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Twitter labels RT & Sputnik but NOT BBC, NPR & VOA as it launches blitz on state media staff & govt officials

RT | August 6, 2020

Twitter has declared war on certain state-affiliated media entities, announcing accounts belonging to senior staff will be labeled and their tweets won’t be amplified or recommended. The BBC and US state-funded media are exempt.

The microblogging platform announced it will label accounts belonging to key government officials in countries on the UN Security Council, as well as accounts belonging to state-linked media outlets, their editors-in-chief and senior staff.

In a Thursday blog post, it warned it will no longer show tweets from state-linked media accounts on the home screen, notifications, or search.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter left a sizable loophole for the US and friendly nations, explaining that “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, will not be labeled.”

“We believe this is an important step so that when people see an account discussing geopolitical issues from another country, they have context on its national affiliation and are better informed about who they represent,” Twitter explained in the post, adding that it would not be labeling government officials’ personal accounts – just those associated with their offices.

Betraying a shockingly dim understanding of American media, Twitter explained that “unlike independent media, state-affiliated media frequently use their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda.”

Perhaps attempting to fend off discrimination lawsuits, they added that the move had come after consultation with “a number of expert groups, including members of the Digital and Human Rights Advisory Group in Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council.”

That group includes notoriously censor-happy entities like the Anti-Defamation League, the Dangerous Speech Project, and Feminist Frequency.

Clicking on the new labels takes the viewer to a page explaining the policy, which hints it “will be expanded to include additional countries in the future.” The page refers to them as “election labels,” suggesting the policy is a response to ongoing baseless claims that Russian social media manipulation was responsible for President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. With the November election less than 100 days away, social media platforms are scrambling to censor non-approved views, especially those they can link to un-American activities.

A Twitter spokesman declined to provide a full list of entities to be censored to Reuters, but mentioned RT, Sputnik, and Xinhua News by name. Facebook recently adopted a similar policy, complete with double standard for US and friendly state-controlled media organizations.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Russian ambassador tells Britain: you exaggerate your political importance & London has become a haven for Russian criminals

RT | August 5, 2020

If you live in Britain, Russia looms large in political discourse, but for those in Moscow, the UK barely registers. Now Russia’s envoy to London has delivered a few home truths: he says his country has bigger fish to fry.

“I feel that Britain exaggerates, very much, its place in Russian thinking,” Andrei Kelin told the Daily Mail. “The scope and place of Great Britain in Russian politics is not that big. We have other problems of much larger magnitude,” the ambassador said.

The ambassador also dismissed the UK media narrative about nefarious Russian ‘oligarchs’ doing the Kremlin’s bidding in London. Kelin pointed out that, in reality, the British capital has turned itself into a haven for wealthy Russians trying to evade justice back home.

“Oligarchs mean rich people that can influence the president,” he explained. “The last one [oligarch] was about 20 years ago … those wealthy people living here [in Britain], the bulk of these people simply escaped Russia because they were being pursued for tax evasion, fraud and other criminal activities.”

“All of them have left the country just to escape prosecution. If the British authorities will decide to provide us with information about these people or decide to be positive on our demands for extradition, we will only greet this, salute this,” he added.

Back in 2018, Russia’s former prosecutor general, Yury Chaika, revealed that there were 61 Russian criminals living in London who had stolen around $10 billion from their home country. He expressed concern that Britain’s agenda was to pocket the stolen money, quipping, “you can keep the criminals, but return the money. This is our money.”

Kelin once again rejected claims that Russia had somehow tried to affect the results of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2019 parliamentary elections in the UK. According to the diplomat, in all these cases, Russia was not politically interested in any particular outcome. “For us, there is no sense to choose any side,” he said.

“These accusations are invented, if not to say false. These are senseless accusations which we do not understand,” the ambassador added.

Kelin went on to say that, at present, relations between Moscow and London are “close to being frozen.” The UK is “throwing a lot of mud … in our direction,” he added, and this type of attitude “does not provoke much of an appetite for improving dialogue or relations in Moscow.”

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russia vows to respond ‘reciprocally’ to EU sanctions over ‘politically motivated’ & ‘far fetched’ hacking allegations

RT | July 31, 2020

Russian officials have dismissed as “baseless” restrictions imposed by the European Union on individual Russians and an intelligence unit accused of cybercrimes. Moscow has hinted at a mirrored response to Brussels’ sanctions.

“Obviously, the EU’s hostile action will not be left unanswered. As we know, everything in diplomacy is reciprocal,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, the EU blacklisted four Russian individuals and the special technologies unit of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, which Brussels accuses of committing cyberattacks. A number of nationals and entities from China and North Korea were hit by sanctions as well.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry rejected the allegations as “baseless” and illegal under international law. Moscow said that the sanctions were enacted “under a far-fetched pretense,” and were strictly politically-motivated.

July 31, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Foreign Interference in Elections: Is it Real or Just Political Noise?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 30, 2020

A recently concluded British Parliamentary inquiry has determined that Russia may have interfered in the 2016 Brexit referendum, which resulted in the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. But, ironically, it also concluded that Russia might not have interfered given the fact that the British government never bothered to try to find out if there had been any attempt made by the Kremlin to manipulate the voting.

The Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is reportedly perplexed by the lack of official interest in what might have been a foreign intelligence operation that had major impact, all too plausible given that it is assumed that Moscow would have welcomed Brexit as a first step that will eventually put an end to European political and economic unity.

So, no one knows if Russia or anyone else interfered in Britain, which is perhaps just as well as inquiries into voting in the U.S. also in 2016 have likewise created nothing but confusion and no smoking pistol. And, of course there is a question of definitions of interference. Millions of pounds were spent on advertising by those pro- and con-Brexit, just as billions were spent in political adverts in the United States. Much of the “information” provided in that fashion was deliberately misleading, often fearmongering, both in the U.K. and the U.S., suggesting that the problem is much bigger than one country’s possible attempt to influence the vote, if that even took place.

There were similar claims about Russian generated fake news and “a massive hacking attack” in the French presidential election in 2017, while Germany’s Federal Election was notable for a lack of any identifiable Kremlin interference in spite of warnings from some observers that Berlin would be targeted.

So, while claims of Russian interference in elections are fairly common, they are difficult to prove in any serious way. And one should recognize that the “victimized” governments and political parties have strong motives to conjure up a foreign enemy to explain to the public why things are going wrong, be it for coronavirus fumbling or for general political ineptitude. To be sure, as the allure of blaming Russia has faded China is increasingly being targeted by American politicians as a scapegoat, indicating that there must always be a foreigner available to blame for one’s problems.

The most recent nugget to come out of the U.S. Congress on foreign interference in elections originates with Adam Schiff, the sly head of the House Intelligence Committee. In an interview with MSNBC, Schiff revealed that U.S. intelligence has obtained information suggesting multiple nations could be trying to meddle in the 2020 U.S. elections, to include feeding or “laundering” possible disinformation through Congress.

Schiff explained how various nations use different tactics to get “fake news” messages through to the American voters. Some governments openly support a particular candidate or policy, while others like the Chinese provide misinformation during their trade negotiations with Washington. He observed that “The Russians may get involved in hacking and dumping operations or social media campaigns. The Iranians may have their own tactics and techniques like the North Koreans may have theirs.”

letter signed by Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va has asked for a counterintelligence briefing for Congress regarding foreign efforts to interfere in the upcoming election. It includes “We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November.”

Democratic Party presidential candidate presumptive Joe Biden also has confirmed that he has received briefings about Russian alleged plans to interfere in November saying “The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. China and others are engaged as well in activities that are designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome.”

Of course, there are a number of things to say about the claims that other nations are possibly planning to meddle in the voting. First, the list of possible players being presented by Schiff and others is all too convenient, kind of like a Congressional dream list of bad boys. Russia pops up because of longstanding claims about it, but China is a new entry in the game because it all ties up into a neat package, including the “Wuhan virus” and its challenges both to American economic supremacy and to U.S. naval power in the South China Sea. And of course, there are Iran and also North Korea.

One should ask what exactly China, Iran and North Korea stand to gain by attempting to “interfere” in the election? What message could they possibly be sending and what would be the mechanisms they would use to get their points of view across to a skeptical American public? In a campaign that will undoubtedly cost hundreds of billions of dollars in advertising and other “messaging,” what exactly is the possible place of Iran and North Korea?

There is also a lack of “realism” in the Schiff comments. By far the country that interferes the most in U.S. politics is Israel. Israel and its domestic Lobby initiate legislation relating to the Middle East and Israeli diplomats, lobbyists and soldiers all have free access both to Capitol Hill and to the Pentagon. If a Congressman dares to speak up against the Jewish state’s crimes he or she is smeared in the media and eventually forced out of office by a well-funded pro-Israel opponent. No other country gets away with all that. As it is highly likely that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be pulling out all the stops to reelect Donald Trump in November, why isn’t the Jewish state included on Schiff’s list?

And then there is the tantalizing bit about concerns over disinformation being “laundered” through Congress. It is difficult to imagine what exactly Schiff is referring to as the corrupt gasbags in Congress already constitute one of the world’s biggest sources of false information, second only to the fully coopted U.S. mainstream media.

In any event, if some countries that are accustomed to being regularly targeted by the United States are taking advantage of an opportunity to somehow diminish America’s ability to meddle globally, no one should be surprised, but it is a politically driven fantasy to make the hysterical claim that the United States has now become the victim of some kind of vast multi-national conspiracy to interfere in its upcoming election.

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

It’s not Russia, China or Iran who ‘undermine confidence’ in US democracy; for that, ODNI needs to look closer to home

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | July 25, 2020

With 100 days to go before the November election, the US intelligence community issued warnings about foreign ‘influence measures’ such as media reports. The actual challenge to US democracy, however, comes from within.

Foreign countries “continue to use influence measures in social and traditional media in an effort to sway US voters’ preferences and perspectives, to shift US policies, to increase discord and to undermine confidence in our democratic process,” said a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Friday.

China is seeking to “pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests” which “might affect” the presidential race, says ODNI. Iran is trying to divide Americans by “spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-US content.” And Russia “continues to spread disinformation in the US that is designed to undermine confidence in our democratic process” and “denigrate what it sees as an anti-Russia” establishment.

When you parse the political language of this, it boils down to all three countries offering news and opinions in the US media space that disagree with the mainstream US media coverage. How dare they!

Who could forget the Chinese propaganda campaign to reimagine American history as one of irredeemable racism, starting not in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence but long before that, with the arrival of first slaves from Africa? Oh wait, no, it’s the New York Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘1619 Project’ that did that.

What about the Iranian disinformation that President Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech was “dark and divisive”? Except that was the Times again – and the Washington Post, and CNN, and MSNBC, and other “foreign agents” all the way down.

Well, then, how about the Russian effort to declare Mt. Rushmore a monument to racism and the 4th of July event there a celebration of white supremacy? Erm, hold on, that was the… Democratic Party. Oops.

Also, how dare Russia think there is an “anti-Russian establishment” in the US? No one here would uncritically believe the New York Times story about Moscow offering “bounties” to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan… would they?

The irony here is that ODNI’s job of warning Americans about “foreign threats” was created in the first place by a domestic actor falsely claiming “Russian meddling” to justify the unanticipated defeat in 2016. Time and again, Hillary Clinton’s assertions of President Donald Trump’s “collusion” with Russia have been debunked with actual evidence. In the real world, the FBI and the Justice Department used dodgy British and Ukrainian rumors as grounds for spying on Trump’s campaign and launching sham prosecutions of his aides, like General Michael Flynn.

Indeed, the fact the FBI could no longer be trusted with counter-intelligence briefings of campaigns was the reason the job was recently entrusted to the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) Director William Evanina at the ODNI, who signed Friday’s statement.

For continuing to carry water for the “foreign meddling” narrative, Evanina was rewarded with criticism from the Democrats, who complained he did “not go nearly far enough in arming the American people with the knowledge they need about how foreign powers are seeking to influence our political process.”

This statement of disapproval was signed by House Speaker Nancy “All roads lead to Putin” Pelosi; Senate Minority Leader Chuck “Spies have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you” Schumer; Rep. Adam “I have evidence of Russia collusion!” Schiff; and Senator Mark “Steele dossier pusher” Warner. In other words, the very crowd that’s got the US into this very mess to begin with.

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

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | | 3 Comments

Israeli Intelligence Uses Phone App to Troll and Mass Report People Off the Internet

By Eric Striker • National Justice • July 25, 2020

Much has been said in the Jewish media about mysterious Russian trolls influencing elections, but real cyber disinformation campaigns are being organized by the Israeli government out in the open.

A mobile phone app called Act.IL available for download in the Apple store recruits every day American Jews and organizes them in troll operations on social media in an attempt to control, steer and suppress public conversations about Zionism, BDS and Jewish power.

Act.IL’s founder and CEO, Yarden Ben Yosef, served in a “special combat” intelligence unit in the Israeli military. Most of the company’s staff is composed of spies. The program receives joint funding from billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson and the Israeli state.

The app provides users with Amber Alert style pop ups featuring links to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc posts critical of Jews, Israel ,or supportive of Palestinians and BDS coupled with instructions for users to harass, brigade and mass report designated targets off the internet.

After each “mission,” trolls are given points. The most prolific harassers and stalkers are celebrated on a public scoreboard.

British media repeatedly claims Russian trolls are responsible for Brexit and tried to intervene in the last election, but no proof has ever been offered.

Meanwhile, Act.IL users were very active in cyber attacks targeting Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in hopes of undermining the electoral prospects of the UK’s Labour Party.

Neither British intelligence or media appears to be interested in this foreign meddling in their electoral process.

Politicians and celebrities are not the only ones targeted by this cyber warfare operation. Countless American college students, low level activists, and random internet posters who dare question Israel or Jewish power are swamped with state-organized harassment as well. Act.IL trolls even manipulated a Eurovision song contest poll.

Users are regularly instructed to drown employers with astroturfed complaints to get targets in the US and other countries fired.

According to @AntiBDSApp , which reports on the network’s antics, lately they have been bombarding left-wing articles in an attempt to differentiate Black Lives Matter, which Jews broadly support and see as useful, from the Palestinian cause, which they see as dangerous.

A foreign state actor indeed plays an important role in trying to control and influence discourse in America. The Lobby, USA, a heavily censored documentary by Al Jazeera details this web of espionage. Various other programs intended to harrass and terrorize American citizens, like the doxing platform Canary Mission (which puts white nationalists and Palestinian activists on hit lists) work in tandem with programs like Act.IL.

Because it’s Israel astroturfing support for Jewish power, don’t expect to hear much about from “foreign troll” hunters at BellingCat or the New York Times.

 

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments

UK ‘Educational’ Site Tells Students What to Think About Russia & ‘Ruthless’ Putin

Sputnik – 25.07.2020

British media and some UK officials have long been obsessed with seeing a trace of the “Kremlin’s hand” in all developments in the world and accusing Russia and its president Vladimir Putin of all possible evils.

Following the 2018 Salisbury scandal that resulted in a new low in the relationship between London and Moscow, it’s far from surprising that British media have remained deeply critical regarding Russia and its president.

Now, a UK government-backed website is set to ‘educate’ British students about “ruthless” Vladimir Putin, accusing him of “outrageous criminal conduct both at home and overseas”.

The media website in question is The Day, which was founded in 2011 by  former Executive Editor of the Daily Mail Richard Addis. It is currently working with UK schools and colleges to raise the “critical literacy skills” of British children by helping “explain current affairs in short articles” and it just published a damning hit piece on Russia and its president.

Presumably joining Osama bin Laden and other terrorists and pariahs, Vladimir Putin was branded “the most dangerous man in the world”.

According to the publication, the Russian president himself orchestrated attacks on former spies Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal, and was  apparently responsible for the death of “a passenger plane full of civilians” in Ukraine.

The article asks its young readers whether the “shameless” Russian president “can be stopped” at all in his evil activities. These unsubstantiated claims, which are purportedly proffered to enlighten British students about what is going on in the world, may sound ridiculous to those aware of all the details surrounding the aforementioned cases, particularly the poisoning of former GRU agent Sergei Skripal. There are just too many inconsistencies in Britain’s allegations that it was Russian agents who came to Salisbury to fatally intoxicate the man and his daughter, including the absence of eye witness accounts, lack of video footage confirming the alleged acts and even the well-being of Skripal’s neighbours and those who were involved in evidence-collection after the poisonous attack.

However, this did not stop ex-UK PM Theresa May from jumping to the conclusion in March 2018, before any investigation was launched, that it could have been no one else but Russian agents who attacked Skripals at their home in Salisbury that spring.

Other allegations mentioned in the article, in a matter-of-fact fashion, include Russia’s meddling and collusion with then-Presidential candidate Trump during the 2016 US presidential election, which were not supported by Mueller Report after a two-year of investigation. The piece even discusses Russia’s alleged interference in the Brexit referendum and the UK’s 2019 general election, notions that were rejected by the UK Electoral Commission and doubted by PM Boris Johnson.

“So, as the invasion of Crimea showed, nothing can be done to bring his rogue state to heel,” the article goes on, ignoring the results of the 2014 referendum in Crimea, which wholeheartedly voted to join Russia following a violent political coup in Ukraine.

In the end of the damning piece, young readers are asked whether Russia should be expelled from the United Nations and are suggested a number of fun activities – such as making a collage of the Russian president “playing hopscotch”.

The Day was among the news services that partnered with the UK government’s Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools several years ago to conduct surveys about the ability of British children to identify fake reporting.In 2018, the commission effectively concluded that “only 2% of children and young people in the UK have the critical literacy skills they need to tell whether a news story is real or fake”. Therefore, it recommended that the government engage with schools and families more deeply to tackle this issue, suggesting that media organisations should play a vital role in this battle against “fake news”.

And The Day took the call. The media service tasks itself with selecting “the most important news of the day”, with journalists writing their analysis and publishing pieces for schools around the world, not only the UK, apparently. It is not clear, however, how the website’s stories on Russia referring to Vladimir Putin as a “toxic” or “terrible” politician are linked to the website’s declared goals.

However, The Day’s stories are sent to partner schools to then be presented by teachers in class and discussed by students at home with their families.

“… to help readers ask good questions rather than believe they have the answers”, Editor in Chief Addis notes.

English-speakers are thus set to learn about all these highly disputed allegations about Russia and its president in a form of them being treated as factual evidence.

Meanwhile, following the most recent developments, it became a trend for British media and officials to “blame Russia for everything”, in an apparent need to distract the public from other more vivid problems, including the ongoing stalemate in Brexit negotiations and rising number of COVID-19 cases. In addition to the Russiagate hoax, Moscow was also recently accused of spying on the UK’s COVID-19 research, despite Russia itself being in the last stages of trials of its own anti-coronavirus vaccines. Russian researchers also have an official contract with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca over joint efforts to produce the Oxford vaccine, so the claims that Russia is “stealing” efforts to combat the virus seem even more dubious.

The British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has just concluded in its 50-page report that “Russia poses a significant threat to the UK”, while slamming the national government for turning a blind eye to these security issues, even though it “had not seen or sought evidence of successful interference in UK democratic processes”.

It now seems that in case of Armageddon or a zombie apocalypse, The Day would also blame Russia and Vladimir Putin personally.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Russia Report… A Triumph of Orwellian Bombast

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 24, 2020

The sensational headlines screaming on the front pages of British newspapers this week showed that the parliamentary Russia Report was a triumph of bombast.

The Daily Mail led with “Damning Russia Dossier” while The Times heralded “MI5 to get more powers” and “Tough new laws will combat threat of Russian spies”. The Times also splashed its front page with a large photograph of Russian President Vladimir Putin seemingly lurking behind a curtain, which just goes to show how much British journalism has descended into cartoonish trivia.

There is sound reason why the British government delayed until this week publication of the so-called Russia Report by a cross-party parliamentary committee. That’s plainly because there is nothing in it that could in any way substantiate lurid claims of alleged Russian interference in British politics.

The 55-page document was neither “damning” nor “devastating” as The Daily Mail asserted. The groundless hype suggests that the headline writers simply were looking for something to sell to readers regardless of facts.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, received a copy of the report 10 months ago, but decided to postpone its publication until after the general election that was held in December. That delay led to claims that his Conservative government was hiding something sinister. There were procedural hiccups from the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) being replaced with new members. However, now that the report is published any rational reader can see that the real cause of the delay is down to the report being a dud, despite all the breathless speculation. It is an empty vessel, with no evidence or substantive detail. It consists of entirely prejudiced assertions that Russia is “a hostile state” and the UK “is clearly a target for Russia disinformation campaigns and political influence”.

The nine lawmakers on the committee and their nine predecessors acknowledge among their sources for the report the following individuals: Anne Applebaum, William Browder and Christopher Steele. All of them are zealously anti-Russia and are prodigious purveyors of “Russian interference” narratives to anyone who will listen to them. Steele is the notorious former MI6 spy who cooked up the ludicrous “Russia Dossier” for the Democrats to smear Trump with in the 2016 elections. That dossier fueled the bogus “Russiagate” scandal.

Of course, the main sources for the parliamentary committee are British intelligence agencies, MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. Candid admission of all those sources should underscore with redlines that the so-called report is nothing but a propaganda screed. Yet the British media treat it with deference and respect as if it is a credible, objective assessment.

What is rather laughable is the unrestrained prejudice of the authors who are, in reality, propagandists more suited to being frozen in Cold War mentality than offering any kind of “expertise”. They claim Russian politics is “paranoid” and “nihilistic” driven by “zero-sum calculation”. All those attributed defects are merely self-projection by the authors of this report and their sources.

It is rather telling that in place of anything resembling substance of alleged Russian interference, the parliamentarians refer to “open sources” of media influence by Russian state-owned RT and Sputnik. They accuse these media of “direct support of a pro-Russian narrative in relation to particular events”. Oh, how shocking! And the British state-owned BBC does not also do the same?

Again referring to “open sources” – meaning public media reports – the parliamentarians claim that the Kremlin interfered in the Scottish referendum on independence back in 2014. So just because Russian news media featured that subject in its coverage is supposed to be “evidence” of Kremlin interference. The absurd accusation is also a convenient way to smear Scottish pro-independence.

Oddly enough, the report says there was no manifest Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Well that’s handy. The Tory government wouldn’t want to smear its ambitions of reviving the British empire, that’s for sure.

The ISC publication is a self-serving dud that is “not worth a penny”, as Russian lawmaker Aleksy Chepa put it.

It is loaded with complacent British self-regard and knee-jerk Russophobia.

The parliamentarians repeatedly rebuke the British government and state intelligence for not taking the “threat” of alleged Russian meddling seriously enough.

A more plausible explanation is because there is negligible Russian meddling in British politics, as Moscow has consistently stated. If the British government and its spooks fail to get excited – in private – about allegations of Russian malfeasance it’s because there is actually nothing to the allegations. Still, the parliamentarian anti-Russia ideologues assume to know better. They are convinced that Britain is a target for Kremlin hostility and they lambast the government and intelligence services for “not making it a priority issue”.

The Orwellian plot thickens when the authors of the boilerplate Russian Report then conclude by urging MI5 to be given more secretive powers to collaborate with social media networks in order to control information in the name of combating a “hostile state threat”. This is a sinister, anti-democratic call worthy of a dictatorship for censoring and blackballing any dissenting views under the guise of “defending democracy”.

One area where the ISC document begins to deal with reality – but only superficially and misleadingly – is on the subject of super-rich Russian expatriates living in London, which is dubbed “Londongrad”. Many of these oligarchs are beneficiaries of looting Russian state assets during the privatization-robbery frenzy under former President Boris Yeltsin. They are not “friends of Putin” as the British lawmakers make out. These shady oligarchs are often big donors to the Conservative party, not because they want to inject pro-Russian influence, but rather because they are typically opposed to the current Russian government and are seeking to destabilize it. If there is any Russian “influence” in British politics it is that which promotes illegal regime-change policies in opposition to the Russian state.

In every aspect the much-vaunted Russia Report is a worthless pile of propaganda. Even a glimmer resembling something real – the Russian oligarchs in Londongrad – turns out to be an inversion of reality. And yet, pathetically, the British media amplify the nonsense with reverence and gravitas.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Why the Russia Report tells us more about Britain than anything else

By Johanna Ross | July 24, 2020

The long-awaited UK ‘Russia Report’, whose publication was delayed by 10 months by Boris Johnson, was finally released this week by the Westminster Intelligence and Security Committee, much to the excitement of those keen to demonstrate alleged ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 EU referendum. However Britain’s ‘Russiagate’ has been something of a damp squib compared to the detailed, long-drawn Muller report across the Atlantic. In fact, anyone who was expecting any detail regarding the allegations of Russian interference would be sorely disappointed.

The reality is that the report contains nothing in addition to what has long been printed in the mainstream press about so-called Russian ‘support’ of the Brexit campaign. No evidence is provided in the report, other than references to ‘open source’ material – in other words, what we ourselves have read online and in print. For example, ‘40. Open source studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories on RT and Sputnik, and the use of ‘bots’ or ‘trolls’, as evidence of Russian attempts to influence the process.’  So we have an allegation that a media organisation may have a particular editorial line? Shocking! Yes, a glance at the RT and Sputnik websites would confirm that they seem to adopt a position close to that of British newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph or Daily Mail, and that would be correct. RT and Sputnik have a broadly right-wing, conservative editorial line, more in keeping with Russia’s conservative values. Hardly surprising – it’s Russian media after all. Every media outlet has its editorial line. Every. Single. One.

But having worked at Sputnik over the time of the EU referendum, I cannot in any way support the allegation that it was promoting a pro-Brexit position. One of the shows I produced – ‘Brexit or Fixit’ – invited each week a guest from opposite sides of the debate – both Leave and Remain – in order to ensure balance. In no way was I – or anyone else for that matter – encouraged to promote an anti-EU stance. The same cannot be said for the mainstream media unfortunately. It was apparent in the run-up to the election, that the media was firmly in the Remain camp. The balance on the BBC, Sky News and Channel Four, for instance was weighted towards remaining in the EU, in my opinion, and I can say that as a supporter of Remain, not Brexit. Even after the result, Sky News openly ran a campaign for a second referendum to be held – the ‘People’s Vote’ as it would be called. Opponents of the Leave campaign and the Brexit result which followed have been desperate ever since to prove some kind of anomaly took place. It just couldn’t be that the British people voted to leave the EU. And this is where the idea of Russian interference came along, and conveniently fitted the narrative.

Just as in the US, the establishment and liberal elite is completely out of touch with the general population, and has been for years – hence the election of Trump and the bid by Democrats to oust him. Populist governments and their messages have resounded with people, and the media, politicians and expert class have yet to catch up. Russia, in this way has become a useful scapegoat for those who aren’t willing to accept the social evolution which is taking place. It’s Democracy in action, but the establishment can’t hack it. After all, look at the Mueller report – what evidence did that provide of Trump’s supposed links to Putin? Nothing. Zilch. Nichevo. Evidence isn’t really important here. Because the accused has already been found guilty, long ago. Russia hasn’t had a fair trial, and isn’t going to get one – it has been painted as evil incarnate for years now to the extent that even the word ‘Russia’ or ‘Russian’ seems to have taken on negative connotations in the public domain.

It’s sad because it stinks of injustice. The idea that Russia is out to subvert the West really is a hypothesis which has yet to bear fruit. Indeed, a recent fascinating paper by renowned Russia expert and historian Richard Sakwa debunks the idea that Russia seeks to undermine the West. He does admit that it would like to influence it, however. The US and Britain should know something about this, given the desire both countries have had over the generations to spread ‘democracy and human rights’ across the globe, from the Christian missionaries of the 19th century to the modern day Voice of America news agency.

Fundamentally, the Russia report highlights two rather pessimistic facts about British society today: i) our intelligence services are inadequate and need an overhaul but more importantly ii) the British public is so used to being spoon-fed information that it cannot be relied upon by politicians to think for itself when it comes to deciding on how to vote in an election. What on earth does it say about the general public if it is the case that it could be completely manipulated by a particular media campaign, paid for or not by a foreign power? Do our politicians really think we are that stupid? Or do they think we require all our information to be censored, as if we are children? Unfortunately I fear by the time we will have this conversation, it will be too late.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Labour letter demands RT UK’s license gets REVOKED in light of ‘damning’ Russia report that gave NO examples or proof

RT | July 23, 2020

An evidence-free parliamentary report accusing RT UK of being an instrument of ‘Russian influence’ in Britain is already being quoted as a pretext to ban the broadcaster, in a letter sent to Ofcom by a Labour shadow minister.

Labour MP Jo Stevens demanded that “Ofcom urgently reviews RT’s licence” and requested an urgent meeting with Dame Melanie Dawes of the regulatory agency to “discuss my concerns about the broadcaster,” in a letter sent Wednesday.

Stevens – signed as the Shadow secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – said the review was needed given the “troubling revelations in the Russia report about the role of RT and Sputnik in spreading Kremlin-backed disinformation in the UK.”

The shadow secretary further claimed that the parliamentary report, released on Tuesday, “sets out in black and white” the issues OFCOM has supposedly already identified with RT, and “exposes the role RT plays in the much wider issue of Russian influence.”

Unfortunately for Stevens, the report does no such thing. When asked to provide an “egregious” example of the alleged Russian interference, committee members were unable to give “any, egregious or otherwise,” as noted by the BBC’s Andrew Neill.

The committee did not even cite any of the British intelligence agencies – indeed, it excoriated them for allegedly refusing to investigate the ‘Russian meddling’ the parliamentarians asserted as fact – but relied instead on “open-sourced reporting.”

In practice that translated to articles published in the media and testimonies from experts such as Christopher Steele of the debunked “Trump-Russia dossier” infamy, or ex-American financier Bill Browder, who’s reinvented himself as a human rights crusader after being charged in Russia with tax evasion.

Democrats in the US infamously blamed Russia for their loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, using Steele’s spurious dossier as evidence. Labour currently holds only 202 seats in the 650-member House of Commons as a result of their historic collapse in 2019.

OFCOM is a supposedly independent regulatory agency tasked with ensuring impartial reporting by media outlets operating in the UK, and this kind of pressure from a political party is highly unusual and improper.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

The “Russia Report”: Deep State reinforcing delusion to spread fear and seize power

“Suppressed” report should be a lesson to those who begged for its release – be careful what you wish for.

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | July 22, 2020

The “Russia report” is an action plan for the intelligence agencies to hand MI5 direct control over the mechanisms of British democracy, and give the government legal power to control social media.

Nobody in the mainstream will tell you this. The media are going to tell you it’s a “shocking condemnation Britain’s vulnerability to hostile state actors” or something similar, the Remainers will tell you it’s cast iron evidence the Brexit vote was rigged, and Luke Harding will tell you it means “they” are all around us and you should buy a copy of his book.

The truth is it’s just the latest of the Deep State’s plays to secure as much power as possible as quickly as possible. If anything, it already feels old-fashioned, being authored in a pre-Covid world, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be put to use in service of the world’s “new normal”.

In terms of actual content, there’s nothing new here. It’s just a collection of familiar proven lies and unproven accusations in the service of four primary agendas:

  1. Invalidating the result of the Brexit referendum
  2. Boosting funding/resources for the UK’s “Cyber Offensive capabilities”
  3. Ceding more powers to MI5 to oversee and “protect” our democratic processes
  4. Creating a “protocol” that empowers the government/intelligence agencies to force social media companies to censor and/or ban certain material, opinions, websites or users

You can plow through the whole thing here if you really feel the need.

For those outside the UK, who may not be aware of this story, sometime last year it was “leaked” that the UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee had prepared a report on “Russian interference” in UK politics. In a brilliant piece of PR manoeuvring, Boris Johnson refused to make the report public.

This decision manipulated those who consider themselves “the left” in British politics to clamour for the release of the “Russia Report”, believing there would be something in it that Boris didn’t want us to see. This was an act of pure naivety by Corbynista influencers, and deliberate public manipulation by the “leftist” media.

Yesterday Boris Johnson’s government finally “caved” to this pressure, and released a “confidential report” which tells us nothing we haven’t been told a million times before. This apparently secret testimony has been blasted across headlines in every broadsheet and tabloid for years.

Russia is accused of poisoning the Skripals, leaking the DNC emails, using “bots and trolls” to influence public opinion…and so and so on.

The witnesses called are all either actual spies (Christopher Steele), or “journalists” heavily involved with the Integrity Initiative (Edward Lucas). No evidence is supplied, save the tired old links to “academic studies” conducted by bought-and-paid-for NATO shills like Ben Nimmo and Bellingcat (whose direct funding from the likes of the Atlantic Council and National Endowment for Democracy represents a massive conflict of interest that is never once mentioned in the report).

In that way, the report is massively dated. Its lies, worn smooth through repetition, are dry and stale.

But that’s not the point of this report. That’s the first part of the Hegelian Dialectic. The “problem”, long since mythologised, created by force of repetition without ever being evidenced. This report is far more concerned with generating a “reaction”, and the procuring consent for a pre-planned “solution” (the report doesn’t shy away from this obvious structure – using the terms “threat” and “reaction” instead).

In short, buried in the 55 pages of waffle, repetition and bureaucratic double-talk, are key suggestions to take a more warlike stance against Russia and parlay this into a simultaneous crackdown on dissent at home, all while securing shiny new powers for MI5.

Firstly, the UK plans to strike a new attitude on “attribution” of alleged cyber attacks, claiming, apparently with a straight face:

The UK has historically been reticent in attributing cyber attacks – as recently as 2010, this Committee was asked to redact mention of Russia as a perpetrator of cyber attacks, on diplomatic grounds.

But the UK’s “reticence” to blame Russia for cyber attacks is over, they now intend to “name and shame” foreign actors who carry out cyber attacks:

there has to now be a cost attached to such activity. When attacks can be traced back – and we accept that this is in itself resource-intensive – the Government must always consider ‘naming and shaming’.

[NOTE: This section on “attribution” would be an absolutely ideal time to mention that another state player – namely the US military – has the technology to carry out cyber attacks and make it appear to have come from somewhere else. We know they know, because of the Wikileaks Vault 7 leaks, but they don’t mention it.]

Oh, and they’re going to “leverage” their diplomatic relations to force those countries who would rather not start a new cold war based on the testimony of lunatics, fraudsters and underwear salesmen, to publicly blame Russia for… pretty much everything:

it is apparent that not everyone is keen to adopt this new approach and to ‘call out’ Russia on malicious cyber activity. The Government must now leverage its diplomatic relationships to develop a common international approach when it comes to the attribution of malicious cyber activity by Russia and others.

This is dishonest, and potentially dangerous, but this kind of geo-political positioning is very much the long game. It’s the short term stuff, the local stuff, we should really worry about.

Like handing over powers to “monitor” and “protect” the democratic processes of the country to MI5 [our emphasis]:

Overall, the issue of defending the UK’s democratic processes and discourse has appeared to be something of a ‘hot potato’, with no one organisation recognising itself as having an overall lead. Whilst we understand the nervousness around any suggestion that the intelligence and security Agencies might be involved in democratic processes […] that cannot apply when it comes to the protection of those processes […] Protecting our democratic discourse and processes from hostile foreign interference is a central responsibility of Government, and should be a ministerial priority. In our opinion, the operational role must sit primarily with MI5

They recommend this, based on MI5’s pre-existing “relationship built with social media companies”. They don’t mention, at this stage, how social media companies have “built a relationship” with MI5, or what role they might serve in “protecting democracy”, but it’s not hard to guess.

Social Media is an important theme in the report, actually, being mentioned fifteen times in 47 pages.

Firstly, we’re told that social media companies must bear the brunt of the blame for “hostile state activity” being at all effective:

we note that – as with so many other issues currently – it is the social media companies which hold the key and yet are failing to play their part

Before they add the government must seek a “protocol” by which social media companies remove any material the UK government deems “hostile state use” of their platform:

The Government must now seek to establish a protocol with the social media companies to ensure that they take covert hostile state use of their platforms seriously, and have clear timescales within which they commit to removing such material

Any companies who refuse to do this will be “named and shamed”.

You might think “well, this protocol could easily be used against people with no state affiliation whatsoever”, and you’d be right. It could. The government admits as much, but doesn’t seem to have a problem with it:

Such a protocol could, usefully, be expanded to encompass the other areas in which action is required from the social media companies, since this issue is not unique to Hostile State Activity

This would be a good time to note that the Atlantic Council employees this report cites have, in the past, labelled people “bots” who are definitely, provably not bots. This includes noted independent journalists and a world-renowned concert pianist.

The proposed “protocol” opens up an avenue for the state to silence dissident individuals by similarly “mistaking” them for state-backed agents.

Another thing the report is keen on is boosting the UK’s “Offensive Cyber” capabilities:

this is an era of hybrid warfare and an Offensive Cyber capability is now essential. The Government announced its intention to develop an Offensive Cyber capability in September 2013, and in 2014 the National Offensive Cyber Programme (NOCP) […]The UK continues to develop its Offensive Cyber capability.

What their offensive cyber capabilities ARE, and how they use them, is never described. Are they used solely against other states, or against domestic politic parties, organizations and individuals too? They don’t say.

Is cyberwarfare even legal under international law? Well, no. In fact, the way the report dances around the idea that cyberwarfare is actually potentially illegal under international law is a thing of beauty:

While the UN has agreed that international law, and in particular the UN Charter, applies in cyberspace, there is still a need for a greater global understanding of how this should work in practice […] Achieving a consensus on this common approach will be a challenging process, but as a leading proponent of the Rules Based International Order it is essential that the UK helps to promote and shape Rules of Engagement, working with our allies.

The fact that people out there can even begin to cite this report in earnest when it describes the UK as a “key defender of a Rules Based International Order” just boggles my mind.

The real scary stuff comes later though, in the “legislation” section.

The UK is already one of the most surveilled countries in the world, and the report happily mentions that last February, the UK police/intelligence agencies got [our emphasis]:

new powers to stop, question, search or detain any person entering the UK gained Royal Assent in February 2019; it is not necessary for there to be suspicion of engagement in hostile activity in order to use these powers.

Following on from this, the report recommends a new Espionage Act and a Foreign Agent Registration Act, to “crackdown” on espionage.

Hearings resulting from these acts could be “closed material proceedings” to protect national security.

For those who don’t know, in UK law a “closed material proceeding” is a hearing where a prosecutor presents some evidence directly to a judge which is kept secret from both the public and the defense counsel.

Until this new legislation is passed, the report warns, “the Intelligence Community’s hands are tied.”

To sum up, the long-awaited Russia report is – surprise surprise – not a trove of secrets and corruption which could bring down the Johnson government. It was never going to be that, despite what all the fake-left “journalists” were saying, and what all the Labour supporters who should know better were tweeting.

It was actually sickening to watch so many people, especially in Corbyn’s camp, cry-out for this report and not realise they were getting played. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Cheap reverse psychology that doesn’t work on children past the age of about five, but apparently does work on the majority of the members of the Labour party.

Thanks to their gullibility, no one is questioning the honesty, providence or intentions of a report which finds, in short:

  • MI5 should have more control over our democratic systems.
  • We should spend more money on developing cyber attack ability.
  • We should investigate and maybe overturn the Brexit vote.
  • We should pass authoritarian new legislation
  • Social Media companies should take down whatever the government says they should take down.

People who are supposed to guard against tyranny and hold power to account have abandoned their posts to take part in anti-Russia hysteria which endangers what remains of our civil liberties.

As a result, we’re getting headlines like this:

GUARDIAN : Report damns number 10 and spy agencies over Russia

And this:

MAIL : Now tame the Russian bear

And this:

THE TIMES : MI5 to get more powers

It’s the same old lies, on the same old topics, told by the same old people, for the same old reasons. The only difference is, this time, they managed to trick some of the gullible “woke” left into begging for it.

July 22, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Pangs of conscience or howl of an empty wallet? Steele claims he never meant for infamous Russiagate dossier to go public

RT | July 22, 2020

Former British spy Christopher Steele insists he never wanted the notorious Trump dossier, which was central to the Russiagate investigation, to be made public. The belated pang of conscience emerged in response to a new lawsuit.

Steele would have done “whatever I could do to prevent” BuzzFeed from publishing the dossier, he told London’s High Court in a written statement on Wednesday.

The document, which Steele compiled at the behest of the US opposition research firm Fusion GPS and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, was published in early January 2017, shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The former spy’s pang of conscience might have had something to do with the defamation lawsuit by Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksey Gubarev. One of the claims in the Steele dossier was that Gubarev’s Webzilla internet service provider was used by Russian security services to hack the Clinton campaign. The tech executive has not only denied the claim but sued both BuzzFeed and Steele for making it.

Despite his professed remorse, however, Steele admitted he provided copies of the “pre-election” dossier, compiled between June and October 2016, to the FBI and the State Department because of its “national security implications.” Another copy was sent to a UK national security official in the days following the election, lest the Trump administration “compromise British sources and operations.”

He whipped up a second version in December 2016, and gave that to the same UK official, as well as the since-deceased Arizona Senator John McCain – who leaked it to a number of US media outlets, including BuzzFeed, Steele explained.

That second memo, he wrote, was “self-evidently sensitive and confidential,” meaning it was never intended to make it into print, where Gubarev could read it and sue him.

Steele has admitted the dossier was largely “unverifiable,” presumably intended to serve as the basis for further investigation that could confirm or deny its claims. Earlier this week, internet sleuths suggested that Steele’s mysterious Russian source was in fact a Washington-based Brookings Institute researcher, who lacked firsthand knowledge of any of its salacious claims.

Steele has previously said that his 17-page report was commissioned with the intention of giving Clinton legal basis to challenge the 2016 election. While the legal challenge never happened, the dossier saw plenty of uses in “further investigation” of Trump, both official and in the court of public opinion.

The FBI used it as the backbone of its request for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s campaign via aide Carter Page, whom Steele claimed met secretly with Russian agents in Moscow. The dossier also underpinned special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling ‘Russiagate’ probe.

While Mueller ultimately came up empty in his efforts to prove the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government to get the president elected, relations between the US and Russia deteriorated considerably as Trump’s cabinet urged him to take a more antagonistic position toward Moscow so as not to be seen as the ‘Putin puppet’ the media and Democrats were determined to call him anyway.

July 22, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment