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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT | April 18, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels!

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

New York Times Accidentally Unravels UK Government’s Official Skripal Narrative

By Kit Klarenberg – Sputnik – 17.04.2019

While London almost immediately blamed Moscow for being behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury in March 2018, Russia has strongly rejected its involvement, stressing it’s been denied access both to the investigation into the incident and the Russian nationals affected.

On 16th April, the New York Times published a glowing profile of Gina Haspel, who in May 2018 became the seventh director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The article referred to Haspel — the former head of a CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand at which an indeterminate number of suspected terrorists were viciously tortured — as an “adept tactician” blessed with “good listening, empathy and an ability to connect”, and discussed the difficulties the intelligence chief faced in ensuring “her voice is heard at the White House”, due to the intransigence of President Donald Trump and a White House that allegedly treats national security professionals “with deep skepticism”.

So far, so obsequious — but buried in the hagiography is a fascinating disclosure. In a section titled ‘The keys to talking to Trump? Realism and emotion’, authors Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman document how Haspel “solidified her reputation” as one of the “most skilled briefers” of the President.

Following the 4th March 2018 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, top national security officials are said to have gathered inside the White House to discuss with Trump how Washington should respond — at the time, Whitehall was preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the UK, and aggressively pushing various key international allies to follow suit.

Trump was said to have initially dismissed the significance of the poisoning, characterising it as “legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage”. However, Haspel lobbied the President to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US — and persuaded Trump to take the “strong option” by showing him the Skripals “were not the only victims of Russia’s attack”.

“Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms. Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option,” the article states.

Lame Ducks

This small excerpt raises innumerable questions about the ever-mystifying Salisbury incident. Firstly, the images apparently provided to Haspel by the British government have never been published, or even mentioned, by the British media.

Given Whitehall’s determination to blame and diplomatically punish the Russian state for the poisoning before a motive had been established, any perpetrators identified, or other basic facts ascertained — in the face of significant public disapproval, and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding action be informed by evidence — it’s entirely inconceivable that if these pictures existed, they wouldn’t have been provided to major news outlets and prominently publicised. If they were sufficiently impactful to convince a sceptical US President to support Whitehall’s strategy, hesitant British citizens may well have been similarly swayed.

Moreover though, since March 2018 no UK media outlet, government minister/spokesperson, health professional or law enforcement official has ever even claimed a single child was “sickened” after coming into contact with so-called “Novichok” (there have likewise been no reports of any waterfowl having tragically died due to the nerve agent). Again, it’s utterly imaginable that had a child suffered adverse effects from the nerve agent, it wouldn’t have been widely reported.

There could be several explanations for this seeming anomaly. To name just some of the most unsettling:

  • Several children were hospitalised, and several ducks did die, and for reasons unclear the British government didn’t inform the public and prevented the children and their parents from revealing they’d been affected, while secretly communicating the fact to other governments in literally graphic detail.
  • Counterfeit and/or misleading images may have been produced by persons unknown to bolster Britain’s case for concerted international action, and further been relayed to Haspel (if not other overseas officials), conning her and Trump into backing its mass-expulsion policy.

Alternatively of course, perhaps the stirring tale of Haspel converting the reticent President with impactful images is mere gossip, or spin — after all, the article’s authors didn’t discuss the episode with the CIA chief herself, but based their article on interviews “with more than a dozen current and former intelligence officials who have briefed or worked alongside her”.

However, even if the explanation is quite so anodyne, that in turn raises major questions about how and why the individual(s) who relayed the story to Barnes and Goldman came to believe children and ducks had been affected by Novichok.

Shifting Chronicle

The official narrative of the Salisbury incident is ever-fluctuating. Seemingly each and every article, news segment, official statement or documentary about any element of the case contains new information, requiring the established account to be at least partially rewritten and/or contradicting established elements of the story.

To name but two significant instances of this strange phenomenon in recent memory, on 19th January it was revealed 16-year-old Abigail McCourt had won a ‘Lifesaver Award’ for giving first-aid to the Skripals after finding them unconscious on a public bench in the centre of Salisbury. Accompanying reports indicated she’d been the first person to notice the collapsed father and daughter, and had quickly alerted her mother Alison — together, they provided potentially life-saving assistance to Sergei and Yulia.

The story was somewhat at odds with the official timeline, as advocated by Whitehall and the Metropolitan Police, which stated an off-duty doctor and nurse had found the Skripals — but moreover, Abigail’s award announcement also revealed her mother wasn’t merely a nurse, but the Chief Nursing Officer for the British Army, with the rank of Colonel.

Similarly, on 3rd March the BBC reported police only “realised the seriousness” of the Salisbury incident after Googling the name Sergei Skripal — while the information wasn’t in fact new (similar claims were made in Panorama documentary Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story in November the previous year), the article indicated the first police officer on the scene was Sergeant Tracey Holloway.

Again, this small detail had massive ramifications for the British state’s narrative — for previously government and police spokespeople had unanimously claimed Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey had been the first police officer to attend to the Skripals, hailing his courage in rushing to help them without any regard for his own safety. It was also claimed his contact with them on the scene exposed him to the nerve agent, leading to his own hospitalisation — it’s now ‘established’ he was poisoned after visiting Skripal’s home.

Elements of the official narrative also bizarrely and frequently vanish without warning or explanation — a key example being the Skripals giving bread to three local boys to feed to ducks in Salisbury’s Avon Playground at approximately 1:45pm on 4th March. The incident was initially widely reported in the media, with The Daily Mail claiming the children — one of whom apparently ate some of the bread given to them by the Skripals — had been “rushed to hospital for blood tests amid fears they’d been poisoned”, although the children were entirely unharmed, and discharged from hospital having been given “the all-clear”.

“To try to kill Skripal is one thing, but now it seems children may have been caught up in it. It shows whoever did this didn’t care who they killed or maimed,” a spokesperson for Public Health England told the Sunday Mirror.

Strikingly, this episode would soon completely disappear from media coverage of the Salisbury incident, while never appearing in any officially sanctioned narrative — although it’s easy to understand why. According to the Metropolitan Police’s timeline, after leaving the Avon Playground the Skripals went on to the Bishops Mill Pub in Salisbury town centre, before arriving at Zizzi restaurant at around 14:20pm. They left at around 15:35pm, and emergency services received the first report they’d been found unconscious at around 16:15pm.

British authorities determine Sergei and Yulia were poisoned by Novichok spread around their home — in particular the front door handle — at some point before 13:30pm, when Sergei’s car was seen on Devizes Road heading towards the town centre. The pair were apparently so infected by the nerve agent, and the substance so dangerous, Zizzi was forced to close for eight months due to high levels of contamination, and the table the pair dined at had to be destroyed. The Mill pub, which they headed to immediately after their exploits in Avon Playground was likewise subject to extensive decontamination and only declared safe for reopening in August, although it remains shut even today. The bench the Skripals were found lying on was also destroyed.In spite of this, the children given bread by the Skripals and the ducks they fed were completely unharmed by novichok. It was obviously necessary for the pair’s contact with the trio, one boy’s ingestion of the bread, and indeed their en-masse duck-feeding, to be suppressed. Otherwise, the finding that the pair were poisoned at home before travelling into Salisbury is simply unfeasible — and the pair were poisoned elsewhere, at another time and by another means entirely.

It’s puzzling in the extreme this keenly forgotten aspect of the incident allegedly is said to have featured so prominently in Haspel’s case for decisive US action against Russia — and begs the question of who deceived and is deceiving who, how and why.

Own Initiative?

Adding to the intrigue, on the day of its publication the New York Times article caught the attention of Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes, who duly shared the piece on Twitter, praising Barnes for his work (Goldman went uncredited) and drawing particular attention to the passage relating to the images of “sickened” children.

However, in a suspicious volte-face, within hours Haynes tweeted that “UK security sources” had told her they were in fact “unaware of children hospitalised because of novichok or wildlife killed” in the Salisbury incident.

Sky News' Deborah Haynes Backtracks

Sky News’ Deborah Haynes Backtracks

For her part, Haynes claims she asked “UK contacts” about the images after reading the article, and their denials prompted her to post an “update”. This may well be the case — she certainly has close connections with security services and the military, as evidenced by her honorary membership of the Pen & Sword Club, a group which “[provides] a link between serving and retired officers and supporters within the Ministry of Defence”, and promotes “media operations as a necessary and valued military skill in the 21st century”. She’s one of very few journalists named in their ‘club members’ section — almost all others have military and/or intelligence backgrounds.

Moreover, it’s somewhat odd Haynes was initially seemingly unaware no children were hospitalised in the Salisbury incident, given she wrote extensively about the topic while Defence Editor of The Times. As my previous reports have documented, much of this output was heavily influenced by the Integrity Initiative, a British military intelligence operation which sought to systematically shape media reporting on, and Whitehall’s response to, the Salisbury incident from day one. Evidently, the British deep state is equally as capable of contacting Haynes directly as she is them — and its operatives would have every reason to want one of their most prominent media advocates to speedily retract and repudiate an extremely inconvenient disclosure such as that contained in the New York Times’ report.

If nothing else, that Haynes was willing to transmit an apparently obvious fiction speaks volumes about the willingness of mainstream journalists to parrot each and every fresh claim in the Skripal case, even if it wildly conflicts with what they themselves have written previously.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Julian Assange an Anti Semite as Well as a Publisher?

By Eve Mykytyn | April 16, 2019

One might think that with all that Assange has to contend with, Jews pro or con, might not be a top priority for him. In fact, one might think that the controversy around Assange has to do with government secrecy and the rights of the press. But not so to The Forward, for whom Assange is guilty of a crime apparently worse than conspiracy to commit computer intrusion (I am not expressing an opinion here, that is the allegation) anti Semitism. Assange has been widely portrayed in the media as an anti Semite, see: for example, articles in The Guardian, Slate, Wired and The New York Times. Since Assange has denied that he is an anti Semite, it might be interesting to find the basis for such assertions.

Not surprisingly, The Forward gives breathless coverage to the accusations of anti Semitism without troubling itself to look into the circumstances of each allegation. It’s as if the Forward delights in finding an anti Semite, and a person’s denial of anti Semitism is not even evidence of his own state of mind. In fact, the Forward decries that Assange’s anti Semitism (the title of the article used ‘alleges’ although the article itself quickly drops the hedge) persists “despite the fact that some of his most loyal employees and public defenders are themselves Jewish,” an observation that should give weight to Assange’s claim that he is not an anti Semite.

The Forward’s first charge is that Assange employed “the anti Semitic holocaust denier who goes by the name Israel Shamir.”  Shamir seems to be one of the people whose name is simply followed by the shibboleth ‘anti Semite’ without further explanation. For instance, the Guardian accused Shamir as a holocaust denier and Shamir defended himself in the following paragraph. (quoted in Wiki and giving as a citation this now deleted article.) “As for the accusation of ‘Holocaust denial’, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust.”

The bold accusations about Shamir and the deletion of his rebuttal calls into question Shamir’s alleged anti Semitism. But whatever Shamir is, does merely employing him transfer his beliefs to Assange? Is anti Semitism, like the measles, contagious?

The next charge is a ‘he said’ ‘he said’ story in which only one side is assumed to be truth telling. The British magazine Private Eye wrote an article (not on line, so comment is based on reports of the article) criticizing Israel Shamir and then Assange for employing him.

Private Eye’s editor, Ian Hislop , then published an article relying on “as much as I could remember” of a phone call Assange allegedly made to Hilsop.  According to Hislop, Assange claimed the Shamir article was “joining in the international conspiracy to smear Wikileaks. The piece was an obvious attempt to deprive him and his organisation of Jewish support and donations.” The alleged comment does not actually even seem anti Semitic.

Hislop continued, “But then Assange said that we [Private Eye] were part of a conspiracy led by the Guardian which included journalist David Leigh, editor Alan Rusbridger and John Kampfner— all of whom “are Jewish.”  Hislop’s proof that Assange is anti Semitic? Rusbridger is apparently not Jewish. But that might tend to make Assange less likely to be anti Semitic since the cabal he accuses is not all Jewish. Further, Assange absolutely denied that the phone call was as Hislop reported it.

In its response, WikiLeaks observed that its organization has “some Jewish staff and enjoys wide spread Jewish support” and has itself been accused of working on behalf of the Mossad and George Soros. Assange said of Hislop’s article:“Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, ‘Jewish conspiracy’ is completely false, in spirit and in word. … Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, … to justify one smear with another in the same direction… he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist… We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support …. [of] others who share our hope for a just world.”

Wiki’s tweet goes on to explain that the problem stems from Guardian journalist  David Leigh, who used information in violation of an agreement not to utilize Wikileaks signed by The Guardian’s editor in chief. When Leigh was notified that the German paper Der Spiegel was writing a book that would expose his breach, “Leigh attempted to cover his actions, [by smearing wikileaks] first by laundering an distorted version of the events through a friend at Vanity Fair then by writing his own book, which he had published through the Guardian.”

Assange’s next crime? The mysterious triple parentheses. ((())). In July 2016, Wikileaks published a tweet about Jews who put the parentheses around Jewish names.  (This is done on twitter supposedly in response to anti Semites who used the parens. So if parens are so offensive, why do it yourself?  The logic is a bit hard to follow.) “Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses.”  So it is ok for critics to use the parens but not ok for Wikileaks to make the observation that the parens were used. Again, the anti Semitism, if any, is hard to discern.

Assange’s next and related ‘transgression’ comes from an internal Wikileaks message in 2018 in which  Assange referred to a critic,  AP reporter, Raphael Satter, as “a rat. But he’s jewish and engaged with the ((()))) issue.” I guess they find it anti Semitic to privately refer to a  critic as a rat and separately refer to use of an absurd parens to show Jewish identity.

Assange’s last two supposed offenses of anti Semitism are that:1.The WikiLeaks website’s online shop had a t shirt with the words “first they came for Assange” misquoting the famous Niemoller poem about the Nazi Party. The Forward uses this incident to claim that Assange is comparing himself to a holocaust victim, apparently a comparison only allowed to the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of a holocaust victim. And, 2) Assange refused to deny that the 2016 death of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, may have been connected to WikiLeaks’ dump of DNC emails. Police have blamed a botched robbery. The Forward notes that, “Rich was Jewish, and many of the conspiracy theories surrounding his death had anti semitic overtones.” This may be true, but how would Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London possibly know how Rich died? How was it anti Semitic to refuse to speculate?

Haaretz, the ‘liberal’ Israeli outlet uses the accusations of anti Semitism to join their Labour brethren in condemning Corbyn. How? Here’s the Haaretz  headline:  “Why Jeremy Corbyn Loves Julian Assange So Much; The UK Labour leader’s kneejerk support for the Wikileaks founder is entirely predictable, as is Corbyn’s lack of response to the scent of anti-Semitism Assange exudes.”

Jeremy Corbyn called Assange a twenty-first century folk hero for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan  and has opposed extradition. Haaretz expands on this to claim that Corbyn was willing to expose the failures of Western capitalism at all costs, ignoring all other injustices. “Not least, accusations of anti-Jewish racism.”  The comparison is a far fetched conclusion from the evidence. Haaretz (in a line of argument borrowed from Dershowitz) asks why  support Palestinian rights but not comment on healthcare  in Britain or hunger in Venezuela.  Actually, Here is Corbyn  on health and here is Corbyn on Venezuela.

Haaretz acknowledges that Assange attempted to ‘row back’ from anti-Jewish comments, or more properly, comments interpreted as anti Semitic. Haaretz believes that Corbyn embraced Assange  because he was instrumental in publishing files stolen from the CIA that included 2500 files relating to cables sent by the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Among them were the then head of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch’s, writings on the rationale of legal rulings on Palestinian human rights issues. These files seem to contain what many in the public would like to see: that is, what is the legal justification for abrogating Palestinian rights?

Haaretz also points out that Wikileaks exposed a ‘secret’ back-channel to Tehran operated by a Lubavitcher and London activist Rabbi Herschel Gluck which was opened to mediate the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas in Gaza. Apparently, after the leak the effort was halted. Lastly, the paper bemoans that Corbyn was part of the British campaign to free Israeli nuclear whistleblower Vanunu from prison in Israel.

Then the paper that just relied solely on his relationship to Israel to criticize Corbyn claims that “It is this one-dimensional approach to politics that has allowed him to share a platform with Islamist reactionaries … to be silent when they mouth anti-Jewish (rather than anti-Israel) comments, … and to believe that Julian Assange is a hero for our time.”

“Needless to say, Corbyn’s positions bear no relation to the very essence of what it means to be a socialist.”

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck

By Craig Murray | April 17, 2019

One of the striking things about the official Skripal story is the way its more wildly improbable aspects have been released to the mainstream media over a long period, so as to manage their impact. So, for example, police acknowledgement that the perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found was sealed and could not have been the container used on the Skripals is comparatively recent, and it took nine months for us to learn that, by a truly wonderful coincidence, the first person to find the Skripals ill on the bench was the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

I covered these points in full in my article on the ten points I do not believe in the official story – an article which nobody has sought to refute, other than to yell “conspiracy theory”, as though that was an argument.

But today we learn from the Guardian (quoting the New York Times) that Donald Trump was only convinced to back the UK government line after being shown photos of dead ducks and hospitalised children by CIA director Gina Haspel.

The problem is that, there were no hospitalised children. No children have been reported as becoming ill following their duck feeding with the Skripals. We have heard from one of the parents that they were shown by the police extremely clear CCTV footage of the duck feeding, which has never been made public. Surely if the child had been hospitalised, the parent would have been mentioned it?

Dr Stephen Davies of Salisbury Hospital’s letter of 16 March 2018 to the Times has been explained away as poorly written or edited, in relation to the cause of the Skripals’ illness. But be that as it may, one thing the doctor’s letter does without any shadow of a doubt, is rule out the possibility of hospitalised children.

There were no hospitalised children.

We also know that the duck feeding was the time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were physically closest to the Skripals. But this is the first time there has ever been any mention of any harm to the ducks. Dead ducks would have been noticed by the public.

Possibly the Guardian and New York Times are inventing utter drivel, as in the Manafort meeting Assange story. That would in itself be worrying. The other possibility is that the security services produced fake photographs of hospitalised children and slaughtered some ducks, in order to convince Donald Trump. If the latter explanation is true, then the entire Skripal saga looks more and more staged.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Haspel, CIA, Sappy Sentimental Job.

By Andrei Martyanov | Reminiscence of the Future | April 16, 2019

NYT today decided to praise Gina Haspel as “professional”. I don’t know what they teach in CIA anymore, judging by “outstanding” results for the United States, but this piece I found to be hilarious. Follow the text:

London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical. He had initially written off the poisoning as part of legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage. Some officials said they thought that Mr. Trump, who has frequently criticized “rats” and other turncoats, had some sympathy for the Russian government’s going after someone viewed as a traitor. A former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned last year in Britain in a slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup. During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats. To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack. Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms. Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.

Now you get it, I hope. Welcome to US “intelligence”, also known for Russiagate and support of terrorists. CIA also is known to have good skills in staging false flag operations such as “Chemical Attacks” by “Assad” in Syria. But I like this little insight in workings of US IC and its head Gina Haspel in handling forensic evidence, sound analysis, impressive record… nah, I am being facetious. Ah, yes–record, killed children, other atrocities. You may always keep yourself informed on how real US democracy and “realism” look like in terms of civilians’ body count, but who counts really, right? The depravity and casuistic nature of this piece of dung “journalism” is stunning, but then again–being sappy sentimental when committing war crimes and pushing world closer to Armageddon is what US intelligence “professionals” like Haspel are known for. Well that, and torture techniques. I am sure Gina cried while waterboarding some unfortunate creep. It is so, well, emotional after all–especially dead ducks.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

The CFR LOVES Domestic Propaganda! – #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | April 16, 2019

The former editor of Time / former Undersecretary of State for Public Policy thinks the US government propagandizing its own citizens is just fine and dandy. And where did he deliver these remarks? At the CFR, of course! Shocking, I know.

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES

Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News

Council on Foreign Relations Tells Gov’t They “Have To” Use Propaganda on Americans

Smith-Mundt repealed (2013)

USC Title 5 Section 3107

USC Title 10 Section 2241a

Karen Ryan PR story

Karen Ryan (background)

GAO rules VNRs illegal (and again)

Information Operations Roadmap

Army PSYOPS at CNN

Army Psyops Soldiers Embedded Into Local Tv Crews

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

What If Mainstream Media’s Message About Putin Was Delivered in Orwell’s Language?

By Patrick ARMSTRONG | Strategic Culture Foundation |16.04.2019

The West is under attack by Putin; he is at war with us and wars demand extreme measures. Putin’s influence is spreading: everywhere he is nibbling away at the foundations of democratic society. He is the dictator of Russiastill evil, still an empire; Russians are genetically driven to co-opt and penetrate and gain favour: it’s who they are and what they do. Russian scum! Putin interferes in referendums and elections all over the democratic world. A world that, for no good reason except his own needs, he calls his enemy. When his bots swung the US election and made his puppet POTUS, the world community began to wake up to the threat. Putin is bent on restoring the USSR and, until he can, he assembles an empire of losers, basket-cases and rogue states. When the weather is cold, we should fear him more. Putin’s whole existence depends on having an enemy and we are that enemy. We must defend against Putin’s threat to democracy; he threatens our democracy because he hates democracy and he fears democracy. We must defend against these multi-facetedaggressive, unacceptable, bullying, continual and sinister attacks on the Rules-Based International Order which our democracies uphold. (Added to which, he’s short and can’t hide the fact and that makes him a megalomaniac.)

I humbly offer a few proposals so that we can better defend our precious heritage of democracy against his attacks.

• Putin hates democratic elections and seeks to twist them to his ends. He will interfere in Your Democracy’s elections. If your Ruling Party loses, it’s because Putin wanted it to lose and interfered with the voting: if your Ruling Party loses, Putin wins. Therefore, the “election” must be annulled and the Ruling Party must stay in power. That way Putin loses and we all win.

• Putin seeks to sow division in Your Democracy. Disagreement with the Ruling Party’s policy helps Putin divide us. Russian bots are ceaselessly trying to sow division; therefore you, as a True Democrat, must resist all attempts to disagree with your Ruling Party. Remember, disagreeing with the Ruling Party is what Putin wants you to do and that means he wins; agreeing with the Ruling Party means we all win and Putin loses.

• As a corollary, objectively speaking, if you disagree with the Ruling Party, you are agreeing with Putin and he wins. Putin hates what the Ruling Party stands for and you, as a True Democrat, shouldn’t hate what Putin hates. So love the Ruling Party: we all win and Putin loses.

• Putin and his legions of trolls engage in hybrid warfare an important part of which is the spreading of fake news. Putin and his trolls know that, while full mind control may not be possible or practical, sowing doubt is much easier. The True Democrat will never risk the chance of having his opinions infiltrated and therefore will be careful to read only news that has been first authenticated by responsible news outlets. Reading unauthenticated stories can let Putin into your brain. Keep him out and we all win.

• Putin uses social media to spread fake news and sow division in Your Democracy. It was one of the most important of his tools in winning the election for his stooge Trump. Putin is subtle – he even uses children’s cartoons and he has weaponised humour – and we must be protected if we don’t want him to win. The True Democrat will encourage efforts to regulate social media by trusted and reliable authorities such as the aptly-named Minister of Democratic Institutions in Canada. If Putin wins, we all lose!

• Putin needs useful idiots in Your Democracy to further his aims. Therefore the True Democrat will continually examine his thoughts to see whether any doubt or divisions are taking root: Putin wants us all to live in his “paranoid and polarized world“. If you find any division in your mind, Putin has put it there and you should make full confession to the authorities so that the rot may be stopped early and the damage repaired. The True Democrat will monitor his neighbours for signs of infection. Always remember that doubting the Ruling Party is what Putin wants you to do: stop doubting and we all win and Putin loses.

• Your Democracy’s security services work hard to protect our freedoms against Putin’s attacks. Putin wants us to criticise and impede the work of these brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us. Only Putin is served when these institutions are attacked. Support our brave men and women in all that they do to protect us. In that way we all win and Putin loses.

• From time to time, although they never start wars, democracies must use military force to end evil in the world. Putin is on the side of evil – he opposes the Rules-Based International Order – and he supports, when he is not actually causing, most of the evil and suffering in the world. As a dictator himself, he invariably sides with dictators who are torturing their populations. Dictators are repugnant to True Democracies and, therefore, they must occasionally take up arms in order to secure peace and order and punish the dictator’s “cruel indifference to the suffering of his people“. True Democrats understand this and support the Ruling Party in its occasional but justified uses of limited force. Objectively speaking, opposing these wars is the same as supporting Putin. True Democrats understand that wars must be fought for the sake of peace so we can all win and Putin can lose.

War against Putin is Peace

Freedom to Question is Slavery to Putin

Ignorance of Putin is Strength

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Attenborough’s Walrus Claims Are Fake

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | April 14, 2019

 Our Planet has showcased hundreds of walruses falling off a 260ft cliff to a slow, agonising death in heartbreaking scenes

Our Planet has showcased hundreds of walruses falling off a 260ft cliff to a slow, agonising death in heartbreaking scenes
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/8800576/netflix-david-attenborough-our-planet-walrus-heartbreaking/

Last week, the new Netflix series, Our Planet, was launched with great fanfare. Narrated by David Attenborough, however, one segment made headlines around the world, showcasing hundreds of walruses falling off a 260ft cliff to a slow, agonising death in heartbreaking scenes.

Narrating the disturbing scene in the second episode, Attenborough began:

“They do so out of desperation not choice.

“Their natural home is out on the sea ice, but the ice has retreated away to the north and this is the closest place to their feeding grounds.

“Every square inch is occupied, climbing over the tightly packed bodies is the only way across the crowd – those beneath can get crushed to death.

“In a desperate bid to avoid the crush they try to head towards the cliffs.

“But walruses’ eyesight out of the water is poor, but they can sense the others down below, as they get hungry they need to return to the sea.

“In their desperation to do so, hundreds fall from heights they should never have scaled.”

But the story quickly began to unravel.

Zoologist, Dr Susan Crockford, suspected that the event was actually a well publicised incident in October 2017, at Ryrkaypiy in NE Russia, when a group of polar bears drove several hundred walruses over the cliffs to their deaths, before feasting on the corpses.

Then a couple of days later, Andrew Montford was able to positively identify Ryrkaypiy as the location in the Our Planet film. The Netflix producers denied seeing any polar bears, but this does not alter the fact that many bears were in the area at that time.

There is however another rather more sinister possible explanation for the stampede. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS):

Walruses often flee haulouts en masse in response to the sight, sound, and especially odours from humans and machines.

 So it is perfectly possible that it was the filmmakers themselves who caused the stampede up the cliffs.

Indeed, as this aerial shot showed, there must have been some sort of helicopter or drone flying immediately above the walrus, which seems to me to be an utterly irresponsible thing to do.

 

As the US Fish and Wildlife Service also note, events like this one are not uncommon:

Some haulout sites include shorelines that grade from little topographical relief to steep slopes and cliffs.  As large numbers of walruses gather at these sites, the first to arrive move further inland and may eventually settle at the tops of the steeper slopes and cliffs.  As most animals head back to sea to feed, those on the steeper slopes and cliffs are also rested and ready to feed and sometimes take the most direct route down the slope or off the cliff.  This behavior has resulted in serious injuries and deaths.  As with most animals whose eyes are oriented to the side of their head, rather than forward, walrus’s depth perception is likely poor and they are nearsighted.

Sea Ice and Haulouts

Regardless of the exact cause of the stampede, why were the walrus at Ryrkaypiy in the first place? Is it the case that they were forced to go ashore, because their sea ice had melted?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service explain the Pacific walrus’ migratory habits:

The distribution of Pacific walruses varies markedly with the seasons. Almost the entire population occupies the pack ice in the Bering Sea in the winter months. Through the winter they generally congregate in three areas, immediately southwest of St. Lawrence Island, south of Nunivak Island, and in the Gulf of Anadyr in Russia. As the Bering Sea pack ice begins to break up and melt in spring walruses begin to move northward and their distribution becomes less clumped. By late April walruses can be found from Bristol Bay northward to the Bering Strait. During the summer months, as the pack ice continues to recede northward, most of the population migrates into the Chukchi Sea. The largest concentrations are found near the coasts between 70 N latitude and Pt. Barrow in the east, and between the Bering Strait and Wrangel Island in the west. Concentrations, mainly of males, are also found on and near terrestrial haulouts in the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay and the northern Gulf of Anadyr throughout the summer. In October the pack ice begins to develop in the Chukchi Sea, and large herds begin to move southward. Many come ashore on haulouts on the Russian side of the Bering Strait region. Depending on ice conditions, those haulout sites continue to be occupied through November and into December, but with the continuing development of ice, most walruses move south of St. Lawrence Island and the Chukchi Peninsula by early to mid-December.

https://www.fws.gov/alaska/fisheries/mmm/walrus/wmain.htm

In short, adult males migrate south in summer, and haulout in Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Anadyr. (Per the red dots).

There is a very good reason for these haulouts, as the FWS go on to explain:

Walruses depend on hauling out to complete their moult and grow new hair, to whelp, to nurse young, and just to rest.

Hauling out is what they do naturally, not what they are forced to do because there is no sea ice around.

Whereas the males head south, the females and juveniles follow the sea ice north, as it recedes in Spring, eventually going as far as Wrangel Island and Point Barrow. Crucially, as the ice begins to grow back in October, these large herds follow it back south, often coming ashore at places like Ryrkaypiy on the Russian coast (No 51 on the map above). As the map indicates, such hauling out is commonplace and widespread along that stretch of coastline. (Green dots).

Remember that the Ryrkaypiy incident occurred in October 2017.

The earlier the sea ice reforms, the earlier the walrus arrive on Ryrkaypiy. This is the total opposite of Attenborough’s version, that they are there because of a lack of sea ice.

How he can get such a basic fact as this wrong is beyond my comprehension.

Walrus are thriving

Given all of this mayhem and loss of sea ice, you might think that walrus were an endangered species. But you would be wrong.

According to the FWS:

The size of the Pacific walrus population is uncertain. The size of the pre-exploitation population (1700’s) may have been between 200,000-250,000 animals. Cooperative aerial surveys by the U.S. and the former Soviet Union (now Russia) occurred in 1975, then at five-year intervals until 1990. The 1975 survey estimated the population size at 221,360. The joint census conducted in 1980 estimated population size at 246,360. Surveys conducted in 1985 and 1990 produced estimates of 234,020 and 201,039, respectively. Cooperative aerial surveys ceased in 1995 due to budget limitations and unresolved methodological problems.  After much deliberation and testing, another aerial survey occurred in 2006 incorporating advanced thermal imaging and telemetry technologies, resulting in an estimate of 129,000 animals with a confidence interval of 55,000-550,000. The estimates generated from these aerial surveys are conservative minimum population estimates that are not useful for detecting population trends.

In 2012, a new approach to population estimation using the genetic fingerprint of individual walruses within a mark-recapture framework began testing.  Two aspects of the approach were successfully assessed in 2013, the genetic identification of individuals and the ability to collect an adequate sample. The surveys then continued through 2017.  A preliminary estimate for the year 2014 was about 283,000 individuals and a confidence interval of 93,000-479,000. The data for subsequent years is currently under analysis.

The decline in population in the 1980s and 90s was largely due to an increase in hunting, which followed a relaxation of harvest restrictions.

https://www.fws.gov/alaska/fisheries/mmm/walrus/pdf/final-pacific-walrus-species-status-assessment.pdf

The FWS also state that:

Pacific walrus population size has varied substantially in the last 150 years, it increased between 1960 and 1980 and may have reached the carrying capacity of the marine environment

In other words, the current population, which is believed to be similar to those earlier ones, may also be at maximum levels of sustainability.

Certainly, if Our Planet is correct about there being 100,000 walrus at Ryrkaypiy, the global population must be much greater than estimated, and would explain why the beach there was so crowded.

What we do know is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found after a comprehensive review in 2017 that the Pacific walrus does not require protection as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Breathtaking dishonesty

The migratory habits of walrus are pretty basic knowledge, which a natural historian such as David Attenborough should be familiar with.

Why then has he chosen to ignore the truth, and instead present a fictionalised account?

Is it to further his own political agenda? Is it simply incompetence? Or has he merely followed the script given to him by the WWF?

We don’t expect to hear the truth from the WWF. But if Netflix doesn’t quickly correct and retract this particular segment of the series, it will be highly damaging for their own credibility at a time when they are just embarking on producing serious documentaries.

As for Attenborough’s upcoming programme for the BBC on climate change, this little episode offers a clue about how inaccurate and biased it will be.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

How the U.S. Navy Sold the Vietnam War

Dr. Tom Dooley. (YouTube screen shot)
By Gareth Porter | TruthDig | March 27, 2019

Dr. Tom Dooley, whose best-selling book “Deliver Us From Evil” helped create a favorable climate of opinion for U.S. intervention in South Vietnam, has long been linked to legendary CIA officer Edward G. Lansdale and his black operations in Vietnam between 1954 and 1955. But the real story about Dooley’s influential book, which has finally emerged from more recent scholarly research, is that it was engineered by an official of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command, Capt. William Lederer.

Lederer is best known as the co-author, with Eugene Burdick, of the 1958 novel “The Ugly American,” which was turned into a 1963 movie starring Marlon Brando. Far more important, however, is the fact that from 1951 through 1957 Capt. Lederer was on the staff of the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC), Adm. Felix Stump.

The Pacific Command was intensely interested in Dooley, because the U.S. Navy had the greatest stake of all the military services in the outcome of the conflict between the communists and U.S.-backed anti-communist regimes in Vietnam and China during the mid-1950s. And the Pacific Command was directly involved in the military planning for war in both cases.

Adm. Arthur Radford, the former CINCPAC and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led the senior officials pressing President Dwight D. Eisenhower to approve a massive U.S. airstrike against the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu in April 1954. And between 1954 and 1955, Adm. Stump called for increasing the size of the Nationalist Chinese raids on the Chinese mainland from offshore islands. He also pushed for a U.S. attack on the mainland, including the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary, to defend those same offshore islands.

Capt. Lederer met Dooley in Haiphong, Vietnam, in 1954 after the Navy launched “Operation Passage to Freedom” to help transport more than 300,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and members of the French Army from the French-controlled North to Saigon. A CIA psychological warfare team led by Lansdale had slipped into Hanoi and Haiphong to sabotage the Ho Chi Minh government takeover and to spread propaganda to provoke fear among Catholics and other residents.

The key tactic of the Lansdale team was to print a series of “black propaganda” leaflets—designed to appear as though they came from the Viet Minh—to frighten residents of the North into leaving for South Vietnam. The most dramatic such deception involved spreading the rumor that the U.S. military was going to bomb Hanoi, a story that was further promoted by leaflets showing concentric circles of destruction of the city by an atomic bomb.

Lt. Tom Dooley, a young Irish Catholic Navy doctor, was “loaned” by the U.S. Navy to Lansdale for the operation, although Dooley apparently thought the team’s function was to gather intelligence. Dooley’s job was ostensibly to manage medical supplies needed for the movement of North Vietnamese to the South, but in fact Dooley functioned as the team’s propagandist, briefing visiting news media and sending out out reports through Catholic media in the United States that supported the CIA’s anti-Viet Minh mission.

Lederer quickly recognized Dooley as a potentially valuable propaganda asset because of his connection with Vietnamese Catholics and his penchant for telling tales of Viet Minh atrocities. It was Lederer who suggested that Dooley write a book about his experiences with North Vietnamese refugees who wanted to move to the South. The Navy gave him a leave of absence to write it, and Lederer became Dooley’s handler for the project. Dooley was a charismatic public speaker but needed Lederer’s help with writing. Lederer also introduced Dooley to Reader’s Digest—by far the most popular magazine in America, with 20 million readers. Chief of Naval Operations Arleigh Burke officially embraced the book and even wrote the introduction to it.

Reader’s Digest published a highly condensed 27-page version of the book in its April 1956 edition, and Farrar, Straus and Cudahy immediately published the full-length version. It became a runaway bestseller, going through twelve printings.

The constantly reiterated theme of Dooley’s book “Deliver Us From Evil” was that the Ho Chi Minh government was determined to suppress the Catholic faith in Vietnam and used torture and other atrocities to terrorize Catholics into submission. That was a grotesque distortion of actual Viet Minh policy. The Ho Chi Minh government had worked hard from the beginning of the war to ensure that there was no interference with Catholics’ exercise of their faith, even establishing severe legal penalties on any infringement of that freedom.

But Dooley’s book was full of lurid descriptions of North Vietnamese Communist atrocities against Catholics that Dooley claimed to have known about from treating the victims. It told of the Viet Minh having partially torn off the ears of several teenagers with pliers and left them dangling—supposedly as punishment for their having listened to the Lord’s Prayer.

And he described the Viet Minh taking seven youths out of their classroom and forcing wooden chopsticks through their eardrums. The children, he wrote, had been accused of “treason” for having attended a religious class at night. As for the teacher, Dooley claimed the Viet Minh had used pliers to pull out his tongue, as punishment for having taught the religious class.

But it was widely recognized within the U.S. government that these stories were false. Six U.S. Information Agency officials who had been in North Vietnam during that period, as well as former Navy corpsmen who had worked in the Haiphong camp with Dooley, all said they had never heard of any such events. And in 1992 Lederer himself, who had made 25 fact-finding trips to Vietnam since 1951, told an interviewer, “[T]hose things never happened. … I traveled all over the country and never saw anything like them.”

Many years later, in an interview with scholar Edward Palm, Lederer disclaimed any significant influence on the content or tone of Dooley’s book, even though Dooley had credited Lederer with helping put the book in final form. Lederer also told Palm he didn’t remember any such stories appearing in the first draft of the book he read.

But Palm, who obtained the first draft of the manuscript from Dooley’s papers, confirmed to this writer that the first draft did contain those stories of atrocities. And Palm’s monograph documented the fact that the last draft chapter was dated the end of July 1955 and that communications from both men at the time indicated that Lederer had met repeatedly with Dooley during June and July to help him finish the draft.

Palm also quoted from Dooley’s first draft to show that it concluded with a call for Americans to be ready for a U.S. war against communism. If negotiations with the Soviet Union failed to bring “lasting peace,” Dooley’s draft warned, “Communism will have to be fought with arms … it must be annihilated….”  Dooley concluded, “[T]here can be no concessions, no compromise and no coexistence.”

Palm pointed out that the published version of the book dropped that rabidly warlike rhetoric and instead introduced a new character named “Ensign Potts” to represent the view that America must be ready to fight a war to destroy communism. The role of the “Potts” character was to be converted to Dooley’s argument that service to the ordinary Vietnamese would be the most effective way to prevail in the Cold War—after Dooley’s tearful recounting of the story of the Viet Minh puncturing the Catholic youths’ ears with chopsticks, reduced “Potts” to tears as well.

Lederer and Burdick popularized the idea that personal kindness to the people of Southeast Asia from American could help defeat Communism in “The Ugly American” and that same idea infused Lederer’s own March  1955 Reader’s Digest article on the interactions between U.S. sailors and Vietnamese aboard a U.S. Navy ship. Lederer told Palm in a 1996 interview that he had suggested that Dooley model his book on that article.

Palm wrote that he didn’t believes Lederer’s personal preference was to promote a U.S. war in Vietnam. But Lederer had obviously approved Dooley’s portrayal of the Vietnamese Communists as an alien horde terrorizing the Catholics. Catholics were the fastest-growing religious denomination in America from 1940 to 1960, during which time their numbers doubled, and Dooley’s message was an obvious way of mobilizing American Catholics to support Adm. Stump and the Navy’s agenda for Vietnam.

Marine Lt. Col. William Corson, who was detailed to the CIA during much of his career and knew Dooley during the writing of his book, told fellow former Marine Edward Palm in a 1997 telephone interview, “Dooley was programmed toward  a particular end.” He did not say specifically what that end was, but he appeared to mean building popular support for U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

While on a nationwide book tour, Dooley was one of the featured speakers at the first conference of The American Friends of Vietnam—later known as the “Vietnam Lobby”—in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 1956. The meeting was held at a crucial moment in U.S. Vietnam policy. Eisenhower was still supporting the election for a government throughout Vietnam as called for by the 1954 Geneva Agreement, with strict conditions for a free vote. Meanwhile, hardliners in the administration were pushing for opposing that election outright on the ground that Ho Chi Minh would certainly win it, regardless of conditions.

Dooley’s contribution was to describe “Communism” as an “evil, driving, malicious ogre” and recount the “hideous atrocities that we witnessed in our camps every single day.” And he retold the story of the Viet Minh punishing the schoolchildren by puncturing their eardrums.

A few weeks after the meeting, Eisenhower reversed his previous position of supporting the all-Vietnamese Vietnamese, opening the path to deeper U.S. political and military intervention in Vietnam.

Dooley had just learned that his secret life as a gay man in the Navy had been discovered by Naval intelligence, and he was forced to quietly resign. At Lansdale’s suggestion, Leo Cherne of the International Rescue Committee helped Dooley establish a primitive medical clinic near the Chinese border in northern Laos. But Dooley had to agree to cooperate with CIA in Laos by allowing it to smuggle arms into the site of the clinic to eventually be distributed to local anti-Communist militiamen.

The Dooley Clinic in Laos helped make him a hugely popular celebrity, with two more best-selling books, feature stories in popular magazines and network television appearances. By the time Dooley died of cancer in 1961, a Gallup Poll found that Americans viewed him as the third most admired person in the world, after Eisenhower and the pope. But his role in the larger tragedy of U.S. war in Indochina was to serve as the instrument of a highly successful campaign by the U.S. Navy to create the first false propaganda narrative of the conflict—one that has endured for most of Dooley’s fans for decades.

But Dooley’s popularity and saintly image increased the power of his tales of Viet Minh atrocities against Catholics that represented the first major false U.S. propaganda narrative of the Vietnam conflict—one that helped build public support for the U.S. military intervention in Vietnam that began under President John F Kennedy in 1962.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

The Fall of Baghdad 16 Years Ago

By Eresh Omar Jamal | The Duran | April 13, 2019

Three weeks into the invasion of Iraq, coalition forces led by the US army entered Baghdad and formally occupied it on April 9, 2003. The city’s infrastructure was seriously damaged. The Al-Yarmouk Hospital in the south received about 100 new patients every hour at the time of fighting. And many treasures at the National Museum of Iraq—from ancient Mesopotamia and early Islamic culture—were stolen or broken while the Iraqi National Library and National Archives housing thousands of manuscripts from civilisations dating as far back as 7,000 years were burned down and many of its items destroyed.

Like it was an attack on the past, the invasion, from when it occurred, has also proved to be an attack on the future of civilisation. But to most Iraqis, that was obvious from the get-go.

In his eyewitness account of “liberated” Iraq in May 2003, Radio France Internationale’s Tony Cross recalled seeing daily protests against the Americans. Of witnessing western boys of 18-25 years-old standing with their tanks and advanced military equipment, looking fearful (and helpful sometimes) of the host population whose language none of them understood. The most interesting contradiction he points to was between the widely held believe among Iraqis that there was a Zionist-American plot to wipe out their history and subdue them through prolonged occupation, versus a 23-year-old US marine’s statement that, “I talked to a few Iraqis yesterday and some of them said that they didn’t really like us being here. But we liberated them, so I hope they appreciate it.”

Years later, ordinary people in the west still don’t understand the true nature of the horror that it brought to Iraq. In an April 2013 poll by ComRes supported by Media Lens, 44 percent of people estimated that less than 5,000 Iraqis had died since 2003, while 59 percent believed that fewer than 10,000 had died—out of 2,021 respondents. The more likely estimate, according to most independent sources, is in excess of one million.

In 2010, WikiLeaks’ disclosure of 391,832 US army field reports of the Iraq War from 2004 to 2009 exposed that the army itself recorded 109,000 deaths among which 66,081 were civilians. Aided by these documents, Iraq Body Count, which has compiled the most comprehensive record of deaths caused by the war, confirmed the death toll to have exceeded 150,000 in 2010 with roughly 80 percent of them being civilians.

The leaks moreover revealed information about the torture of Iraqis, including by British forces. Adding to the worldwide condemnation that followed Seymour Hersh’s disclosure on the gruesome and humiliating torture carried out by American soldiers on Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. In his 2004 report published by The New Yorker, Hersh had earlier shed light on a 53-page report by Major General Antonio Taguba, who wrote that “between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of ‘sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses’ at Abu Ghraib.” That included: “Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomising a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.”

Such brutality naturally created resentment. And that resentment could just as well have inspired the formation of forces such as ISIS and their ferocious treatment of those they saw as their enemy or opponent.

Yet, it was as if no lessons were learned by western governments. Who used the same blueprint of exploiting lies and deceptions to concoct new wars. In the case of Syria, by fostering tensions between Shiites and Sunnis, to cause its government to overreact by increasing paranoia of an imminent coup, and use that to get Islamic extremists to act against the Syrian government.

And also in Libya, through similar destabilising efforts, followed by more direct intervention which overthrew its government and created a quagmire in what was the wealthiest country in all of Africa before the 2011 NATO intervention—a country where less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands, where there is now a thriving slave market according to the UN.

As former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi warned prior to him being overthrown by NATO—and sodomised with a bayonet and killed by extremist forces on live television—without a unified and stable Libya, there would be no one to control countless migrants from Africa and the Middle East from fleeing to Europe. And that is exactly what happened since, turning American political scientist Samuel Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilisation now into near reality.

So what should we make of the fall of Baghdad 16 years ago, or the broader invasion and destruction of Iraq, which by now has clearly turned out to be one of the most important events of the 21st century?

One, that greed for power often causes leaders of powerful countries to lie their citizens into waging wars against less powerful nations. And given the nature of modern weaponry, those wars are now costlier in terms of destroying human lives than ever.

Two, this is especially true for democracies, where, as Julian Assange explains, “wars are a result of lies”—lies such as Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, Gaddafi is providing Viagra to his soldiers to rape women, Assad is attacking unarmed Syrian civilians, etc., all of which have now been proven untrue.

Third, had these lies been exposed early enough, there is a chance that all these wars could have been avoided, and millions of lives spared. However, as most mainstream media outlets became the “stenographer of great power”, as John Pilger describes it, opting to spread lies and propaganda, rather than tell truth to the public and report the facts, the exposure of these lies came too late.

Fourth, the public has entered a state of mind where they can repeatedly be lied into wars. Where through some form of mental gymnastics, they seem to convince themselves time and again that: “this time they are taking us to war for humanitarian reasons, not for greed or for power.” Giving the impression that they are suffering from some sort of mass mind-control. Which is the ultimate goal of propaganda.

That is why it is so important for alternative sources to inform the public about the true nature of wars. To record and reveal the real history of events that shape our world and to counter propaganda with facts. Because if we are to learn anything from the Iraq War and its subsequent events, it is that: “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”


Eresh Omar Jamal is a member of the editorial team at The Daily Star, Bangladesh. His Twitter handle is: @EreshOmarJamal

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Roméo Dallaire and the Toronto Star’s distortion of Rwanda’s tragedy

By Yves Engler · April 11, 2019

The Toronto Star should get its facts straight and stop distorting Rwanda’s tragedy.

A day after the 25th anniversary of when two Hutu presidents were blown out of the sky, the Star’s editorial board published “There’s  no excuse for ignoring lessons of Rwanda’s genocide”. It claims, “on Jan. 11, 1994, Canadian Maj.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, at the time force commander with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent a chilling and urgent cable to UN Headquarters in New York. He had been informed of the details of a plan for the ‘extermination’ of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus.” After stringing together a few hundred more humane-sounding, though meaningless, words Star editorialists returned to their core liberal interventionist Canadian hero theme: “In his cable of January 1994 he urged UN leaders to act by telling them the obvious: Where there’s a will to prevent mass killing, there is a way.”

The Star should check Dallaire’s fax more closely. Revealingly, the much-celebrated “genocide fax” the editorialists reference is not titled “‘genocide’ or ‘killing’  but an innocuous ‘Request for Protection of Informant’”, reports International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer Christopher Black in a 2005 story titled “View from Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication”. The two-page “genocide fax”, as New Yorker reporter Philip Gourevitch dubbed it in 1998, was probably doctored a year after the mass killings in Rwanda ended. In a chapter devoted to the fax in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later Edward S. Herman and David Peterson argue two paragraphs were added to a cable Dallaire sent to Canadian General Maurice Baril at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York about a weapons cache and protecting an informant (Dallaire never personally met the informant). The added paragraphs said the informant was asked to compile a list of Tutsi for possible extermination in Kigali and mentioned a plan to assassinate select political leaders and Belgian peacekeepers.

At the ICTR former Cameroon foreign minister and overall head of the UN mission in Rwanda, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, denied  seeing this information and there’s no evidence Dallaire warned the Belgians of a plan to attack them, which later transpired. Finally, a response to the cable from UN headquarters the next day ignores the (probably) added paragraphs. Herman and Peterson make a compelling case that a doctored version of the initial cable was placed in the UN file on November 27, 1995, by British Colonel Richard M. Connaughton as part of a Kigali-London-Washington effort to prove the existence of a plan by the Hutu government to exterminate Tutsi.

Even if the final two paragraphs were in the original version, the credibility of the information would be suspect. Informant “Jean-Pierre” was not a highly placed official in the defeated Hutu government, reports Robin Philpott in Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction. Instead, “Jean-Pierre” was a driver for the MRDN political party who later died fighting with the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Incredibly, the “genocide fax” is the primary source of any documentary record demonstrating UN foreknowledge of a Hutu “conspiracy” to exterminate Tutsi, a charge even the victor’s justice at the ICTR failed to convict anyone of. According to Herman and Peterson, “when finding all four defendants not guilty of the ‘conspiracy to commit genocide’ charge, the [ICTR] trial chamber also dismissed the evidence provided by ‘informant Jean-Pierre’ due to ‘lingering questions concerning [his] reliability.’”

Tellingly, Dallaire didn’t even initially adhere to the “conspiracy to commit genocide” version of the Rwandan tragedy. Just after leaving his post as UNAMIR force commander Dallaire replied to a September 14, 1994, Radio Canada Le Point question by saying, “the plan  was more political. The aim was to eliminate the coalition of moderates. … I think that the excesses that we saw were beyond people’s ability to plan and organize. There was a process to destroy the political elements in the moderate camp. There was a breakdown and hysteria absolutely. … But nobody could have foreseen or planned the magnitude of the destruction we saw.”

Doctoring a fax to make it appear the UN had foreknowledge of a plot to exterminate Tutsi may sound outlandish, but it’s more believable than many other elements of the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. The day after their editorial, for instance, the Star published a story titled “25 years after genocide, Rwanda rebuilds” which included a photo of President Paul Kagame leading a walk to commemorate the mass killings. But, Kagame is the individual most responsible for unleashing the hundred days of genocidal violence by downing a plane carrying two Hutu presidents and much of the Rwandan military high command.

Even the Star has reported as much. A year ago they published a story titled “Did Rwanda’s Paul Kagame trigger the genocide of his own people?” For its part, the Globe and Mail has published a series of front-page reports in recent years confirming Kagame’s responsibility for blowing up the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, which triggered mass killings in April 1994. In an October story titled “New information  supports claims Kagame forces were involved in assassination that sparked Rwandan genocide” the Globe all but confirmed that the surface-to-air missiles used to assassinate the Rwandan and Burundian Hutu presidents on April 6, 1994, came from Uganda, which backed the RPF’s bid to conquer its smaller neighbour. (A few thousand exiled Tutsi Ugandan troops, including the deputy minister  of defence, “deserted” to invade Rwanda in 1990.) These revelations strengthen the case of  those who argue that responsibility for the mass killings in spring 1994 largely rests with the Ugandan/RPF aggressors and their US/British/Canadian backers.

By presenting the individual most culpable for the mass killings at the head of a commemoration for said violence the Star is flipping the facts on their head. The same might be said for their depiction of the Canadian general. At the end of their chapter tracing the history of the “genocide fax” Herman and Peterson write, “if all of this is true,” then “we would suggest that Dallaire should be regarded as a war criminal for positively facilitating the actual mass killings of April-July, rather than taken as a hero for giving allegedly disregarded warnings that might have stopped them.”

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Who Is Killing Whom in the Middle East? Blaming Iran Might be an Excuse for War

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.04.2019

Newsweek is reporting a story regarding how Iran “was responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.” The account is sourced to a newly revised estimate prepared by analysts at the Pentagon that was discussed by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at a State Department press briefing on April 2nd. According to Hook, Tehran is now being blamed for 17 per cent of all US military deaths because it supplied weapons to the several Shiite militias that were opposing the US invasion, occupation and subsequent presence in the country.

Hook also stated that the American casualties are in addition to the “thousands” of Iraqi troops and civilians that were killed in attacks initiated by what he referred to as the Iranian proxy forces. Hook noted that the new number is higher than the 2015 confirmed death total of 500 that was reported by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, who qualified his estimate by saying “We were not always able to attribute the casualties that we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity, even though we did not necessarily have the forensics to support that.”

There is little doubt that Tehran provided weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq after the invasion of the country by American forces in April 2003 and the defeat and replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime. The US was occupying the country at the time and Shiites were a repressed majority of the population given the fact that Saddam ruled through his Sunni minority.

The most controversial and lethal weapons used by the Shiite and Sunni resistance to the United States were the Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs, subsequently also referred to as Explosively Formed Penetrators or EFPs which were capable of penetrating the armor on US military vehicles. They first appeared in Iraq in the summer of 2004, but they were initially mostly used by Sunni insurgents, not by the Shiites.

Now that the US occupation has ended, Iran and Iraq enjoy a close relationship that is based on their common Shiite religion. The former militiamen are now referred to as Popular Mobilization Forces, which were key to the eventual defeat of ISIS. The United States, which retains a major military base inside Iraq, continues to rail against Iran. During the briefing, Hook said “We are imposing costs on the [Iranian] regime for behaving as an outlaw expansionist regime. The regime is weaker today than when we took office two years ago. Its proxies are also weaker. Unless the regime demonstrates a change in policy and behavior, the financial challenges facing Tehran will mount.”

There are several problems with the Hook analysis, if that is actually what it was. The United States government has been arguing since 2005 that Iran is “interfering” in neighboring Iraq, combined with allegations about “they are killing our soldiers” to make sure that Tehran continues to be everyone’s recognizable regional enemy. Specific claims by generals and US politicians were made between 2005 and 2007 regarding Iranian involvement in the production of the shaped charges, which were increasingly exacting a bloody toll of US and allied military personnel.

But the claims being made by the Bush Administration, by Congress, and by the media regarding Iranian support of militants in Iraq had a number of things in common: they were generic and lacking in specificity, they were based on possibly unwarranted assumptions about Iranian interactions with other players in the region, they played fast and loose with statistics, and they seldom provided actual verifiable evidence to back up the assertions being made. One might also point out that nearly all the reports were derivative in that they build on each other to develop credibility, much like the reports about Iraq in 2002.

It has also been noted that the arguments about Iranian involvement are logically inconsistent. The Iraqi insurgency in the period 2004-2006 was largely Sunni. That the Iranians would be supplying the Sunnis or that the Sunnis would even seek such assistance does not appear probable. In an April 2007 briefing Major General William Caldwell explained, “We have, in fact, found some cases recently where Iranian intelligence services have provided to some Sunni insurgent groups some support.” Three uses of “some” in one sentence suggest a degree of uncertainty. Even the relatively tame media at the briefing were skeptical, asking “Do the Iranians support all the militias in Iraq?”

The fact that the EFP is very simple to make also argues against a largely Iranian provenance. The EFP or variations thereof has been around for a long time. It was reportedly used under its old name “shaped charge” by the French resistance against the Germans and by the Irish Republican Army against British armored vehicles and it has been used extensively by both Hezbollah and Hamas against the Israelis.

The case against Iran basically relies on a basic argument that the EFP is actually a sophisticated weapon that has to have its copper disk machined in a weapons shop that is accustomed to milling metal to the finest tolerances. According to those who believe in an Iranian hand in EFP attacks, it is not possible that the weapons are being produced by Iraqis without Iranian assistance but the fact is that the Iraqis are more than capable of making the weapon. Iraq had a large and relatively sophisticated military prior to 2003. It had its own weapons shops and ordnance experts, many of whom were Sunnis and many of whom became unemployed in the spring of 2003 when the army was disbanded.

So Iran’s EFP weapon of choice that, according to the Pentagon, has killed 608 Americans turns out to be not that hard to make and not uniquely Iranian. But the real argument against Brian Hook’s numbers is the assumption made by the government analysts that supplying weapons, even if and when the end user can be demonstrated, makes one responsible for who gets killed as a result. Since the US is the world’s leading arms manufacturer, that argument leads down a slippery slope as “Made in USA.” weapons are likely featured in every conflict.

Also bear in mind that the United States in Iraq was an invading army in what became a guerrilla war in which that country’s civilians ultimately constituted most of the victims. By one estimate, 460,000 Iraqis died, many by US-made ordnance. To cite one other more recent example of what that measure of accountability might mean, the United States could be considered responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands civilians in Yemen, 5,000 in 2018 alone, as the Saudis are using US supplied weapons. And there are a lot of other instances of American made weapons winding up in all kinds of places, including the arsenals of ISIS and al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda in its war against the Russians in Afghanistan relied largely on American weaponry. Some of those weapons are still being used to kill American rather than Russian soldiers.

Since the United States government is selectively charging Iran with offenses that might well be exploited by neoconservatives named Bolton and Pompeo to initiate a war it should be more careful in how it attempts to frame its arguments. Iran did not kill those 4,424 American soldiers who died in Iraq. President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the band of psychopaths at the Pentagon and National Security Council did that when they initiated a chain of events that began with attacking a country that they knew posed no threat against the United States. The bloody consequences of that action continue to this day.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment