuscript that served not only as the basis for Frank Taylor’s presentation, but also for the briefings given by US ambassadors to the various national governments. Identical presentations were given in all 18 capitals on 3 October, four days before the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan

Is there any forensic evidence provided in this document to serve as a legal basis for the invocation of Article 5?

Nothing. There is absolutely no forensic evidence in support of the claim that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated from Afghanistan.

Only a small part of the introductory text deals with 9/11, in the form of summary claims like the citation in Lord Robertson’s press release. The main body of the text deals with the alleged actions of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the nineties.

On 4 October, NATO officially went to war based on a document that provided only ‘talking points’ and no evidence to support the key claim.

We are still at war seventeen years later. Five countries have been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions displaced. Refugees are swarming the roads of Europe, trillions of dollars have been spent on weapons and mercenaries and our grandchildren have been shackled with endless debt.

At the opening ceremony for the new NATO headquarters on 25 May 2017, all the leaders from NATO’s member states attended the inauguration of a ‘9/11 and Article 5 Memorial’.[11]

*

Prof. Niels Harrit is a retired Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Notes

[1] The Plan — according to U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE

[2] Bush decided to remove Saddam ‘on day one’. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/12/usa.books

[3] The Unanswered Questions of 9/11. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-unanswered-questions-of-911/5304061?print=1

[4] Was America Attacked by Afghanistan on September 11, 2001? https://www.globalresearch.ca/was-america-attacked-by-afghanistan-on-september-11-2001/5307151

[5] Being NATO’s Secretary General on 9/11. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2011/11-september/Lord_Robertson/EN/ (from which you can deduce that the NATO-ambassadors eat lunch at 3  pm).

[6] Statement by the North Atlantic Council, https://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2001/p01-124e.htm

[7] Statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson. https://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2001/s011002a.htm

[8] Statement to the Press by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, on the North Atlantic Council Decision On  Implementation  Of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty following the 11 September Attacks against the United States. https://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2001/s011004b.htm

[9] The North Atlantic Treaty. https://www.nato.int/cps/ic/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm

[10] Article 51, UN charter. http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-vii/

[11] Dedication of the 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial at the new NATO Headquarters, 25 May 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=augh1WqTqFs

December 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Merry ‘Bloody Christmas’: Venezuela Uncovers Guaido’s Plot to Provoke US Intervention

© REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 23.12.2019

Venezuela reported on 22 December that at least one of its servicemen was killed in an attack on a military unit by unidentified gunmen. The latter reportedly sought to rob an ammunition depot, but ultimately failed, with some of them ending up detained by Caracas’ forces.

Venezuelan Minister of Popular Power for Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez has reported that investigators have uncovered a plot organised by a group loyal to opposition leader Juan Guaido and involving the governments of Peru and Brazil. According to Rodriguez, the plot, called “Bloody Christmas”, suggested attacks on several military units across Venezuela.

In addition to this, the minister said that the members of “Guaido’s group” were planning to shoot down a Colombian Air Force plane using missiles stolen from the Venezuelan military in a staged false-flag attack on the country’s neighbour. The plotters allegedly planned to thereby give the US a pretext to start a “war” with Venezuela.

Rodriguez stated that some of the missiles and assault weapons stolen by the plotters have been recovered, but others remain in the hands of those who are still at large. According to him, a total of 9 RPG rocket launchers were stolen, though it’s unknown how many have been returned.

Attack on Ammunition Depot

Earlier, on 23 December, Venezuelan authorities reported that one soldier was killed as a result of the assault on one of the country’s military units by unknown assailants, which sought to rob an ammunition store. After the attack was repelled, Venezuelan authorities managed to capture some of the gunmen.

An investigation has been started into the incident, but it is not immediately clear who orchestrated the attack.

Back in April 2019, Venezuela experienced an unsuccessful coup attempt organised by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido. The latter appealed to the country’s military to stand against democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro, although only a few of them heeded the call, resulting in the coup’s failure. Guaido has since then fled abroad along with some of his supporters.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Inside Journalist Tareq Haddad’s Spectacular Departure from Newsweek

A photo of Tareq Haddad is shown from his Twitter profile: @Tareq_Haddad
By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | December 20, 2019

It’s Manufacturing Consent meets Operation Mockingbird; in a long exposé essay that doubles as a goodbye to the profession, Newsweek journalist Tareq Haddad explained why he was very publicly quitting his job at the New York-based magazine. “Journalism is quickly dying. America is regressing because it lacks the truth,” he wrote.

The trigger for his decision was management suppressing his story on the bombshell news that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) hid a mountain of evidence suggesting the 2018 Douma Attack was staged, thus paving the way for more military intervention in Syria. But below the surface, it was about far more than that; Haddad’s essay described how journalists are worked to the bone and how media drives the public towards war, coordinating smears against politicians who stand against it. But most spectacularly of all, he alleges that there is a network of hundreds of government assets working as high-level editors in newsrooms across America, even naming the one at Newsweek.

Haddad knew the consequences of speaking out:

In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day,” he wrote.

MintPress News reached out to him for comment. He responded that he was certain that there were more capable and well-meaning reporters like him that could come forward. “Hopefully, those journalists will have the courage to push the issue with their editors or face the embarrassment the industry will experience when the truth of the matter is revealed to all,” he stated.

Newsweek was not alone in failing to report on the OPCW revelations. Virtually the entirety of the mainstream press (with the exception of Tucker Carlson) ignored or downplayed the findings that cast the Syrian Civil War in a considerably different light. In contrast, MintPress News, with a tiny budget compared to corporate media, has covered the story closely. Unsurprisingly, they have shown little interest in Haddad’s exposé of their corruption either.

“In any functioning democracy the Tareq Haddad affair should occupy mainstream media for weeks” Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Professor Emeritus of Bowling Green State University (Department of Journalism and Communications) told MintPress News. However, he noted, “We have neither a fully functioning democracy nor the uncontaminated information ecosystem that would enable such a thing.” Newsweek, for the record, claimed that the matter was much more mundane: “The writer pitched a conspiracy theory rather than an idea for objective reporting. Editors rejected the pitch,” it said in a statement.

The “conspiracy theory” referenced is that multiple whistleblowers have come forward to publicly accuse the OPCW of suppressing their evidence in order to reach a predetermined conclusion about the Douma attacks­– one that supported military intervention. On the new evidence, former head of the OPCW Dr. Jose Bustani said it “confirmed doubts and suspicions I already had” about the incoherent report, claiming that “the picture is clearer now, although very disturbing.”

Truth, Haddad wrote, is “the most fundamental pillar of this modern society we so often take for granted,” claiming that, despite going into the profession after reading radical critiques of the media like Herman and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, and knowing others (like Chris Hedges) had been fired for opposing war, “I believed that honest journalism could be done. Nothing I read, however, came close to the dishonesty and deception I experienced while at Newsweek.”

He spoke of constantly self-censoring and modifying his language as to not rock the boat and how staff were totally overworked. Haddad himself wrote an average of four articles per day on complicated topics he admitted he often had no experience with whatsoever. This is a phenomenon called “churnalism” by academics, where reporters are turned into cogs in giant news machines, churning out vapid and shallow writing or copying corporate press releases for the profit of the outlet. This is one reason why trust in media has been falling since the 1970s, and particularly in the last few years.

He also discusses how the media manufactured public consent for military intervention in Syria. One example of this was his boss’s refusal to publish another of his stories questioning the legitimacy of Bana Alabed, the youthful face of the pro-intervention movement. Meanwhile, those who stand up against war are smeared as assets of foreign powers. He condemns what he describes as coordinated attacks launching “preposterous accusations” against antiwar voices such as Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Academics found the case remarkable, but not particularly unusual. When asked for comment by MintPress News, Tabe Bergman, Lecturer in Journalism at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China replied,

“Sadly, the resignation of Tareq Haddad is merely the latest in a long series of dedicated journalists quitting their job at mainstream news organizations that try to squeeze every penny out of the ‘news product’ while placating the powers that be.”

Operation Mockingbird 2.0

Perhaps the most truly alarming claim Haddad makes in his tell-all treatise is that there is a network of hundreds of deep state assets placed into newsrooms across the country, working to control what the public sees and hears, planting stories and quashing others. As he says:

“The U.S. government, in an ugly alliance with those that profit the most from war, has its tentacles in every part of the media — imposters, with ties to the U.S. State Department, sit in newsrooms all over the world. Editors, with no apparent connections to the member’s club, have done nothing to resist. Together, they filter out what can or cannot be reported. Inconvenient stories are completely blocked.”

Dr. Boyd-Barrett compared his revelations to Operation Mockingbird, a widespread CIA infiltration of hundreds of agenda-setting news outlets throughout the United States during the 20th century, placing agents in key positions or persuading existing reporters to work with them. “The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA,” wrote the legendary investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, who broke the story for Rolling Stone in 1977. As such, Boyd-Barrett told us there is “nothing essentially new” with Haddad’s exposé:

“Discerning critics have long assumed the wholesale penetration of our media ecosystem and universities by intelligence agencies and other special interests and every so often something emerges accidentally to confirm their worst fears.”

While initially fearing he might never work in the profession again, Haddad said that he is still weighing his options and is considering crowdfunding as a model to finance new investigations as an independent journalist.

“There are numerous stories that haven’t had the attention they deserve in the mainstream press and they are well worth investigating further. Also, it’s worth noting that because of my initial piece, several journalists have reached out to me with information I wasn’t previously aware of so there are several threads to be investigated more,” he revealed.

Haddad’s exposé of the corruption and collusion at the heart of modern journalism is something long-discussed by academics such as Bergman and Boyd-Barrett, but rarely does such a clear example present itself. His account undermines the credibility of the entire for-profit corporate model of news that prevails across the world, precisely the reason why you are unlikely to hear about it on CNN or in the New York Times.

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress Staff Writer as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 4 Comments

The 12 Strongest Arguments That Douma Was A False Flag

By Caitlyn Johnstone | December 20, 2019

There have been many US military interventions that were based on lies. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is not some kooky blogger’s opinion. It is an extensively documented and indisputable fact.

Nothing has ever been done to address this extensively documented and indisputable fact. No laws were ever changed. No war crimes tribunals were ever held. No policies or procedures were ever revised. No one was ever even fired. No changes were implemented to prevent the Iraq deception from happening again, and, when it happened again, no changes were implemented to prevent the Libya deception from happening again.

When you make a mistake, you take measures afterward to ensure that you never make the same mistake again. When you do something on purpose, and you intend on doing it again, you do not take any such measures.

There is a large and growing body of evidence that we have been lied to about Syria to an extent and to a level of sophistication that may be historically unprecedented. One particular aspect of the US-centralized empire’s military involvement in that nation, the 2018 airstrikes by the US/UK/France alliance and the alleged chemical weapons incident which preceded it, has been subject to intense scrutiny ever since it took place. And with good reason: there are many pieces of evidence indicating that the Douma incident was staged to falsely implicate the Syrian government.

I don’t claim to know exactly who would have been involved in such a staging and to what extent. It is technically possible, as the UK’s Admiral Lord West speculated at the time, that it was perpetrated independently by the vicious al-Qaeda-linked Jaysh al-Islam forces who’d been occupying Douma, a last-ditch attempt to provoke a western military response that might save them from the brink of defeat at the hands of the surging Syrian Arab Army. Jaysh al-Islam has an established record of deliberately massacring civilians, and of using civilians as military leverage by locking them in cages on rooftops in strategic Douma locations to prevent airstrikes. The narrative management operation known as the White Helmets would also have been involved to some extent, and it’s very possible that Saudi Arabia, who backs Jaysh al-Islam, was involved as well.

Any number of other allied intelligence agencies could have also been involved to some degree (perhaps with the more expanded goal of ensuring continued US military commitment in Syria during an administration that is vocally opposed to it), and it’s unknown if anyone involved would have had direct contact with any part of any US government agency regarding any of this. All we know for sure is that there’s a growing mountain of evidence that the Syrian government was not involved, and that this raises extremely important questions about (A) who really killed those civilians in Douma and (B) how seriously any future demands for military action should be taken from the US power alliance.

That mountain of evidence includes the following 12 items. Taken individually they are reason enough to be skeptical of the narratives that are being promoted by a government with a known history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to advance preexisting military agendas. Taken together, and looked at with intellectual honesty, they are enough to obliterate anyone’s trust in what we’ve been told about Douma.

1. A leaked OPCW Engineering Assessment concluded that the gas cylinders on the scene were manually placed there.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a purportedly neutral and international watchdog group dedicated to eliminating the use of chemical weapons around the world. In May of this year, a leaked internal OPCW document labeled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident” was published by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The Engineering Assessment was signed by a South African ballistics expert named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018, and its authenticity was quickly confirmed by the OPCW in a statement sent to multiple journalists that it was “conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.”

Henderson ran some experiments and found no scientifically grounded theory for how the cylinders could possibly have been dropped vertically from the air while being found in the condition and locations that they were found in, concluding instead that they were manually placed on the scene. This is a huge difference, since the Assad coalition was the only side with aircraft and Jaysh al-Islam were the only forces on the ground.

“The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder being delivered from an aircraft,” Henderson wrote. “In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

“In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft,” Henderson concludes.

This is unsurprising, since the hypothetical physics of the empire’s airdrop narrative make no sense to anyone with any understanding of how material objects move. To get a simple explanation of this, watch the breakdown in this three-minute animation. For a more in-depth look, check out this long Twitter thread by Climate Audit’s Stephen McIntyre.

The existence of Henderson’s report was kept secret from the public by the OPCW, which might make more sense after we get through #2 on this list.

2. US officials reportedly pressured the OPCW to find evidence of Assad’s guilt.


https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1196246809070444545?s=20

In addition to whoever leaked the Henderson report in May, a second whistleblower going by the pseudonym of “Alex” emerged in October to give a presentation before the whistleblower’s advocacy group Courage Foundation exposing far more plot holes in the official Douma narrative. This same whistleblower also spoke with award-winning British journalist Jonathan Steele, who published a bombshell report on Alex’s revelations in CounterPunch last month.

Among the most stunning revelations in Steele’s article was Alex’s report that US officials attempted to pressure OPCW inspectors during the Organisation’s drafting of its Interim Report on their Douma investigation in July 2018, and that this intercession was facilitated by an OPCW official named Bob Fairweather.

“On July 4 there was another intervention,” Steele writes. “Fairweather, the chef de cabinet, invited several members of the drafting team to his office. There they found three US officials who were cursorily introduced without making clear which US agencies they represented. The Americans told them emphatically that the Syrian regime had conducted a gas attack, and that the two cylinders found on the roof and upper floor of the building contained 170 kilograms of chlorine. The inspectors left Fairweather’s office, feeling that the invitation to the Americans to address them was unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality.”

It’s unknown what forces were at play that enabled the US government to insert itself into into an ostensibly impartial OPCW investigation with the help of an OPCW official, but it wouldn’t be the first time the US government leveraged the Organisation into facilitating preexisting regime change agendas against a disobedient Middle Eastern nation. In 2002 Mother Jones reported that the US government, spearheaded by John Bolton, had used the threat of withdrawing its disproportionately high percentage of funding from the Organisation if it didn’t oust its then-Director General Jose Bustani. The popular Bustani, who’d previously been unanimously re-elected to his position, had been hurting the case for war with his successful negotiations with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In March 2018, after Bolton was selected as Trump’s National Security Advisor, The Intercept revealed that the campaign to remove Bustani had also included Bolton personally threatening his children.

Bolton was operating at the highest levels of the Trump White House throughout the entire duration of the OPCW’s Douma investigation. He was Trump’s National Security Advisor from April 9, 2018 to September 10, 2019. The OPCW’s Fact-Finding mission didn’t arrive in Syria until April 14 2018 and didn’t begin its investigation in Douma until several days after that, with its final report being released in March of 2019.

3. Levels of chlorinated organic chemicals didn’t indicate any chlorine gas attack took place.

“The main point is that chlorine gas degrades rapidly in the air,” Jonathan Steele told Tucker Carlson last month detailing what was told to him by Alex. “So coming in two weeks later, you wouldn’t find anything. What you would find is that the gas contaminates or affects other chemicals in the natural environment. So-called chlorinated organic chemicals [COCs]. The difficulty is they exist anyway in the natural environment and water. So the crucial thing is the levels: were there higher levels of chlorinated organic chemicals found after the alleged gas attack than there would have been in the normal environment?”

“When they got back to the Netherlands, to The Hague where the OPCW has its headquarters, samples were sent off to designated laboratories, then there was a weird silence developed,” Steele continued. “Nobody told the inspectors what the results of the analysis was. It was only by chance that the inspector found out through accident earlier the results would come in and there were no differences at all. There were no higher levels of chlorinated organic chemicals in the areas where the alleged attack had happened where there is some suspicious cylinders had been found by opposition activists. So it didn’t seem possible that there could have been a gas attack because the levels were just the same as in the natural environment.”

“[Alex] got sight of the results which indicated that the levels of COCs were much lower than what would be expected in environmental samples,” Steele reported in CounterPunch. “They were comparable to and even lower than those given in the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on recommended permitted levels of trichlorophenol and other COCs in drinking water. The redacted version of the report made no mention of the findings.”

“Had they been included, the public would have seen that the levels of COCs found were no higher than you would expect in any household environment”, Alex told Steele.

This inconvenient fact was omitted from both the OPCW’s Interim Report in July 2018 and its Final Report in March 2019.

4. Many signs and symptoms of alleged chlorine gas poisoning weren’t consistent with chlorine gas poisoning.


https://twitter.com/caitoz/status/1187001753192919041?s=20

The OPCW’s Final Report on Douma in March 2019 assures us that the team found “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.” A leaked internal OPCW email, featuring an inspector voicing objections to the aforementioned Bob Fairweather over vital information being omitted from the developing Interim Report on Douma, contradicts this assurance, saying observed symptoms weren’t consistent with chlorine gas poisoning.

“In this case the confidence in the identity of chlorine or any choking agent is drawn into question precisely because of the inconsistency with the reported and observed symptoms,” the email reads. “The inconsistency was not only noted by the FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] team but strongly noted by three toxicologists with expertise in exposure to CW [Chemical Weapons] agents.”

So the OPCW’s investigative team as well as three toxicologists said what was observed didn’t match chlorine gas poisoning symptoms. This information was, of course, hidden from us by the OPCW.

A leaked first draft of the Interim Report on Douma, before OPCW officials started cutting out chunks which didn’t suit the US narrative, gives more detail. Here are some excerpts (emphases mine):

“Some of the signs and symptoms described by witnesses and noted in photos and video recordings taken by witnesses, of the alleged victims are not consistent with exposure to chlorine-containing choking or blood agents such as chlorine gas, phosgene or cyanogen chloride. Specifically, the rapid onset of heavy buccal and nasal frothing in many victims, as well as the colour of the secretions, is not indicative of intoxication from such chemicals.”

“The large number of decedents in the one location (allegedly 40 to 45), most of whom were seen in videos and photos strewn on the floor of the apartments away from open windows, and within a few meters of an escape to un-poisoned or less toxic air, is at odds with intoxication by chlorine-based choking or blood agents, even at high concentrations.”

“The inconsistency between the presence of a putative chlorine-containing toxic chocking or blood agent on the one hand and the testimonies of alleged witnesses and symptoms observed from video footage and photographs, on the other, cannot be rationalised. The team considered two possible explanations for the incongruity:
a. The victims were exposed to another highly toxic chemical agent that gave rise to the symptoms observed and has so far gone undetected.
b. The fatalities resulted from a non-chemical-related incident.”

5. A doctor in Douma told journalist Robert Fisk that there was no gas poisoning.

Shortly after the Douma incident a video was circulated online and redistributed on news media around the world featuring people being hosed down with water in a hospital and an infant receiving a respiratory treatment. A doctor who worked in the hospital Assim Rahaibani gave the following account to journalist Robert Fisk days after the incident, saying those in the video were actually just suffering from hypoxia due to dust inhaled after a conventional bombing:

“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet’, shouted ‘Gas!’, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

Lest anyone accuse Fisk of having any special loyalties to the Syrian government, in this same report he says it “is indeed a ruthless dictatorship.”

6. A BBC reporter said he has proof that the hospital scene was staged.

https://twitter.com/Dalatrm/status/1095677403198906369?s=20

The BBC, another establishment that can hardly be accused of Assad loyalism, saw its Syria producer Riam Dalati claiming earlier this year that he had proof beyond a doubt the aforementioned hospital scene was staged. While holding to the establishment line that the attack did happen, Dalati expressed uncertainty as to what if any chemical would have been used and said “everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect.” Emphases mine:

“The ATTACK DID HAPPEN, Sarin wasn’t used, but we’ll have to wait for OPCW to prove Chlorine or otherwise,” Dalati tweeted. However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect. After almost 6 months of investigations, i can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.”

“No fatalities occurred in the hospital,” Dalati continued. “All the White Helmets, activists and people i spoke to are either in Idlib or Euphrates Shield areas. Only one person was in Damascus. Russia and at least one NATO country knew about what happened in the hospital. Documents were sent. However, no one knew what really happened at the flats apart from activists manipulating the scene there. This is why Russia focused solely on discrediting the hospital scene.”

In other words, Russia knew that these “activists” were staging the scene for the news media, and understandably focused on discrediting their work.

“I can tell you that Jaysh al-Islam ruled Douma with an iron fist,” Dalati added. “They coopted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation.”

Dalati set his account to private for an extended period after these extremely controversial statements got him a flood of attention, but the thread is up on Twitter as of this writing (here’s an archive in case they vanish again).

7. More evidence the Douma scene was knowingly staged for media.


https://twitter.com/Dalatrm/status/984011488938643456?s=20

Riam Dalati also tweeted evidence after the attack that people had staged the corpses of two children to make it appear as though they died hugging each other for the purpose of emotional manipulation. If you’ve got a strong stomach (seriously think hard about whether this is something you want in your head before diving in), Stephen McIntyre also compiled some disturbing proof of dead infants being physically placed on top of other corpses in between video shoots of the Douma incident’s aftermath.

Whoever was positioning these bodies for the cameras clearly had a goal of generating an emotional response from the outside world. Which would be precisely the goal of staging a false chemical weapons attack.

8. Witness testimony at The Hague.


https://twitter.com/NeilClark66/status/989761664680521728?s=20

Seventeen Syrian civilians, including medical personnel and some of the “victims” seen in the aforementioned hospital footage, spoke at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague saying that no chemical weapons attack took place. RT reports:

“There were people unknown to us who were filming the emergency care, they were filming the chaos taking place inside, and were filming people being doused with water. The instruments they used to douse them with water were originally used to clean the floors actually,” Ahmad Kashoi, an administrator of the emergency ward, recalled. “That happened for about an hour, we provided help to them and sent them home. No one has died. No one suffered from chemical exposure.”

The briefing was boycotted by the US and 16 of its allies and was smeared as an unconscionable Russian hoax by media outlets ranging from Sky News to Al Jazeera to The Guardian to The Intercept, apparently for no other reason than that what these Syrians were saying didn’t match the unsubstantiated claims being promoted by the political/media class of the US-centralized empire. If you want to just listen to what the Syrians themselves say and make up your own mind, RT has an English translation video here:

9. The first OPCW Director General finds the glaring irregularities and omissions from the OPCW’s Douma report “very disturbing”.

After the aforementioned Courage Foundation presentation given by Alex this past October, the aforementioned former OPCW Director General Jose Bustani (the one whose kids John Bolton threatened) had this to say:“The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing”

“I have always expected the OPCW to be a true paradigm of multilateralism. My hope is that the concerns expressed publicly by the Panel, in its joint consensus statement, will catalyse a process by which the Organisation can be resurrected to become the independent and non-discriminatory body it used to be.”

10. This OAN reporter literally just walking around asking people in Douma what they saw.

11. MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol speaking about the plot holes and irregularities in scientific protocol with the Douma investigation.

12. Common sense: Assad stood nothing to gain from launching a chemical attack, while Jaysh al-Islam fighters stood everything to gain by faking one.

This is the initial reason why critical thinkers were so skeptical of the establishment Douma narrative: from the very beginning, it made no sense at all.Click this hyperlink to read a BBC article dated five days before the Douma incident, describing how the Syrian government “appears poised to regain control” of the town and how Jaysh al-Islam fighters were already evacuating. The battle was won. Assad would have stood absolutely nothing to gain from tempting a retaliation from western powers (which could have been far more severe than it ended up being) all to drop a couple of cylinders of chlorine gas, which incidentally is a highly ineffective weapon that ordinarily takes a very long time to kill.

Jaysh al-Islam (and whoever else they may have been working with), on the other hand, would have stood everything to gain by murdering a few of the civilians they had been holding captive in the town they’d invaded in the hopes that western forces would become their airforce for a bit and hold off the Syrian Arab Army from reclaiming Douma.

“Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this time? He’s won the war,” Major General Jonathan Shaw told The Mail on Sunday at the time. “That’s not just my opinion, it is shared by senior commanders in the US military. There is no rationale behind Assad’s involvement whatsoever. He’s convinced the rebels to leave occupied areas in buses. He’s gained their territory. So why would he be bothering gassing them?”

“The jihadists and the various opposition groups who’ve been fighting against Assad have much greater motivation to launch a chemical weapons attack and make it look like Assad was responsible,” the ex-SAS and Parachute Regiment commander added. “Their motivation being that they want to keep the Americans involved in the war – following Trump saying the US was going to leave Syria for other people to sort out.”

Admiral Lord West made similar comments on the BBC around the same time, prompting BBC host Annita McVeigh to flip into frantic narrative management mode suggesting that he’s “muddying the waters” during an “information war with Russia”.

“President Assad is in the process of winning this civil war, and he was about to take over Douma, all that area,” West said. “He’d had a long, long, long slog slowly capturing that area of the city, and there just before he goes in and takes it all over, apparently he decides to have a chemical attack. It just doesn’t ring true. It seems extraordinary, because clearly he would know that there’s likely to be a response from the allies. What benefit is there for his military? Most of the rebel fighters, this disparate group of Islamists, had withdrawn, there were a few women and children left around. What benefit was there militarily in doing what he did? I find that extraordinary.”

“Whereas we know that in the past some of the Islamo groups have used chemicals, and of course there’d be huge benefit in them labeling an attack as coming from Assad, because they would guess quite rightly that there would be a response from the US as there was last time, and possibly from the UK and France,” West added.

“If I were advising some of the Islamist groups, many of whom are worse than Daesh,” West said, “I would say look, we’ve got to wait until there’s another attack by Assad’s forces, particularly if they’ve got a helicopter overhead or something like that and they’re dropping barrel bombs, and we set off some chlorine. Because we’ll get the next attack from the allies. And there’s no doubt that if we believe he’s done a chemical attack we should do that. And those attacks will get bigger, and it’s the only way they’ve got, actually, of stopping the inevitable victory of Assad.”

These are not Assad sympathizers or Kremlin assets saying this. These are not a bunch of hippie dippie anti-imperialists. These are lifelong military men, thinking in military terms, describing what they were seeing. And what they were seeing is the thing that a false flag is.

https://twitter.com/ShoebridgeC/status/1206347865729183746?s=20

And now here we are. The US is still illegally occupying Syria in spite of Trump’s repeated verbiage about getting out, and those children are still dead.

This isn’t just some idle philosophical question. People died. A massive war crime occurred and the more minutes tick by before a legitimate investigation is launched–with full transparency and accountability this time–the less available evidence there will be. Which is why establishment narrative managers on Syria go full dead-weight when asked if they support a full criminal investigation into what happened. They don’t actually believe it will go their way, and rightly so.

Meanwhile the illegal occupation of Syria drags on, perhaps until Trump can be replaced with a more compliant puppet, and we’re all basically just sitting around waiting to be deceived again.

This cannot continue. This must not continue.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 2 Comments

Adversaries pursued plot for false-flag killings in Tehran riots: Iran top security official

Press TV – December 12, 2019

Iran’s top security official sheds light on an enemy plot to increase the number of fatalities during the recent riots in several cities, saying most of those killed in Tehran Province were not even involved in any protest gatherings.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani made the remarks in a meeting with families of some of the victims of the riots in the western towns of the province on Thursday.

“More than 85 percent of the victims of the recent incidents in towns of Tehran Province had not taken part in any gathering and were killed with non-organizational firearms and cold weapons in a very suspicious manner,” said Shamkhani, adding there was certainly a plot hatched by “adversaries” to cause as many fatalities as possible and pin the blame on Iran’s security forces for the killings.

No official death toll has so far been released, but the victims reportedly include both security forces and civilians.

Commiserating with the bereaved families, Shamkhani said that government officials and authorities would make their utmost efforts to alleviate the suffering of the families.

He called on all governors general across the country to take necessary measures in order to investigate the deaths and compensate the damages incurred to the people.

In mid-November, the Iranian government raised gasoline prices in order to moderate the national consumption rate.

The move prompted protests in a number of cities that went largely peaceful but turned violent when armed riotous individuals took advantage of the situation to vandalize public and state property, and attack civilians and security forces alike.

Shortly after the riots broke out, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei tasked the Supreme National Security Council with compiling a report detailing the reasons behind the riots and immediate attending of the families of the victims..

Iran says many of the rioters were found to have links to the notorious US-backed Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terror group, separatists besides members of organized groups trained towards staging acts of sabotage.

Last week, Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, Iran’s Judiciary’s spokesman, dismissed the unofficial casualty count provided by certain sources as inaccurate.

“The numbers and figures that are being provided by hostile groups are utter fabrication and the actual figures are fewer than what these sources claim,” he said.

“They have released figures as well as certain names… The purported casualty count is not but a fabrication,” he said, in remarks aired on state television, adding that sources with hostile intentions have provided the names of people who lost their lives in circumstances unrelated to the recent violence, and of people who are even alive.

December 12, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

Iraq on precipice of deeper chaos as US steps up meddling

Press TV – December 8, 2019

Alarm bells are starting to ring for Iraq where a series of suspicious events, including unknown assailants machine-gunning protesters in Baghdad and a drone targeting an anti-US cleric, have raised fears of the country slipping deeper into violence and chaos.

Armed men emerged from cars overnight Friday, opening fire on protesters and killing at least 25 people who were in a building where many supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr gathered to stage demonstrations.

Sources said nearly 130 others were wounded by gunfire and stabbings which targeted protesters at the Sinak bridge near Tahrir Square. At least three of the dead were policemen.

The demonstrators called on the Iraqi military to intervene, but some soldiers were attacked when they arrived, adding to the confusion and forcing them to retreat.

Witnesses said at least some of the attackers, and maybe all of them, fled the scene in white pickup trucks. Video footage showed at least seven vehicles.

No one has claimed responsibility for the lethal assaults, which have been rare since the protests began more than two months ago, but such assaults bear all the hallmarks of Takfiri terrorist groups.

President Barham Salih on Saturday said the attack on protesters was “a criminal, armed attack carried out by criminal and outlaw gangs,” calling on security forces to “chase the outlaw criminals and arrest them and bring them to the judiciary for punishment.”

According to witnesses, some of the gunmen involved in the Baghdad attack appeared to be wearing the military uniforms of government forces, a tactic which Takfiri groups have frequently used in the past.

Some of the attackers were wearing uniforms of the pro-government Hashd al-Sha’abi, and some were in civilian clothes, they said.

US targets regular bete noire

The US was quick to implicate Hashd al-Sha’abi, a combination of some 40 groups of mostly Shia fighters as well as Sunnis and Christians, which are currently integrated into the regular armed forces.

In a statement released on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on Qais al-Khazali and his brother Laith, two leaders of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, as well as Hussein Falil Aziz al-Lami of Kata’ib Hezbollah.

Iraqi groups denounced the measure, with the Hikma bloc of the Iraqi parliament decrying it as an instance of “blatant meddling in Iraq’s affairs.”

“Die of your anger, for we lead the resistance against occupation, Takfiri terrorism, separatism and ambitions,” spokesperson for the al-Sadiqoun parliamentary bloc Mohammad al-Rabiei said, adding that his groups stand “against the hegemonic plans of the US.”

Washington has long pressured Iraqi governments to counter Hashd al-Sha’abi which is staunchly opposed to the presence of American forces and closely watches their steps in Iraq.

Daesh link

On Friday, Hashd al-Sha’abi sources said the US was allowing Daesh to roam freely under its watch in Iraq’s western Anbar province.

“The way in which American aircraft act in regard to Daesh positions in al-Anbar’s northern areas has raised many questions,” Iraq’s al-Maalomah news agency quoted an unnamed source in Hash al-Sha’abi’s Operations Command in Anbar as saying.

“American planes fly over these regions for long durations without striking any Daesh cell positions,” the source said.

The American behavior was “surprising,” specifically because the mission of US forces deployed in Anbar’s Ayn al-Assad military base was to “strike Daesh sleeper cells,” the source added.

Hashd al-Sha’abai was formed shortly after the Daesh terrorist group emerged in Iraq in 2014. In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate the group into the regular armed forces despite US efforts to sideline it.

US forces and Israeli-operated drones have repeatedly targeted Hashd al-Sha’abi forces in the past, Iraqi officials have said.

On Friday, a drone hit the al-Hannanah neighborhood in the holy city of Najaf, where the residence of staunch anti-American cleric al-Sadr is located.

Iraqi officials called for an investigation into the attack apparently targeting Sadr as well as the killing of protesters in Baghdad.

The attack in Baghdad came just after Iraqis took to the streets in the capital to back top Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

During his weekly Friday sermon, Ayatollah Sistani said violence and chaos will only hinder true reforms as demanded by anti-corruption and economic protesters in Iraq, calling on demonstrators to counter violent rioters.

A representative of Ayatollah Sistani conveying the cleric’s sermon to worshipers during the Friday prayers in Karbala, advised the protesters against allowing rioters to infiltrate the rallies and target “security forces and destroy public and private property.”

December 8, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 12 Comments

The Douma Hoax: Anatomy of a False Flag

Corbett • 12/07/2019

As whistleblowers and documents continue to destroy the narrative surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this false flag event has been exposed. This week on The Corbett Report podcast, James goes through the remarkable timeline of the Douma hoax and breaks the spell that the propagandists have sought to cast on the public.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES
Colin Powell’s Presentation to the UN Security Council On Iraq’s WMD Program

Cutting through media propaganda on the battle for Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

Syria crisis: Saudi Arabia to spend millions to train Jaysh al-Islam terrorists

Young children treated in suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria

Trump blames “animal Assad” for atrocity

United States Assessment of the Assad Regime’s Chemical Weapons Use

U.S. and allies warn Syria of more missile strikes if chemical attacks used again

Statement by President Trump on Syria

The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

OPCW interim report (July 2018)

BBC producer: Footage of 2018 Douma chemical attack fabricated

OPCW final report (March 2019)

Leaked Engineering Assessment

Leaked OPCW Report Raises New Questions About 2018 Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria

OPCW internal communique on leak

Panel Criticizes ‘Unacceptable Practices’ in the OPCW’s investigation of the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria on April 7th 2018

The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors

Jonathan Steele on BBC

Leaked internal OPCW email

PETER HITCHENS: My secret meeting with mole at the heart of The Great Poison Gas Scandal

Theodore Postol on PushBack

Chemical weapons watchdog OPCW defends Syria report as whistleblower claims bias

7 (Bellingcat) Emails And Reading Comprehension: OPCW Douma Coverage Misses Crucial Facts

Narrative Managers Faceplant In Hilarious OPCW Scandal Spin Job

Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson

Bellingcat or Guard Dog for the Establishment?

Douma Videos and Photos analysis by Steven McItnyre

How the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Video | , , , | 1 Comment