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BBC Admits ‘Syrian’ Airstrike in Recent Story on Scarred Boy Turned Out to Be Turkish

Sputnik – August 22, 2019

The BBC has corrected its August 19 news story about a Syrian boy who was severely wounded in a 2018 airstrike, which the broadcasting company first said was carried out by Syrian forces but later admitted could be blamed on Turkey.

Some Twitter users posted screenshots showing that the BBC had actually redacted its text several times.

The headline of the short story, featuring a video about the life of a four-year-old Syrian boy whose face was scarred in the airstrike, originally referred to the incident as “a Syrian airstrike.” The mention of Syria was then deleted with an indication that it was “not clear who was responsible for the attack.” Now the headline refers to it as just “an airstrike,” and the article clarifies that “evidence indicates that Turkey carried out the airstrike.”

Last January, Turkish forces launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in Afrin, a city located in northern Syria, as part of a military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The boy, named Jouma, and his family were fleeing their home in Syria when an airstrike hit the bus they were on.

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, wrote on Twitter that Tolin Hassan, a close friend of the wounded boy’s family, told her that Jouma’s relatives “mentioned over and over to BBC-journo that the car was hit by a Turkish strike after escaping Afrin.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Seth Rich’s Ghost Haunts the Courts

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | August 12, 2019

As if it weren’t enough of a downer for Russiagate true believers that no Trump-Russia collusion was found, federal judges are now demanding proof that Russia hacked into the DNC in the first place.

It is shaping up to be a significant challenge to the main premise of the shaky syllogism that ends with “Russia did it.”

If you’re new to this website, grab onto something, as the following may come as something of a shock. Not only has there never been any credible evidence to support the claim of Russian cyber interference, there has always been a simple alternative explanation that involves no “hacking” at all — by Russia or anyone else.

As most Consortium News habitués are aware, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (which includes two former NSA technical directors), working with independent forensic investigators, concluded two years ago that what “everyone knows to be Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee” actually involved an insider with physical access to DNC computers copying the emails onto an external storage device — such as a thumb drive. In other words, it was a leak, not a hack.

VIPS based its conclusion on the principles of physics applied to metadata and other empirical information susceptible of forensic analysis.

But if a leak, not a hack, who was the DNC insider-leaker? In the absence of hard evidence, VIPS refuses “best-guess”-type “assessments” — the kind favored by the “handpicked analysts” who drafted the evidence-impoverished, so-called Intelligence Community Assessment of Jan. 6, 2017.

Conspiracy Theorists

Simply letting the name “Seth Rich” pass your lips can condemn you to the leper colony built by the Washington Establishment for “conspiracy theorists,” (the term regularly applied to someone determined to seek tangible evidence, and who is open to alternatives to “Russia-did-it.”)

Rich was a young DNC employee who was murdered on a street in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016. Many, including me, suspect that Rich played some role in the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. There is considerable circumstantial evidence that this may have been the case. Those who voice such suspicions, however, are, ipso facto, branded “conspiracy theorists.”

That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Alan Dulles used the “brand-them-conspiracy-theorists” ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected — understandably — to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The “conspiracy theorist” tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now.

Rich Hovers Above the Courts

U.S. Courts apply far tougher standards to evidence than do the intelligence community and the pundits who loll around lazily, feeding from the intelligence PR trough. This (hardly surprising) reality was underscored when a Dallas financial adviser named Ed Butowsky sued National Public Radio and others for defaming him about the role he played in controversial stories relating to Rich. On August 7, NPR suffered a setback, when U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant affirmed a lower court decision to allow Butowsky’s defamation lawsuit to proceed.

Judge Mazzant ruled that NPR had stated as “verifiable statements of fact” information that could not be verified, and that the plaintiff had been, in effect, accused of being engaged in wrongdoing without persuasive sourcing language.

Imagine! — “persuasive sourcing” required to separate fact from opinion and axes to grind! An interesting precedent to apply to the ins and outs of Russiagate. In the courts, at least, this is now beginning to happen. And NPR and others in similarly vulnerable positions are scurrying around for allies.?? The day after Judge Mazzant’s decision, NPR enlisted help from discredited Yahoo! News pundit Michael Isikoff (author, with David Corn, of the fiction-posing-as-fact novel Russian Roulette). NPR gave Isikoff 37 minutes on its popular Fresh Air program to spin his yarn about how the Seth Rich story got started. You guessed it; the Russians started it. No, we are not making this up.

It is far from clear that Isikoff can be much help to NPR in the libel case against it. Isikoff’s own writings on Russiagate are notably lacking in “verifiable statements of fact” — information that cannot be verified. Watch, for example, his recent interview with Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria on CN Live!

Isikoff admitted to Lauria that he never saw the classified Russian intelligence document reportedly indicating that three days after Rich’s murder the Russian SVR foreign intelligence service planted a story about Rich having been the leaker and was killed for it. This Russian intelligence “bulletin,” as Isikoff called it, was supposedly placed on a bizarre website that Isikoff admitted was an unlikely place for Russia to spread disinformation. He acknowledged that he only took the word of the former prosecutor in the Rich case about the existence of this classified Russian document.

In any case, The Washington Post, had already debunked Isikoff’s claim (which later in his article he switched to being only “purported”) by pointing out that Americans had already tweeted the theory of Rich’s murder days before the alleged Russian intervention.

Persuasive Sourcing’ & Discovery??

Butowsky’s libel lawsuit can now proceed to discovery, which will include demands for documents and depositions that are likely to shed light on whatever role Rich may have played in leaking to WikiLeaks. If the government obstructs or tries to slow-roll the case, we shall have to wait and see, for example, if the court will acquiesce to the familiar government objection that information regarding Rich’s murder must be withheld as a state secret? Hmmm. What would that tell us?

During discovery in a separate court case, the government was unable to produce a final forensic report on the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC-hired cyber firm, CrowdStrike, failed to complete such a report, and that was apparently okay with then FBI Director James Comey, who did not require one.

The incomplete, redacted, draft, second-hand “forensics” that Comey settled for from CrowdStrike does not qualify as credible evidence — much less “persuasive sourcing” to support the claim that the Russians “hacked” into the DNC. Moreover, CrowdStrike has a dubious reputation for professionalism and a well known anti-Russia bias.

The thorny question of “persuasive sourcing,” came up even more starkly on July 1, when federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Robert Mueller to stop pretending he had proof that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency’s supposed attempt to interfere via social media in the 2016 election. Middle school-level arithmetic can prove the case that the IRA’s use of social media to support Trump is ludicrous on its face.

Russia-gate Rubble

As journalist Patrick Lawrence put it recently: “Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak.” Falling syllogism! Step nimbly to one side.

The “conspiracy theorist” epithet is not likely to much longer block attention to the role, if any, played by Rich — the more so since some players who say they were directly involved with Rich are coming forward.

In a long interview with Lauria a few months ago in New Zealand aired this month on CN Live!, Kim Dotcom provided a wealth of detail, based on what he described as first-hand knowledge, regarding how Democratic National Committee documents were leaked to WikiLeaks in 2016.

The major takeaway: the evidence presented by Dotcom about Seth Rich can be verified or disproven if President Trump summons the courage to order the director of NSA to dig out the relevant data, including the conversations Dotcom says he had with Rich and Rich may have had with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Dotcom said he put Rich in touch with a middleman to transfer the DNC files to WikiLeaks. Sadly, Trump has flinched more than once rather than confront the Deep State — and this time there are a bunch of very well connected, senior Deep State practitioners who could face prosecution.

Another sign that Rich’s story is likely to draw new focus is the virulent character assassination indulged in by former investigative journalist James Risen.

Not Risen to the Challenge

On August 5, in an interview on The Hill’s “Rising,” Risen chose to call former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney — you guessed it — a “conspiracy theorist” on Russia-gate, with no demurral, much less pushback, from the hosts.

The having-done-good-work-in-the-past-and-now-not-so-much Risen can be considered a paradigm for what has happened to so many Kool-Aid drinking journalists. Jim’s transition from investigative journalist to stenographer is, nonetheless unsettling. Contributing causes? It appears that the traditional sources within the intelligence agencies, whom Risen was able to cultivate discreetly in the past, are too fearful now to even talk to him, lest they get caught by one or two of the myriad surveillance systems in play.

Those at the top of the relevant agencies, however, are only too happy to provide grist. Journalists have to make a living, after all. Topic A, of course, is Russian “interference” in the 2016 election. And, of course, “There can be little doubt” the Russians did it.

“Big Jim” Risen, as he is known, jumped on the bandwagon as soon as he joined The Intercept, with a fulsome article on February 17, 2018 titled Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” Here’s an excerpt:

“The evidence that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win is already compelling, and it grows stronger by the day.

“There can be little doubt now that Russian intelligence officials were behind an effort to hack the DNC’s computers and steal emails and other information from aides to Hillary Clinton as a means of damaging her presidential campaign. … Russian intelligence also used fake social media accounts and other tools to create a global echo chamber both for stories about the emails and for anti-Clinton lies dressed up to look like news.

“To their disgrace, editors and reporters at American news organizations greatly enhanced the Russian echo chamber, eagerly writing stories about Clinton and the Democratic Party based on the emails, while showing almost no interest during the presidential campaign in exactly how those emails came to be disclosed and distributed.” (sic)

Poor Jim. He shows himself just as susceptible as virtually all of his fellow corporate journalists to the epidemic-scale HWHW virus (Hillary Would Have Won) that set in during Nov. 2016 and for which the truth seems to be no cure. From his perch at The Intercept, Risen will continue to try to shape the issues. Russiagaters major ally, of course, is the corporate media which has most Americans pretty much under their thumb.

Incidentally, neither The New York Times, The Washington Post, nor The Wall Street Journal has printed or posted a word about Judge Mazzant’s ruling on the Butowsky suit.

Mark Twain is said to have warned, “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!” After three years of “Russia-Russia-Russia” in the corporate — and even in some “progressive” — media, this conditioning will not be easy to reverse.

Here’s how one astute observer with a sense of humor described the situation last week, in a comment under one of my recent pieces on Consortium News :

“… One can write the most thought-out and well documented academic-like essays, articles and reports and the true believers in Russiagate will dismiss it all with a mere flick of their wrist. The mockery and scorn directed towards those of us who knew the score from day one won’t relent. They could die and go to heaven and ask god what really happened during the 2016 election. God would reply to them in no uncertain terms that Putin and the Russians had absolutely nothing to do with anything in ‘16, and they’d all throw up their hands and say, ‘aha! So, God’s in on this too!’ It’s the great lie that won’t die.”

I’m not so sure. It is likely to be a while though before this is over.


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Ray was a CIA analyst for 27 years; in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Greenland’s ‘Record Temperature’ denied – the data was wrong

Greenland’s all-time record temperature wasn’t a record at all, and it never got above freezing there.

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | August 12, 2019

First, the wailing from news media:

NYT : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/climate/european-heatwave-climate-change.html

WAPO : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/06/10/greenland-witnessed-its-highest-june-temperature-ever-recorded-on-thursday/

Climate Progress : https://thinkprogress.org/greenland-hits-record-75-f-sets-melt-record-as-globe-aims-at-hottest-year-e34e534e533e/

Polar Portal : http://polarportal.dk/en/news/news/record-high-temperature-for-june-in-greenland/


Now from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), via the news website The Local, the cooler reality:

Danish climate body wrongly reported Greenland heat record

The Danish Meteorological Institute, which has a key role in monitoring Greenland’s climate, last week reported a shocking August temperature of between 2.7C and 4.7C at the Summit weather station, which is located 3,202m above sea level at the the centre of the Greenland ice sheet, generating a spate of global headlines.

But on Wednesday it posted a tweet saying that a closer look had shown that monitoring equipment had been giving erroneous results.

“Was there record-level warmth on the inland ice on Friday?” it said. “No! A quality check has confirmed our suspicion that the measurement was too high.”

By combining measurements with observations from other weather stations, the DMI has now estimated that the temperature was closer to -2C.

The record temperature ever recorded at Summit is 2.2C, which was reached in both 2012 and 2017. But -2C is still unusual at the station.

Shoot out the headlines first, ask questions later.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

Sneering at “Conspiracy Theories” is a Lazy Substitute for Seeking the Truth

By Thomas L. Knapp – Garrison Center – August 12, 2019

On the morning of August 10, a wealthy sex crimes defendant  was reportedly found dead in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

“New York City’s chief medical examiner,” the New York Times reported on August 11, “is confident Jeffrey Epstein died by hanging himself in the jail cell where he was being held without bail on sex-trafficking charges, but is awaiting more information before releasing her determination …”

That same day, the Times published an op-ed by Charlie Warzel complaining that “[e]ven on an internet bursting at the seams with conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship, Saturday marked a new chapter in our post-truth, ‘choose your own reality’ crisis story.”

After three years of continuously beating the drum for its own  now-discredited conspiracy theory —  that the President of the United States conspired with Vladimir Putin’s regime to rig the 2016 presidential election — the Times doesn’t have much standing to whine about, or sneer at, “conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship.”

Is Jeffrey Epstein really dead? If so, did he kill himself or was he murdered? If he was murdered, whodunit and why?

Those are legitimate questions. Calling everyone who asks them, or proposes possible answers to them, a “conspiracy theorist” isn’t an argument, it’s intellectual laziness.

Yes, some theories fit the available evidence better than others. And yes, some theories just sound crazy. If someone says a UFO beamed Epstein up, or that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump posed as corrections officers and personally strangled him, I suggest setting those claims aside absent very strong evidence.

But there are plenty of good  reasons to question the “official account.”

Yes, prisoners have committed suicide at federal jails and prisons. But prisoners have also escaped from, and been killed at, such facilities. In fact, notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger was murdered in a federal prison just last year.

Given Epstein’s wealth and power, the wealth and power of persons accused of serious crimes in recently unsealed court documents, the claim of one of his prosecutors that Epstein “belonged to” the US intelligence community, the well-established inability of the federal government to secure its facilities or prevent criminal activity inside those facilities (including the corruption of its own personnel), the equally well-established unreliability of claims made by government agencies and officials in general, and the already flowing stream of admissions that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s procedures weren’t followed where Jeffrey Epstein was concerned, the question is not why “conspiracy theories” are circulating — it’s why on earth they WOULDN’T be.

No, I’m not saying that Epstein is alive and living it up in “witness protection,” or that he was murdered by a hit team on behalf of one of his “Lolita Express” cronies. I just don’t know. Neither, probably, do you. Nor do those screaming “conspiracy theory!” at every musing contrary to the suicide theory.

Maybe we’ll find out the truth someday. Maybe we won’t. Pretending we already have, and shouting down those who suggest we haven’t, isn’t a method of seeking knowledge. It’s a method of avoiding knowledge.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

London Spreads Misinformation, Hides Skripal Case Details, Russian Embassy Says

Sputnik – 08.08.2019

UK authorities continue to disseminate misinformation about the Salisbury incident through the media, hiding details of what happened, the Russian Embassy in the UK stated after the Guardian published an article speculating on the involvement of Russian authorities.

“Nearly a year and a half after the events in Salisbury with the former Russian military intelligence officer and his daughter, the Russian side never received any intelligible information about the investigation into the incident despite the more than 80 requests we sent through diplomatic channels. Trying to fill this vacuum, the British stubbornly continue to invent various stories and myths, passing them off as confirmed facts,” the embassy stated.

“All the arguments on the basis of which the so-called evidence of Russia’s involvement in this mysterious incident was built and which the former British Prime Minister Theresa May loudly stated, failed miserably. Obviously, the reason for this behaviour lies in the fact that the disclosure of all the details of this dark history is not in the interests of official London,” the statement reads.

Russian diplomats suggested that British authorities manipulated the opinion of the UK and international public through the media to keep the Salisbury theme “afloat” and “engaged in outright disinformation, spreading fake news.”

“The fact that the United States, without any incontrovertible evidence, recently introduced a second package of sanctions against Russia in connection with the events in Salisbury, eloquently speaks about who orders music in this full-scale anti-Russian campaign,” the statement from the embassy reads.

The Russian embassy was supported by the Head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky, who suggested that the “unprecedented scandal involving the expulsion of diplomats, sanctions against Russia, including those announced in the United States just a few days ago […] doesn’t have any basis.”

In March 2018, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping centre in Salisbury. London claimed they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent and accused Moscow of staging the attack. Moscow has repeatedly refuted all accusations. On Wednesday the Guardian reported that British police are investigating whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could have been involved in the assassination attempt on Skripal by approving a plan to eliminate him. However, according to the deputy head of Scotland Yard, Neil Basu, British law enforcement authorities have examined many hypotheses, but do not have evidence to make such allegations.

August 8, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

PBS: Keeper of Official State Myths

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | August 5, 2019

A prime function of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is the reinforcement and perpetuation of the state’s explanations of events, however absurd and discredited. While cultural offerings on PBS are excellent and appreciated, divergence from official governmental narratives is not permitted. PBS is a foremost informational gatekeeper, a role enhanced by its insistence that it represents the best of investigative journalism.

American Experience:  “Oklahoma City”

The official stories of the Murrah office building and 9/11 are now enshrined in memorials, the purpose of which is to make a lie the truth.

— Paul Craig Roberts, “The Oklahoma City Bombing After 22 Years”, Global Research, April 20, 2017

Once ‘terrorism’ had been established as the enemy for society to fear, it was to become extended from a force thought of as foreign to one also to be found in the American “Homeland”. A horrifying and convincing example of “domestic terrorism”, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995, was the event that would solidify this in the public mind and serve to justify increased police powers.

There is considerable evidence that the bombing of the Murrah Building was not as reported and likely involved elements of the government itself. The air force’s explosive’s expert, Brigadier General Benton Partin has presented “irrefutable” proof that the primary damage to the building came from powerful multiple charges positioned at key points on the third floor, not from Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a relatively weak explosive. Partin’s letter to a U.S. Senator puts this in summary.

Other explosives experts agree that the building was blown up from inside, and that there was evidence of official coverup. Nevertheless, the 2017 film “Oklahoma City” focuses on the history of neo-Nazi wrath over governmental clashes at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas, where U.S. citizens were killed. The film is tailored to convince viewers that right wing domestic terrorism was behind the Murrah bombing, period. But if explosives experts are correct, this must be false, as such militants would lack both technical skill and access to the building for such a sophisticated wiring job.

There are also myriad associated questions that have never been dealt with: e.g., the police officer convinced of governmental coverup who died under mysterious circumstances; indication the FBI knew of the plan well in advance; McVeigh’s claim to have been working with an FBI agent; surveillance tapes “lost” by the FBI reportedly showing a man with McVeigh exiting the truck just before the bombing; CIA involvement which would indicate foreign implication; the fact that engineers whose analysis of the Murrah bombing was to become official were also selected to analyze the 9/11/2001 destruction of the World Trade Center, and whose report was to become the basis for Nova’s 2002 “Why The Towers Fell”.

Decision makers at PBS chose to ignore all evidence not in conformity with the government’s preferred version of events and, two decades after the bombing, to solidify the apparently false history.

NOVA: “Why the Towers Fell” 

All the proffered evidence that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11, when subjected to critical scrutiny, appears to have been fabricated.

— David Ray Griffin, “Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?“, September 10, 2008

If, on 9/11/2001, journalists Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, reporting live, could discern the similarity of the collapses of the Twin Towers to intentional demolitions, one assumes the tens of thousands of engineers watching would also be having hunches. Still, there was apparently no concerted statement of the sort from that professional community in the months following. Indeed, it was from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that a team of 22 was chosen by FEMA to explain to a shocked Nation, hungry for answers, why the Towers, as well as WTC7, fell as no steel-framed buildings had ever fallen. The resulting NOVA production, “Why The Towers Fell“, covered the team’s Building Performance Study and aired on PBS on April 30, 2002, just seven months after the attack.

The team was led by Gene Corley who, it happens, had also led the investigation of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, although his team’s finding there was not in accord with that of General Partin, the Air Force’s explosives expert (see above). In any event, “building performance” was the focus of both studies, without any consideration of the possibility that the buildings had been previously prepared for demolition, although there was evidence that such was the case.

While “Why The Towers Fell” can still be seen at dailymotion, only a transcript is available at the PBS website, this for good reason. Since its airing in 2002, a veritable army of engineers and researchers has rendered it more than merely inaccurate. One does not wish to disparage engineers in the video, for certainly pressure was intense to find a politically acceptable explanation for an anxious public. But evidence of the buildings having been prepared for demolition prior to 9/11 is by now overwhelming. Details of why this is so is not the point here, but good sources of information, for those interested, are Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and virtually any of the books on the subject by David Ray Griffin.

What is glaring is the absolute silence of PBS to the accumulated mountain of evidence that the World Trade Center buildings had been carefully prepared for 9/11. In 2015, PBS showcased three Frontline presentations, all in accord with the official story, with this introduction: “Fifteen years ago, Al Qaeda operatives carried out the deadliest domestic terror attack in American history by hijacking four passenger airplanes and crashing two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and another into a Pennsylvania field”. With a single concise sentence, and a decade and a half after the event, PBS is affirming what is most certainly a false account.

American Experience:  Roads to Memphis”

William Pepper, confidante of Martin Luther King, Jr. and King Family attorney, spent decades uncovering the truth about the assassination of King. In 2010, when PBS first aired Roads To Memphis, a fictional account about designated patsy James Earl Ray, Pepper had already published two books (1995 and 2003) revealing the plot to assassinate the good Reverend, a plot involving a complex of governmental, military and underworld players. It would be hard to find a more blatant example of official state television eclipsing truth than the multiple airings by PBS of Roads To Memphis.

Even the most superficial scan of the King assassination record quickly leads to Pepper’s publications and references to them. It is not possible to have missed them. The creators and disseminators of Roads To Memphis were therefore faced with two radically opposing narratives: Pepper’s detailed expose’ on the one hand, which they chose to disregard altogether, and on the other hand the Government’s story line, which Pepper had annihilated. A side-by-side comparison of the two accounts of the assassination leaves one in a state of shock. See here Pepper’s words from the introduction of the The Plot To Kill King, the last of his trilogy:

For me, this is a story rife with sadness, replete with massive accounts of personal and public deception and betrayal. Its revelations and experiences have produced in the writer a depression stemming from an unavoidable confrontation with the depths to which human beings, even those subject to professional codes of ethics, have fallen; ….. Far from being elated that the truth is now with us face-to-face, I feel consumed by a sadness that will be a lifelong emotional presence. One significant factor is facing the reality that one has misjudged the integrity and even the basic decency of individuals, some of whom have been friends or respected comrades over many years. It is a traumatic realization that the use of political assassinations has all too often been successful at removing uncontrollable leaders whose commitment to substantive change of their societies had threatened the ruling forces, and thereby become so intolerable that physical removal remained the only option.

Despite Pepper’s The Plot To Kill King having been published in 2016, PBS was still airing Roads To Memphis a year later.

FRONTLINE: “Putin’s Revenge”

The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection…… ‘Putin’s Revenge’ feature[s] so-called experts who outdo one another in stoking anti-Russian flames. PBS can never seem to find any expert who can make counter arguments.

— Margaret Kimberley, “Putin, Trump and Manafort“, OpEd News, November 3, 2017

Following World War 2, the U.S. was relatively unscathed, her manufacturing base for war materials was humming, stakeholders were intent on maintaining it, and a perceived enemy would justify its continuance. Russia; i.e., the Soviet Union (USSR), recently an ally, had an economic system antithetical to capitalism. The Red Scare was born, nurtured and perpetuated throughout a Cold War that was to last until 1989. But Russia had suffered Nazi invasion, and with a death toll of perhaps 20,000,000, had neither ability nor reason to threaten the U.S. in 1945. Looking back, it is unpleasant to contemplate the extent to which the Cold War was U.S. driven.

With media reinforcing the ‘Russia=Enemy!’ meme, transition into the “new” Cold War has gone smoothly, but Frontline’s “Putin’s Revenge” is a remarkable 2-hour distortion of the “Russiagate” fiasco. Centered on a claimed Russian “hacking” of 60,000 emails of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly to assist the Trump presidential campaign, it begins with the CIA’s John Brennan calling the hacking “tantamount to war”, and it never departs that focus.

As the commanding voice of narrator Will Lyman details Putin’s “lifetime of grievances” against American humiliations, the Russian’s face is shown in still shots chosen for sinister innuendo. Putin, viewers are told, “weaponized” information and sent hacked DNC emails to Wikileaks to expose Clinton’s undermining of the Sanders Campaign, thereby disuniting Democrats and aiding Trump. Along the way, there is deceptive reporting of a Russian “invasion” of Crimea, and suggestion of collusion between Putin and Trump. Commentary from governmental figures is reinforced by mainstream journalists from the NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, and Politico.

The two hours of “Putin’s Revenge” aired on October 25 and November 1, 2017 despite an organization of intelligence professionals having already disputed hacking claims in late 2016 and published their technical assessment by July, 2017 that the DNC emails, rather than hacked, had been downloaded; i.e., “leaked”, from within the DNC itself. It strains believability that Frontline’s researchers could have missed these. Moreover, Julian Assange had long insisted that neither Russia nor any other state party was Wikileak’s source of the DNC emails, as Frontline had to have known. Records indicate that the Clinton Campaign, aware that incriminating emails were about to be made public, conspired with the DNC and media to divert attention onto a fabricated “Russian hack”, for which there was never evidence.

Ever since the U.S. promised the Soviets in 1990 that NATO would not move “one inch to the east” of Germany, NATO military activity has expanded along Russia’s western border from the Baltic to the Black Sea, the expanse over which Napoleon and Hitler carried out their respective invasions. That is the geographic equivalent of Russian bases being placed along a U.S. border. Crimea is the site of Russia’s naval base on the Black Sea, where U.S. warships have been cruising in recent years, and the northeast quadrant of which is Russian coastline. Base and coastline had to be protected without delay. In response to NATO-driven regime-change in western Ukraine, a referendum for union with Russia (not covered in the Frontline piece) was held in Crimea. Russian blood and culture dominate in Crimea, and the referendum passed by a reported 95%, hence Russia’s annexation. Frontline’s depiction of an “invasion” is beyond merely simplistic and is illustrative of why Americans are so ignorant of world affairs.

American mainstream journalism is now a tapestry of lies of omission. PBS, however, is a standout in this area, because its prominent, “in depth” productions on Nova, American Experience and Frontline are considered widely to represent the best investigative journalism available. It is this reputation that places PBS above the networks in the public mind. As PBS has willfully avoided specific areas for exploration, and has excluded truths that a governmental power structure does not want aired, it has made itself a powerful tool in the rewriting of history.

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. He can be contacted at willers@uwosh.edu.

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

WaPo Publishes Gabbard Smear Piece Filled With Blatant Lies

By Caitlin Johnstone | August 4, 2019

The Washington Post, which is wholly owned by a CIA contractor who is reportedly working to control the underlying infrastructure of the global economy, has published a shockingly deceitful smear piece about Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the wake of her criticisms of her opponent Kamala Harris’ prosecutorial record during the last Democratic debate.

The article’s author, Josh Rogin, has been a cheerleader for US regime change interventionism in Syria since the very beginning of the conflict in that nation. It is unsurprising, then, that he reacted with orgasmic exuberance when Harris retaliated against Gabbard’s devastating attack by smearing the Hawaii congresswoman as an “Assad apologist”, since Gabbard has been arguably the most consistent and high-profile critic of Rogin’s pet war agenda. His article, titled “Tulsi Gabbard’s Syria record shows why she can’t be president”, is one of the most dishonest articles that I have ever read in a mainstream publication, and the fact that it made it through the Washington Posts editors is enough to fully discredit that outlet.

You can read Rogin’s smear piece without giving Jeff Bezos more money by clicking here for an archive. There’s so much dishonesty packed into this one that all I can do is go through it lie-by-lie until I either finish or get tired, so let’s begin:

“Gabbard asserts that the United States (not Assad) is responsible for the death and destruction in Syria, that the Russian airstrikes on civilians are to be praised

This is just a complete, brazen, whole-cloth lie from Rogin. If you click the hyperlink he alleges supports his claim that Gabbard asserts “Russian airstrikes on civilians are to be praised,” you come to a 2015 tweet by the congresswoman which reads, “Bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.”

Now, you can agree or disagree with Gabbard’s position that the US should be participating in airstrikes against al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, but there’s no way you can possibly interpret her acceptance of Russia doing so to be anywhere remotely like “praise” for “airstrikes on civilians”. There is simply no way to represent the content of her tweet that way without knowingly lying about what you think it says. The only way Rogin’s claim could be anything resembling truthful would be if “al-Qaeda” and “civilians” meant the same thing. Obviously this is not the case, so Rogin can only be knowingly lying.

“That bias, combined with her long record of defending the Assad regime and parroting its propaganda, form the basis for the assertion Gabbard has ‘embraced and been an apologist for’ Assad, as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) said Wednesday post-debate on CNN.”

Gabbard has no record whatsoever of “defending the Assad regime”. This is a lie. There exist copious amounts of quotes by Gabbard opposing US regime change interventionism in Syria and voicing skepticism of the narratives used to promote said interventionism, but there are no quotes anywhere in which she claims Assad is a nice person or that he hasn’t done bad things. If such quotes existed, Rogin would have included them in his smear piece. He did not. All he can do is lie about their existence.

“To repeat: There is no quote in which Tulsi praises, supports, or otherwise ‘apologies for’ Assad,” journalist Michael Tracey recently tweeted with a link to his January article on the subject. “I checked the record a long time ago, and it doesn’t exist. This is just a smear intended to delegitimize diplomatic engagement”

“Claiming that politicians are ‘defending’ objectionable rulers they meet with, in pursuit of achieving some alternative to war, is a tired trope that has been frequently used throughout history to discredit diplomatic engagement,” Tracey wrote. “As Gabbard told me in an interview shortly after returning from Syria: ‘The reason why I decided to take this meeting on this trip was because if we profess to care about the Syrian people — if we really truly care about ending their suffering and ending this war — then we should be ready to meet with anyone if there is a chance that that meeting and that conversation could help to bring about an end to this war.’”

Gabbard has been remarkably consistent in explaining her position that she opposes US regime change interventionism in Syria because US regime change interventionism is reliably disastrous. This isn’t “defending” anyone, nor is it “parroting propaganda”. It’s an indisputable, thoroughly established fact.

“Other Democratic candidates have promised to end U.S. military adventurism without making excuses for a mass murderer. It’s neither progressive nor liberal to defend Assad, a fascist, totalitarian psychopath who can never peacefully preside over Syria after what he has done.”

Again, claiming that Gabbard has done anything at all to “defend Assad” is a lie. If anything Gabbard has been too uncritical of establishment war propaganda narratives, calling Assad “a brutal dictator” who has “used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people.” Gabbard’s sole arguments on the matter have been in opposition to US military interventionism and skepticism of narratives used to support such interventionism, which only an idiot would object to in a post-Iraq invasion world.

Rogin argues that it’s possible to end US military adventurism without defending and making excuses for Assad, yet this is exactly the thing that Tulsi Gabbard has been doing since day one. Which means Rogin doesn’t actually believe it’s ever okay for any presidential candidate to want to end US military adventurism under any circumstances. Which is of course the real driving motivation behind his deceitful smear piece against Gabbard.

“Gabbard never talks about her other trip — to the Turkish-Syrian border with a group of lawmakers in June 2015, when she met with authentic opposition leaders, victims of Assad’s barrel bombs and members of the volunteer rescue brigade known as the White Helmets. Their stories, which don’t support Assad’s narrative, never make it into Gabbard’s speeches on the campaign trail.”

This one is bizarre. Rogin says this as though Gabbard’s meeting with Assad is something that she brings up “on the campaign trail” rather than something war propagandists like himself bring up and force her to respond to. The fact that those propagandists never bring up Gabbard’s meetings with the Syrian opposition is an indictment of their bias, not hers. The mental gymnastics required to make Gabbard’s meetings with all sides of the Syrian conflict feel more pro-Assad rather than less deserve an Olympic gold medal.

Obviously Gabbard having met with all sides is indicative of an absence of favoritism, not the presence of it. The fact that she didn’t come away from her meetings with empire-allied opposition forces with the opinion that the US should help storm Damascus doesn’t mean she supports any particular side.

“Gabbard’s candidacy should be taken very seriously — not because she has a significant chance of being president, but because her narrative on Syria is deeply incorrect, immoral and un-American. If it were adopted by her party and the country, it would lead the United States down a perilous moral and strategic path.”

Saying a “narrative” can be “un-American” is a fairly straightforward admission that you are authoring propaganda. Unless you believe your nation has one authorized set of narratives, a narrative can’t be “un-American”. This is as close as you’ll ever get to an admission from Rogin that US power structures work to control the dominant narratives about world events, and that he helps them do it. To such a person, opposition to your narrative control agendas would be seen as the antithesis of the group you identify with.

The US empire has an extensive and well-documented history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to initiate military conflicts which advantage it. To continue to deny this after Iraq is either willful ignorance or propaganda.

The fact that Rogin adds “strategic path” to his argument nullifies his claim that his position has anything to do with morality. If your foreign policy concern is with strategic leverage, you will naturally try to interpret anything which advances that strategic path as the moral choice.

“Listening to Gabbard, one might think the United States initiated the Syrian conflict by arming terrorists for a regime-change war that has resulted in untold suffering.”

This is exactly what happened. The US armed extremist militants with the goal of effecting regime change, and before Russia intervened they almost succeeded. According to the former Prime Minister of Qatar, the US and its allies were involved in this behavior from the very beginning of the conflict in 2011. Here is a link to an article full of primary source documents showing that the US and its allies had been scheming since well before 2011 to provoke a civil war in Syria with the goal of regime change. They did exactly what they planned to do, which is exactly the thing Rogin claims they did not do.

But Gabbard never even takes her analysis this far. She simply says the US should not get involved in another US regime change war, because it shouldn’t.

“Responding to Harris, Gabbard called Assad’s atrocities ‘detractions,’[sic] before eventually saying she doesn’t dispute that he’s guilty of torture and murder. That’s a slight improvement from her previous protestations that there was not enough evidence.”

Rogin falsely implies here that Gabbard only just began accusing Assad of war crimes, and that she only did so in response to new pressure resulting from Harris’ criticism. As noted earlier, this is false; Gabbard has been harshly critical of Assad.

“Gabbard then quickly accused President Trump of aiding al-Qaeda in Idlib. ‘That does sound like a talking point of the Assad regime,’ CNN’s Anderson Cooper said. He could have just said she is wrong.”

Even the US State Department has acknowledged that Idlib is an al-Qaeda stronghold, and the Trump administration has taken aggressive moves to prevent the Assad coalition from launching a full-scale campaign to reclaim the territory. Claiming that this did not happen is a lie per even the accepted narratives of the US political/media class.

“Gabbard’s 2017 trip was financed and run by members of a Lebanesesocialist-nationalist party that works closely with the Assad regime.”

Former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who accompanied Gabbard on this trip, dismissed this accusation as “so much horseshit I can’t believe it.” All parties involved have denied this narrative, which Rogin has played a pivotal role in promoting from the very beginning and to which he has been forced to make multiple embarrassing corrections.

“Gabbard’s plan to overtly side with Assad and Russia while they commit crimes against humanity would be a strategic disaster, a gift to the extremists and a betrayal of decades of U.S. commitments to stand up to mass atrocities. Democratic voters who believe in liberalism and truth must reject not only her candidacy but also her attempt to disguise moral bankruptcy as a progressive value.”

Another lie; Gabbard has no such plan. Opposing US regime change interventionism isn’t “siding” with anybody, it’s just not supporting a thing that is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful.

Rogin’s closing admonishment to reject not just Gabbard but her skepticism of US war narratives is yet another admission that he’s concerned with narrative control here, not with truth and not even really with a US presidential candidate.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and shameless war propagandists like Josh Rogin are the attack dogs of establishment narrative control.

August 4, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 5 Comments

California Dreaming and Erosion “Crises”

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By Jim Steele | Pacific Tribune | July 24, 2019

California’s spectacular coastline attracts tourists from around the world. Headlands of granite or basalt resist erosion, defiantly jutting out into the sea. Pocket beaches form where focused wave energy bites into softer sandstones and uncemented stream sediments. Relentless waves undermine and steepen cliffs bordering 70% of California’s shoreline. Over hundreds and thousands of years, natural erosion sculpted our awe-inspiring undulating coast.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder – likewise the magnitude of a “coastal crisis”. The Los Angeles Times recently published ‘California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim. They inaccurately painted natural erosion as a recent crisis due to CO2 induced climate change. However, California’s erosion “crisis” must be understood within a greater timeframe.

Since the end of the last ice age, sea level has risen 400 feet. Over 18,000 years, San Francisco’s regional coastline marched 25 miles inland, advancing 7 feet a year – more than twice California’s average. My beautiful home town of Pacifica was featured in that Times’ article because it lost several homes unfortunately built on loosely cemented sand and gravel deposited 100,000 years ago when sea level was 20 feet higher. Although the ocean’s landward march has slowed over the past 5000 years, northern Pacifica’s fragile coastline still retreated by over 7 feet per year between 1929 and 1943. Despite a warming world, the average rate of cliff retreat then markedly declined since 1943.

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The ill-fated Ocean Shore Railway, initiated in 1905, foreshadowed California’s erosion problems. To give tourists awesome views, tracks were laid on a ledge dug into steep coastal cliffs. But landslides were common, and costly repairs forced the railway to close. Today, only 25% of the railway ledge built by 1928 still exists. Undeterred, designers of California’s scenic Pacific Coast Highway hoped to give automobile travelers similar breath-taking views. Again, landslides were common. Only 38% of the highway constructed by 1956 still remains. Geologists tell us such landslides constantly altered California’s modern coastline for hundreds of years.

There are few straight lines in nature. Our coastlines undulate. Likewise, our climate oscillates, and coasts erode episodically. Between 1976 and 1999 (the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation), California experienced more frequent El Niños. Over 70% of California’s 20th century disappearing coastline eroded during El Niño events. El Niños bring more storms and more destructive waves. El Niños bring more rains that saturate soils and promote landslides. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation then switched to its cool phase. It brought more La Niñas and more drought, but fewer winter storms and less erosion. In 1949, also a time of less erosion, Pacifica’s government believed homes setback 65 feet from the edge of a bluff would be safe. They never suspected a single El Niño event would move the cliff edge 30 feet landward 50 years later.

There are some who see human structures as a blight on California’s natural coastline. In response to natural erosion, they suggest we abandon the coast. They argue California’s only choice is “managed retreat” versus “unmanaged retreat”. Although well engineered seawalls can protect homes and businesses, some environmentalists called seawalls a coastal “crisis”. California’s Coastal Commission recently pledged seawalls will “only be permitted if absolutely necessary”. But the Commission’s policy only fosters a mishmash of emergency fixes. Randomly armored properties deflect destructive waves downstream, accelerating erosion in a neighbor’s unprotected property. Coastal cities must construct well-engineered sea walls, without any gaps.

Because sea walls prevent erosion, the Commission ill-advisedly fears local beaches will be lost if denied locally eroded sand. The Times parroted that belief writing, ‘for every constructed seawall, a beach is sacrificed’. But is that true? San Francisco’s O’Shaughnessy sea wall built in 1929 prevents erosion of the fragile sand dunes supporting Golden Gate Park. Yet SF’s north ocean beach continues to grow. Without a seawall, San Francisco’s south ocean beach rapidly eroded, and threatened infrastructure now requires a sea wall.

Sources of beach sand fluctuate, and simplistic sea wall analyses are very misleading. Sand is stored and transported to beaches in many ways. Streams and rivers supply the most sand needed to nourish a beach, but mining SF bay’s sand has deprived nearby coastal beaches. Furthermore, ocean oscillations shift winds and the direction of currents that transport sand. Beaches grow for decades then suddenly shrink. Although some argue our beaches face a rising sea level “crisis”, archaeologist determined that despite more rapidly rising sea levels 5000 years ago, many California beaches grew when supplied with adequate sand.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note scientists suggested Pacific islands also face an erosion crisis due to rising sea levels. But the latest scientific surveys determined 43% of those islands remained stable while land extent of another 43% has grown. Only 14% of the islands lost land. So, I fear exaggerated crises only erode our trust in science.


Jim Steele is director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, SFSU and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

American Pravda: John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate

Our Reigning Political Puppets, Jerked by Invisible Strings

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • July 29, 2019

The death of Sen. John McCain last August revealed some important truths about the nature of our establishment media.

McCain’s family had released word of his incurable brain cancer many months earlier and his passing at age 84 was long expected, so media outlets great and small had possessed all the time necessary for producing and polishing the packages they eventually published, and that was readily apparent from the voluminous nature of the tributes that they ran. The New York Times, still our national newspaper of record, allocated more than three full pages of its printed edition to the primary obituary, and this was supplemented by a considerable number of other articles and sidebars. I cannot recall any political figure other than an American president whose passing had ever received such an enormous wealth of coverage, and perhaps even some former residents of the Oval Office might have fallen short of that standard. Although I certainly didn’t bother reading all of the tens of thousands of words in the Times or my other newspapers, the coverage of McCain’s life and career seemed exceptionally laudatory across the mainstream media, liberal and conservative alike, with scarcely a negative word appearing anywhere outside the political fringe.

On the face of it, such undiluted political love for McCain might seem a bit odd to those who have followed his activities over the last couple of decades. After all, the Times and most of the other leading lights of our media firmament are purportedly liberal and claim to have become vehement critics of our disastrous Iraq War and other military adventures, let alone the calamitous possibility of an attack upon Iran. Meanwhile, McCain was universally regarded as the leading figure in America’s “War Party,” eagerly supporting all prospective and retrospective military endeavors with gleeful fury, and even making his chant of “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” the most widely remembered detail of his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. So either our major media outlets somehow overlooked such striking differences on an absolutely central issue, or perhaps their true positions on certain matters are not exactly what they seem to be, and merely constitute elements of a Kabuki-performance aimed at deceiving their more naive readers.

Even more remarkable were the discordant facts airbrushed out of McCain’s history.

As the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and two George Polk awards, the late Sydney Schanberg was widely regarded as one of the greatest American war correspondents of the twentieth century. His exploits during our ill-fated Indo-Chinese War had become the basis of the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, which probably established him as the most famous journalist in America after Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame, and he had also served as a top editor at The New York Times. A decade ago, he published his greatest expose, providing a mountain of evidence that America had deliberately left behind hundreds of POWs in Vietnam and he fingered then-presidential candidate John McCain as the central figure in the later official cover-up of that monstrous betrayal. The Arizona senator had traded on his national reputation as our best-known former POW to bury the story of those abandoned prisoners, permitting America’s political establishment to escape serious embarrassment. As a result, Sen. McCain earned the lush rewards of our generous ruling elites, much like his own father Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., who had led the cover-up of the deliberate 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, which killed or wounded over 200 American servicemen.

As publisher of The American Conservative, I ran Schanberg’s remarkable piece as a cover story, and across several websites over the years it has surely been read many hundreds of thousands of times, including a huge spike around the time of McCain’s death. I therefore find it rather difficult to believe that the many journalists investigating McCain’s background might have remained unaware of this material. Yet not a hint of these facts were provided in any of the articles appearing in any remotely prominent media outlets as can be seen by searching for web pages containing “McCain and Schanberg” dated around the time of the Senator’s passing.

Schanberg’s journalistic stature had hardly been forgotten by his former colleagues. Upon his death a couple of years ago, the Times ran a very long and glowing obituary, and a few months later I attended the memorial tribute to his life and career held at the New York Times headquarters building, which drew a couple of hundred prominent journalists mostly from his same generation, including those of the highest rank. Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. gave a speech describing how as a young man he had always so greatly admired Schanberg and had been mortified by the unfortunate circumstances of his departure from the family’s newspaper. Former Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld recounted the many years he had worked closely with the man he had long considered his closest friend and colleague, someone whom he almost seemed to regard as his older brother. But during the two hours of praise and remembrance scarcely a single word was uttered in public about the gigantic story that had occupied the last two decades of Schanberg’s celebrated career.

This same blanket of media silence also enveloped the very serious accusations regarding McCain’s own Vietnam War record. A few years ago, I drew upon the Times and other fully mainstream sources to strongly suggest that McCain’s stories of his torture as a POW were probably fictional, invented to serve as a cover and an excuse for the very real record of his wartime collaboration with his Communist captors. Indeed, at the time our American media reported his activities as one of the leading propagandists of our North Vietnamese foes, but these facts were later flushed down the memory-hole. McCain’s father was then ranked as one of America’s top military officers, and it seems likely that his personal political intervention ensured that the official narrative of his son’s wartime record was transmuted from traitor to war-hero, thereby allowing the younger McCain to later embark upon his celebrated political career.

The story of the abandoned Vietnam POWs and McCain’s own Communist propaganda broadcasts hardly exhaust the catalog of the major skeletons in the late Senator’s closet. McCain was regularly described by reporters as being remarkably hot-headed and having a violent temper, but the national press left it to the alternative media to investigate the real-life implications of those rather suggestive phrases.

In a September 1, 2008 Counterpunch expose later published online, Alexander Cockburn reported that interviews with two emergency room physicians in Phoenix revealed that around the time that McCain was sucked into the political maelstrom of the Keating Five Scandal, his wife Cindy was admitted to her local hospital suffering from a black eye, facial bruises, and scratches consistent with physical violence, and this same situation occurred two additional times over the next few years. Cockburn also noted several other highly suspicious marital incidents during the years that followed, including the Senator’s wife appearing with a bandaged wrist and her arm in a sling not long after she joined her husband on the 2008 campaign trail, an injury reported by our strangely incurious political journalists as being due to “excessive hand-shaking.” It’s an odd situation when a tiny leftist newsletter can easily uncover facts that so totally eluded the vast resources of our entire national press corps. If there were credible reports that Melania Trump had been repeatedly admitted to local emergency rooms suffering from black eyes and facial bruises, would our corporate media have remained so uninterested in any further investigation?

McCain had first won his Arizona Congressional seat in 1982, not long after he moved into the state, with his campaign bankrolled by his father-in-law’s beer-distributorship fortune, and that inheritance eventually elevated the McCain household into one of the wealthiest in the Senate. But although the Senator spent the next quarter-century in public life, even nearly upsetting George W. Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, only in late 2008 did I learn from the Times that the Phoenix beer-monopoly in question, then valued at around $200 million, had accrued to a man whose lifelong business partner Kemper Marley had long been deeply linked to organized crime. Indeed, close associates of that latter individual had been convicted by a jury of the car-bomb assassination of a Phoenix investigative crime reporter just a few years before McCain’s sudden triumphal entrance into Arizona politics. Perhaps such guilt-by-association is improper, but would our national press-corps have remained silent if the personal fortune of our current president were only a step or two removed from the car-bomb assassins of a nosy journalist who died while investigating mobsters.

As I gradually became aware of these enormities casually hidden in McCain’s background, my initial reaction was disbelief that someone whose record was so deeply tarnished in so many different ways could ever have reached such a pinnacle of American political power. But as the media continued to avert its eyes from these newly revealed facts, even those disclosed in the pages of the Times itself, I gradually began to consider matters in a different light. Perhaps McCain’s elevation to great American political power was not in spite of the devastating facts littering his personal past, but because of them. As I wrote a few years ago:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia’s entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

In physics, when an object deviates from its expected trajectory for inexplicable reasons, we assume that some unknown force has been at work, and tracing the record of such deviations may help to determine the characteristic properties of the latter. Over the years, I’ve increasingly become aware of such strange ideological deviations in public policy, and although some are readily explained, others suggest the existence of hidden forces far beneath the surface of our regular political world. This same situation may have occurred throughout our history, and sometimes the political decisions that so baffled contemporaries eventually came to light decades later.

In The Dark Side of Camelot, famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that secret blackmail evidence of JFK’s extra-marital affairs probably played a crucial role in having his administration overrule the unanimous verdict of all top Pentagon advisors and award the largest military procurement contract in U.S. history to General Dynamics instead of Boeing, thereby saving the former company from likely bankruptcy and its major organized-crime shareholders from devastating financial losses. Hersh also suggests that a similar factor likely explains JFK’s last-minute reversal in the choice of his Vice President, a decision that landed Lyndon Johnson on the 1960 ticket and placed him in the White House after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.

As I recently mentioned, in the 1950s Sen. Estes Kefauver shifted the focus of his Organized Crime Hearings after the Chicago Syndicate confronted him with the photographs of his sexual encounter with two mob-supplied women. A decade later, California Attorney-General Stanley Mosk suffered much the same fate, with the facts remaining hidden for over twenty years.

Similar rumors swirl around events much farther back in history as well, sometimes with enormous consequences. Well-placed contemporary sources have claimed that Samuel Untermyer, a wealthy Jewish lawyer, purchased the secret correspondence between Woodrow Wilson and his longtime mistress, and that the existence of that powerful leverage may have been an important factor behind Wilson’s astonishingly rapid rise from president of Princeton in 1910 to governor of New Jersey in 1911 to president of the United States in 1912. Once in office, Wilson signed the controversial legislation establishing the Federal Reserve system in 1913 and also named Louis Brandeis as the first Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court despite the public opposition of nearly our entire legal establishment. Wilson’s swiftly changing views on American involvement in the First World War may also have been influenced by such personal pressures rather than solely determined by his perceptions of the national interest.

Without naming any names, since 2001 it has been difficult to avoid noticing that one of the most zealous and committed supporters of the Neocon party-line on all Middle Eastern foreign policy matters has been a leading Republican senator from one of the most socially-conservative Southern states, a man whose rumored personal inclinations have long circulated on the Internet. The strikingly-sudden reversal of this individual on a major policy question certainly supports these suspicions. There have also been several other such examples involving prominent Republicans.

But consider the far different situation of Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who in 1987 became the first member of the Congress to voluntarily admit that he was gay. Not long afterward, a notorious scandal erupted when it was revealed that his own DC townhouse had been used by a former boyfriend as headquarters for a male-prostitution ring. Frank claimed to have had no knowledge of that sordid situation, and his liberal Massachusetts constituents apparently accepted that, since he was resoundingly reelected and went on to serve another 24 years in Congress. But surely if Frank had been a Republican from a socially-conservative district, anyone possessing such evidence would have totally controlled his political survival, and with Frank spending several years as Chairman of the very powerful House Financial Services Committee, the value of such a powerful hold would have been enormous.

This demonstrates the undeniable reality that what constitutes effective blackmail material may vary tremendously across different eras and regions. Today, it is widely accepted that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover lived his life as a deeply-closeted homosexual and there seem to be serious claims that he also had some black ancestry, with the secret evidence of these facts probably helping to explain why for decades he stubbornly refused to admit the existence of American organized crime or focus his G-men on efforts to uproot it. But in today’s America, he would surely have proudly declared his sexuality and racial ancestry in an New York Times Magazine cover-story, rightly believing that they would have enhanced his political invulnerability on the national stage. There are lurid rumors that the Syndicate possessed secret photos of Hoover wearing a dress and high-heels, but just a few years ago Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose desperately placed his eight-year-old transgendered grand-daughter front-and-center in his unsuccessful attempt to win reelection.

The decades have certainly softened the effectiveness of many forms of blackmail, but pedophilia still ranks as an extremely powerful taboo. There seems to be a great deal of evidence that powerful organizations and individuals have successfully managed to suppress credible accusations of that practice for very long periods of time so long as no group with substantial media influence had chosen to target the offenders for unmasking.

The most obvious example is the Catholic Church, and the failings of its American and international hierarchy in that regard have regularly made the front pages of our leading newspapers. But until the early 2000s and the breakthrough reporting of the Boston Globe as recounted in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, the Church had routinely fended off such scandals.

Consider also the remarkable case of British television personality Sir Jimmy Savile, one of his country’s most admired celebrities, eventually knighted for his public service. Only shortly after his death at age 84 did the press begin revealing that he had probably molested many hundreds of children during his long career. Accusations by his young victims had stretched back across forty years, but his criminal activities had seemingly been protected by his wealth and celebrity, along with his numerous supporters in the media.

There is also the intriguing example of Dennis Hastert. As the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history, holding office during 1999-2007, Hastert was third in line to the Presidency and even ranked as our nation’s top Republican elected official during some of that period. Based upon my newspaper readings, he had always struck me as a rather bland and ordinary individual, with journalists sometimes even strongly hinting at his mediocrity, so that I occasionally wondered just how someone so unimpressive could have risen to such extremely high national office.

Then a few years ago, he was suddenly thrust back into the headlines, arrested by the FBI and charged with financial crimes relating to what apparently had been his past history of abusing young boys, at least one of whom had committed suicide, with the federal judge who sent him to prison denouncing him as “a serial child molester” at sentencing. Perhaps I’ve led an overly sheltered life, but my impression is that only a tiny sliver of Americans have had a long record of child molestation, and all things being equal, it seems rather unlikely that someone of such a background but who possesses no other great talents or skills would rise to near the absolute top of our political heap. So perhaps not all things were otherwise equal. If some powerful elements possessed the hard evidence that placed a particular elected official under their total control, working very hard to elevate him to Speaker of the House would be a very shrewd investment.

At times the unwillingness of our national media to see major stories in front of their very noses reaches ridiculous extremes. During the summer of 2007, the Internet was ablaze with claims that Sen. John Edwards, a runner-up in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, had just fathered a child with his mistress, and those reports were backed by seemingly-credible visual evidence, including photos showing the married senator holding his new-born baby. Yet as the days and even the weeks went by, not a whiff of this salacious scandal ever reached the pages of any of my morning newspapers or the rest of the mainstream media although it was a top conversation topic everywhere else. Eventually, the National Enquirer, a notorious gossip tabloid, scored a journalistic first, receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination for breaking the story that no other outlet seemed willing to cover. Would our media have similarly averted its eyes from a newborn baby Trump coming from the wrong side of the bed?

Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a “conspiracy of silence” to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance. I could easily have doubled or tripled the number of such notable examples I provided above without much effort. Moreover, it is quite intriguing that so many of these cases involve the sort of criminal or sexual misbehavior that would be ideally suited for blackmailing powerful individuals who are less likely to be vulnerable to other influences. So perhaps many of the elected officials situated at the top of our democratic system merely reign as political puppets, jerked by invisible strings.

Given my awareness of this remarkable track-record of major media cover-ups, I’m ashamed to admit that I had paid almost no attention to the Jeffrey Epstein case until it exploded across our national headlines earlier this month, suddenly becoming one of the biggest news stories in our country.

For many years, reports about Epstein and his illegal sex-ring had regularly circulated on the fringes of the Internet, with agitated commenters citing the case as proof of the dark and malevolent forces that secretly controlled our corrupted political system. But I almost entirely ignored these discussions, and I’m not sure that I ever once clicked on a single link.

Probably one reason I paid so little attention to the topic was the exceptionally lurid nature of the claims being made. Epstein was supposedly an enormously wealthy Wall Street financier of rather mysterious personal background and source of funds, who owned a private island and an immense New York City mansion, both regularly stocked with harems of underage girls provided for sexual purposes. He allegedly hobnobbed on a regular basis with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, and numerous other figures in the international elite, as well as a gaggle of ordinary billionaires, frequently transporting those individuals on his personal jet known as “the Lolita Express” for the role it played in facilitating illegal secret orgies with young girls. When right-wing bloggers on obscure websites claimed that former President Clinton and the British Royals were being sexually serviced by the underage girls of a James Bond super-villain brought to life, I just assumed those accusations were the wildest sort of Internet exaggeration.

Moreover, these angry writers did occasionally let slip that the fiendish target of their wrath had already been charged in a Florida courtroom, eventually pleading guilty to a single sexual offense and receiving a thirteen month jail sentence, mitigated by very generous work-release provisions. This hardly seemed like the sort of judicial punishment that would lend credence to the fantastical accusations against him. If Epstein had already been investigated by law enforcement authorities and given the sort of sentence one might expect for writing a bad check, I found it quite unlikely that he was actually the Goldfinger or Dr. No that deluded Internet activists made him out to be.

Then these same wild, implausible claims previously found only on anonymous comment-threads were suddenly repeated as solid fact on the front pages of the Times and all my other morning newspapers, and the former federal prosecutor who had signed off on Epstein’s legal slap-on-the-wrist was forced to resign from the Trump Cabinet. Epstein’s safe had been found to contain a huge cache of child-pornography and other highly suspicious material, and he was quickly rearrested on charges that could send him to federal prison for decades. Prestigious media outlets described Epstein as the mastermind of a huge sex-trafficking ring, and numerous underage victims began coming forward, telling their stories of how he had molested, raped, and pimped them. The author of a long 2003 Epstein profile that had appeared in Vanity Fair explained that she had personally spoken to some of his victims and included their highly-credible accounts in her article, but that those portions had been censored and removed by her timorous editors.

As presented by these media outlets, Epstein’s personal rise also seemed rather inexplicable unless he had benefited from some powerful network or similar organization. Lacking any college degree or credentials, he had somehow gotten a job teaching at one of New York City’s most elite prep schools, then quickly jumped to working at a top investment bank, rising to become partner with astonishing speed until he was fired a few years later for illegal activity. Despite such a scanty and doubtful record, he was soon managing money for some of America’s wealthiest individuals, and keeping so much of it for himself that he was regularly described as a billionaire. According to newspaper accounts, his great specialty was “making connections for people.”

Obviously, Epstein was a ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustler. But extremely wealthy individuals must surely be surrounded by great swarms of ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustlers, and why would he have been so much more successful than all those others? Perhaps a clue comes from the offhand remark of Epstein’s now-disgraced prosecutor, saying that he had been told to go very easy on the sex-trafficker because he “belonged to intelligence.” The vague phrasing of that statement raises questions about whether the intelligence service may not have been one controlled by the U.S. government.

Philip Giraldi, a highly-regarded former CIA officer, put things very plainly when he suggested that Epstein had probably been working for the Israeli Mossad, operating “honey traps” to obtain blackmail information on all the wealthy and powerful individuals whom he regularly plied with underage girls. Indeed, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis recounted his early 1990s visit to Epstein’s enormous NYC mansion, in which he had barely crossed the threshold before he was offered an “intimate massage” by one of the many young girls there, presumably in a bedroom well-stocked with hidden cameras.

Given my personal lack of interest in the Epstein case, then or now, perhaps a few of these details may be garbled, but it seems undeniable that he was exactly the sort of remarkable renegade typically faced by Agent 007 of the movies, and the true facts will presumably come out at his trial. Or perhaps not. Whether he lives to see trial is not entirely clear given the considerable number of powerful individuals who might prefer that hidden facts remain hidden, and the Friday newspapers reported that Epstein had been found injured and unconscious in his prison cell.

When one seemingly implausible pedophilia scandal has suddenly jumped from obscure corners of the Internet to the front pages of our leading newspapers, we must naturally begin to wonder whether others might not eventually do the same. And a very likely candidate comes to mind, one that seemed to me far better documented than the vague accusations being thrown about over the last few years against a wealthy financier given a thirteen-month jail sentence in Florida a decade earlier.

I don’t use Social Media myself, but near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, I gradually began seeing more and more Trump supporters referring to something called “Pizzagate,” a burgeoning sexual scandal that they claimed would bring down Hillary Clinton and many of the top leaders of her party, with the chatter actually increasing after Trump was elected. As near as I could tell, the whole bizarre theory had grown up on the far-right fringe of the Internet, with the utterly fantastical plot having something to do with stolen secret emails, DC pizza parlors, and a ring of pedophiles situated near the top of the Democratic Party. But given all the other strange and unlikely things I’d gradually discovered about our history, it didn’t seem like something I could necessarily dismiss out of hand.

At the beginning of December, a right-wing blogger produced a lengthy exposition of the Pizzagate charges, which finally gave me some understanding of what was actually under discussion, and I soon made arrangements to republish his article. It quickly attracted a great deal of interest, and some websites pointed to it as the best single introduction to the scandal for a general audience.

A couple of weeks later, I republished an additional article by the same writer, describing a long list of previous pedophilia scandals that had occurred in elite American and European political circles. Although many of these seemed to be solidly documented, nearly all of them had received minimal coverage by our mainstream media outlets. And if such political pedophile rings had existed in the relatively recent past, was it so totally implausible that there might be another one simmering beneath the surface of today’s Washington DC?

Those interested in the details of the Pizzagate Hypothesis are advised to read these articles, especially the first one, but I might was well provide a brief summary.

John Podesta had been a longtime fixture in DC political circles, becoming chief of staff to President Bill Clinton in 1998, and afterward remaining one of the most powerful figures in the Democratic Party establishment. While serving as as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, his apparent carelessness with the password security of his Gmail account allowed it to easily be hacked, and tens of thousands of his personal emails were soon published on WikiLeaks. A swarm of young anti-Clinton activists began scouring this treasure-trove of semi-confidential information, seeking evidence of mundane bribery and corruption, but instead they came across some quite odd exchanges, seemingly written in coded language.

Now use of coded language in a supposedly secure private email account raises all sorts of natural suspicions regarding what might have been under discussion, with the most likely possibilities being illegal drugs or sex. But most of the references didn’t seem to fit the former category, and in our remarkably libertine era, in which political candidates compete for the right to be Grand Marshal at an annual Gay Pride Parade, one of the few sexual activities still discussed only in whispers would seem to be pedophilia, with some of the very strange remarks possibly hinting at this.

The researchers also soon discovered that his brother Tony Podesta, one of the wealthiest and most successful lobbyists in DC, had extremely odd taste in art. Major items of his very extensive personal collection seemed to represent tortured or murdered bodies, and one of his favorite artists was best known for paintings depicting young children being held captive, lying dead, or suffering under severe distress. Such peculiar artwork obviously isn’t illegal, but it might naturally arouse some suspicions. And oddly enough, arch-Democrat Podesta had long been a close personal friend of former Republican Speaker and convicted child-molester Dennis Hastert, welcoming him back into DC society after his release from prison.

Furthermore, some of the rather suspiciously-worded Podesta emails referred to events held at a local DC pizza parlor, greatly favored by the Democratic Party elite, whose owner was the gay former boyfriend of David Brock, a leading Democratic activist. The public Instagram account of that pizza-entrepreneur apparently contained numerous images of young children, sometimes tied or bound, with those images frequently labeled by hashtags using the traditional gay slang for underage sexual targets. Some photos showed the fellow wearing a tee-shirt bearing the statement “I Love Children” in French, and by a very odd coincidence, his possibly assumed name was phonetically identical to that very same French phrase, thus proclaiming to the world that he was “a lover of children.” Closely connected Instagram accounts also included pictures of young children, sometimes shown amid piles of high-value currency, with queries about how much those particular children might be worth. None of this seemed illegal, but surely any reasonable person would regard the material as extremely suspicious.

DC is sometimes described as “Powertown,” being the seat of the individuals who make America’s laws and govern our society, with local political journalists being closely attuned to the relative status of such individuals. And oddly enough, GQ Magazine had ranked that gay pizza parlor owner with a strange focus on young children as being one of the 50 most powerful people in our national capital, placing him far ahead of many Cabinet members, Senators, Congressional Chairmen, Supreme Court justices, and top lobbyists. Was his pizza really that delicious?

These few paragraphs provide merely a sliver of the large quantity of highly-suspicious material surrounding various powerful figures at the apex of the DC political world. A vast cloud of billowing smoke is certainly no proof of any fire, but only a fool would completely ignore it without attempting further investigation.

I usually regard videos as a poor means of imparting serious information, far less effective and meaningful than the simple printed word. But the overwhelming bulk of the evidence supporting the Pizzagate Hypothesis consists of visual images and screen shots, and these are naturally suited to a video presentation.

Some of the best summaries of the Pizzagate case were produced by a young British YouTuber named Tara McCarthy, whose work was published under the name of “Reality Calls,” and her videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Although her channel was eventually banned and her videos purged, copies were later reloaded to other accounts, both on YouTube and BitChute. Some of the evidence she presents seemed rather innocuous or speculative to me and other elements were probably based upon her unfamiliarity with American society and culture. But a great deal of extremely suspicious material remains, and I would suggest that people watch the videos and decide for themselves.

See also instagram video at Unz Review [disturbing]

Around the same time that I first became familiar with the details of the Pizzagate controversy, the topic also started reaching the pages of my morning newspapers, but in an rather strange manner. Political stories began giving a sentence or two to the “Pizzagate hoax,” describing it as a ridiculous right-wing “conspiracy theory” but excluding all relevant details. I had an eerie feeling that some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch and caused the entire mainstream media to begin displaying identical signs reading “Pizzagate Is False—Nothing To See There!” in brightly flashing neon. I couldn’t recall any previous example of such a strange media reaction to some obscure controversy on the Internet.

Articles in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times also suddenly appeared denouncing the entirety of the alternative media—Left, Right, and Libertarian—as “fake news” websites promoting Russian propaganda, while urging that their content be blocked by all patriotic Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Prior to that moment, I’d never even heard the term “fake news” but suddenly it was ubiquitous across the media, once again almost as if some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch.

I naturally began to wonder whether the timing of these two strange developments was entirely coincidental. Perhaps Pizzagate was indeed true and struck so deeply at the core of our hugely corrupted political system that the media efforts to suppress it were approaching the point of hysteria.

Not long afterward, Tara McCarthy’s fine Pizzagate videos were purged from YouTube. This was among the very first instances of video content being banned despite fully conforming to all existing YouTube guidelines, another deeply suspicious development.

I also noticed that mere mention of Pizzagate had become politically lethal. Donald Trump had selected Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as his National Security Advisor, and Flynn’s son served as the latter’s chief of staff. The younger Flynn happened to Tweet out a couple of links to Pizzagate stories, pointing out that the accusations hadn’t yet been actually investigated let alone disproven, and very soon afterward, he was purged from the Trump transition team, foreshadowing his father’s fall a few weeks later. It seemed astonishing to me that a few simple Tweets about an Internet controversy could have such huge real-life impact near the top of our government.

The media continued its uniform drumbeat of “Pizzagate Has Been Disproven!” but we were never explained how or by whom, and I was not the only individual to notice the hollowness of such denunciations. An award-winning investigative journalist named Ben Swann at a CBS station in Atlanta broadcast a short television segment summarizing the Pizzagate controversy and noting that contrary to widespread media claims, Pizzagate had neither been investigated nor debunked. Swann was almost immediately purged by CBS but a copy of his television segment remains available for viewing on the Internet.

There is an old wartime proverb that enemy flak is always heaviest over the most important target, and the remarkably ferocious wave of attacks and censorship against anyone broaching the subject of Pizzagate seems to raise all sorts of dark suspicions. Indeed, the simultaneous waves of attacks against all alternative media outlets as “Russian propaganda outlets” laid the basis for the continuing regime of Social Media censorship that has become a central aspect of today’s world.

Pizzagate may or may not turn out to be true, but the ongoing Internet crackdown has similarly engulfed topics of a somewhat similar nature but with vastly stronger documentation. Although I don’t use Twitter myself, I encountered the obvious implications of this new censorship policy following McCain’s death last August. The senator had died on a Saturday afternoon, and readership of Sydney Schanberg’s long 2008 expose quickly exploded, with numerous individuals Tweeting out the story and a large fraction of our incoming traffic therefore coming from Twitter. This continued until the following morning, at which point the huge flood of Tweets continued to grow, but all incoming Twitter traffic suddenly and permanently vanished, presumably because “shadow banning” had rendered all such Tweets invisible. My own article on McCain’s very doubtful war record simultaneously suffered the same fate, as did numerous other articles of a controversial nature that we published later that same week.

Perhaps that censorship decision was made by some ignorant young intern at Twitter, casually choosing to ban as “hate speech” or “fake news” a massively-documented 8,400 word expose by one of America’s most distinguished journalists, a Pulitzer-prize winning former top editor at The New York Times.

Or perhaps certain political-puppeteers who had spent decades controlling that late Arizona senator sought to ensure that their political puppet-strings remained invisible even after his death.

Related Reading:

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 3 Comments

Myth and the Russian Pogroms

By Andrew Joyce, Ph.D. | Occidental Quarterly | May 8, 2012

The anti-Jewish riots, or “pogroms” of late 19th-century Russia represent one of the most decisive periods in modern Jewish, if not world, history. Most obviously, the riots had demographic implications for western countries – around 80% of today’s western Diaspora Jews are descendants of those Jews who left Russia and its environs during the period 1880–1910. But perhaps the most lasting legacy of the period was the enhancement of Jewish “national self-awareness,” and the accelerated development of “modern, international Jewish politics.”[A1]

The pogroms themselves have consistently been portrayed by (mainly Jewish) historians as “irrational manifestations of hatred against Jews,”[A2] where peasant mobs were the unwitting dupes of malevolent Russian officials. Other explanations are so lacking in evidence, and so devoid of logic that they stretch credulity to breaking point. For example, University of British Columbia Professor, Donald G. Dutton has asserted that the mobs were not motivated by “the sudden rapid increase of the Jewish urban population, the extraordinary economic success of Russian Jews, or the involvement of Jews in Russian revolutionary politics” but rather by the “blood libel.”[A3]

Little or no historiography has been dedicated to peeling back the layers of “refugee” stories to uncover what really happened in the Russian Empire in the years before and during the riots. This lack of historical enquiry can be attributed at least in part to a great reluctance on the part of Jewish historians to investigate the pogroms in any manner beyond the merely superficial. In addition, historical enquiry by non-Jewish historians into the subject has been openly discouraged. For example, when Ukrainian historians discovered evidence proving that contemporary media reports of Jewish casualties in that nation were exaggerated, the Jewish genealogy website ‘JewishGen,’ responded by stating: “We believe that [these facts] are more than irrelevant because it redirects public attention from the major topic: the genocidal essence of pogroms.”

It should suffice to state here that this response contravenes the very essence of historical enquiry – to uncover history as it actually happened, irrespective of the uncomfortable truths which may lie therein. The statement could be translated as “Let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story.” Also, as this paper will show, the tendency to portray the riots as “genocidal” is completely lacking in foundation. University of California Los Angeles Professor of Sociology, Michael Mann, has provided substantial evidence indicating that “most perpetrators did not conceive of removing Jews altogether.”[A4]

JewishGen’s allusion to genocide should also be seen as part of a broader problem in modern Jewish historiography. Rather than seeing the pogroms as products of specific local circumstances, in which Jews would play at least an implicit role, there has been a tendency to use them for comparative purposes. John Klier states that when used in a comparative sense, “examples are drawn almost exclusively from the 20th century, and these events are then read back into the earlier period of 1881–2,” making any objective historical enquiry difficult, and implying the presence of some non-existent ‘pan-European’ malaise in anti-Jewish actions.

Nonetheless, this series of essays will seek to peel back the myths, to tease a few threads of truth from the veil which covers these events. Encouragingly, some work has already begun in this respect. I.M. Aronson’s assertion that the pogroms were “planned or encouraged to one degree or another, by elements within the government itself,”[A5] has been dealt a death blow in recent years through the concerted work of a small number of non-Jewish historians, mostly notably, University College London’s Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, John Doyle Klier. In his 2005 work, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881–2, Klier asserts that “contemporary research has dispelled the myth that Russian officials were responsible for instigating, permitting, or approving the pogroms.”[A6]

This series of essays will attempt to move further, adhering to the belief that the facts of the events remain paramount to historical enquiry rather than being a ‘distracting’ irrelevance. The series will begin with an explanation of the origins of Russia’s “Jewish Question.” Subsequent articles will concern the pogroms themselves and how myth and exaggeration have plagued our conception of them. Finally, I will examine why these myths were developed, and the broader implications of the prevalence of myth in Jewish ‘history.’

Part One: Russia’s Jewish Question

In 1772 the Russian Empire orchestrated the first partition of Poland, “erasing from the geopolitical map of Europe a large kingdom, which in the seventeenth century had extended over broad areas between Prussia and southern Ukraine.”[A7] Significantly, in doing so, the Russian Empire also oversaw “the dissolution of the largest Jewish collective in the world.”[A8]

Polish Jewry was divided into three parts – those in Posen came under the sovereignty of Prussia, those in Galicia came under the sovereignty of Austria, and those in Poland proper came under the sovereignty of the Russian Empire.[A9] In Poland proper, the Polish public turned in on itself, searching frantically for the reasons for the ruin of the nation, and in doing so, states Israel Friedlander, “the Jewish problem could not but force itself on its attention.”[A10]

Investigations carried out by special committees discovered that in the decades prior to partition, Polish Jewry had enjoyed a demographic explosion, with Jews now representing almost 20% of the entire population. In addition, it was discovered that Jews controlled a full 75% of Polish exports, and that many were now spilling out of over-populated urban centres into the countryside, making a living by monopolising the sale of liquor to peasants.[A11]

By 1774, complaints were reaching Russian officials from non-Jewish merchants who argued that Jewish ethnic networking was propping up the monopoly of exports, and that this monopoly would shortly have dire implications for the consumer.[A12] These revelations were the key motivating factors in the decision to expel Warsaw’s Jews in 1775, and until the early 19th century there was a kind of stand-off between Poles and Jews.[A13]

Napoleon’s establishment of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807 did little to alter the situation, as Napoleon acceded to local sentiment which held that Jews should not feel the benefit of the new constitution until they had “eradicated their peculiar characteristics.”[A14]

In 1813, the government of the Duchy moved to break the Jewish monopoly on liquor, banning all Jews from selling alcohol in the villages, bringing an end to the activity of “tens of thousands” of Jewish liquor merchants in the provinces. Not surprisingly, when the Duchy was dissolved in 1815 following Napoleon’s failed attempt to invade Russia, Polish Jewry shed no tears.

In late 1815, the Congress of Vienna was held. The aim of the congress was to give its assent to the formation of a new autonomous Polish kingdom under the sovereignty of Russia. Although the bulk of Polish Jewry remained within the newly established kingdom, tens of thousands also poured forth into other areas of the Russian Empire, ushering in an uncomfortable age of fraught Russian-Jewish relations. The immediate reaction of the Russian government to the acquisition of such large, and unwanted, Jewish populations was to prevent the penetration of these populations from intrusion into the old Russian territories, and the solution reached was one of containment. A new kind of settlement was created in provinces along the western frontier, and it became known as the “Pale of Settlement.” Although a large amount of negative connotations have been attributed to the Pale, it was not an impermeable fortress. Certain Jews were permitted to reside outside these provinces, they could visit trade fairs, and Jews were even permitted to study at Russian universities provided they did not exceed quotas. By 1860, more than half of world Jewry resided in the Pale.

Following the Congress of Vienna, wherever Jews resided in the Russian Empire, they overwhelmingly “served in a variety of middleman roles.” In some cities, “the Jewish mercantile element was numerically superior to the Christian,” and there was a gradual move towards the reacquisition of the liquor trade.[A15] According to Klier, by 1830 Belorussian Jews were found to be “totally dominating trade” in that country.[A16] It was largely Klier’s work in the late 1980s which began to truly shed light on the origins of Russian-Jewish relations prior to 1914. Klier, born into a Catholic family in Kansas, “rejected what might be called the Fiddler on the Roof pieties and simplifications. In book after book, he emphasised that what the tsars and their ministers wanted, above all else, was for the Jewish settlements to be orderly and productive.”[A17] Klier further stressed that the much-maligned Pale of Settlement was simply the only response that the Russian administration could come up with, faced as they were with the “baffling question” of how to deal with the “fanaticism of ultra-Orthodox Jewry” which was thoroughly “unassimilable to official purposes.”[A18]

In 1841, investigations were carried out into Russia’s Jewish communities, and the subsequent reports pointed to three significant problems. The first was persistent Jewish difference in dress, language, and religious and communal organization. The idea underpinning this aloofness from non-Jewish society, the ‘Chosen’ status of the Jews and an accompanying ethnic chauvinism, was said to be particularly harmful to Jewish-Gentile relations, particularly when it was reinforced through “a system of male education that was thought to inculcate anti-Christian interpretations of the Talmud.”[A19] The second, related, problem was that Jewish economic practices were also rooted in this aloofness. The Talmud “encouraged and justified unreserved economic exploitation based on cheating and exploiting the non-Jews,”[A20] in a validation of Max Weber’s theory of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ ethics, whereby “members of a cohesive social unit observe different moral standards among themselves compared with those observed in relation to strangers.”[A21] The third aspect of the Russian ‘Jewish Question,’ was the issue of Jewish loyalty. The Jews of the Russian Empire had evidently retained the kahal of pre-partition Polish Jewry. The kahal was a formal system of Jewish communal leadership and government, entirely separate from the Russian state. Although tacitly tolerated by the state for its tax collection capabilities, Jewish loyalty to the kahal was absolute, going beyond the merely fiscal. Almost all Jews continued to resort to Jewish courts.

John Klier states that following these revelations, “state and society shared a consensus that Jews could be – and must be – reformed and transformed into good subjects of the realm.”[A22]

Under Emperor Alexander I (1801–25) there had been attempts to encourage Jews to pursue more productive economic activities. Generous concessions were made to Jews in the hope that they would abandon their middleman roles, as well as the distilleries and taverns of the provinces, and take up work in agricultural colonies. Klier states that the “embeddedness of the Jews in the economic and social life of the imperial borderlands ensured that despite legislative initiatives, Jewish economic life remained largely unchanged.”[A23]

In 1844, under Nicholas I, the Russian government began a program of reforms and legislation designed to break down Jewish exclusivity and incorporate the nation’s Jews more fully into Russian society. Not surprisingly, the government first took aim at the kahal, banning it as “an illegal underground structure.”[A24]

The significance of the banning of the kahal went beyond tackling the issue of Jewish loyalty. The mutual assistance offered by the kahal was felt to have had economic implications – “it was the mutual support provided by the kahal that ensured that Jews were more than a match for any competitor, even the arch-exploiter of the Russian village, the kulak.”[A25]

The civil rights of any “Jews who were perceived to be engaged in productive undertakings” were extended, though there were few takers. Nicholas I even conceived of, and supported, the establishment of state-financed Jewish schools, in the hope that such establishments would lead to the development of a more progressive and integrative Russian Jewry. Unfortunately for Nicholas, what his system produced was a cadre of Jewish intellectuals profoundly hostile to the state.

Emperor Alexander II continued the efforts of Mother Russia to gather in her Jews. He abolished serfdom in 1861. He relaxed efforts to change the economic profile of Russian Jewry, extending the rights of educated Jews and large-scale merchants. His was a program aimed at reconciliation, an abandonment of the stick in favour of the carrot. Education was made fully open to Jews, and Jews could sit on the juries of Russian courts. Conditions on settlement and mobility in the Pale were relaxed further. Klier states that “Jews even became the subject of sympathetic concern for the leaders of public opinion. Proposals for the complete emancipation of the Jews were widely mooted in the press.”[A26]

These measures, however, were also accompanied by a growing uneasiness with the way the Jews of Russia took advantage of them. There was little in the way of gratitude, and the measures did not bring about the great changes that had been hoped for. The nationalist revolt of the Poles in 1863, and the fact that a large number of wealthy Jews were found to have funded some of the rebels cast new doubts on Jewish loyalty. Having emancipated the peasantry and adopted a paternalistic concern for the former serfs, the government also viewed with alarm the rapidity with which the “Jews were exploiting the unsophisticated and ignorant rural inhabitants, reducing them to a Jewish serfdom.”[A27] It also quickly became apparent that despite new military legislation, Jews were noticeable in their overwhelming avoidance of military service. In retaliation, the government clamped down on rural tavern ownership, and introduced more stringent recruitment procedures specifically for Jews. It has been claimed that Jews were also banned from land ownership at this time, but Klier provides evidence that Jews were still able to buy any peasant properties sold at auction for tax arrears, as well as any property within the Pale not owned by Russian gentry.[A28]

By the end of Alexander II’s reign, disillusionment with the government’s policy at handling the Jewish Question was widespread. The vast majority of Jews had stubbornly persisted in the unproductive trades, continued in their antipathy to Russian culture, and refused to make any meaningful contribution to Russian society. An air of resignation swept the country. Some newspapers even advocated abolishing the Pale, if only to alleviate that region from bearing the burden of the Jews alone. Other papers opposed this “fearing for the welfare of the peasantry at a time when the cultural level of the peasantry made them an easy target for exploitation.”[A29]

Meanwhile Jews were beginning to swamp higher education establishments. In Odessa, there were reports that in school after school, Jews were “driving Christians from the school benches,” and “filling up the schools.”[A30]

On the eve of the assassination of Alexander II, Russia’s Jewish Question remained unanswered. Decades of legislation had done little to change the nature of Russian Jewry, which remained ethnically, politically, and culturally homogenous. The new Jewish intelligentsia had turned on the hand that fed it, failing to encourage the adaptation of their fellow Jews, moving instead to defend them and advocate for their interests. In terms of educational and social opportunities, Jews had been given an inch and taken a mile. They had swamped the schools, and added to a group of emergent Jewish capitalists. In 1879 Russian authorities were being lobbied by a Rabbinic Commission for full emancipation, an ominous prospect for those concerned about the well-being of Russian peasantry.

The breaking point, when it came, did not emerge from the ether, but from this historical background. In part two we will examine the more immediate origins of the anti-Jewish riots and how the riots proceeded. We will do away with petty distractions, dispelling myths with facts; and as we venture into the Pale, we now do so with a more complete view of the Jew we find there.

Part Two: The Jewish Narrative

Having grounded ourselves in the history of Russia’s Jewish Question, it is now time for us to turn our attention to the anti-Jewish riots of the 1880s. The following essay will first provide the reader with the standard narrative of these events advanced by Jewish contemporaries and the majority of Jewish historians — a narrative which has overwhelmingly prevailed in the public consciousness. The latter half of the essay will be devoted to dissecting one aspect of the Jewish narrative, and explaining how events really transpired. Other aspects of the Jewish narrative will be examined in later entries in this series. While a work like this can come in for heavy criticism from certain sections of the population who may denounce it as ‘revisionist,’ I can only say that ‘revisionism’ should be at the heart of every historical work. If we blindly accept the stories that are passed down to us, we are liable to fall victim to what amounts to little more than a glorified game of Chinese whispers. And, if we taboo the right of the historian to reinterpret history in light of new research and new discoveries, then we have become far removed from anything resembling true scholarship.

In 1881 the ‘Russo-Jewish Committee,’ (RJC) an arm of Britain’s Jewish elite, mass-produced a pamphlet entitled “The Persecution of the Jews in Russia,” and began disseminating it through the press, the churches, and numerous other channels. By 1899, it was embellished and published as a short book, and today digitized copies are freely available online.[B1] By the early 20th century, the pamphlet had even spawned a four-page journal called Darkest Russia – A Weekly Record of the Struggle for Freedom, ensuring that the average British citizen did not go long without being reminded of the ‘horrors’ facing Russian Jews.[B2] The fact that these publications were mass produced should provide an indication as to their purpose: It is clear that these publications represented one of the most ambitious propaganda campaign in Jewish history, and combined with similar efforts in the United States, they were aimed at gaining the attention of, and ‘educating,’ the Western nations and ensuring the primacy of the ‘Jewish side of the story.’ Implicit in this was not only a desire to provoke anti-Russian attitudes, but also copious amounts of sympathy for the victimized Jews — sympathy necessary to ensure that mass Jewish chain migration to the West went on untroubled and unhindered by nativists. After all, wasn’t the bigoted nativist just a step removed from the rampaging Cossack?

The first element of the narrative advanced by the RJC is essentially a manipulation of the history of Russian-Jewish relations. It holds that the Jews of Eastern Europe have been oppressed for centuries, their whole lives “hampered, from cradle to grave, by restrictive laws.”[B3] It was claimed that the Russians had an unwritten law: “That no Russian Jew shall earn a living.”[B4]

Russian Jews, according to the Russo-Jewish Committee, have wanted nothing more than to participate in Russian society, but have been rebuffed time and again as “heretics and aliens.” The Pale is an impenetrable fortress, where every Jew “must live and die.” Implicit in this interpretation of the history of Russian-Jewish relations in the belief that “the fount and origin of all the ills that assail Russian Jewry” has nothing to do with the Jews themselves, but everything to do with the Church, the State, and the Pale. In essence, the plight of the Jews was the result of nothing more than irrational hatred. Jews adopt a meek and passive role in this narrative, having committed no wrong-doing other than being Jews. They are also presented as the only victims of Russian violence. There is no acknowledgement of failed Russian efforts to break down the Jewish walls of exclusivity and claim the Jews as brothers. In fact, there is no reference at all to the walls of exclusivity. The pogroms themselves, according to the Jewish narrative, broke out following the assassination of Alexander II, when shock, anger and a desire for revenge brought this irrational, rootless hatred to the surface.

The second element of the Jewish narrative is that the government and petty officialdom had some role to play in organizing and directing the pogroms. Much disdain is heaped on the government, and petty officialdom, which was said to have been afflicted with “a chronic anti-Semitic outlook.” It was claimed that when the riots began, the government was “not altogether sorry to let the excitement of the people vent itself on the Jews.”[B5] In reference to the restrictive May Laws, the authors were forced to concede they had never really been enforced, but maintained that “whether moderately or rigorously applied, the May Laws still remained on the Russian Statute Book.”[B6]

The third element of the Jewish narrative is that the pogroms were genocidal, and that they had been organized and perpetrated by groups seeking the extermination of the Jews. The 1899 edition of “The Persecution of the Jews in Russia” included a copy of a lengthy letter written to the London Times by Nathan Joseph, Secretary of the RJC, dated November 5th, 1890. In the letter, Joseph claimed that in the present circumstances “hundreds of thousands could be exterminated,”[B7] and that Russian legislation in relation to Jews represented “an instrument of torture and persecution.” In sum, the Jews of Russia were claimed to be living under “a sentence of death,” and it was further claimed that “the executions are proceeding.” The letter ends with an appeal to “Civilized Europe” to intervene, chastise Russia, and aid the victimized Jews.[B8]

The fourth key element of the Jewish narrative is that the pogroms were extremely violent in nature. Contemporary media reports especially were the source of most of the atrocity stories, reportedly gleaned from newly-arrived ‘refugees’ who had given statements to the Russo-Jewish Committee about the pogroms they had fled. In these reports, which were carried very regularly by both the New York Times and the London Times, Russians were charged with having committed the most fiendish atrocities on the most enormous scale. Every Jew in the Russian Empire was under threat. Men had been ruthlessly murdered, tender infants had been dashed on the stones or roasted alive in their own homes. During a British parliamentary consultation on the pogroms in 1905, a Rabbi Michelson claimed that “the atrocities had been so fiendish that they could find no parallel even in the most barbarous annals of the most barbarous peoples.”[B9] The New York Times reported that during the 1903 Kishinev pogrom “babes were literally torn to pieces by the frenzied and bloodthirsty mob.”[B10]

A common theme in most contemporary atrocity stories was the brutal rape of Jewish women, with most reports including mention of breasts being hacked off. There are literally thousands of carbon-copy reports in which it is claimed that mothers were raped alongside their daughters. There is simply not enough space to cite extensively from these articles, but they number in their thousands and are available to anyone with access to the digitized archives of any major newspaper, or the microfilm facilities at major libraries. In addition, these articles claim that whole streets inhabited by Jews had been razed, and the Jewish quarters of towns had been systematically fired.

The ‘atrocity’ aspect of the narrative has continued to be advanced by Jewish historians. For example Anita Shapira, in her Stanford-published, Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948, claims that “each series of new riots was worse than the one preceding, as if every bloodbath provided a permit for an even worse massacre.”[B11] Shapira further hints that the murder of Jewish babies was common during the pogroms, stating that a common worry of Russian Jews was “Will they take pity on the small babies, who do not even know yet that they are Jews?”[B12]

She concludes one particular section on pogrom violence by stating, without referencing any evidence, that there were “numerous acts of rape,” and that “many were massacred — men, women, and children. The cruelty that marked these killings added a special dimension to the feeling of terror and shock that spread in their wake.”[B13]

Joseph Brandes, in his 2009 Immigrants to Freedom alleges, without citing evidence, that mobs “threw women and children out of the windows” of their homes, and that “heads were battered with hammers, nails were driven into bodies, eyes were gouged out … and petroleum was poured over the sick found hiding in cellars and they were burned to death.”[B14]

Another crucial element to the Jewish narrative is that Russia is barbaric, ignorant, and uncivilized compared to the Jewish citizens of the country. Russia is said to be lingering in the “medieval stage of development,”[B15] and in comparison to the “ignorant and superstitious peasantry,”[B16] Russia’s Jews are presented as an outpost of Western civilization — they are urban, and “intellectual.” The RJC publication argued that university quotas allowing 5% of the student body to be made up of Jews were insufficient for “an intellectual race.” Astonishingly, it is claimed that “the root of the whole matter is racial arrogance,”[B17] though this arrogance of course is said to emanate from the Russians.

The RJC charged the government with criminal sympathy, the local authorities generally with criminal inaction, and some of the troops with active participation. The situation, they argued, was simply so hopeless and the possibility of extermination was so great, that the only way out was for the civilized nations of the West to throw open their doors and let in these poor ‘Hebrews’.

And to a great extent this is exactly what the churches, the politicians, and the media agreed to. This capitulation to manipulated conscience ushered in the greatest migration in Jewish history, with profound consequences for us all. But there was just one small problem — the vast majority of this narrative was a calculated, designed, and expertly promoted fraud, furthered by the willing participation of Russian-Jewish emigrants who wished to ease their own access to the West and obtain “relief money from Western Europe and America.”[B18]

The ‘Atrocities’

Let us first turn our attention to the atrocity stories. Prior to any major reports of violence, the British public was already being primed to hate the Russian government and accept the Jewish narrative. John Doyle Klier points out that the Daily Telegraph was at that time Jewish-owned, and was particularly “severe” in its reports on Russian treatment of Jews prior to 1881.[B19] In the pages of this publication, it was stated that “these Russian atrocities are only the beginning. … [T]he Russian officials themselves countenance these barbarities.”[B20]

Around this time in Continental Europe, Prussian Rabbi Yizhak Rülf established himself as an “intermediary” between Eastern Jewry and the West, and, according to Klier, one of his specialities was the spreading of “sensationalized accounts of mass rape.”[B21]

Other major sources of pogrom atrocity stories were the New York Times, the London Times, and the Jewish World. It would be the Jewish World which furnished the majority of these tales, having sent a reporter “to visit areas that had suffered pogroms.”[B22]

Most of the other papers simply reprinted what the Jewish World reporter sent them. The atrocity stories carried by these newspapers provoked global outrage. There were large-scale public protests against Russia in Paris, Brussels, London, Vienna, and even in Melbourne, Australia. However, “it was in the United States that public indignation reached its height.” Historian Edward Judge states that the American public was spurred on by reports of “brutal beatings, multiple rapes, dismemberment of corpses, senseless slaughter, painful suffering and unbearable grief.”[B23]

However, as John Klier states, the reports of the Jewish World’s “Special Correspondent,” “raise intriguing problems for the historian.”[B24] While his itinerary of travel is described as “plausible,” most of his accounts are “flatly contradicted by the archival record.”[B25]

His claim that twenty rioters were killed during a pogrom in Kishinev in 1881 has been proven to be a fabrication by records which show that in that city, at that time, “there were no significant pogroms and no fatalities.”[B26]

Other claims that he witnessed shootings of peasants on his travels have been entirely discredited due to the vast number of minor inaccuracies in those accounts.

Furthermore, Klier states that the atrocity stories compiled by the Jewish World correspondent, which went on to be so influential in manipulating Western perceptions of the events, must be treated with “extreme caution.”[B27]

The reporter “portrayed the pogroms dramatically, as great in scale and inhuman in their brutality. He reported numerous accounts where Jews were burned alive in their homes while the authorities looked on.”[B28]

There are hundreds of instances where he references the murder of children, the mutilation of women, and the biting off of fingers.

Klier states that “the author’s most influential accounts, given their effect on world opinion, were his accounts of the rape and torture of girls as young as ten or twelve.”[B29]

In 1881 he reported 25 rapes in Kiev, of which five were said to have resulted in fatalities, in Odessa he claimed 11, and in Elizavetgrad he claimed 30.[B30]

Rape featured prominently in the reports, not because rapes were common, but because rape “even more than murder and looting” was known to “generate particular outrage abroad.” Klier states that “Jewish intermediaries who were channelling pogrom reports abroad were well aware of the impact of reports of rape, and it featured prominently in their accounts.”[B31]

The two most dramatic and gruesome accounts came from Berezovka and Borispol. In fact, as the year neared its end, the reports became more and more gruesome and brutal in the details they conveyed.

There is, of course, a reason for this. As the non-Jewish public began to tire of the reports and switched their minds to the coming Christmas festivities, Klier states that records show the RJC made a conscious and calculated decision to “keep Russian Jewry before the eyes of the public.”[B32]


A key component of this strategy was to take the accounts of the Special Correspondent and publish them in a more widely circulated and respected newspaper. They settled on the London Times, which was already predisposed to “critical editorial faulting of the Russian government.” Klier further states that these evidently false reports “garnished with the prestige of The Times and devoid of any attribution, subsequently published as a separate pamphlet, and translated into a variety of European languages … became the definitive Western version of the pogroms.”[B33]

As increasingly lurid atrocity tales again captured the attention of the Gentile public, the British Government found itself under pressure to intervene. The British Government, however, adopted a more cautious approach and undertook its own independent investigations into events in the Russian Empire. Its findings, published as a “Blue Book,” “presented an account of events at great variance with that offered by The Times.”[B34]

The most notable aspect of the independent inquiry is the outright denial of mass rape. In January 1882, Consul-General Stanley objected to all of the details contained within reports published by The Times, mentioning in particular the unfounded “accounts of the violation of women.”[B35] He further stated that his own investigations revealed that there had been no incidences of rape during the Berezovka pogrom, that violence was rare, and that much of the disturbance was restricted to property damage. In relation to property damage in Odessa, Stanley estimated it to be around 20,000 rubles, and rejected outright the Jewish claim that damage amounted to over one million rubles.

Vice-Consul Law, another independent investigator, reported that he had visited Kiev and Odessa, and could only conclude that “I should be disinclined to believe in any stories of women having been outraged in those towns.”[B36]

Another investigator, Colonel Francis Maude, visited Warsaw and said that he could “not attach any importance” to atrocity reports emanating from that city.[B37]

At Elizavetgrad, instead of whole streets being razed to the ground, it was discovered that a small hut had lost its roof. It was further discovered that very few Jews, if any, had been intentionally killed, though some died of injuries received in the riots. These were mainly the result of conflicts between groups of Jews who defended their taverns and rioters seeking alcohol. The small number of Jews who had been intentionally killed had fallen victim to unstable individuals who had been drunk on Jewish liquor — accusations of murderous intent among the masses were simply unfounded and unsubstantiated by the evidence.

When these reports were made public, states Klier, they represented “a serious setback for the protest and aid activities of the RJC.”[B38]

The Times was forced to backtrack, but responded spitefully (and bizarrely) by stating that the indignation of the country was still justified even if the atrocities were “the creations of popular fancy.”[B39] (Reminiscent of the JewishGen response to Ukrainian discoveries mentioned in Part 1 of this series?!)

The revelations came at a bad time for the RJC, which was at that time attempting to move the British Government to “act in some way on behalf of persecuted Russian Jewry.”[B40]

It resorted to republishing (in the Times) its pamphlet on persecution in Russia twice in one month, presumably in the belief that blunt repetition would suffice to overcome tangible evidence. Klier states that the pieces were examples of “masterful” propaganda, as they attempted to undermine the credibility of the Government consuls, while sycophantically appealing to “the wise and noble people of England,” who “will know what weight should be attached to such denials and refutations.”[B41]

The RJC offered its own “corroborative evidence of the most undeniable kind,” though of course the exact source of this evidence was not specified beyond “persons occupying high official positions in the Jewish community” and “Jewish refugees.”

In essence, the people of western nations were being asked to trust an anonymous Rabbi on the other side of the world rather than identifiable representatives of their own government. The pieces, states Klier, “painted the familiar picture of murder and rape,” and despite the debunking statements of the consuls, “a number of mother/daughter rapes, which had already done so much to outrage British public opinion, were again repeated.”[B42]

Although the move for British government intervention failed, in the battle for public opinion “the RJC clearly won the day,” and the Times and the RJC remained good bedfellows.

The Consuls were outraged. Stanley reiterated the fact that his intensive investigations, which he carried out at great personal cost with a serious leg injury, illustrated that “The Times’ accounts of what took place at each of those places contains the greatest exaggerations, and that the account of what took place at some of those places is absolutely untrue.”[B43] He related the fact that a Rabbi in Odessa had “not heard of any outrages on women there,” and that the object of almost every pogrom he had investigated was simple “plunder.”[B44] Enraged by the lies circulating in Britain and America, Stanley “went right to the top,” interviewing state rabbis and asking for evidence and touring pogrom sites. In Odessa, where a wealth of atrocity stories had originated, he was able to confirm “one death, but no looting of synagogues or victims set alight.” There was no evidence that a single rape had taken place. One state Rabbi admitted that he had not heard of any outrages of women in Berezovka and further assured Stanley that he “could with a clear conscience positively deny that any deaths or any violations had occurred there during the disturbances of last year.”[B45]

He again sent this report to his superior in London, with a note saying “This is in accordance with all the information I have received and forwarded to your Lordship, and which I think more credible than anonymous letters in The Times.”[B46]

Despite Stanley’s best efforts the Jewish narrative advanced by the RJC, imbued with atrocity tales, has remained unalterably attached in Western perceptions of the pogroms. The Blue Book was smothered by the more visible, and oft-repeated, tales of the RJC and organisations like it around the globe. Only with the decade-long research of John Klier has some revision of this narrative, grounded in scholarship and archival evidence, been possible. In light of this evidence, one can only conclude that stories of rape, murder and mutilation were “more legendary than factual.”[B47]

However, the task remains to further dismantle and analyse other aspects of the Jewish narrative, and to seek the true motives behind its creation.

Part Three: Anti-Jewish Riots in the Russian Empire Before 1880

We continue our series of essays examining the Russian Pogroms with this essay on the part played by Jews in provoking the disturbances. As stated in Part Two, one of the key problems with existing historiography on the pogroms (and ‘anti-Semitism’ generally) is that these narratives invariably argue that the plight of the Jews was the result of nothing more than irrational hatred. Jews adopt a meek and passive role in this narrative, having committed no wrong-doing other than being Jews. There is no sense of Jewish agency, and one is left with the impression that Jews historically have lacked the capacity to act in the world. In almost every single academic and popular history of the pogroms, the author blindly accepts, or willfully perpetuates, the basic premise that Jews had been hated in the Russian Empire for centuries, that this hatred was irrational and rootless, and that the outbreak of anti-Jewish riots late in the 19thcentury was a ‘knee-jerk’ emotional response to the assassination of the Tsar and some blood libel accusations.

This is of course far from the truth, but the prevalence of this ‘victim paradigm’ plays two significant roles. Firstly, Jewish historiography is saturated with allusions to the “unique” status of Jews, who have suffered a “unique” hatred at the hands of successive generations of Europeans. In essence, it is the notion that Jews stand alone in the world as the quintessential “blameless victim.” To allow for any sense of Jewish agency — any argument that Jews may have in some way contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment — is to harm the perpetuation of this paradigm. In this sense, the ‘victim paradigm’ also contributes heavily to the claim for Jewish uniqueness and, as Norman Finkelstein has pointed out, one can clearly see in many examples of Jewish historiography the tendency to focus not so much on the “suffering of Jews” but rather on the simple fact that “Jews suffered.”[C1] As a result, the paradigm offers no place to non-Jewish suffering. Simply put, the ‘victim paradigm’ is a form of secular “chosenness.” This aspect of the narrative is seen, quite rightly, as a useful tool in the here and now. There is perhaps no race on earth which uses its history to justify its actions in the present quite like the Jewish people. From seeking reparations to establishing nation states, Jewish history is one of the foundation stones propping up Jewish international politics in the present. As such, Jewish history is carefully constructed and fiercely defended. The interplay between Jewish history and contemporary Jewish politics is plain to see — I need only make reference to the terms “revisionist” and “denier” to conjure up images of puppet trials and prison cells.

Secondly, the omission of the Jewish contribution to the development of anti-Semitism (be it in a village setting or a national setting), leaves the spotlight burning all the more ferociously on the ‘aggressor.’ Within this context, the blameless victim is free to make the most ghastly accusations, basking in the assurance that his own role, and by extension his own character, is unimpeachable. The word of this untainted, unique, blameless victim is taken as fact — to doubt his account is to be in league with the ‘aggressor.’ In Part Two we explored the manner in which the RJC took full advantage of this construct to purvey appalling, and unfounded, atrocity stories. More generally, exaggerated tales of brutality by non-Jews are commonplace in Jewish literature and historiography, and go hand in hand with images of dove-like Jews. For example, Finkelstein has pointed to Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, a work now widely acknowledged as “the first major Holocaust hoax,” as an example of this “pornography of violence.”[C2]

The twin concepts of Jewish blamelessness and extreme Gentile brutality are inextricably bound up together, and supporters of one strand of the ‘victim paradigm’ are invariably supporters of the other. Take for example that high priest of Jewish chosenness, Elie Wiesel, who praised Kosinki’s pastiche of sadomasochistic fantasies as “written with deep sincerity and sensitivity.”[C3]

Having clarified this theoretical framework, we now turn our attention to deconstructing the second strand of the pogrom ‘victim paradigm.’ To deal most effectively with the question of Jewish culpability in the souring of relations between Jews and non-Jews, we will need to probe deeper, and with more focus, than we endeavored to do in Part One. This essay will focus on specific examples of anti-Jewish disturbance in the Russian Empire prior to 1880, with a particular focus on Jewish economic practices preceding these events.

For the reasons discussed above, the majority of Jewish historians have long displayed an aversion to the idea that Jewish economic practices have played a significant role historically in provoking anti-Semitism. For example, Leon Poliakov in The History of anti-Semitism: From Voltaire to Wagner, argues that the idea of economic anti-Semitism is “devoid of real explanatory value.”[C4] Similarly, Jonathan Freedman has stated that, in explaining anti-Jewish attitudes, economic anti-Semitism should play only a very “small explanatory role.”[C5] Both of these historians posit that theology, and by extension Christianity (and therefore Western culture) is the fount and origin of anti-Semitism. Robert Weinberg, in his 1998 article on Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History, explains anti-Semitic outbreaks of violence in Eastern Europe by stating that they were the product of “the frustrations of Russian and Ukrainian peasants, workers and town dwellers who, for the most part, spontaneously took out their frustrations on a time-honored scapegoat, the Jews.”[C6] Weinberg refrains from stating where precisely these ‘frustrations’ emerge from, but note again the extremely passive Jewish role in his analysis.

Conversely, those historians who have accepted that economic issues have played a role in provoking anti-Semitism fail to engage in actual case studies of economically provoked anti-Jewish actions, preferring instead to probe “images” or stereotypes which allegedly infuse the consciousness of non-Jews. For example Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford University, Derek J. Penslar, has stated that economic anti-Semitism is nothing more than “a double helix of intersecting paradigms, the first associating the Jew with paupers and savages and the second conceiving of Jews as conspirators, leaders of a financial cabal seeking global domination.”[C7] By choosing to discuss “images” and concepts rather than say, an actual incident such as the Limerick Anti-Jewish Riots, Penslar engages in a practice equally duplicitous to that engaged in by Poliakov and Freedman. Penslar’s thesis only superficially acknowledges the economic role, while really lending more weight to the argument that European society has suffered some kind of neurosis in relation to its Jews. Penslar deftly offers us an argument in which Jews and economics play a role in the development of an anti-Semitic “image,” without placing the Jew in anything but a passive role. Penslar’s “images” are also devoid of gradation — Europeans, if they hold to economically motivated anti-Semitism, either view Jews as pauper savages or global financiers. This despite the case that most European peasants simply didn’t need to have these extreme conceptions of Jews, and probably didn’t. Exploitative economic practices by local Jewish capitalists, the existence of local Jewish monopolies on such items as alcohol, and the Jewish practice of in-group/out-group ethics would be more than sufficient to provoke anti-Jewish resentment.

But references to this motivation for anti-Jewish action is entirely absent from Jewish historiography on the causes of anti-Semitism, most likely because it comes extremely close to demolishing the ‘victim paradigm.’ This essay, which focuses on actual case studies (in particular the city of Odessa), will argue that the anti-Jewish riots of the 1880s, like many riots before them, were motivated by economic anti-Semitism, and that this economic anti-Semitism had its origins not in the European psyche, but in the day to day economic interactions of Jews had with the non-Jews of Odessa. It attempts to rediscover the Jewish role, and to place it front and centre.

The first disturbance involving Jews to occur in the Russian Empire, and which left sufficient documentation, was the 1821 Odessa pogrom. Weinberg has painted a picture of Odessa as being some kind of multicultural heaven at this time. He states that the city “benefited from the presence of German, Italian, French, Greek, and English residents whose cultural and intellectual tastes influenced local life.”[C8] By the 1820s street signs were written in Russian and Italian, the city’s first newspaper appeared in French. Odessa, according to Weinberg, had a thriving art scene, particularly in relation to theatre, music, and opera.

However, Klier paints a radically different picture of the city, stressing in particular the ethnic tension created by increasing Jewish settlement in the city. Klier states that by 1821, Odessa was “a hotbed of ethnic, religious, and economic rivalries” and was, quite significantly, “a distinctly non-Russian city.”[C9] Weinberg explains that “the number of Jews arriving from other parts of the Russian Empire and Galicia in the Austrian Empire skyrocketed.” In Odessa, Jews were entirely free from “legal burdens and residency restrictions.”[C10]

Violence erupted in 1821 when, during the Greek War of Independence, a group of Muslims and Jews murdered and then mutilated Gregory V, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Istanbul. In the aftermath, many Greeks fled with Gregory’s remains from Istanbul to Odessa, where his funeral procession was held. Surviving documents suggest that violence broke out when a large contingent of Odessa’s Jewish population showed open disrespect for the procession.[C11]

In describing this and subsequent outbreaks of violence in Odessa, I must urge readers to divest themselves of the preconception that the Jewish contingent of the city was a tiny minority. Jewish historians are often quick to allude to minority status without providing definitive numbers. John Doyle Klier, however, informs us that by the middle of the nineteenth century Jews constituted “almost one-third of the total population” in Odessa.[C12]

Given the huge population of Greeks and other nationalities, it was the Russians who composed the “tiny minority.” Economic supremacy in the city until the middle of the nineteenth century was the preserve of the Greek population, which had fended off the attempts of numerous other ethnic groups to “secure or maintain a favored economic position.”[C13]

When a huge influx of Jews occurred in the 1850s, the struggle for economic supremacy between Jew and Greek, added to historical religiopolitical grievances, contributed to increased inter-ethnic tension in the city. Greek historian Evridiki Sifneos informs us that earlier co-existence had “not been based on mutual toleration. On the contrary, economic recession in the second half of the nineteenth century accelerated ethnic distinctions, and resentment was provoked by the ascension of social or ethnic groups [primarily Jewish], which led to the redistribution of resources.”[C14] Until the mid-1850s, the Greeks had control of grain exports, but with the disruption of trade routes as a result of the Crimean War, some local Greek business owners were forced into bankruptcy. The city’s Jews, who had earlier occupied mainly middleman roles, pooled resources and eagerly bought up these businesses at extremely low prices. A letter from one Greek contemporary reads: “When I first came to Odessa in 1864, I became a purchaser of grain on behalf of our house, 14 at Moldovanka. The majority were Greeks, with a few Russian middlemen. Now there are no Russians, and as for the Greeks they are counted on the fingers of one hand. Jews are the ones who have taken over the market.”[C15]

According to Sifneos, Jews took advantage of the placement of their taverns in the villages to establish themselves as middlemen in the collection of grain from the surrounding countryside, and in addition “they worked more tightly within their ethnic network.”[C16]

Weinberg further states that when “Jewish employers followed the practice of only hiring their own, many Greek dockworkers now found themselves in the ranks of the unemployed.”[C17] When it became apparent that Jews had wrested economic supremacy from the Greeks in 1858, incidences of inter-ethnic violence began to escalate in frequency. In 1858 there were attacks on Greek and Jewish property, and numerous “Greek-Jewish brawls” in the city, and in 1859 a quarrel between Greek and Jewish children again escalated into full-scale inter-ethnic conflict. Violence was ended thanks only to the intervention of Russian police and Cossacks.[C18]

A major bout of Greek-Jewish violence occurred again in 1869.

How do we describe such events? In light of the context of these disturbances, does the term “pogrom” or “anti-Jewish riot” withstand scrutiny? Certainly not. Note my use of the terms “inter-ethnic violence” and “disturbance involving Jews.” These terms do not feature in Jewish historiography on these events. “Anti-Jewish riot” or “pogrom” is merely part of the lexicon of the ‘victim paradigm,’ bequeathing passive status even through word use. To express it flippantly, when Tom and Bill have a fight in the street, one does not describe it as “anti-Tom violence.” This automatically imparts passive, victim status to Tom, despite the fact that he may have started the fight, and certainly threw as many punches. Weinberg, for example, describes the 1859 disturbance as “anti-Jewish activity,” but states that both “Jewish and gentile youths engaged in bloody brawls.”[C19] This is an obvious contradiction in terms.

It is only in 1871, during a particularly severe bout of disturbances, that we see the first Russian involvement in Odessa’s inter-ethnic violence. The late John Doyle Klier, formerly Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University, informs us categorically that Russian involvement in the 1871 Odessa ethnic conflict had its roots in real, tangible economic grievances. Klier states that Russian participation was the result of “bitterness born of the exploitation of their work by Jews and the ability of the latter to enrich themselves and manipulate all manner of trade and commercial activity.”[C20] Similarly, Weinberg concedes that by 1871, there were “many others besides Greeks who perceived Jews as an economic threat.”[C21]

The roots of the 1871 disturbance are quite tangible, and there is a tremendous amount of evidence suggesting it was the result of real socio-economic grievances, rather than “images,” “stereotypes,” or any of the other usual suspects wheeled out in Jewish historiography. Brian Horowitz, Chair of Jewish Studies at Tulane University argues that by 1870 Jewish economic and social cohesiveness had been further enhanced in Odessa by founding of a branch of the Society for the Promotion of Enlightenment, an organization dedicated to in-group philanthropy as well as “alternative politics” whereby members “did not contact the government as an intercessor.”[C22] In this respect, it was the kahal-lite, and it had a significant positive impact on the wealth of Odessa Jewry. Klier states that under this organisation, the Jewish grip on the economic life of the city grew stronger, and that Russian government reports from 1871 attribute the disturbance above all to the fact that “the economic domination of the Jews in the area produced abnormal relations between Christians and Jews.”[C23] By 1871, Jewish economic domination had moved beyond grain exports. A US consular report from that year reveals the extent of Jewish control over Odessa’s economic life. It reports that Jews in the city “occupy themselves with trade and favoring their own class or sect, that is that their combinations, in a great many instances, amount almost to monopolies. The common remark, therefore, is that ‘everything is in the hands of the Jews.’ To sell or buy a house, a horse, a carriage, to rent a lodging or contract for a loan, to engage a governess, and sometimes even to marry a wife the Jew gets his percent as a “go between.” The poor laborer, the hungry soldier, the land proprietor, the money capitalist, and in fact every producer and every consumer is obliged in one way or another to pay tribute to the Jew.”[C24]

Impoverished Greeks, Russians and Ukrainians looked on at increasingly ostentatious displays of Jewish wealth. In fact, Sifneos states that contemporary correspondence reveals that during the disturbances, many of Odessa’s Jews attributed the trouble “to the widespread resentment against the growing prosperity of their community.”[C25] Sifneos also informs us that demographic shifts in the city were of extreme importance in creating unease among non-Jewish populations. In line with increasing wealth, the 1897 census revealed that during the preceding two decades Odessa Jewry was undergoing an extremely rapid demographic explosion, and that Odessa was “rapidly becoming a predominantly Jewish city.”[C26]

To put this into some kind of perspective, the 1897 Odessa census reveals that by that date there were 5,086 Greek speakers, 10,248 German speakers, 1,137 French speakers, and 124,520 Yiddish speakers. The census further revealed that while almost all of the Greek and French speakers were predominantly residing in the inner city slum areas, a huge 54% of Odessa’s Jews were living in the middle-class suburbs of Petropavlovsky, Mikhailovsky, and Peresipsky.[C27]

To conclude, when inter-ethnic violence broke out in 1871, it was not rooted in irrationality, but was quite obviously, as Sifneos argues, a desperate attempt to “weaken the economic power of the Jews.”[C28]

In this context, we see the Jews of Odessa emerge from their passive role in the shadows of Jewish historiography, and how they truly appear in the cold light of day.

Notes

[A1] John Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) p.xiii.

[A2] Jack Glazier, Dispersing the Ghetto: The Relocation of Jewish Immigrants Across America (New York: Cornell University Press, 1998) p.9.

[A3] Donald Dutton, The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres and Extreme Violence (New York: Prager, 2007 ) p.40

[A4] Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) p.142.

[A5] I.M. Aronson, ‘Geographical and Socioeconomic factors in the 1881 Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Russia,’ Russian Review, Vol.39, No.1 (Jan. 1980) p.18.

[A6] Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, p.xiv.

[A7] Israel Bartal, The Jews of Eastern Europe: 1772-1881, (Tel Aviv, Ministry of Defence, 2005) p.23.

[A8] Ibid, p.24.

[A9] Israel Friedlander, The Jews of Russia and Poland, (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1915), p.84.

[A10] Ibid.

[A11] Ibid, p.85.

[A12] Simon Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, (Bergenfield: Avontayu, 2000), p.173

[A13] Ibid.

[A14] Ibid, p.87.

[A15] Simon Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, (Bergenfield: Avontayu, 2000), p.173

[A16] John Klier, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) p.4.

[A17] http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2007/oct/26/guardianobituaries.obituaries

[A18] http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2007/oct/26/guardianobituaries.obituaries

[A19] Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, p.3.

[A20] Ibid.

[A21] Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962) p.56.

[A22] Ibid.

[A23] Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, p.4

[A24] Ibid.

[A25] Ibid.

[A26] Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, p.5

[A27] Klier, Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2, p.5

[A28] Ibid.

[A29] Ibid, p.6

[A30] Ibid.

[B1] http://archive.org/stream/persecutionofjew00russ

[B2] Max Beloff, The Intellectual in Politics: And other essays, (London: Taylor and Francis, 1970) p.135

[B3] The Persecution of the Jews in Russia, (London: Russo-Jewish Committee, 1899), p.3.

[B4] Ibid, p.4

[B5] The Persecution of the Jews in Russia, (London: Russo-Jewish Committee, 1899), p.5

[B6] Ibid, p.8

[B7] Ibid, p.36

[B8] Ibid, p.38.

[B9] Anthony Heywood, The Russian Revolution of 1905: Centenary Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2005) p.266.

[B10] “Jewish Massacre Denounced,” New York Times, April 28, 1903, p.6

[B11] Anita Shapira, Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), p.35

[B12] Ibid, p.34.

[B13] Ibid.

[B14] Joseph Brandes, Immigrants to Freedom, (New York: Xlibris, 2009) p.171

[B15] The Persecution of the Jews in Russia, (London: Russo-Jewish Committee, 1899), p.4

[B16] The Persecution of the Jews in Russia, (London: Russo-Jewish Committee, 1899), p.30

[B17] Ibid.

[B18] Albert Lindemann, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) p.291.

[B19] John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-82, p.399

[B20] Ibid.

[B21] Ibid.

[B22] Ibid, p.400

[B23] Edward Judge, Easter in Kishinev: Anatomy of a Pogrom (New York: New York University Press, 1993) p.89.

[B24] John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-82, p.400

[B25] Ibid, p.401

[B26] Ibid

[B27] Ibid.

[B28] Ibid.

[B29] Ibid.

[B30] Ibid.

[B31] Ibid, p.12

[B32] Ibid, p.404

[B33] Ibid.

[B34] Ibid, p.405. (Correspondence Respecting the Treatment of Jews in Russia, Nos. 1 and 2, 1882, 1883)

[B35] John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-82, p.405

[B36] Ibid.

[B37] Ibid.

[B38] Ibid, p.405.

[B39] Ibid.

[B40] Ibid.

[B41] Ibid, p.406.

[B42] Ibid.

[B43] John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-82, p.407.

[B44] John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-82, p.408.

[B45] Ibid.

[B46] Ibid.

[B47] Ibid, p. 13.

[C1] Norman Finkelstein, ‘The Holocaust Industry,’ Index on Censorship, 29:2, 120-130, p.124

[C2] Ibid.

[C3] Ibid, p.125.

[C4] Leon Poliakov The History of anti-Semitism: From Voltaire to Wagner (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) p.viii

[C5] Jonathan Freedman, The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p.60.

[C6] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.72

[C7] Derek J. Penslar, Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001) p.13.

[C8] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.73

[C9] John Klier, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) p.15

[C10] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.73

[C11] John Klier, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p.16.

[C12] Ibid.

[C13] Ibid, p.15

[C14] Evridiki Sifneos, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon: Rivalry and Riots for Shelter and Occupation Between the Greek and Jewish Populations in multi-ethnic Nineteenth Century Odessa,’ The Historical Review, Vol.3 (2006), p.191

[C15] Ibid, p.195

[C16] Ibid, p.196

[C17] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.75.

[C18] Ibid, p.18

[C19] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.74

[C20] John Klier, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) p.21

[C21] Robert Weinberg, ‘Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,’ Jewish History, Vol.12 (1998), 71-92, p.75.

[C22] Brian Horowitz, How Jewish was Odessa? : http://www.wilsoncenter.net/sites/default/files/OP301.pdf#page=17

[C23] John Klier, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) p.22

[C24] Evridiki Sifneos, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon: Rivalry and Riots for Shelter and Occupation Between the Greek and Jewish Populations in multi-ethnic Nineteenth Century Odessa,’ The Historical Review, Vol.3 (2006), p.198

[C25] Evridiki Sifneos, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon: Rivalry and Riots for Shelter and Occupation Between the Greek and Jewish Populations in multi-ethnic Nineteenth Century Odessa,’ The Historical Review, Vol.3 (2006), p.193

[C26] Ibid.

[C27] Ibid.

[C28] Ibid.

July 28, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

MSNBC host claims Putin helped BoJo become PM

RT | July 25, 2019

Boris Johnson’s political rise has been analyzed and dissected in plenty of ways since he landed in 10 Downing Street this week, but MSNBC put a particularly odd spin on his premiership, calling it a “big win” for Russia.

Recalling the US’ own debunked Russiagate “collusion” narrative, host of ‘The Last Word’ Lawrence O’Donnell dramatically declared that Russia had a hand in Johnson’s rise to power — but in true MSNBC fashion — offered exactly zero evidence to back up his outlandish claim.

“Like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson made it to the top of British politics with the help of Vladimir Putin and Russians who attacked the British voting system and helped deliver an electoral victory for Brexit.”

O’Donnell went on to remind viewers that 51.9 percent of British voters had chosen Brexit in a 2016 referendum, but added a large dollop of fake news, saying the outcome had been delivered “with Russian support.”

It was a reference to rubbished claims that Moscow had interfered in the Brexit vote by posting pro-Brexit messages and memes online. Both Twitter and Facebbok have dismissed the notion that Russian bots had anything to do with the Brexit outcome. Of course, that didn’t stop the fearless O’Donnell from telling his viewers that Russia had “attacked the British voting system” anyway.

Disinformation seems to be totally fine when it’s about Russia, well, according to MSNBC at least.

O’Donnell continued on his lengthy rant denouncing Johnson and Brexit; naturally, two ‘analysts’ were on hand to back up his baseless conspiracy theory.

Jeremy Bash, MSNBC’s ‘national security analyst’ and former chief of staff at the CIA told O’Donnell that there were “strong allegations that Russia interfered in the British selection of Brexit as their future path,” despite no such “strong allegations” actually existing.

Preferring to rely on the always trustworthy CIA, O’Donnell obviously hadn’t heard former deputy UK PM Nick Clegg say in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview that there is “absolutely no evidence” of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.

Lawrence, like many of his MSNBC colleagues is known for concocting and revelling in extravagant Russia-related conspiracy theories. In 2017, he suggested that Vladimir Putin had orchestrated a chemical weapons attack in Syria to help out Trump by distracting his critics at home. Very reasonable indeed.

It’s not the first time a high-profile American has linked Johnson to Russia. In congressional hearings on Wednesday, Republican Devin Nunes asked former special counsel Robert Mueller if it was possible that the new UK PM had been “compromised” by Russia because of his appearance in a photograph with alleged spy Joseph Mifsud.

A recent Financial Times article also speculated that Johnson may be some kind of Kremlin agent due to his relationship with a Putin-hating Russian oligarch. Go figure.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 3 Comments

A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – July 22, 2019

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Clinton Prevails

A mere four days after the WikiLeaks release, a well orchestrated Democratic Convention nominated Clinton, while many Sanders supporters loudly objected. Thus, she began her campaign under a cloud, and as more and more Americans learned of the fraud that oozed through the DNC email correspondence — including the rigging of the Democratic primaries — the cloud grew larger and darker.

On June 12, 2016, six weeks before the convention, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had announced in an interview on British TV, “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication.”

Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016.

The DNC almost certainly knew what had happened — not only that someone with physical access to DNC computers had copied thousands of emails, but also which ones they had copied, and thus how prejudicial to the Clinton campaign they would be when they saw the light of day.

And so, candidate Clinton, the DNC, and the mainstream media (forever quoting anonymous “current and former intelligence officials”) appear to have colluded, deciding the best defense would be a good offense. No one knew how soon WikiLeaks would publish the emails, but the DNC offense/defense would surely have to be put in place before the convention scheduled to begin on July 25. That meant there were, at most, six weeks to react. But it only took two days. As early as July 24, about 48 hours after the leaks were published, and a day before the convention, the DNC first blamed Russia for hacking their emails and giving them to WikiLeaks to sabotage Clinton.

A Magnificent Diversion

Clinton: Already blaming the Russians at DNC 2016 convention. (Wikipedia)

Granted, it was a stretch — and the DNC would have to hire a pliable cybersecurity firm to back up their claim. But they had good reason to believe that CrowdStrike would perform that service. It was the best Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and associates could apparently come up with. If they hurried, there would be just enough time to prepare a PR campaign before the convention and, best of all, there was little doubt that the media could be counted on to support the effort full bore.

When WikiLeaks published the emails on July 22, 2016, just three days before the Democratic convention, the propagandists were ready to deflect attention from the damning content of the DNC emails by repeating incessantly that the Russians hacked the emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to hurt Clinton.

It pretty much worked like a charm. The late Senator John McCain and others were quick to call the Russian “hack” an “an act of war.” Evidence? None. For icing on the cake, then-FBI Director James Comey decided not to seize and inspect the DNC computers. Nor, as we now know, did Comey even require a final report from CrowdStrike.

Eight months after the convention, in remarks at the Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress on April 6, 2017, Clinton’s PR director, Jennifer Palmieri, could scarcely contain her pride that, after a difficult start, she was ultimately successful in keeping the Russian bear front and center.

Transcribed below (verbatim) are some of Palmieri’s more telling remarks when asked to comment, from her insider perspective, on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall.”

“… I did appreciate that for the press to absorb … the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb…. But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. … [Emphasis added.]

“And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum]. How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement – a long statement – that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks. And it named the institutions – WikiLeaks, DC Leaks, and Guccifer – as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. … So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ….”

And so, the Magnificent Diversion worked as intended.

Recognizing Liminal Time

But not all journalists fell for it. Patrick Lawrence (once of The Nation, now of Consortium News) was onto the ruse from the start. He says he had “fire in the belly” on the morning of July 25, 2016, the day the Democratic convention began, and that he dashed off an article “in one long, furious exhale” within 12 hours of when the media started really pushing the “the Russians-did-it” narrative. The title of his article, pointed out to me a few months ago by VIPS member Todd Pierce, was “How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal … a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting.”

Lawrence’s off-the-cuff ruminations, which Salon published the next day are extraordinarily prescient and worth reading in full. He instinctively recognized the email disclosure-cum-media-obfuscation campaign as a liminal event. Here are some excerpts, reprinted here with Lawrence’s permission:

”Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections … Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? …

The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale … in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere … Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction. …

The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook … appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and … CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this … because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so.

the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave). Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. … [Emphasis added.]

Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. … I am developing nitrogen bends … Which way for a breath of air?”

Sad Sequel

A year later Lawrence was commissioned by The Nation to write an investigative report on the so-called “Russian hack.” On August 9, 2017, after he interviewed several Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, among others, The Nation published his findings in an article entitled “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.” Lawrence wrote, “Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”

Again, Lawrence got it right — this time relying less on his own experience and intuition than on applied science as practiced by real technical experts with no axes to grind. But, sadly, that cut across the grain of the acceptable Russia-gate narrative, and a furor erupted among Hillary followers still licking their wounds over her loss. It proved simply too much for them to entertain the notion that Clinton was quite capable, with help from the likes of Mook, to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory — without any help from Vladimir Putin.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. An ex-CIA analyst, his expertise on Russia goes back a half-century. He prepared and briefed The President’s Daily Brieffor Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment