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The CIA’s Global Propaganda Network – #PropagandaWatch

Corbett • 01/21/2020

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube

This week on the de-program James digs up an old New York Times report on the CIA’s “mighty wurlitzer,” their global propaganda network that included hundreds of journalists, editors, academics, publishing houses, newspapers, magazines and front companies. Although the Times piece is, as expected, a limited hangout, it does provide some interesting pieces of the global intelligence propaganda puzzle.

SHOW NOTES:

Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.

PDF copy

Crashes of Convenience: KAL 007 (Tom Braden clip)

JFK murder confession by CIA agent – full interview

Episode 302 – How To Free Your Tax Cattle (Hadley Cantril and War of the Worlds)

How the CIA Plants News Stories in the Media

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders Walks Straight Into the Russiagate Trap

By Daniel Lazare | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 20, 2020

The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.

But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who’s behind it? Who’s the real target?

Here’s a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.

The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden’s son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed “security experts” to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn’t quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that “it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for.”

So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted “experts” to the effect that “the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.” Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.

But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.

“Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can’t beat the vice president,” the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. “Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections.”

If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as “the favorite of the Russians.” Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.

“Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine….”

If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:

“The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia’s plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump….”

And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.

Let’s get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange’s statement six months later that “our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party” remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there’s no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller’s 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.

All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.

It won’t work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he’ll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump’s speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he’ll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.

After inveighing against billionaire’s wars, he’ll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can’t because the rules are stacked against him. He’d know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he’s too much of a socialist. Rather, it’s that he’s not enough.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

‘Likely Linked to the Russian State’: US Looks for Almighty Hand of Moscow in Latin America – Report

Sputnik – January 20, 2020

US experts are again claiming that Russian social media campaigns have disrupted US elections, sowed anti-Western sentiment in Africa, and “inspired China and Iran to adopt similar tactics against protesters and political adversaries”, the New York Times alleges, attempting to highlight the purported global influence of Moscow.

The New York Times on Sunday alleged, citing analysts from the US Department of State, that Russia’s online influence campaigns in Latin America have been active for a long time.

In particular, the analyses suggested that Twitter accounts “likely linked to the Russian state” produced a number of posts during the 2019 unrest in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile, according to the media report.

State Department experts concluded that this short-term spike of activity is “likely linked” to social media accounts and could be regarded as evidence of a powerful disinformation campaign, The New York Times said.

According to State Department officials cited by The New York Times, purported Russian efforts in Latin America “appear aimed at stirring dissent in states that have demanded the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela”.

“We are noting a thumb on the scales […] It has made the normal dispute resolutions of a democratic society more contentious and more difficult”, said the deputy assistant secretary of state, Kevin O’Reilly, cited by The New York Times.

The report, cited by the US-based media outlet, concludes that the surge in unrest in Latin America in 2019 cannot be attributed to any one particular factor, leaving an alleged Russian-linked influence campaign in question.

As an example of their findings, experts allege that RT Espanol and Sputnik Mundo have been a primary source of information for Russian-linked Twitter accounts. Another supposed pattern “spotted” by American analysts suggests that certain Twitter accounts posted in Spanish and English were targeting the Chilean public and foreign audiences last autumn, according to The New York Times.

Chilean authorities have also reportedly made their own findings, suggesting that one-third of all social media posts during the nationwide unrest in 2019 were disseminated from abroad. Chileans have, however, questioned the document as the posted figures fail to show reliable evidence that a foreign power played a role.

Despite US claims that State Department experts reportedly used sophisticated computer-generated data-mining analyses to support their conclusions, the Moscow-blaming campaign remains precarious for want of hard evidence.

According to The New York Times, citing State Department data, a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #chile – popular among the allegedly Russian-linked accounts in October 2019 during the peak of the unrest in the Latin American nation – failed to gain even the bottom position in the regional top 100.

Russia has been constantly blamed for waging influence and meddling campaigns throughout the world, in particular in the US, the EU, as well as some Africa and Latin American countries. Moscow has repeatedly denied all the accusations, highlighting that no proof has been ever furnished.

On Friday, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf accused Russia of pursuing tactics that include actions “that disrupt and undermine the American way of life”, saying that the US is expecting “Russia to attempt to interfere in the 2020 elections to sow public discord and undermine our democratic institutions”.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

HBO hires ‘king of fake news’ Brian Stelter from CNN to produce documentary on… the dangers of fake news

By Zachary Leeman | RT | January 18, 2020

If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter.

The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named ‘Reliable Sources’ – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.

According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate “disinformation and the cost of fake news.” The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into “how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment,” according to WarnerMedia.

To say Stelter’s involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement.

“This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault,” lawyer and journalist Rogan O’Handley wrote.

“HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That’s like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television,” radio host Mark Simone added.

“You’re kidding, right? [Brian Stelter] is the king of disinformation and fake news,” wrote Twitter user Pattie Taz.

It would make more sense for a documentary about fake news to use Brian Stelter and his home patch CNN as subjects, rather than accomplices. The channel is hot on the heels of reaching a massive settlement with Kentucky teen Nick Sandmann over coverage of his January 2019 run-in with Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Sandmann was portrayed by CNN as the aggressor in the situation, thanks to edited video of him and other teens smiling at Phillips as he protested. Expanded video footage later showed Phillips initiating contact with the teen.

CNN is also famous for devoting most of its time to President Donald Trump and just about every conspiracy linked to him, including that of ‘Russia collusion.’ CNN has even retracted a story about a supposed Russian investment fund that had ties to Trump officials. That 2017 report led to three journalists resigning their positions.

Stelter himself is something of a rabbit hole of odd and biased reporting.

He ran a report in 2018 about how First Lady Melania Trump had “disappeared” and become “invisible.”

That ‘nothing story’ could have been clarified by a CSNBC journalist having actually seen the first lady a few days before – something Stelter ignored – or by the fact that she was recovering from surgery; but Stelter had a doomsday clock running anyway.

He has also pushed the conspiracy theory that Fox News makes Trump’s decisions, which looks especially bad in light of the president’s recent Iran maneuvers, earning the CNN presenter more critics, like Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson.

On Jussie Smollett, the ‘Empire’ actor who falsely claimed to have been attacked by two Trump supporters who’d put him in a noose, Stelter refused to fully concede that the mounting evidence showed Smollett’s claim to be a hoax.

“We may never really know what happened on that night,” he said last year about the hoax attack on the African-American actor. He also insisted that CNN put in “really careful” reporting on the subject, despite hosts like Ana Navarro and Don Lemon being some of the first to buy into Smollett’s flaky story.

Stelter is such a lazy and biased ‘reporter’ that he once questioned why Trump was at a UFC event, without looking up the basic background, that the president was one of the earliest supporters of the sports organization and an associate of UFC President Dana White.

At best, you can say Stelter is a pundit with a very heavy bias, but this still brings into question why he would be an authority on fake news. His stories are put through such a hard-left filter that it’s difficult to view him as someone who can even recognize fake news.

And it’s not just Stelter’s left-wing bias that creates a problem. It would be just as ridiculous to produce a documentary that exposes fake news and then hire a conservative journalist who has pushed questionable stories in the name of an agenda to produce it.

A second documentary project coming from HBO includes the involvement of Ronan Farrow, an equally liberal individual but one who can at least stand on the back of solid reporting. It was Farrow who originally exposed the sexual misconduct allegations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, and he hasn’t been shy about the pushback he got from some media outlets about his original story.

Farrow’s doc will investigate “threats, intimidation, and violence directed at journalists working to expose corruption and abuse by governments, corporations, and other powerful interests,” according to HBO.

That doc could end up being politically biased or weaponized, but at least it has the integrity and weight of a real journalist behind it. A Stelter doc on fake news sounds about as enticing and trustworthy as a documentary on humility from Donald Trump.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

The ‘Lying’ Mainstream Press and Media in Canada

Part one

By Robin Mathews | American Herald Tribune | January 18, 2020

More and more… reasonably informed Canadians believe ‘the Main Stream Press and Media’ constitutes a ‘lie factory’, a ‘manipulator of public response’ in the service of real power in the country. Canada’s MSPM, that is, exists to help ‘the Deep State’. To help the Corporatocracy. To help the Imperial Master. To help the people Stephen Harper’s group governed for … and the same people the Justin Trudeau group governs for with, perhaps, a little more ‘panache’… and cover-up.

Stark proof of Canadians’ dark and suspicious belief about the MSPM was provided in the first election Justin Trudeau won … and after. The Globe and Mail beat the drums to keep the corrupt Conservative Party of Stephen Harper in power … fighting up to the last hour. And … now … that one of Harper’s worst, rabbit-skinned hatchet-men, makers of ugly, anti-democracy legislation is running for leader, you may be sure no one in the Mainstream Press and Media (MSPM) will review his ugly past doings. Not even Andrew Coyne, star commentator for the Globe and Mail who – in a large recent advertisement tells readers “I can just write what I really think”.

What Canadians face with the likes of Andrew Coyne … and all the rest, I allege … is not only (as we will see) ‘fudging’ of stories to protect the Corporate Rich, but outright failure to surface and deal with “facts”, “news”, “information” Canadians have a right to have (and need to have) in order to act positively for the country.

How is it (for instance) that (unreported/uncommented upon) Canadian publishing that flowered in the post 1968 period to become a major economic and cultural activity (as it should be) in Canada ….  is now DESTROYED, without as much as a mournful sigh from the (sold out) representatives of the MSPM, let alone full dress reporting to Canadians of the facts.

Today, fewer than 5% of non-fiction books that Canadians buy are produced by Canadian publishers! Canada’s whole book trade is – for all intents and purposes – a branch activity of foreign (mostly Imperial U.S.) publishers.  “We will tell Canadians what they may read.” (and who will profit from it.) Think about that ….  (Where is Andrew Coyne?)

WHY, for instance, is there no genuinely fact-informed argument for Canada to get out of NATO.  NATO is an arm of U.S. Imperial Policy: period. Why… in addition … do we hear nothing – ever – about Canada’s despicable and repressive role (over decades) in Haiti? Silence. Why does no reasonably intelligent and informed commentator cut through the wholesale truckload of lies about the voracious, calculated, perverse U.S. assault on Venezuela [and any other Central and South American country that seeks real democracy and independence]. And especially … why is there no attack on Canada’s sad and shameful backing of the U.S. in every vicious act against those countries? Why does no “mainstream” Canadian newsdealer ever even mention that the extermination of Palestinians is being pursued … a slow and steady program is being pursued…?

Andrew Coyne writes (“what (he) really thinks”) – a column in support of NATO, (Jan 11, 2020, p.02) ringing all the False Bells, accepting U.S. hegemony, liking it, taking for granted an unbrokenly divided world. He chooses, of course, to forget the ‘non U.N.- approved’ murderous “NATO” actions in the old Yugoslavia; to forget Canada’s shameful part in the wholesale murder and relentless destruction of the country with the highest standard of living in Africa, Libya … in the erasure and gruesome murder of the leader of that country moving his people to decent life. Twelve hundred Libyan students were studying in Canada when Muammar Gaddafi was murdered … to the public gloating joy of Hilary Clinton and (may we assume?) Andrew Coyne …?

Why is there never news about the failure of the Bank of Canada to restore its special lending powers to make possible necessary infrastructure, low-cost housing, hospital and educational building … and more? That policy paid for the Second World War, the building, after it, in Canada … and much more… without significant debt! ! It was trashed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1974 at the instancing of the Bank of International Settlements. (For the meaning of that name read: the U.S. hegemony over all Western nations/NATO nations after the 1944 meetings to lay out power distribution in the after-war-world, held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.)

Why is there almost never informed, inclusive, critical comment about ANY of the shared (or unshared) Defence, Policing, Private Corporation Activities, Environmental Actions, Foreign Aid, and Military Hardware sales where Canada and the U.S.A. impinge on one another  Canadians are kept almost completely ignorant of major matters concerning … Canada.

Especially … why are Canadians kept in the dark (purposefully) about the gigantic subject of large Canadian corporations acting abroad … and, indeed, about any profit-seeking activity … whether the Pirate-Looting by cell-phone-plus suppliers in Canada or the untenable treatment of workers and the bribery of corrupt others in foreign locations around the globe…?  Where is the MSPM??

Andrew Coyne writes about a foreign-acting Canadian corporation, SNC Lavelin (Dec. 21, 2019, p. 02,”SNC’s GUILTY PLEA…”) on tip-toe (so-to-speak), missing, many would say, the point absolutely.  But why not? As he says in the his big ad: “I can just write what I really think….” Or, perhaps, it would be better to say “I can just write what the wealthy owners of my job really think….”

We will look at Andrew Coyne’s efforts to “think” (in Part Two of The Lying Mainstream Press and Media in Canada) and see if we can show the strange, guileful, warm, charming, slippery, open-hearted process of completely misleading Canadians … by its Mainstream Press and Media (which includes the Castrated Broadcasting Corporation).

Before leaving Part One… think about the fact that the Castrated Broadcasting Corporation NEVER touches Palestinian Extermination; Haiti; Sell-out of Canadian publishing; “the NATO Question”; the “takeover” (by the Bank of International Settlements) of the Bank of Canada; Canada’s shameful me-too foreign policy in the suppression and devastation by the U.S.A. of Central and South American countries and people; or the behaviour of Canadian Corporations overseas …. Think about … that… and add your own contribution to the list of endless failures “achieved” by Canada’s Mainstream Press and Media.

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

Soros-linked political pressure group Avaaz joins forces with MSM to purge climate skeptics from YouTube

Extinction Rebellion Climate Change Action In London © Getty Images / Mike Kemp
By Sophia Narwitz | RT | January 17, 2020

Independent mainstream media outlets are engaging in a politically-motivated campaign to force YouTube to demonetize and hide any video that denies [catastrophic, man-made] climate change.

Published on Avaaz’s website, the left-leaning non-profit group released a report on January 16 that claims YouTube is profiting by broadcasting misinformation to millions of people by giving climate denial videos too much prominence. The report is an undisguised intimidation campaign, as not only does it list major advertizers who are running ads on videos that question the legitimacy of the threat climate change poses for humanity, but it explicitly calls for them to put pressure on the platform as a means of putting an end to the so-called disinformation.

Despite the findings being published just yesterday, many mainstream sites had lengthy articles posted not long after that, which featured quotes from those who worked on the report. Timings which suggest select websites were given early access, making it clear what agenda is being pushed, more so as they all tout the same talking points. Vice, Time, Gizmodo, The Verge, and countless other news entities want YouTube to punish creators who don’t toe the “correct” ideological line. The objective is to demonetize, and thus censor, such individuals as they’ll be less inclined to work on content that they won’t be able to profit from.

Nell Greenburg, a campaign director at Avaaz, claims the report isn’t about removing content, but that contradicts the report’s own messaging. There is a clear attempt to have content hidden as the report calls into question the promotion of such videos in the “up next” box on the site. It’s semantics at this point, but hiding videos would hurt creators and dissuade them from even trying to share their thoughts. It is an indirect way of removing ‘wrongthink.’

YouTube has already called into question the methodology of the report, but, given the media and powerful activist groups are targeting advertisers such as Nintendo, Red Bull, Uber, and Warner Bros, it’s a safe assumption the platform giant will give into their demands if their bottom line ever becomes affected. We are less than one year removed from Vox Media’s war on Google and its subsequent “adpocalypse,” after all.

Samsung has already contacted the company to “resolve the current issue and prevent future repetition,” so a second adpocalypse is probably likely. Though, this time, the scale could change as residing in the crosshairs isn’t just independent creators, but Fox News and other right-leaning media, given that they, too, have content on YouTube that questions the validity of a [catastrophic, man-made] changing climate.

That the MSM agrees with this says a whole lot, since many websites are in no position to push a platform into limiting content they deem as false, especially when considering the one-sided nature of their many blunders. If 2019 was any indication, they’re not exactly on top of stuff. From the reaction to the Covington school kids, to the countless Trump and Russia stories that went nowhere and fizzled, the most blatant purveyors of literal fake news are the mainstream media.

As for George Soros’ connection with Avaaz, while it claims to be predominantly member-funded now, its seed money was reportedly allocated by the billionaire’s opaque network of groups, and various prominent figures from his Open Society Foundation, such as former Democratic congressman Tom Periello, have been among its leadership. Leaked documents from 2010 detail that promoting climate change campaigns was always designated as a primary function of Avaaz.

This situation ultimately raises questions into why anyone, or anything, should have the power to dictate what others can create. Regardless of one’s personal views on the matter, there’s no denying that bold claims have been made about the climate that later were disproved. Little is, as yet, set in stone, and content that lands on any one side of the debate should be free to exist. If a creator is making videos people are watching, their hard work shouldn’t be thrown in the bin simply because an activist group with ties to one of the world’s richest people and his proxies says so. It is not the role of billionaires and their pet projects to play babysitter.

Sophia Narwitz is a writer and journalist from the US. Outside of her work on RT, she is a primary writer for Colin Moriarty’s Side Quest content, and she manages her own YouTube channel.

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Putin Updates Russian Constitution as Western Media Tries to Catch Up

By Johanna Ross | January 17, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual inauguration speech on Wednesday, announcing a welfare package for women and children which would put the average western democracy to shame. But it wasn’t the social reform which caused shockwaves across global media.  Instead it was the changes to the constitution aimed at giving more power to parliament and less to the President, as Putin sets the scene for Russia’s democratic future once he leaves his post (as it is widely believed he will) in 2024. Putin’s speech yesterday was followed by the resignation of Prime Minister Medvedev and his government, a procedure which, although took many by surprise, was a natural follow-on from the announcements.

Western media however was aghast. ‘What is Putin up to?’ read the headlines as Russia watchers frantically tried to work out what was going on. There must be something more to this, the narrative was spun. ‘The details are murky’ professed The Economist, as it bought time to figure out what it all meant. The Twittersphere was completely unprepared and perplexed by the government’s resignation. Many commentators couldn’t work out whether it was a good or bad thing. The general line was ‘we’re not quite sure what’s happening; more details to follow.’

This then evolved quickly into the line that the constitutional reforms were all part of Putin’s strategy to stay in power indefinitely. ‘Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping reforms that could extend his decades-long grip on power beyond the end of his presidency.” boasted CNN. This particular article even went as far as to misrepresent what the Russian President had actually said, by taking it completely out of context. Although Putin said regarding the resignation of the government: “I want to express satisfaction with the results that have been achieved. Of course not everything worked out, but nothing ever works out in full”, the CNN piece quoted him as saying ‘not everything worked out’ which by itself gives a completely different meaning, implying Putin was dissatisfied with the government’s work.

The Economist followed suit, taking up its usual antagonistic stance towards Russia with the headline “How Vladimir Putin is preparing to rule forever.” Furthermore on Twitter it alleged ‘Vladimir Putin’s regime has killed too many people to make it plausible that he would voluntarily give up power’, to which journalist Mary Dejevsky rightfully responded: ‘why would a president who, according to your interpretation, is intent on staying in power, be preparing a transition?’

Wednesday’s events in Russia really proved problematic for the western commentariat. For what in essence was clearly an attempt by Putin to further democratise Russia: reducing the number of terms a President can run to two, and ensuring the parliament appoints the Prime Minister as opposed to the President doing so; was perversely portrayed as a sign of authoritarianism, in a desperate attempt to fit the narrative. Absent from most analysis was the fact that Putin wants to put his proposals to a public vote: if that’s not democracy then I don’t know what is.

What has also been largely ignored by the western media was the implications of certain constitutional reforms on the future government and President. For arguably most significant of all was Putin’s proposal that any future President ought to have lived in Russia continuously for a period of 25 years and that civil servants should be barred from holding foreign citizenship.

So what should be regarded as a positive attempt to consolidate democracy in Russia, is being unfortunately, and rather predictably, interpreted as the opposite. But even if Vladimir Putin does continue a central role in Russia’s future, with record approval ratings I don’t see many people having a problem with that. This is the man who restored Russia as a world power to be reckoned with after the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing deep economic crisis during the 1990s. Russians won’t forget that.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Iraq denies report it has restarted joint military operations with US

Press TV – January 16, 2020

The Iraqi government has denied claims that the country’s military is resuming joint operations with the US-led coalition after Washington’s assassination of top Iranian and Iraqi commanders.

“The joint operations have not resumed and we have not given our authorization,” Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, said on Thursday.

He added that the coalition did not have a permission from Baghdad to carry out any joint missions.

The remarks came after the New York Times, citing two American military officials, reported Thursday that the US had resumed the operations.

Khalaf said the Iraqi government had ordered the coalition to halt its joint operations following the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

Last month, another US airstrike killed 25 members of PMU in the Arab country’s west.

On January 3, a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport killed General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

Washington began the pause on January 5, two days after the strike, but furious Iraqi lawmakers voted to expel more than 5,000 US troops based in their country.

The Pentagon said it had no information with regard the the alleged resumption of joint operations with Iraqi troops.

The US-led coalition’s spokesman in Baghdad also declined to comment.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Burisma Hack Story: Attempt to Put ‘Trump’, ‘Russia’ & ‘Impeachment’ in the Same Headline?

Sputnik – January 16, 2020

The timing of the media fuss over the alleged “Russian hack” of Burisma coincides with the resumption of the impeachment process by the Senate, say American academics, suggesting that the story could be a mere distraction aimed at evoking the spectre of “Trump-Russia” collusion amid the 2020 election cycle.

Ukraine has kicked off an investigation into a suspected cyberattack by so-called “Russian military hackers” on the energy company Burisma requesting assistance from the FBI. As The New York Times claimed Monday, Fancy Bears or Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 28, allegedly subjected the energy company to phishing attacks, citing a recent report by Area 1 Security, a California-based American cybersecurity firm.

Burisma entered the spotlight light during the Democrats-driven impeachment process against Donald Trump due to its connections with the son of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter, who previously served on the company’s board of directors and is believed to have financially benefitted from the apparent nepotistic scheme.

Falling short of confirming whether the hackers obtained any information, the Area 1 report says that the timing of the alleged malicious activities in relation to the 2020 US elections “raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 US elections”, referring to unfounded allegations of Russia’s interference in the previous US presidential race and hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Media Fuss Over Alleged Burisma Hack is ‘Distraction’

“The level of media attention given to this story in the United States is curious”, says Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. “Assuming that this hacking did, in fact, occur – and I have no reason to doubt that it did – nothing has yet come of it. No one in Russia (or elsewhere) has released anything about the Bidens gleaned from a hack of Burisma’s servers, and discussion of the motives behind the hack is entirely speculative”.

According to the professor, “one almost suspects that it is simply an attempt by some in the American media to get the words ‘Trump’, ‘Russia’, and ‘impeachment’ into the same headline” ahead of a Senate impeachment trial that is likely to commence very shortly.

For her part, Laura Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Indianapolis, does not rule out that the hacking allegations serve as distraction from two important events: the Trump impeachment and the US 2020 presidential elections.

“As the Senate takes up the question of removal of office after the House passed the impeachment resolution, and the parties and candidates prepare for the upcoming primary elections, these major events will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of our country and require attention and focus”, she says.

According to Wilson, “distractions in any way should be considered just that, distractions, and though other issues will come up, they need to be evaluated fairly and swiftly given their potential impact relative to the importance of the impeachment and election”.

It’s ‘Less Than Definitive’ That Fancy Bears Hacked Burisma

American monthly Wired noted Tuesday that “it’s still not entirely proven” that Fancy Bears did hack Burisma citing cybersecurity analysts who see Area 1’s evidence tying the alleged phishing campaign to the aforementioned hackers as “less than definitive”.

The media outlet quotes security firm ThreatConnect that shared its brief analysis of the phishing campaign’s features on Twitter concluding that “none of these characteristics are definitively indicative of APT28 activity” and that “we don’t have any specific information on how the domains have been operationalised”.

Wired added that in response to its request, Area 1 Security said it has more evidence to back up its findings but declined to share it publicly.

Area 1 Security’s belief that the hacking was conducted by “Russian military hackers” originates from earlier assumptions made by Crowdstrike, a former DNC contractor, that hacker group Fancy Bear, which supposedly broke into the DNC email servers in 2016, had something to do with Russia’s Main Intelligence Department (GRU). However, this connection has never been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, according to some cyber experts, the so-called “Fancy Bear” or Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 28 could be nothing more than a collection of hacking tools originating from the dark web that can be used by virtually anyone.

On the other hand, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of former officers from the United States Intelligence Community, has repeatedly stated that the leak of DNC files was an inside job and not an external breach into the committee’s system.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy

By Caitlin Johnstone | January 14, 2020

The New York Times reports that GRU operatives launched a successful “phishing attack” on the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of scandalous allegations about Joe Biden, and establishment pundits are falling all over themselves to tweet the hottest take on this exciting new Russia conspiracy.

The story itself fails the smell test on a number of fronts. It falsely claims that allegations of Biden’s corrupt dealings with Ukrainian officials as vice president have been “discredited”, and its only named source is a cybersecurity firm with foundational ties to the NSA and to Crowdstrike, which you may remember as the extremely shady Atlantic Council-tied company at the heart of the plot hole-riddled 2016 Russia hacking narrative (whose CEO is now a billionaire).

The article also of course lacks any hard evidence for its claims, and is of course completely silent on any details as to how the security firm knows that the alleged hackers were both (A) Russian and (B) tied to the Russian government. This is par for course with mass media news reporting on anything negative about Russia, where all journalistic standards have gone out the window and nobody suffers any professional consequences for even the most egregious misreporting on that nation.

And, naturally, liberal pundits are guzzling it down like Mike Pompeo left alone at the table with the gravy boat.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a man trying to run with an erection, but FYI it’s the most ridiculous-looking thing you can possibly ever witness. And the mad scramble of conservative Democrats to say something viral about this new angle on an entirely exhausted theme puts one in the mind of a whole platoon of men running completely tumescent at full sprint.

“I hope my fellow editors will think hard — really hard, a lot harder than they did in 2016 — before publishing any material hacked by the Russians,” tweeted editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast Noah Shachtman in response to the NYT report.

It is very revealing that the head of a major mainstream publication believes news outlets should sit on a story exposing the corruption of a leading presidential candidate–no matter how newsworthy–if it’s believed to have come from “the Russians”. How many major stories are being spiked for no other reason than a loyalty to the US government’s geopolitical agendas against noncompliant nations, exactly?

Yet sentiments identical to Shachtman’s are currently being bleated by like-minded pundits throughout the Twitterverse right now.

“Me and Oliver Darcy took at look at this a year ago… newsrooms hadn’t a lot to say about it. Not a lot of self-reflection, it seems,” tweeted CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan in response to Shachtman’s post. “Hackers could target the 2020 election. How will newsrooms respond if they release stolen data?”

“Russians working hard for President Trump’s reelection: mainstream media do not need to collaborate with the Russians again and breathlessly promote their non-newsworthy findings, as they did in 2016,” economist David Rothschild tweeted, without specifying his peculiar definition of “non-newsworthy”.

“Will the media run info from national security hacks as blockbuster stories like in 2016? That’s the million-dollar question,” tweeted Michigan Advance editor-in-chief Susan Demas.

A CNN reporter took it up even further, preemptively speculating based on literally nothing that any evidence of Biden’s corruption which emerges from the phishing campaign will have been “doctored” by Russia.

“Russia could leak Burisma emails, and slip in some doctored emails, to harm Biden later on, if he is the Democratic nominee,” tweeted CNN’s Marshall Cohen. “The 2016 playbook all over again.”

This insanity was seconded and then ratcheted up even further by MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance, whose main job seems to be to push the Overton window of Russia hysteria toward the craziest end of the spectrum.

“DNC 2.0,” Nance wrote. “To protect Trump the GRU will manufacture and insert Black propaganda, fake emails in a data base Burisma emails to implicate Biden and support Trump. They don’t care if you believe it … it’s all to get Trump to believe it. He’ll destroy America to win.”

MSNBC analyst and former Obama administration official Richard Stengel, who has openly stated that he endorses the US government propagandizing its citizens, seized on the opportunity offered by this lawless feeding frenzy to advance a completely baseless Russiagate theory, because why the hell not?

“‘Russia, if you’re listening, hack Burisma.’ GRU has done same thing to this Ukrainian firm that they did to DNC,” tweeted Stengel. “If Trump asked Zelensky on a public call to investigate the Bidens, what do you suppose he asked Putin on a private call? Vlad, do me a favor.”

“More evidence that Putin fears Biden and is actively trying to help Trump,” added the Obama administration’s Michael McFaul. “Not good. All who believe in American sovereignty should denounce, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

“I’ll say it now: I don’t care WHAT the emails say. If he’s the guy, he’s got my vote. PERIOD,” tweeted popular #Resistance pundit Brooklyn Dad Defiant in what could generously be described as a very odd confession.

There is at this time no legitimate reason to believe that the GRU was involved in any kind of cyberattack on Burisma, let alone that it found anything worth publishing. At the moment the only information we’ve gleaned from this incident is more insight into the fact that the news media environment of the most powerful nation on earth is deeply, profoundly unhealthy, and so are the individuals operating within it.

These are the people who shape the dominant narrative. These are the thought leaders, who really do lead the way a very large sector of the population thinks. We need to bring more consciousness to how wildly dysfunctional this is.

2020 has been wild already. And all signs indicate that it’s only going to get a whole lot crazier.

January 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

U.S. Media Says Russia the True Winner in Hostilities Against Iran

By Paul Antonopoulos | January 13, 2020

While the final outcome of the U.S.-Iran conflict is not yet clear, US media outlets and think tanks are already claiming that Russian President Putin is the winner. The U.S.-Iran hostilities have undermined Washington’s confidence and reputation in the region, allowing Russian influence in the Middle East to increase as a force for peace and stability. While it is unclear exactly how Moscow can benefit from escalations between Washington and Tehran, U.S. media are convinced that any outcome will be consistent with the Kremlin’s plans to increase its political influence in the region and create a rift between Washington and its allies.

This simplistic explanation does not account the fact that Moscow has a clear foreign policy to achieve its geopolitical goals in the Middle East while Washington mostly depends on their own internal contradictions and events on the domestic political scene to guide their foreign policy. The assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, made on orders from Trump, questions whether this was to demonstrate his power and determination to protect U.S. national interests in the face of domestic criticisms, to serve Evangelical Christian interests on behalf of Israel, or part of a clear guided policy that the U.S. has for the Middle East.

The Democrats are trying to show the public that everything Trump does is contributing more to Russian interests rather than American. It appears that the Democratic Party will continue with the same rhetoric to try and win this year’s election.

Moscow maintains good relations with all countries in the Middle East region and there is no country with which Russia has an openly hostile relationship. Moscow successfully balances its relations between Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Israel, while the U.S. attempts to divide the region into competing camps with no interest of defusing tensions, suggesting that even if Washington has a clearly defined Middle East policy, it is one based on division and destruction rather than one of balance and peace.

As a result of the assassination of General Soleimani, calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq under pressure from local authorities have been made. Without troops in Iraq, the Americans are incapable of retaining their positions in Syria, which increases Russia’s manoeuvring space, strengthens its positions, influence, and opens space for filling the political vacuum. The U.S. has become embroiled with so many Middle Eastern countries that it is now struggling to cope to withdraw. Washington has already tried to withdraw its troops from Iraq during the Obama era.

But it is one thing to militarily withdraw on your own will and based on your decision, and another to withdraw because you have been asked too. Although the U.S. criticizes Iranian influence across the region and claims the Islamic Republic is acting in an aggressive manner, the Trump administration has not even hid away from the fact its an occupying force by flatly refusing to withdraw from Iraq despite being told to by the country’s parliament.

However it was the assassination of Soleimani that the most ridiculous claims were being made about, with Bloomberg even suggesting that Putin needs a “Plan B” because the Iranian General’s death disrupted Russian plans for Syria, Iran and Turkey. This scenario implied that Trump’s aggressive actions would elicit an even more aggressive response from the Iranian side, eventually leading to an escalation of the conflict in which Tehran lacked adequate defense capabilities. This implies that Iran will lose the status of a regional power and Russia will have no choice but to betray Syria. This option quickly disappeared from the media space as reality completely denied this possibility.

As for Putin’s victory, many cite the fact that many European leaders are increasingly turning to Russia as a reliable partner in face of Trump’s unpredictability. It is fair to say that the U.S. strategy in the Middle East is a mystery even to U.S. allies. With Washington being unrelenting in attempting to maintain the unipolar world order, it has forced Europeans to cooperate with reliable Russia.

This is not the first time that Washington has made a problem for its allies, citing the example of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 when Germany and France, along with Russia, protested U.S. President George Bush and his actions. While Iraq was an example of typical aggression, the Americans did not lose allies because of this, nor did NATO disintegrate. However, domestic politics has always been a major focus for U.S. presidents, obviously, which in turn can influence foreign policy decisions for internal political use. In the case of killing an Iranian general and in the propaganda that Russia is the victor in the U.S.-Iran conflict, nothing new has happened.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Esper Contradicts Trump: “Didn’t See” Specific Evidence Of Iran Plot To Attack 4 Embassies

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/12/2020

When late last week President Trump first referenced a Soleimani-directed plot to “blow up” the US embassy in Baghdad, which during a Friday Fox interview became in the president’s words “I believe it would’ve been four embassies”  senators which had been given a classified briefing Wednesday balked, saying no such intelligence was referenced but should have been if there was evidence.

And now no less than Secretary of Defense Mark Esper appears to have publicly contradicted the White House’s rationale for taking out the “imminent” threat of Qasem Soleimani. Esper told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that he “didn’t see” specific evidence for embassy attacks, while adding that he still believes such an attack was likely.

“The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said was he believed,” Esper said.

“What the president said was that there probably could be additional attacks against embassies. I shared that view,” Esper said. “The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence.”

When pressed on whether intelligence officers offered concrete evidence on that point he said: “I didn’t see one with regards to four embassies.” — Reuters

During a separate CNN interview on Sunday, the Pentagon chief continued to awkwardly dance around the question of whether specific intelligence showed such an attack was being planned. Esper described that Trump merely “believed” it to be the case, while refusing to confirm any particular intelligence.

But earlier statements of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who before reporters defended Trump’s assertion about the IRGC targeting the embassies, suggested there was specific intelligence.

When Pompeo was pressed on Friday by reporters over the nature of the “imminent threat” claims, he said“We had specific information on an imminent threat and that threat stream included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period. Full stop.” And asked about what made it imminent, Pompeo simply said: “It was going to happen.”

At first it was unclear whether President Trump was claiming to have seen specific intelligence outlining such a threat, or perhaps was just speaking generally and in his usual hyperbolic style (“blow up” the embassy) of the pro-Iranian mob’s actions besieging the US embassy in Baghdad days prior to the Soleimani assassination.

The demonstrators had been filmed setting the outer walls of the compound on fire during the chaotic events nearly two weeks ago which resulted in a contingent of Marines rapidly deploying from Kuwait to bolster embassy security.

So now Esper appears to be saying it was Trump’s personal belief, while Pompeo appeared to base it on “specific information” — in other words direct intelligence. But which is it?

It can’t be both ways.

Like the Bush administration’s famously evolving rationale for the war in Iraq, are we witnessing the narrative on Iran made up on the fly?

January 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment