Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

‘Be careful about what you believe’ – Ken Livingstone on US, UK media bias & lies

By Ken Livingstone | RT | August 20, 2018

Today it seems like we are in another Cold War. It was breathtaking to watch our PM Theresa May immediately blaming Russia for the poisoning of the Skripals before the police had conducted their investigation into the evidence.

Growing up after the Second World War our news was dominated by the threat from the Soviet Union, but when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 I don’t think anyone could have guessed that just over two decades later we would be once again talking about the threat from Russia. Anyone who only gets their news from the British or American media is kept in ignorance of the truth; the endless accusations about the Skirpal poisoning or the conflict over Crimea is presented in a completely biased way in which most of the facts are ignored. But there is nothing new about this: dishonest reporting and lies dominated the whole of the Cold War in the days of the Soviet Union.

Although President John Kennedy in the United States started out with quite a right-wing agenda with one of his 1960 election promises being to close the missile gap with the Soviet Union, he rapidly changed and began to throw the weight of his administration behind the struggle to end racism in America’s deep south. Also, if he hadn’t been assassinated, he was planning to withdraw American troops from Vietnam if he had been re-elected in 1964 because he realized a full-scale war in Vietnam would be a disaster.

What changed his politics so much were his conflicts with the military. He had only been president a few days before they got him to continue with the planned invasion of Cuba by a small band of Cuban dissidents. The military told him that the invasion would lead to an uprising and the overthrow of Fidel Castro so America would not need to provide any air support for the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. But no sooner had the rebels landed, than the Pentagon was insisting that Kennedy agree to American air strikes on Cuba. Kennedy realized he had been lied to and refused. I would love to be able to go back in time and tell him that Castro’s regime would outlast the reign of twelve US presidents, eight of whom, including Kennedy, authorized assassination attempts on Castro, all of which failed.

Kennedy had already been shocked to discover that his campaign pledge to close the missile gap with Russia was nonsense. At his first military briefing he was told that the Soviet Union had four nuclear missiles capable of landing in the USA whereas the USA had three hundred and fifty capable of obliterating the Soviet Union.

It says a lot about the way we are lied to by governments that a man who had been a senator for eight years and was on the verge of becoming president was as completely ignorant about the truth of America’s nuclear superiority as were all the rest of us. Kennedy’s predecessor, Republican President Eisenhower, had tried to warn the American people about the growth of the power of the military industrial complex in his final television address before his presidency ended but nothing has changed and if anything it has become more powerful over the American government today than it was then when half the federal government’s budget was being spent on the military. Given that President Eisenhower had been the most senior military official in America before he became president, his warning is quite remarkable.

The lies about Russia’s military predominance are being echoed again today over issues like the Crimea. I have never seen anything in the British media that reports the fact that over ninety percent of the people living in the Crimea are Russian. Nor have I ever seen it reported in the media that the Crimea was never a part of Ukraine until 1954 when the Soviet Union’s then leader Nikita Khrushchev switched the boundaries to include the Crimea inside Ukraine. It might be that he did this simply because he was himself born and brought up in the Ukraine but there have always been rumours that he was very drunk when he took the decision but I’ve never seen that reported in the British media.

Although Britain and America have imposed sanctions on Russia for incorporating the Crimea the history of what happened is of course very different. The centre and west of Ukraine is dominated by Ukrainians and during the Second World War many Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazi regime after it invaded Ukraine on its way to Moscow and a couple of years later as the Soviet army pushed back the Nazis many Ukrainians fought with the Nazis against the Soviet army. So no-one should be surprised that the people of the Crimea and the Russian dominated Eastern part of Ukraine had worries and doubts about the Ukrainian government and its attitude towards them after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

What triggered this crisis was not a Russian invasion but the overthrow of the then moderate Ukrainian government under President Viktor Yanukovych. Back in November 2013 Yanukovych announced he was delaying the signing of an economic treaty with the European Union because it would have terminated the Ukraine’s trading and economic relations with its main economic partner Russia. Why the EU was demanding this change which would clearly damage the economy of Ukraine has never been revealed.

Following Yanukovych’s announcement demonstrators occupied the Ukrainian capital’s central square, Maidan, protesting against his decision but the protests and rallies became violent and led to the overthrow of the president on February 22, 2014.

The protests were led by extreme Ukrainian nationalists and paramilitary groups whose policies echoed much of the fascist ideology including the use of Nazi symbols and racist slogans, calling for the ethnic cleansing of the Russians living in Ukraine.

Britain, the USA and the EU supported the coup that overthrew President Yanukovych. There is now a considerable degree of evidence that western intelligence agencies were involved in encouraging these far-right groups over many decades following the end of the Second World War.

The new Ukrainian government claimed that the number of people shot dead had been killed by the government’s security forces and Russians posing as Ukrainians. Those allegations were blown away when the Italian TV website Eyes Of War showed a documentary interviewing three ex-military snipers from Georgia who admitted they had been hired by the insurgents and had been partly responsible for the shootings. No western government has talked about sanctions against Georgia.

Clearly the overthrow of the government and its replacement by a far-right anti-Russian regime spurred the fear of ethnic cleansing and led to the Russian majority in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine deciding they would not remain under the new Ukrainian regime and so they fought to defend themselves. Russians living in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine should have the same right to self-determination as should be the case around the whole of the world.

None of this is new, just a few years earlier in 2014 a Malaysian aeroplane was shot down as it passed over Ukraine in July. Immediately Western media said that this had been done by a Russian missile. But nowhere in the Western media was it revealed that the missile used was so old that they had been taken out of service by the Russian government years before. Following the chaotic break up of the old Soviet Union its wholly possible that several of these old missiles were retained, perhaps even by far-right groups in the Ukraine.

It takes decades for the truth to come out. We now know that when Tony Blair told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could reach Britain within 45 minutes and President Bush claimed Iraq had amassed a huge stockpile of uranium that this was completely untrue, but it led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

As a young man I remember back in 1964 the American government announcing that one of their battleships has been attacked by North Vietnam and this led to their mass bombing and full-scale war leading to the deaths of over three and a half million people. Twenty years later the truth came out that there had never been an attack on that American ship.

The earliest lie I remember was when I was just eleven years old and Britain and France announced they were invading Egypt to stop the war between Egypt and Israel. All the politicians behind that lie were dead long before the truth emerged that Britain and France had asked Israel to invade Egypt so that this would give Britain and France the chance to overthrow Nasser’s Egyptian government and take back control of the Suez Canal.

Always be careful about what you believe.

Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.

Read more:

British Media is not waving, it’s drowning…in a sea of its own mendacity

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

By Robert BRIDGE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.08.2018

Over the course of his turbulent presidency, Donald Trump has accused various media companies, with special attention reserved for CNN, as being purveyors of ‘fake news.’ In one early-morning Tweet last year, he slammed the “FAKE NEWS media” as the “enemy of the people.”

This week, over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day – an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink – denouncing Trump’s insensitive portrayal of them, as if the notion that journalists were not in the same sleaze league as lawyers, politicians and professional con artists never crossed anyone’s mind before. Even the peace-loving Mahatma Gandhi recommended “equality for everyone except reporters and photographers.”

But is the MSM really an “enemy of the people?”

First, it cannot be denied that the US media, taken in all its wholesomeness, has been overwhelmingly consistent in its ‘style’ of reporting on Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS. And by consistent I mean unprecedentedly critical, misleading and outright aggressive in its guerilla coverage of him. If one is not convinced by the gloom-and-doom Trump stories featured daily in the Yahoo News feed, then a study by the Media Research Center (MRC) should do the job. From January 1 through April 30, evening news coverage of the US leader – courtesy of ABC, CBS and NBC – were 90 percent negative, which is pretty much the same incredible average revealed by MRC one year earlier.

The study looked at every one of the 1,065 network evening news stories about Trump and his administration during the first four months of 2018. Total negative news time devoted to Trump: 1,774 minutes, or about one-third of all evening news airtime. That’s pretty much the definition of a circle jerk.

“Nearly two-fifths (39%) of the TV coverage we examined focused on Trump scandals and controversies, while 45 percent was devoted to various policy issues,” MRC wrote in its report.

Meanwhile, the farcical Russia ‘collusion’ story was consistently the main grabber — clocking in at 321 minutes, or nearly one-fifth of all Trump coverage. Of the 598 statements MRC calculated about Trump’s personal scandals, virtually all of them (579, or 97%) came out of the media wash cycle tarred and feathered.

If this represents an orchestrated attack on the Commander-in-Chief, and in light of those numbers it would be difficult to argue it isn’t, the strategy appears to be falling flat. Despite, or precisely because of, the avalanche of negative media coverage, Trump’s popularity rating smashed the 50 percent ceiling in early August and continues to remain high.

In Monsters We Trust

Although it can be safely stated that the MSM is an entrenched and relentless enemy of Donald Trump, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an “enemy of the American people,” as Trump argues it is. Let’s be a bit more diplomatic and say it isn’t our friend.

One yard stick for proving the claim is to consider the steadily mounting concentration of media holdings. In 1983, 90 percent of US media were controlled by 50 companies; today, 90 percent is controlled by the Big Six (AT&TComcastThe Walt Disney Company21st Century FoxCBS and Viacom control the spoken and printed word from sea to shining sea).Although many people are aware of the monopolistic tendencies of the US mainstream media, it’s important to understand the level of concentration. It means the vast majority of everything you see and hear on any electronic device or printed publication is ‘democratically’ controlled by six average white guys and their shareholders.

However, keeping track of who owns what these days is practically impossible since the dozens of subsidiary companies that fall under each main company are themselves fiefdoms, each with their own separate holdings. In fact, the already short ‘Big Six’ list is already dated, since National Amusements, Inc. has gobbled up both Viacom and CBS, while 21st Century Fox merged with Disney this year. As for the 350 US newspapers that penned tortured editorials decrying Trump’s critical opinion of them, many of those ‘local’ publications get their marching orders from either the Hearst Communications or the Gannett Company on the East Coast.

Now, with this sort of massive power and influence lying around like dynamite, it stands to reason, or unreason, that the corporate and political worlds will succumb to the law of attraction and gravitation, forging powerful and impregnable relationships. It’s no secret that the politicians, our so-called ‘public servants,’ are mostly in the game to make a fast buck, while the corporations, desperate for ‘democratic representation’ to control regulation and market share, have an inexhaustible source of funds to secure it. Naturally, this oligarchical system precludes any sort of democratic participation from the average person on the street, who thinks just because he remembers to yank a lever once every several years he is somehow invested in the multibillion-dollar franchise.

As far as media corporations being ‘private enterprises’ and therefore free to demolish the freedom of speech (even censoring major media players, like Infowars, simply because they whistle to a different political tune), that is quickly becoming revealed as nothing more than corporate cover for state-sponsored machinations.

“In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship,” writes Caitlin Johnstone. “Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government.”

Meanwhile, it cannot be denied, from the perspective of an impartial observer, that the mainstream media is nearly always positioned to promote the government narrative on any number of significant issues. From the media’s unanimous and uncritical clamoring that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 (even the FBI has admitted it has no “hard evidence” that bin Laden carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon), to its gung-ho enthusiasm for the 2003 Iraq War, to the sycophantic cheerleading for a war in Syria, the examples of media toeing the government line are legion. And if US intel is in bed with Hollywood you can be damn sure they’re spending time in the MSM whorehouse as well.

Is it any surprise, then, that public trust in the US media is reaching all-time lows, while news consumers are increasingly looking to alternative news sites – themselves under relentless attack – to get some semblance of the elusive truth, which is the God-given right of any man? Truth is our due, and we should demand nothing less.

As Thomas Paine reminded the world in the face of a different foe: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

SYRIA: The Emerging Reality of the U.S Coalition Regime Change War – On the Ground Reporting

Life and food return to Douma after liberation by SAA from Saudi-backed, UK-promoted Jaish Al Islam terrorists. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)
By David Macilwain | 21st Century Wire | August 20, 2018

The withdrawal of US coalition support for “rebels” in Syria, portrayed as a failure to achieve noble and humanitarian goals by Western governments and media, should rather be seen as an admission of guilt. The rescuing of violent militants and “White Helmets” from Southern Syria by Israeli forces actually marked the failure of the covert project to forcibly replace Syria’s legitimate government with one of NATO’s choice, regardless of the democratic will and lives of the Syrian people.

Before we can ask “what if?” about the war on Syria, as Ramesh Thakur does in “The Strategist”, republished here on P&I, we need to understand what actually happened during the Western-sponsored seven-year long assault on the Syrian state, as seen from the perspective of those on the receiving end of this attack. Now that the Syrian Arab Army and its allies are finally prevailing in their defence of the country and its citizens, it is also time for Western commentators to stop repeating the same vapid accusations against the Syrian President, and instead start making accusations against their own “mis-leaders”.

Rather it appears that many in the West are entrenching their opposition to the Syrian government at the same time as millions of Syrians are confirming their support for it, and the armies that have fought off their enemies’ chosen alternative.

Ramesh Thakur’s partisan view on the “Syrian civil war” and the benign nature of the West’s intimate involvement in it is evidently shared by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and – one would imagine – by many of those in public office who act on its advice. The same innocence could not be assumed for ASPI sponsors, – defence contractors Lockheed Martin and Thales – who profit from that advice, nor presumably for Australian Intelligence agencies and their overseers in the government.

Back in May, and only weeks after the latest US/UK/French missile attack on Syria, I visited Damascus with my partner, and was able to verify the essential truth of reports from Syrian sources on the situation there, both in regard to the recent campaign to liberate Eastern Ghouta from armed militants, and more generally through personal contact with Syrians.

What we found however was both surprising and heartening; here was a country full of hope and passion, finally celebrating its imminent victory against one of the vilest and most devious enemies in history, led and supported by the most powerful and determined regimes in the world, including our own. Despite the harrowing cost to Syrian society, with over 80,000 regular Syrian soldiers killed, the people were strengthened and united behind their defence forces and their President.

In the seemingly endless fight against foreign-backed and foreign-armed insurgents, every Syrian now has a friend, relative or partner who has “died for his country”, killed, injured or tortured by these “barbarian invaders”. Even in Damascus an estimated 11,000 innocent people have been killed by “rebel” mortars and sniper fire from nearby suburbs.

Visiting a Government camp for the displaced residents of those same rebel-occupied Eastern suburbs of Damascus – Eastern Ghouta – brought home to us what this really means. The people sheltered and fed there – 15,000 in mid-May – had many stories to tell of the years they were held under siege in their communities by the violent militants of Jaish al Islam and Faylaq al Rahman, as well as of the behaviour of the so-called “White Helmets” who worked hand in hand with these terrorist groups. My colleague Vanessa Beeley, who visited the same camp a week earlier and conducted many interviews with Douma and Hamouriya residents has written comprehensively on their experiences; alone her report utterly condemns and exposes the lies and misinformation to which Australian and Western audiences have been subject on the “siege of Eastern Ghouta” and its denouement in the criminal Douma “gas attack” provocation.

Beeley had already exposed the incriminating truth of the previous US alliance campaign over East Aleppo, and the cooperation between the US/UK supported White Helmets and Al Qaeda that effectively prevented the city’s liberation for months in 2016.

It was likely at that point that Russia concluded that the US administration was “non-agreement-capable”, – a situation little altered by the subsequent change of US leadership. Progress towards a resolution of the conflict – in Astana – was then only made because the US was excluded, along with those Opposition groups that refused any compromise with the Assad government.

It is the nature of these Opposition groups, still supported by Western powers including Australia as some legitimate alternative to Syrians’ choice of government, which continues to elude most Western commentators. These groups were cultivated primarily by the Saudis, and reflect their extremist Wahhabi vision of ideal government as well as being associated with the worst terrorist groups operating in Syria. Had he not suffered a timely demise at the hands of Syrian security forces, the notorious terrorist and former leader of Jaish al Islam Zahran Alloush would have been in the running for Syria’s new leadership.

It is in this context that we ask “what if?” the Syrian government had been forcibly replaced by one of the West’s choosing; it belies both the intentions and the actions of the NATO – Saudi – Gulf state coalition, who ploughed billions in arms and support to these very immoderate groups to achieve their own objectives – which had nothing whatsoever to do with “humanitarian intervention” or “democratic reforms”.

By contrast, what actually happened in Syria, and in the main stronghold of Jaish al Islam in Douma, was all too easy to see on the ground. Our visit to Douma hospital, scene of the White Helmets’ most recent criminal fabrication, proved shocking even with what we already knew about the situation. Their claims of a chemical weapon attack, and staged “water-hosing” treatment for its alleged victims in the hospital’s emergency ward, continue to be endorsed by Western commentators like Thakur as well as governments, NGOs and the UN, despite being comprehensively exposed as false.

This remains the case even following the testimony of supposed gas victims seen in the staged video, brought to the Hague by Russia, and the findings of the OPCW showing no presence of chemical weapons residues at the site.

Many commentators have evidently now become impregnable bastions of the false Syrian chemical weapons narrative spread by their governments; in a previous article while discussing the Khan Shaikoun “gas attack” a year earlier, Ramesh Thakur quite wrongly concludes that the Syrian government was proven responsible.

While he cites the UNHRC and the UN-OPCW “evidence” as endorsement of this position, both bodies actually relied on second hand information from Opposition sources only, and refused Syria’s invitation to visit and inspect the Shayrat airbase from which they claimed the chemical weapons had come. Their duplicity was exposed when the US coalition sought to reinforce the mandate for the JIM at the Security Council over the Douma incident; Russia rightly vetoed this clearly disingenuous proposal.

In fact there was nothing for such a commission to investigate in Douma, as Russian and Syrian investigators had already found no toxic chemicals at the alleged site, and hospital staff denied knowledge of any such attack. But what proved really shocking to see at Douma hospital was the sophistication and extent of the tunnel system built beneath it. Canadian investigative journalist Eva Bartlett, who visited Douma just before we did, posted this article that includes video of her exploration of this extraordinary tunnel system, as well as corroborating interviews about the fabricated chemical weapons stories from many residents. The tunnel network not only allowed the armed militants of Jaish al Islam and Al Qaeda – along with their White Helmeted “partners” – to enter and take over the hospital whenever they wished, but protected them from Syrian and Russian bombs.

The belief amongst Syrians that these jihadist/terrorist groups were being assisted by foreign Special Forces, not just in constructing and equipping the tunnel system but in directing and coordinating the “underground resistance” was confirmed during the final evacuation of the Douma “jihadists” on buses to Northern Syria; special forces from Britain, Turkey and other countries were reportedly apprehended trying to escape with them. The MOD naturally denied this collusion, but events in Southern Syria last month, when hundreds of foreign fighters and White Helmets were “rescued” by their closest local ally Israel, seem to confirm and reinforce the Russian and Syrian claims.

While the Syrian people are remarkably forgiving, and focused on recovery and reconciliation within their own territory, few would not now lay blame for the death and devastation inflicted on the fabric of their society at the feet of the US-led coalition – of which Australia has been an integral part. Responsibility for the countless atrocities committed by the hundreds of violent sectarian militias, including Al Qaeda and Da’esh/Islamic State, lies squarely with those countries who conspired to assist them with rivers of weaponry and a tide of propaganda, like – in Trump’s words – “the world has never seen”; this was a conspiracy that began long before the “uprising” of March 2011.

Those who ignore the Syrian reality – that stares in the face of those who deign to look – and so allow this mountain of lies to remain even as another Western regime-change scheme gets under way, should also now prepare their defence; ignorance can no longer be an excuse.

***

David Macilwain is an independent observer and writer with a special focus on the war on Syria and its allies. He writes voluntarily for Russia Insider and the American Herald Tribune, from his home in the hills of NE Victoria. He visited Syria in May independently and at his own expense.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The UK’s Prime Minister-in-Waiting Must Zap the Circling Sharks

Nice-guy Jeremy Corbyn needs to get mean

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 17, 2018

“Don’t argue, do as we say!” Confronted with that attitude many of us would simply slam the door. Like me, you’re probably sick to death with the unedifying spectacle of Britain’s Labour Party being bullied by the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a handful of Labour MPs to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in full, with not one jot or tittle left out no matter how silly, and to make it a cornerstone of the party’s code of conduct.

And you’ll know by now that the IHRA definition is deeply flawed. It lacks the two important caveats recommended by the Home Office Select Committee and has been slammed by legal experts because it collides head-on with everyone’s right to freedom of expression. Corbyn resists it presumably because of the nightmare consequences of adopting it without sensible modification.

Yes, the Conservative Government accepted the definition without the caveats. It is claimed that 80% of Conservative MPs and MEPs are signed up Friends of Apartheid Israel so they happily do as they are told. The fun will come when they try to use it to punish people.

The acrimony between Labour’s wise heads and its dumb-asses is eagerly stoked by our venomous mainstream media. Take this gem, an editorial from The Independent

“Mr. Corbyn needs to accept the IHRA definition in full, with all its examples, if he is to start to regain the trust of not just Jews but of all those genuinely opposed, as he so often claims to be, to all forms of racism.

“Three weeks ago, The Independent said that the row over the IHRA definition had gone on too long. That it is still going on is testament to the Labour leader’s stubbornness, which some of his supporters’ mistake for strength.

“Unless Mr. Corbyn does the right thing, and quickly, they will find out what kind of weakness it really is.”

Mr. Corbyn doesn’t “need to accept” anything of the sort. In the same editorial, The Independent says that the Labour Party’s failure to define anti-Semitism in a way that commands the confidence of most British Jews “is extraordinary”. But what about the non-Jew majority? Shouldn’t it be acceptable to them? The row is still going on because the Jewish lobby frantically insists their opinion is the only one that matters and they’re ramming it down Labour’s throat. They should know by now that people in this country don’t take kindly to being bossed around like that. Besides, Corbyn has the confidence and support of many Jewish groups. Too bad for the Jewish Establishment if they are the ‘wrong’ sort of Jews.

This IHRA example of anti-Semitism – ‘Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’ – illustrates how stupid the argument has become. Leaving it out of the party’s code of conduct, says The Independent, is “a critical omission”. Really? It has been obvious for more than 100 years that the Israel Project is a racist endeavour. Why deny it when Israel has just passed new racist laws to legitimise Jewish supremacy?

The claptrap from The Independent is typical of the torrent of idiotic stuff mainstream outlets are now vomiting all over the public. No use moaning, though; we’re saddled with mainstream and Corbyn’s media strategists must get a grip on it. But they don’t even provide news feeds or briefings to sympathetic ‘alternative’ media sites. The editor of a very successful one tells me he receives nothing from Labour and knows no-one who does.

Assault on humanitarian mission “of insufficient editorial merit” says BBC

While the mainstream, including the BBC, have been sticking the knife into Corbyn, none of them (as far as I’m aware) reported a much more serious outrage – the hijacking by Israeli Occupation Forces of two vessels heading for Gaza and the violent assault, abduction and imprisonment of the 34 people from 12 countries who were on board – one of them a British consultant from the famous ‘Barts’ Hospital in London.

The two boats, ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’, were in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza when raided by Israeli warships and forced into an Isreali port, say the organizers. During their unlawful detention the crew, participants, and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence. “The captain of Al-Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

“They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.”

There’s a mainstream media blackout on this story in the UK. The BBC, replying to a complaint, implied that piracy on the high seas against a mercy ship bound for stricken Gaza with a British surgeon (Dr. Swee Ang) onboard had insufficient editorial merit; but never mind, we can all “be assured there is no ulterior motive” in the state broadcaster’s decision not to run it.

Dr. Swee emailed me: “I managed to get a CT of my chest confirming that I have two rib fractures. They are still painful but I am coping. Wonder if you got my interview on Russian TV?”

So it is left to the likes of RT to report the sickening truth. And if it doesn’t make our Israel-loving MPs and ministers squirm I don’t know what will.

Meanwhile, Dr. Swee’s written account of what happened appeared in several ‘alternative’ news outlets. One of these, Redress Information & Analysis, attracted 28,000 views overnight. Within a few days, the score had rocketed to an editorially insufficient 100,000.

Did Britain collude with Israel to thwart the mercy mission?

Why isn’t Corbyn taking the heat off himself by blasting Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary for not reacting to Israel’s piracy against unarmed humanitarian boats on the high seas? What has the Government done to retrieve their possessions and obtain compensation after failing to protect an important British citizen from appalling treatment by May’s Israeli ‘friends’? Has ambassador Regev been summoned and given a severe dressing-down? Have the 114 boxes of medical supplies destined for Gaza been released to Gaza?

And what gives the Israelis the right to confiscate the boats at least one of which was intended as a gift to the Gazans?

The other day in Parliament Lord Ahmed submitted this Written Question (HL9824): “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the safety of British humanitarian workers travelling to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla; and what responses they have received to any such representations.”

Lord Ahmad (different guy) answered: “On 30 July, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv sought consular access from the Israeli authorities to a British national who was detained aboard the flotilla that was travelling to Gaza. This access was granted. Embassy officials also discussed the travelling flotilla with the Israeli authorities on 6 June. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza).”

“Including the waters off Gaza”? Isn’t he referring to international waters where neutral civilian vessels are entitled to free passage under the UN Conventional on the Law of the Seas? Shouldn’t unarmed aid boats, which pose no threat to anyone, be able sail international waters unmolested and claim ‘innocent passage’ in accordance with that same Law when they enter territorial waters? Is the Law of the Seas now dead? Is Britain no longer committed to keeping the sea lanes open to innocent shipping? Why is the UN not upholdings its own Convention?

And if, as Lord Ahmad says, our embassy was discussing the aid flotilla with Israel nearly 2 months before the hijacking, what were they talking about? Were they, by any chance, colluding to thwart this mercy mission? I think we are entitled to know. And Corbyn and his shadow ministers ought to be on the rampage.

Anti-Semitic remarks pale into insignificance alongside Israel’s violent acts against this and earlier humanitarian missions, on one occasion resulting in the murder of 10 people. Yet Corbyn’s media people are fast asleep. He was struggling yesterday when an over-persistent TV reporter nagged him mercilessly about his presence at a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia before he became Labour leader. He had already answered the question to the point of boredom several times but was too polite to tell her to change the subject or piss off.

On top of that, he’s had to put up with terror chief and mass murderer Netanyahu using our mainstream media to intrude into UK politics by tweeting: “The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.” Actually, Corbyn didn’t compare Israel to Nazis and was attending a Tunisian government-organised conference which included a memorial for those killed in a horrific Israeli air strike (on Tunisian territory) back in 1985. The funny side is that this uncalled-for meddling by a universally despised slimeball like Netanyahu has probably done Corbyn no harm at all, popularity-wise.

Let’s debate the S-word (Semitism)

But Corbyn clearly has a problem with his spin doctors and media team who should by now have deflected the orchestrated slurs and turned the tables on his detractors. He’d do well to bring on board sharper PR skills and public affairs know-how before it’s too late.

And as the S-word has been weaponised and tossed around so indiscriminately, it’s time Semitism was publicly debated, turned inside out and examined more closely. The point is that hardly any of the Jews who claim Palestine is theirs and theirs only, such as Netanyahu and most of his gang, have ancestral links to Biblical Israel. Research has established, ironically, that the real Semites are the indigenous people of the Holy Land including – and especially – the Palestinians.

Perhaps Corbyn, when next accused of anti-Semitism, should simply say: “It’s hostility towards Palestinians that is anti-Semitic. As you know, the Labour Party doesn’t tolerate anti-Semitism. Good day.”

And slam the door.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CNN Español uses photo of pro-government rally in report about protest against Nicaraguan president

Supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega “expressing their rejection of Daniel Ortega’s government,” according to CNN © Inti Ocon / AFP
RT | August 17, 2018

CNN’s Spanish-language site used an easily-identifiable photograph of a pro-government rally in a report detailing a protest against Nicaragua’s president, sparking accusations of propaganda peddling and sloppy journalism.

CNN Español tweeted out a video report on August 15 about Nicaraguans “returning to the streets to express their rejection of [President] Daniel Ortega’s government,” accompanied by a photograph of a large pro-government rally that took place several days prior.

The odd choice of photograph is particularly curious because it’s difficult to imagine how the marchers could be mistaken as anti-government. A red-and-black Sandinista flag is clearly visible in the background, and some demonstrators are even seen wearing red-and-black bandanas over their mouths. The Sandinista National Liberation Front – or FSLN – is the democratic socialist political party headed by Ortega.

“There is a flag of the FSLN in the picture. This is a PRO-government demonstration, absurd propaganda,” US journalist Ben Norton tweeted at the news site in Spanish.

Although the photograph appears to have been updated to more accurately reflect the story’s content, it’s still being used for an audio version of the video posted to the news channel’s Soundcloud account.

CNN Español’s audio report about an anti-government protest in Nicaragua continues to feature a photograph of a large pro-government rally

The erroneous tweet – which CNN has yet to delete – has been bombarded by hundreds of angry comments.

The CNN report comes amid months of civil unrest in Nicaragua, with more than 100 people having been killed in what has been characterized as a US-backed effort to overthrow the government.

“We have always wanted to have normal relations with the US but we see only aggression in return,” Ortega said in an exclusive interview with RT Spanish earlier this month.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Fake News | , | 1 Comment

US Senate Intel Chairman to Former CIA Chief: Put Up or Shut Up About Collusion

Sputnik – 17.08.2018

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) had some choice words for security credential-deprived former CIA Director John Brennan. In a statement on Thursday, Burr essentially told Brennan to put up or shut up on the topic of Trump-Russia collusion.

“Russian denials are, in a word, hogwash,” Brennan wrote on Thursday in the New York Times’ opinion section. “Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.”

The former top brass at the CIA had his security clearance revoked by President Trump on Wednesday over what the White House called “risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.”

Burr fired back swiftly, saying, “Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power.” If Brennan “has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times,” he said.

Burr wondered whether the former chief spy’s assertion was based on intelligence he received while still working at the CIA. If so, “Why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017?” the senator wondered.

Moreover, would leaking intelligence assessments not constitute disclosure of classified information pertaining to an ongoing investigation, one must wonder?

On the other hand, if Brennan got the supposed information after leaving the CIA, “it constitutes an intelligence breach,” Burr wrote.

Lastly, Burr addressed the possibility that Brennan had no inside information at all. “If, however, Director Brennan’s statement is purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch,” the chairman concluded.

The CIA once spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee “at the behest of” Brennan, according to the New York Times. Brennan had previously said that those claiming the CIA had hacked the committee “will be proved wrong” Brennan told the Council on Foreign Relations. Burr has sat on the committee since 2007 and has chaired it since 2015.

Almost all of the former director’s 51 tweets are about Trump — or in response to a Trump policy — or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Why You Shouldn’t Read The Independent Even If You Want To – #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | August 15, 2018

Just kidding. Of course you should read and gain information from a wide variety of sources, including those you disagree with. Just don’t dare tell The Independent that, because they’re here to pester you into only ever trusting the MSM and government sources. Join James for this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch where he breaks down the latest attempt to stamp out anti-establishment WrongThink.

SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=27696

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , | Leave a comment

Reality Check: U.S. Can Legally Propagandize Its Own Citizens

Ben Swann | August 14, 2018

The head of the NSA says that the United States is engaged in a war of “weaponized information” with China and Russia… but what about the fact that it is legal for the U.S. government to propagandize its own people? Lets give it a Reality Check.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Saudi-US Propaganda by PBS NewsHour in Houthi-held Yemen

By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | July 24, 2018

One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen’s war has pushed it to the brink of famine. A Saudi blockade has slowed the flow of food and helped push prices up. Markets and businesses are ruined from airstrikes. Millions are destitute. Special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across front lines to report on what’s happening inside the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

— PBS NewsHour summary, July 2, 2018

This is what American tax-supported propaganda looks like when an organization like the PBS NewsHour wants to maintain a semblance of credibility while lying through its intimidated teeth. Yes, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, long dependent on imported food and other life support. But to say “Yemen’s war” is major league deceit, and PBS surely knows the truth: that the war on Yemen is American-backed, initiated – illegally – in March 2015 by a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE (United Arab Emirates). The US/Saudi war is genocidal, creating famine and a cholera epidemic for military purposes. These are American and Arab war crimes that almost no one wants to acknowledge, much less confront.

The “Saudi blockade” is also a US Navy blockade. The blockade is a war crime. Starving civilians is a war crime.

The most amazing sentence is: “Markets and businesses are ruined from airstrikes.” Seems rather bland. But this is a tacit admission of more war crimes – Saudi bombing of civilian businesses, as well as civilian hospitals, weddings, and funerals. But PBS makes it sound like the airstrikes sort of come out of nowhere, like the rain. PBS omits the American culpability that makes the airstrikes possible: mid-air refueling, targeting support, intelligence sharing, and the rest. Think of Guernica, the fascist bombing of civilians that inspired Picasso’s painting. Now think of Guernica lasting three years. That’s what the US has supported in Yemen and that’s what PBS helps cover up.

Yes, “Millions are destitute,” and yes, this is “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” But an honest news organization might go on to note that the destitution and the disaster are deliberate results of the world’s most relentless war crime.

From a journalistic perspective, getting the perky blonde reporter Jane Ferguson into northern Yemen, where the Houthis have been in control since 2014, is an accomplishment of note. There has been little firsthand reporting from Houthi Yemen, where the worst war crimes have been committed and the worst suffering continues. Ferguson’s presence was certainly an opportunity for serious independent reporting. PBS didn’t allow that. Based on no persuasive evidence, PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff framed the report as coming from “territory held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.” There is no credible evidence of meaningful Iranian support for the Houthis. To believe there is, one has to believe the Iranians are consistently getting through the US-Saudi blockade. PBS ignores such realities, as do most Washington policy-makers. Woodruff does acknowledge in her weaselly way that it’s “a brutal war that the United States is supporting through a Saudi-led coalition,” which is still a long way from the truth that it’s a genocidal bombing campaign made possible by the US.

Reporter Ferguson adds to the distraction by focusing on the poverty and suffering as if they came from nowhere:

Life is slipping away from Maimona Shaghadar. She suffers the agony of starvation in silence. No longer able to walk or talk, at 11 years old, little Maimona’s emaciated body weighs just 24 pounds. Watching over her is older brother Najib, who brought her to this remote hospital in Yemen, desperate to get help. The nurses here fight for the lives of children who are starving….

You were never supposed to see these images of Maimona. A blockade of rebel-held Northern Yemen stops reporters from getting here. Journalists are not allowed on flights into the area. No cameras, no pictures.

That last bit of self-dramatization of the daring journalist glosses over a harsh reality: in addition to waging a genocidal war on a trapped population, the US-Saudi axis is also enforcing isolation and censorship on the victim population. It is a US-Saudi blockade that keeps reporters out, preventing firsthand reporting of endless war crimes. Who says? Jane Ferguson says:

The Houthis cautiously welcomed me in and, once I was there, watched me closely.

Ferguson’s coverage of the hunger and starvation is heart-wrenching, journalism at its most moving but least informative. She frames her narrative falsely:

In the midst of political chaos in Yemen after the Arab Spring, Houthi rebels from the north captured the capital, Sanaa, in 2014, before sweeping south and causing the country’s then president to flee. Neighboring Sunni, Saudi Arabia, views the Houthis, from a Yemeni sect close to Shia Islam and backed by rival Iran, as an unacceptable threat along their border.

Political chaos is Yemen is decades if not centuries old, often fomented by the Saudis and other outside powers. The Houthis have been there for thousands of years (as Ferguson later acknowledges) and their dispute with the Saudis is ancient and territorial. The Houthis’ religion is independent. The influence of Iran is largely a Saudi night-fright made increasingly real by the war the Saudis say is supposed to stop Iran. This is contrary to the official story. Ferguson does not acknowledge it.

Ferguson pitches the second part of her three-part series, deceitfully understating American responsibility for the carnage. She doesn’t mention that the war would not have started without a US green light, saying only:

But there is a role played by the U.S. military, one that is sort of more passively behind, not quite as visible. And so we’re going to be looking at that role.

This is the official position of the Pentagon, which has claimed the US is not involved in combat in Yemen. The US role that is “more passively behind, not quite so visible” is still crucial to killing Yemenis on a daily basis. The war on Yemen began with US blessing and continues only because of US political, logistical, and materiel support. Jane Ferguson begins this segment with a reasonably accurate albeit morally numb description:

Inside rebel territory in Yemen, the war rains down from the sky. On the ground, front lines have not moved much in the past three years of conflict. Instead, an aerial bombing campaign by the Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the country’s north….

Treating war crimes against defenseless people as a kind of natural disaster is barren of journalistic integrity and gives the war criminals a pass when they need calling out. Ferguson goes on in her antiseptic, no-one’s-responsible manner to illustrate the killing of civilians and the destruction of civilian facilities, including a Doctors Without Borders cholera clinic. She also documents US-made weaponry, including an array of unexploded bombs and a collection of cluster bombs. She doesn’t mention that cluster bombs are banned by most of the world and constitute a war crime in themselves. She does note that cluster bombs often wound civilians, then follows this fact with the gratuitously propagandistic comment: “The Houthis have also targeted civilians, throwing anyone suspected of opposing them in jail.” She has no follow-up, leaving the audience with a false moral equivalence between blowing off a child’s arm and throwing someone in jail. But it gets worse. Ferguson later gets off this political judo move:

Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”

What does that even mean, “go by the slogan ‘Death to America’?” Again Ferguson has no follow-up. Later she shows a crowd chanting “Death to America” as if that has relevance. Why wouldn’t the defenseless victims wish death on the country that murders them without surcease? The main purpose of introducing “Death to America” (with all its Iran-hostage resonance) seems propagandistic, to inflame American audiences that remain in denial about their own very real war guilt. American-supported bombing of Yemen is a fact. It is, quite literally, “Death to Yemen.” For Ferguson to call it a “strong propaganda tool” is a Big Lie in classic propaganda tradition. For PBS to broadcast this lie is to engage in propaganda. PBS and Ferguson not only blame the victim, they characterize their very real victimization as if it weren’t true but mere propaganda. At the end of the segment, Ferguson once again engages in false moral equivalence:

Both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition have disregarded innocent civilian life in this war. Every bomb that falls on a hospital, office building or home causes more unease about where they come from.

While it may well be true that “both sides” have killed or wounded civilians, there is absolutely no comparison in scale. The US-Saudi coalition comprises mass murderers; the Houthis don’t come close. “Every bomb that falls,” Ferguson should have said, is dropped by the US-Saudi side on the Houthi side. There is no doubt where the bombs come from.

In her third and last PBS segment, Ferguson foregoes any effort to explore the reality of hundreds of years of Houthi-Saudi territorial conflict. Instead, she goes to bed with US propaganda, opening with a crowd of Yemenis chanting “Death to America” and then stating:

These rebels, known as Houthis, seized control of Sanaa City and much of the north of the country in 2014. They are of Yemen’s Zaydi sect and closest to Shia Islam. Their growing power caused alarm across the border in Sunni Saudi Arabia, so the Saudis formed a coalition of Arab countries to defeat them, a coalition backed by the United States.

This is so twisted it amounts to intellectual fraud. Yemen has a long, tortured history of foreign interference. In the years before 2014, Yemen served (without much choice) as a base for US drone bases. At the same time, the international community imposed a Saudi puppet as Yemen’s president (presently in exile in Saudi Arabia). In 2014, the Houthi uprising, widely popular among Yemen’s 28 million people, drove out both the US drone bases and the Saudi puppet president. The Houthis represented something like Yemeni independence, which the US, Saudis, and others opposed with lethal force.

US support for the war in Yemen constitutes an impeachable offense for two American presidents. So do continuing drone strikes, also known as presidential assassinations. The war began because President Obama approved it and the Saudis were willing to bomb a defenseless population. But according to Ferguson:

The Saudis and the United States say the Houthis are puppets for Tehran, a proxy form of Iranian military power right on Saudi Arabia’s doorstep.

This is real propaganda. There is no evidence that the Houthis are anyone’s puppets (which is one reason they need to be oppressed). Historically, the Houthis are an oppressed people who keep rising up again and again to re-establish their own freedom and independence. There is no credible evidence of significant Iranian presence in Yemen. PBS and Ferguson certainly present none, and neither have the US or Saudi governments. American demonization of Iran has been a fixed idea since 1979, rooted in two psychopathologies: American unwillingness to accept responsibility for imposing a police state on Iran and American inability to see the hostage-taking of 1979 as a rational response to past American predation. American exceptionalism is a sickness that punishes others, currently millions of innocent Yemenis.

Ferguson concludes her series with a dishonest use of journalistic balance, first with a quote from Senator Bernie Sanders arguing that the US role in the Yemen war is unconstitutional. Rather than assess that straightforward argument, Ferguson turns to an Idaho Republican, Senator James Reich, who offers fairy dust and lies:

The Iranians are in there and they are causing the difficulty that’s there. If the Iranians would back off, I have no doubt that the Saudis will back off. But the Saudis have the absolute right to defend themselves.

Imaginary Iranians aren’t there now and they weren’t there when the Saudis attacked in 2015. No one attacked Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are not defending themselves, they are waging aggressive war.

By balancing these quotes, Ferguson creates yet another false moral equivalence. There is no meaningful equivalence between Bernie Sanders challenging the president’s right to take the country to war on his own and James Reich using a lie to defend war-making that disregards Congress. PBS should be ashamed. Jane Ferguson offers a fig leaf with another quote from Bernie Sanders:

I don’t know that I have ever participated in a vote which says that the United States must be an ally to Saudi’s militaristic ambitions. This is a despotic regime which treats women as third-class citizens. There are no elections there. They have their own goals and their own ambitions.*

All this is true, but Ferguson has no follow up. Instead she again offers spurious analysis: “American support for Saudi Arabia is a major propaganda tool for the Houthis.” No, it’s not. American support for the Saudis is not propaganda, it’s a lethal reality for the Houthis and a crime against humanity for the world. Ferguson completes her piece with a soppy lament for civilian victims, as if no one is responsible for their suffering. That’s one last lie. There are many people responsible for the horror in Yemen today and leading the list is the US-Saudi coalition. It doesn’t take much intelligence to see that, but apparently it takes more courage than PBS has to report the obvious.

*[Yet Sanders campaigned on using Saudi troops to depose Syria’s legitimate and secular government – Aletho News ]

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

BBC Caught Cherry-Picking Anti-Privacy Computer Scientists for Segment

Sputnik – 15.08.2018

The BBC was caught red-handed engaging in manipulation after it declined to invite a potential guest for a segment on computer security, turning the expert down because he refused to state why it would be a good idea to put “back-doors” into cryptographic systems.

When “the UK Home Secretary outlined her plans around restrictions on end-to-end encryption, I was called by the BBC about back-doors in cryptography. As it is a subject I know well, and had even presented to a select committee in the House of Commons, I said I would be interested in debating the issue. They then they asked if I could put forward the concept of backdoors in encryption, and I said: ‘I can’t do that!'” professor Bill Buchanan of Edinburgh Napier University said in a Monday Medium post.

​BBC’s producers then pressed the professor on the grounds that they were “really struggling” to find someone to make the case in favor of back-doors.

Buchanan was willing to offer his expertise here, explaining to BBC: “Well, most people with any technical knowledge know that it is a bad thing, and to provide an academic point of view I would have to be critical of it. In fact if I put forward the concept of back-doors in cryptography, I would have no credibility in my field.”

He said that BBC declined to invite him onto its show after his response ended the conversation.

What was BBC’s real motivation for pre-interviewing the computer scientist? “Basically I was there to back-up a politician who was on the show,” he demurred.

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

‘Too Big to Fail’: Russia-gate One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | August 13, 2018

A year has passed since highly credentialed intelligence professionals produced the first hard evidence that allegations of mail theft and other crimes attributed to Russia rested on purposeful falsification and subterfuge. The initial reaction to these revelations—a firestorm of frantic denial—augured ill, and the time since has fulfilled one’s worst expectations. One year later we live within an institutionalized proscription of proven reality. Our discourse consists of a series of fence posts and taboos. By any detached measure, this lands us in deep, serious trouble. The sprawl of what we call “Russia-gate” now brings our republic and its institutions to a moment of great peril—the gravest since the McCarthy years and possibly since the Civil War. No, I do not consider this hyperbole.

Much has happened since Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity published its report on intrusions into the Democratic Party’s mail servers on Consortium News on July 24 last year. Parts of the intelligence apparatus—by no means all or even most of it—have issued official “assessments” of Russian culpability. Media have produced countless multi-part “investigations,” “special reports,” and what-have-yous that amount to an orgy of faulty syllogisms. Robert Mueller’s special investigation has issued two sets of indictments that, on scrutiny, prove as wanting in evidence as the notoriously flimsy intelligence “assessment” of January 6, 2017.

Indictments are not evidence and do not need to contain evidence. That is supposed to come out at trail, which is very unlikely to ever happen. Nevertheless, the corporate media has treated the indictments as convictions.

Numerous sets of sanctions against Russia, individual Russians, and Russian entities have been imposed on the basis of this great conjuring of assumption and presumption. The latest came last week, when the Trump administration announced measures in response to the alleged attempt to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal, a former double agent and his daughter, in England last March. No evidence proving responsibility in the Skripal case has yet been produced. This amounts to our new standard. It prompted a reader with whom I am in regular contact to ask, “How far will we allow our government to escalate against others without proof of anything?”

This is a very good question.

Cover of 2001 book that looks at an earlier era of anti-Russia hysteria

There have been many attempts to discredit VIPS50 as the group’s document is called. There has been much amateurish journalism, false reporting, misrepresentation, distortion, misquotation, and omission. We have been treated to much shoddy science, attempts at character assassination, a great deal of base name-calling, and much else. Russia is routinely advanced as the greatest threat to democracy Americans now face. Is there any denying that we live amid an induced hysteria now comparable to the “Red under every bed” period of the 1950s?

None of this has altered the basic case. VIPS and forensic scientists working with it have continued their investigations. New facts, some of which alter conclusions drawn last year, have come to light, and these are to be addressed. But the basic evidence that Russia-gate is a false narrative concocted by various constituents of national power stands, difficult as this is to discern. Scrape back all that is ethically unacceptable and unscrupulously conveyed into the public sphere and you find that nothing has changed: No one “hacked” the Democratic party’s mail in the summer of 2016. It was leaked locally, from what one can make out, to expose the party leadership’s corrupt efforts to sink Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign to win the Democratic nomination.

But in another, very profound way, more has changed since VIPS50 was published than one could have imagined a year ago. American discourse has descended to a dangerous level of irrationality. The most ordinary standards of evidentiary procedure are forgone. Many of our key institutions—the foreign policy apparatus, the media, key intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, the political leadership—are now extravagantly committed to a narrative none appears able to control. The risk of self-inflicted damage these institutions assume, should the truth of the Russia-gate events emerge—as one day it surely will—is nearly incalculable. This is what inspires my McCarthy and Civil War references. Russia-gate, in a phrase, has become too big to fail.

This column is an attack on no one. However it may be read, it is not intended as another round of vituperative argument adding to the din and fog we already suffer daily. No shred of ideology informs it. I write a lament—this for all we have done to ourselves and our institutions this past year, and to the prospect of an orderly world, and for all that must somehow be done to repair the damage once enough of us indeed recognize what has been done.

New VIPS Findings

Binney: Dares anyone to prove remote speeds

The forensic scientists working with VIPS continued their research and experiments after VIPS50 was published. So have key members of the VIPS group, notably William Binney, the National Security Agency’s former technical director for global analysis and designer of programs the agency still uses to monitor internet traffic. Such work continues as we speak, indeed. This was always the intent: “Evidence to date” was the premise of VIPS50. Over the past year there have been confirmations of the original thesis and some surprises that alter secondary aspects of it. Let us look at the most significant of these findings.

At the time I reported on the findings of VIPS and associated forensic scientists, that the most fundamental evidence that the events of summer 2016 constituted a leak, not a hack, was the transfer rate—the speed at which data was copied. The speed proven then was an average of 22.7 megabytes per second. That speed matches what is standard when someone with physical access uses an external storage device to copy data from a computer or server and is much faster than a remote hack reliant on an internet service provider could achieve—either at the time or since, Binney has found.

Binney experimented into the autumn. By mid-autumn he had tested several routes—from East Coast locations to cities in eastern Europe, from New Jersey to London. The fastest internet transfer speed achieved, during the New Jersey–to–Britain test, was 12.0 megabytes of data per second. Since this time it has emerged from G-2.0’s metadata that the detected average speed—the 22.7 megabytes per second—included peak speeds that ran as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, impossible over the internet. “You’d need a dedicated, leased, 400–megabit line all the way to Russia to achieve that result,” Binney said in a recent interview.

To my knowledge, no one with an understanding of the science involved, including various former skeptics, any longer questions the validity of the specific finding based on the observed transfer rate. That remains the bedrock evidence of the case VIPS and others advance without qualification. No one—including the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA—has come out against this finding,” Binney said Monday. “Anyone who says the speed we demonstrated can be achieved remotely, our position is ‘Let’s see it. We’ll help any way we can.’ There hasn’t been anyone yet.”

There is also the question of where and when leaks were executed. Research into this has turned out differently.

Evidence last year, based on analysis of the available metadata, showed that the copy operation date-stamped July 5, 2016, took place in the Eastern U.S. time zone. But Forensicator, one of the chief forensic investigators working on the mail-theft case anonymously, published evidence in May that, while there was activity in the Eastern zone at the time of that copy, here was also a copy operation in the Pacific time zone, where clocks run three hours earlier that EST. In an earlier publication he had also reported activity in the Central time zone.

Plainly, more was awaiting discovery as to the when and where of the copy operations. The identity of Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be a Romanian hacker but which the latest Mueller indictment claims is a construct of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, has never been proven. The question is what G–2.0 did with or to the data in question. It turns out that both more, and less, is known about G–2.0 than was thought to have been previously demonstrated. This work has been completed only recently. It was done by Binney in collaboration with Duncan Campbell, a British journalist who has followed the Russia-gate question closely.

Peak Speed Established

Binney visited Campbell in Brighton, England, early this past spring. They examined all the metadata associated with the files G–2.0 has made public. They looked at the number of files, the size of each, and the time stamps at the end of each. It was at this time that Binney and Campbell established the peak transfer rate at 49.1 megabytes per second.

But they discovered something else of significance, too. At some point G–2.0 had merged two sets of data, one dated July 5, 2016, which had been known, and another dated the following September 1, which had not been known. In essence, Campbell reverse-engineered G–2.0’s work: He took the sets of data G–2.0 presented as two and combined them back into one. “G–2.0 used an algorithm to make a downloaded file look like two files,” Binney explained. “Those two shuffled back together like a deck of cards.”

G–2.0 then took another step. Running another algorithm, he changed all the dates on all the files. With yet another algorithm, he changed the hours stamped on each file. These are called “range changes” among the professionals. The conclusion was then obvious: G–2.0 is a fabrication and a fabricator. Forensicator had already proven that the G–2.0 entity had inserted Russian “fingerprints” into the document known as the “Trump Opposition Report,” which he had published on June 15, 2016. It is clear that no firm conclusions can be drawn at this point as to when or where G–2.0 did what he did.

“Now you need to prove everything you might think about him,” Binney told me. “We have no way of knowing anything about him or what he has done, apart from manipulating the files. We detected activity in the Eastern time zone. Now we have to ask again, ‘Which time zone?’ The West Coast copy operation [discovered by Forensicator] has to be proven. All the data has been manipulated. It’s a fabrication.”

This throws various things into question. The conclusions initially drawn on time and location in VIPS50 are now subject to these recent discoveries. “In retrospect, giving ‘equal importance’ status to data pertaining to the locale was mistaken,” Ray McGovern, a prominent VIPS member, wrote in a recent note. “The key finding on transfer speed always dwarfed it in importance.”

The indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers announced in mid–July by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney-general, also come into question. They rest in considerable part on evidence derived from G–2.0 and DCLeaks, another online persona. How credible are those indictments in view of what is now known about G–2.0?

Binney told me: “Once we proved G–2.0 is a fabrication and a manipulator, the timing and location questions couldn’t be answered but really didn’t matter. I don’t right now see a way of absolutely proving either time or location. But this doesn’t change anything. We know what we know: The intrusion into the Democratic National Committee mail was a local download—wherever ‘local’ is.” That doesn’t change. As to Rosenstein, he’ll have a lot to prove.”

What Role does Evidence Play?

Rosenstein’s predicament—and there is no indication he understands it as one—brings us to an essential problem: What is the place of evidence in American public discourse? Of rational exchange?

The questions are germane far beyond the Russia-gate phenomenon, but it is there that answers are most urgent. What is implicit in the Rosenstein indictments has been evident everywhere in our public sphere for a year or more: Make a presumption supported by circumstantial evidence or none and build other presumptions upon it until a false narrative is constructed. The press has deployed this device for as long as I have been a practitioner: “Might” or “could” or “possibly” becomes “perhaps,” “probably” and “almost certainly,” and then moves on to unqualified fact in the course of, maybe, several weeks. Now this is how our most basic institutions—not least agencies of the Justice Department—routinely operate.

Rosenstein at the Department of Justice July 13, 2018 announcing indictments against 12 Russian GRU. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is what I mean when I refer to ours as a republic in peril.

There is the argument that certain things have been uncovered over the past year, and these are enough to conclude that Russia plots to undermine our democracy. I refer to the small number of Facebook advertisements attributed to Russians, to strings of Twitter messages, to various phishing exercises that occur thousands of times a day the world over. To be clear, I am no more satisfied with the evidence of Russian involvement in these cases than I am with the evidence in any other aspect of the Russia-gate case. But for the sake of argument, let us say it is all true.

Does this line up with the Russophobic hysteria—not too strong a term—that envelops us? Does this explain the astonishing investments our public institutions, the press, and leading political parties have made in advancing this hysteria as they did a variant of in the 1950s?

As global politics go, some serious thought should be given to a reality we have created all by ourselves: It is now likely that America has built a new Cold War division with Russia that will prove permanent for the next 20 to 30 years. All this because of some Facebook ads and Twitter threads of unproven origin? Am I the only one who sees a weird and worrisome gap between what we are intent on believing—as against thinking or knowing—and the consequences of these beliefs?

There was an orthodoxy abroad many centuries ago called Fideism. In the simplest terms, it means the privileging of faith and belief over reason. It was the enemy of individual conscience, among much else. Fideism has deep roots, but it was well around in the 16th century, when Montaigne and others had to navigate its many dangers. Closer to our time, William James landed a variant on American shores with an 1896 address called “The Will to Believe.” Bertrand Russell countered this line of thinking a couple of decades later with “Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” a lecture whose title I will let speak for itself. Twenty years ago, none other than Pope John Paul II warned of a resurgence of Fideism. It is still around, in short.

Do we suffer from it? A variant of it, I would say, if not precisely in name. There seems to be a givenness to it in the American character. I think we are staring into a 21st century rendition of it.

To doubt the hollowed-out myth of American innocence is a grave sin against the faith. It is now unpatriotic to question the Russia-gate narrative despite the absence of evidence to support it. Informal censorship of differing perspectives is perfectly routine. It is now considered treasonous to question the word of intelligence agencies and the officials who lead them despite long records of deceit. Do we forget that it was only 15 years ago that these same institutions and people deceived us into an invasion of Iraq the consequences of which still persist?

This was the question Craig Murray, the former British diplomat (who has vital information on the DNC mail theft but who has never been interviewed by American investigators) posed a few weeks ago. Eugene Robinson gave a good-enough reply in a Washington Post opinion piece shortly afterward: “God Bless the Deep State,” the headline read.

How we got here deserves a work of social psychology, and I hope someone takes up the task. Understanding our path into our self-created crisis seems to me the first step to finding our way out of it.


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

The goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself

Why the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are not what they seem

By MarkGB | The Renegade | August 10, 2018

Propaganda has reached its zenith when each member of the target population thinks the same; when they are afraid to think differently. At this point ‘leadership’ may commit whatever atrocities it sees fit… in the certainty that the population will either not ‘see’ it, or will view the expression of criticism as a more heinous crime than the act being observed. This is achieved through cementing a ‘false equivalence’ in the mind of the group. Such a false equivalence is being cemented in the UK right now – the idea that criticism of Israel’s persecution of Palestinians is an act of anti-Semitism.

The propagandist seeks to bend the ‘group mind’. Thoughts and actions consistent with the ‘narrative’ are deemed to be socially acceptable & politically correct… ones that challenge it are regarded as socially UN-acceptable & politically IN-correct. Overtime this is reinforced through a dynamic that exists within every human grouping, and many species of mammal – fear of disapproval. Ergo, the propagandist is employing a form of ‘crowd control’.

When the fear of disapproval becomes so strong that one’s sense of belonging, or even physical survival, depend on adherence to the narrative… when failure to comply with it attracts immediate rebuke from other members of the group… then the population can be said to be policing itself. That is how ‘cults’ function, and more frequently than you might imagine… it’s how intelligence agencies and other governmental figures attempt to work through the media.

This is what Orwell warned of in the dystopia of ‘1984’. The Party had achieved what we might call a ‘maintenance state’ for the narrative – society was policing itself. For example, in Oceania, children were taught to report their parents to the ‘Thought Police’ if they demonstrated any sign of disloyalty to The Party. Disloyalty was considered a ‘thought crime’:

 “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage – torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them” – George Orwell, ‘1984’

This process is happening now. The false equivalence of ‘criticism of Israel’ with ‘anti-Semitism’ is being inculcated into society in general, into the Labour Party in particular, and in its sharpest manifestation, into the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

As you will already be aware (unless you’ve been trapped behind the fridge for several weeks) Corbyn is the target of a virulent campaign from a number of different directions, which have made ‘common cause’ on the accusation of anti-Semitism. Here, for example, are three major Jewish Newspapers, competitors of each other, who made the extraordinary decision to agree a common headline and verdict on ‘Corbyn’s Labour Party’:

And here is the Jewish Chronicle after Margaret Hodges attacked Corbyn in public with ‘you’re a fucking racist and anti-Semite’:

The mainstream media has not missed any opportunity to bash Corbyn either. Here’s a relatively mild headline from the Sun, who selected a comment from one of Corbyn’s backbenchers, Wes Streeting:

And to demonstrate that upmarket & downmarket means little when it comes to this stuff, here’s a hysterical comment from the usually ‘sober’ Telegraph :

What you will probably NOT have seen, however, is coverage of a statement published by 650 members of the Jewish Community, who are passionately opposed to the narrative. Here is the statement from ‘Independent Jewish Voices’ whose aim is ‘human rights and a just and peaceful solution’:

Neither is it likely that you will have heard the following statement from a Jewish academic, a person I’ve never met, but one who strikes me as a thoroughly intelligent and compassionate human being, Professor Annabelle Sreberney:

At this point, let me spell out my personal opinion regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitism:

You have to be a propagandist, an opportunist, or a complete idiot to discount decades of evidence demonstrating that Jeremy Corbyn is an enemy of racism. Wake up and smell the coffee – the guy stands up for the underdog… racists, by stark contrast, are always bullies

The reality I perceive, is not that Corbyn hates Jews, or loves Arabs… it’s that he challenges injustice where he sees it – and he sees it in the treatment that Palestinians receive from the State of Israel.

The Propagandists in this situation must ‘redirect’ the attention of the population to the ‘false equivalence’: Criticism of Israel = Anti-Semitism.

The Opportunists in the equation are many:

  • This is a wonderful distraction for a Tory government that couldn’t run a kid’s party at Willy Wonka’s
  • The Blairites in the Labour Party who’ve been trying to get rid of Corbyn since Day 1, have been handed a much more powerful weapon than anything they’ve tried up-to-now, and boy do they love it
  • There are a number of other groups who would rather invite Dracula over the threshold than see Corbyn enter Number Ten. The banks and the Murdoch empire are two examples

As for the Complete Idiots… sadly ‘careful thought’ is about as popular as ‘listening’, and to be fair to younger folk & millennials, this has been the case for the six decades I’ve been observing my fellow ‘talking monkeys’. In short, propaganda relies on people ‘not thinking’ – there’s a lot of it about.

Now, let’s look at some ‘nitty gritty’ – the everyday stuff. This isn’t something that only happens in the newspapers – it’s a real part of everyday thinking and discourse. Here is an example I encountered a few days ago, which will serve to illustrate the process:

Context

A Labour supporter on Twitter made an accurate observation that the BBC’s coverage of Jeremy Corbyn is so biased that it’s painful to listen to. I will keep his identity confidential since I have no desire to embarrass him – my purpose is to demonstrate ‘false equivalence’ in action.

Secondly, I should add that the Israeli Embassy has a fearsome reputation amongst journalists for making its feelings known if Israel doesn’t get the coverage it feels it deserves. This is no secret… and it’s not new. Here is Tim Llewellyn, former Middle East correspondent for the BBC, writing in The Observer in June 2004:

“The reasons for this tentative, unbalanced attitude to the central Middle East story are powerful. BBC news management is by turns schmoozed and pestered by the Israeli embassy. The pressure by this hyperactive, skilful mission and by Israel’s many influential and well organised friends is unremitting and productive, especially now that accusations of anti-Semitism can be so wildly deployed

And here is a clip from a suppressed Al-Jazeera film, showing Israeli Embassy staff advising Labour activists about how to discredit MPs who support an end to the abuse of Palestinians:

The conversation

Labour Supporter:

Will the Media ever accept Corbyn as the leader of Lab Party, No! Listen to Justin Webb’s Masterclass in unconscious bias, in a short interview with John McDonnell he trundled out every Anti-Corbyn narrative and the newest or oldest That Corbyn is like Trump

MarkGB:

When ‘journalists’ at BBC interview Jeremy Corbyn, they repeat what they hear in the echo chamber of Whitehall, itself an echo of the fears of corps, banks & other ‘lobbyists’… but the thing that scares the veritable ‘crap’ out of the BBC is a call from the Israeli Embassy

Labour Supporter:

You know that sounds like Paranoia and to my ears Anti-Semitic. If we are going to convince the media to give us a fair crack of the whip and balance reporting we need to be careful in our use of language

MarkGB:

‘To your ears’. There is no anti-Semitism in my tweet whatsoever. Don’t buy the conflation between criticism of Israeli government policy and anti-Semitism, or if you do, don’t try to pin it onto me. There’s none here.

As expected, he did not reply.

My comments

So here is a guy who is so scared of being seen as anti-Semitic he does the following, albeit probably unconsciously

  1. Sacrifices truth on the altar of the need to be careful. I.E. don’t tell the truth – it gets us into trouble. It may bring me disapproval
  2. Projects his fear onto another, in this case myself, who is thus cast as the ‘anti-Semitic’ one… so that people know that he isn’t
  3. Imagines that there is the remotest possibility that the media will give Labour or Corbyn, a ‘fair crack of the whip’

There is no way that Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party will ever get a ‘fair crack of the whip’ on this issue. The narrative requires that Corbyn’s support for Palestinians goes away… if you are entertaining the possibility that there is any place for ‘rational argument’ or ‘objective reporting’ from or with the people driving this narrative… you are deluding yourself. This is Propaganda… this is how it’s supposed to work

And it is working… have you noticed how the media is utterly obsessed with talking about Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’… at the expense of the underlying issue he calls attention to – Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people?

What then, is a person to do?

The solution to this is not quick, and it’s not easy. However, one action that any human being can take, is to stay alert to the meaning of words and how they are structured. If the communication is verbal, also to the body language and vocal tonalities. Pay attention to what is really being said… and also notice what is not being said or skirted around… and refuse to sacrifice your truth for an easier life. Do not let the false equivalence stand. As Gandalf said to the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad Dum…“You shall not pass”. 

Propaganda is a thought virus. Speaking your truth is the antidote. Here is the antidote in action – the splendid Dr Norman Finkelstein, giving an impassioned reply to an audience intent on using ’emotional blackmail’ to shut him up:

Here is my personal response to this thought virus, and to anyone who tries to infect me with it:

I don’t care if you worship in a synagogue, a church, a temple, or a mosque. I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, brown or green. I don’t give a monkey’s what you eat for dinner & I don’t care who you sleep with… provided it’s a consenting adult. I cannot abide bullies, liars and sociopaths. Benjamin Netanyahu and the current government of Israel are war criminals… & your guilt-trip won’t work on me.

Finally, to those who are having thoughts like ‘this is all a misunderstanding’ or ‘common sense will prevail’, or ’a few concessions is enough to fix this’… it isn’t, it won’t, & it never will be… that isn’t how this works.

You cannot appease a smear campaign.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments