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Sound familiar? Reddit says US-UK trade deal leaks may be tied to Russia, citing speculation from… of course, Atlantic Council

RT | December 7, 2019

A trove of secret papers cited by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in attacking the Tories may have links to Moscow, Reddit has announced. The proof? The US-UK-NATO-funded Atlantic Council says it isn’t sure but it might be true.

The leaked documents, which were shared on the discussion site several weeks ago, point to evidence that the United States would demand a market share in the UK’s National Health Service in any trade talks after Brexit. In a statement, Reddit said that it believed that the accounts that had shared the documents were “part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia.”

The vague wording is further muddled by the source that Reddit cites: The Atlantic Council. Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the think tank, said that the leaks “closely resemble techniques” allegedly employed by Russia. He noted, however, that “we do not have all the data that allows us to make a final determination in this case.”

While media outlets rushed to hype the “findings” as definitive proof of Russia’s involvement, some journalists noted obvious holes in the story.

Aside from the Atlantic Council’s clear conflict of interest in the story (it’s a US and UK-funded think tank, allegedly investigating leaks that damage both governments), Nimmo’s prominence in this saga of alleged Russian meddling is also cause for concern. The self-professed disinformation fighter has links to the now-exposed Integrity Initiative, a shadowy group funded by the British Foreign Office that masquerades as an independent disinformation-busting ‘charity.’ In fact, Integrity Initiative even used its platform to spread talking points aimed at linking Corbyn to the Kremlin.

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

State Funded Propagandists Claim Anti-War Journalists Are State-Funded Propagandists

By Alan MacLeod | American Herald Tribune | October 5, 2019

Investigative journalism website Bellingcat released a bombshell report September 30, that claimed to uncover a network of “pro-Assad media” infiltrating Western journalism. The author, Charles Davis, alleged there was a “shadowy group” connected to the government of Syria that was financing the careers of both left- and right-wing journalists, bloggers and news outlets that toed an Assadist line. Named in the report as effective agents of Damascus were the likes of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, investigative journalists Max Blumenthal, Rania Khalek and Whitney Webb, news outlets like MintPress News and independent journalists such as Caitlin Johnstone. Even the Green Party’s 2016 Vice-Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka was framed as an Assad puppet. Thus, virtually the entire gamut of Western antiwar voices on Syria was declared to be deceiving the public, feeding them Syrian propaganda.

These are extraordinary claims. Yet the evidence provided was far from extraordinary. Indeed, the base of the evidence given was that many of these figures had accepted awards from a US-based organization dedicated, in their own words to “integrity in journalism” which, Davis insists, is a front to spread Assadist propaganda. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the article caused waves on social media, with many seeing it as final proof of a worldwide conspiracy.

What Davis did not divulge, however, as was quickly pointed out by many he pointed the finger at, including Mint Press’ Mnar Muhawesh, was that Bellingcat itself is directly funded by some extremely shady organizations, including the Open Society Foundation and the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). That is the same NED that is currently bankrolling the protests in Hong Kong and has organized regime change operations in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The NED was established as a buffer organization between the CIA and the organizations it was sponsoring. “It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA,” NED President Carl Gershman told the New York Times in 1986. “We saw that in the Sixties, and that’s why it has been discontinued.” One of the NED’s founders, Allen Weinstein, was even more frank: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”, he told the Washington Post.

Davis’ report was met with scathing criticism by those who it named as Assad agents.

“I find it terribly ironic that an article that accused MintPress and other anti-war news sites and journalists of receiving “shady state-linked funding” was published on Bellingcat, a site funded by the US government – currently an occupying power in Syria ­– and Google – the tech behemoth currently working overtime to censor independent media” replied Whitney Webb, when asked by the American Herald Tribune for a response to the allegations, adding that the attempt to paint the Serena Shim Award as “shady” was “quite dishonest” as the cash prize is funded by an all-American political action committee that opposes US interventionism abroad.

Max Blumenthal appeared equally unconcerned with the allegations. “I’ll take a token award from an anti-war non-profit over a byline in an interventionist PR operation literally backed by a CIA cutout that destabilizes socialist and independent nations around the globe any day” he told the American Herald Tribune, adding that “it almost seems that Charles Davis’ entire life is dedicated to attacking and denigrating me. He literally does nothing else”.

If Webb, Blumenthal and others are correct, this latest article is little more than an attempt to denigrate anti-imperialist, anti-war voices, along the lines of what the Atlantic Council has attempted to do. Since 2016, the Council, an offshoot of NATO, has published a series of investigations called “the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses” claiming virtually every political party in Europe that does not fully embrace neoliberal economics and an aggressive policy towards Russia is secretly infiltrated by and directed from Moscow. These parties include Labour and UKIP in the UK, PODEMOS in Spain, Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece and the Lega Nord in Italy.

The Atlantic Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of neocon, interventionist foreign policy planners including Henry Kissinger, ex-Bush officials like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and James Baker, Generals like David Petraeus and Wesley Clark, and a host of ex-CIA directors and senior tech executives. It was this organization that Facebook announced it was teaming up with to fight fake news. Thus, the Council is helping the social media giant to decide what America (and the rest of its 2.4 billion users) sees in their news feeds and what is likely Russian-sponsored fake news. When an organization like this decides what is news and what is not, it is state censorship by any other name. As soon as this partnership was in place, Facebook began deleting news and media channels from Iranian and Latin American (particularly Venezuelan) media that contradicted NATO’s official line on their countries. And Facebook was already working closely with the Israeli government to silence Palestinian voices on its platform.

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Eliot Higgins. Credit: Ars Electronica/ flickr

Bellingcat’s founder, Eliot Higgins, for the record, was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council between 2016 and 2019, where he published purportedly expert and independent reports into Russian aggression in Ukraine. Yet Bellingcat continues to present itself as a neutral observer in the cyberwar between Russia and the West.

And that is the trick. Under the guise of protecting us from supposedly extensive foreign, state-funded propaganda campaigns, we are, ourselves, being exposed to an even bigger, Western state-funded propaganda campaign, the extent of which is far greater than even the most lurid Russian fantasies of Bellingcat. Last year, for instance, it was exposed that the UK secret services have infiltrated media across Europe, building up “clusters” of sympathetic journalists in many nations in order to push certain lines crucial to their perceived interests. This “Integrity Initiative” as it is known, sprung into action in Spain, using their journalists to stir up a storm of controversy that managed to block the appointment of Colonel Pedro Baños to the position of head of Spanish national security. Baños, the Initiative had decided, was not sufficiently warlike on Russia, and needed to be blocked. Yet this blatant interference in foreign politics received scant attention in corporate media.

Ultimately, there is a new information war being waged in cyberspace, and the lesson to be drawn from this affair is to be very cautious of those decrying Russian propaganda while not also warning against the power of Google and the NSA, or calling for the release of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Cyberspace is the new battleground; and in war, truth is always the first casualty.


Alan MacLeod is a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. His latest book, Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting, was published by Routledge in April.

October 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 2 Comments

Establishment & media sympathize with Greta’s ‘Fridays for Future’ movement… So how is that a ‘protest’ exactly?

RT | September 27, 2019

As hundreds of thousands of people – many of them schoolchildren – take to the streets in another demonstration over climate change, one must wonder: at what point does protest become the status quo?

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s solo school walkout last August was little more than a sideshow to newspaper editors and TV crews. But the teenage crusader’s ‘school strike’ snowballed, and the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement grew.

Now, after an emotional speech by Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, hundreds of thousands of climate strikers worldwide are packing the streets on Friday, demanding their governments declare a state of emergency, slash carbon emissions, penalize meat-eating and kill the car, to pick but a few of their proposals.

But these radicals – as they would have been called not so long ago – aren’t being met by the batons, tear gas and rubber bullets the state usually deploys to quash dissent (not that any peaceful demonstrations should be). Media outlets aren’t smearing those within their ranks as racists and downplaying attendance numbers, and the crowds occupying city streets aren’t risking injury and mutilation to do so.

The very idea of ‘protest’ implies some resistance, some injustice of state to be overcome. Climate protesters would argue that not enough is being done to heal our heating earth – and that’s a debate beyond the scope of this article – but government, media, and the world’s power brokers have aided Thunberg and co’s protest movement at every step of the way.

France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ protests began in opposition to a fossil fuel tax hike, and were met with all of the violence described above on a weekly basis. Thunberg, in contrast, was invited to address the French parliament in July. Likewise with her appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, her speeches before British parliament and the US Congress, and her most recent UN appearance. On every occasion, the world’s political leaders rolled out the red carpet and held the door open for her to lecture them.

Media coverage of Thunberg and the climate protests has been overwhelmingly favorable – with The Guardian comparing her speech on Monday to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for its historical significance, and New York Magazine calling her “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” The Yellow Vests, to continue the comparison, were described as a rabble of anti-semites and “notorious Holocaust deniers,” based on the actions of a tiny minority of protesters.

The school strikers and climate crusaders enjoy blanket support. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money, and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” Thunberg scolded leaders on Monday. However, even the world’s corporations have jumped on board the eco bandwagon, ever keen to virtue-signal their way to a few more dollars, even if their own green credentials are suspect at best.

If the protests are being framed as a David and Goliath story of children speaking truth to power and taking on the elite, why do the elite support them so wholeheartedly? An optimist would say that these leaders finally see the need for urgent climate action. After all, public outcry over the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s led to the adoption of a landmark chemicals ban in 1987, and three decades later, NASA revealed proof last year that the ozone layer is recovering.

A cynic would argue that the upper echelons stand to benefit in some way. And that’s true too. Several conglomerates of the world’s leading financial institutions, backed by neoliberal think tanks like the Atlantic Council, have already expressed interest in getting their hands on public funds to finance green industry ventures, particularly in the developing world. What some call a crisis, they call the “climate opportunity.”

Addressing climate change too presents control-freak politicians with boundless opportunity to push otherwise unpalatable legislation. More than 100 US Lawmakers in Congress support the ‘Green New Deal.’ Among them are a handful of presidential candidates and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the hotshot New York Congresswoman who welcomed Thunberg to the city last month following her carbon-neutral Atlantic crossing.

As well as measures to wean the US off fossil fuels and replace airplane and car travel with greener alternatives, Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal legislation comes bundled with a progressive wishlist of universal health care, minimum wage hikes, wealth redistribution, and government control of industry – traditionally anathema to American voters. All of this calls for higher taxes, and an expansion of federal government power.

Whether out of self-interest or benevolence, the climate protest movement enjoys the support of the elite, and taking Friday off school to demonstrate is about as safe as protest gets. Skipping school would normally earn truants a clip about the ears or a stern talking-to, but more and more teachers are getting on board with the strikes, and encouraging their students to take part.

When I was a teenager, we weren’t given the day off to protest the invasion of Iraq. Instead, we snuck off, changed into our baggy jeans and hoodies, and hopped on a bus to government buildings. Protest felt transgressive and anti-establishment.

Protest on a day off. Deny your parents and their generation the only meaningful chance in a busy week to spend some time with you. After all, as Thunberg said, adults have “stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

A protest stops being a protest when it’s pro-establishment. Once it reaches that tipping point, people begin to probe deeper and doubt the intentions of the protesters, and corporate support is a death knell for authenticity.

Most people who complain about climate protesters don’t hate Greta Thunberg for who she is. They just don’t like being browbeaten into thinking a certain way by the combined forces of activists, corporations, the media and the state, no matter how right or wrong that way is.

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

Two Think Tanks Claim Sputnik Meddled in 2017 French Election, Present No Proof… Again

Sputnik – July 11, 2019

Russian media outlets last year faced accusations of interfering in France’s internal politics, but a recent probe by French intelligence has reportedly found no signs of such activities.

The French Institute of Strategic Research of the Military School (IRSEM) and American think-tank the Atlantic Council have in a recent collaborative project produced a report, the latest in a row of similar ones, claiming that Russia meddled in the internal affairs of a foreign government. This time, the researchers accused Moscow of trying to prevent the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 French presidential election.

The researchers try to prove that by using state-funded media outlets, namely Sputnik, as an “information weapon”, the Kremlin allegedly organised a coordinated “disinformation campaign” against then presidential hopeful Macron. However, like many similar papers on alleged “Russian meddling”, this research also fails to present solid facts that substantiate the claims and stumbles into certain problems when trying to prove that such a targeted “campaign” actually existed in the first place.

Notably, the report’s key author and head of the IRSEM, Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, who also serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the NATO Defence College, took most of his points of evidence from the works of Ben Nimmo, a researcher at the Atlantic Council. The latter, like many other Western think tanks, regularly publishes research devoted to proving the existence of Russian attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Western countries and proposing ways in which they can counter this alleged “threat”.

“Anti-Macron Campaign” or Factual Reporting?

The IRSEM study recalls that back in February 2017, Macron’s digital manager accused Sputnik of publishing “fake news” about his employer from the “very beginning of [the election] campaign”. The author of the paper, Vilmer, claims that this “disinformation campaign” began when the French edition of Sputnik published a report about statements by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in which he revealed that he possessed “interesting information” about Macron, albeit without specifying whether it was compromising in any way.

Referring to the Sputnik article as “menacing”, the IRSEM report draws parallels to the 2016 US presidential election and WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. At the same time, the paper didn’t elaborate any further on how exactly reporting on an interview with a famous whistle-blower, in which no compromising information about Macron was published, was able to affect the outcome of the election. It also failed to mention that WikiLeaks’ threats, covered by Sputnik, were not limited to Macron, but also touched his main opponent in the second round, Marine Le Pen.

“Hand-Picked” Speakers vs Hand-Picked Examples

The IRSEM head admits in the report that Sputnik didn’t publish any “fake news” during the election campaign in France, but instead accused it of “information manipulation”. Vilmer claims that the Russian media outlet had expressed “a strong bias” by allegedly leaving out important information and by “hiding behind the quotations” of the “right people”.

While failing to present any proof that Sputnik had omitted any important facts in its articles, the researcher instead tried to substantiate his claim by indicating that Sputnik had interviewed only two persons, who happen to be members of the French Parliament – Thierry Mariani and Nicolas Dhuicq – in regards to the upcoming election. However, a simple search on the news outlet’s website reveals that in reality Sputnik had interviewed far more contributors on the topic, such as Jacques Lamblin, another member of the country’s parliament, as well as various European lawmakers and pundits.

Alleged “Focus” on “Macron Affair”

The paper proceeds to claim that Sputnik covered the election in France with “a distinct bias against Macron”. According to Vilmer, this was expressed in a strategy of giving a deaf ear to scandals involving other contenders for the presidency, such as “the Kremlin’s favoured candidate”, Marine Le Pen, and instead focusing on “rumours” about Macron’s alleged offshore accounts.

The IRSEM research insisted that most of Sputnik’s articles were devoted to the “invented Macron affair” involving offshore accounts while it “defended Le Pen and amplified her party”. However, the paper does not include any factual proof of a discrepancy in the coverage of Macron-related scandals and controversies involving his rivals. It also fully omits the actual fact that Sputnik covered the latter.

“Blame Russia” Trend

France was the second Western country to try to blame Russia for interfering in its domestic affairs. This was preceded by an attempt by the US Democratic Party, and specifically its candidate Hillary Clinton, to shift the blame for the defeat in the 2016 presidential election on to supposed meddling by Moscow.

This blame-game later became a trend among Western governments and political parties in countries such as the UK, Germany, and Spain, to name only a few. But just as in the case of the US, none of these states managed to provide any credible evidence to substantiate the claims, at best referring to obscure “intelligence reports”. Moscow has repeatedly pointed out this lack of underlying proof when rejecting these groundless accusations

Notably, following Macron’s victory in the elections his team abandoned the narrative for a while, only to return to it in February 2019, accusing Moscow of “orchestrating” the Yellow Vest rallies, which demanded Macron’s resignation, and pointing to Sputnik and RT for this purpose. However, earlier reports by local news outlets said that the French intelligence services’ investigation had failed to find any signs indicating that the Russian media was able to impact French domestic affairs.

July 11, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Why UK report on ‘digital gangster’ Facebook is a thinly veiled call for censorship

RT | February 18, 2019

A new UK 108-page report on “disinformation and fake news” online strongly reprimands Facebook for its ongoing misuse of personal data — but also casually promotes unprecedented levels of political censorship on social media.

The report, which is the culmination of an 18-month investigation by a UK parliamentary committee, lambastes Facebook over its failure to protect its users’ data and accuses it of deliberate breaches of privacy and anti-competition laws. It offers numerous examples of Facebook sins, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the shady firm mine the personal data of 50 million users without permission.

The report also accuses CEO Mark Zuckerberg of showing “contempt” towards the UK parliament for refusing three requests to appear before the committee and admonishes Facebook for behaving like a “digital gangster.”

Grand intentions?

Despite its wide-ranging criticisms, however, it is immediately evident that the overarching goal of the report appears to be to force Facebook to engage in censorship to the benefit of Western governments. It focuses heavily on “malign forces” posting content which is intended to cause “disruption and confusion” online. Lest there be any confusion about the identity of those malign forces, the word “Russian” is used 51 times in the report.

While the authors claim to be interested in ensuring a “plurality of voices” online, they are extremely quick to resort to forms of censorship as a solution to the existence of content that does not adhere to certain approved narratives.

Censorship solution

There have been multiple examples in recent months of Facebook willingly and enthusiastically working in conjunction with US government-funded think tanks to target content critical of the US government, including its temporary removal of the English-language page belonging to Telesur, a Venezuela-based outlet which questions US policy in Latin America.

Facebook’s removal of that page happened weeks after it partnered with the US government-funded Atlantic Council to combat “inauthentic” content online.

The report admits that while it’s impossible to completely rid the internet of this politically inconvenient content, governments must focus on “the enforcement of greater transparency in the digital sphere” so that citizens “know the source” of information.

Facebook’s recent suspension of pages partly owned by RT video agency Ruptly (purportedly due to their failure to prominently disclose its funding) would surely please the UK committee. The problem is, these new transparency rules are being arbitrarily applied to pages publishing content critical of Western governments, while content funded by those governments so far is subject to no such oversight.

Further proving that the (thinly veiled) intent of the report is censorship of foreign (i.e., Russian) media, the report praises a French law which allows the French national broadcasting agency “to suspend television channels controlled by or under the influence of a foreign state” if they disseminate “false” information.

Discredited sources

The British report has some glaring flaws and inconsistencies, including its use of the New Knowledge cybersecurity firm as a credible source of information on Russian influence online, despite the fact that it was recently exposed by the New York Times for faking a Russian disinformation campaign in order to influence a local US election. Nonetheless, the report describes New Knowledge as an “information integrity company.”

It also praises NewsGuard, an app with deep ties to the US government, which applies trust ratings to news websites. As RT has documented before, however, NewsGuard applies its criteria selectively and exhibits clear bias against content critical of US policies. It is also lobbying to have its ratings installed by default on computers in schools and universities around the US — and even to have them installed by default on smartphones.

Ironically, the report criticizes people for giving credence to information which “reinforces their views” while dismissing content which they do not agree with as “fake news.”

Russian influence, or online democracy?

The report also takes a look at the “influence” Russian media may have had on the 2016 Brexit referendum, specifically outlets like RT and Sputnik. In an admission which is unintentionally quite funny, the report states that articles which had the “heaviest anti-EU bias” are the ones that went “most viral” online during the campaign.

Of course, by highlighting the fact that so many people were enthusiastically sharing content critical of the EU, the report inadvertently concedes that anti-EU sentiment was widespread, rather than some kind of evil plot by Russia to “sow discord” in the West.

The report also notes, however, that Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright MP admitted that he has seen no convincing evidence that Russian interference has had any “material impact” on how people choose to vote. Similarly, in the US, little evidence has been presented to suggest that so-called Russian online influence had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the 2016 election.

Nonetheless, the report suggests that the UK government should launch new investigations into past elections, including the Brexit referendum and the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 to dig for elusive evidence of Russian interference.

Say goodbye to ‘harmful’ content

To ensure that social media companies comply with all its various demands, the report recommends that “a new category of tech company is formulated” which tightens their liabilities and would see those companies assume legal liability for content identified as “harmful.” It also advocates the establishment of a “compulsory Code of Ethics” setting out exactly what constitutes harmful content.

The British government should also “explore the feasibility” of adopting a UK version of the US Foreign Agents and Registration Act (FARA), it says. FARA requires persons acting “as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity” to disclose this information publicly. Ironically, a similar ‘foreign agents’ law in Russia was heavily criticized by Western media and politicians for targeting dissenting voices.

US government-funded outlets like Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) both wrote reports critical of the law, with VOA even suggesting it had “echoes of Stalin-era denunciations” of dissidents. No such outrage emerged from those outlets when RT was forced to register as a “foreign agent” in the US last year.

Finally, the report suggests that companies like Facebook should also be required to finance digital literacy learning as “the fourth pillar of education” alongside reading, writing and math.

If this report is anything to go by, there is no doubt that learning to identify (and ignore) content critical of Western governments would be a major element of such “digital literacy” courses.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2018: Iran and Syria show respect, Israel and Saudi Arabia don’t

By Neil Clark | RT | December 29, 2018

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men. Or at least it should be. But while the West’s Middle East ‘bad guys’ Iran and Syria, showed the Yuletide spirit, its closest allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, failed to do so.

Iran is demonized by Western neocons and we’re meant to see the country as an evil, ‘monster‘ regime of foaming-at-the-mouth religious fanatics who hate everyone.

So it goes against the dominant narrative somewhat that Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted a Christmas message and wished ‘peace and joy to all in 2019’, on Christmas Eve.

It also goes against the narrative, that Zarif, back in September, wished Jews, in Iran and across the world, “a very Happy New Year filled with peace and harmony.”

We’re told repeatedly that the Iranian ‘regime’ is ‘anti-Semitic’, but do ‘anti-Semites’ wish Jews a happy ‘Rosh Hashanah’? If so, it’s a rather strange definition.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also tweeted on December 26 a message of goodwill to Iran’s Zoroastrian community.

Contrast this consideration to people of different faiths from Tehran, with the lack of congratulations on other religious holidays from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A week before Iran’s Foreign Minister was tweeting positively about Jesus, the KSA’s Customs Authority was also on the social media platform, confirming that Christmas trees were banned from entering the Kingdom for the festive season.

In fact, despite the large number of Christians from other countries who work in the country, including many Britons, the holding of any Christmas-related services or commemorations in Saudi Arabia is strictly banned. “The Christmas season – often a season where Christians around the world are most visible – is a tense time for Christians in Saudi Arabia, who have to celebrate the holiday in secret, risking arrest and deportation,” said Jeff King, President of the International Christian Concern, in 2016.

Imagine being a Christian and not being able to openly celebrate the birth of Christ. It happens in Saudi Arabia, yet Western leaders, so keen to lecture others about ‘human rights’ and ‘religious freedom’ stay silent, preferring to pick on Iran – where Christmas can be openly celebrated.

Syria is another country ‘monstered’ by the endless war lobby but where, against all the odds, the Christmas spirit is still maintained. Big seasonal celebrations were held this year in Aleppo and Damascus. Remember Aleppo?

It was recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army from Islamist ‘rebels’ two years ago this month, and the neocon/’liberal interventionist’ commentariat, and most of the political class portrayed it as a most terrible thing. Ian Austin MP said that people in Aleppo faced ‘slaughter’.

John Woodcock MP called the Morning Star newspaper ‘traitorous scum’ for referring to the recapture of Aleppo by Syrian forces of their own territory, as a ‘liberation’. But if you look at the pictures of Christians celebrating Christmas there once again, which they were forbidden to do under the western-backed head-chopping ’rebels’ you can see that the ‘L’ word was indeed appropriate.

This year in Damascus though, the festive celebrations were defiled by another act of aggression against Syria from a Western-supported-country, one which incidentally Ian Austin and John Woodcock have been Parliamentary ‘Friends’ of.

On the evening of December 25, loud explosions could be heard seven miles from the center of Damascus. Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Israel’s Christmas Day F-16 strikes endangered two civilian flights – as well as injuring three personnel at the logistics compound.

Whatever your stance is on Middle Eastern affairs – and leaving aside the illegality of the operation whenever it took place – the question is: did Israel really have to bomb Syria on Christmas Day?

Would Israel’s ’security’ have been lessened if the raid had taken place on December 28 and not the 25th? Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did tweet Christmas greetings out to ‘Christian friends’ in Israel and around the world on December 24, but why did his forces attack a country where Christians were celebrating one day later?

Just imagine the enormous outcry if Russia had carried out air strikes on Ukrainian targets on the evening of 25th December. In fact, the US magazine Newsweek, doing its best to ratchet up East-West tensions still further, predicted such an event only last week. They published an article on Christmas Eve which began with the words “As people in Western Europe and the United States get comfortable for the holidays, the chances increase that Russia will take advantage of the distraction to launch attacks against its neighbor Ukraine, experts said.”

And who are these ’experts’, I hear you ask. Well, guess what, they were all from the Atlantic Council.

The ‘experts’, surprise surprise, were wrong. The ‘monster’ Russia did not launch attacks on Ukraine over Christmas. But Israel did attack Syria – and there was silence from those who would have screeched very loudly (and be calling for RT to be taken off the air immediately) if the Kremlin had ordered such a sacrilegious act.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) were also busy bombing on Christmas Day. The genocidal group carried out suicide bomb attacks on Libya’s Foreign Ministry in Tripoli on Tuesday morning, killing three and leaving over half-a-dozen injured.

One doesn’t expect IS to respect Christmas, but you would expect Western leaders – of predominantly Christian nations to regard the group as public enemy number one. Yet in Syria, the US and its allies welcomed the group’s growth precisely because it threatened the secular, Christian-protecting government of Bashar al-Assad. A declassified US intelligence report from August 2012 predicted the establishment of a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria” and said that this is “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Furthermore, in a leaked tape recording the former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the US allowed IS to expand its territory to threaten Damascus.

At the same time, those fighting IS, and other al-Qaeda-linked death squads in Syria, namely the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have been ‘monstered’ by the West and its regional allies’ propaganda machines.

Reflect on this: It wasn’t Syrian, Russia, Iranian or Hezbollah forces or followers who slaughtered British and other Western holiday-makers on the beach in Tunisia in 2015 – but an IS terrorist who is thought to have trained at a jihadist camp in neighboring Libya and whose government had been forcibly toppled by NATO powers four years earlier. Similarly, it wasn’t Syrian, Russian, Iranian or Hezbollah forces or followers who carried out murderous attacks against civilians in Paris, Nice, Brussels, and London, or at Christmas markets in Berlin and Strasbourg.

Respecting Christmas and what it stands for is an important litmus test, as it tells us a lot about the actors involved, especially if they are not themselves Christians.

The ‘monstering’ of those who do show the proper ‘Yuletide spirit’, and the turning of a blind eye to those that don’t, highlights the spectacular hypocrisy of those in power in the West who profess to support ‘Christian values’ but in fact do everything possible to subvert them.

If anyone needs an Ebenezer Scrooge-style epiphany this Christmas, it’s the ‘monster-slayers’ themselves.

Read more:

Christmas in Aleppo: Syrians celebrate as city recovers from years-long bloodshed (VIDEOS)

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Atlantic Council Podium Used to Force European Allies to March in Step

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.10.2018

Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, the administration’s top diplomat focused on Europe and Eurasia, has warned that Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is unacceptable for the United States. That official was addressing the Atlantic Council’s “Championing the Frontlines of Freedom, Erasing the Grey Zone” event on October 18. According to him, the competition between the great powers has returned to become “the defining geopolitical fact of our time.” Through their lack of vigilance, European and American officials have allowed the growing Russian and Chinese influence in that region to “sneak up on us.” “Western Europeans cannot continue to deepen energy dependence on the same Russia that America defends it against. Or enrich themselves from the same Iran that is building ballistic missiles that threaten Europe,” the assistant secretary emphasized. Adding, “It is not acceptable for US allies in central Europe to support projects like Turkstream 2 and maintain cozy energy deals that make the region more vulnerable to the very Russia that these states joined NATO to protect themselves against.”

Something else that was highly interesting was his mention of Belarus along with Ukraine and Georgia as allies. The assistant secretary believes that [t]he new principle is respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the allies: Ukraine, Georgia and even Belarus. Washington expects states to respect the rights of their neighbors.” This makes one wonder if the Belarusian government knows it has been granted a new status. The official also mentioned Iran, which should not be allowed to sell oil to Europe because it has refused to abandon its ballistic missile program. Washington calls “on our allies to follow our lead and strengthen their laws to better screen foreign investments in their countries for national security threats.”

So, the US laws are flawless, its allies are not viewed as equal partners because they must follow America’s lead, or, in other words, do what they are told, and it’s up to Washington, not the national governments and parliaments, to decide what investments they need and where that money should come from. The leaders of the Central and Eastern European states should find it awkward, being rebuked for having overlooked “the foundational importance of the nation-state and national sovereignty,” while allowing unfriendly China and Russia to move in. “Our allies in Central Europe must not be under any illusions that these powers are their friends,” Mr. Mitchell explained. Obviously, he is quite sure that the governments of these nations are unable to grasp who is their friend and who is not. They are as naïve as small children. It’s good that the US is right here ready to enlighten them.

This highly-placed diplomat went on to explain that the United States should be seen as the protector of sovereignty, as it “rejects Russia’s territorial aggression against its neighbor Ukraine and [rejects] China’s predatory ‘debt-mongering’ throughout Central and Eastern Europe.” 

Unlike its rivals, America does not seek dependencies, but rather independent states that should be “willing and able to share the burden of Western defense.” So, here is what independence à l’américaine is like, with its friends and allies absolutely free to comply with their protector’s instructions offering specific guidance about exactly how much they have to pay for defense, what investments to bring in, who to be friendly with, and how they should properly view the situation in their own region. Whatever happens in Central and Eastern Europe, everything has to revolve around the US.

“The United States has long had a tradition of not interfering in the details of European integration,” Mr. Mitchell assured us. Of course, telling the UK PM to sue the EU and thus expedite Brexit can certainly not be seen as interfering in European integration. Suggesting to French President Macron that he take France out of the EU is another example of noninterference. The Assistant Secretary expressed confidence that the allies could “beat back its competitors in Europe” with a little help from their American friends.

Also addressing the Atlantic Council’s October 18 conference, US Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, revealed that Washington plans to stiffen the sanctions regime against Moscow “every month or two” to make it more amenable over Ukraine. The new policy suggests increasing the sanctions periodically, over time. Those remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Valdai Club in Sochi that he hoped that a government more friendly toward Russia emerges from the Ukrainian presidential election that will be held on March 31.

Mr. Volker defied logic. On the one hand, he cited his “estimation… that the chances of their changing position now are lower then they were even a year ago.” Nevertheless, the best strategy for the West is to maintain pressure on Moscow through those economic sanctions —i.e., sticking to the very same measures that have proven to be useless, given that the “chances of their changing position now are lower.” So, the US and its allies should continue to implement a policy doomed to failure! But the ambassador states, “I think we need to keep on track. I believe that sanctions do have an impact and we see evidence of that in Russia.” What an bizarre way to convince his listeners!

“This is a shockingly big and important humanitarian catastrophe that no one talks about. We have over 10,000 people killed,” exclaimed this official who represents a nation that has just sent Ukraine, a country notorious for the corruption in its military ranks, a shipment of lethal arms so that it can kill more of its own citizens or let the weapons systems fall into the wrong hands and be used to kill other people outside of Ukraine. The “wrong hands” could use those weapons against the US military. With this kind of people you never know.

There is no penetrating insight, no reading between the lines, no wasting time on anything like analysis, and no attempts to find the logic in anything that’s said — nothing like that is required. It’s easy to understand highly-placed US State Department officials. You guys do what you are told, or else. And, just in case, don’t forget that your best friend and closest ally overseas carries a big stick to force you to march in step. These speeches are delivered from time to time to ensure that their “dear allies” remember that. The Atlantic Council’s podium fits the bill.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump accused of anti-Semitism over claim Soros funds ‘elevator screamers’

RT | October 5, 2018

Critics of US President Donald Trump were quick to accuse him of anti-Semitism over a tweet claiming that women accosting senators over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were paid by liberal billionaire George Soros.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it!” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love!”

Outrage ensued, obviously. ThinkProgress, the media arm of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress think tank, immediately accused the president of anti-Semitism. A Slate editor chimed in, calling Trump’s words an “anti-Semitic dog whistle.” And a staff writer for The Atlantic called it a “conspiracy theory that a rich Jewish boogeyman is making women claim to have been raped and assaulted.”

Columnists for the New York Times and the Washington Post were quick to follow, denouncing what they said was an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and adding a splash of guilt by association.

This would come as news to Israel, however. In July 2017, ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Hungary, the Israeli ambassador in Budapest condemned anti-Semitism in relation to a campaign poster depicting Soros negatively. The Israeli Foreign Ministry quickly reacted to clarify the statement, explaining that criticism of Soros was legitimate, because the Hungarian-born billionaire “continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments” and funds organizations “that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

Speaking of conspiracy theories, though, an Atlantic Council hunter for Russian witches was quick to accuse “the Russians” – specifically, RT – of being behind the whole Soros story.

RT’s sin, you see, was to cite reporting by US journalists who listened in on conference calls in which groups were coordinating protests against Kavanaugh and handing cash to those arrested, and quote public records showing that Soros’s Open Society Foundation gave generously to these groups.

A common thread in all these reports is the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), which organized some of the protests against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee from day one. It was CPD activists and executives that led the ambush of Senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator, as well as several of his colleagues at the Washington National Airport.

Public records show that Soros’s Open Society Foundation is one of the major donors to CPD, giving $130,000 in 2014 and $1,164,500 in 2015. Soros gave an additional $1.5 million to the group in 2016 and 2017.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 7 Comments

Facebook Turns Into Manipulative Tool of US Intelligence – Moscow

Sputnik – 20.09.2018

ST PETERSBURG – Facebook is transforming into a manipulative tool of the US intelligence services and a lever to influence the domestic policy of other states, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

“Facebook continues to follow the path of stricter censorship… [Facebook], which was presented and has established itself as a means of free communication and exchange of various kinds of content, is now being transformed into an instrument of US intelligence agencies to cleanse the information space of materials that are unwanted by Washington,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

As an example, she named the agreement between Facebook and the Atlantic Council stated to be aimed to help monitor attempts to spread “disinformation” in elections around the world.

She further called the process “a manipulation and a deception” stressing that “the fighters for free democratic elections and the purity of the information space themselves are engaged in interference in affairs of other states and in the dissemination of false information.”

In addition, she said that under the pretext of fighting fake news, Facebook planned to check the personal data of users, as well as audio and video materials.

After the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook said it would take a number of steps to improve transparency, including stricter rules for ad placement, fact-checking photos, videos and links, as well as adding technology to get rid of fake accounts and improve security.

The United States has accused Moscow of meddling in its 2016 presidential election, with Russian authorities denying the accusations as groundless.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook’s Atlantic Council censors are more interested in tanks than thinking

RT | September 13, 2018

Like all foreign policy and military think tanks, the Atlantic Council exists to manufacture consent for the goals of its paymasters. It hit the jackpot when the world’s largest social media network put it in charge of censorship.

While the ubiquitous presence of Atlantic Council lobbyists across the information space already imperilled fair discourse, Facebook’s May move empowered it to endanger freedom of expression. And founder Mark Zuckerberg’s reference to an information  “arms race” in a Washington Post op-ed last weekend exposes the grim reality behind the move.

That said, the spin has been impressive. Headlines such as “US think tank’s tiny lab helps Facebook battle fake social media (Reuters )” and “Facebook partners with Atlantic Council to improve election security (The Hill )”.

But the truth is very different. The Atlantic Council is effectively NATO’s propaganda wing. And it’s funded by arms manufacturers, various branches of the US military, and Middle Eastern autocratic regimes, among others, as it promotes the alliance’s agenda – which was best described by its first secretary-general, Hastings Ismay, as  “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

Let’s be clear. If people don’t believe in the “Russian threat,” NATO is essentially rendered useless. Promoting tensions with Europe’s largest country is an existential matter for The Atlantic Council. And now Facebook has effectively placed the lobby group in charge of political censorship on its platform. This presents chilling dangers to free speech and should worry anybody who believes in fairness and balance in the media. Especially after Zuckerberg admitted in the Washington Post piece how his company is being used by US authorities to control information and combat “foreign actors.” The tech boss also boasted that “we’ve worked with law enforcement to take down accounts in Russia.”

Roll of horror

Founded in 1961, with the mission of “encouraging the continuation of cooperation between North America and Europe that began after the Second World War,” the Atlantic Council slowly evolved from being a sort of forum for socialising to a pseudo-academic lobby group. While it professes to be a “think tank,” its lack of genuine debate and tolerance for dissent means in practice this description isn’t accurate in the classical sense of the term, as the Atlantic Council is clearly more interested in creating a market for tanks than thinking.

Funding comes from dozens of foreign governments and also individual vested interests. They include arms makers Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing, plus wealthy private backers such as Ukraine’s Viktor Pinchuk and Saudi billionaire Bahaa Hariri. State institutions who plough in funds vary from the National Endowment for Democracy to the British Foreign Office and the US Army itself.

The money is mainly used to hire lobbyists, who are known as “fellows.” And some of them are occasionally outsourced to cutouts like the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) – the department which works with Facebook.

Some of the Atlantic Council’s hires have significant media profiles. For instance, Dmitri  Alperovitch (of DNC hack fame), Anders Aslund (a radical economist who has predicted Russia’s collapse twice, and been wrong both times), Michael Carpenter (Joe Biden’s, usually misinformed, Russia-baiting sidekick), Borzou Daragahi (Middle East correspondent of Buzzfeed ), Maxim Eristavi (a pro-American Ukrainian activist), Evelyn Farkas (a rabidly anti-Russian Obama adviser), and Michael Weiss (a CNN ‘Russia analyst’ who has never been to Russia and can’t speak Russian). The DFR Lab is comprised of 11, almost uniformly young, tech enthusiasts from the US and Eastern Europe and previously worked to support NATO narratives in Ukraine and Syria.

Some are long-time Atlantic Council bodies, and others are some fresh recruits. The main men are Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, which specialises in media-friendly investigations of wars from the perspective which suits British and American interests, Aric Toler (a former private intelligence specialist who spent time in Russia on State Department-funded study programmes) and Ben Nimmo, a one-time NATO press officer.

Other censors include ex-Obama administration and NATO staff, with the managing editor, Graham Brookie, having previously worked at the US National Security Council. There is nobody listed as an employee who could be considered, in any way, neutral on Russia. This betrays the unit’s confidence in how the mainstream media won’t scrutinise them, as normally you’d expect at least one token dissenter.

Different times

In normal circumstances, Facebook’s engagement of the Atlantic Council to decide standards of permissible information would seem bizarre. But, in the current US climate, Zuckerberg’s motivations are quite obvious. Betrayed by the speed with which he engaged the pressure group shortly after his testimony to Congress on “election meddling” was widely derided by the establishment last Spring. And how better to avoid a repeat, and turn down the heat, than to engage the ultimate DC insider institution?

After all, an organisation that has helped to rehabilitate George W. Bush can probably rescue any reputation in the American capital.

Some of the stuff the Atlantic Council itself gets away with serves to show its power over the mainstream media. For instance, when Nimmo himself earlier this year ludicrously insisted grammar mistakes were “proof” that social media users critical of NATO were paid Kremlin trolls, and later when he smeared a British man by labelling him a Russian bot, the popular press didn’t bother to question whether he was a fit and proper person for Facebook to engage as a censor. Even after the victim appeared on Sky News to prove he was a real person. Thus, what should have been a warning of the dangers of DFR Lab was essentially ignored.

At the time, after Nimmo, instead of apologising, wrote “interesting to see the real face of Ian56789, rather than the David Gandy one, at last (referring to his Twitter avatar). Not a troll factory account. Rather, a pro-Kremlin troll(definition based on [sic] use of someone else’s picture, systematic use of Kremlin narratives, and repetitive abusive behaviour),”

WikiLeaks challenged the lobbyist. “You literally produced, with money from weapons companies and dictatorships, a fake news story that spread all over the world, defaming a very British retiree, who wants to reduce arms company profits, as a Kremlin bot,” its editors wrote. “So who’s the paid troll?”

Again, despite WikiLeaks’ prominence, no mainstream outlets connected the dots.

Higgins and Nimmo also focused on attempting to discredit the Twitter user ‘Partisan Girl’ (real name Maram Susli). Susli herself insisted an associate of Higgins had even written to her university accusing of her of plotting to make Sarin gas, and she provided evidence to back up her claims.

Susli was also insulted by Atlantic Council “fellow” Michael Weiss. After a group of pro-Syrian jihadist agitators accused her of having had cosmetic surgery, she responded with a photo of herself as a child to prove them wrong. Weiss interjected by asserting how the young Maram looked like a prostitute, writing “so, your parents raised you as a streetwalker? Honey, no wonder you are pro-Assad.”

The CNN contributor seems to have a habit of commenting on women’s physical attributes. A few months earlier, well-known Lebanese American journalist Rania Khalek accused Weiss of promoting a smear about her appearance on Twitter, falsely claiming she used funds donated to her journalistic work to get a nose job. The fact he has received no blowback, in this ‘MeToo’ era, again speaks volumes.

Deflecting dunces

Meanwhile, Higgins himself has been shy about taking on real experts. In Spring, he refused to debate Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at MIT, instead labelling him “an idiot.” Which led to a strange situation where a man with no training in science, whose background is in finance and administration, was smearing a skilled specialist from one of the world’s best universities. Perhaps this is the confidence a man gains by working for NATO’s propaganda adjunct.

His colleague, Weiss, also has a habit of insulting academics with genuine bona fides, running a long campaign of character assassination against Stephen Cohen. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University.

Of course, to advance the goals of its paymasters,  the Atlantic Council also needs to shape the media narrative, and influence journalists, which is presumably why it has engaged the likes of CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto and Buzzfeed Foreign Editor Miriam Elder to moderate panels, in what amount to very profound conflicts of interests.

Nevertheless, while plenty of its press outreach is smooth, sometimes it can appear clumsy and amateurish. Take this tweet from lobbyist Agnia Grigas, for instance. Firstly, she misrepresents Vladimir Putin’s stated goal of making Russia a top five economy by using raw GDP, where the country currently scores badly due to weak exchange rates. In reality, economic experts regard purchasing power parity as a fairer snapshot of fiscal heft and by this measure, Russia was only $163 billion behind fifth-place Germany last year ($4,007.831 billion v $4,170.790 billion, IMF)so it doesn’t have much catching up to do. What Grigas does next with her disinformation is instructive. Because  she tags the Financial Times’ news editor, Peter Spiegel, on the tweet alongside other Atlantic Council lobbyists . Which blurs the lines between supposedly independent media and propaganda, dressed up as scholarship.

Tail wags dog

Anyway, now that you’ve seen the nature of these lobbyists, let’s circle back to the DFR Lab/Facebook link up, and the extraordinary power the social media giant has handed to this gang. Only last month, the same Reuters report quoted at the outset dropped this nugget.

“Facebook is using the group to enhance its investigations of foreign interference. Last week, the company said it took down 32 suspicious pages and accounts that purported to be run by leftists and minority activists. While some U.S. officials said they were likely the work of Russian agents, Facebook said it did not know for sure.”

Read the last line again. “Facebook said it did not know for sure.” But the accounts were removed anyway. Presumably, at the Atlantic Council’s behest.

Here we see the fallout of Mark Zuckerberg’s knee-jerk reaction to pressure from congressional leaders and prominent media talking heads. Instead of asserting his independence, the Facebook founder buckled. And the stakes are impossibly high. Put plainly, this amounts to a merger of the US national security state and Silicon Valley. With implications far beyond American shores.

Read more:

Facebook building a physical ‘war room’ for US midterm elections ‘arms race’

Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors’

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Does Twitter really care about pluralism and free speech? Let’s follow the money

RT | September 7, 2018

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has vigorously defended his platform as a place for free speech and political pluralism, but there’s one easy way to determine how much he really cares about all of that: Look at who Twitter gives money to.

In testimony to the US Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Dorsey proudly reminded senators that Twitter had last year banned advertising from RT and Sputnik. Then, presumably as some kind of gesture of apology, he said Twitter donated $1.9 million generated from RT and Sputnik advertising to “research” and “civil society” platforms working to counter Russian influence online.

When Twitter first announced that decision in October 2017, it said it was part of its “ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience” and admitted that it had made the decision in light of a US intelligence community report that concluded that Russia “attempted to interfere” with the 2016 presidential election. That report was widely panned as being extremely light on evidence, even by journalists who are generally highly critical of Moscow.

To put it simply, Dorsey admitted banning RT from advertising on its platform and then handing the money generated from previous advertising over to US government-funded think tanks. This kind of capitulation suggests that Dorsey believes free speech and pluralism is limited to how he treats Americans of different political persuasions on his platform, but not how he treats everyone else.

When Dorsey talks about giving everyone a fair shake on Twitter and ensuring that political bias does not get in the way of how Twitter functions, he seems to only ever be talking about the “health” of the debate and conversation when it comes to American political discourse — but not everyone using Twitter is an American politic worried about being “shadowbanned”.

In other words, he’s implying that while all American individuals should indeed be treated fairly, more broadly speaking, it’s totally fine to be openly and proudly biased in favor of American foreign policy, despite the fact that Twitter is supposed to be a global platform. Twitter is a tool of the US government in much the same way Facebook is. So let’s look at those organizations Dorsey has given money to:

The Atlantic Council

To see that Twitter has offered money to none other than the Atlantic Council to help “research” flimsy claims of election interference by Russia should immediately set off alarm bells.

The Atlantic Council has become widely regarded outside of Washington political and media circles as a vehicle for Western foreign policy promotion and propaganda. The Washington DC-based think tank is funded by a slew of American weapons manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing and Northrop Grumman. The Atlantic Council is also funded by both the US government and a number of other NATO countries through various government agencies. Facebook is also a donor.

Unsurprisingly, given its donors list, the AC has lobbied consistently in favor of US military interventions around the world and has taken an almost exclusively negative view of Russia in international affairs. Is this think tank, funded by NATO governments and weapons makers really the kind of organization that can be trusted to fairly assess claims of Russian interference in American elections?

EU Disinfolab

Similar to the Atlantic Council, the Brussels-based EU Disinfolab has focused a huge amount of its attention on countering Russia online in recent years. Its stated mission is to “fight disinformation with innovative methodology” — but it certainly does not focus its attention evenly when it comes to fighting disinformation.

Disinfolab has drawn much criticism last month when it attempted to brand French Twitter users posting about a national scandal involving President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard as “Russophiles” who were part of the “Russian disinformation system”. More of Twitter’s “research” money well spent?

Disinfo lab is also partnered with the Brussels-based European Values think tank which made headlines last year when it published a list of 2,327 people who had appeared as guests on RT, branding them all “useful idiots”  for their appearances on the channel. Included on the list were the likes of journalist Bob Woodward, former US Vice President Dick Cheney, actors Denzel Washington and Pierce Brosnan and the late Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Partners in fight against US ‘adversaries’, rather than ‘neutral arbiters’?

If any more evidence was needed that Twitter happily acts as a vehicle for US government propaganda, the Senate hearing on Wednesday provided it in abundance. When Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arizona) asked Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg, who was also present to give testimony on behalf of Facebook, if they would ever take any kind of action that would favor or “privilege” a “hostile foreign power” over the United States or its military, both Dorsey and Sandberg said no, they would not. It was only when Cotton asked “Do you prefer to see America remain the world’s dominant global superpower?” that Dorsey declined to answer directly, offering: “I prefer that we continue to help everywhere we serve.”

Cotton later suggested to Dorsey and Sandberg that Facebook and Twitter should be actively working on behalf of the US government and not acting as “even handed or neutral arbiters”.

The subdued responses from Sandberg and Dorsey to Cotton’s questions, clearly both afraid to say anything that would suggest their platforms are not there to serve US government interests, seemed to suggest that they have little interest in challenging the assumption that their job is to work on behalf of the White House against “bad actors” around the world.

During the hearing Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) told Sandberg and Dorsey that while they had come a “long way” in recognizing the threat posed by Russia’s “malicious activities” on their platforms, there was still “a lot of work to do”. Warner said it was unlikely that Facebook and Twitter could combat Russia alone without some action from Congress itself, declaring that the “era of the wild west in social media is coming to an end”.

It looks like when it comes to censorship and US government influence over social media platforms, this is just the beginning.

Read more:

Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones and Infowars for ‘abusive behavior’

Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors’

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Giants Enter NATO Service

By Rick Rozoff | Ron Paul Institute | August 28, 2018

On August 22 Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that they had arbitrarily removed 652 accounts, groups and pages allegedly linked to Russia and Iran for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” by which we’re safe in assuming is meant political information inconvenient for the US power structure and its “Euro-Atlantic” elite allies in Europe and elsewhere.

The purpose pursued and the criteria employed are both explicitly political, focusing especially on federal elections. Facebook boasted of recent successes in this regard in France and Mexico.

There are historically-decisive Senate and Congressional elections this November 6th in the US.

At the beginning of this month several major conservative and libertarian Facebook, YouTube and other social media accounts were closed by the above and other parties in a heavy-handed, coordinated manner. The sites and individuals banned are ones that have urged cooperation between the US and Russia and warned against worsening political and potential military conflict between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

What connects the two unprecedented social media purges is an agreement reached in May of this year between Facebook and the Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council of the United States was established in 1961 by former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter to bolster support for NATO. Atlantic Councils were set up in other member states for the same purpose, and at the present time they now number more than 40 in NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. The name is derivative of North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of NATO.

Due to its efforts, NATO has grown from 16 to 29 members since the end of the Cold War and in addition has recruited at least forty military partners throughout the world. With Colombia joining its Partners Across the Globe program earlier this year, NATO now has members and partners on all inhabited continents.

The partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council was described by the Atlantic Council’s president and CEO Fred Kempe as follows:

This partnership will help our security, policy and product teams get real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. It will also increase the number of ‘eyes and ears’ we have working to spot potential abuse on our service – enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.

The collaboration, like NATO and Facebook themselves, are not only avowedly political but unabashedly global in scale.

In the interim Facebook has announced it’s hired “additional third-party reviewers” for the purpose advancing the aforesaid political censorship and furtherance of NATO’s international agenda.

Failing such methods, there are also those proposed by then-president presumptive Hillary Clinton two years ago: “As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment