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Rep. Adam Schiff says YouTube’s ban of vaccine skepticism doesn’t go far enough

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | October 2, 2021

Rep. Adam Schiff praised YouTube’s decision to ban all vaccine skepticism but said it was not the “end of our fight against misinformation.”

On Wednesday afternoon, YouTube announced that it will ban all vaccine skepticism to stop the spread of what it says is misinformation. The ban not only applies to COVID vaccines but also any other vaccines that pharmaceutical companies produce.

While making the announcement, YouTube said: “Today’s policy update is an important step to address vaccine and health misinformation on our platform, and we’ll continue to invest across the board.”

YouTube’s decision was applauded by many, including Rep. Adam Schiff.

“YouTube’s curbing of anti-vaccine content is a strong first step,” the Democrat congressman wrote on Twitter. But this doesn’t mark the end of our fight against deadly misinformation. These policies must be enforced. And we must keep pushing for other companies to follow suit. What do you say, @Amazon and @Facebook?” hinting at his demands for more censorship.

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 5 Comments

US Officials Demand Ban on Dr. Mercola’s Book

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | September 20, 2021

Since the publication of my book, “The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing The Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal,” which became an instant best seller on Amazon.com, there’s been a significant increase in censorship and ruthless attacks.

Sadly, many of these attacks have been levied by the very people elected to safeguard democracy and our Constitutional rights. Most recently, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter1 to Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of Amazon.com, demanding an “immediate review” of Amazon’s algorithms to weed out books peddling “COVID misinformation.”2,3,4

Warren specifically singled out “The Truth About COVID-19” as a prime example of “highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures” that she wants to see banned from sale.

“Dr. Mercola has been described as ‘the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online,” Warren writes,5 adding: “Not only was this book the top result when searching either ‘COVID-19’ or ‘vaccine’ in the categories of ‘All Departments’ and ‘Books’; it was tagged as a ‘Best Seller’ by Amazon and the ‘#1 Best Seller’ in the ‘Political Freedom’ category.

The book perpetuates dangerous conspiracies about COVID-19 and false and misleading information about vaccines. It asserts that vitamin C, vitamin D and quercetin … can prevent COVID-19 infection … And the book contends that vaccines cannot be trusted, when study after study has demonstrated the overwhelming effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

It should come as no surprise that the book is rife with misinformation. One of the authors, Dr. Mercola, is one of the ‘Disinformation Dozen,’ a group responsible for 65% of anti-vaccine content on Facebook and Twitter …”

Two days later, September 9, 2021, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., followed in Warren’s footsteps, sending letters6 to Facebook and Amazon, calling for more prolific censorship of vaccine information.7

Modern-Day Book Burning

Essentially, what Warren is calling for is modern-day book burning. “The Truth About COVID-19” exposes the hidden agenda behind the pandemic, showing the countermeasures have nothing to do with public health and everything to do with ushering in a new social and economic system based on totalitarian technocracy-led control. So, it’s not misinformation they fear. It’s the truth they want to prevent from spreading.

To make her case, Warren leans on a discredited report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). In that report, “The Disinformation Dozen,”8 the CCDH founder Imran Ahmed claims to have identified the top most influential “anti-vaxxers” in the U.S. The problem is Ahmed made that up.

CCDH ‘Manufactured Narrative Without Evidence’ Facebook Says

August 18, 2021 — nearly three weeks before Warren sent that letter to Amazon — Facebook actually called out the CCDH for having manufactured a faulty narrative without evidence against the 12 individuals targeted in its reports.9 Monika Bickert, vice president of Facebook content policy, set the record straight, stating:10

“In recent weeks, there has been a debate about whether the global problem of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation can be solved simply by removing 12 people from social media platforms. People who have advanced this narrative contend that these 12 people are responsible for 73% of online vaccine misinformation on Facebook. There isn’t any evidence to support this claim …

That said, any amount of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation that violates our policies is too much by our standards — and we have removed over three dozen Pages, groups and Facebook or Instagram accounts linked to these 12 people, including at least one linked to each of the 12 people, for violating our policies.

We have also imposed penalties on nearly two dozen additional Pages, groups or accounts linked to these 12 people, like moving their posts lower in News Feed so fewer people see them or not recommending them to others. We’ve applied penalties to some of their website domains as well so any posts including their website content are moved lower in News Feed.

The remaining accounts associated with these individuals are not posting content that breaks our rules, have only posted a small amount of violating content, which we’ve removed, or are simply inactive.

In fact, these 12 people are responsible for about just 0.05% of all views of vaccine-related content on Facebook. This includes all vaccine-related posts they’ve shared, whether true or false, as well as URLs associated with these people.

The report11 upon which the faulty narrative is based analyzed only a narrow set of 483 pieces of content over six weeks from only 30 groups, some of which are as small as 2,500 users. They are in no way representative of the hundreds of millions of posts that people have shared about COVID-19 vaccines in the past months on Facebook.

Further, there is no explanation for how the organization behind the report identified the content they describe as ‘anti-vax’ or how they chose the 30 groups they included in their analysis. There is no justification for their claim that their data constitute a ‘representative sample’ of the content shared across our apps.”

‘Disinfo Dozen’ Barely Register on the Social Media Radar

In its report, the CCDH claims 12 people, including me, are responsible for 65% of anti-vaccine content on social media. I’m not sure where Bickert got the 73% figure from. Either way, we’re not responsible for anywhere near either 65% or 73%.

According to Facebook’s own investigation, we account for a minuscule 0.05% of vaccine-related content — 1,460 times lower than the CCDH’s outrageous claim. Still, Warren and myriad other government officials are using the CCDH as some sort of ultimate authority.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and President Biden have all used the CCDH as the sole source for their wild assertions. Now, Warren wants to use the CCDH’s fraudulent report to ban the sale of certain books, and she does so even after Facebook itself has refuted the CCDH report as being baseless!

In an email, Kara Fredrick, a research fellow in technology policy at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News that:12

“Warren’s push for more censorship is yet another example of the growing symbiosis between Big Tech and big government,” and is indicative of a “broader trend: That of the Biden Administration and other progressive officials attempting to circumvent the Constitution by pressuring private tech companies to restrict freedom of expression under a broad definition of misinformation.”

Fredrick further stressed that “A healthy body politic depends on the genuine interrogation of ideas,” and that “Big Tech companies’ eagerness to suppress specific points of view is already corroding our free society.”

Freedom Is Corroding Before Our Eyes

Indeed, in early August 2021, I decided to remove the entire article archive from my website — articles I’ve made available for free for the last 24 years — and only make new articles readable for 48 hours. I did this in an effort to appease the power players who have an arsenal of overwhelming tools at their disposal, and are actively using them against us.

Cyberwarfare and authoritarian forces are beyond our abilities to withstand, and these changes were deemed necessary to keep us moving forward, even if hobbled. Still, Warren is not satisfied. She wants me silenced entirely. She doesn’t even want people willing to pay for the information to have access to it.

Clearly, she’s panicked about something. Reading her letter, I see before me the giant Goliath, yelling and screaming for help, demanding an army of fighters because the pea-sized David with his makeshift slingshot is in the neighborhood.

What is she really afraid of? Why pick on a person whose social media reach is a fraction of 0.05%? Could it be because the ‘Disinfo Dozen’ are actually telling the truth, and the truth has a tendency to win against all odds?

Goal Posts Set in Shifting Quicksand

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Biden met his 70% vaccination rate at the beginning of August 2021.13 For months, we were told that all would be well and good if only we would meet the goal of 70%.

Yet as soon as it was met, we were told 70% “should be seen as a floor, rather than a ceiling” and Biden went on the news saying his patience with the vaccine hesitant is “wearing thin.” Because a small minority — if we are to believe CDC data — refuses to take the shot despite myriad bribes, Biden is now calling on businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate the COVID shots or face fines.

It’s beyond irrational, and to many seems highly irrational, unjustified and unconstitutional. This is especially egregious as ALL illness and injury expenses will be paid by the patient, even though they were forced to take the injection as the companies have zero liability.

However, as noted by Dr. Peter Breggin in yesterday’s interview, these actions are completely logical once you realize we are at war, and there are evil people out there who are intentionally trying to hurt us under the banner of providing protection. It’s no different than being in an abusive relationship where the abuser says he or she is beating you and locking you in the basement “to make you a better person.”

The Web of Elite Extremists Behind the Censorship

I’ve written many articles over the years about attempts by various groups and organizations to smear my credibility and label this site as a fake news hub. In March 2021, it was The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) that accused me of spreading misinformation about vaccines and COVID-19.14

Not surprisingly, TBIJ is funded by Bill Gates,15,16 a leading force within the technocratic takeover movement who doles out money to anything and anyone that will help further the globalist agenda, including media.17

In November 2019, as if blessed with some particular foresight, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave TBIJ a $1,068,169 grant from its “Global Health and Development Public Awareness and Analysis” advocacy program.18

Other TBIJ sponsors include19 the Google News Initiative,20 George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.21 All of these — Gates, Google, Soros and Wellcome — are easily identified as parts of the technocratic globalist network that is reaping unprecedented financial rewards from the pandemic.

Whose Interests Does CCDH Protect and Promote?

While the financial supporters of the CCDH are far more opaque, it seems clear this group is yet another front for the technocratic power structure. It’s founded by a British national and unregistered foreign agent named Imran Ahmed, who is also a member of the Steering Committee on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force under the British government’s Commission for Countering Extremism.

When you think about it, isn’t it rather curious that American government officials are targeting and violating the Constitutional rights of citizens based on the opinions of an unregistered foreign agent funded by dark money?22 As noted in a July 20, 2021, Drill Down article:23

“When a report goes viral in the news cycle, it only makes sense to question where it came from — especially if that report has influence all the way up to the Oval Office, affecting public health policy, while also having dangerous implications for free speech.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate … released a bombshell report earlier this week. It was picked up everywhere and had the following revelation: The majority of COVID misinformation came from just 12 people … But could this be a wily gambit by outside interests to justify the Biden administration’s censorship partner-up with Big Tech? …

According to its website, the left-wing Center for Countering Digital Hate prides itself on ‘researching, exposing, and then shutting down users and news sites it deems unacceptable in the digital sphere.’

Users and news sites it deems unacceptable? That seems potentially dangerous, considering we know very little about the CCDH. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) expressed his concerns on Twitter with the following post:

‘Who is funding this overseas dark money group — Big Tech? Billionaire activists? Foreign governments? We have no idea. Americans deserve to know what foreign interests are attempting to influence American democracy’ …

No one knows who funds them. No one knows who is driving their research. But their findings are being used in censorship efforts under the guise of controlling misinformation?”

Violating Bioethical Principles Puts Lives at Risk

The sad irony is that government officials are really the ones contributing to most of the unnecessary death and suffering by not adhering to bioethical principles that are enshrined in law. These laws exist for a good reason. They protect people from unnecessary harm and unwanted medical risks.

As an experimental trial participant, which is what everyone is at the moment who accepts a COVID shot, you have the right to receive full disclosure of any adverse event risks. Based on that disclosure, you then have the right to decide whether you want to participate.

Adverse event risk disclosure should be provided at the level of detail disclosed in any drug package insert. Not only do vaccinees not get any such disclosure documents, the censorship also prevents them from getting any balancing information regarding their risk-reward ratio, along with risk of death and permanent disability, from other sources, be it through Google searches, social media or mainstream news.

When given just one side of the story, informed consent simply isn’t possible, and as such, violates several different national and international laws, including the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46 (subpart A, the Belmont report),24 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treaty,25 the Declaration of Helsinki26 and the Nuremberg Code.27 U.S. Supreme Court rulings have also clarified that Americans have the right to choose their own health care in general.28,29

As just one example of many, Marie Follmer, in an interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.,30 said no one ever warned her there was a risk of myocarditis. Her athletic son, Greyson, took the shot and is now unable to do much of anything and she fears he might die.

She admits not doing any of her own research, blindly trusting what she was told. Now, she distrusts the whole process, including doctors, as all have refused to acknowledge that there might be a link to the shot, and no one knows how to treat him.

Most importantly, the acceptance of an experimental product must be fully voluntary and uncoerced. Enticement is forbidden. It’s downright impossible to argue that incentives ranging from free junk food to million-dollar lotteries and threats of losing your job, refusal of an education, travel and shopping restrictions and more do not constitute coercion.

At the end of the day, if you decide you want to participate in a medical experiment, whatever it might be, that’s up to you. But everyone else also has that same right to choose.

Sen. Warren Threatens Amazon to Ban ‘The Truth About COVID-19’

Since the publication of my latest book, “The Truth About COVID-19” there’s been a significant increase in calls for censorship and ruthless attacks against me.

Most recently, so-called “progressive” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in an outrageous, slanderous and basically unconstitutional attempt to suppress free speech, sent a letter to Amazon, demanding an “immediate review” of their algorithms to weed out books peddling “COVID misinformation.”

Warren specifically singled out “The Truth About COVID-19” as a prime example of “highly ranked and favorably tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures” that she wants to see banned from sale.

Two days later, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., followed in Warren’s footsteps, sending letters to Facebook and Amazon, calling for more prolific censorship of vaccine information. Even President Joe Biden has recently used a debunked report as his sole source to call for my censorship.

Sadly, these attacks are being levied by the very people elected to safeguard democracy and our Constitutional rights. Essentially, what they are calling for is modern-day book burning. This is a democracy, not a monarchy.

Sources and References

September 21, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Biden, the Media and CIA Labeled the Hunter Biden Emails “Russian Disinformation.” There is Still No Evidence.

By Glenn Greenwald | November 12, 2020

Congressman Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and, not coincidentally, the single most shameless pathological liar in the U.S. Congress by a good margin, appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer on October 16 to discuss The New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s emails. The CNN host asked him a rhetorical question embedded with baseless assumptions: “does it surprise you at all that this information Rudy Giuliani is peddling very well could be connected to some sort of Russian government disinformation campaign?”

Schiff stated definitively that it is: “we know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” adding: “clearly, the origins of this whole smear are from the Kremlin, and the President is only too happy to have Kremlin help in amplifying it.” Referencing Trump’s promotion of The New York Post reporting while at his White House desk, Schiff said: “there it is in the Oval Office: another wonderful propaganda coup for Vladimir Putin, seeing the President of the United States holding up a newspaper promoting Kremlin propaganda.”

Schiff, as he usually does when he moves his mouth, was lying: exploiting CNN’s notorious willingness to allow Democratic officials to spread disinformation over its airwaves without the slightest challenge. Schiff claimed certainty about something for which there was and still is no evidence: that the Russians played a role in the procurement and publication of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

As he also usually does when he publicly lies, Schiff was merely echoing the propaganda of current and former operatives of the CIA and other arms of the intelligence community who abuse their power to interfere in U.S. domestic politics: the very factions over which the Intelligence Committee which Schiff runs is supposed to exercise oversight supervision, not serve as their parrot. During the same week as Schiff’s CNN appearance, as Politico reported, “more than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.’”

 

In that letter from intelligence operatives about The New York Post story — signed by Obama’s former CIA chief John Brennan now of MSNBC (repeatedly caught lying), Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now of CNN (who got caught lying to the Senate about NSA domestic spying), Bush’s former NSA and CIA chief Micheal Hayden now of CNN (who served during 9/11 and the Iraq War), and dozens of other similar professional disinformation agents — the intelligence operatives announced “our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue,” adding “that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”

With these ex-CIA officials and their servant Adam Schiff disseminating this narrative into U.S. public, both the Biden campaign and their captive media outlets began asserting this rank speculation as truth. They did so despite the fact that even the intelligence officials were cautious enough to acknowledge: “We want to emphasize that … we do not have evidence of Russian involvement” — a rather crucial fact that numerous outlets omitted when laundering this CIA propaganda and which the Biden campaign and Adam Schiff completely ignored when treating the claims as proven truth.

Letter from 50 former intelligence officials about The New York Post reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop, Oct. 19, 2020

The Biden campaign immediately embraced this evidence-free claim about Russia from Schiff and the intelligence community to justify its refusal to answer questions about the revelations from this reporting. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation,” said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield when asked about the possibility that Trump would cite the Hunter emails at the last presidential debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation.”

Far worse were the numerous media outlets that spread this evidence-free claim of Kremlin involvement in lieu of reporting on the contents of the emails. Just watch how CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell purported to “report” on this story — an emphasis on the Russian origins of the materials, featuring a former “FBI operative” who admitted he had no evidence for the speculation CBS nonetheless aired, all with no mention of the serious questions raised by the revelations themselves:

As I noted when I announced my resignation from The Intercept, a major reason I harbored so much cynicism and scorn for their claim that my story on the Hunter Biden emails had failed to meet their high-minded, rigorous editorial and fact-checking scrutiny was because that same publication was just was one of the many anti-Trump news outlets which, in the name of manipulating the outcome of the election on behalf of the Democratic Party, had mindlessly laundered the CIA/Schiff narrative without the slightest adversarial skepticism or, worse, without a whiff of evidence.

Just one week before they refused to publish my own article, they published this remarkable disinformation, featuring an utterly reckless paragraph that was nothing more than stenographic servitude to the intelligence community and Adam Schiff. Just marvel at what was approved by the fastidious editorial and fact-checking machinery of that “adversarial” publication concerning claims by ex-CIA operatives:

Their latest falsehood once again involves Biden, Ukraine, and a laptop mysteriously discovered in a computer repair shop and passed to the New York Post, thanks to Trump crony Rudy Giuliani. The New York Post story was so rancid that at least one reporter refused to put his byline on it. The U.S. intelligence community had previously warned the White House that Giuliani has been the target of a Russian intelligence operation to disseminate disinformation about Biden, and the FBI has been investigating whether the strange story about the Biden laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. This week, a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.

Numerous other media outlets disseminated the same CIA propaganda — including The Economist (“Marc Polymeropoulos, the CIA’s former acting chief of operations for the Europe and Eurasia Mission Centre…notes that ‘the use of actual material is a hallmark of Russian disinformation campaigns’”), and (needless to say) MSNBC’s Joy Reid (“Hunter Biden story an ‘obvious Russian plot’ McFaul believes”).

Now that this disinformation campaign has done its job — allowing Biden to get past the election without having to answer any real questions about those emails and his family’s work in Ukraine and China — the truth has emerged that there is [not], and never was, any evidence for the disinformation that these materials came from the Kremlin. Some media outlets, though not all, have at least had the integrity to admit this, now that it no longer matters.

“Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Monday that recently published emails purporting to document the business dealings of Hunter Biden are not connected to a Russian disinformation effort,” USA Today acknowledged. “Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe added.

On October 20, the FBI sent a letter to Sen. Ron Johnson — in response to his request for any information showing Kremlin involvement in the New York Post story — in which they, too, made clear they were not aware of any such evidence:

The FBI is the primary investigative agency responsible for the integrity and security of the 2020 election, and as such, we are focused on an array of threats, including the threat of malign foreign influence operations. Regarding the subject of your letter, we have nothing to add at this time to the October 19th public statement by the Director of National Intelligence about the available actionable intelligence. If actionable intelligence is developed, the FBI in consultation with the Intelligence Community will evaluate the need to provide defensive briefings to you and the Committee pursuant to the established notification framework.

Numerous outlets which had originally noted suspicions of Kremlin involvement and and FBI investigation to determine possible Russian responsibility ultimately updated their stories or published new articles noting the FBI’s admission (though The Intercept never did: its story about Kremlin involvement stands).

In The Washington Post, Thomas Rid wrote this Hall of Fame sentence: ““We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.” As The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat summarized: “At this point we can posit with some certainty that The Post’s story was not some sort of sweeping Russian disinformation plot but a more normal example of late-dropping opposition research, filtered through a partisan lens and a tabloid sensibility, weaving genuine facts into contestable conclusions.”

The pronouncements of DNI Ratcliffe and the FBI should no more be treated as gospel than the accusations of Kremlin involvement by Adam Schiff, John Brennan and their CIA friends. But that is exactly what the bulk of the U.S. media did with the obvious goal of shielding Joe Biden from questions about the revelations in the emails of his son: they deceived Americans into believing that the whole story was a Kremlin “disinformation” plot and therefore should be ignored.

Whatever else is true about this whole sordid affair, no evidence has emerged — none — that the Russians have played any role in any of this. It is of course possible that one day such evidence may be found of involvement by the Russians — or the Chinese, or the Iranians, or the Venezuelans, or the Saudis, or any other state or non-state actor your imagination might conjure. One cannot prove the negative that this did not happen.

But journalism, in its minimally healthy form, requires evidence before spreading inflammatory accusations about a nuclear-armed power and, even more so, speculation designed to discredit evidence of possible misconduct by the front-running candidate for the U.S. presidency. But here we have yet another case where purported news outlets — knowing that there is no price to pay professionally or reputationally for publishing evidence-free intelligence agency propaganda as long as it benefits the Party and advances the ideology which they all embrace — casually spread disinformation without the slightest evidentiary basis.

Yet again we find that the most prolific propagators of Fake News and disinformation are not the enemies of the mainstream U.S. media. It is the mainstream U.S. media itself that deceives, propagandizes and spreads disinformation on behalf of the coalition of the intelligence community and the Democratic Party far more than any other faction or entity.

Where is the evidence that Russia was involved in this New York Post story? And how can media outlets who endorsed and spread this and now refuse any self-critique expect anything but distrust and scorn from the public when they do this?

November 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

DNI says ‘No Evidence’ of Russian interference in Hunter Biden scandal, accuses Schiff of ‘politicizing intelligence’

RT | October 19, 2020

US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has refuted claims that alleged emails detailing Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China when his father was VP are part of a Russian election interference effort.

“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said during a Monday interview on Fox Business. “The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that,” he added.

The director’s comments were a direct rebuttal of Congressman Adam Schiff, who claimed on Saturday, without any evidence, that the story about the Democratic presidential candidate’s son was coming “from the Kremlin.”

Ratcliffe addressed Schiff’s words directly, saying, “It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence.”

The official went on to say that while he couldn’t reveal any details of the ongoing investigation, he was free to clarify that it “doesn’t center around Russian disinformation.”

The speculation on foreign involvement began last Wednesday just as the New York Post published a series of alleged leaked emails, implying that Biden Jr. might have involved his then-vice president father in personal business dealings abroad.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Pharmaceutical Narrative is Failing

By Bretigne Shaffer – LewRockwell.com – August 7, 2020

So now we don’t have to listen to what those doctors said in front of the US Supreme Court, because it turns out that one of them has some whacky beliefs about sex with demons causing reproductive disorders. What a relief.

I’m not going to pretend that the things Dr. Stella Immanuel has said don’t sound just a little crazy to me. They do. But I’ve been observing this game long enough to have a pretty good idea of how this works:

Someone says something that contradicts the dominant narrative (in this case, the narrative about medical science), and the machine that supports that narrative goes into overdrive to discredit them, with whatever information they can dig up–as long as it doesn’t involve discussing the actual substance of what the person has said.

I understand that for some people, maybe even for a great many, that is the end of the conversation. So for everyone who is satisfied with the “fringe doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine also believe demon sex causes fybroids” narrative–please, stop here. Your ride is over, and you may go on believing that this group of doctors and other professionals has been thoroughly discredited by these statements.

For everyone else, if you are at all interested in why such a coordinated effort has been launched to silence and discredit this group, why–even before the sex demon stuff was uncovered–videos of the group’s press conference were quickly yanked from YouTube, and why their own website was taken down without warning by its host, SquareSpace, (their new website can now be found here) then please keep reading.

WHAT THE AMERICA’S FRONTLINE DOCTORS GROUP SAID:

What follows is a brief summary of the key points made by the group America’s Frontline Doctors at their press conference last week. I will not comment on the validity of their claims, however founder Dr. Simone Gold has provided support for much of what the group said, in a white paper that can be found here.

1. They believe that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19.

This is the claim made by several of the speakers, including Dr. Immanuel, based on their own clinical experience, as well as on multiple published studies. Many of those studies are listed here, and here.

2. State licensing boards are using their power to forcibly prevent people from having access to this drug.

According to Dr. Gold, many states have empowered their pharmacists to not honor prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine to be used in treating Covid-19. This, she says, is unprecedented: “It has never happened that a state has threatened a doctor for prescribing a universally accepted safe generic cheap drug off-label.”

Meanwhile, says Gold, the drug is available over the counter in many other countries, including Iran and Indonesia, where it can be found “in the vitamin section”.

3. There is a coordinated campaign to discredit and suppress information about the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for Covid-19:

“If it seems like there is an orchestrated attack going on against hydroxychloroquine,” said Dr. James Todaro, “it’s because there is.”

Dr. Todaro is speaking from experience. He was the co-author of a March 13 white paper arguing for the use of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. The paper was made public on Google Docs, received a lot of attention, and was then removed–without warning–by Google. (It has since been put back up.)

4. The World Health Organization (the authority upon which YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said she bases her company’s policy on “misinformation”) halted its trials of hydroxychloroquine based on a blatantly fraudulent study that relied on data that it appears never even existed. The WHO later resumed trials after independent investigators discovered the problems and the study’s authors retracted it.

5. We should be able to have a free and open discussion about this.

Dr. Dr. Joseph Lapado from UCLA, sums it up:

We’ve been using (hydroxychloroquine) for a long time. But all of a sudden it’s been escalated to this area of looking like some poisonous drug. That just doesn’t make sense… At the very least, we can live in a world where there are differences of opinion about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, but still allow more data to come, still allow physicians who feel they have expertise with it to use that medication, and still, you know, talk and learn and get better at helping people with Covid-19.

WHY THE ALL-OUT MEDIA ASSAULT ON THE FRONTLINE DOCTORS?:

The influence that the pharmaceutical industry wields over media outlets is no secret. As of 2018, an estimated 70% of all news advertising in the US came from pharmaceutical companies. I have written elsewhere about how “reporting” on medical issues can be difficult to distinguish from outright marketing for drug companies.

Social-media platforms are not immune to this influence, whether it comes via advertising dollars; “partnerships” such as that between the CDC Foundation and MailChimp (which like many other platforms, has an explicit policy of censoring content about vaccines that does not align with the positions of the CDC and the WHO); direct investment, such as that of Google’s parent company Alphabet; or indeed at the behest of politicians such as Congressman Adam Schiff, who last year wrote to the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook and Google, requesting that those companies censor information and products that did not conform to the officially sanctioned position on vaccines. All three complied.

So it should come as small surprise that both Google and YouTube have now taken to removing content supportive of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is no longer covered by patent, and can be made and sold by any generic producer, for a fraction of the price that Gilead, for example, might charge for its still-patented Remdesivir. Twitter and Facebook have likewise removed posts about the drug, most notably–and with no visible sense of irony–removing posts of the video in which the Frontline Doctors speak out about widespread media censorship of the topic. (You can now see those videos on Bitchute.)

One need not have an opinion on the merits of the drug hydroxychloroquine in order to recognize that something very odd is happening here. Something that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with free and open inquiry or honest scientific discourse.

Many argue that the politicization of this drug is founded in a desire to unseat President Trump, that the opposition to it is primarily because it was endorsed by Trump, and if it is deemed to be a failure (or even better, dangerous to patients) it will be a powerful strike against the president. That may well be part of what has motivated this. But there is another motivation, having to do with the desire to push a more expensive medication onto the market, and to push a new vaccine on the world’s population.

More broadly, it has to do with the narrative that those in the business of selling drugs demand we believe: that we are all in desperate need of their products (but only the ones still under patent) if we are to be healthy–or indeed, if we are to survive at all.

If it turns out that this “new” virus is easily treatable, with hydroxychloroquine or anything else, then the industry’s dreams go up in smoke. If hydroxychloroquine turns out to be a safe and effective way of treating Covid-19 (as multiple studies and the experience in many other countries outside of the US indicate it may be) then there is much less reason for anyone to receive a vaccine for it, let alone the entire world’s population. Likewise, there is no pressing need to develop a new, more expensive treatment.

But even more than that: If it turns out that hydroxychloroquine is after all a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19, then this whole episode – the silencing of dissenting voices, the “fact-checking” on social media, the campaigns against “misinformation” – will be revealed in plain sight, for what it has always been: Nothing more than a well-funded marketing campaign and damage-control effort on behalf of the industry that wants you to believe that you need to use its expensive products in order to go on living.

So when a group of doctors took to the steps of the US Supreme Court and told the world how they were having success using a cheap anti-malarial that had been in use for 65 years to treat the most deadly contagion of our generation, it was a massive blow to the narrative upon which the pharmaceutical purveyors’ success depends. And over the next few days, as viewers engaged in a race with the censors, quickly downloading videos before they were removed, to post them on other platforms… it became clear that the censors and the gatekeepers had lost control of the conversation.

This is not only about hydroxychloroquine. Every time media outlets or social-media platforms engage in outright censorship of content, in a way that happens to benefit pharmaceutical companies, both parties lose just a little more credibility. The actions we are witnessing now are not the actions of an industry confident in the value of what it provides to the world. They are the actions of a desperate, threatened creature. They are the actions of an entity that is not strengthened by the truth, but weakened by it. That is what these (increasingly obvious) acts of censorship tell us. What we are witnessing are the pangs of a lumbering, wounded, behemoth.

August 7, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

More willful blindness by the media on spying by Obama administration

By Jonathan Turley | The Hill | July 25, 2020

The Washington press corps seems engaged in a collective demonstration of the legal concept of willful blindness, or deliberately ignoring the facts, following the release of yet another declassified document which directly refutes prior statements about the investigation into Russia collusion. The document shows that FBI officials used a national security briefing of then candidate Donald Trump and his top aides to gather possible evidence for Crossfire Hurricane, its code name for the Russia investigation.

It is astonishing that the media refuses to see what is one of the biggest stories in decades. The Obama administration targeted the campaign of the opposing party based on false evidence. The media covered Obama administration officials ridiculing the suggestions of spying on the Trump campaign and of improper conduct with the Russia investigation. When Attorney General William Barr told the Senate last year that he believed spying did occur, he was lambasted in the media, including by James Comey and others involved in that investigation. The mocking “wow” response of the fired FBI director received extensive coverage.

The new document shows that, in summer 2016, FBI agent Joe Pientka briefed Trump campaign advisers Michael Flynn and Chris Christie over national security issues, standard practice ahead of the election. It had a discussion of Russian interference. But this was different. The document detailing the questions asked by Trump and his aides and their reactions was filed several days after that meeting under Crossfire Hurricane and Crossfire Razor, the FBI investigation of Flynn. The two FBI officials listed who approved the report are Kevin Clinesmith and Peter Strzok.

Clinesmith is the former FBI lawyer responsible for the FISA surveillance conducted on members of the Trump campaign. He opposed Trump and sent an email after the election declaring “viva the resistance.” He is now under review for possible criminal charges for altering a FISA court filing. The FBI used Trump adviser Carter Page as the basis for the original FISA application, due to his contacts with Russians. After that surveillance was approved, however, federal officials discredited the collusion allegations and noted that Page was a CIA asset. Clinesmith had allegedly changed the information to state that Page was not working for the CIA.

Strzok is the FBI agent whose violation of FBI rules led Justice Department officials to refer him for possible criminal charges. Strzok did not hide his intense loathing of Trump and famously referenced an “insurance policy” if Trump were to win the election. After FBI officials concluded there was no evidence of any crime by Flynn at the end of 2016, Strzok prevented the closing of the investigation as FBI officials searched for any crime that might be used to charge the incoming national security adviser.

Documents show Comey briefed President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the investigation shortly before the inauguration of Trump. When Comey admitted the communications between Flynn and Russian officials appeared legitimate, Biden reportedly suggested using the Logan Act, a law widely seen as unconstitutional and never been used to successfully convict a single person, as an alternative charge against Flynn. The memo contradicts eventual claims by Biden that he did not know about the Flynn investigation. Let us detail some proven but mostly unseen facts.

First, the Russia collusion allegations were based in large  part on the dossier funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Clinton campaign repeatedly denied paying for the dossier until after the election, when it was confronted with irrefutable evidence that the money had been buried among legal expenditures. As New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it and with sanctimony for a year.”

Second, FBI agents had warned that dossier author Christopher Steele may have been used by Russian intelligence to plant false information to disrupt the election. His source for the most serious allegations claims that Steele misrepresented what he had said and that it was little more than rumors that were recast by Steele as reliable intelligence.

Third, the Obama administration had been told that the basis for the FISA application was dubious and likely false. Yet it continued the investigation, and then someone leaked its existence to the media. Another declassified document shows that, after the New York Times ran a leaked story on the investigation, even Strzok had balked at the account as misleading and inaccurate. His early 2017 memo affirmed that there was no evidence of any individuals in contact with Russians. This information came as the collusion stories were turning into a frenzy that would last years.

Fourth, the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and inspectors general found no evidence of collusion or knowing contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. What inspectors general did find were false statements or possible criminal conduct by Comey and others. While unable to say it was the reason for their decisions, they also found statements of animus against Trump and his campaign by the FBI officials who were leading the investigation. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified he never would have approved renewal of the FISA surveillance and encouraged further investigation into such bias.

Finally, Obama and Biden were aware of the investigation, as were the administration officials who publicly ridiculed Trump when he said there was spying on his campaign. Others, like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, declared they had evidence of collusion but never produced it. Countless reporters, columnists, and analysts still continue to deride, as writer Max Boot said it, the spinning of “absurd conspiracy theories” about how the FBI “supposedly spied on the Trump campaign.”

Willful blindness has its advantages. The media covered the original leak and the collusion narrative, despite mounting evidence that it was false. They filled hours of cable news shows and pages of print with a collusion story discredited by the FBI. Virtually none of these journalists or experts have acknowledged that the collusion leaks were proven false, let alone pursue the troubling implications of national security powers being used to target the political opponents of an administration. But in Washington, success often depends not on what you see but what you can unsee.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twin Pillars of Russiagate Crumble

For two and a half years the House Intelligence Committee knew CrowdStrike didn’t have the goods on Russia. Now the public knows too.

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – May 9, 2020

House Intelligence Committee documents released Thursday reveal that the committee was told two and half years ago that the FBI had no concrete evidence that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computers to filch the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks in July 2016.

The until-now-buried, closed-door testimony came on Dec. 5, 2017 from Shawn Henry, a protege of former FBI Director Robert Mueller (from 2001 to 2012), for whom Henry served as head of the Bureau’s cyber crime investigations unit.

Henry retired in 2012 and took a senior position at CrowdStrike, the cyber security firm hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to investigate the cyber intrusions that occurred before the 2016 presidential election.

The following excerpts from Henry’s testimony speak for themselves. The dialogue is not a paragon of clarity; but if read carefully, even cyber neophytes can understand:

Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?

Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Mr. [Chris] Stewart of Utah: Okay. What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?

Mr. Henry: There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. …

Mr. Stewart: But you have a much lower degree of confidence that this data actually left than you do, for example, that the Russians were the ones who breached the security?

Mr. Henry: There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network.

Mr. Stewart: And circumstantial is less sure than the other evidence you’ve indicated. …

Mr. Henry: “We didn’t have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made.

In answer to a follow-up query on this line of questioning, Henry delivered this classic: “Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn’t see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw.”

Inadvertently highlighting the tenuous underpinning for CrowdStrike’s “belief” that Russia hacked the DNC emails, Henry added: “There are other nation-states that collect this type of intelligence for sure, but the — what we would call the tactics and techniques were consistent with what we’d seen associated with the Russian state.”

Not Transparent

Try as one may, some of the testimony remains opaque. Part of the problem is ambiguity in the word “exfiltration.”

The word can denote (1) transferring data from a computer via the Internet (hacking) or (2) copying data physically to an external storage device with intent to leak it.

As the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has been reporting for more than three years, metadata and other hard forensic evidence indicate that the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else.

Rather, they were copied onto an external storage device (probably a thumb drive) by someone with access to DNC computers. Besides, any hack over the Internet would almost certainly have been discovered by the dragnet coverage of the National Security Agency and its cooperating foreign intelligence services.

Henry testifies that “it appears it [the theft of DNC emails] was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”

This, in VIPS view, suggests that someone with access to DNC computers “set up” selected emails for transfer to an external storage device — a thumb drive, for example. The Internet is not needed for such a transfer. Use of the Internet would have been detected, enabling Henry to pinpoint any “exfiltration” over that network.

Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director and a VIPS member, filed a sworn affidavit in the Roger Stone case. Binney said: “WikiLeaks did not receive stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive.”

The So-Called Intelligence Community Assessment

There is not much good to be said about the embarrassingly evidence-impoverished Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017 accusing Russia of hacking the DNC.

But the ICA did include two passages that are highly relevant and demonstrably true:

(1) In introductory remarks on “cyber incident attribution”, the authors of the ICA made a highly germane point: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.”

(2) “When analysts use words such as ‘we assess’ or ‘we judge,’ [these] are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. … Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.” [And one might add that they commonly ARE wrong when analysts succumb to political pressure, as was the case with the ICA.]

The intelligence-friendly corporate media, nonetheless, immediately awarded the status of Holy Writ to the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” (it was a rump effort prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only CIA, FBI, and NSA), and chose to overlook the banal, full-disclosure-type caveats embedded in the assessment itself.

Then National Intelligence Director James Clapper and the directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA on Jan. 5, 2017, the day before they gave it personally to President-elect Donald Trump.

On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference, Obama saw fit to use lawyerly language on the key issue of how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks, in an apparent effort to cover his own derriere.

Obama: “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.”

So we ended up with “inconclusive conclusions” on that admittedly crucial point. What Obama was saying is that U.S. intelligence did not know—or professed not to know—exactly how the alleged Russian transfer to WikiLeaks was supposedly made, whether through a third party, or cutout, and he muddied the waters by first saying it was a hack, and then a leak.

From the very outset, in the absence of any hard evidence, from NSA or from its foreign partners, of an Internet hack of the DNC emails, the claim that “the Russians gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks” rested on thin gruel.

In November 2018 at a public forum, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had serious doubts in late Jan. 2017, less than two weeks after Clapper and the other intelligence chiefs had thoroughly briefed the outgoing president about their “high-confidence” findings.

Clapper replied: “I cannot explain what he [Obama] said or why. But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.” Pretty sure?

Comey briefs Obama, June 2016 (Flickr)

Preferring CrowdStrike; ’Splaining to Congress

CrowdStrike already had a tarnished reputation for credibility when the DNC and Clinton campaign chose it to do work the FBI should have been doing to investigate how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. It had asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s struggle with separatists supported by Russia. A Voice of America report explained why CrowdStrike was forced to retract that claim.

Why did FBI Director James Comey not simply insist on access to the DNC computers? Surely he could have gotten the appropriate authorization. In early January 2017, reacting to media reports that the FBI never asked for access, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee there were “multiple requests at different levels” for access to the DNC servers.

“Ultimately what was agreed to is the private company would share with us what they saw,” he said. Comey described CrowdStrike as a “highly respected” cybersecurity company.

Asked by committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) whether direct access to the servers and devices would have helped the FBI in their investigation, Comey said it would have. “Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved, so it’s the best evidence,” he said.

Five months later, after Comey had been fired, Burr gave him a Mulligan in the form of a few kid-gloves, clearly well-rehearsed, questions:

BURR: And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate — did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?

COMEY: In the case of the DNC, … we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn’t get direct access.

BURR: But no content?

COMEY: Correct.

BURR: Isn’t content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?

COMEY: It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks — the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016.

In June last year it was revealed that CrowdStrike never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, according to the Justice Department.

By any normal standard, former FBI Director Comey would now be in serious legal trouble, as should Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, et al. Additional evidence of FBI misconduct under Comey seems to surface every week — whether the abuses of FISA, misconduct in the case against Gen. Michael Flynn, or misleading everyone about Russian hacking of the DNC. If I were attorney general, I would declare Comey a flight risk and take his passport. And I would do the same with Clapper and Brennan.

Schiff: Every Confidence
But No Evidence

Both pillars of Russiagate–collusion and a Russian hack–have now fairly crumbled.

Thursday’s disclosure of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee shows Chairman Adam Schiff lied not only about Trump-Putin “collusion,” [which the Mueller report failed to prove and whose allegations were based on DNC and Clinton-financed opposition research] but also about the even more basic issue of “Russian hacking” of the DNC.

[See: “The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate” republished today.]

Five days after Trump took office, I had an opportunity to confront Schiff personally about evidence that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails. He had repeatedly given that canard the patina of flat fact during an address at the old Hillary Clinton/John Podesta “think tank,” The Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Fortunately, the cameras were still on when I approached Schiff during the Q&A: “You have every confidence but no evidence, is that right?” I asked him. His answer was a harbinger of things to come. This video clip may be worth the few minutes needed to watch it.

Schiff and his partners in crime will be in for much tougher treatment if Trump allows Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham to bring their investigation into the origins of Russia-gate to a timely conclusion. Barr’s dismissal on Thursday of charges against Flynn, after released FBI documents revealed that a perjury trap was set for him to keep Russiagate going, may be a sign of things to come.

Given the timid way Trump has typically bowed to intelligence and law enforcement officials, including those who supposedly report to him, however, one might rather expect that, after a lot of bluster, he will let the too-big-to-imprison ones off the hook. The issues are now drawn; the evidence is copious; will the Deep State, nevertheless, be able to prevail this time?

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A former CIA analyst, his retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Both Republicans and Democrats Want Russia to Become the Enemy of Choice

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 6, 2020

One of the more interesting aspects of the nauseating impeachment trial in the Senate was the repeated vilification of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. To hate Russia has become dogma on both sides of the political aisle, in part because no politician has really wanted to confront the lesson of the 2016 election, which was that most Americans think that the federal government is basically incompetent and staffed by career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell who should return back home and get real jobs. Worse still, it is useless, and much like the one trick pony the only thing it can do is steal money from the taxpayers and waste it on various types of self-gratification that only politicians can appreciate. That means that the United States is engaged is fighting multiple wars against make-believe enemies while the country’s infrastructure rots and a host of officially certified grievance groups control the public space. It sure doesn’t look like Kansas anymore.

The fact that opinion polls in Europe suggest that many Europeans would rather have Vladimir Putin than their own hopelessly corrupt leaders is suggestive. One can buy a whole range of favorable t-shirts featuring Vladimir Putin on Ebay, also suggesting that most Americans find the official Russophobia narrative both mysterious and faintly amusing. They may not really be into the expressed desire of the huddled masses in D.C. to go to war to bring true U.S. style democracy to the un-enlightened.

One also must wonder if the Democrats are reading the tea leaves correctly. If they think that a slogan like “Honest Joe Biden will keep us safe from Moscow” will be a winner in 2020 they might again be missing the bigger picture. Since the focus on Trump’s decidedly erratic behavior will inevitably die down after the impeachment trial is completed, the Democrats will have to come up with something compelling if they really want to win the presidency and it sure won’t be the largely fictionalized Russian threat.

Nevertheless, someone should tell Congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to shut up as he is becoming an international embarrassment. His “closing arguments” speeches last week were respectively two-and-a-half hours and ninety minutes long and were inevitably praised by the mainstream media as “magisterial,” “powerful,” and “impressive.” The Washington Post’s resident Zionist extremist Jennifer Rubin labeled it “a grand slam” while legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it “dazzling.” Gail Collins of the New York Times dubbed it “a great job” and added that Schiff is now “a rock star.” Daily Beast enthused that the remarks “will go down in history” and progressive activist Ryan Knight called it “a closing statement for the ages.” Hollywood was also on board with actress Debra Messing tweeting “I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country.”

Actually, a better adjective would have been “scary” and not merely due to its elaboration of the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Trump, much of which was undeniably true even if not necessarily impeachable. It was scary because it was a warmongers speech, full of allusions to Russia, to Moscow’s “interference” in 2016, and to the ridiculous proposition that if Trump were to be defeated in 2020 he might not concede and Russia could even intervene militarily in the United States in support of its puppet. Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to “assure the integrity” of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”

Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said “As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that “Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power.” Aaron Mate at The Nation added that “For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let’s assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke.”

Over at Antiwar Daniel Lazare explains how the Wednesday speech was “a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to [Democratic Party] dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they’ll be driven from the fold.”

The orthodoxy that Lazare was writing about includes the established Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer narrative that Russia invaded “poor innocent Ukraine” in 2014, that it interfered in the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that it is currently trying to smear Joe Biden. One might add to that the growing consensus that Russia can and will interfere again in 2020 to help Trump. Absent from the narrative is the part how the U.S. intervened in Ukraine first to remove its government and the fact that there is something very unsavory about Joe Biden’s son taking a high-paying sinecure board position from a notably corrupt Ukrainian oligarch while his father was Vice President and allegedly directing U.S. assistance to a Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that “Russia is not a threat … to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again.” Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the “United States” for “Russia” and “Kremlin” and changes “Ukraine” to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible.

The compulsion on the part of the Democrats to bring down Trump to avoid having to deal with their own failings has brought about a shift in their established foreign policy, placing the neocons and their friends back in charge. For Schiff, who has enthusiastically supported every failed American military effort since 9/11, today’s Russia is the Soviet Union reborn, and don’t you forget it pardner! Newsweek is meanwhile reporting that the U.S. military is reading the tea leaves and is gearing up to fight the Russians. Per Schiff, Trump must be stopped as he is part of a grand Russian conspiracy to overthrow everything the United States stands for. If the Kremlin is not stopped now, it’s first major step, per Schiff, will be to “remake the map of Europe by dint of military force.”

Donald Trump’s erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 4 Comments

Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | June 7, 2018

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement.  That did not prevent the “handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to WikiLeaks.” Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA “assessment” became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump. It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself. No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still “can’t share the evidence” with me … or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

WikiLeaks

Schiff: Can’t share evidence

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of “emails related to Hillary Clinton,” throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders.  When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions “to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.” The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer’ Fox, Bernie didn’t say nothin’.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating “forensic facts” to “prove” the Russians did it.  Here’s how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the “handpicked analysts” who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do. The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the “hack” that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider — the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the “fluid dynamics” principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated, “We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: “Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

“No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

“Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as ‘news fit to print’ and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since.

“The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, ‘did not get the memo’ in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: ‘WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.’

“The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use ‘obfuscation,’ and that Marble source code includes a “de-obfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

“More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a ‘forensic attribution double game’ or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.”

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical director, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun.

The CIA’s reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: “Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be ‘masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin’ [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

“‘Hackers may be anywhere,’ he said. ‘There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.’

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

“Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

“We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental.” The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies: The New York Times, 1917–2017

Edward S. Herman, the economist, Wharton School professor emeritus, and prolific author, died this week at age 92. The following article by Edward Herman appeared in the July-August issue of Monthly Review .

It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of “fake news.” These publications take it as an obvious truth that what they provide is straightforward, unbiased, fact-based reporting. They do offer such news, but they also provide a steady flow of their own varied forms of fake news, often by disseminating false or misleading information supplied to them by the national security state, other branches of government, and sites of corporate power

An important form of mainstream media fake news is that which is presented while suppressing information that calls the preferred news into question. This was the case with “The Lie That Wasn’t Shot Down,” the title of a January 18, 1988, Times editorial referring to a propaganda claim of five years earlier that the editors had swallowed and never looked into any further. The lie—that the Soviets knew that Korean airliner 007, which they shot down on August 31, 1983, was a civilian plane—was eventually uncovered by congressman Lee Hamilton, not by the Times.

Mainstream media fake news is especially likely where a party line is quickly formed on a topic, with any deviations therefore immediately dismissed as naïve, unpatriotic, or simply wrong. In a dramatic illustration, for a book chapter entitled “Worthy and Unworthy Victims,” Noam Chomsky and I showed that coverage by Time, Newsweek, CBS News, and the New York Times of the 1984 murder of the priest Jerzy Popieluzko in Communist Poland, a dramatic and politically useful event for the politicized Western mainstream media, exceeded all their coverage of the murders of a hundred religious figures killed in Latin America by U.S. client states in the post-Second World War years taken together.1 It was cheap and safe to focus heavily on the “worthy” victim, whereas looking closely at the deaths of those hundred would have required an expensive and sometimes dangerous research effort that would have upset the State Department. But it was in effect a form of fake news to so selectively devote coverage (and indignation) to a politically useful victim, while ignoring large numbers whose murder the political establishment sought to downplay or completely suppress.

Fake news on Russia is a Times tradition that can be traced back at least as far as the 1917 revolution. In a classic study of the paper’s coverage of Russia from February 1917 to March 1920, Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz found that “From the point of view of professional journalism the reporting of the Russian Revolution is nothing short of a disaster. On the essential questions the net effect was almost always misleading, and misleading news is worse than none at all…. They can fairly be charged with boundless credulity, and an untiring readiness to be gulled, and on many occasions with a downright lack of common sense.”2 Lippmann and Merz found that strong editorial bias clearly fed into news reporting. The editors’ zealous opposition to the communists led the paper to report atrocities that never happened, and to predict the imminent collapse of the Bolshevik regime no fewer than ninety-one times in three years. Journalists uncritically accepted official statements and relied on reports from unidentified “high authority.” This was standard Times practice.

This fake news performance of 1917–20 was repeated often in the years that followed. The Soviet Union was an enemy target up to the Second World War, and through it all, Times coverage was consistently hostile. With the end of the war and the emergence of the Soviet Union as a military rival, and soon a competing nuclear power, the Cold War was on. In the United States, anti-communism became a national religion, and the Soviet Union was portrayed in official discourse and the news media as a global menace in urgent need of containment. With this ideology in place and with U.S. plans for its own global expansion of power established, the Communist threat would help sustain the steady growth of the military-industrial complex and repeated interventions to counter purported Soviet aggressions.3

An Early Great Crime: Guatemala

One of the most flagrant cases in which the Soviet threat was exploited to justify U.S.-sponsored violence was the overthrow of the social democratic government of Guatemala in 1954 by a small proxy army invading from U.S. ally Somoza’s Nicaragua. This action was provoked by government reforms that upset U.S. officials, including a 1947 law permitting the formation of labor unions, and plans to buy back (at tax-rate valuations) and distribute to landless peasants some of the unused property owned by United Fruit Company and other large landowners. The United States, which had been perfectly content with the earlier fourteen-year-long dictatorship of Jose Ubico, could not tolerate this democratic challenge, and the elected government, led by Jacobo Arbenz, was soon charged with assorted villainies, based on an alleged Red capture of the Guatemalan government.4

In the pre-invasion propaganda campaign, the mainstream media fell into line behind false charges of extreme government repression, threats to its neighbors, and the Communist takeover. The Times repeatedly reported these alleged abuses and threats from 1950 onward (my favorite: Sidney Gruson’s “How Communists Won Control of Guatemala,” March 1, 1953). Arbenz and his predecessor, Juan Jose Arevalo, had carefully avoided establishing any embassies with Soviet bloc countries, fearing U.S. reprisals—to no avail. Following the removal of Arbenz and the installation of a right-wing dictatorship, court historian Ronald Schneider, after studying 50,000 documents seized from Communist sources in Guatemala, found that not only did Communists never control the country, but that the Soviet Union “made no significant or even material investment in the Arbenz regime,” and was at the time too preoccupied with internal problems to concern itself with Central America.5

The coup government quickly attacked and decimated the new social groups that had formed in the democratic era, mainly peasant, worker, and teacher organizations. Arbenz had won 65 percent of the votes in a free election, but the “liberator” Castillo Armas quickly won a “plebiscite” with 99.6 percent of the vote. Although this is a result familiar in totalitarian regimes, the mainstream media had by then lost interest in Guatemala, barely mentioning this electoral outcome. The Times had claimed in 1950 that U.S. Guatemala policy “is not trying to block social and economic progress but is interested in seeing that Guatemala becomes a liberal democracy.”6 But in the aftermath, the editors failed to note that the result of U.S. policy was precisely to “block social and economic progress,” through the installation of a regime of reactionary terror.

In 2011, more than half a century after 1954, the Times reported that Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom had apologized for that “Great Crime,” the violent overthrow of the Arbenz government, “an act of aggression to a government starting its democratic spring.”7 The article mentions that, according to president Colom, the Arbenz family is “seeking an apology from the United States for its role” in the Great Crime. The Times has never made any apology or even acknowledgement of its own role in the Great Crime.

Another Great Crime: Vietnam

Fake news abounded in the Times and other mainstream publications during the Vietnam War. The common perception that the paper’s editors opposed the war is misleading and essentially false. In Without Fear or Favor, former Times reporter Harrison Salisbury acknowledged that in 1962, when U.S. intervention escalated, the Times was “deeply and consistently” supportive of the war policy.8 He contends that the paper grew steadily more oppositional from 1965, culminating in the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. But Salisbury fails to recognize that from 1954 to the present, the Times never abandoned the Cold War framework and vocabulary, according to which the United States was resisting another nation’s “aggression” and protecting “South Vietnam.” The paper never applied the word aggression to this country, but used it freely in referring to North Vietnamese actions and those of the National Liberation Front in the southern half of Vietnam.

The various pauses in the U.S. bombing war in 1965 and after, in the alleged interest of “giving peace a chance,” were also the basis of fake news as the Johnson administration used these temporary halts to quiet antiwar protests, while making it clear to the Vietnamese that U.S. officials demanded full surrender. The Times and its colleagues swallowed this bait without a murmur of dissent.9

Furthermore, although from 1965 onward the Times was willing to publish more reports that put the war in a less favorable light, it never broke from its heavy dependence on official sources, or from its reluctance to confront the damage wrought on Vietnam and its civilian population by the U.S. war machine. In contrast with its eager pursuit of Cambodian refugees from the Khmer Rouge after April 1975, the paper rarely sought testimony from the millions of Vietnamese refugees fleeing U.S. bombing and chemical warfare. In its opinion columns as well, the new openness was limited to commentators who accepted the premises of the war and would confine their criticisms to its tactical problems and domestic costs. From beginning to end, those who criticized the war as an immoral campaign of sheer aggression were excluded from the debate.10

The 1981 Papal Assassination Attempt

The mainstream media gave a further boost to Cold War propaganda in reporting on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in Rome in May 1981. At a time when the Reagan administration was seeking to demonize the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” the shooting of the pope by Turkish fascist Ali Agca was quickly tied to Moscow, helped by Agca’s confession—after seventeen months of imprisonment, interrogations, threats, inducements, and access to the media—that the Bulgarians and Soviet KGB were behind it all. No credible evidence supported this connection, the claims were implausible, and the corruption in the process was remarkable. (Agca also periodically claimed to be Jesus Christ.) The case against the Bulgarians (and implicitly the KGB) was lost even in Italy’s extremely biased and politicized judicial framework. But the Times bought it, and gave it prolonged, intense, and completely unquestioning attention, as did most of the U.S. media.

During the 1991 Senate hearings on the nomination of Robert Gates to head the CIA, former agency officer Melvin Goodman testified that the CIA knew from the start that Agca’s confessions were false, because they had “very good penetration” of the Bulgarian secret services. The Times omitted this statement in its reporting on Goodman’s testimony. During the same year, with Bulgaria now a member of the “free world,” conservative analyst Allen Weinstein obtained permission to examine Bulgarian secret service files on the assassination attempt. His mission was widely reported, including in the Times, but when he returned without having found anything implicating Bulgaria or the KGB, several papers, including the Times, found his investigations no longer newsworthy.

Missile Gap

From roughly 1975 to 1986, much of the reporting on the purported “missile gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union was little more than fake news, with Times reporters passing along a steady stream of inflammatory official statements and baseless claims. An important case occurred in the mid-1970s, as right-wing hawks in the Ford administration were trying to escalate the Cold War and arms race. A 1975 CIA report had found that the Soviets were aiming only for nuclear parity. This was unsatisfactory, so CIA head George H. W. Bush appointed a new team of hardliners, who soon found that the Soviets were achieving nuclear superiority and preparing to fight a nuclear war. This so-called Team B report was taken at face value in a Times front page article of December 26, 1976, by David Binder, who failed to mention its political bias or purpose, and made no attempt to consult experts with differing views. The CIA finally admitted in 1983 that the Team B estimates were fabrications. But throughout this period, the Times supported the case for militarization by disseminating false information, much of it convincingly refuted by Tom Gervasi in his classic The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy, a book never reviewed in the Times.

Yugoslavia and “Humanitarian Intervention”

The 1990s wars of dismantlement in Yugoslavia succeeded in removing an independent government from power and replacing it with a broken Serbian remnant and poor and unstable failed states in Bosnia and Kosovo. It also provided unwarranted support for the concept of “humanitarian intervention,” which rested on a mass of misrepresentations and selective reporting. The demonized Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević was not an ultra-nationalist seeking a “Greater Serbia,” but rather a non-aligned leader on the Western hit list who tried to help Serb minorities in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo remain in Yugoslavia as the United States and the European Union supported a legally questionable exodus by several constituent Yugoslav Republics. He supported each of the proposed settlements of these conflicts, which were sabotaged by Bosnian and U.S. officials who wanted better terms or the outright military defeat of Serbia, ultimately achieving the latter. Milošević had nothing to do with the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which Bosnian Serbs took revenge on Bosnian Muslim soldiers who had been ravaging nearby Bosnian Serb villages from their base in Srebrenica under NATO protection. The several thousand Serb civilian deaths were essentially unreported in the mainstream media, while the numbers of Srebrenica’s executed victims were correspondingly inflated.11

The Putin Era

The U.S. political establishment was shocked and delighted by the 1989–91 fall of the Soviet Union, and its members were similarly pleased with the policies of President Boris Yeltsin, a virtual U.S. client, under whose rule ordinary Russians suffered a calamitous fall in living standards, while a small set of oligarchs were able to loot the broken state. Yeltsin’s election victory in 1996, greatly assisted by U.S. consultants, advice, and money, was, for the editors of the Times, “A Victory for Russian Democracy.”12 They were not bothered by either the electoral corruption, the creation of a grand-larceny-based economic oligarchy, or, shortly thereafter, the new rules centralizing power in the office of president.13

Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, gradually abandoned the former’s subservience to Western interests, and was thereby perceived as a menace. His reelection in 2012, although surely less corrupt than Yeltsin’s in 1996, was castigated in the U.S. media. The lead Times article on May 5, 2012, featured “a slap in the face” from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observers, claims of no real competition, and “thousands of antigovernment protesters gathered in Moscow square to chant ‘Russia without Putin.’”14 There had been no “challenges to legitimacy” reported in the Times after Yeltsin’s tainted victory in 1996.

The demonization of Putin escalated with the Ukraine crisis of 2014 and subsequent Kiev warfare in Eastern Ukraine, Russian support of the East Ukraine resistance, and the Crimean referendum and absorption of Crimea by Russia. This was all declared “aggression” by the United States and its allies and clients, and sanctions were imposed on Russia, and a major U.S.-NATO military buildup was initiated on Russia’s borders. Tensions mounted further with the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over southeastern Ukraine—promptly, but almost surely falsely, blamed on the “pro-Russian” rebels and Russia itself.15

Anti-Russian hostilities were further inflamed by the country’s escalated intervention in Syria from 2015 on, in support of Bashar al-Assad and against rebel forces that had come to be dominated by ISIS and al-Nusra, an offshoot of al-Qaeda. The United States and its NATO and Middle East allies had been committing aggression against Syria, in de facto alliance with al-Nusra and other extremist Islamic factions, for several years. Russian intervention turned the tide, frustrating the U.S. and Saudi goal of regime change against Assad, and weakening tacit U.S. allies.

The Times has covered these developments with unstinting apologetics—for the February 2014 coup in Kiev—which it has never labeled as such, for the U.S. role in the overthrow of the elected government of Victor Yanukovych, and with anger and horror at the Crimea referendum and Russian absorption, which it never allows might be a defensive response to the Kiev coup. Its calls for punishment for the casualty-free Russian “aggression” in Crimea is in marked contrast to its apologetics for the million-plus casualties caused by U.S. aggression “of choice” (not defensive) in Iraq from March 2003 on. The paper’s editors and columnists condemn Putin’s disregard for international law, while exempting their own country from criticism for its repeated violations of that same law.16

In the Times‘s reporting and opinion columns Russia is regularly assailed as expansionist and threatening its neighbors, but virtually no mention is made of NATO’s expansion up to the Russian borders and first-strike-threat placement of anti-missile weapons in Eastern Europe—the latter earlier claimed to be in response to a missile threat from Iran! Analyses by political scientist John Mearsheimer and Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen that noted this NATO advance were excluded from the opinion pages of the Times.17 In contrast, a member of the Russian band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, was given op-ed space to denounce Putin and Russia, and the punk rock group was granted a meeting with the Times editorial board.18 Between January 1 and March 31, 2014, the paper ran twenty-three articles featuring Pussy Riot and its alleged significance as a symbol of Russian limits on free speech. Pussy Riot had disrupted a church service in Moscow and only stopped after police intervened, at the request of church authorities. A two-year prison sentence followed. Meanwhile, in February 2014, eighty-four-year-old nun Sister Megan Rice was sentenced to four years in prison for having entered a U.S. nuclear weapons site in July 2012 and carried out a symbolic protest. The Times gave this news a tiny mention in its National Briefing section, under the title “Tennessee Nun is Sentenced for Peace Protest.” No op-ed columns or meeting with the Times board for Rice. There are worthy and unworthy protesters, just as there are victims.

In Syria, with Russian help, Assad’s army and allied militias were able to dislodge the rebels from Aleppo, to the dismay of Washington and the mainstream media. It has been enlightening to see the alarm expressed over civilian casualties in Aleppo, with accompanying photographs of forsaken children and stories of civilian suffering and deprivation. The Times’ focus on those civilians and children and its indignation at Putin-Assad inhumanity stands in sharp contrast with their virtual silence on massive civilian casualties in Fallujah in 2004 and beyond, and more recently in rebel-held areas of Syria, and in the Iraqi city of Mosul, under U.S. and allied attack.19 The differential treatment of worthy and unworthy victims has been in full force in coverage of Syria.

A further phase of intensifying Russophobia may be dated from the October 2016 presidential debates, in which Hillary Clinton declared that Donald Trump would be a Putin “puppet” as president, a theme her campaign began to stress. This emphasis only increased after the election, with the help of the media and intelligence services, as the Clinton camp sought to explain their electoral loss, maintain party control, and possibly even have the election results overturned in the courts or electoral college by attributing Trump’s victory to Russian interference.

A major impetus for the Putin connection came with the January 2017 release of a report by the Office of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Background of Assessing Russian Activities and Intention in Recent US Elections. More than half of this short document is devoted to the Russian-sponsored RT news network, which the report treats as an illegitimate propaganda source. The organization is allegedly part of Russia’s “influence campaign… [that] aspired to help President-elect Trump’s chances of victory when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to the President-elect.” No semblance of proof is offered that there was any planned “campaign,” rather than an ongoing expression of opinion and news judgments. The same standards used to identify a Russian “influence campaign” could be applied with equal force to U.S. media and Radio Free Europe’s treatment of any Russian election—and of course, the U.S. intervention in the 1996 Russian election was overt, direct, and went far beyond any covert “influence campaign.”

Regarding more direct Russian intervention in the U.S. election, the DNI authors concede the absence of “full supporting evidence,” but in fact provide no supporting evidence at all—only speculative assertions, assumptions, and guesses. “We assess that… Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2015,” they write, designed to defeat Mrs. Clinton, and “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process,” but provide no proof of any such order. The report also contains no evidence that Russia hacked the communications of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or the emails of Clinton and former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, or that it gave hacked information to WikiLeaks. Julian Assange and former British diplomat Craig Murray have repeatedly claimed that these sources were leaked by local insiders, not hacked from outside. Veteran intelligence experts William Binney and Ray McGovern likewise contend that the WikiLeaks evidence was leaked, not hacked.20 It is also notable that of the three intelligence agencies who signed the DNI document, the National Security Agency—the agency most likely to have proof of Russian hacking and its transmission to WikiLeaks, as well as of any “orders” from Putin—only expressed “moderate confidence” in its findings.

But as with the Reds ruling Guatemala, the Soviets outpacing U.S. missile capabilities, or the KGB plotting to assassinate the pope, the Times has taken the Russian hacking story as established fact, despite the absence of hard evidence. Times reporter David Sanger refers to the report’s “damning and surprisingly detailed account of Russia’s efforts to undermine the American electoral system,” only to then acknowledge that the published report “contains no information about how the agencies had … come to their conclusions.”21 The report itself includes the astonishing statement that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” Furthermore, if the report was based on “intercepts of conversations” as well as on hacked computer data, as Sanger and the DNI claim, why has the DNI failed to quote a single conversation showing Putin’s alleged orders and plans?

The Times has never cited or given op-ed space to William Binney, Ray McGovern, or Craig Murray, leading dissident authorities on hacking technology, methodology, and the specifics of the DNC hacks. But room was found for Louise Mensch’s op-ed “What to Ask about Russian Hacking.” Mensch is a notorious conspiracy theorist with no relevant technical background, described by writers Nathan Robinson and Alex Nichols as best-known for “spending most of her time on Twitter issuing frenzied denunciations of imagined armies of online ‘Putinbots,’” making her “one of the least credible people on the internet.”22 But she is published in the Times because, in contrast with the informed and credible Binney and Murray, she follows the party line, taking Russian hacking of the DNC as a premise.

The CIA’s brazen intervention in the electoral process in 2016 and 2017 broke new ground in the agency’s politicization. Former CIA head Michael Morell announced in an August 2016 op-ed in the Times: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton,” and former CIA boss Michael Hayden published an op-ed in the Washington Post just days before the election, entitled “Former CIA Chief: Trump is Russia’s Useful Fool.” Morell had yet another op-ed in the Times on January 6, now openly assailing the new president. These attacks were unrelievedly insulting to Trump and laudatory to Clinton, even portraying Trump as a traitor; they also made clear that Clinton’s more pugnacious stance toward Syria and Russia was preferable by far to Trump’s leanings toward negotiation and cooperation with Russia.

This was also true of the scandal surrounding former Trump Defense Intelligence nominee Michael Flynn’s telephone call with the Russian ambassador, which may have included a discussion of the incoming administration’s policy actions. The political possibilities of this interaction were quickly grasped by outgoing Obama officials, security personnel, and the mainstream media, with the FBI interrogating Flynn and with widespread expressions of horror at Flynn’s action, which could have allegedly exposed him to Russian blackmail. But such pre-inauguration meetings with Russian diplomats have been a “common practice” according to Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador to Russia under Reagan and Bush, and Matlock had personally arranged such a meeting for Jimmy Carter.23 Obama’s own ambassador to the country, Michael McFaul, admitted visiting Moscow for talks with officials in 2008, even before the election. Daniel Lazare has made a good case not only that the illegality and blackmail threat are implausible, but that the FBI’s interrogation of Flynn reeks of entrapment. “Yet anti-Trump liberals are trying to convince the public that it’s all ‘worse than Watergate.’”24

The political point of the DNI report thus seems to have been, at minimum, to tie the Trump administration’s hands in its dealings with Russia. Some analysts outside the mainstream have argued that we may have been witnessing an incipient spy or palace coup that fell short, but still had the desired effect of weakening the new administration.25 The Times has not offered a word of criticism of this politicization and intervention in the election process by intelligence agencies, and in fact the editors have been working with them and the Democratic Party as a loose-knit team in a distinctly un- and anti-democratic program designed to undermine or reverse the results of the 2016 election, on the pretext of alleged foreign electoral interference.

The Times and the mainstream media in general have also barely mentioned the awkward fact that the allegedly hacked disclosures of the DNC and Clinton and Podesta emails disclosed uncontested facts about real electoral manipulations on behalf of the Clinton campaign, facts that the public had a right to know and that might well have affected the election results. The focus on the evidence-free claims of a Russian hacking intrusion have helped divert attention from the real electoral abuses disclosed by the WikiLeaks material. Here again, official and mainstream media fake news helped bury real news.

Another arrow in the Russophobia quiver was a private intelligence “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent working for Orbis Business Intelligence, a private firm hired by the DNC to dig up dirt on Trump. Steele’s first report, delivered in June 2016, made numerous serious accusations against Trump, most notably that Trump had been caught in a sexual escapade in Moscow, that his political advance had been supported by the Kremlin for at least five years, under Putin’s direction, in order to sow discord within the U.S. political establishment and disrupt the Western alliance. This document was based on alleged conversations by Steele with distant (Russian) officials: that is, strictly on hearsay evidence, whose assertions, where verifiable, are sometimes erroneous.26 But it said just what the Democrats, the mainstream media, and the CIA wanted to hear, and intelligence officials accordingly declared the author “credible,” and the media lapped it up. The Times hedged somewhat on its own cooperation in this tawdry campaign by calling the report “unverified,” but nevertheless reported its claims.27

The Steele dossier also became a central part of the investigation and hearings on “Russia-gate” held by the House Intelligence Committee starting in March 2017, led by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff. While basing his opening statement on the hearsay-laden dossier, Schiff expressed no interest in establishing who funded the Steele effort, the identity and exact status of the Russian officials quoted, or how much they were paid. Apparently talking to Russians with a design of influencing an American presidential election is perfectly acceptable if the candidate supported by this intrusion is anti-Russian!

The Times has played a major role in this latest wave of Russophobia, reminiscent of its 1917–20 performance in which, as Lippmann and Merz noted in 1920, “boundless credulity, and an untiring readiness to be gulled” characterized the news-making process. While quoting the CIA’s admission that it had no hard evidence, relying instead on “circumstantial evidence” and “capabilities,” the Times was happy to describe these capabilities at great length and to imply that they proved something.28 Editorials and news articles have worked uniformly on the false supposition that Russian hacking was proved, and that the Russians had given these data to WikiLeaks, also unproven and strenuously denied by Assange and Murray.

The Times has run neck-and-neck with the Washington Post in stirring up fears of the Russian information war and illicit involvement with Trump. The Times now easily conflates fake news with any criticism of established institutions, as in Mark Scott and Melissa Eddy’s “Europe Combats a New Foe of Political Stability: Fake News,” February 20, 2017.29 But what is more extraordinary is the uniformity with which the paper’s regular columnists accept as a given the CIA’s assessment of the Russian hacking and transmission to WikiLeaks, the possibility or likelihood that Trump is a Putin puppet, and the urgent need of a congressional and “non-partisan” investigation of these claims. This swallowing of a new war-party line has extended widely in the liberal media. Both the Times and Washington Post have lent tacit support to the idea that this “fake news” threat needs to be curbed, possibly by some form of voluntary media-organized censorship or government intervention that would at least expose the fakery.

The most remarkable media episode in this anti-influence-campaign was the Posts piece by Craig Timberg, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” which featured a report by a group of anonymous “experts” entity called PropOrNot that claimed to have identified two hundred websites that, wittingly or not, were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” While smearing these websites, many of them independent news outlets whose only shared trait was their critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy, the “experts” refused to identify themselves, allegedly out of fear of being “targeted by legions of skilled hackers.” As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote, “You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won’t put your name to your claims? Take a hike.”30 But the Post welcomed and promoted this McCarthyite effort, which might well be a product of Pentagon or CIA information warfare. (And these entities are themselves well-funded and heavily into the propaganda business.)

On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed the Portman-Murphy Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, which will supposedly allow the United States to more effectively combat foreign (namely Russian and Chinese) propaganda and disinformation. It will encourage more government counter-propaganda efforts, and provide funding to non-government entities to help in this enterprise. It is clearly a follow-on to the claims of Russian hacking and propaganda, and shares the spirit of the listing of two hundred tools of Moscow featured in the Washington Post. (Perhaps PropOrNot will qualify for a subsidy and be able to enlarge its list.) Liberals have been quiet on this new threat to freedom of speech, undoubtedly influenced by their fears of Russian-based fake news and propaganda. But they may yet take notice, even if belatedly, when Trump or one of his successors puts it to work on their own notions of fake news and propaganda.

The success of the war party’s campaign to contain or reverse any tendency to ease tensions with Russia was made dramatically clear in the Trump administration’s speedy bombing response to the April 4, 2017, Syrian chemical weapons deaths. The Times and other mainstream media editors and journalists greeted this aggressive move with almost uniform enthusiasm, and once again did not require evidence of Assad’s guilt beyond their government’s claims.31 The action was damaging to Assad and Russia, but served the rebels well.

But the mainstream media never ask cui bono? in cases like this. In 2013, a similar charge against Assad, which brought the United States to the brink of a full-scale bombing war in Syria, turned out to be a false flag operation, and some authorities believe the current case is equally problematic.32 Nevertheless, Trump moved quickly (and illegally), dealing a blow to any further rapprochement between the United States and Russia. The CIA, the Pentagon, leading Democrats, and the rest of the war party had won an important skirmish in the struggle over permanent war.

Notes

  1. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent (New York: Pantheon, 2008), chapter 2.
  2. Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, A Test of the News (New York: New Republic, 1920).
  3. On the Grand Area framework, see Noam Chomsky, “The New Framework of Order,” inOn Power and Ideology (Boston: South End, 1987).
  4. Edward S. Herman, “Returning Guatemala to the Fold,” in Gary Rawnsley, ed.,Cold War Propaganda in the 1950s (London: Macmillan, 1999).
  5. Ronald Schneider,Communism in Guatemala, 1944–1954 (New York: Praeger, 1959), 41, 196–97, 294.
  6. Editorial Board, “The Guatemala Incident,”New York Times, April 8, 1950.
  7. Elisabeth Malkin, “An Apology for a Guatemalan Coup, 57 Years Later,”New York Times, October 11, 2011.
  8. Harrison Salisbury,Without Fear or Favor (New York: Times Books, 1980), 486.
  9. Richard Du Boff and Edward Herman,America’s Vietnam Policy: The Strategy of Deception(Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs, 1966).
  10. See Chomsky and Herman, Manufacturing Consent, chapter 6.
  11. Editorial Board, “A Victory for Russian Democracy,”New York Times, July 4, 1996.
  12. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,”Monthly Review 59, no. 5 (October 2007); Herman and Peterson, “Poor Marlise: Her Old Allies Are Now Attacking the Tribunal and Even Portraying the Serbs as Victims,” ZNet, October 30, 2008, http://zcomm.org.
  13. Stephen F. Cohen,Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia (New York: Norton, 2000).
  14. Ellen Barry and Michael Schwartz, “After Election, Putin Faces Challenges to Legitimacy,”New York Times, March 5, 2012.
  15. Robert Parry, “Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report,” Consortium News, September 28, 2016, http://consortiumnews.com.
  16. Paul Krugman says, “Mr. Putin is someone who doesn’t worry about little things like international law” (“The Siberian Candidate,”New York Times, July 22, 2016)—implying, falsely, that U.S. leaders do “worry about” such things.
  17. A version of Mearsheimer’s article appeared as “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,”Foreign Affairs, September 10, 2014. The paper likewise rejected Stephen Cohen’s 2012 article “The Demonization of Putin.”
  18. “Sochi Under Siege,”New York Times, February 21, 2014.
  19. Michael Kimmelman, “Aleppo’s Faces Beckon to Us, To Little Avail,”New York Times, December 15, 2016. Above this front-page article were four photographs of dead or injured children, the most prominent one in Syria. The accompanying editorial, “Aleppo’s Destroyers: Assad, Putin, Iran,” omits some key actors and killers. See also Rick Sterling, “How US Propaganda Plays in Syrian War,” Consortium News, September 23, 2016.
  20. William Binney and Ray McGovern, “The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking,’” Consortium News, January 6, 2017.
  21. David Sanger, “Putin Ordered ‘Influence Campaign’ Aimed at U.S. Election, Report Says,”New York Times, January 6, 2017.
  22. Nathan J. Robinson and Alex Nichols, “What Constitutes Reasonable Mainstream Opinion,”Current Affairs, March 22, 2017.
  23. Jack Matlock, “Contacts with Russian Embassy,” Jack Matlock blog, March 4, 2017, http://jackmatlock.com.
  24. Daniel Lazare, “Democrats, Liberals, Catch McCarthyistic Fever,” Consortium News, February 17, 2017.
  25. Robert Parry, “A Spy Coup in America?” Consortium News, December 18, 2016; Andre Damon, “Democratic Party Floats Proposal for a Palace Coup,” Information Clearing House,” March 23, 2017, http://informationclearinghouse.info.
  26. Robert Parry, “The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate,” Consortium News, March 29, 2017.
  27. Scott Shane et al., “How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump,”New York Times, January 11, 2017.
  28. Matt Fegenheimer and Scott Shane, “Bipartisan Voices Back U.S. Agencies On Russia Hacking,”New York Times, January 6, 2017; Michael Shear and David Sanger, “Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds,”New York Times,January 7, 2017; Andrew Kramer, “How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar,”New York Times, December 30, 2016.
  29. Robert Parry, “NYT’s Fake News about Fake News,” Consortium News, February 22, 2017.
  30. Matt Taibbi, “The ‘Washington Post’ ‘Blacklist’ Story Is Shameful and Disgusting,”Rolling Stone, November 28, 2016.
  31. Adam Johnson, “Out of 47 Media Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Only One Opposed,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, April 11, 2017, http://fair.org.
  32. Scott Ritter, “Wag the Dog—How Al Qaeda Played Donald Trump and The American Media,” Huffington Post, April 9, 2017; James Carden, “The Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism?”Nation, April 11, 2017.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AIPAC threat to free speech

By Ron Forthofer | Dissident Voice | July 26, 2017

There is a Senate bill, along with a companion bill in the House, working its way through Congress with strong bipartisan support, that poses a significant danger to free speech. One would think this bill would be a big deal but, surprisingly, the bill has not received much coverage in the mainstream media.

Fortunately the American Civil Liberties Union is alert to efforts undermining free speech. Thus, in a July 20th article on the ACLU website about S. 720/H.R. 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Bryan Hauss, Staff Attorney, wrote:

The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel — making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Hauss continues:

The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement — a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

Amazingly, supporters of this bill seem to have a problem with calling on companies to respect human rights! Who would draft such a problematic bill that stifles free speech and nonviolent political action?

The Intercept website carried a July 19th article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim that said:

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year.

This AIPAC-influenced bill is consistent with AIPAC’s long-term pattern of advocating for the interests of a foreign nation, Israel. AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. and many members of Congress seem to automatically toe its line. Thus it is not surprising that 46 senators and 245 representatives have already signed on to the bill originally introduced on March 23rd.

Greenwald and Grim added that cosponsors include liberal Senators Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Maria Cantwell as well as conservative Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse. In the House, cosponsors include conservatives such as Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, and Peter King as well as liberals Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. Greenwald and Grim noted that these latter three members, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are cosponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

Many of the cosponsors claim they were unaware of the penalties that could be applied in the bill whereas a few others state that they have a different reading of the bill, particularly related to the criminal penalties.

In addition to using AIPAC and other groups to lobby Congress, Israel previously directly inserted itself into our legislative process. For example, in 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blatantly campaigned to derail the nuclear agreement with Iran. Also of concern, many U.S. and Israeli political experts thought Netanyahu clearly tried to sway the outcome in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

We must protect our free speech by opposing this highly questionable bill designed to benefit a foreign nation. In Colorado this means questioning Senator Bennet and Representatives Lamborn, Coffman and Buck, about their support for this appalling bill. We can also thank the other members of the Colorado delegation for not cosponsoring this terrible affront to free speech and the Constitution.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Democrats Futile Search for Evidence

By Renee Parsons | CounterPunch | April 3, 2017

If there is anyone to blame for the election of Donald Trump,  it is not the Russians – it is the Democratic Party and its allies in the MSM.

It does not take a Trump supporter or a registered Republican to recognize that the Democrats’ hysterical allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to influence the election has no merit and are nothing but petty, ideological over-reactions to their humiliating losses throughout the country in the 2016 election.

And it does not take a trained psychologist to see that the Democrat/MSM campaign to destroy a democratically elected President have perpetuated the anti-Russian effort as a coping mechanism to avoid the painful truth that they have suffered a publicly embarrassing loss of power and status. After 8 years of pretending that Barack Obama was a perpetual political gift they could ride to victory, the reality is too damned excruciating to admit that their own betrayals to peace, health care, the economy and jobs have brought them down.

The challenge for the Democrats is to suck it up and behave like mature professionals who deserve to be elected. Currently, they chose to remain in the wilderness of confused cognitive entanglement; unable to stretch beyond their narrow view of themselves as morally and intellectually superior. Instead, unable to do any independent thinking, they encourage the party’s rank-and-file to remain in the unproductive throes of an unhinged emotional breakdown that seeks to threaten the constitutional stability of the country.

While Wikileaks can take credit for revealing the DNC’s links with the MSM as now indisputable (a job well done by Operation Mockingbird), the joint Democrat/MSM attacks on the Trump – Russia have inadvertently revealed the potent politicization of the FBI, CIA and NSA as well as the morally bankrupt nature of the Democratic party.

Even the assertion of “no evidence” from multiple intel agencies has not stopped the delusional Democrats from going hog-wild insane; daring to suggest that unproven allegations of electoral interference should be considered as an ‘act of war‘.  Having sold their souls to the war machine during Obama’s terms in office, Congressional Dems have now linked arms with the appalling former Bush VP Dick Cheney and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-Az).

An impeccable example of Democratic neurosis that has identified a conclusion lacking evidence, long time apologist for Israel Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca), ranking minority of the House Intel Committee, has set himself up as a moral arbiter of wildly unsubstantiated charges like “notwithstanding an abundance of evidence that Russia hacked our political institutions,” and more recently “there’s more than circumstantial evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.” Schiff has consistently failed to provide one iota of proof supporting his accusations while the MSM takes his fabrications as fact.

In an intensely partisan dispute that is about political control rather than national security, Schiff has demanded that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Ca) Chair of the House Intel Committee, recuse himself from the Committee investigation citing an inability to conduct an impartial hearing.

In a memorable December 8th interview on FoxNews with Tucker Carlson (which is ‘unavailable’ on YouTube), Schiff met with push-back from Carlson who is perhaps the only iconoclast interviewer on all of commercial TV. Carlson makes a game out of systematically peeling back the layers of any well established, status quo argument, frequently leaving his guest in knots or otherwise looking ridiculous. He is a joy to watch as he ripped the mask off the pompous Schiff.

In a typical response from an inquisitor who has lost control of the narrative, here are a few choice excerpts as Schiff escalates the witch hunt but cannot substantiate his claims as he seeks diversion by accusing Carlson of ‘carrying water for the Kremlin’:

Carlson: “I get it, I get it… Nobody’s for hacking. Let me just make one clear point. You don’t know that Vladimir Putin was behind those hacks?”

Schiff: “Well, we do know this…”

Carlson: “but you don’t know that so let’s not pretend you do…”

Schiff: “Well, let’s not ignore what the Director of National Security and the Secretary of Homeland Security said publicly which is that these hacks were of such seriousness that they could not have taken place without approval of the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

Carlson: “That’s speculation. What is speculation… is it a statement of fact”

Schiff: “it is not speculation. It is a statement of the intelligence community’s best assessment. Because there’s a political reason to do it… this is what the intelligence professionals are saying.”

Carlson: “Ok … I remember vividly the massive stockpiles of wmd in Iraq which the intelligence community assured us were there and they weren’t so pardon my skepticism.”

***

Carlson: “I’ve been following this. I get it. There’s been lots of hacking, at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA Director’s personal email was hacked, we think in some cases by Russia. I don’t remember you holding a press conference and saying, hey, Obama Administration,  your cyber security is  pathetic. In this letter to the President, you don’t mention the fact that American cyber security is inadequate and that the Administration is partly responsible for allowing these hacks to happen. Why don’t you mention that?”

Schiff: “You haven’t been watching the opening hearings of the…”

Carlson: “I have…”

Sciff: “I don’t think you have because if you had, you would see me pressing the Administration on the failures to protect our data …”

Carlson: “Then why not mention it in this letter?”

Schiff: “Because this letter was about Russian meddling and if you don’t think that’s significant that a power that is an adversary of ours is bombing civilians in Syria right now, that’s invading its neighbor’s and also interfering in our political process as well as our allies… if you don’t think that’s serious, it’s hard for me to imagine that you’re of the same party as Ronald Reagan.”

***

Carlson: “What were the means they used?

Schiff “… the means they used were hacking into democratic institutions and the leaking of documents designed in the primary process to sow division between Clinton and Sanders camps something we saw actually took place as a result of that because of that and then in general election to attempt to discredit secretary of State Clinton in a way to harm her and would help Donald Trump”

Carlson: “How did they do that?”

Schiff: “Well it was pretty obvious, wasn’t it? …. they hacked, they released documents that were…”

Carlson:  “… that were real..”

Schiff: “Oh yes they were real and they were ones that were damaging to Secretary Clinton.”

***

Carlson: “But they don’t know that the Putin government and neither do you. You don’t know that Putin was behind those hacks. I think it’s irresponsible for you to say that and you don’t know.”

Schiff: “You know what is irresponsible Tucker, is that you make that claim without looking at the evidence and more importantly have not seen the Russians…. “

Carlson: “You can’t say that you know the Putin government did that.”

Schiff: “… and more importantly for the president elect today to say that he doesn’t know whether the Russians…”

Carlson: “You’re dodging. You’re on the Intel Committee.  Let me just ask you one final question. Can you look right into the camera and say that you know for a fact that the government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks of John Podesta emails. “

Schiff: “Absolutely. The government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hack of our institution, not only in the US but also in Europe”

Carlson: “ … of John Podesta’s email…  you know that you’re dodging.  You can’t say it. Look and say that they hacked Podesta’s email.”

Schiff: “I think Ronald Reagan would be rolling in his grave that you are carrying water for the Kremlin”

Carlson: “I am not carrying water for the Kremlin. Look, you are a sitting member of Congress on the [House Intelligence Committee] and you can’t say they hacked…”

Schiff  “You’re going to have to move your show to RT – Russian television because this is perfectly…”

Carlson: “You know what? That’s so beneath your office because it’s so dumb, and you are being duplicitous. I’m asking you did they hack [John] Podesta’s emails and you can’t say it.”

Schiff: “You should not resort to personal insults like that Tucker.”

Carlson: “You just said I was carrying water for Putin. That’s pretty hilarious.”

Schiff: “When you essentially are an apologist for the Kremlin, that’s what you do.”

Carlson: “One last time Congressman. Look into the camera and say they hacked John Podesta’s emails. We know for a fact that the Russians hacked John Podesta’s emails. You can’t and you know you can’t and you are hiding behind weasel words.”

Schiff: “I’m not going to be specific….”

Carlson: “… because you don’t know it, that’s why. Done. You don’t know it and you’re alleging it without any evidence.”

Schiff: “You’re ignoring the evidence because you don’t care because the fact that it helped the Republican candidate is all you need to know.”

Carlson: “That totally false. I just think that if you’re going to make a serious allegation against an actual country with an actual government you ought to know what you’re talking about and you don’t.”

Schiff: “… ought to accept Republicans on intel committee if you.”

Carlson: “… if you could say it, you would have but you didn’t. I got to go. I’m taking cash from Putin, on RT.”

Schiff: “If you’re willing to be in denial because it suits a Republican president….”

Carlson: “You can blather on all you want. I gave you a chance to state it clearly and you couldn’t. I  need to take a call from Vladimir Putin so I need to put you on hold for one second.”

Meanwhile, as the Dems/MSM continue to waste time and energy on inane investigations of Russian collusion, the Russians have recently opened an office in Beijing to phase-in a gold backed standard of trade while the Chinese have opened a new central bank office in Moscow that will allow the Russians to issue federal loan bonds in the yuan – thereby decreasing their dependence on the dollar-based trade.

And if there is going to be an investigation of interference in US elections, let it include Israel.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment