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All Roads Lead to Dark Winter

By Whitney Webb | The Last American Vagabond | April 1, 2020

The leaders of two controversial pandemic simulations that took place just months before the Coronavirus crisis – Event 201 and Crimson Contagion – share a common history, the 2001 biowarfare simulation Dark Winter. Dark Winter not only predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks, but some of its participants had clear foreknowledge of those attacks.

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, something disturbing unfolded at the U.S.’ top biological warfare research facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Specimens of highly contagious and deadly pathogens – anthrax and ebola among them – had disappeared from the lab, at a time when lab workers and rival scientists had been accused of targeted sexual and ethnic harassment and several disgruntled researchers had left as a result.

In addition to missing samples of anthrax, ebola, hanta virus and a variant of AIDS, two of the missing specimens had been labeled “unknown” – “an Army euphemism for classified research whose subject was secret,” according to reports. The vast majority of the specimens lost were never found and an Army spokesperson would later claim that it was “likely some were simply thrown out with the trash.”

An internal Army inquiry in 1992 would reveal that one employee, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, had been caught on camera secretly entering the lab to conduct “unauthorized research, apparently involving anthrax,” the Hartford Courant would later report. Despite this, Zack would continue to do infectious disease research for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and would collaborate with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) throughout the 1990s.

The Courant had also noted that: “A numerical counter on a piece of lab equipment had been rolled back to hide work done by the mystery researcher [later revealed to be Zack], who left the misspelled label ‘antrax’ in the machine’s electronic memory.” The Courant’s report further detailed the extremely lax security controls and chaotic disorganization that then characterized the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) lab in Fort Detrick.

This same lab would, a decade later, be officially labeled as the source of the anthrax spores responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks, attacks which are also officially said to have been the work of a “deranged” USAMRIID researcher, despite initially having been blamed on Saddam Hussein and Iraq by top government officials and mainstream media. Those attacks killed 5 Americans and sickened 17.

Yet, as the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks unfolded, accusations from major U.S. newspapers soon emerged that the FBI was deliberately sabotaging the probe to protect the Anthrax attacker and that the CIA and U.S. military intelligence had refused to cooperate with the investigation. The FBI did not officially close their investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, nicknamed “Amerithrax,” until 2010 and aspects of that investigation still remain classified.

More recently, this past July, the same Fort Detrick lab would be shut down by the CDC, after it was found that researchers “did not maintain an accurate or current inventory” for toxins and “failed to safeguard against unauthorized access to select agents.” The closure of the lab for its numerous breaches of biosafety protocols would be hidden from Congress and the facility would controversially be partially reopened last November before all of the identified biosafety issues were resolved.

The same day that the lab was controversially allowed to partially reopen, which was the result of heavy lobbying from the Pentagon, local news outlets reported that the lab had suffered “two breaches of containment” last year, though the nature of those breaches and the pathogens involved were redacted in the inspection findings report obtained by the Frederick News Post. Notably, USAMRIID has, since the 1980s, worked closely with virologists and virology labs in Wuhan, China, where the first epicenter of the current novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases emerged. The Chinese government has since alleged that the virus had been brought to China by members of the U.S. military, members of which attended the World Military Games in the country last October.

Such similarities among these Fort Detrick lab breaches, from the early 1990s to 2001 to the present, may be nothing more than unfortunate coincidences that are the result of a stubborn federal government and military that have repeatedly refused to enforce the necessary stringent safety precautions on the nation’s top biological warfare laboratory.

Yet, upon examining not only these biosafety incidents at Fort Detrick, but the 2001 Anthrax attacks and the current Covid-19 outbreak, another odd commonality stands out — high-level war games exercises took place in June 2001 that eerily predicted not only the Anthrax attacks, but also the initial government narrative of those attacks and much, much more.

That June 2001 exercise, known as “Dark Winter,” also predicted many aspects of government pandemic response that would later re-emerge in last October’s simulation “Event 201,” which predicted a global pandemic caused by a novel Coronavirus just months before the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, the U.S. government would lead its own multi-part series of pandemic simulations, called “Crimson Contagion,” that would also predict aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak and government response.

Upon further investigation, key leaders of both Event 201 and Crimson Contagion, not only have deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Intelligence and the U.S. Department of Defense, they were all previously involved in that same June 2001 exercise, Dark Winter. Some of these same individuals would also play a role in the FBI’s “sabotaged” investigation into the subsequent Anthrax attacks and are now handling major aspects of the U.S. government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. One of those individuals, Robert Kadlec, was recently put in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entire Covid-19 response efforts, despite the fact that he was recently and directly responsible for actions that needlessly infected Americans with Covid-19.

Other major players in Dark Winter are now key drivers behind the “biodefense” mass surveillance programs currently being promoted as a technological solution to Covid-19’s spread, despite evidence that such programs actually worsen pandemic outbreaks. Others still have close connections to the insider trading that recently occurred among a select group of U.S. Senators regarding the economic impact of Covid-19 and are set to personally profit from lucrative contracts to develop not just one, but the majority, of experimental Covid-19 treatments and vaccines currently under development by U.S. companies.

This investigative series, entitled “Engineering Contagion: Amerithrax, Coronavirus and the Rise of the Biotech-Industrial Complex,” will examine these disturbing parallels between the 2001 anthrax attacks and the current scandals and “solutions” of the Covid-19 crisis as well as the simulations that eerily preceded both events. By tracing key actors in Dark Winter from 2001 to the present, it is also possible to trace the corruption that has lurked behind U.S. “biodefense” and pandemic preparedness efforts for decades and which now is rearing its ugly head as pandemic panic distracts the American and global public from the fundamentally untrustworthy, and frankly dangerous, individuals who are in control of the U.S. government’s and corporate America’s response.

Given their involvement in Dark Winter and, more recently, Event 201 and Crimson Contagion, this series seeks to explore the possibility that, just like the 2001 anthrax attacks, government insiders had foreknowledge of the Covid-19 crisis on a scale that, thus far, has gone unreported and that those same insiders are now manipulating the government’s response and public panic in order to reap record profits and gain unprecedented power for themselves and control over people’s lives.

A Dark Winter Descends

In late June 2001, the U.S. military was preparing for a “Dark Winter.” At Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland, several Congressmen, a former CIA director, a former FBI director, government insiders and privileged members of the press met to conduct a biowarfare simulation that would precede both the September 11 attacks and the 2001 Anthrax attacks by a matter of months. It specifically simulated the deliberate introduction of smallpox to the American public by a hostile actor.

The simulation was a collaborative effort led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies (part of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security) in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Analytic Services (ANSER) Institute for Homeland Security and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The concept, design and script of the simulation were created by Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center along with Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of ANSER. The full script of the exercise can be read here.

The name for the exercise derives from a statement made by Robert Kadlec, who participated in the script created for the exercise, when he states that the lack of smallpox vaccines for the U.S. populace means that “it could be a very dark winter for America.” Kadlec, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration and a former lobbyist for military intelligence/intelligence contractors, is now leading HHS’ Covid-19 response and led the Trump administration’s 2019 “Crimson Contagion” exercises, which simulated a crippling pandemic influenza outbreak in the U.S. that had first originated in China. Kadlec’s professional history, his decades-old obsession with apocalyptic bioweapon attack scenarios and the Crimson Contagion exercises themselves are the subject of Part III of this series.

The Dark Winter exercise began with a briefing on the geopolitical context of the exercise, which included intelligence suggesting that China had intentionally introduced Foot and Mouth disease in Taiwan for economic and political advantage; that Al-Qaeda was seeking to purchase biological pathogens once weaponized by the Soviet Union; and that Saddam Hussein of Iraq had recruited former biowarfare specialists from the Soviet Union and was importing materials to create biological weapons. It further notes that a majority of Americans had opposed a planned deployment of U.S. soldiers to the Middle East, which was also opposed by Iraq, China and Russia. The script also asserts that the soldiers were being deployed to counter and potentially engage the Iraqi military. Later, as the exercise unfolds, many of those Americans once skeptical about this troop deployment soon begin calling for “revenge.”

Amid this backdrop, news suddenly breaks that smallpox, a disease long eradicated in the U.S. and globally, appears to have broken out in the state of Oklahoma. The participants in Dark Winter, representing the National Security Council, quickly deduce that smallpox has been deliberately introduced and that this is the result of a “bioterrorist attack on the United States.” The assumption is made that the attack is “related to decisions we may make to deploy troops to the Mid-East.”

Not unlike what is unfolding currently with the Covid-19 crisis, in Dark Winter, there is no means of rapid diagnosis for smallpox, no treatments available and no surge capacity in the healthcare system. The outbreak quickly spreads to numerous other U.S. states and throughout the world. Hospitals in the U.S. soon face “desperate situations” as “tens of thousands of ill or anxious persons seek care.” This is compounded by “grossly inadequate supplies” and “insufficient isolation rooms,” among other complications.

Since this exercise occurred in June 2001, the heavy hinting that Saddam Hussein-led Iraq and Al Qaeda are the main suspects is notable. Indeed, at one point in one of the fictional news reports used in the exercise, the reporter states that “Iraq might have provided the technology behind the attacks to terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.” Such claims that Iraq’s government was linked to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan would re-emerge months later in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and would be heavily promoted by several Dark Winter participants such as former CIA Director James Woolsey, who would later swear under oath that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. It would, of course, later emerge that Iraq’s connections to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks were nonexistent as well as the fact that Iraq did not possess biological weapons or other “weapons of mass destruction.”

Notably, this insertion into one of the Dark Winter news clips was not the only part of the exercise that sought to link Saddam Hussein and Iraq to biological weapons. For instance, during the exercise, satellite imaging showed that a “suspected bioresearch facility” in Iraq appeared to be expanding an “exclusionary zone” in order to limit civilian activity near the facility as well as a “possible quarantine” area in the same area as this facility. Previously in the exercise, Iraq was one of three countries, along with Iran and North Korea, who were “repeatedly rumored” to have illicitly obtained Soviet smallpox cultures from defecting scientists and Iraq was alleged to have offered employment to a leading smallpox scientist who had worked on the Soviet bioweapons program.

Then, at the end of the exercise, a “prominent Iraqi defector” emerges who claims Iraq had arranged the bioweapons attack “through intermediaries,” which is deemed “highly credible” even though “there is no forensic evidence to support this claim.” Iraq officially denies the accusation, but vows to target the U.S. in “highly damaging ways” if the U.S. “takes action against Iraq.” It is thus unsurprising that, as will be shown later in this report, key participants in Dark Winter would heavily promote the narrative that Iraq was to blame for the 2001 Anthrax attacks. Other participants, including Robert Kadlec, would then become involved in the FBI’s “sabotaged” investigation once the Bureau began to focus on a domestic, as opposed to an international source.

In addition, as part of Dark Winter, mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times and others, were sent anonymous letters that threatened renewed attacks on the U.S., including anthrax attacks, if the U.S. did not withdraw its troops from the Middle East. In this simulation, those letters contained “a genetic fingerprint of the smallpox strain matching the fingerprint of the strain causing the current epidemic.” During the Anthrax attacks that would occur just a few months after Dark Winter, Judith Miller – who participated in Dark Winter – and other U.S. reporters would receive threatening letters with a white powder presumed to be Anthrax. In Miller’s case, the powder turned out to be harmless.

Other aspects of Dark Winter appear more notable now than ever, particularly in light of recent pandemic simulations that were conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (Event 201) and the Trump administration (Crimson Contagion) in 2019, as well as the federal government’s current options for responding to Covid-19.

For instance, Dark Winter warns of “dangerous misinformation” spreading online selling “unverified” cures and making similarly “unverified” claims, all of which are deemed as posing a threat to public safety. Such concerns over online misinformation/disinformation and narrative control have recently surfaced in connection with the current Covid-19 crisis. Notable, however, is the fact that the “Event 201” simulation held last October, which simulated a global pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus, also greatly emphasized concerns about such misinformation/disinformation and suggested increased social media censorship and “limited internet shutdowns” to combat the issue. That simulation was co-hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which is currently led by Dark Winter co-author Thomas Inglesby.

Dark Winter further discusses the suppression and removal of civil liberties, such as the possibility of the President to invoke “The Insurrection Act”, which would allow the military to act as law enforcement upon request by a State governor, as well as the possibility of “martial rule.” The Dark Winter script also discusses how options for martial rule “include, but are not limited to, prohibition of free assembly, national travel ban, quarantine of certain areas, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus [i.e. arrest without due process], and/or military trials in the event that the court system becomes dysfunctional.”

The exercise later includes “credible allegations” that those deemed “suspicious for smallpox” by authorities were illegally arrested or detained and that these arrests largely targeted low income individuals or ethnic minorities. In terms of current events, it is worth pointing out that U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice he leads have recently requested new “emergency powers” that are allegedly related to the current Covid-19 outbreak. That request specifically references the ability to indefinitely detain Americans without right to a free trial.

Weaving a narrative

After examining Dark Winter, it then becomes important to examine the events the exercise seemingly predicted, namely the 2001 anthrax attacks. This is particularly crucial for two reasons: first, that the source of the anthrax was later traced to a domestic source, allegedly the USAMRIID lab in Fort Detrick; and second, the mode of attack and the initial narrative of those attacks were straight out of the Dark Winter playbook. Furthermore, key players in the government response to the anthrax attacks, including those with apparent foreknowledge of the attacks, as well as those who sought (falsely) to link those attacks to Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were also participants in Dark Winter.

Weeks before the first Anthrax case would be discovered, on the evening of September 11, 2001, then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff was told to start taking injections of the antibiotic Cipro in order to prevent Anthrax infection. In addition, at least one member of the press, journalist Richard Cohen – then at the Washington Post – had also been told to take Cipro soon after September 11 after receiving a tip “in a roundabout way from a high government official.” Who exactly in the Bush administration and in the Beltway began taking Cipro weeks prior to the anthrax attacks and for how long? Unfortunately, the answer to that question remains unanswered. Yet, it has since been revealed that the person who had told these officials to take Cipro was none other than Dark Winter participant Jerome Hauer, who had previously served for nearly 8 years at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC), which oversees the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick.

Hauer, on September 11, 2001, was the managing director of Kroll Inc., a private intelligence and security company informally known as the “CIA of Wall Street,” a company that French intelligence had accused of acting as a front for the actual CIA. Kroll Inc., at the time of the attacks was responsible for security at the World Trade Center complex, yet Hauer was conveniently not present at his World Trade Center office on the day of the attacks, instead appearing on cable news. More on the series of “conveniences” that have followed Hauer throughout his career, especially over the course of 2001, and the massive amounts of money he stands to make off of the current Covid-19 epidemic will be discussed in detail in Part II of this series.

Then, on September 12, Donald Kagan of the neoconservative think tank the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), whose members populated key posts in the Bush administration, made an odd comment (for the time, anyway) about the September 11 attacks and anthrax. Speaking on Washington DC radio, Kagan – after suggesting that the U.S. should invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine in retaliation for September 11 – asks “What would have happened if they had anthrax on that plane?” That same day, James Woolsey, himself a PNAC member and also a Dark Winter participant, claimed that Iraq was to blame for September 11 during a cable news interview.

A week later, another PNAC member and advisor to the Bush White House– Richard Perle – told CNN that the next terror attack is likely to involve “chemical or biological weapons.” Soon after, Jerome Hauer re-emerges, claiming that the government now has a “new sense of urgency” regarding bioterrorist threats and asserts that “Osama Bin Laden wants to acquire these [biological] agents and we know he has links to Saddam and Saddam Hussein has them.” Of course, Saddam Hussein did not actually possess these biological weapons, although he did during the fictional Dark Winter exercise in which Hauer had actively participated. Just days after Hauer made these bold claims, ABC News reported that the alleged 9/11 hijackers may have intended to modify crop dusters to disperse Anthrax.

All of this took place several days before the first anthrax victim, photojournalist Bob Stevens, would even begin to show symptoms and over a week before doctors would even begin to suspect that his condition had been caused by anthrax poisoning.

On October 2, as Stevens’ health began to rapidly deteriorate, a new book co-written by journalist Judith Miller of the New York Times was released. Entitled “Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War,” the book asserted that the U.S. faced an unprecedented bioterrorism threat from terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. It further alleged that such groups may have teamed up with countries such as Iraq and Russia. Miller, who had participated in Dark Winter months prior, had conducted numerous interviews with senior White House officials for the book, particularly Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Libby, although he had not personally attended Dark Winter, was greatly impacted by the exercise when he learned of it, so much so that he had personally arranged for Cheney to watch the video of the entire Dark Winter exercise on September 20, 2001. Cheney took the contents of Dark Winter to the National Security Council the very next day. It would later be reported in New York magazine that, “a few days after 9/11,” the principal authors of Dark Winter – Randall Larsen, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby – would personally meet with Cheney and members of the administration’s national security staff about the exercise.

Larsen, who worked closely with Robert Kadlec throughout the 1990s, allegedly smuggled a test tube of weaponized Bacillus globigii, “almost genetically identical to anthrax,” into the meeting, according to that report. It is unclear when this meeting took place in relation to when Cheney had watched the video of the Dark Winter exercise.

The same day that Miller’s “Germs” was released, October 2, another odd occurrence took place. A former scientist at the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, received a call from the FBI after someone who intimately knew Assaad’s work history and career in great detail (and who also claimed to have previously worked with Assaad) had anonymously accused him of being a “potential biological terrorist” with a deep-seated hatred of the U.S. government. At the time the letter was received by the FBI, neither the public nor the FBI were aware of any anthrax cases. Assaad, who was then working for the Environmental Protection Agency, told the FBI that he believed he was being framed by former co-workers. The FBI deemed this to be credible and never contacted Assaad in connection with the case again.

It later emerged in the Hartford Courant that Assaad had been the target of extensive harassment by a clique of co-workers at the USAMRIID lab in the early 1990s. One of those co-workers who had harassed Assaad would leave the lab disgruntled as a result of the controversy over Assaad’s harassment allegations. He would later return to the lab to conduct unauthorized, late night research on anthrax and be tied to several missing specimens of anthrax and other pathogens – Lt. Col. Philip Zack.

Zack, in 2001, was working for the U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences. Though he first began working for Gilead in 1999, he was “handpicked” in 2001 to lead the establishment of “a new Project Management Department in conjunction with a complete restructure of R&D [Research and Development].” Donald Rumsfeld, another member of PNAC, became the chairman of Gilead Sciences in 1997 and he served as chairman of that company up until he became George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in early 2001.

Rumsfeld would later announce on September 10, 2001 that $2.3 trillion had gone “missing” from the Pentagon’s budget. The Pentagon’s accounting office, whose staff was attempting to locate these missing trillions, would be destroyed on September 11, 2001. Though planes being flown into the Pentagon would later be described by government officials as “unimaginable” and “unthinkable” after the attacks, a simulation of planes being flown into the Pentagon had been conducted less than a year prior to September 11.

Terror Redux

On October 4, 2001, Bob Stevens’ anthrax poisoning diagnosis was made known to the FBI and CDC and the public was then informed via a press conference. The second anthrax case was declared soon after and was a co-worker of Stevens’, who had worked for the Florida-based newspaper, the Sun.

A day later, White House officials began to immediately pressure then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove that the anthrax attacks were linked to Al Qaeda, despite there being no evidence to make such a link. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” a then-senior FBI official would later tell the New York Daily News of the meetings.

Over the next few weeks, suspicious letters containing fine, white powder were sent to well-known American journalists, including NBC’s Tom Brokaw and The New York Times’ Judith Miller, though the powder in the letter addressed to Miller was found to be harmless. Notably, Miller and other New York Times journalists wrote a total of 27 articles specifically about anthrax and its potential use as a bioweapon between September 12, 2001 and the day before Stevens was diagnosed with anthrax poisoning.

Letters containing anthrax were also received by Senators Tom Daschle, Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy, all of whom were – at the time – preventing the US Patriot Act from quickly passing through the Senate and who were resisting administration attempts to ram the legislation through with little to no debate. Several of the letters included the date “9-11-01” and the phrases “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is great” in neatly-printed block letters.

Soon after, a suspicious letter was found in the office of then-Congressman and current Vice President Mike Pence. Media Roots noted the following about Pence’s subsequent press conference in a 2018 podcast that examined the timeline of the 2001 anthrax attacks:

“… Mike Pence, who once hosted an AM talk show describing himself as ‘Rush Limbaugh on decaf,’ conducts a press conference outside the Capitol proclaiming revenge and biblical style justice to whoever conducted the anthrax attacks. His family–with news cameras in tow–gets tested for anthrax at the hospital after it is allegedly found in his office.

No news outlets questioned his grandstanding or odd performance of going to the hospital with his family, and unlike Senators Daschle and Leahy in their press appearances, Mike Pence alluded to the anthrax letters being connected to the larger ‘war on terror.’”

As public panic swelled, more letters continued to be found, not just in the United States but around the world, with anthrax and/or hoax letters being found in Japan, Kenya, Israel, China and Australia, among others. Simultaneously, efforts to link the anthrax attacks to Saddam Hussein and Iraq began to emerge and quickly grew in intensity and number.

The media push to link the attacks to Iraq began first with The Guardian and then was followed by U.S. media outlets like The Wall Street Journal. Those early reports cited unnamed “American investigators” and defense officials and largely centered on the false claim that alleged 9/11 mastermind Mohammad Atta had met with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague in late 2000 as well as similarly false allegations that members of Al Qaeda had recently obtained vials of anthrax in the Czech Republic.

A key person in disseminating that false Prague story was Dark Winter participant and PNAC member James Woolsey. It was also revealed in late October 2001 that Woolsey was serving as the personal emissary of Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq War “architect” and then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, in “investigating Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks and anthrax outbreaks.”

Beyond the Pentagon, foreign “experts” soon began to assert that there was a link between the anthrax attacks and Iraq, including former Israeli military intelligence officer Dany Shoham. Shoham recently resurfaced this past January after claiming that Covid-19 was developed by the Chinese government as a bioweapon.

These assertions were soon followed by a report from ABC News’ Brian Ross, who (again falsely) claimed that some of the anthrax used in the attacks had contained bentonite. Ross claimed that bentonite “is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program” and that “only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.” Ross asserted this information had come from three “well-placed but separate sources,” which later grew to four. Yet, no tests conducted during the Anthrax investigation ever found any bentonite at all, meaning the story was an invention from the very start. ABC and Brian Ross never retracted the story.

Glenn Greenwald, then writing at Salon, would state the following about Ross’ sources in 2008:

“Ross’ allegedly four separate sources had to have some specific knowledge of the tests conducted and, if they were really “well-placed,” one would presume that meant they had some connection to the laboratory where the tests were conducted — Ft. Detrick. That means that the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq.

It’s extremely possible — one could say highly likely — that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain — as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax — is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC News designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).”

Soon, media reports began noting the contradictory messaging of the U.S. government with regards to the anthrax attacks, messaging which has striking parallels to the Trump administration’s messaging on Covid-19. In one such report, written by Matthew Engel for The Guardian, states:

“Those in charge have compounded the problems by sending out confused messages. Was the anthrax weapons-grade or not? Should Americans be alarmed or relaxed? Has President Bush himself been tested? The signals keep changing. Mr. Thompson suggested early on that Bob Stevens, the first anthrax victim, might have drunk from an infected stream.”

During the 2001 anthrax attacks, there was no shortage of contradictory actions either, such as the government’s failure to mandate that postal workers take Cipro or even take the simplest precautions even though members of the Bush administration had been taking Cipro weeks before the anthrax attacks were known to the FBI and the public. Even worse, the Bush administration waited an extremely long time to close post offices for anthrax testing, waiting until numerous postal workers had already become infected and some had already died. In addition, Ernesto Blanco – a Florida mail room worker who later recovered from Anthrax poisoning – and his family were left confused about the refusal of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to diagnose him with anthrax poisoning while he was in dire condition. Blanco’s family later claimed that his diagnosis had been kept a secret for political reasons.

BASIS for surveillance and control

The contradictory response of the Bush administration to the anthrax attacks and the panic that ensued was also paralleled by an equally contradictory sensor system, one which had been installed just a few months before the anthrax attacks in thirty cities throughout the U.S. despite a dubious record of accuracy.

Just as the fictional scenarios proposed in Dark Winter were being written, American scientists were developing a sensor system for the detection of anthrax and botulinum toxin called BASIS (Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information Systems). Months before anthrax would cause extreme panic and target American Senators, scientists from Los Alamos and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were testing the biological sensing device at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, inside the Special Programs Division of what was once the site of the U.S. biological weapons program and where anthrax samples used at Fort Detrick are often produced.

It is worth noting that Dugway, not unlike Fort Detrick, has longstanding issues with biosafety lapses that have resulted in numerous mishaps, such as their accidental shipment of live anthrax over 70 times to 86 different labs throughout the world from 2005-2015. Independent analyses conducted after the FBI closed its investigation into the attacks have suggested that Dugway may have been the source of the anthrax used in the attacks, as opposed to Fort Detrick.

Returning to BASIS, the results of the tests conducted on this new sensor system in 2001 showed that it was highly prone to generating false positives and was, therefore, worthless beyond the ability to “induce the very panic and social disruption it is intended to thwart“, according to the Livermore Laboratory, which nevertheless marketed BASIS as a tool to “guard the air we breathe.” Vice President Cheney, following his September 2001 briefing on Dark Winter, decided to install the system in the White House.

Days after Senator Tom Daschle’s press conference that revealed he had been targeted by the anthrax attacker, President Bush was in Shanghai attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit when he received a call from Dick Cheney on Airforce Two. Cheney delivered a chilling message — the President and Secretaries Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, who were with Bush in China, might have been exposed to the ultra-lethal botulinum toxin at the White House.

BASIS had returned two positive results for the deadly neurotoxin and – if the tests held true – three of the U.S.’ highest ranking officials were “toast.” Yet, once again, BASIS had lived up to its reputation as a great panic-inducing mechanism when the supposed botulinum toxin hits were determined to have been false positives. Apparently, this “unintended” feature was a real selling point, as proven by George W. Bush’s subsequent deployment of the system in thirty cities throughout the country under the auspices of the newly-minted Department of Homeland Security as part of a program called Bio-Watch.

Given the events described, it is noteworthy that BASIS relies on the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN) to identify the biological agents trapped by its sensors. The 150 state and local laboratories that make up the LRN use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR-based) analysis, which is ill-equipped to detect the aforementioned botulinum toxin. In addition, the Bio-Watch program is plagued by bureaucratic and logistical problems, which further undermine any potential public health benefits.

DHS was fully aware of the program’s limitations from the start and issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for the development of autonomous sensor technology that would eliminate the need for manual sample collection. The Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detector (BAND) program was then initiated by HSARPA (Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency) in September of 2003 and, in 2008, awarded a multi-year contract for its development to MicroFluidic Systems, Inc., a company founded by Allen Northrup. Northup is also co-founder of Cepheid, a diagnostic testing company that received FDA approval for a 45-minute Covid-19 test less than two weeks ago.

In tandem with the development of BASIS shortly before 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks, DARPA was sponsoring a surveillance program to collect data on U.S. citizens without their knowledge or consent by using their medical records. The ostensible purpose of that program was to develop algorithms that could detect a bioweapons attack based on real-time data input. The Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition Technology, or Bio-ALIRT, is at the heart of what Dark Winter co-author, Dr. Tara O’Toole, calls the “information supply chain.”

“We need to have a disciplined flow of information during epidemics that goes to the people who need to know what they need to know,” O’Toole recently told Ira Pastor in an interview. “That’s different from this cosmic surveillance system, that captures all the possible information all the time and tells us, in advance when an epidemic is coming. We need a supply chain of information to manage the epidemic.” O’Toole, who now works for the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, and her longstanding promotion of mass surveillance in the name of “public health” will be discussed in a subsequent installment of this series.

DARPA’s partners in this Orwellian endeavor were, perhaps unsurprisingly, recurring actors in the arena of biological attack simulations, from Johns Hopkins to the University of Pittsburgh – the Biosecurity centers of which were both previously run by O’Toole – and defense industry giants, General Dynamics and IBM.

Hovering over these draconian innovations floats the overarching narrative, which the 2001 anthrax attacks were supposed to activate in popular consciousness. Though the attacks would be pinned on USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins, the highly questionable investigative and prosecutorial methods employed in Ivins’ case, not to mention his timely pre-trial suicide, may instead offer clues regarding a botched false flag operation that had originally been designed to bolster the creation of a new geopolitical chessboard pitting the U.S. against its same perpetual enemies.

Covering up the real conspiracy

Dark Winter

From its earliest moments, the FBI’s “Amerithrax” investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks was clearly botched, sabotaged and even farcical. For instance, the letter sent to Dr. Ayaad Assaad would obviously have been a clear starting point for any honest investigation, as whoever wrote it had obvious foreknowledge of the attacks, connections to USAMRIID and was attempting to frame someone else for a crime that – at the time it was sent – had yet to be committed. Yet, The Hartford Courant noted in late 2001 that “the FBI is not tracking the source of the anonymous letter, despite its curious timing, coming a matter of days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known.” Why would the FBI not be interested in who wrote that letter, when it presents a clear lead on someone who, at the very least, knew a bioterrorism attack would soon take place and that the attacker’s profile would fit that of Assaad (i.e. Muslim and a former USAMRIID scientist).

In addition, in the early days of the investigation on October 12, 2001 – just one week after the attacks had claimed their first victim, the FBI called the University of Iowa and demanded that they destroy their entire database on the Ames strain of anthrax, the strain that would later be revealed to have been the very strain used in the attacks.

Both the FBI and the university officially claimed that the database’s destruction was ordered in order to prevent its potential use by terrorists in the future and was thus a “precaution,” despite greatly hampering the capacity of the investigation to determine the origins of the anthrax used in the attacks. Dr. Francis Boyle, an American law professor who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, later asserted that the FBI’s decision to order the destruction of the Ames strain database was an “obstruction of justice, a federal crime,” adding that “… That collection should have been preserved and protected as evidence. That’s the DNA, the fingerprints right there.”

Can the destruction of the Ames strain database and the decision to not pursue any leads related to the anonymous letter framing Dr. Assaad be written off as merely “missteps” made in the earliest and arguably most crucial days of the investigation? The fact that the Bush administration, as previously mentioned, was strongly pressuring then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to find a connection to “someone in the Middle East” at the same time these decision were made instead suggests that the investigation was highly politicized and manipulated by top government officials from the very beginning.

The FBI investigation continued to be marred by similarly obstructive actions. For instance, the anthrax sample that was in the envelope addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy had been found to contain traces of human DNA, a crucial finding that the FBI laboratory deliberately concealed from the agency’s own investigators. The FBI lab then declined to search for a match to this human DNA sample, despite the fact that doing so would – in all probability – lead to the actual attacker.

Due to all the obstruction and deliberate sabotage that took place, the investigation progressed slowly as crucial clues were ignored or outright discarded, apparently in order to keep FBI investigators off of the real trail. After coming under political and media pressure to at least name a suspect, the FBI began to focus on former USAMRIID researcher Stephen Hatfill.

Despite lacking any good reason to pursue Hatfill, the FBI – accompanied by TV crews – raided Hatfill’s apartment in biohazard suits and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft later publicly named him a “person of interest” in the case. The FBI pressured Hatfill’s then-employer to fire him and refused to clear his name years after the Bureau knew full well that he had no connection to the crime. Hatfill first sued the government in 2003 and the Department of Justice settled with Hatfill five years later, paying him $4.6 million in damages.

Though it was eventually settled, Hatfill’s lawsuit initially resulted in some odd claims from FBI investigators, with Richard Lambert – the FBI official in charge of the Amerithrax investigation, claiming that the lawsuit “could jeopardize the probe and expose national secrets related to U.S. bioweapons defense measures.” He also claimed it would “make public the vulnerabilities and capabilities of U.S. government installations to bioweapons attacks and expose sensitive intelligence collection sources and methods.” Lambert would later file a federal whistleblower lawsuit where he accused the Bureau’s Washington field office and FBI headquarters of having “greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.”

The Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, would make a similar argument when Maureen Stevens, the wife of the first anthrax victim Bob Stevens, sued the federal government over the lax security measures in place at the USAMRIID lab where the anthrax used in the attacks was alleged to have originated. Stevens’ lawyer said the lawsuit was also filed due to “the government’s stonewalling tactics,” which included “taking months to turn over an autopsy report, denying them access to DNA tests and even denying them money from the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund.” Citing “national security concerns,” federal attorneys sought to delay Stevens’ lawsuit, arguing that the litigation “would pose a significant risk of disclosing classified or sensitive information relating to the acquisition, development and use of weapons of mass destruction such as anthrax.”

In 2008, soon after Hatfill was cleared and the lawsuit with him settled, the FBI began to focus on another USAMRIID researcher, Dr. Bruce E. Ivins. Ivins, who had previously helped the FBI analyze the anthrax used in the letters sent to politicians, journalists and others, was aggressively targeted by the FBI through aggressive surveillance and what can only be described as extreme harassment.

As Glenn Greenwald noted in Salon in 2008, “the FBI investigation was so heavy-handed that it actually entailed showing gruesome photographs of the anthrax victims to Ivins’ adult children, telling them that their father is the one who did that, while trying to entice them to turn on him with promises of a reward.” It was also revealed that addiction counselor Jean Duley, whose restraining order against Ivins was used by the media as “proof” that he was deranged and a likely “lone wolf” terrorist, had actually been egged on by none other than the FBI to seek that very restraining order.

The FBI, as it ramped up its targeting of Ivins, leaked much of its evidence to media outlets, which – for the most part – uncritically reported it. However, it eventually became clear that the case was shoddy and would never hold up in court as it was built on circumstantial evidence and questionable scientific analyses.

It was then announced on July 29, 2008 that Ivins, whose life and career had been left in ruins by the FBI’s aggressive tactics, had committed suicide just as the federal government was set to charge him as the sole culprit behind the Anthrax attacks. Few chose to question the suicide narrative despite there being legitimate reasons to do so, such as the lack of a suicide note at the scene and the fact that no autopsy was ever performed on Ivins’ corpse.

Former FBI agent Richard Lambert’s whistleblower lawsuit would later reveal that the FBI had intentionally withheld a “wealth” of evidence that proved Ivins’ innocence and further charged that the DOJ and FBI had “crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt” that included “press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions.”

After Ivins’ suicide, questions continued to arise regarding the FBI’s case against the deceased scientist, with several journalists and even Senator Patrick Leahy – who had been sent an Anthrax letter – insisting that the FBI’s case against Ivins, particularly the charge that he had acted alone, was implausible. A former co-worker of Ivins and one of the country’s top biowarfare experts, Richard Spertzel, asserted in The Wall Street Journal that Ivins couldn’t have been the culprit because Ivins did not know how to make anthrax of the quality used in the attacks as only 4-5 people in the entire country, Spertzel being one of them, knew how to do so. Spertzel asserted that one of those 4-5 people would have needed at least a year as well as a full lab and a staff dedicate to the task in order to produce the Anthrax used.

In an attempt to mollify mounting criticism, Mueller announced in September 2008 that a panel from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would independently review the FBI’s “smoking gun” scientific analyses that had led them to accuse Ivins. However, the FBI abruptly closed the case in 2010, well before the panel could conclude its review, and stood by its controversial assertion that Ivins had acted as a “lone wolf” and that anthrax from a flask in Ivins’ lab was “conclusively identified as the parent material to the anthrax powder used in the mailings.”

When the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) did release its review of the FBI’s scientific findings a year later in 2011, it found that the Bureau’s “smoking gun” scientific evidence against Ivins was actually very inconclusive and they also identified several still, unresolved issues with the FBI’s analyses for which the Bureau could not provide an explanation.

However, because Ivins had died before the FBI’s scientific case could go to trial, the FBI’s claims would never be challenged in court. David Relman, vice chairman of the National Academy study committee, later told ProPublica that Ivins’ trial would have been the only way the FBI’s claims “could have been weighed and challenged by experts.”

The NAS study was not the only independent report that challenged the FBI’s case against Ivins after his apparent suicide. In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its own analysis of the FBI investigation and concluded that the FBI’s approach lacked consistency, adequate standards and precision. The GAO report ultimately supported the NAS’ conclusion that the scientific evidence did not definitely prove Ivins to be the culprit.

The conclusions of both the NAS and GAO reports show that the FBI’s “smoking gun” against Ivins – its scientific analyses – were hardly a smoking gun as they were just as circumstantial as the rest of the Bureau’s evidence against the scientist. This, of course, makes the timing of the FBI’s decision to close the case, a year before any independent analysis of its evidence against Ivins could be completed, significant.

A familiar cast of characters

Key players in Dark Winter would also end up playing a role in the FBI Amerithrax investigation and Bush administration efforts to link them to a foreign, rather than a domestic, source. For instance, as increasingly desperate efforts were made to link the anthrax attacks to Al Qaeda in early 2002, an “independent” team from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies argued that the anthrax attackers were linked to Al Qaeda, citing a diagnosis made by a Florida doctor in June 2001 that alleged 9/11 hijacker Ahmed al-Haznawi had a skin lesion that was “consistent with cutaneous anthrax.”

Yet, this team from Johns Hopkins was – in reality — far from independent, as it was led by Dark Winter co-authors Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby. However, their association with Dark Winter and their September 2001 meeting with Dick Cheney went unmentioned as media outlets ran with O’Toole and Inglesby’s assertion that al-Haznawi’s allegedly anthrax-related lesion “raises the possibility that the hijackers were handling anthrax and were the perpetrators of the anthrax letter attacks.” Other scientists and analysts as well as the FBI challenged and rejected their claims.

Another Dark Winter figure involved in the Amerithrax case was current Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Robert Kadlec, who became an adviser on biological warfare to the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon in the days after 9/11. Kadlec’s official biography states that he “contributed to the FBI investigation of the anthrax letter attacks,” though it’s unclear exactly what those contributions were, beyond having met at least once with scientists at Fort Detrick in November 2001. Whatever his contributions were, Kadlec has long been an emphatic supporter of the official narrative regarding Bruce Ivins, who he has referred to as a “deranged scientist” and the sole culprit behind the attacks. Kadlec has also used the official narrative about Ivins to assert that bioweapons have been “democratized,” which he argues means that weaponized pathogens can be wielded by essentially anyone with “a few thousand dollars” and enough time on their hands.

Notably, Kadlec isn’t the only key figure in the current U.S. government response to Covid-19 to have ties to the botched FBI investigation as current HHS Secretary Alex Azar was also involved in the FBI investigation. In addition, Azar stated at a White House press briefing in 2018 that he had been “personally involved in much of managing the response [to the anthrax attacks]” as then-General counsel to HHS.

Yet, given that the FBI investigation into the anthrax attacks and the government response to them were so disastrous and heavily criticized by independent and mainstream media alike, it is surprising that Azar and Kadlec would so proudly tout their involvement in that fiasco, especially considering that the scientific analyses used in that investigation were fatally flawed and, by all indications, led to the death of an innocent man.

While such credentials in a “normal” world would be grounds for exclusion from public service, they apparently have the opposite effect when it comes to post-2001 HHS policy and U.S. biodefense policy, which – especially following 2001 – has championed the interests and profits of corporate pharmaceutical companies and the apocalyptic vision of bioweapons held by war hawks and perpetual Cold Warriors. This latter category, of course, includes members of the now-defunct PNAC, who infamously referred to racially-targeted bioweapons as a “politically useful tool” in a now infamous 2001 document, and their ideological descendants.

As the next installment of this series will show, Dark Winter participant and 2001 anthrax attack insider Jerome Hauer epitomizes this merging of perpetual hawkishness and corporate pharmaceutical interests, as he has long held (and continues to occupy) key board positions of the very pharmaceutical company that not only sold tens of millions of anthrax vaccine doses to HHS following the 2001 anthrax attacks, but is now a partner in the development of the majority of vaccines, drugs and experimental treatments currently under development in the United States for the treatment of Covid-19.

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WTC7 Was Expertly Prepared For Demolition Prior to 9/11

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | March 30, 2020

What seemed to allow this deadly night to descend was that the intellectual patterns that were supposed to be in charge of things, that should comprehend the threat and lead the fight against it, were paralyzed.

Robert M. Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, pg 305

I become frustrated with people who remain ignorant because of laziness.

Bruce Coville, Thoughtful Thinker

Later in the day on 9/11/2001 a third building, WTC Building 7, descended at nearly free-fall speed with such perfect symmetry as to serve as a textbook example of excellence in prepared demolition. The official reason for the collapse of the 47 story, steel-framed skyscraper was given in 2008 by Shyam Sunder of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): “WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings.” It had taken seven years for NIST to fabricate a tortured videotaped explanation obviously out of sync with the actual collapse. The explanation reeked so visibly of scientific fraud that demonstrating that Building 7 was professionally wired for destruction became seen as the factor that could best be used to expose the larger web of lies surrounding the 9/11 events.

In years following 9/11, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth was formed, as were similar truth-seeking organizations for pilots, lawyers, scientists, firefighters, religious leaders, and many more (even cops). But mainstream journalism has been silent, dismissive or openly hostile to individuals and groups questioning the official account. The now jaded epithet of “conspiracy theorist”, a 1960s invention of the CIA, soon gave way to the insults of “truther”, and even “troofer”. But perhaps the best indicator of governmental/media defense of the preposterous but official account of 9/11 may be seen in a March 8, 2010 Washington Post editorial that threatened a prominent Japanese politician and his entire Party for suggesting controlled demolition as cause for the 9/11 collapses, and that Japan should have its own independent investigation. The Post, long linked to the CIA, used in its threat identical derogatory language seen widely in attacks on people and groups aware of the physical impossibilities inherent in the government’s explanation: “bizarre”, “half-baked”, “intellectually bogus”, “lunatic fringe”, “fact-averse”, as if the terminology had derived from a single source. Well, imagine that!

In 2015, researchers at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Northern Engineering, funded by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, began a four-year study of details of the WTC7 collapse. The Final Report, released on March 25, concluded that WTC7 was destroyed not by office fires but “by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.” Four years and a third of a million dollars, and that’s IT? What is so maddeningly frustrating – now after nearly two decades – is that all these engineers and architects refuse to take the next appropriate step and openly state, as a “working hypothesis”, that the building was prepared for demolition. All were trained in the physics of Isaac Newton’s universe, and all of their data point to that and nowhere else.

In the name of science and good sense, all of these engineering physicists have an obligation to speak much more clearly. I am a zoologist and therefore lack the professional standing to frame a hypothesis for an engineering issue, but there is a crying need for an openly-stated hypothesis from the professional community. What other than professional demolition could cause dozens of massive steel columns to “fail” simultaneously to such an extreme degree as to allow for free fall of a skyscraper, even for a moment? I’m serious. If there is another possible explanation that makes physical sense, all of these architects should just state it. Instead, what they suggest people do is send the Final Report to their members of Congress. Really! Such a level of naïveté is unacceptable and is merely a recipe for more years of failure to win a “new” investigation — as if the 9/11 Commission whitewash could qualify as a legitimate investigation.

One might argue that US journalism had some excuse to be blind to the demolition of WTC7 as long as the NIST report could be cited, but as of now, the reputation of NIST is a smoking ruin, and rightly so. Leaders of the NIST report lied before the eyes of the world, and if they have a shred of decency remaining they would be publicly begging for forgiveness. And the same would apply to the members of the 9/11 Commission who certified the deception, Max Cleland the sole exception, his having resigned in disgust early on. In particular, consider the 9/11 Commission’s Executive Director, Phillip Zelikow. Look over the array of governmental positions the man has enjoyed, and then reflect on what it must say about inner workings of the U.S. Government that he remains honored and in key positions rather than behind bars. Further, what does it say about political involvements of the University of Virginia that he heads its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?

Becoming aware of the depth of rot and corruption throughout upper levels of government, media and academia is absolutely heartbreaking. Elements within and without the U.S. Government, in concert with a mercenary journalism, have executed a monstrous and convoluted deception on the American people and the world, and as Ben Bagdikian wrote in The New Media Monopoly, “Once a basic untruth is rooted, it blurs a society’s perception of reality and, consequently, the intelligence with which society reacts to events.” As psychologist Robert Griffin has put it: “9/11, and facing the truth about it, is important to the soul of America. Values that have come from the official story have corrupted us emotionally, mentally and spiritually.” Accordingly, the engineering community, rather than just dumping years of accumulated data onto a lay society, has a moral obligation to state, in clearest terms, a hypothesis as to what caused the steel of WTC7 to fail.

Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Open Letter to Chinese Government Highlights MSM Hypocrisy

By Daniel Lazare | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 30, 2020

The Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal have written an open letter to the Chinese government urging it to reverse its “damaging and reckless” decision to expel their reporters amid a spiraling COVID epidemic.

The letter makes all the usual points about a “free flow of reliable news and information” in the middle of a growing international emergency. And however clichéd, such sentiments are correct since access to the broadest possible sources of information is indeed essential if the world is to make it through the crisis.

But the letter would have been a lot more convincing if the three papers had spoken up on Mar. 2 when the Trump administration moved to expel sixty Chinese journalists working for five news organizations that the White House regards as little more than state propaganda outfits.

Moreover, they’d be on even firmer footing if they had not actively cheered on the most dangerous anti-media effort of all, the U.S. crackdown on the TV news service RT, formerly known as Russia Today, that began in November 2017.

The crackdown on RT was in some ways even worse than McCarthyism since the latter was at least about something real and important, which is to say a Communist movement that controlled roughly forty percent of the global population and was pressing in on capitalism from every side. If the ruling class seemed spooked, it was facing a challenge of unprecedented dimensions.

But the threat this time around was about something entirely made up, i.e. the belief that Russia had supposedly used various dark arts to trick Americans into voting for Trump. The nonsense began in January 2017 when the CIA, NSA, and FBI “assessed” that Vladimir Putin had interfered in the previous year’s election in order “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability” and, in the process, boost Trump. The report was entirely devoid of evidence, yet the press took it as gospel. Even worse, the intelligence report included a seven-page annex accusing RT of engaging in “criticism of U.S. and Western governments as well as the promotion of radical discontent,” running “numerous reports on alleged U.S. election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities,” contending that U.S. election results cannot be trusted and do not reflect the popular will,” and hosting third-party candidates who contend that “the U.S. two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.’”

Imagine – a foreign news service daring to suggest that U.S. politics were flawed! If papers like the Times or Post had the slightest inkling of self-respect, they would have laughed themselves silly over such hyper-sensitivity and told the CIA to grow a thicker skin. But they didn’t. Instead, they worked themselves up into ever greater levels of indignation. Within a few months, the New York Times was warning that “if there is any unifying character to RT, it is a deep skepticism of Western and American narratives of the world and a fundamental defensiveness about Russia and Mr. Putin” and that, thanks to snazzy graphics and snappy repartee, the network had put together “the most effective propaganda operation of the 21st century so far, one that thrives in the feverish political climates that have descended on many Western publics.”

Of course, one might observe that outlets like CNN and MSNBC are characterized by a deep skepticism of Russian narratives, so what’s the difference? But that wouldn’t be fair since everyone knows that America is right and Russia wrong and that any comparison between the two is automatically invalid, isn’t it?

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post – official slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness” – ran not one but two op-eds (here and here) calling on the federal government to require RT to register as a foreign agent, a step the Trump administration would dutifully take just two months later.

So the big two turned out to be more aggressive than the Trump administration in reducing journalistic diversity and using the power of the state to undermine a foreign competitor. Finally, just a month ago, the Times ran a front-page article declaring – queue the ominous music – that Radio Sputnik, RT’s sister outlet, had begun “broadcasting on three Kansas City-area radio stations during prime drive time.” Horror of horrors, the station was bombarding Missourians with Russki propaganda criticizing impeachment, the media, and the U.S. political system in general and informing that, in the words of one Sputnik host, that “the masses of poor and working people don’t have access to even the most essential things.”

Where did Radio Sputnik come up with such a notion? Doesn’t everyone know that perfect equality reigns in the United States and that anyone who says otherwise must be working for a foreign power?

In fact, while America never tires of touting its devotion to the First Amendment, it loses control when a foreign news service turns tables by engaging in journalism that is cheeky and irreverent. It wants a free press, which is to say one that is free to repeat over and over again how perfectly wonderful America really is. But it does not believe in a free press that allows foreigners to say the contrary.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Chutzpah: US Charges Venezuela with Nacro-Terrorism

By Roger D. Harris | Dissident Voice | March 29, 2020

According to the parable, the ungrateful son takes out a life insurance policy on his parents, murders them to collect, and is caught and found guilty. At his sentencing, the judge asks if he has anything to say on his behalf. The son replies: “Have mercy upon me because I am an orphan.” That’s chutzpah.

US Attorney General Barr’s indictments on March 26 against the government of Venezuela for narco-terrorism go beyond chutzpah. For starters, William P. Barr was chief counsel for the CIA airline Southern Air Transport implicated in the 1980s for running illicit drugs and related narco-terrorism during Iran-Contra.

The US charges of drug trafficking against Venezuela are the height of hypocrisy. The world’s leading source of heroin is US-occupied Afghanistan; the US is the world’s largest cocaine market.

The president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH), is the latest in a line of corrupt presidents since the 2009 US-backed coup there. JOH was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in October by a US federal court for smuggling multi-million dollars’ worth of cocaine into the US.

Colombia is the chief regional US client state, distinguished by being the largest recipient of US military aid in the hemisphere. Hillary Clinton called Plan Colombia a model for Latin America. Yet this model is the planet’s largest supplier of illicit cocaine. And that’s only scratching the surface of the US’s history of complicity in international narcotrafficking.

The false criminal charges by the US government against fourteen high-ranking Venezuelan officials are for alleged involvement in international drug trafficking. The US government has, in effect, put a $15 million bounty on Venezuelan President Maduro and bounties of $10 million each for the head of the National Constituent Assembly and other leading officials and former officials.

Thirty years ago, the US posted a $1 million reward on the head of Manuel Noriega, then president of Panama, on charges of narcotrafficking. Noriega had long been a US security asset assisting in the US’s dirty Contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Noriega had also used his US patronage to consolidate his rule in Panama as well as his ties with Colombian drug cartels. However, toward the end of his tenure, Noriega did not demonstrate a sufficient level of servility to his US handlers and was deposed in the US invasion of Panama in 1989, taking the lives of many uncounted civilians.

As RT warns: “The US indictment of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his subordinates on narcotrafficking charges echoes the rationale used to invade Panama and kidnap its leader.” Unlike the Noriega case, where the Panamanian president was convicted of massive drug trafficking with the knowledge and full protection of the CIA and other US security agencies, the US lacks evidence against the Venezuelans.

The US claims that Venezuelan officials are conspiring to “flood the United States with cocaine” are thoroughly groundless. Even the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a Washington-based think tank that supports regime change for Venezuela, found in a recent detailed report using the US government’s own data that the facts do not support such bogus claims.

The authoritative US interagency Consolidated Counterdrug Database reports, in fact, that 93% of US-bound cocaine is trafficked through western Caribbean and eastern Pacific routes, not through Venezuela’s eastern Caribbean coast. Over six times as much cocaine flowed through the US-allied Guatemala than Venezuela in 2018.

Yes, some illicit drugs flow through Venezuela – a minor amount compared to those emanating from US client states – but the culprits are criminal gangs that the very indicted officials are fighting. The coca is grown and manufactured into cocaine in neighboring Colombia, not Venezuela. While supporting US government actions to undermine Venezuelan state institutions, WOLA recognizes: “Venezuela’s state institutions have deteriorated… In this environment, armed groups and organized criminal structures, including drug trafficking groups, have thrived.”

Yet WOLA’s conclusion is: “US government data suggests that, despite these challenges, Venezuela is not a primary transit country for US-bound cocaine. US policy toward Venezuela should be predicated on a realistic understanding of the transnational drug trade.”

The US indictments against the government of Venezuela are a ramping up of a policy of regime change. Ever since Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998 and launched the Bolivarian Revolution, the hostile US government has floated consistently unsubstantiated accusations of narcotrafficking.

More recently the Trump administration has sought to replace the democratically elected president of Venezuela with a US-chosen and groomed security asset. Juan Guaidó, the man anointed by Trump to be president of Venezuela, had never run for the presidency nor served as president and was unknown to 81% of the Venezuelan population at the time of his self-declaration as president. Besides these dubious qualifications, Guaidó collaborated with the right-wing Colombian drug cartel and paramilitary group known as Los Rastrojos and even posed for pictures with some of their operatives, which were posted on Twitter. 

The ever-tightening unilateral coercive measures on Venezuela by the US have created a blockade, costing Venezuela over 100,000 lives. Sanctions are not an alternative to war but an economic form of warfare and just as deadly. As such, unilateral economic sanctions are an explicit violation of international law under the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States and even under US law.

Unfortunately, Venezuela is not alone. The rogue empire’s sanctions now blight a third of the world’s population in 39 countries.

This latest escalation of the US hybrid war against Venezuela takes place within the context of the global coronavirus pandemic, which the US empire sees as an opportunity to further attack the Venezuelan people made more vulnerable by the health crisis. Indeed, the US State Department has declared “Maximum-pressure March” against Venezuela. In service of the empire, Twitter has closed the accounts of the Venezuelan ministries of health, science, education, and housing.

Meanwhile, Cuba, Russia, and China are all materially supporting the Maduro government’s successful efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Venezuela. In contrast to this internationalist solidarity, the US is in the midst to the largest war games in 25 years, Defend Europe 20, in contravention of World Health Organization quarantine protocols.

Words cannot sufficiently describe the inhumane perfidy of the US empire’s response to the pandemic. This should be a time for the US government to:

  • Drop the unsupported indictments against President Maduro and other Venezuelan officials.
  • Lift the inhumane and illegal sanctions on Venezuela so that Venezuela can purchase medicines and equipment to better fight the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Restore normal relations with Venezuela based on respect for national sovereignty.

Roger D. Harris is with the Task Force on the Americas, a human rights group working in solidarity with social justice movements in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1985.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Russia Concerned by Proximity of US Bioweapon Labs Amid Outbreak – Source

© CC BY 2.0 / PublicDomainPictures / 17907 images
Sputnik – 29.03.2020

MOSCOW – Russia is concerned by how close Pentagon-funded biological warfare labs are to its borders at the same time as it battles the coronavirus, a Foreign Ministry source told reporters on Sunday.

The official slammed US authorities for blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic and manipulating its data on the virus, and in turn, accused the United States of spinning the global health crisis into political attacks.

“We do have questions for the US. It would be nice to hear its justification for placing so many labs near Russia and China, instead of its playing propaganda games with the coronavirus”, the official said.

He admitted that Russia had no credible information on a US role in the emergence of the deadly virus, which was first reported in China last December, but said globalisation made transmission of viral diseases “a matter of hours”.

“Thus, the accusatory tone of remarks directed against China from Washington is outright baffling”, the official said, adding that the source of the virus was yet to be discovered.

China hit back at the United States this month, after getting a grip on the epidemic, saying that US military personnel might have introduced the new coronavirus to Wuhan during the 2019 Military World Games in October.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Russian ships are in the Channel! Don’t let coronavirus pandemic stop establishment Russophobia

By Neil Clark | RT | March 26, 2020

Even during the Covid-19 crisis the Russian scare card is being played in the UK. While flights from virus hotspots continue to land unchecked, the British media is fussing about Russian ships’ ‘high activity’ in the Channel.

As if we Brits didn’t have enough to worry about. We’re in lockdown over coronavirus but now we also have to fear the evil Putin taking advantage of the situation and launching a full-scale naval invasion of the country. Well, that’s what you might be thinking if you’ve been watching today’s news.

Sky News Breaking informed its audience that Royal Navy ships have been shadowing seven Russian warships following “unusually high levels of activity” in the Channel and North Sea.

This raises fears, we’re told, that Putin may be seeking to exploit our current situation. “This really underlines concerns by senior officials about how this coronavirus pandemic across the world is a huge distraction for governments and could potentially be exploited by adversaries,” explained Sky’s foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes.

The news was first announced in a Royal Navy tweet today as if it was fresh, but Haynes then tweeted to say that actually the “shadowing” ended a week ago.

So why weren’t we told about it all seven days ago? Arguably, people will be more alarmed at the news of “Russian warships in the Channel” when it comes out during a ‘lockdown’. How dreadful of Putin to think of invading us at such a time when we’re grounded in our own homes and running out of toilet paper! How utterly unsporting. I bet you the blighter has never played cricket!

But hang on a minute, Carruthers old bean. The Russian ships were actually in international waters. They had every right to be where they were. The Straits of Dover, the narrowest part of the Channel does, it’s true, lie wholly within the territorial waters of Britain and France, but there is a right of transit passage under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is of course a great pity that ships passing the Straits no longer have to dip their flag and lower their topsails in salute to the English, but times move on.

The truth of the matter is that the Russians, whether or not seven ships is ‘usual’ or ‘unusual’, weren’t doing anything wrong. If they had suddenly changed direction and started heading up the Thames, then of course it would be different, but they didn’t. So what’s the fuss?
Also on rt.com Russiagate all over again: Secret EU report blames Russia for coronavirus ‘confusion, panic and fear’

Rather than get all Lance-Corporal Jones-style panicky about three Steregushchiy-class corvettes, two Ropucha-class landing ships and two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates passing the south coast, and their crews coughing and sneezing on no one, we should, I think, be rather more concerned by the fact that flights from Covid-19 hotspots are still arriving unchecked at UK airports.

Where’s the outcry about that? Isn’t it crazy given the current situation that people can still come into Britain from places like Madrid, Rome and Tehran? According to Heathrow Airport’s website four flights landed from Madrid today. There’s been over 4,000 Covid-19 deaths so far in Spain and more than 56,000 confirmed cases. At the time of writing a flight is due in from Frankfurt. The number of German coronavirus cases stood yesterday at 37,323. At 14.10 GMT a flight landed from Tehran. The number of Iranian deaths from Coronavirus went up by 143 yesterday to 2,077.

Why are we being encouraged to be more concerned about Russian ships in international waters than we are about flights bringing potentially infected people into the UK? The whole thing is plain (or should that be ‘plane’) barmy.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

US State Dept accuses China of putting conditions on Covid-19 aid, cites media when pressed on proof

RT | March 27, 2020

The US State Department has accused Beijing of attaching “strings” to aid given to countries battling Covid-19, but was unable to name specifics, only citing press reports, while also invoking a Chinese “coverup.”

Senior State Department official James Richardson – who runs the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources – levied the charges to reporters during a briefing on Thursday night. Calling on China to provide “no-strings-attached” assistance, Richardson suggested Beijing had placed conditions on its coronavirus aid. When asked to elaborate, however, the official punted, confessing he had no specific evidence and was merely relaying what he read in the media.

“On the strings attached, I mean, I’m not the intelligence folks, so I don’t know what exactly has been proven,” Richardson said. “I read the same articles that you do… And so I think – I don’t have any hard proof besides the articles that I’ve seen, but that certainly rings true.”

The official also made a passing reference to “the coverup that happened in Wuhan” – the Chinese city where Covid-19 was first observed. Though he was not pressed to provide further details, reports in US media have accused China of concealing information in the early stages of its outbreak. Most pointed to Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor who was reprimanded by Chinese authorities over “spreading rumors” about the virus in early December. Later, an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption agency determined that Li, who later died of the illness, did not seek to undermine public order. However, the report noted that the doctor failed to verify his data before sharing it, stating his information was “not consistent” with the situation on the ground at the time.

A State Department cable recently obtained by the Daily Beast contains language nearly identical to Richardson’s remarks, part of a department-wide effort to pin a “coverup” on Beijing. The cable also instructs officials to insist that China has a “special responsibility” to provide aid to other afflicted nations, a phrase repeated verbatim by Richardson during Thursday’s briefing.

Beijing has responded to allegations of a coverup, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Suang arguing last week that his country has provided “timely information” about the virus, noting that even US President Donald Trump – a frequent critic of China – had deemed the data “helpful.” Earlier this month, Chinese authorities also acknowledged that punishing Dr. Li was an error, issuing a “solemn apology” to the man’s family and noting that the police officers who threatened him with arrest had been disciplined.

As the US steps up attacks on China and its response to the pandemic, however, a number of other countries have turned to Beijing for aid. To date, the government – as well as Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba – has distributed medical supplies to France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, and even the United States.

China has largely seen the worst of its own Covid-19 outbreak, reporting only one new case of the illness beyond those imported from abroad on Friday. The virus continues to accelerate elsewhere, however, with the US becoming the world’s largest epicenter on Thursday, while new infections also soar across Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Asia.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

This scientist suggested a drug to treat Covid-19. ‘Fact checkers’ branded him fake news

French professor Didier Raoult, director of IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, pictured on February 26, 2020
By Nebojsa Malic | RT | March 26, 2020

Amid a pandemic panic over the coronavirus, evidence for a possibly effective treatment has been denounced as ‘fake news’ – even when offered by a renowned scientist with decades of experience.

Take Didier Raoult, a French microbiologist with undeniable expertise, even if some of his views are about as eccentric as his appearance. Though he may look like he just stepped out of an Alexandre Dumas novel, the director of the Mediterranean University Hospital Institute in Marseille cited not one but three different studies from China showing that the anti-malaria drug called chloroquine has been effective in treating Covid-19 patients.

That did not stop Le Monde, France’s biggest newspaper, of declaring his February 25 video as “partially false.” Raoult’s ‘sin’ was to argue that the common anti-malaria drug used widely for decades resulted in “dramatic improvements” among those afflicted by the virus.

As a result of Le Monde’s fact-check, anyone attempting to share Dr. Raoult’s videos on Facebook gets a banner saying the information therein was “partially false” as “determined by independent fact-checkers.”

The main argument put forward by those critical of the drug is that more testing is required before it can be officially approved as treatment for the coronavirus. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts it, “There are no currently available data from Randomized Clinical Trials… to inform clinical guidance on the use, dosing, or duration of hydroxychloroquine” treatments for Covid-19.

Which is fair enough, but last time I checked, there was a pandemic going on, with billions of people locked in their homes and all business grinding to a halt across the globe, over apocalyptic predictions of hospitals brimming with corpses due to this coronavirus.

Should any kind of treatment – especially a drug that has been used safely for decades to treat something else, with side effects meticulously documented – be so cavalierly rejected, under the circumstances? Do “experts” really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?

As for the fact-checkers, shouldn’t they have applied the same rigor to the models used to scare everyone into hoarding toilet paper and setting off a depression orders of magnitude worse than anything the world has ever seen?

To ask these questions is to answer them, yet no one seems to bother. Nor is this sort of selective blindness endemic to France; across the Atlantic, the mainstream media raised their voices in unison against chloroquine after US President Donald Trump brought it up as a possible treatment – apparently referring to Dr. Raoult’s work.

They went so far as to widely circulate a deliberately misleading story about an Arizona couple that ate fish tank cleaner – chloroquine phosphate, clearly labeled not for human consumption – as somehow Trump’s fault. Some of them quietly amended it to specify the difference, but long after the original story – implying they took the actual medication praised by the president – literally went viral and poisoned the minds of millions.

Worse yet, as a result of this media blitz, the governor of Nevada actually banned using chloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients this week, saying there was “no consensus among experts or Nevada doctors” that the anti-malaria drug can treat coronavirus sufferers. There were no angry editorials denouncing Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, for letting people die of the coronavirus rather than have them treated with a drug endorsed by the Republican president and the media’s favorite hate object.

One would think the world paralyzed with fear of the invisible death would pounce on every possible solution, no matter how unlikely it seems. That’s what we’re shown in Hollywood disaster movies, after all. Yet when such a solution presents itself, it is dismissed and denounced as “not proven”!

We’re supposed to blindly trust apocalyptic models produced by panic-mongering political hacks, but ignore the man who says the drug brought him back from the brink of death, even though his story can be easily verified and theirs cannot.

“Preferring opinions to facts is a disease,” Dr. Raoult told the French magazine Marianne last week. Just so.

I don’t know if hydroxychloroquine works on Covid-19. Dr. Raoult seems to believe so, and he’s not alone. In the absence of better solutions – and locking billions of people in their homes indefinitely is not one – don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?

In the three months or so since the coronavirus first appeared in China, there has been a lot of conflicting, confusing and outright false information about it. One thing that has consistently proven true, however, is that the biggest obstacle in effectively battling its spread and treating the afflicted has been the obtuse insistence of the political and medical establishment on blindly following their rules. If the virus is truly threatening to kill millions, as they say, they would not value procedures over saving lives. Nevertheless, they persist. It makes one wonder why.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Moscow slams HRW chief for touting story on Russia’s rich grabbing life-saving ventilators

‘We need joint action, not fake news’

RT | March 24, 2020

Russia’s top diplomat in the US has demanded the Human Rights Watch chief stops spreading misinformation about Russia’s readiness to fight Covid-19, after he touted an article claiming it’s letting the wealthy buy up ventilators.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s envoy in Washington, has penned a scathing rebuke to the group’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, who tweeted that the Kremlin was “doing nothing to stop wealthy Russians from buying up ventilators,” all that while “leaving ordinary Russians with a likely shortage of this life-saving equipment.”

Roth’s tweet was based on a report by the Moscow Times citing interviews with medical experts and anonymous “wealthy individuals,” said to be on the hunt for the coveted ventilators that help coronavirus-stricken patients breathe.

Although the article itself states that “Russia appears to be in a better starting position than other countries when it comes to ventilators,” with 5,000 devices ready to treat Covid-19 patients in state-run Moscow hospitals alone and “an average of about 29 ventilators per 100,000 residents” available nationwide (as opposed to Italy’s 8 per 100,000), the piece mentions that the majority of life-saving medical equipment is concentrated in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

While that might prompt some concern, in reality, more than half of Russia’s 438 Covid-19 cases (262) have been reported in the capital, which is at the center of the country’s fight against the disease.

Firing back, Antonov said that Russia, which has so far been successful in containing the spread of the virus, has put “well-timed measures” in place that allowed it “to confront this new global threat far more effectively than in the countries that HRW generally avoids criticizing.”

“We urge the executive director of Human Rights Watch not to misinform his readers in New York and around the world about the activities of the Russian government in the fight against coronavirus infection.”

Antonov suggested that, instead of promoting “fake news” and inciting xenophobia and Russophobia, politicians and public figures in the US focus on pooling efforts with the rest of the international community to fend off the pandemic. “Today, more than ever, the combined efforts of the international community are important… Saving lives is the top priority now.”

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

How to Practice Proper Social Distancing – #PropagandaWatch

Corbett • 03/24/2020

We are being told to flatten the curve by practicing social distancing. We are being told to quarantine shame those who break the new societal taboos. So how exactly do you introduce entirely new cultural norms across much of the world in the space of just a few weeks? Watch and learn.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube

SHOW NOTES:
Man screams out window, makes international news

New Yorkers Do Their Part to Help ‘Flatten the Curve’ … by Yelling Out Their Windows

‘Quarantine shaming’: US navigates radical new social norms

Federal, local governments consider fines, prison to enforce social distancing

It’s Time To Reject “The New Normal”

Coronavirus Crackdown – Beware “the new normal”

We’re not going back to normal

The Propaganda Report – Normalizing Our Virtual Future, Olympics Postponed, New York Sex Advisory

WHO Changes ‘Social Distancing’ to ‘Physical Distancing’

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Amid viral pandemic UK photographer captures images of Canadian polar bear cubs

By Susan Crockford | Polar Bear Science | March 23, 2020

The Sun ran a photo-essay yesterday (22 March 2020, below) taken by a UK photographer who went to Wapusk National Park just south of Churchill, Manitoba in order to get much-coveted images of polar bear mothers and cubs newly emerged from winter maternity dens. The photos were said to have been taken “early last week” (16-17 March?).

Sun pb emerging with cubs feature 22 March 2020 lead photo

The trees in the photos are a give-away to the location: no other subpopulation regions except Western and Southern Hudson Bay are below the treeline. Scrubby little spruces but ‘trees’ nonetheless. Mothers in more northern regions won’t come out with their cubs until April.

The question is: what was this photographer thinking to travel to a remote Arctic location in the middle of a global pandemic?

Let’s just hope “Brian Matthews, 41, from Hartlepool, Co Durham” didn’t take the Chinese coronovirus with him when he went to Canada. By the end of February, it was quite apparent that something very serious was going on and travel was ill-advised.

I therefore found it surprising that with a deadly pandemic in play across the world, Mr Matthews was not only willing to risk exposing the aboriginal people who run these spring polar bear cub emergence tours to this novel virus but all other people he came in contact with along the way. Perhaps Sun reporter John Sturgis, responsible for putting the feature together, should have thought to ask. As it is, we don’t know the details: perhaps Matthew had been in Canada for weeks, well before the seriousness of the global situation was apparent.

Ultimately, however, his timing was lucky on this trip: at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday 19 March, Wapusk National Park was closed because of the Chinese virus and on Wednesday 18 March, Canada banned entry of virtually all non-Canadian travelers into the country.

Suggested reading:

Amstrup, S.C. and Gardner, C. 1994. Polar bear maternity denning in the Beaufort Sea. The Journal of Wildlife Management 58:1-10. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3809542?uid=3739400&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21101008172123

Ramsay, M.A. and Stirling, I. 1988. Reproductive biology and ecology of female polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Journal of Zoology London 214:601-624. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1988.tb03762.x/abstract

Obbard, M. E. and Walton, L.R. 2004. The importance of polar bear provincial park to the southern Hudson Bay polar bear population in the context of future climate change. Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO):105-116. [added July 26, 2013] pdf here.

Van de Velde (OMI), F., Stirling, I. and Richardson, E. 2003. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) denning in the area of the Simpson Peninsula, Nunavut. Arctic 56:191-197. http://arctic.synergiesprairies.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/615

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Russiagate: The Sequel

Impervious to facts, the false historical narrative is back for more

By Jason Hirthler | American Herald Tribune | March 23 ,2020

Famous muckraker journalist and author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, once declared that, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He was talking about mainstream journalism. Few mainstream outlets better exemplify his maxim than The New York Times. It should then come as no surprise that the Times, the bible of the bourgeoisie, is at it again. The editorial board recently published a new article bringing the coronavirus and this year’s election under the sweeping banner of Russiagate, a tattered and discredited narrative that is being anxiously rehabilitated by the Washington establishment. But of course. The estimable “editorial board” tells us “conditions are ripe,” sending a shiver down the spine of every Biden liberal on either coast. But ripe for what? I think we all know the answer to that question by heart: “to sow discord”. Indeed that infamous epithet is sewn into the headline of the story, as though it had never left.

The first paragraph begins with the assumption that Russian disinformation in our election has been conclusively demonstrated, such that the question need not even be broached. To be clear: Russian disinformation at the express direction of the Kremlin. This whopping assumption taken as a foregone conclusion, we jump ahead to the next question: How will the Russians interfere this time around? Having established an unproven history as fact, the board then moves on to reupholster the sagging narrative from 2016. This time it won’t be the “bumbling” G.R.U., but rather the “more competent, stealthier” S.V.R. Now, with the SVR presumably involved (thought unconfirmed), we may expect “pernicious operational innovation and escalation” with the Russians descending to new lows to weaponize the coronavirus.

Look what’s already been accomplished. A false historical narrative has been posited as the context in which the latest news is shared. Then they introduced a tantalizing new security agency to the plot. Finally, they elevate the idea that “active measures” campaigns, resurrecting an old Soviet term, were not intended to elect Donald Trump, this having been effectively challenged, but rather to, one shudders to think, “weaken the United States.” This sweeping new storyline has been adumbrated in paragraph without providing a single piece of verifiable evidence.

And so, what to expect during this year’s “quadrennial extravaganza”, as Noam Chomsky drily described our electoral farce? Not having any solid evidence of any SVR plans, better to consult Soviet history for clues. The article then accuses the Soviets of a “racial engineering” campaign of anti-semitism in West Germany in 1959, in New York and the U.S. in 1960, and Africa shortly thereafter. Again, no evidence is provided. This is particularly strange that the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany would have launched an anti-semitic campaign in the West, given that it alone conducted a thoroughgoing purge of Nazis from its society, while the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the West happily integrated the surviving Nazi braintrust into its power structures, and sent not a few off to the States to lend their dastardly talents to our ‘democracy promotion’ agendas.  

It is then said, with resigned recognition, that one of the central problems with combatting devious active measures of this kind was that “the K.G.B. largely stuck to the facts.” Which continues to be an insidious feature of modern Russian ‘active measures’, like the channel RT, for example, which regularly hosts angry populist Americans who rattle off chains of facts one can’t find in the mainstream press. It often seems the establishment media is more irritated at the inconvenience of alternative narratives than their veracity. Another ‘throwback’ story is tossed into the pot, perhaps to conjure dormant nostalgia for the Cold War: cigar boxes packed with explosives are sent to a ritzy dinner party to kill a diplomat. Surely the cigars in question were Cohibas, perhaps autographed by Fidel himself?

Just as one is beginning to get excited about all these ‘active measures’, the authors draw us hastily back to sobering reality. We are now given an elementary lesson in amateur psychology: active measures are intended, it seems, to elicit “emotional” reactions and “corrode” the target. Evidently, the best way to do this is to drive a wedge between deeply democratic, multicultural societies in any of the major western utopias. Hence the racial engineering. It is also important to blame the U.S. for afflicting brown people abroad: such as spreading dengue fever in Cuba and malaria in Pakistan. The authors fail to unravel these charges since each is absurd on its face. Or such is the editorial board’s consensus, if not the reader’s. One imagines the board members chucking at the charges: As if the United States of America would ever attempt such a thing! But then again, since World War Two, the U.S. has tried to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, assassinate some 50 foreign leaders, either invade directly or by proxy or simply bomb 30+ countries, not to mention interfering in some 30 foreign elections, all this with the aim of destabilizing and disbanding populist movements around the world. Nobody embodies counterrevolutionary imperialism better than Washington and its vassals. But these facts are, as Sinclair would remind us, what the board and its authors are paid to forget. 

But back to the true evildoers, Russia. According to anonymous sources with no evidence to share, the Russians will harness the coronavirus to divide Americans from each other. The authors reference a discord-sowing campaign being run out of Ghana by a group called ELBA, uncovered by Facebook and CNN. A modest single-story yellow house with stone-fronting is shown in the linked CNN article, the worldwide headquarters of the ghastly ELBA “Russian trolls” who, stunningly, were not even aware they were Russian trolls. Most were Ghanaians. But such is the surreptitious and artful Kremlin craft. Ghanaian security forces raided the small house and then darkly implied our worst fears when they attributed ELBA’s funding to a “European country.” CNN traced the Ghanaian man who ran the company back to Russia, where he worked as a translator. That manager, Seth Wiredu, was confused that Ghanaian security had raided his business. “I fight for black people,” he said. Indeed, the posts on Facebook were focused on repression of African-Americans, quite sensibly. Facebook quickly took down 71 associated accounts. Of course, our white authors at the Times, say the Russians have influenced African-Americans since 2016. CNN attempted to tie Wiredu to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of 2016 fame, though he flatly denied the association. 

And so, regarding the Russians supposed gameplan for 2020, we are left with little substantiated intelligence and much speculative fodder. The story itself is based merely on what “officials said.” Unnamed officials. Anonymous officials. Government agents. “They gave few details,” of course, but this, as you know, is all done in the name of national security. One can just imagine the Times deep throat hemming and hawing and biting his lip in some oil-stained underground parking deck, finally whispering, “I really can’t show you the evidence. It would compromise national security.” And then a conspiratorial and patriotic nod from the Times stenographer. “I understand completely,” he replies. “The safety of the American people is paramount.” 

Manufacturing Consent, Consensus, and Fear  

One of the filters that Noam Chomsky and Edward Hermann laid out in their classic Manufacturing Consent is to do with sources. Namely, “the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and ‘experts’ funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power.” Voices of the establishment, in other words. This is precisely how the MSM has managed the deliberate expansion of Russiagate. Times journalists reflexively accept the pronouncements of their government sources. It has gotten to the point where sources must no longer provide evidence for their claims. They must merely claim that providing evidence would compromise national security. Any serious journalist would insist on evidence. But journalists do not do this because they recognize that if they did, the source would likely quit being their source and begin to break stories with competitor news outlets. The muckraker again: their salary depends on blind faith. There is no reasonable excuse for this journalistic stenography. Parroting government sources is exactly that. 

Anonymous Sources Lack Credibility 

Aside from the self-evident willingness of the press to print unsubstantiated and inflammatory claims, there are three other reasons to view such stories with skepticism. First, how many times must we be told that the military-intelligence community is not trustworthy? An infinite number, it seems. From the Church Commission to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the invention of ‘perception management’ to a former CIA director’s naked admission that the organization lied, cheated, and stole as a business model. The government has lied to us about Iraq, the greatest war crime of this century. Before then it lied to us about Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, among many other nations. Since then it has spread disinformation about Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Evidence was manufactured to support a foregone conclusion. The CIA has bought and paid for journalists at least since the Church Commission. 

Second, aside from the perfidious track record of government sources, the mainstream media itself has been shown to be untrustworthy. The notion of journalistic impartiality is more mythic than substantiated. Not least because of its history of conspiracy and connivance with the government. The press hasn’t helped its cause by installing a surfeit of military and intelligence retirees as lead analysts. 

Third, and critically for this particular topic, we now know that much of the supposed evidence for Russiagate has been debunked: 

  • The idea the GRU was definitively behind the supposed hacking of the DNC is errant on two counts: the evidence suggests it was a leak, not a hack; and the CIA is known to have technology that allows it to fake any source it chooses. 
  • The Mueller Report was an unmitigated disaster for conspiracy-pushing Democrats. 
  • We know that the infamous dossier author Christopher Steele was a DNC contractor, like CrowdStrike, which refused to turn over its servers to the FBI for investigation after claiming it was hacked, and that the Clinton campaign paid for part of Steele’s investigative work. The Russians were central to Clinton’s explanation of why she lost. 
  • We know that there has been no definitive proof that the Kremlin was behind any of the social media posts that were said to corrupt the election. 
  • Supposed spy Maria Butina was essentially entrapped, jailed, had her reputation destroyed, and was then banished back to Russia. 
  • That Donald Trump’s entire presidency has been largely hostile to Russia, an odd stance for a supposed puppet of the Kremlin.
  • The Times itself launched and promoted the dissimulating sham known as the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian interference. The newspaper repeatedly claimed the ICA was signed off on by all 17 intelligence agencies, a claim it later quietly retracted when it was shown that only four handpicked agencies had actually supported the assessment. Likely handpicked by John Brennan to legitimate suspicions invented by… John Brennan. 
  • The supposed Russian backing of Roy Moore’s Alabama Congressional campaign was a false flag run by a company that wrote the Senate report on Russian interference.
  • We do know the Internet Research Agency was a for-profit clickbait agency that spent a comparative pittance ($100,000) compared to the hundreds of millions spent by the 2016 candidates. Neither have the IRA’s posts aligned with either candidate nor the election itself, with most posts occurring after the election. 
  • We know the MSM’s hysterical claims in reporting the supposed reach of 126 million people via social media posts have collapsed on examination. They actually represented four ten thousandths of the total number of posts on Facebook during the time period, a “miniscule” amount according to Facebook. They mostly occurred after the election, were not predominantly political in nature, and were based on the theoretical possibility that 29 million people may have gotten at least one post in their feed and shared the posts at the average sharing rate. All this setting aside that only 10 percent of Facebook posts in a feed are ever seen at all. 
  • A host of other ill-conceived stories, from Paul Manafort’s supposed clandestine meetings with Julian Assange, to Putin’s hacking of electricity grids, to sonic microwave attacks of U.S. diplomats, have all been exposed and treated with the contempt they deserved.
  • The indictments against the 13 members of IRA are in the process of being dropped. The reason? You guessed it: national security. 

Why Anti-Russian Disinformation? 

Given the breadth of Russiagate’s failure, we now know that the MSM is happy to disseminate largely counterfactual content. Why? Cui bono? After it was launched in 2016, Russiagate quickly became a perfect storm in which the interests of three powerful Washington entities converged. The Clinton campaign used the story to rationalize its embarrassing defeat to a casino mogul. The Democratic Party used the tale to attempt to excuse its discredited centrist politics to re-energize its disillusioned base in the faux resistance of a supposed traitor in the White House. And, most importantly, the intelligence community leveraged the claims to constrain Trump’s foreign policy, steering him away from befriending Russia or thoroughly dismantling costly wars abroad. All three were happy to then harness the alternative media that was undermining their chosen narratives. The Democrats and the military intelligence community likely see benefits in extending this threadbare fiction through the 2020 electoral season, not to mention the pandemic. After all, Bernie Sanders populist campaign has given the establishment a real fright, as Trump’s campaign did four years ago. Much of this has to do with deteriorating conditions among the working class. But also it has to do with access to alternative sources of information. It is the internet that has destabilized the establishment’s control of the national discourse over the last 20 years. It reached a crescendo in 2016. 

Since then, Russiagate has been leveraged to suppress alternative voices on the internet and insurgent contrarians in the mainstream. The censorship of left voices across the social media spectrum has been well noted, from Google algorithm changes to Facebook account deletion to demonetization on YouTube. Likewise, progressive voices in the mainstream, like Tulsi Gabbard, were smeared by MSM for their anti-war positions and marginalized in the national discourse. Gabbard correctly clarified in a Washington Post article that it was the intelligence community that was interfering in our elections by continually leaking Russiaphobic claims without evidence. This is precisely what the Times editorial board have long peddled. They are showing little sign of quitting their perfidy. 

This is standard issue rollback by federal forces. The history of anti-communism, expertly unpacked by Alex Carey among many others, demonstrates that anti-communism has been used to suppress socialist thought in America. Chomsky and Herman said anti-communism was the fifth filter by which elites managed the flow of information to the public. They called it a “national religion.” Historically, nothing has encouraged self-censorship better than the fear of being called a communist. In the post-Soviet era, that nimble and dexterous label has now been simply repurposed into the charge that one is a ‘Putin stooge,’ or a ‘Russian bot’ if you challenge Washington claims about Moscow. Easily done since Russia was the home of the Bolshevik Revolution. But it isn’t actually communism or Russia that is the underlying target of establishment repression: it is independence. Independent media, independent nations, independent politicians. 

Max Blumenthal, a stalwart of the anti-imperialist left, perhaps said it best when he summarized Russiagate as follows, “those responsible for this fake neocon intrigue got a new Cold War, record defense budgets, and a McCarthyite political atmosphere to denigrate opponents of permanent war. A waste of energy and a setback for peace.” Well put. We should thus remember, in a time of remarkable insecurity about our healthcare system and its ability to combat the pandemic, there has long been a media virus that has infected the nation’s understanding of foreign policy, ironically by sanitizing news of critical context, fact, and motive. Buyer beware.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment