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BRITISH “WATCHDOG” JOURNALISTS UNMASKED AS LAP DOGS FOR THE SECURITY STATE

By Jonathan Cook | MintPress News | June 21, 2022

Events of the past few days suggest British journalism – the so-called Fourth Estate – is not what it purports to be: a watchdog monitoring the centers of state power. It is quite the opposite.

The pretensions of the establishment media took a severe battering this month as the defamation trial of Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr reached its conclusion and the hacked emails of Paul Mason, a long-time stalwart of the BBC, Channel 4 and the Guardian, were published online.

Both of these celebrated journalists have found themselves outed as recruits – in their differing ways – to a covert information war being waged by Western intelligence agencies.

Had they been honest about it, that collusion might not matter so much. After all, few journalists are as neutral or as dispassionate as the profession likes to pretend. But as have many of their colleagues, Cadwalladr and Mason have broken what should be a core principle of journalism: transparency.

The role of serious journalists is to bring matters of import into the public space for debate and scrutiny. Journalists thinking critically aspire to hold those who wield power – primarily state agencies – to account on the principle that, without scrutiny, power quickly corrupts.

The purpose of real journalism – as opposed to the gossip, entertainment and national-security stenography that usually passes for journalism – is to hit up, not down.

And yet, each of these journalists, we now know, was actively colluding, or seeking to collude, with state actors who prefer to operate in the shadows, out of sight. Both journalists were coopted to advance the aims of the intelligence services.

And worse, each of them either sought to become a conduit for, or actively assist in, covert smear campaigns run by Western intelligence services against other journalists.

What they were doing – along with so many other establishment journalists – is the very antithesis of journalism. They were helping to conceal the operation of power to make it harder to scrutinize. And not only that. In the process, they were trying to weaken already marginalized journalists fighting to hold state power to account.

RUSSIAN COLLUSION?

Cadwalladr’s cooperation with the intelligence services has been highlighted only because of a court case. She was sued for defamation by Arron Banks, a businessman and major donor to the successful Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

In a kind of transatlantic extension of the Russiagate hysteria in the United States following Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, Cadwalladr accused Banks of lying about his ties to the Russian state. According to the court, she also suggested he broke election funding laws by receiving Russian money in the run-up to the Brexit vote, also in 2016.

That year serves as a kind of ground zero for liberals fearful about the future of “Western democracy” – supposedly under threat from modern “barbarians at the gate,” such as Russia and China – and the ability of Western states to defend their primacy through neo-colonial wars of aggression around the globe.

The implication is Russia masterminded a double subversion in 2016: on one side of the Atlantic, Trump was elected U.S. president; and, on the other, Britons were gulled into shooting themselves in the foot – and undermining Europe – by voting to leave the EU.

Faced with the court case, Cadwalladr could not support her allegations against Banks as true. Nonetheless, the judge ruled against Banks’ libel action – on the basis that the claims had not sufficiently harmed his reputation.

The judge also decided, perversely in a British defamation action, that Cadwalladr had “reasonable grounds” to publish claims that Banks received “sweetheart deals” from Russia, even though “she had seen no evidence he had entered into any such deals.” An investigation by the National Crime Agency ultimately found no evidence either.

So given those circumstances, what was the basis for her accusations against Banks?

Cadwalladr’s journalistic modus operandi, in her long-running efforts to suggest widespread Russian meddling in British politics, is highlighted in her witness statement to the court.

In it, she refers to another of her Russiagate-style stories: one from 2017 that tried to connect the Kremlin with Nigel Farage, a former pro-Brexit politician with the UKIP Party and close associate of Banks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been a political prisoner in the U.K. for more than a decade.

At that time, Assange was confined to a single room in the Ecuadorian Embassy after its government offered him political asylum. He had sought sanctuary there, fearing he would be extradited to the U.S. following publication by WikiLeaks of revelations that the U.S. and U.K. had committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks had also deeply embarrassed the CIA by following up with the publication of leaked documents, known as Vault 7, exposing the agency’s own crimes.

Last week the U.K.’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the very extradition to the U.S. that Assange feared and that drove him into the Ecuadorian embassy. Once in the U.S., he faces up to 175 years in complete isolation in a supermax jail.

ASSASSINATION PLOT

We now know, courtesy of a Yahoo News investigation, that through 2017 the CIA hatched various schemes to either assassinate Assange or kidnap him in one of its illegal “extraordinary rendition” operations, so he could be permanently locked up in the U.S., out of public view.

We can surmise that the CIA also believed it needed to prepare the ground for such a rogue operation by bringing the public on board. According to Yahoo’s investigation, the CIA believed Assange’s seizure might require a gun battle on the streets of London.

It was at this point, it seems, that Cadwalladr and the Guardian were encouraged to add their own weight to the cause of further turning public opinion against Assange.

According to her witness statement, “a confidential source in [the] U.S.” suggested – at the very time the CIA was mulling over these various plots – that she write about a supposed visit by Farage to Assange in the embassy. The story ran in the Guardian under the headline “When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange.”

In the article, Cadwalladr offers a strong hint as to who had been treating her as a confidant: the one source mentioned in the piece is “a highly placed contact with links to U.S. intelligence.” In other words, the CIA almost certainly fed her the agency’s angle on the story.

In the piece, Cadwalladr threads together her and the CIA’s claims of “a political alignment between WikiLeaks’ ideology, UKIP’s ideology and Trump’s ideology.” Behind the scenes, she suggests, was the hidden hand of the Kremlin, guiding them all in a malign plot to fatally undermine British democracy.

She quotes her “highly placed contact” claiming that Farage and Assange’s alleged face-to-face meeting was necessary to pass information of their nefarious plot “in ways and places that cannot be monitored.”

Except of course, as her “highly placed contact” knew – and as we now know, thanks to exposes by the Grayzone website – that was a lie. In tandem with its plot to kill or kidnap Assange, the CIA illegally installed cameras inside, as well as outside, the embassy. His every move in the embassy was monitored – even in the toilet block.

The reality was that the CIA was bugging and videoing Assange’s every conversation in the embassy, even the face-to-face ones. If the CIA actually had a recording of Assange and Farage meeting and discussing a Kremlin-inspired plot, it would have found a way to make it public by now.

Far more plausible is what Farage and WikiLeaks say: that such a meeting never happened. Farage visited the embassy to try to interview Assange for his LBC radio show but was denied access. That can be easily confirmed because by then the Ecuadorian embassy was allying with the U.S. and refusing Assange any contact with visitors apart from his lawyers.

Nonetheless, Cadwalladr concludes: “In the perfect storm of fake news, disinformation and social media in which we now live, WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything.”

‘SWIRLING VORTEX’

The Farage-Assange meeting story shows how the CIA and Cadwalladr’s agendas perfectly coincided in their very own “swirling vortex” of fake news and disinformation.

She wanted to tie the Brexit campaign to Russia and suggest that anyone who wished to challenge the liberal pieties that provide cover for the crimes committed by Western states must necessarily belong to a network of conspirators, on the left and the right, masterminded from Moscow.

The CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, meanwhile, wanted to deepen the public’s impression that Assange was a Kremlin agent – and that WikiLeaks’ exposure of the crimes committed by those same agencies was not in the public interest but actually an assault on Western democracy.

Assange’s character assassination had already been largely achieved with the American public in the Russiagate campaign in the U.S. The intelligence services, along with the Democratic Party leadership, had crafted a narrative designed to obscure WikiLeaks’ revelations of election-fixing by Hillary Clinton’s camp in 2016 to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the party’s presidential nomination. Instead they refocused the public’s attention on evidence-free claims that Russia had “hacked” the emails.

For Cadwalladr and the CIA, the fake-news story of Farage meeting Assange could be spun as further proof that both the “far left” and “far right” were colluding with Russia. Their message was clear: only centrists – and the national security state – could be trusted to defend democracy.

FABRICATED STORY

Cadwalladr’s smear of Assange is entirely of a piece with the vilification campaign of WikiLeaks led by liberal media outlets to which she belongs. Her paper, the Guardian, has had Assange in its sights since its falling out with him over their joint publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs in 2010.

A year after Cadwalladr’s smear piece, the Guardian would continue its cooperation with the intelligence services’ demonization of Assange by running an equally fabricated story – this time about a senior aide of Trump’s, Paul Manafort, and various unidentified “Russians” secretly meeting Assange in the embassy.

The story was so improbable it was ridiculed even at the time of publication. Again, the CIA’s illegal spying operation inside and outside the embassy meant there was no way Manafort or any “Russians” could have secretly visited Assange without those meetings being recorded. Nonetheless, the Guardian has never retracted the smear.

One of the authors of the article, Luke Harding, has been at the forefront of both the Guardian’s Russiagate claims and its efforts to defame Assange. In doing so, he appears to have relied heavily on Western intelligence services for his stories and has proven incapable of defending them when challenged.

Harding, like the Guardian, has an added investment in discrediting Assange. He and a Guardian colleague, David Leigh, published a Guardian-imprint book that included a secret password to a WikiLeaks’ cache of leaked documents, thereby providing security services around the world with access to the material.

The CIA’s claim that the release of those documents endangered its informants – a claim that even U.S. officials have been forced to concede is not true – has been laid at Assange’s door to vilify him and justify his imprisonment. But if anyone is to blame, it is not Assange but Harding, Leigh and the Guardian.

EFFORT TO DEPLATFORM

The case of Paul Mason, who worked for many years as a senior BBC journalist, is even more revealing. Emails passed to the Grayzone website show the veteran, self-described “left-wing” journalist secretly conspiring with figures aligned with British intelligence services to build a network of journalists and academics to smear and censor independent media outlets that challenge the narratives of the Western intelligence agencies.

Mason’s concerns about left-wing influence on public opinion have intensified the more he has faced criticism from the left over his demands for fervent, uncritical support of NATO and as he has lobbied for greater Western interference in Ukraine. Both are aims he shares with Western intelligence services.

Along with the establishment media, Mason has called for sending advanced weaponry to Kyiv, likely to raise the death toll on both sides of the war and risk a nuclear confrontation between the West and Russia.

In the published emails, Mason suggests the harming and “relentless deplatforming” of independent investigative media sites – such as the Grayzone, Consortium News and Mint Press – that host non-establishment journalists. He and his correspondents also debate whether to include Declassified UK and OpenDemocracy. One of his co-conspirators suggests a “full nuclear legal to squeeze them financially.”

Mason himself proposes starving these websites of income by secretly pressuring Paypal to stop readers from being able to make donations to support their work.

It should be noted that, in the wake of Mason’s correspondence,  PayPal did indeed launch just such a crackdown, including against Consortium News and MintPress, after earlier targeting WikiLeaks.

Mason’s email correspondents include two figures intimately tied to British intelligence: Amil Khan is described by the Grayzone as “a shadowy intelligence contractor” with ties to the U.K.’s National Security Council. He founded Valent Projects, establishing his credentials in a dirty propaganda war in support of head-chopping jihadist groups trying to bring down the Russian-supported Syrian government.

CLANDESTINE ‘CLUSTERS’

The other intelligence operative is someone Mason refers to as a “friend”: Andy Pryce, the head of the Foreign Office’s shadowy Counter Disinformation and Media Development (CDMD) unit, founded in 2016 to “counter-strike against Russian propaganda.” Mason and Pryce spend much of their correspondence discussing when to meet up in London pubs for a drink, according to the Grayzone.

The Foreign Office managed to keep the CDMD unit’s existence secret for two years. The U.K. government has refused to disclose basic information about the CDMD on grounds of national security, although it is now known that it is overseen by the National Security Council.

The CDMD’s existence came to light because of leaks about another covert information warfare operation, the Integrity Initiative.

Notably, the Integrity Initiative was run on the basis of clandestine “clusters,” in North America and Europe, of journalists, academics, politicians and security officials advancing narratives shared with Western intelligence agencies to discredit Russia, China, Julian Assange, and Jeremy Corbyn, the former, left-wing leader of the Labor Party.

Cadwalladr was named in the British cluster, along with other prominent journalists: David Aaronovitch and Dominic Kennedy of the Times; the Guardian’s Natalie Nougayrede and Paul Canning; Jonathan Marcus of the BBC; the Financial Times’ Neil Buckley; the Economist’s Edward Lucas; and Sky News’ Deborah Haynes.

In his emails, Mason appears to want to renew this type of work but to direct its energies more specifically at damaging independent, dissident media – with his number one target the Grayzone, which played a critical role in exposing the Integrity Initiative.

Mason’s “friend” – the CDMD’s head, Andy Pryce – “featured prominently” in documents relating to the Integrity Initiative, the Grayzone observes.

This background is not lost on Mason. He notes in his correspondence the danger that his plot to “deplatform” independent media could “end up with the same problem as Statecraft” – a reference to the Institute of Statecraft, the Integrity Initiative’s parent charity, which the Grayzone and others exposed. He cautions: “The opposition are not stupid, they can spot an info op – so the more this is designed to be organic the better.”

Pryce and Mason discuss creating an astroturf civil-society organization that would lead their “information war” as part of an operation they brand the “International Information Brigade”.

Mason suggests the suspension of the libel laws for what he calls “foreign agents” – presumably meaning that the Information Brigade would be able to defame independent journalists as Russian agents, echoing the establishment media’s treatment of Assange, without fear of legal action that would show these were evidence-free smears.

‘PUTIN INFOSPHERE’

Another correspondent, Emma Briant, an academic who claims to specialize in Russian disinformation, offers an insight into how she defines the presumed enemy within: those “close to WikiLeaks,” anyone “trolling Carole [Cadwalladr],” and outlets “discouraging people from reading the Guardian.”

Mason himself produces an eye-popping, self-drawn, spider’s web chart of the supposedly “pro-Putin infosphere” in the U.K., embracing much of the left, including Corbyn, the Stop the War movement, as well as the Black and Muslim communities. Several media sites are mentioned, including Mint Press and Novara Media, an independent British website sympathetic to Corbyn.

Khan and Mason consider how they can help trigger a British government investigation of independent outlets so that they can be labeled as “Russian-state affiliated media” to further remove them from visibility on social media.

Mason states that the goal is to prevent the emergence of a “left anti-imperialist identity,” which, he fears, “will be attractive because liberalism doesn’t know how to counter it” – a telling admission that he believes genuine left-wing critiques of Western foreign policy cannot be dealt with through public refutation but only through secret disinformation campaigns.

He urges efforts to crack down not only on independent media and “rogue” academics but on left-wing political activism. He identifies as a particular threat Corbyn, who was earlier harmed through a series of disinformation campaigns, including entirely evidence-free claims that the Labour Party during his tenure became a hotbed of antisemitism. Mason fears Corbyn might set up a new, independent left-wing party. It is important, Mason notes, to “quarantine” and “stigmatize” any such ideology.

In short, rather than use journalism to win the argument and the battle for public opinion, Mason wishes to use the dark arts of the security state to damage independent media, as well as dissident academics and left-wing political activism. He wants no influences on the public that are not tightly aligned with the core foreign policy goals of the national security state.

Mason’s correspondence hints at the reality behind Cadwalladr’s claim that Assange was the “swirling vortex at the centre of everything.” Assange symbolizes that “swirling vortex” to intelligence-aligned establishment journalists only because WikiLeaks has published plenty of insider information that exposes Western claims to global moral leadership as a complete charade – and the journalists who amplify those claims as utter charlatans.

In part two, we will examine why journalists like Mason and Cadwalladr prosper in the establishment media; the long history of collusion between Western intelligence agencies and the establishment media; and how that mutually beneficial collusion is becoming ever more important to each of them.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Twitter hires ‘alarming number’ of ex-spies – investigation

Samizdat | June 24, 2022

Twitter is hiring “an alarming number” of ex-FBI agents and other former “feds and spies,” independent outlet MintPress News is reporting, after conducting an analysis of employment and recruitment websites.

According to the research, in recent years the company employed “dozens of individuals from the national security state to work in the fields of security, trust, safety and content.”

“Chief amongst these is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is generally known as a domestic security and intelligence force. However, it has recently expanded its remit into cyberspace,” MintPress wrote.

It provides several examples of such appointments. FBI veteran Karen Walsh who, according to her Twitter profile, served as a special agent for 21 years, has become a director of corporate resilience at the Silicon Valley-based company. Mark Jaroszewski, Twitter director of corporate security and risk, joined the Twitter team after 20+ years at the FBI.

Central Intelligence Agency and NATO think-tank Atlantic Council have also been named by MintPress as key incubators of personnel for Twitter.

“Twitter also directly employs active army officers. In 2019, Gordon Macmillan, the head of editorial for the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region was revealed to be an officer in the British Army’s notorious 77th Brigade – a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. This bombshell news was steadfastly ignored across the media,” the outlet stressed.

RT has checked open-access social media accounts of Twitter’s top managers and also discovered some former employees of the security services among them – in addition to the ones mentioned in the MintPress investigation.

MintPress News stresses that while Twitter’s HR policy might appear logical – the company hires specialists in the areas it needs – it creates some serious problems, not only for the company, but also for the security agencies and organizations. According to former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley, who is quoted by MintPress, many agents have one eye on post-retirement jobs.

“The truth is that at the FBI 50% of all the normal conversations that people had were about how you were going to make money after retirement,” Rowley said.

MintPress claimed that the fact that Twitter recruits largely from the US national security organizations undermines the company’s claims about its neutrality, as the US government “is the source of some of the largest and most extensive influence operations in the world.”

Another risk is that “the company will start to view every problem in the same manner as the U.S. government does – and act accordingly,” the outlet states. To prove this claim, the website analyzed a list – compiled by Twitter – of the countries allegedly conducting disinformation campaigns.

“One cannot help noticing that this list correlates quite closely to a hit list of U.S. government adversaries. All countries carry out disinfo campaigns to a certain extent. But these ‘former’ spooks and feds are unlikely to point the finger at their former colleagues or sister organizations or investigate their operations,” MintPress explained.

Twitter adds warning messages to the tweets and accounts of the state-affiliated media of Russia, China, Iran and Cuba, thus mirroring “US hostility” towards these countries, but does not add any warnings to the pages of state-affiliated media of US and its allies, the outlet highlighted.

Ultimately, MintPress found that Twitter is not the only social media platform that’s “cultivating such an intimate relationship with the FBI and other groups belonging to the secret state.”

“Facebook, for example, has entered into a formal partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, whereby the latter holds significant influence over 2.9 billion users’ news feeds, helping to decide what content to promote and what content to suppress,” it said, adding that the company has also employed former NATO Press Secretary Ben Nimmo as its head of intelligence.

TikTok, according to the outlet, has been “filling its organization with alumni of the Atlantic Council, NATO, the CIA and the State Department.”

Reddit and various media, including Thomson Reuters and multiple US TV channels have also been actively employing former spies, MintPress News claims.

“One of media’s primary functions is to serve as a fourth estate; a force that works to hold the government and its agencies to account. Yet instead of doing that, increasingly it is collaborating with them. Such are these increasing interlocking connections that it is becoming increasingly difficult to see where big government ends and big media begins,” it pointed out.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angleton, Mossad, and the Kennedy Assassinations

BY LAURENT GUYÉNOT • UNZ REVIEW • JUNE 5, 2022

Edward Curtin wrote four years ago on Counter-Currents:

perhaps no one epitomized the twisted mind games played by intelligence agencies more than James Jesus Angleton, the notorious CIA Counterintelligence Chief for so many years, in whose safe were found gruesome photos of Robert Kennedy’s autopsy. Why, one may ask, were those photos there, since Angleton allegedly had no connection to the RFK killing and since Sirhan was said to be the assassin? Was Angleton’s work as CIA liaison with Israel in any way connected?

If you ask me, I strongly suspect it was. Angleton had been the Mossad’s indispensable ally in John Kennedy’s assassination. So he had personal reasons to cooperate with them again in stopping Robert Kennedy from reaching the White House, a position from which, according to multiple testimonies, Robert intended to track his brother’s assassins.[1]

I summarized the case against Ben-Gurion’s Israel in the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers in this article, which still turns up regularly among The Unz Review’s “Past classics”. Here I’ll try to show that an inquiry into Angleton’s “wilderness of mirrors” makes the case even stronger.

The “World War III” Virus

Angleton’s name often comes up in books incriminating the CIA in the 1963 Dallas coup, because he is believed to have engineered the staged visits and telephone calls by an Oswald impersonator to both the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City in late September and early October 1963. Over the phone, this bogus “Oswald” referred to an arrangement with Vladimir Kostikov, who was known to the FBI as the officer in charge of assassinations in the United States. These visits and calls were, of course, monitored by the local CIA cell, and would constitute, after November 22, evidence of a Cuban-Soviet conspiracy.

According to the most natural and common interpretation, the purpose of staging Oswald as a communist conspirator was to blame the Dallas shooting on Cuba and/or the Soviet Union — a classic false flag scenario. Besides getting rid of Kennedy, the theory goes, the motive was to create a pretext for invading Cuba, something that Kennedy had forbidden after the Bay of Pigs debacle and the firing of Allen Dulles. That has become the dominant JFK conspiracy theory, best articulated recently by James Douglass. But it has one major flaw: there was no invasion of Cuba following Kennedy’s assassination. How can that be explained?

And why did Johnson, Hoover and the Warren Commission quickly suppress the “rumors” of Oswald’s communist profile (already hitting the news on November 23, e.g. the morning front-page of the Washington Post titled, “Pro-Castro Fort Worth Marxist Charged in Kennedy’s Assassination”[2]), to replace it with his “lone nut” profile? James Douglass’s explanation is that Johnson thwarted the plot hatched by the CIA and Pentagon hawks, thus saving us from World War III. “To Johnson’s credit, he refused to let the Soviets take the blame for Kennedy’s murder; to his discredit, he decided not to confront the CIA over what it had done in Mexico City. Thus, while the secondary purpose of the assassination plot was stymied, its primary purpose was achieved.”[3] The problem with this theory is its internal contradiction, since it also affirms that the reason Kennedy was assassinated was that he refused to start World War III: therefore, starting the war was supposedly the primary — not the secondary — purpose of the whole plot.

The alternative explanation is that Oswald’s profile as a Communist assassin was crafted by the conspirators, not for the purpose of starting a war against Cuba and Russia, but for allowing Johnson to bully Federal and State administrations, and even the news community, into closing the investigation quickly, lest the discovery of Cuba and Russia’s responsibility force the U.S. into a global nuclear war “that would kill 40 million Americans in an hour,” as Johnson kept repeating to everyone from Dallas to Washington. To convince Senator Richard Russell to sit in the Warren Commission, for example, Johnson told him in a taped phone conversation: “we’ve got to take this out of the arena where they’re testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill forty million Americans in an hour…”[4]

Besides allowing Johnson to shut down Police investigations and secretly task the Warren Commission with the goal of “rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy” (as recommended by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach’s November 25 memo[5]), the threat of nuclear war kept the American people satisfied that, if they were being lied to — as many felt they were — it was for their own good. And so the lie about Kennedy’s assassination was two-sided: on one side was the Cuban-Soviet conspiracy, and on the other was the lone assassin. Both sides of the lie had to be maintained over the years, the Soviet conspiracy remaining in the background in order to keep the Warren Commission’s conclusion, if not credible, at least justifiable. That is why, in a September 1969 filmed interview (broadcast on CBS on April 24, 1975), Johnson could calmly declare that “there might have been international connections,” but that the Warren Commission did a fine job anyway.[6]

Like most JFK researchers, John Newman, a retired U.S. Army major and Political Science professor and the author of Oswald and the CIA, believes that long before Kennedy’s trip to Dallas, Oswald was maneuvered and his activities “carefully monitored, controlled, and, if necessary, embellished and choreographed,” so that, “on 22 November, Oswald’s CIA files would establish his connection to Castro and the Kremlin.” However, in an epilogue added in 2008 to his book (which Ron Unz has already referred to here and here)Newman reasons that the real purpose of setting up Oswald as a Communist was not to start World War III, but to create a “World War III virus”, used by Johnson as a “national security” pretext to shut all investigations and intimidate the corporate media. “It is now apparent that the World War III pretext for a national security cover-up was built into the fabric of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.”[7]

After reviewing the steps taken to design this plot, Newman concludes: “In my view, there is only one person whose hands fit into these gloves: James Jesus Angleton, Chief of CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.”

No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald’s files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president’s assassination. Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence [Angleton].[8]

As a matter of fact, no one pushed more for incriminating the KGB than Angleton. Michael Collins Piper, who wrote much about Angleton in his groundbreaking Final Judgment, showed that Angleton went to great lengths to discredit, imprison and torture Russian Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, who in 1964 claimed insistently that the KGB had decided against trying to use Oswald in any way during his sojourn in Russia, and that the KGB had nothing to do with Kennedy’s assassination. Angleton was also the main source for Edward Jay Epstein’s book, Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald (published in 1978), which laid the blame on the KGB.[9]

Angleton and Counterintelligence

Angleton was appointed head of the Counterintelligence Staff by CIA Director Allen Dulles in 1954, a position he kept for twenty years. According to Tom Mangold, author of Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: the CIA’s Master Spy Hunter (Simon & Schuster, 1991): “Angleton’s longstanding friendships with Dulles and Helms were to become the most important factor in giving him freedom of movement within the CIA. He was extended such trust by his superiors that there was often a significant failure of executive control over his activities.”[10]

After Kennedy fired Dulles and his two Deputy Directors Richard Bissel and Charles Cabell in autumn 1961, Angleton was shielded by new Deputy Director Richard Helms, who had survived the purge and would end up as head of the CIA. In 1962, as the CIA moved into its new headquarters in Langley, Angleton’s Counterintelligence Staff had nearly two hundred people.[11]

As one colleague and friend said, “Jim’s central dominating obsession was communism, something that for him was the essence of absolute and profound evil. For him nothing else really mattered, but he would use anyone and anything to combat it.”[12] The most secret component of Angleton’s empire was the Special Investigation Group (SIG), tasked with exploring the possibility that the CIA was infiltrated by the KGB. “The SIG was so secret that many members of the Counterintelligence Staff didn’t even know it existed,” writes Mangold, “and nearly everyone was denied access to it. . . . Secret units within a secret unit were a hallmark of Angleton, the SIG, and the Counterintelligence Staff.”[13]

The tragicomic story of Angleton’s “mole hunt” is told in detail by Tom Mangold. It involves a megalomaniac KGB defector named Anatoly Golitsyn, who, responding to Angleton’s paranoia, convinced him that the KGB had infiltrated the CIA through a high-level source code-named “Sacha”, and that all other defectors after him would be phony. Angleton’s quest for Sacha would last seven years. About 40 senior Agency officers were put on the suspect list and many had their careers ruined, while at least 22 genuine defectors were turned away. No real KGB spy was ever caught by Angleton. Meanwhile, the British Soviet agent Kim Philby remained Angleton’s most trusted friend until being unmasked in 1963, and one Counterintelligence agent, Clare Edward Petty, ended up believing “Sacha” must be Angleton himself.[14] This fiasco is the subject of David C. Martin’s book Wilderness of Mirrors (2018).[15] As Los Angeles Times journalist David Wise writes: “In the end, Angleton never found a mole. But he did more harm to the CIA than even the most talented mole could ever have accomplished.”[16]

When William Colby, from the Soviet Division, became Director of the CIA, he looked for a pretext to sack Angleton, and fired him in December 1974 after the disclosure by Seymour Hersh in the New York Times of two dubious domestic operations that his Counterintelligence Staff had been conducting in violation of the CIA’s charter: intercepting mail sent between the United States and the Soviet Union (Program HT/LINGUAL) and spying on American antiwar protestors (Operation CHAOS).

When George Kalaris, who replaced Angleton, directed an investigation into Angleton’s files, his team located over 40 vaults that had to be drilled open. It took three years to sort, destroy or classify the discovered materials, which had never been archived into the CIA’s central filing system. And it took CIA officer Cleveland Cram six years to write a report in 12 legal-sized volumes on the activities of the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974.[17]

The most important conclusion is that Angleton’s Counterintelligence, which was involved in the preparation for JFK’s assassination, was not the CIA, but rather a “second CIA within the CIA” (as Peter Dale Scott put it), sealed from scrutiny and accountable to no one, yet supported by almost unlimited budget.[18] During Kennedy’s presidency, John McCone, an outsider, of course had no idea what Angleton was doing or not doing, and Richard Helms, his Deputy, let him do as he pleased.

But this Counterintelligence disaster is only half of Angleton’s story. There is another half, rarely told. Tom Mangold only refers to it in an endnote:

I would like to place on the record, however, that Angleton’s professional friends overseas, then and subsequently, came from the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence-gathering service) and that he was held in immense esteem by his Israeli colleagues and by the state of Israel, which was to award him profound honors after his death.[19]

To be fair, Mangold also writes: “Angleton’s ties with the Israelis gave him considerable prestige within the CIA and later added significantly to his expanding counterintelligence empire,” while stirring “the utter fury of the division’s separate Arab desks.”[20] But that’s all we’ll learn from Mangold about the Mossad-side of Angleton. To know more about it, we must turn to Jefferson Morley’s more recent and thorough investigation, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin’s Press, 2017). We will learn that Angleton was less “out of control” than we think — only the people who controlled him were not those who were supposed to.

Angleton and Mossad

When Angleton became chief of Counterintelligence in 1954, he had already been occupying, since early 1951, the CIA’s Israeli Desk, or Israeli Account, as it was called. And he had exclusive authority on the CIA station in Tel Aviv. The Israeli Desk was created for Angleton after the visit of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to the United States in May 1951. Besides launching a drive to raise $1 billion from the sale of Israel Bonds,[21] the purpose of Ben-Gurion’s visit was to establish collaboration between U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies. Israel’s population of immigrants from the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe made the country a privileged source of information about what was going on behind the Iron Curtain. In exchange for this service, Israel wanted strategic, economic and military support against their enemy Nasser, whom they did their utmost to push into the Soviet camp. Here is Morley’s account of the background for that turning point in U.S.-Israel relationship:

In 1950, Reuven Shiloah, the founder of Israel’s first intelligence organization, visited Washington and came away impressed by the CIA. In April 1951, he reorganized the fractious Israeli security forces to create a new foreign intelligence agency, called the Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, inevitably known as the Mossad, the Hebrew word for “institute.” In 1951, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion came to the United States and brought Shiloah with him. Ben-Gurion met privately with President Truman and Walter Bedell Smith [director of CIA]. Angleton arranged for Ben-Gurion to lunch with Allen Dulles [Deputy Director for Plans] . . . Shiloah stayed on in Washington to work out the arrangements with Angleton. The resulting agreement laid the foundation for the exchange of secret information between the two services and committed them to report to each other on subjects of mutual interest. Shiloah, according to his biographer [Haggai Eshed], soon developed “a special relationship” with Angleton, who became the CIA’s exclusive liaison with the Mossad. Angleton returned the favor by visiting Israel. Shiloah introduced him to Amos Manor, chief of counterespionage for Israel’s domestic intelligence agency [1953-1963], known as Shabak or Shin Bet.[22]

For almost 25 years, Angleton was the CIA’s exclusive liaison with Israeli intelligence. In this capacity, recalled one of his friends interviewed by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn for their book Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, “he was getting the benefit of Israeli networks and connections all over the place, not just in the Communist bloc.”[23]

Angleton’s special channel to the Mossad brought little profit to the U.S. in terms of intelligence. In October 1956, no warning came from Angleton about the Israelis’ plan to invade Egypt. As rumors of war were reaching the State Department, Robert Amory, head of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence, called an emergency meeting on October 26. After he presented Allen Dulles with evidence that the Israelis “were mobilizing to attack someone — Egypt,” Angleton contradicted him saying, “I can discount what Amory is saying. I spent last night with our friends and they have assured me that they are just carrying out protective measures against the Jordanians.” Amory got mad and said to Dulles: “The taxpayer lays out $16,000 a year to me as your deputy director for me to give you the best intelligence available. Either you believe me or you believe this co-opted Israeli agent here [pointing to Angleton].”[24] Within days, Israel had invaded Egypt’s Sinai.

James Jesus Angleton made his first visit to Israel in October 1951. “By the mid-1950s,” Morley writes, “Angleton liked nothing better than to leave the cramped office politics of Washington for the austere frontier of the Holy Land. On his visits, Angleton stayed in Ramat Gan, on the suburban coastal plain north of Tel Aviv, the home to many Israeli intelligence officers and diplomats.”

“He used to come from time to time, to meet the head of Mossad, to get briefings,” recalls Efraim Halevy, who served as the Mossad’s liaison officer to the CIA station in Tel Aviv in the early 1960s. Halevy escorted Angleton on his rounds and recorded his meetings with Israeli officials. “He used to meet with David Ben-Gurion, whom he knew for many years,” Halevy recalled. “Ben-Gurion ultimately left office [in 1963] and Angleton went down to Sde Boker [Ben-Gurion’s home in the Negev] to meet him. I didn’t attend those meetings. Those were just the two of them. He had business to transact.”[25]

Angleton knew at least six of the men closest to Ben-Gurion and privy to his secrets. Besides Efraim Halevy (on the right in the top picture), he befriended Isser Harel, founder of the Shin Bet and chief of the Mossad from 1951 (“Jim had enormous admiration for Isser,” said Halevy). Angleton also enjoyed the lifetime friendship of Amos Manor, director of Shin Bet from 1953 to 1963, of Teddy Kollek, who later became mayor of Jerusalem, and of Meir Amit, head of Mossad from 1963 to 1968. When Halevy accompanied Yitzhak Rabin for his ambassadorship to Washington (1968-1973), Angleton met him as often as five times a week, and had monthly lunches with Rabin, Halevy recalled. Angleton’s friends were among the builders of the Zionist state, and Angleton was the only American authorized to talk to them.[26]

This, coupled with his infatuation with Zionism, gave Angleton a great influence on Washington’s Israeli policy. According to Morley, “he was a leading architect of America’s strategic relationship with Israel that endures and dominates the region to this day.”[27] “Angleton’s influence on U.S.-Israeli relations between 1951 and 1974 exceeded that of any secretary of state, with the possible exception of Henry Kissinger. His influence was largely unseen by Congress, the press, other democratic institutions, and much of the CIA itself.”[28]

Speaking of Kissinger, Michael Piper mentions, quoting Deborah Davis’s biography of Katharine Graham, that Kissinger actually moved Angleton’s Israeli desk into the White House, and that both men worked very closely. In one of the most interesting appendixes added to his 1998 edition of Final Judgment, Piper argues that Angleton was the mastermind of the Watergate dirty trick that caused Nixon’s fall, using his longtime ally Ben Bradlee, then Washington Post editor. According to Piper, Watergate was “a joint CIA-Mossad operation—orchestrated by James Angleton—for the purpose of removing Nixon from the presidency.” Nixon had to be removed because, like Kennedy before him, he had become a threat to Israel’s survival.[29]

Dimona and the Stolen Uranium

Naturally, Angleton’s influence on U.S.-Israeli relationship touched upon the sensitive question of Israel’s military nuclear ambition. Morley again:

In Washington, he and Cicely [Angleton’s wife] had spent many evenings with Memi de Shalit, a Lithuanian-born military intelligence officer stationed in the Israeli embassy. Angleton “adored” de Shalit and his wife, Ada, said Efraim Halevy. The de Shalits moved back to Israel in the 1950s, but the friendship continued, and it brought Angleton into the circle of other knowledgeable Israelis. Amos de Shalit, Memi’s brother, was a professor of nuclear physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Tel Aviv. He would be a major contributor to the Israeli nuclear program.[30]

According to Seymour Hersh, “Angleton’s close personal ties with the DeShalit family and others in Israel made it inevitable that he would learn about the [Dimona] construction in the Negev.” Yet he never reported on the Israelis’ efforts to build a nuclear reactor for military purposes.[31] In 1960, Angleton ignored a request from the U.S. Intelligence Board, which reviewed CIA operations on behalf of the White House, that all information regarding Dimona be transmitted “expeditiously”.[32]

Angleton also failed to notice or to report about the stealing of weapons-grade enriched uranium from a plant of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Apollo, Pennsylvania. The NUMEC had been created under U.S. government license by David Lowenthal, a Zionist financier, and was run by Zalman Shapiro, the son of an Orthodox rabbi from Lithuania, who was also head of the local chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. Over the 9 years from 1959 to 1968, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that 267 kilograms of uranium went missing at the Apollo NUMEC plant. One Israeli masquerading as a nuclear engineer who visited the plant was a Mossad agent named Rafael Eitan, who was known to Angleton. “With the fissile material diverted from NUMEC, Israel was able to construct its first nuclear weapon by 1967 and become a full-blown nuclear power by 1970 — the first, and still the only, nuclear power in the Middle East. Angleton, it is fair to say, thought collaboration with Israel was more important than U.S. non-proliferation policy.”[33]

“Angleton’s loyalty to Israel betrayed U.S. policy on an epic scale,” Morley concludes. “Instead of supporting U.S. nuclear security policy, he ignored it.” John Hadden, then CIA station chief in Tel Aviv, who felt betrayed by his superior Angleton, wrote in 1978: “A crime was committed 10 or 20 years ago, a crime considered so serious that for its commission the death penalty is mandatory and no statute of limitations applies.”

Angleton had regular professional and personal contact with at least six men aware of Israel’s secret plan to build a bomb. From Asher Ben-Natan to Amos de Shalit to Isser Harel to Meir Amit to Moshe Dayan to Yval Ne’eman, his friends were involved in the building of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. If he learned anything of the secret program at Dimona, he reported very little of it. . . . The failure of the U.S. nonproliferation policy to prevent the introduction of nuclear weapons to the Middle East in the 1960s is part of Angleton’s legacy, and its effects will be felt for decades, if not centuries.[34]

Angleton himself implicitly acknowledged his role to New York Times foreign correspondent Tad Szulc, who declared before the Church Committee in 1975:

I was told by one of my news sources that a situation had occurred in the 1960s in which the CIA delivered to the Israeli government classified information, technical knowledge, know-how, the services of distinguished physicists and fissionable material in the form of plutonium to assist in the development of an Israeli nuclear weapon at the Dimona Israeli Nuclear Testing grounds. . . I have raised the subject in a private conversation with Mr. James Angleton in the spring of this year [April 1975]. Mr. Angleton told me that essentially this information was correct.[35]

The Six Day War and the USS Liberty

According to Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, “There is a body of opinion within the American intelligence community that Angleton played a leading part in orchestrating the events leading up to the June 1967 war. One long-serving official at CIA’s ancient rival, the code-breaking National Security Agency, states flatly that ‘Jim Angleton and the Israelis spent a year cooking up the ’67 war. It was a CIA operation designed to get Nasser.’”[36]

In that period, according to Joan Mellen, author of Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspire to Ambush the USS Liberty (2018), “Meir Amit was Angleton’s chief ally in Israel, but in the United States, he relied on another Mossad operative, Ephraim ‘Eppy’ Evron, who in 1967, as a Mossad operative as well as deputy Israeli ambassador to Washington, enjoyed greater importance at the Israeli embassy than the ambassador, Avraham Harman. It was Evron who had arranged meetings between Angleton and Moshe Dayan . . . to discuss the feasibility of an attack on Egypt with the objective of toppling Nasser. Lyndon Johnson had authorized Angleton to inform Evron that the United States would not intervene to stop an attack on Egypt.”[37]

In May 1967, Eppy Evron met Johnson at the White House. Evron later said that Johnson told him, “You and I are going to pass another Tonkin resolution,” in reference to the mock incident in the Gulf of Tonkin that Johnson used to justify the aggression against North Vietnam.[38] On May 30, Meir Amit, then head of global operations for Mossad, flew to Washington and met first with Angleton the next day. There is no documentary record of their conversation, but on June 1, Amit reported to Israel: “there is a growing chance for American political backing if we act on our own.”[39] “It would be Angleton,” says Joan Mellen, “who would prevail in formulating, with Meir Amit, the configuration of the operation that would culminate in the attack on the USS Liberty.”[40]

Here a summary of Tom Segev’s account of this meeting in 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East (2007): “Amit’s trip to Washington had ben instigated by Aharon Yariv, and its main purpose was to find out, through intelligence channels, what the Americans would really do if Israel attacked Egypt.” The first person Amit met there was James Jesus Angleton, who introduced him to Helms, head of CIA. Helms “arranged for Amit to meet with Secretary of Defense McNamara.” Presenting Israel’s plan to attack Egypt, Amit “heard no objections from McNamara.” McNamara was called out of the meeting twice to talk with Johnson on the phone, and reported to Amit the President’s message: “I read you loud and clear.” Amit reported back to Israel his impression that the Americans would give their blessing to an Israeli strike “crushing Nasser.” In response to Eshkol’s question, Amit said they might even assist Israel in such a strike. “Jim Angleton was enthusiastic,” writes Segev; he saw in Israel’s strike “the possibility of solving the region’s problems.” He “stressed the issue’s delicacy and asked to preserve complete secrecy.” When corresponding with Eshkol on the phone, Amit acknowledged the decisive importance of Angleton’s support. Angleton, he said, intimated that the Americans “would undoubtedly look positively on a knockout” on Egypt; “Angleton was an extraordinary asset for us. We could not have found ourselves a better advocate.” He was “the biggest Zionist of the lot,” insisted Amit.[41]

In December 1967, having more than doubled their territory, the Israelis threw a big party for Angleton when he visited them on his 50th birthday.

Conclusion

The Mossad side of Angleton is part of the “unspoken Kennedy truth” that, in Michael Collins Piper’s footsteps, I documented in my book and in this article. It is no small part. As Morley writes, “Angleton’s formative and sometimes decisive influence on U.S. policy toward Israel can be seen in many areas — from the impotence of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy in the region, to Israel’s triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, to the feeble U.S. response to the attack on the Liberty, to the intelligence failure represented by the Yom Kippur War of 1973.”[42]

Angleton is remembered in the U.S. as a mentally unstable man who caused irreparable damage to the CIA’s efficiency and reputation. In contrast, he is remembered in Israel as a great benefactor of the Zionist state. Here is an extract from the Washington Post report about a ceremony held in his honor in Jerusalem after his death. Although it was supposedly secret, a couple of Israeli reporters, including Andy Court of the Jerusalem Post, had been tipped off and attended:

The head of the pathologically secretive spy agency, the Mossad, was there, as was his counterpart with Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service. Five former heads of those agencies and three former military intelligence chiefs were also present. Their mission: to pay final tribute to a beloved member of their covert fraternity — the late CIA chief of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton. . . . Following the planting [of trees], the group gathered again in Jerusalem behind the King David Hotel at a scenic spot not far from the walls of the Old City that Angleton often visited on his trips here. There they dedicated a memorial stone that read, in English, Hebrew and Arabic: “In memory of a dear friend, James (Jim) Angleton.” . . . The ceremonies symbolized the respect and affection that the Israeli intelligence community holds for Angleton . . . Although his name appears in few history books about Israel, Angleton played a crucial role in the early years of the young Jewish state. In the 1950s and early 1960s, when most of official Washington was wary of — even hostile to — Israel, he helped forge links between the Mossad and the CIA that established the basis for cooperation in intelligence gathering that still exists today. . . . Angleton “was a friend you could trust on a personal basis,” said Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who spoke at the tree-planting ceremony. Rabin knew Angleton from his days as Israeli Army chief of staff in the mid-1960s and later as ambassador to the United States. Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who rose from his sickbed to attend the ceremonies, told the small crowd, “We commemorate a great friend, who saw Israel-U.S. relations through their most difficult period in the 40 years of Israel’s existence.” . . . Those who attended, according to Court, included the current heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, neither of whom can be named under government security laws; former Mossad chiefs Meir Amit, Zvi Zamir and Yitzhak Hofi; former Shin Bet chiefs Avraham Ahituv and Amos Manor, and former military intelligence heads Aharon Yariv, Shlomo Gazit and Binyamin Gibli.[43]

There is still a mystery about Angleton’s relationship with Israel, a mystery that perhaps Angleton himself could not have cleared up. It is a reasonable guess that most of Angleton’s Israeli friends were well aware of his personality issues and of his delusional worldview, and that they exploited them to the fullest; they convinced Angleton that they were his indispensable allies against Communism. One former Mossad chief said to the Cockburns: “Of course, Jim had some pretty weird ideas, like that one about the Sino-Soviet split [Angleton believed it was a cunning deception]. But I think that he found himself a little more appreciated here in Israel than in Washington. We would listen respectfully to him [here the smirk] and his opinions.” The Israelis, gather the Cockburns, “took great care to flatter him and bend a respectful ear to his interpretation of events in the shadowy world of intelligence and deception.” Taking a closer look at the Angleton memorial in the Jerusalem forest, the Cockburns point out that, “Unlike the other memorial groves, the inscription here is not carved in stone, but is written on a sheet of plastic screwed to the stone itself. Within a year of the commemoration of the site most of the trees, tiny saplings, were dead or dying. The ground all around was covered in garbage: cans, rags, and, here and there, bones.”[44] What kind of memorial is this? A memorial for a useful idiot that can be soon forgotten.

What was Angleton’s position in the organizational chart of the plotters against Kennedy? If, as John Newman believes, Angleton was the “general manager” of Oswald’s handlers, and the engineer of his mock appearance in Mexico, what did he really know of Oswald’s ultimate function in the plot? There is no indication that Angleton ever felt that he had been used by his Israeli friends, and it is therefore more than likely that he was a deliberate participant in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. What has been shown beyond a reasonable doubt is that Angleton, the central CIA player in the plot to kill JFK, was in reality more controlled by the Mossad than by the CIA itself.

I am happy to see that this conclusion is now becoming more accepted among Kennedy researchers. Peter Janney, author of the acclaimed Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace (2012), in which Angleton figures prominently, honored me with a comment on the Amazon page of my book:

In addition to his book JFK – 9/11: 50 Years of Deep State, which was published in 2017, Laurent Guyénot has given us yet another gem with The Unspoken Kennedy Truth.

As the author of “Mary’s Mosaic” and someone who has spent many, many years studying the JFK assassination, Laurent Guyénot takes us where few have dared to tread — the role of Mossad and Israel in the murders of both Kennedy brothers and very likely in the event of 9/11 itself. I have been persuaded by both these books and have come to the conclusion that JFK assassination researchers have missed a vital element in understanding the larger role of Israel…

Is it a coincidence that there are not just one — but two — monuments in Israel to the legendary CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Jesus Angleton? Are we anti-Semites for making an indictment against Israel, given Guyénot’s persuasive argument that is supported by evidence? The answer is no! The truth takes no prisoners…

Phillip Nelson, author of LBJ, The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination (2010), the ultimate 720-page indictment of Johnson (followed by LBJ: From Mastermind to “the Colossus” and Remember the Liberty), also wrote a comment that I am proud to quote: “Guyénot’s short book covers much territory, some of it never so thoroughly explored before. … He has made a very compelling and persuasive argument for his position and I recognize the truths he has revealed.” Nelson has reservations, however, on the thesis that Ben-Gurion was the “driving force” behind the assassination of JFK.

The major problem with his thesis is that the problems with Dimona didn’t arise and become the hot topic between JFK and Ben-Gurion until 1963. LBJ’s plot to take the White House by the “back door” began in 1958, when he pushed the Texas legislature to allow him to run on both the state ballot and the national ballot at the same time, something it had then prohibited. That was only the first box he had to check-off, five years before the assassination.

In my opinion, it’s more likely that, during that five years, Johnson and Ben-Gurion, with their submissive acolytes, discussed many of their goals and priorities, and that the “Big Event” became a mutually-agreed high priority, with plenty of time to set all the knights, bishops, kings, queens, and pawns, in their place.

I think Johnson made it on Kennedy’s ticket in 1960 only because the Zionists (Abe Feinberg) wanted him there, as Kennedy’s potential assassin and future “best U.S. president for Israel ever.” For as I wrote in “The Umbrella Man, the Sins of the Father, and the Kennedy Curse”, long before 1960, the Israelis saw the Kennedys as a serious potential threat to their expansionist ambitions, and rightly so. In the organization chart of the plot, I place Ben-Gurion higher than LBJ. But that is open to debate.

https://odysee.com/@KontreKulture:c/Israel-and-the-Assassinations-of-The-Kennedy-brothers:9

Notes

[1] This has been shown conclusively by David Talbot in Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, Simon & Schuster, 2007.

[2] Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, University Press of Kansas, 2008, p. 207.

[3] James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, Touchstone, 2008, p. 232.

[4] Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 82.

[5] Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 82-83.

[6] “LBJ speaks on a conspiracy in JFK murder,” on YouTube.

[7] John M. Newman, Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK, Skyhorse, 2008, pp. 613-637. Excerpts on spartacus-educational.com

[8] Newman, Oswald and the CIA, pp. 636-637 (on spartacus-educational.com)

[9] Michael Collins Piper, Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, American Free Press, 6th ed., 2005, pp. 166-169.

[10] Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: the CIA’s Master Spy Hunter, Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 52.

[11] Mangold, Cold Warrior, p. 55.

[12] Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, HarperCollins, 1991, p. 43.

[13] Mangold, Cold Warrior, p. 57.

[14] Jefferson Morley, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, St. Martin’s Press, 2017, p. 229.

[15] David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception, and the Secrets that Destroyed Two of the Cold War’s Most Important Agents, Skyhorse, 2018.

[16] David Wise, “The Spookiest of the CIA’s Spooks,” Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2006, on www.latimes.com.

[17] Jefferson Morley, “Wilderness of Mirrors: Documents Reveal the Complex “Legacy of James Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance”, January 1, 2018, The Intercept, on theintercept.com/

[18] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, University of California Press, 1993, p. 54, quoted in Michael Collins Piper, Final Judgment6th ed., 2005, p. 63.

[19] Mangold, Cold Warrior, p. 362.

[20] Mangold, Cold Warrior, p. 49.

[21] Cockburn and Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, p. 41.

[22] Morley, The Ghost, 55

[23] Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, p. 43.

[24] Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, p. 65; Morley, The Ghost, p. 78.

[25] Morley, The Ghost, p. 171.

[26] Morley, The Ghost, pp. 174, 73; Jefferson Morley, “Wilderness of Mirrors.”

[27] Morley, The Ghost, p. 262.

[28] Jefferson Morley, “CIA and Mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship,” conf for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 2018 May, on www.wrmea.org/

[29] Piper, Final Judgment, 6th ed., 2005, pp. 461-478.

[30] Morley, The Ghost, p. 174.

[31] Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Random House, 1991, p. 147.

[32] Morley, The Ghost, p. 92

[33] Morley, “CIA and Mossad.”

[34] Morley, The Ghost, pp. 261-262.

[35] Michael Holzman, James Jesus Angleton: The CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence, University of Massachusetts Press, 2008, pp. 167-168.

[36] Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, pp. 146-147.

[37] Joan Mellen, Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty, Prometheus Books, 2018, on www.worldtruth.online/, p. 50.

[38] Peter Hounam, Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty nearly caused World War III, Vision, 2003, pp. 266-267.

[39] Mellen, Blood in the Water, pp. 37-40.

[40] Mellen, Blood in the Water, p. 49.

[41] Tom Segev, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, Henry Hold, 2007, pp. 329-332.

[42] Morley, “CIA and Mossad”

[43] Glenn Frankel, “The Secret Ceremony,” Washington Post, December 5, 1987, on www.washingtonpost.com. Andy Court’s article, “Spy Chiefs Honour a CIA Friend,” Jerusalem Post, December 5, 1987, is not online.

[44] Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, p. 44.

June 6, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US State-Affiliated NewsGuard Targets Consortium News

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | June 2, 2022

Consortium News is being “reviewed” by NewsGuard, a U.S. government-linked organization that is trying to enforce a narrative on Ukraine while seeking to discredit dissenting views.

The organization has accused Consortium News, begun in 1995 by former Associated Press investigative reporter Robert Parry, of publishing “false content” on Ukraine.

It calls “false” essential facts about Ukraine that have been suppressed in mainstream media: 1) that there was a U.S.-backed coup in 2014 and 2) that neo-Nazism is a significant force in Ukraine. Reporting crucial information left out of corporate media is Consortium News‘ essential mission.

But NewsGuard considers these facts to be “myths” and is demanding Consortium News “correct” these “errors.”

Who is NewsGuard?

NewsGuard set itself up in 2018 as a judge of news organizations’ credibility. The front page of NewsGuard’s website shows that it is “partners” with the State Department and the Pentagon, as well as with several major corporations, such as Microsoft. The nature of these “partnerships” is not entirely clear.

NewsGuard is a private corporation that can shield itself from First Amendment obligations. But it has connections to formerly high-ranking U.S. government officials in addition to its “partnerships” with the State Dept. and the Pentagon.

Among those sitting on NewsGuard’s advisory board are Gen. Michael Hayden, the former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director; Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Homeland Security director and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former secretary general of NATO. NewGuard says its ”advisors provide advice and subject-matter expertise to NewsGuard. They play no role in the determinations of ratings or the Nutrition Label write ups of websites unless otherwise noted and have no role in the governance or management of the organization.”

The co-CEO, with former Wall Street Journal publisher Louis Gordon Crovitzis Steven Brill, who in the 1990s published Brill’s Content, a magazine that was billed as a watchdog of the press, critiquing the role of the media to hold government to account. NewsGuard is a government-affiliated organization judging media like Consortium News that is totally independent of government or corporations.

NewsGuard has a rating process that results in a news organization receiving either a green or red label. Fox News and other major media, for example, have received green labels.

Getting a red label means that potentially millions of people that have the NewsGuard extension installed and operating on their browsers will see the  green or red mark affixed to websites on social media and Google searches. (For individuals that do not already have it installed and operating on Microsoft’s browser, it costs $4.95 a month in the U.S., £4.95 in the U.K., or €4.95 in the EU to run the extension.)

According to NewsGuard, libraries in the U.S. and Britain have had it installed on their computers, and it is also being put on computers of U.S. active duty personnel.  Slate reported in January 2019 that NewsGuard:

struck a deal with Microsoft to incorporate those ratings into the tech giant’s Edge browser as an optional setting. That’s when the Guardian noticed that the Mail Online had been tagged by NewsGuard with a ‘red’ label, a reliability score of 3 out of 9, and the following warning: ‘Proceed with caution: This website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.’ For Microsoft Edge users with the ‘News Ratings’ feature turned on, that warning appeared alongside every link to the Mail Online—whether in Google search results, Facebook or Twitter feeds, or the Mail’s own homepage.”

Approach to Consortium News

Consortium News was contacted by NewsGuard analyst Zachary Fishman. In his request to speak to someone at Consortium News he said categorically that CN had published “false content” and that the interview would be on the record. “I’m hoping to talk with someone who could answer a few questions about its structure and editorial processes — including its ownership, its handling of corrections, and its publication of false content,” he wrote in an email.

As editor-in-chief, I informed him that our founder, editors and writers came from high levels of establishment journalism. I told him that in thousands of press interviews I’ve conducted over nearly half a century in journalism I had never known anyone accusing a prospective interviewee of misconduct upfront and then determining that the interview would be on the record, when the ground rules are usually set by the person being interviewed.

Fishman apologized and tried to say his mind wasn’t made up about Consortium News, when he had clearly stated that it was. “I do apologize that the wording of my email insinuated that I had come to a predetermined conclusion on whether your website has published false content, when I have not — be sure that I am interested in your responses to my questions,” he wrote in an email.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Fishman had one previous job in science and financial journalism that lasted 15 months for a company called Fastinform that is now defunct. Last month, all the links of his published pieces on LinkedIn went to a site that no longer exists. The links have now been removed.

Fishman has degrees in health, environment and science journalism and engineering physics. He has no experience in political reporting and especially of the politics of Eastern Europe and U.S.-Russia relations.

NewsGuard’s determination on Consortium News will be made by the analyst and, “At least one senior editor and NewsGuard’s co-CEOs review every Nutrition Label prior to publication to ensure that the rating is as fair and accurate as possible.”

Charge: There Was ‘No US-Backed Coup’

NewsGuard alleges that Consortium News has published “false content” by reporting that there was a U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 and that neo-Nazis have significant influence in the country.

Fishman took issue with a:

“February 2022 article ‘Ukraine: Guides to Reflection,’ [which] asserted, ‘Hence, the inflation of Russian behavior in Ukraine (where Washington organized a coup against a democratically elected governmentbecause we disliked its political complexion) … .’

Fishman then wrote:

“The U.S. supported the Maidan revolution that ousted then-Ukraine President Viktor Yanikovych (sic) in 2014 — including a December 2013 visit by John McCain to Kyiv in support of protesters — but there is no evidence that the U.S. ‘organized’ a ‘coup.’ Instead, it has the markings of a popular uprising, precipitated by widely covered protests against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend preparations for the signing of an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union.”

Viktor Yanukovych was democratically elected as president of Ukraine in 2010 in an election certified by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a fact not mentioned in NewsGuard’s writings on the change of government in Ukraine. Even though Yanukovych agreed to an EU political settlement and early elections, violence forced him to flee from the capital on Feb. 21, 2014. Reporting that the neo-Nazi Right Sector was at the forefront of the violent overthrow, The New York Times (green check) wrote earlier that day:

“Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector, a coalition of hard-line nationalist groups, reacted defiantly to news of the settlement, drawing more cheers from the crowd.

‘The agreements that were reached do not correspond to our aspirations,’ he said. ‘Right Sector will not lay down arms. Right Sector will not lift the blockade of a single administrative building until our main demand is met — the resignation of Yanukovych.’ He added that he and his supporters were ‘ready to take responsibility for the further development of the revolution.’ The crowd shouted: ‘Good! Good!’

study on the violence used to overthrow the government, by Prof. Serhiy Kudelia, a political scientist at Baylor University, says the overthrow succeeded because of “the embeddedness of violent groups” in a non-violent protest. The violence began on Dec. 1, 2013 when these violent groups attacked police with “iron chains, flares, stones and petrol bombs” and tried to ram a bulldozer through police lines. The police viciously fought back that day.

As the International Business Times (IBT) (green check) wrote about these groups at the time:

According to a member of anti-fascist Union Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, ‘There are lots of nationalists here [EuroMaidan] including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.

Different groups [of anarchists] came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting, a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the anarchists things like Jews, blacks, communists. There weren’t even any communists, that was just an insult. The anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated,’ a member of the group continued.”

The violence by far-right groups was evidently condoned by Sen. John McCain who expressed his support for the uprising by addressing the Maidan crowd later that month. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and then U.S. ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt visited the square after the violence had broken out.

NewsGuard’s account of the events of Feb. 21, 2014 says that even though Yanukovych agreed to the early elections, “angry protestors demanded Yanukovych’s immediate resignation,” and he fled on that day after “hundreds of police guarding government buildings abandoned their posts.” NewsGuard then says “protestors took control of several government buildings the next day.”

Government Buildings Seized

But protestors had already seized government buildings as early as December 2013. On Jan. 24 protestors broke into the Agriculture Ministry building in Kiev and occupied it. On the same day barricades were set up near the presidential headquarters. Government buildings in the west of the country had also been occupied. The Guardian (green check) reported on Jan. 24:

“There were dramatic developments in the west of the country on Thursday as hundreds of people forced their way into the office of the regional governor in the city of Lviv, and forced him to sign a resignation letter. Oleh Salo, a Yanukovych appointee in a city where support for the president is in the low single digits, later said he signed the letter under duress and was rescinding his resignation.

Thousands also stormed regional administration headquarters in Rivne on Thursday, breaking down doors and demanding the release of people detained in the unrest there, Unian news agency reported. In the town of Cherkasy, 125 miles south of Kiev, about 1,000 protesters took over the first two floors of the main administration building and lit fires outside the building.

Similar action took place in Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytsky in western and central Ukraine, as well as parts of the north-east, the Party of the Regions said.”

Protestors had begun occupying Kiev City Hall in December, with a portrait of Ukraine’s World War II fascist leader Stepan Bandera hanging from the rafters. On the night of Feb. 21, the leader of the Neo-fascist Right Sector, Andriy Parubiy, announced that the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), the Presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Internal Affairs had all come under control of the protestors.

Therefore NewsGuard has published “false content” by reporting that government buildings were occupied the day after Yanukovych fled the capital. It should print a correction.

On the day after Yanukovych fled, the Rada voted without the presence of Yanukovych’s party — the largest in the country — to impeach him after the fact of his violent overthrow. NewsGuard omitted the key fact that the impeachment vote was tainted by the absence of Yanukovych’s party and that the impeachment became largely irrelevant after violence forced him to flee the capital.

Democratically-elected leaders are removed by electoral defeat, impeachment or votes of no confidence, not by violence. NewsGuard writes that “hundreds of police guarding government buildings abandoned their posts” on the day Yanukovych was forced out, but doesn’t say why. As Jacobin (NewsGuard green check) magazine reports:

“Whatever one thinks of the Maidan protests, the increasing violence of those involved was key to their ultimate victory. In response to a brutal police crackdown, protesters began fighting with chains, sticks, stones, petrol bombs, even a bulldozer — and, eventually, firearms, all culminating in what was effectively an armed battle in February, which left thirteen police officers and nearly fifty protesters dead. The police ‘could no longer defend themselves’ from protesters’ attacks,’ writes political scientist Sergiy Kudelia, causing them to retreat, and precipitating Yanukovych’s exit.”

NewsGuard calls the events a “revolution,” yet revolutions in history have typically been against monarchs or dictators, not against democratically-elected leaders. For instance, the 1776 American Revolution, the 1789 French Revolution, the 1917 Russian Revolution, the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, the 1979 Iranian Revolution and countless others were against monarchs. Coups have been against both elected and non-elected leaders.

By any measure, Yanukovych’s ouster was an unconstitutional change in government. His “impeachment” without his party present for the vote came after government buildings had been seized and after violence drove him from the capital.

Circumstantial Evidence

In its version of these events, NewsGuard only refers to circumstantial evidence of the coup, interpreting it as U.S. “support” for a “revolution” against a democratically-elected president.

NewsGuard fails to point out that McCain, Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT) as well as Nuland appeared on stage in the Maidan with Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the Neo-fascist Svoboda Party, formerly known as the Social National Party.

NewsGuard does not consider how such events would be seen in the United States if a senior Russian foreign ministry official, two leading Russian lawmakers and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. appeared on stage with a far-right American leader to address a crowd on the Washington Mall seeking to oust an elected U.S. president. If that president were overthrown violently, would Americans think it Russian-backed the coup?

NewsGuard discusses Nuland’s 2013 speech in which she revealed that since 1991 the U.S. had spent $5 billion to help bring about Ukraine’s “aspirations.” What it fails to point out is that U.S. aspirations were to turn Ukraine towards the West and away from Russia. And the U.S. had work to do.

In a 2008 poll, 17 years after this U.S. effort began, and the year in which the U.S. said Ukraine would one day join NATO, 50 percent of Ukrainians actually opposed NATO membership against just 24.3 percent who favored it. A 2010 Gallup poll showed that 40 percent of Ukrainians viewed NATO as more threat than protector. Just 17 percent had the opposite view. So building up civil society through U.S.-funded NGOs to favor the West was the U.S. challenge.

NewsGuard does not mention that part of the $5 billion the U.S. spent was to help organize protests. There was genuine popular dissatisfaction with Yanukovych that the NED nurtured and trained. Jacobin reported of the 2014 events:

“US officials, unhappy with the scuttled EU deal, saw a similar chance in the Maidan protests. Just two months before they broke out, the NED’s then president, pointing to Yanukovych’s European outreach, wrote that “the opportunities are considerable, and there are important ways Washington could help.”

In practice, this meant funding groups like New Citizen, which the Financial Times reported “played a big role in getting the protest up and running,” led by a pro-EU opposition figure. Journalist Mark Ames discovered the organization had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from US democracy promotion initiatives.”

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which funds NGOs in countries the U.S. targets for regime change, on Feb. 25, the day after the Russian invasion, deleted all projects in Ukraine it funded, which are archived here. The NED meddled in Ukrainian politics in 2004 in the so-called Orange Revolution. The Washington Post (green check) wrote in 1991 that what the C.I.A. once did in secret — destabilizing and overthrowing regimes —  the NED was now doing openly.

C.I.A. or NED-led coups are never made up out of whole cloth. The U.S. works with genuine opposition movements within a country, sometimes popular uprisings, to finance, train and direct them. This U.S. has a long history of overthrowing foreign governments, the most infamous examples being Guatemala in 1952, Iran in 1953 and Chile in 1973.

The long-time NED head, Carl Gerhsman, said in 20——16 that the NED has been involved in Ukraine since the 1980’s and he praised the “overthrow of Yanukovych.”

Nuland-Pyatt Tape Omitted

Most significantly, NewsGuard’s attempt to refute U.S. involvement in the coup omits the 2014 intercepted and leaked telephone call between Nuland and Pyatt, the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discuss who will make up the new government weeks before Yanukovych was overthrown.

On the leaked tape, Nuland and Pyatt talk about “midwifing” a new government; Vice President Joe Biden’s role, and setting up meetings with Ukrainian politicians to make it happen. Nuland says the prime minister should be Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and indeed he became prime minister after the coup.

At the time, the BBC (green check) wrote of the leak: “The US says that it is working with all sides in the crisis to reach a peaceful solution, noting that ‘ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future’. However this transcript suggests that the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals.”

The U.S. State Department never denied the authenticity of the video, and even issued an apology to the European Union after Nuland is heard on the tape saying, “Fuck the EU.” Mainstream media at the time focused almost exclusively on that off-color remark as a distraction from the greater significance of U.S. interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

Why did Nuland say, “Fuck the EU”? At the time she said it, France, Germany and Poland were working for the EU on a political settlement with Russia to the Maidan crisis that would leave Yanukovych in power.

Indeed the E.U. brokered a deal with Yanukovych, who agreed to early elections by December, a restoration of the 2004 Constitution and an amnesty for all protestors, clearing the way for no one to be held responsible for the violent ouster. Yanukovych announced the agreement, with E.U. officials at his side in Kiev, on Feb. 21, 2014. Later that day he was violently driven from power.

Leaving the historic role of the NED and the essential Nuland-Pyatt conversation out of its reporting is an omission of evidence by NewsGuard, typical of corporate media. Omitting crucial elements of a story changes its meaning and in this case undermines NewsGuard’s account of the events of 2014.

This is an excellent example of why Parry started Consortium News: to report on crucial information that corporate media sometimes purposely and deceptively leave out to change the meaning of a story. NewsGuard should correct its story about the coup, not Consortium News. NewsGuard invites readers to request corrections by emailing them at corrections@newsguardtech.com.

Likely Reasons for the Coup

U.S. enabled Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection

Wall Street and Washington swept in after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 under a pliable Boris Yeltsin (who received direct U.S. help to win re-election in 1996) to asset-strip the formerly state-owned industries, enrich themselves and a new class of oligarchs and impoverish the former Soviet people.

The ascension of Vladimir Putin to power on New Year’s Eve 1999 gradually began to curb U.S. influence in post-Soviet Russia, especially after Putin’s 2007 Munich Security Conference speech, in which he blasted U.S. unilateral aggression, especially in Iraq.

Eventually Putin restored sovereignty over much of the Russian economy, turning Washington and Wall Street against him. (As President Joe Biden has now made clear on more than one occasion, the U.S. aim is to overthrow him.)

In his 1997 book,The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote:

“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state.”

Thus U.S. “primacy,” or world dominance, which still drives Washington, is not possible without control of Eurasia, as Brzezinski argued, and that’s not possible without control of Ukraine by pushing Russia out (U.S. takeover of Ukraine in the 2014 coup) and dominating Moscow as it did when this was written in the 1990s.

Deep Western involvement in Ukrainian politics and economy never ended from those early post-Soviet days. When Yanukovych acted legally (the Rada authorized it) to reject the European Union association agreement in favor of a Russian economic package on better terms, it threatened to curtail Western economic involvement. Yanukovych became a marked man.

Yanukovych had already made Russian an official language, he had  rejected NATO membership, and reversed his pro-Western predecessor’s move to glorify Nazi collaborators. Yanukovych’s predecessor, President Viktor Yuschenko, had made Ukraine’s World War II-era fascist leader Stepan Bandera a “Hero of Ukraine.”

There was genuine popular dissatisfaction among mostly Western Ukrainians with Yanukovych, which intensified and became violent after he rejected the EU deal. Within months he was overthrown.

After the Coup

The U.S.-installed government in Kiev outlawed political parties, including the Communist Party, and stripped Russia as an official language. Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions was banned in several oblasts and eventually collapsed. An American citizen became finance minister and Vice President Joe Biden became Barack Obama’s virtual viceroy in Ukraine.

Videos have emerged of Biden giving instructions to the nominal president at the time, Petro Poroshenko. By his own admission, Biden forced the resignation of Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general.

Shokin testified under oath that he was about to investigate Burisma Holdings, the company on which the vice president’s son was given a lucrative board membership just months after the U.S.-backed coup.

Biden, other U.S. officials, and the media at the time lied that Shokin was removed because he was corrupt. State Dept. memos released this year and published by Just the News (green-check) actually praise Shokin for his anti-corruption work. The question of whether the leader of a foreign nation has the right remove another country’s prosecutor was buried.

Eight days after nearly 50 anti-coup protestors in Odessa were burned to death on May 2, 2014 by far-right counter-protestors dominated by Right Sector, the coup-resisting provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbass region declared independence from Ukraine. Russia began assisting them and, after a visit to Kiev by then C.I.A. Director John Brennan, Poroshenko launched a war against the separatists that lasted eight years, killing thousands of civilians, until Russia intervened in the civil conflict in February.

After the coup, NATO began arming, training and conducting exercises with the Ukrainian military, turning it into a de facto NATO member. These were not just the interests of part of Ukraine that were being served, but those of powerful foreign actors. It was akin to a 19th century-style colonial takeover of a country.

Charge: Nazi Influence ‘Exaggerated’

Torchlight parade behind portrait of Bandera on his birthday, Jan. 1, 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. relationship with Ukrainian fascists began after the Second World War. During the war, units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) took part in the Holocaust, killing at least 100,000 Jews and Poles. Mykola Lebed, a top aide to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the fascist OUN-B, was recruited by the C.I.A. after the war, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. National Archives.

The government study said, “Bandera’s wing (OUN/B) was a militant fascist organization.” Bandera’s closest deputy, Yaroslav Stetsko, said: “I… fully appreciate the undeniably harmful and hostile role of the Jews, who are helping Moscow to enslave Ukraine… I therefore support the destruction of the Jews and the expedience of bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine….”

The study says: “At a July 6, 1941, meeting in Lwów, Bandera loyalists determined that Jews ‘have to be treated harshly… We must finish them off… Regarding the Jews, we will adopt any methods that lead to their destruction.’”

Lebed himself proposed to “’cleanse the entire revolutionary territory of the Polish population,’ so that a resurgent Polish state would not claim the region as in 1918.” Lebed was the “foreign minister” of a Banderite government in exile, but he later broke with Bandera for acting as a dictator. The U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps termed Bandera “extremely dangerous” yet said he was “looked upon as the spiritual and national hero of all Ukrainians…”

The C.I.A. was not interested in working with Bandera, pages 81-82 of the report say, but the British MI6 was. “MI6 argued, Bandera’s group was ‘the strongest Ukrainian organization abroad, is deemed competent to train party cadres, [and] build a morally and politically healthy organization…’”  An early 1954 MI6 summary noted that, “the operational aspect of this [British] collaboration [with Bandera] was developing satisfactorily. Gradually a more complete control was obtained over infiltration operations … “

C.I.A.’s Allen Dulles asks U.S. Immigration to allow Lebed re-entry to U.S. despite murder conviction. (Click to enlarge.)

Britain ended its collaboration with Bandera in 1954. West German intelligence, under former Nazi intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen, then worked with Bandera, who was eventually assassinated with cyanide dust by the KGB in Munich in 1959.

Instead of Bandera, the C.I.A. was interested in Lebed, despite his fascist background. They set him up in an office in New York City from which he directed sabotage and propaganda operations on the agency’s behalf inside Ukraine against the Soviet Union.  The U.S. government study says:

“CIA operations with these Ukrainians began in 1948 under the cryptonym CARTEL, soon changed to AERODYNAMIC. … Lebed relocated to New York and acquired permanent resident status, then U.S. citizenship. It kept him safe from assassination, allowed him to speak to Ukrainian émigré groups, and permitted him to return to the United States after operational trips to Europe. Once in the United States, Lebed was the CIA’s chief contact for AERODYNAMIC. CIA handlers pointed to his ‘cunning character,’ his ‘relations with the Gestapo and … Gestapo training,’ and the fact that he was ‘a very ruthless operator.’”

The C.I.A. worked with Lebed on sabotage and pro-Ukrainian nationalist propaganda operations inside Ukraine until Ukraine’s independence in 1991. “Mykola Lebed’s relationship with the CIA lasted the entire length of the Cold War,” the study says. “While most CIA operations involving wartime perpetrators backfired, Lebed’s operations augmented the fundamental instability of the Soviet Union.”

Bandera Revival

The U.S. thus covertly kept Ukrainian fascist ideas alive inside Ukraine until at least Ukrainian independence was achieved. “Mykola Lebed, Bandera’s wartime chief in Ukraine, died in 1998. He is buried in New Jersey, and his papers are located at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University,” the U.S. National Archives study says.

The successor organization to the OUN-B in the United States did not die with him, however. It had been renamed the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), according to IBT.

“By the mid-1980s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members. Reagan personally welcomed [Yaroslav] Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7,000 Jews in Lviv, in the White House in 1983,” IBT reported. “Following the demise of Yanukovich’s regime, the UCCA helped organise rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests,” it reported.

That is a direct link between Maidan and WWII-era Ukrainian fascism.

Despite the U.S. favoring the less extreme Lebed over Bandera, the latter has remained the more inspiring figure in Ukraine.

In 1991, the first year of Ukraine’s independence, the Neo-fascist Social National Party, later Svoboda Party, was formed, tracing its provenance directly to Bandera. It had a street named after Bandera in Liviv, and tried to name the city’s airport after him. (Svoboda won 10 percent of the Rada’s seats in 2012 before the coup and before McCain and Nuland appeared with its leader the following year.)

In 2010, pro-Western Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko declared Bandera a Hero of Ukraine, a status reversed by Yanukovych, who was overthrown.

More than 50 monuments, busts and museums commemorating Bandera have been erected in Ukraine, two-thirds of which have been built since 2005, the year the pro-American Yuschenko was elected. A Swiss academic study says:

“On January 13, 2011, the L’vivs’ka Oblast’ Council, meeting at an extraordinary session next to the Bandera monument in L’viv, reacted to the abrogation [skasuvannya] of Viktor Yushchenko’s order about naming Stepan Bandera a ‘Hero of Ukraine” by affirming that ‘for millions of Ukrainians Bandera was and remains a Ukrainian Hero notwithstanding pitiable and worthless decisions of the courts’ and declaring its intention to rename ‘Stepan Bandera Street’ as ‘Hero of Ukraine Stepan Bandera Street.’”

Torchlit parades behind Bandera’s portrait are common in Ukrainian cities, particularly on Jan. 1, his birthday, including this year.

Mainstream on Neo-Nazis

From the start of the 2013-2014 events in Ukraine, Consortium News founder Robert Parry and other writers began providing the evidence NewsGuard says doesn’t exist, reporting extensively on the coup and the influential role of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis. At the time, corporate media also reported on the essential part neo-Nazis played in the coup.

As The New York Times reported, the neo-nazi group, Right Sector, had the key role in the violent ouster of Yanukovych. The role of Neo-fascist groups in the uprising and its influence on Ukrainian society was well reported by mainstream media outlets at the time.

The BBC, the NYT, the Daily Telegraph and CNN all reported on Right Sector, C14 and other extremists’ role in the overthrow of Yanukovych. The BBC ran this report a week after his ouster:

And this one in July 2015:

After the coup a number of ministers in the new government came from Neo-fascist parties. NBC News (green check) reported in March 2014: “Svoboda, which means ‘Freedom,’ was given almost a quarter of the Cabinet positions in the interim government formed after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.”

Svoboda’s leader, Tyahnybok, whom McCain and Nuland stood on stage with, once called for the liberation of Ukraine from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” The International Business Times (green check) reported:

“In 2005 Tyahnybok signed an open letter to then Ukrainain president Viktor Yushchenko urging him to ban all Jewish organisations, including the Anti-Defamation League, which he claimed carried out ‘criminal activities [of] organised Jewry’, ultimately aimed at the genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

Before McCain and Nuland embraced Tyahnybok and his social national party, it was condemned by the European Parliament, which said in 2012:

“[Parliament] recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s legislature] not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with this party.”

Such mainstream reports on Banderism have stopped as the Neo-fascist role in Ukraine was suppressed in Western media once Putin made “de-nazification” a goal of the invasion.

The Azov Battalion, which arose during the coup, became a significant force in the war against the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass, who resisted the coup. Its commander, Andriy Biletsky, infamously said Ukraine’s mission is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival … against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

In 2014 the now Azov Regiment was officially incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is further integrated into the state by working closely with the SBU intelligence service. Azov is the only known Neo-fascist component in a nation’s military anywhere in the world.

As part of the Ukraine military, Azov members have still sported yellow arm bands with the Wolfsangel once worn by German SS troops in World War II. Including the atrocities it has continued to commit, Azov shows the world that integration into the state has not denazified them. On the contrary, it may have increased its influence on the state.

The U.S. and NATO have also trained and armed Azov since Barack Obama had denied lethal aid to Ukraine. One reason Obama declined sending arms to Ukraine was because he was afraid they may fall into these right-wing extremists’ hands. According to the green-checked New York Times,

“Mr. Obama continues to pose questions indicating his doubts. ‘O.K., what happens if we send in equipment — do we have to send in trainers?’ said one person paraphrasing the discussion on the condition of anonymity. ‘What if it ends up in the hands of thugs? What if Putin escalates?”

NewsGuard’s Objections

Collage of Neo-fascist leader Oleh Tyahnybok. meeting with McCain, Biden and Nuland. (Facebook image by Red, White and You of clip from film Ukraine on Fire)

NewsGuard’s argument against the major influence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine rests on Neo-fascist  political parties faring poorly at the polls. This ignores the stark fact that these groups engage instead in extra-parliamentary extremism.

In its charge against Consortium News for publishing “false content” about Neo-fascism in Ukraine, NewsGuard’s Fishman wrote:

“There isn’t evidence that Nazism has a substantial influence in Ukraine. Radical far-right groups in Ukraine do represent a ‘threat to the democratic development of Ukraine,’ according to 2018 Freedom House report. But it also stated that far-right extremists have poor political representation in Ukraine and no plausible path to power — for example, in the 2019 parliamentary elections, the far-right nationalist party Svoboda won 2.2 percent of the vote, while the Svoboda candidate, Ruslan Koshulynskyy, won just 1.6 percent of the vote in the presidential election.”

But this argument of focusing on elections results has been dismissed by a number of mainstream sources, not least of which is the Atlantic Council, probably the most anti-Russian think tank in the world.  In a 2019 article, a writer for the Atlantic Council said:

“To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of ‘red herring.’ It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity. Whether this is due to a continuing sense of indebtedness to some of these groups for fighting the Russians or fear they might turn on the state itself, it’s a real problem and we do no service to Ukraine by sweeping it under the rug.” [Emphasis added.]

“Fear that they might turn on the state itself,” acknowledges the powerful leverage these groups have over the government. The Atlantic Council piece then underscores how influential these groups are:

“It sounds like the stuff of Kremlin propaganda, but it’s not. Last week Hromadske Radio revealed that Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote ‘national patriotic education projects’ in the country. On June 8, the Ministry announced that it will award C14 a little less than $17,000 for a children’s camp. It also awarded funds to Holosiyiv Hideout and Educational Assembly, both of which have links to the far-right. The revelation represents a dangerous example of law enforcement tacitly accepting or even encouraging the increasing lawlessness of far-right groups willing to use violence against those they don’t like.

Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitions, LGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”

The Atlantic Council is not the only anti-Russian outfit that recognizes the dangerous power of the Neo-fascist groups in Ukraine. Bellingcat published an alarming 2018 article headlined, “Ukrainian Far-Right Fighters, White Supremacists Trained by Major European Security Firm.”

NATO has also trained the Azov Regiment, directly linking the U.S. with far-right Ukrainian extremists.

The Hill reported in 2017 in an article headlined, “The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda,” that:

“Some Western observers claim that there are no neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, chalking the assertion up to propaganda from Moscow. Unfortunately, they are sadly mistaken.

There are indeed neo-Nazi formations in Ukraine. This has been overwhelmingly confirmed by nearly every major Western outlet. The fact that analysts are able to dismiss it as propaganda disseminated by Moscow is profoundly disturbing.

Azov’s logo is composed of two emblems — the wolfsangel and the Sonnenrad — identified as neo-Nazi symbols by the Anti-Defamation League. The wolfsangel is used by the U.S. hate group Aryan Nations, while the Sonnenrad was among the neo-Nazi symbols at this summer’s deadly march in Charlottesville.

Azov’s neo-Nazi character has been covered by the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, the Telegraph and Reuters, among others. On-the-ground journalists from established Western media outlets have written of witnessing SS runes, swastikas, torchlight marches, and Nazi salutes. They interviewed Azov soldiers who readily acknowledged being neo-Nazis. They filed these reports under unambiguous headlines such as “How many neo-Nazis is the U.S. backing in Ukraine?” and “Volunteer Ukrainian unit includes Nazis.”

How is this Russian propaganda?

The U.N. and Human Rights Watch have accused Azov, as well as other Kiev battalions, of a litany of human rights abuses.”

Neo-facism has infected Ukrainian popular culture as well. A half-dozen neo-Nazi music groups held a concert in 2019 commemorating the day Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

Amnesty International in 2019 warned that “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.”

Zelensky & Neo-Nazis

One of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs from the early 1990s, Ihor Kolomoisky, was an early financial backer of the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. According to a 2015 Reuters (green-checked) report:

“Many of these paramilitary groups are accused of abusing the citizens they are charged with protecting. Amnesty International has reported that the Aidar battalion — also partially funded by Kolomoisky — committed war crimes, including illegal abductions, unlawful detention, robbery, extortion and even possible executions.

Other pro-Kiev private battalions have starved civilians as a form of warfare, preventing aid convoys from reaching separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, according to the Amnesty report.

Some of Ukraine’s private battalions have blackened the country’s international reputation with their extremist views. The Azov battalion, partially funded by Taruta and Kolomoisky, uses the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol as its logo, and many of its members openly espouse neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic views. The battalion members have spoken about “bringing the war to Kiev,” and said that Ukraine needs “a strong dictator to come to power who could shed plenty of blood but unite the nation in the process.”

In April 2019, the F.B.I. began investigating Kolomoisky for alleged financial crimes in connection with his steel holdings in West Virginia and northern Ohio. In August 2020 the U.S. Department of Justice filed civil forfeiture complaints against him and a partner:

“The complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. The two obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered, and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine. The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.  As alleged in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with more fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.”

Meanwhile, the Azov backer’s television channel had by this time aired the hit TV show Servant of the People (2015-2019), which catapulted Volodymyr Zelensky to fame and ultimately into the presidency under the new Servant of the People Party. The former actor and comedian’s presidential campaign was bankrolled by Kolomoisky, according to multiple reports, including this one by Radio Free Europe (not rated).

During the presidential campaign, Politico reported:

“Kolomoisky’s media outlet also provides security and logistical backup for the comedian’s campaign, and it has recently emerged that Zelenskiy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch’s personal lawyer. Investigative journalists have also reported that Zelenskiy traveled 14 times in the past two years to Geneva and Tel Aviv, where Kolomoisky is based in exile.”

Before their run-off election, Petro Poroshenko called Zelensky “Kolomoisky’s puppet.” According to the Pandora Papers, Zelensky stashed funds he received from Kolomoisky off shore.

During the campaign Zelensky was asked about Bandera. He said it was “cool” that many Ukrainians consider Bandera a hero.

Zelensky was elected president on the promise of ending the Donbass war. About seven months into his term he traveled to the front line in Donbass to tell Ukrainian troops, where Azov is well-represented, to lay down their arms. Instead he was sent packing. The Kyiv Post (green check) reported:

“When one veteran, Denys Yantar, said they had no arms and wanted instead to discuss protests against the planned disengagement that had taken place across Ukraine, Zelensky became furious.

‘Listen, Denys, I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests,’ Zelensky said, videos of the exchange show. As he said this, Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, who heads the National Corps, a political offshoot of the far-right Azov volunteer battalion, in Mykolaiv city.

‘But we’ve discussed that,’ Yantar said.

‘I wanted to see understanding in your eyes. But, instead, I saw a guy who’s decided that this is some loser standing in front of him,’ Zelensky said.”

It was a demonstration of the power of the military, including the Azov Regiment, over the civilian president.

After the Russian invasion, Zelensky was asked in April by Fox News about Azov, which were later defeated in Mariupol. “They are what they are,” he responded. “They were defending our country.” He then tries to say because they are part of the military they are somehow no longer Neo-Nazis, though they still wear Nazi insignia (until Tuesday). (Fox’s YouTube post removed that question from the interview, but it is preserved here:)

Outrages Greek Officials

Also in April, Zelensky infuriated two former Greek prime ministers and other officials by inviting a member of the Azov Regiment to address the Greek Parliament. Alexis Tsipras, a former premier and leader of the main opposition party, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, blasted the appearance of the Azov fighters before parliament.

 “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a given. But nazis cannot be allowed to speak in parliament,” Tsipras said on social media. “The speech was a provocation.” He said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “bears full responsibility. … He talked about a historic day but it is a historical shame.”

Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called the Azov video being played in parliament a “big mistake.” Former Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias said: “The Greek government irresponsibly undermined the struggle of the Ukrainian people, by giving the floor to a Nazi. The responsibilities are heavy. The government should publish a detailed report of preparation and contacts for the event.”

Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ MeRA25 party said  Zelenky’s appearance turned into a “Nazi fiesta.”

Zelensky has also not rebuked his ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, for visiting Bandera’s grave in Munich, which provoked this reaction from a German MP: “Anyone like Melnik who describes the Nazi collaborator Bandera as ‘our hero’ and makes a pilgrimage to his grave or defends the right-wing Azov Battalion as ‘brave’ is actually still benevolently described as a ‘Nazi sympathizer.’”

Zelensky has closed media outlets and outlawed 11 political parties, including the largest one, Eurosceptic Opposition Platform for Life (OPZZh) and arrested its leader. None of the 11 shut down  are far-right parties.

Donald Trump was rightly castigated for remarks he made about white supremecists in Charlottesville. But Zelensky, whose oligarch backer funded Azov, and who brought a Neo-Nazi to address a European Parliament, is given a pass by a Democratic administration and the U.S. media though he condones the far worse problem of Neo-fascism in Ukraine.

‘Infested’ 

NewsGuard’s Fishman took issue with similar phrases that appear in Consortium News articles by columnist Patrick Lawrence, and by legendary journalist John Pilger. Lawrence refers to the Ukrainian government as a “Nazi-infested regime” and Pilger to the “the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis.” NewsGuard objects to this characterization because the political wings of violent neo-Nazi groups fare poorly in Ukrainian elections.

Fishman wrote:

“The March 2022 article ‘PATRICK LAWRENCE: Imperial Infantilism’ stated: ‘Now the names we have for Putin roll around among like pinballs. ‘Hitler’ has fallen somewhat out of fashion, the hyperbole having proven too silly, or maybe because NATO is now arming a Nazi-infested regime,’ which was a reference to the Ukrainian government.

The February 2022 article “John Pilger: War in Europe & the Rise of Raw Propaganda” stated: “Vladimir Putin refers to the ‘genocide’ in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 – orchestrated by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s ‘point person’ in Kyiev, Victoria Nuland – the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis,launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.” This article makes the claims similar to the ones highlighted in the previous … articles, and are seemingly false for the same reasons.”

One can quibble over whether “infested” is the best choice of words, but it is clear that the Ukrainian state has long protected influential Neo-Nazism. Consortium News gives a wide latitude to columnists and commentators like Lawrence and Pilger, both vastly experienced journalists, to express themselves. There is no doubt about the outsized influence of Neo-fascism in Ukrainian society and government, especially since the events of 2014.

NewsGuard’s dismissal of the influence of Neo-fascism by looking only at election results completely misses the point. Fishman has demanded CN correct its reporting on neo-Nazism in Ukraine. But Fishman’s statement that “There isn’t evidence that Nazism has a substantial influence in Ukraine” should instead be corrected by NewsGuard.

The ‘G’ Word

Fishman also took exception to the use of the word “genocide” in two Consortium News articles published about Ukraine.

“I also found some instances where Consortium News appeared to publish false or misleading claims, and I’d like to get your comments on them. I’ve listed some examples and provided brief explanations on why they seem to be false:

The March 2022 article ‘A Proposed Solution to the Ukraine War’ stated: ‘The government of Ukraine has denied human rights and political self-determination to the peoples of the Donbass. Some 13,000 people have died during the eight years since the 2014 coup, according to the United Nations. The Ukrainian government has overtly genocidal policies toward Russian minorities.’

The February 2022 article “John Pilger: War in Europe & the Rise of Raw Propaganda” stated: ‘Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 … the coup regime … launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.”

Fishman went on:

“The International Criminal Court, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have all said they have found no evidence of a genocide in Donbas. For example, A 2016 report by the International Criminal Court found that the acts of violence allegedly committed by the Ukrainian authorities in 2013 and 2014 could constitute an ‘attack directed against a civilian population,’ but it also said that’“the information available did not provide a reasonable basis to believe that the attack was systematic or widespread.’

And the U.S. Mission to OSCE stated in a February 2022 Twitter post, ‘The SMM [Special Monitoring Mission] has complete access to the government controlled areas of Ukraine and HAS NEVER reported anything remotely resembling Russia’s claims [of genocide in Ukraine].’”

Genocide is defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, ratified by 153 nations. The convention says:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The Convention adds:

“The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.”

Based on the convention, an argument for and against genocide in Donbass could be made. The Ukraine military and extreme right militias have undoubtedly carried out attacks on civilians who, by reason of their language and religion, constitute a separate ethnic group.  Points (a) and (b) of the definition are certainly true, (c) and (d) are questionable. The question of “intent” is crucial. Have the Ukrainian authorities had the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”?

The charge of “genocide” is thrown about by political opponents with less than due care to its actual definition. For instance, Biden and Zelensky have both accused Russia of “genocide” in its ongoing military operation. There is no defined number of civilian deaths that constitute an intent to destroy a people “in part.” Three months after the Russian invasion, the OSCE reports around 4,000 civilians killed. Both sides are shooting and killing civilians.

It is a judgement call whether genocide has taken place. The ICC report, referred to by Fishman, says Ukraine’s military action against Donbass could “constitute” an “attack directed against a civilian population,” but the ICC’s judgement about genocide was not definitive as it was based on “the information available.”

His second reference does not come from the OSCE itself, but from the U.S. mission to the OSCE, undercutting its objectivity since it is a narrow, national view from a country with a distinct political interest in events in Ukraine.

Consortium News has not taken a position that genocide was committed in Donbass. These are the only references made to genocide in Donbass and both CN articles are clearly labeled as commentaries with the disclaimer: “The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Pilger only says that Putin “refers to genocide,” while Pilger himself calls it “a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass.”

Consortium News did not endorse the judgment of these two commentators as it often publishes material with which it does not share editorial positions. Genocide in the context of Donbass is an arguable point, and therefore CN published these commentaries.

Financing and Other Questions 

NewsGuard has also demanded detailed information about Consortium News‘ financing. Consortium News is funded almost entirely by small contributions from its readers raised during three public fund raisers per year.

IRS rules require donors who contribute more than $5,000 in a year be told to the tax agency. But their names do not have to be revealed to the public to protect the donors’ privacy. CN has made public its two major donors from its last tax returns. Roger Waters, the rock musician of Pink Floyd fame, donated $25,000 in both 2020 and 2021. The other major donor is the New York-based Cloud Mountain Foundation, which has donated $25,000 in each of the past three years.

Consortium News has never taken a penny from any government, corporation or advertiser. To prove this, CN is hiring an independent auditor to attest to this fact. It will publish on this website the independent audit statement as soon as it is prepared to once and for all end any smears or suspicions about the sources of CN‘s funding.

Fishman also mistakenly wants to know why authors’ bios don’t appear below CN articles, when they clearly do. NewsGuard wants to know what CN‘s corrections policy is. It is as follows: typos are corrected without a notice, factual errors are corrected with a CORRECTION notice at the bottom of the article.

A History of Dissent

The United States was founded by dissenters. The Declaration of Independence is one of history’s most significant dissenting documents, inspiring people seeking freedom around the world, from the French revolutionists to Ho Chi Minh, who based Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France on the American declaration.

But over the centuries a corrupt centralization of American power seeking to maintain and expand its authority has at times sought to crush the very principle of dissent which was written into the United States Constitution.

Freedom to dissent was first threatened by the second president. Just eight years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, press freedom had become a threat to John Adams, whose Federalist Party pushed through Congress the Alien and Sedition Laws. They criminalized criticism of the federal government.

The Union then shut down newspapers during the U.S. Civil War.  

Woodrow Wilson came within one vote in the Senate of creating official government censorship in the 1917 Espionage Act. The 1918 Alien and Sedition Act that followed jailed hundreds of people for speech until it was repealed in 1921.

Since the 1950s, McCarthyism has become the byword for one of the worst periods of repression of dissent in U.S. history.

The closest we’ve come to Wilson’s troubling dream is the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board under the Department of Homeland Security, now on hold. 

The roots are in the earliest English settlers in North America, described in The Scarlet Letter and applied to McCarthyism in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Though its industrial and scientific achievements are most lauded, America’s tradition of dissent is probably the greatest thing in U.S. history and it is once again under threat.

The Current Climate

NewsGuard’s accusations against Consortium News that could potentially limit its readership and financial support must be seen in the context of the West’s war mania over Ukraine, about which dissenting voices are being suppressed. Three CN writers have been kicked off Twitter.

PayPal’s cancellation of Consortium News‘ account is an evident attempt to defund it for what is almost certainly the company’s view that CN violated its restrictions on “providing false or misleading information.” It cannot be known with 100 percent certainty because PayPal is hiding behind its reasons, but CN trades in information and nothing else.

CN supports no side in the Ukraine war but seeks to examine the causes of the conflict within its recent historical context, all of which are being whitewashed from mainstream Western media.

Those causes are: NATO’s expansion eastward despite its promise not to; the coup and 8-year war on Donbass against coup resisters; the lack of implementation of the Minsk Accords to end that conflict; and the outright rejection of treaty proposals by Moscow to create a new security architecture in Europe taking Russia’s security concerns into account.

Historians who point out the onerous Versailles conditions imposed on Germany after World War I as a cause of Nazism and World War II are neither excusing Nazi Germany nor are they smeared as its defenders.

Consortium News can be wrong at times, but never as wrong as mainstream media was on WMD in Iraq or Russiagate. CN got both those consequential stories right while they were happening, and contends it is correct in its analysis of the Ukraine crisis. In any case, it is entitled to its analysis. On Iraq, Russiagate and Ukraine, Consortium News has clashed with the conventional wisdom forged by powerful forces and its corporate media allies. In response CN has been repeatedly smeared as agents of Iraq and Russia.

An overly self-confident Western establishment cannot appear to understand how experienced Western journalists could exercise their own agency and editorial judgment to critique U.S. foreign policy in real time, without them being agents of a foreign power. Consortium News sued the Canadian television network Global News for publishing such a smear.

It is evidently not enough for powerful forces to simply disagree and respect CN‘s constitutional right to free speech.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Abrams v. United States wrote: “[T]hat the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market… That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.” Justice Louis Brandeis added in Whitney v. California that the remedy for ill-conceived speech is more speech, not enforced silence.

NewsGuard’s review of Consortium News and other independent media is a test case: Can the U.S. establishment tolerate dissent or is it joining the tradition of Adams and Wilson to crush it?


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Did the CIA train Ukrainian torturers?

Journalist reports similarities between Ukrainian and American torture techniques

By Lucas Leiroz | May 16, 2022

Western media accuse Russia of perpetrating war crimes in Ukraine and committing human rights violations against civilians and prisoners. However, these same agencies are absolutely silent in the face of the evident practices of torture by Kiev’s agents against their enemies, which, curiously, present several similarities with the already known torture techniques applied by the CIA, according to a recent report by a journalist. The matter raises suspicions about a possible “instruction” that would be transmitted by American intelligence to Ukrainian neo-Nazis on “how to torture”.

On May 6, a meeting was held at the United Nations Security Council in order to discuss topics concerning the war crimes committed by Kiev against the population of Donbass during the eight years of conflict. Various evidence was presented, showing that such crimes are real and constitute indeed a serious problem in the region. The proofs included photos, videos, oral testimonies from residents of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as many other materials collected by journalists on the ground.

One of the journalist team’s leaders is the Dutch independent reporter Sonja van den Ende, who categorically claims that there is irrefutable evidence of the collaboration between Ukrainian official forces and neo-Nazi battalions in the execution of such crimes, showing that the practice is institutionalized and not restricted to isolated paramilitary groups. She also states that, despite the material presented, some Western countries – mainly US, UK, and France – showed an “arrogant” attitude, being disrespectful to the delicacy of the subject and ignoring the evidence of suffering of the people of Donbass, as well as despising the work of journalists.

These were some of her words: “I participated in the UN Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on 6 May 2022 (…) The goal of this meeting was to present to the United Nations (UN) members evidence about war crimes committed by the Ukrainian Army in cooperation with the Azov Battalion which was provided by us, journalists on the ground, in Donbass. The evidence was presented in the form of videos and oral testimonies, from residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, especially Mariupol, Volnovakha and Melitiopol (…) [However] They (Western countries) completely ignored us and didn’t ask any questions (…) I personally made some remarks at the end of the meeting. I asked them if they want WWIII and why they don’t listen to us, the journalists, who are working on the ground”.

More than simply ignoring the gravity of the facts, the representatives of the Western powers even tried to deny the irrefutable evidence of such crimes. Rodney Hunter, political coordinator for the US Mission to the United Nations, claimed that Russia was “misusing” the Council’s functions and “spewing falsehoods, disinformation, lies and false narratives”. He ignored the fact that the accusations were not simply “made by Russia” but corroborated by an international team of journalists.

In fact, this Western attitude was already expected by all analysts who study the Ukrainian case. Silence and disdain have already become central hallmarks of the way Kiev’s allies deal with the countless evidence of war crimes, genocide and torture committed by the Ukrainian armed forces and Russophobic neo-Nazi militias. Russia has been trying to resolve the case in international instances for a long time, but without success, as is the case with the lawsuit filed within the European Court and ignored by the judges. The impossibility of peaceful resolution was one of the reasons why the military operation became inevitable.

What seems most shocking, however, is the fact that the reports pointed out by Van den Ende state as a conclusion that there is a similarity in practices between the acts of torture witnessed in the Donbass and those practiced by US agents in other parts of the world. Some of the journalists who participated in the investigations in Donbass, including Sonja herself, had previously participated in similar activities elsewhere, investigating crimes of torture committed by Americans. These professionals see an extreme similarity of practices in both cases and believe that this is not a mere coincidence.

The Dutch journalist stated that the torture techniques she saw practiced in a secret Ukrainian prison in Mariupol are strikingly similar to those practiced by the CIA in clandestine detention sites around the world. These techniques include acts of extreme violence, such as the so-called “enhanced interrogations”, where the interrogated are physically hurt in order to give information – a practice that was already confirmed by the US Senate, in 2014, to have been used by the CIA against prisoners.

Furthermore, Van den Ende claims that she has found evidence that Ukrainian neo-Nazis practice the so-called “waterboarding”, a drowning technique that is also widely used by the CIA, which leads her to believe that the Azov Battalion and other Ukrainian nationalist militias have been specifically trained by the Americans on “how to torture” their detainees.

Considering the high level of proximity between US intelligence and Ukrainian neo-Nazis, it does not seem surprising that the US has in fact operated some sort of clandestine training, teaching torture techniques considered “efficient”. What is surprising is that international organizations remain silent in the face of such an absurd fact. Something so serious cannot in any way be ignored: sanctions must be applied against the US for its connivance with Ukrainian crimes in Donbass.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , | 2 Comments

The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric

By Edward Curtin | Behind the Curtain | May 13, 2022

While the so-called liberal and conservative corporate mainstream media – all stenographers for the intelligence agencies – pour forth the most blatant propaganda about Russia and Ukraine that is so conspicuous that it is comedic if it weren’t so dangerous, the self-depicted cognoscenti also ingest subtler messages, often from the alternative media.

A woman I know and who knows my sociological analyses of propaganda contacted me to tell me there was an excellent article about the war in Ukraine at The Intercept, an on-line publication funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar I have long considered a leading example of much deceptive reporting wherein truth is mixed with falsehoods to convey a “liberal” narrative that fundamentally supports the ruling elites while seeming to oppose them. This, of course, is nothing new since it’s been the modus operandi of all corporate media in their own ideological and disingenuous ways, such as The New York Times, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Fox News, CNN, NBC, etc. for a very long time.

Nevertheless, out of respect for her judgment and knowing how deeply she feels for all suffering people, I read the article.  Written by Alice Speri, its title sounded ambiguous – “The Left in Europe Confronts NATO’s Resurgence After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” – until I saw the subtitle that begins with these words: “Russia’s brutal invasion complicates…”  But I read on.  By the fourth paragraph, it became clear where this article was going. Speri writes that “In Ukraine, by contrast [with Iraq], it was Russia that had staged an illegal, unprovoked invasion, and U.S.-led support to Ukraine was understood by many as crucial to stave off even worse atrocities than those the Russian military had already committed.” [my emphasis]

While ostensibly about European anti-war and anti-NATO activists caught on the horns of a dilemma, the piece goes on to assert that although US/NATO was guilty of wrongful expansion over many years, Russia has been an aggressor in Ukraine and Georgia and is guilty of terrible war crimes, etc.

There is not a word about the U.S. engineered coup in 2014, the CIA and Pentagon backed mercenaries in Ukraine, or its support for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and Ukraine’s years of attacks on the Donbass where many thousands have been killed. It is assumed these actions are not criminal or provocative. And there is this:

The uncertain response of Europe’s peace activists is both a reflection of a brutal, unprovoked invasion that stunned the world and of an anti-war movement that has grown smaller and more marginalized over the years. The left in both Europe and the U.S. have struggled to respond to a wave of support for Ukraine that is at cross purposes with a decades long effort to untangle Europe from a U.S.-led military alliance. [my emphasis]

In other words, the article, couched in anti-war rhetoric, was anti-Russia propaganda. When I told my friend my analysis, she refused to discuss it and got angry with me, as if I therefore were a proponent of war I have found this is a common response.

This got me thinking again about why people so often miss the untruths lying within articles that are in many parts truthful and accurate. I notice this constantly. They are like little seeds slipped in as if no one will notice; they work their magic nearly unconsciously. Few do notice them, for they are often imperceptible. But they have their effects and are cumulative and are far more powerful over time than blatant statements that will turn people off, especially those who think propaganda doesn’t work on them. This is the power of successful propaganda, whether purposeful  or not.  It particularly works well on “intellectual” and highly schooled people.

For example, in a recent printed  interview, Noam Chomsky, after being introduced as a modern day Galileo, Newton, and Descartes rolled into one, talks about propaganda, its history, Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, etc. What he says is historically accurate and informative for anyone not knowing this history. He speaks wisely of U.S. media propaganda concerning its unprovoked war against Iraq and he accurately calls the war in Ukraine “provoked.” And then, concerning the war in Ukraine, he drops this startling statement:

I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.

In the blink of an eye, Chomsky says something so incredibly untrue that unless one thinks of him as a modern day Galileo, which many do, it may pass as true and you will smoothly move on to the next paragraph. Yet it is a statement so false as to be laughable. The media propaganda concerning events in Ukraine has been so blatantly false and ridiculous that a careful reader will stop suddenly and think: Did he just say that?

So now Chomsky views the media, such as The New York Times and its ilk, that he has correctly castigated for propagandizing for the U.S. in Iraq and East Timor, to use two examples, is doing “a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine,” as if suddenly they were no longer spokespeople for the CIA and U.S. disinformation. And he says this when we are in the midst of the greatest propaganda blitz since WW I, with its censorship, Disinformation Governance Board, de-platforming of dissidents, etc., that border on a parody of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

Even slicker is his casual assertion that the media are doing a good job reporting Russia’s war crimes after he earlier has said this about propaganda:

So it continues. Particularly in the more free societies, where means of state violence have been constrained by popular activism, it is of great importance to devise methods of manufacturing consent, and to ensure that they are internalized, becoming as invisible as the air we breathe, particularly in articulate educated circles. Imposing war-myths is a regular feature of these enterprises.

This is simply masterful. Explain what propaganda is at its best and how you oppose it and then drop a soupçon of it into your analysis. And while he is at it, Chomsky makes sure to praise Chris Hedges, one of his followers, who has himself recently wrote an article – The Age of Self-Delusion – that also contains valid points appealing to those sick of wars, but which also contains the following words:

Putin’s revanchism is matched by our own.

The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

‘The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,’ historian Andrew Bacevich writes.

But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public. Russia must be inflated to become a global menace, despite nine weeks of humiliating military failures. [my emphasis]

Russia’s revanchism? Where? Revanchism? What lost territory has the U.S. ever waged war to recover? Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc.? The U.S.’s history is a history not of revanchism but of imperial conquest, of seizing or controlling territory, while Russia’s war in Ukraine is clearly an act of self-defense after years of U.S./NATO/Ukraine provocations and threats, which Hedges recognizes. “Nine weeks of humiliating military failures”? – when they control a large section of eastern and southern Ukraine, including the Donbass. But his false message is subtly woven, like Chomsky’s, into sentences that are true.

“But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public.” No, it is exactly what the media spokespeople for the war makers – i.e. The New York Times (Hedges former employer, which he never fails to mention and for whom he covered the Clinton administration’s savage destruction of Yugoslavia), CNNFox News, The Washington Post, the New York Post, etc. impart to the public every day for their masters. Headlines that read how Russia, while allegedly committing daily war crimes, is failing in its war aims and that the mythic hero Zelensky is leading Ukrainians to victory. Words to the effect that “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself” presented as fact.

Yes, they do inflate the Russian monster myth, only to then puncture it with the myth of David defeating Goliath.

But being in the business of mind games (too much consistency leads to clarity and gives the game away), one can expect them to scramble their messages on an ongoing basis to serve the U.S. agenda in Ukraine and further NATO expansion in the undeclared war with Russia, for which the Ukrainian people will be sacrificed.

Orwell called it “doublethink”:

Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary… with the lie always one step ahead of the truth.

Revealing while concealing and interjecting inoculating shots of untruths that will only get cursory attention from their readers, the writers mentioned here and others have great appeal for the left intelligentsia. For people who basically worship those they have imbued with infallibility and genius, it is very hard to read all sentences carefully and smell a skunk.  The subterfuge is often very adroit and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past – e.g. the George W. Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Chomsky, of course, is the leader of the pack, and his followers are legion, including Hedges. For decades they have been either avoiding or supporting the official versions of the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the attacks of September 11, 2001 that led directly to the war on terror and so many wars of aggression, and the recent Covid-19 propaganda with its devastating lockdowns and crackdowns on civil liberties. They are far from historical amnesiacs, of course, but obviously consider these foundational events of no importance, for otherwise they would have addressed them. If you expect them to explain, you will be waiting a long time.

In a recent article – How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy – Christian Parenti writes this about Chomsky:

Almost the entire left intelligentsia has remained psychically stuck in March 2020. Its members have applauded the new biosecurity repression and calumniated as liars, grifters, and fascists any and all who dissented. Typically, they did so without even engaging evidence and while shirking public debate. Among the most visible in this has been Noam Chomsky, the self-described anarcho-syndicalist who called for the unvaccinated to “remove themselves from society,” and suggested that they should be allowed to go hungry if they refuse to submit.

Parenti’s critique of the left’s response (not just Chomsky’s and Hedges’) to Covid also applies to those foundational events mentioned above, which raises deeper questions about the CIA’s and NSA’s penetration  of the media in general, a subject beyond the scope of this analysis.

For those, like the liberal woman who referred me to The Intercept article, who would no doubt say of what I have written here: Why are you picking on leftists? my reply is quite simple.

The right-wing and the neocons are obvious in their pernicious agendas; nothing is really hidden; therefore they can and should be opposed. But many leftists serve two masters and are far subtler. Ostensibly on the side of regular people and opposed to imperialism and the predations of the elites at home and abroad, they are often tricksters of beguiling rhetoric that their followers miss. Rhetoric that indirectly fuels the wars they say they oppose.

Smelling skunks is not as obvious as it might seem. Being nocturnal, they come forth when most are sleeping.

May 14, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 2 Comments

US’ coercive diplomacy with Saudi Arabia

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 6, 2022

Some three weeks after the reported meeting of the CIA chief William Burns with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed bin Sultan, the OPEC+ ministerial held a videoconference on Thursday. 

The OPEC+ meet drew satisfaction that “continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a balanced market.” The press release issued in Vienna says the ministerial “further noted the continuing effects of geopolitical factors and issues related to the ongoing pandemic” and decided that the OPEC+ sticks to the monthly production adjustment mechanism agreed in July last year “to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.432 million barrels/day for the month of June 2022.” 

As per the former publisher of the Journal Karen Elliott House, Burns came to Saudi Arabia for a “mating dance” with Prince Mohammad — namely, the Prince must cooperate on a new oil-for-security strategy to “increase production to save European nations from energy shortages.” 

Burns’ visit to the Kingdom took place just ahead of the 5th round of Saudi-Iranian normalisation talks in Baghdad between the Saudi intelligence chief and the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi who was acting as mediator and attended the latest round of talks told the state media last week, “Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation. We are convinced that reconciliation is near.” 

Nournews, affiliated to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, also reported on April 24 that the fifth round of talks on a possible détente was “constructive” and the negotiators managed “to draw a clearer picture” of how to resume bilateral relations, and, “given the constructive bilateral dialogue so far, there is a possibility of a meeting between the Iranian and Saudi top diplomats in the near future.” 

Burns’ mission couldn’t have been indifferent toward the Saudis’ reconciliation track with Tehran. With the outcome of the JCPOA talks in Vienna uncertain, Iran’s close ties with Russia and China remains a major worry for Washington. And with Tehran’s stubborn refusal to trim its regional policies to suit US regional strategies, Washington has fallen back on the default option to resuscitate the anti-Iran front of its regional allies. The US hopes that Saudi Arabia will come on board the Abraham Accords. 

Meanwhile, the issue of oil prices has returned to the centre stage. Indeed, high oil prices mean high income for Russia. Russia’s sales of oil and natural gas far exceeded initial forecasts for 2021 as a result of skyrocketing prices, accounting for 36% of the country’s total budget. The revenues exceeded initial plans by 51.3%, totalling  $119 billion. The Biden administration’s best-laid plans to cripple the Russian economy are unravelling. Equally, high oil price is also a domestic issue for Biden. Above all, unless Europe finds other oil sources, it will continue buying Russian oil. 

However, Prince Mohammad has a different agenda. He is likely to rule Saudi Arabia for many decades—half a century if he lives to 86, his father’s age. And the Prince has been remarkably successful in creating a “power base”. His lifestyle changes have been a smashing hit with Saudis 35 and under—70% of the Kingdom’s citizens — and his ambition to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern technological leader ignites the imagination of the youth. 

Clearly, his refusal to punish Russia and his gesture to place the princely amount of $2bn in a new, untested investment fund started by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner speak for themselves. Prince Mohammed would have his own reasons too, starting with Biden’s contemptuous reference to Saudi Arabia as a “Pariah” state and refusal to deal in person. 

The Prince hit back recently by declining to take a call from Joe Biden. Besides, the US’ restrictions on arms sales; insufficient response to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Houthi forces; publication of a report into the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi — all these are in play here. 

Even if the administration is able to get Congressional approval for new security guarantees for Saudi Arabia (which is rather problematic), Prince Mohammad may not be swayed, since at the end of the day, high oil prices boost Saudi budget too. 

The paradox is, both Saudi Arabia and Russia are stakeholders in OPEC+ as is evident from the explicit warning to the EU by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo last month that it would be impossible to replace more than 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquids exports potentially lost due to current or future sanctions or voluntary actions. 

In such a torrential stream where crosscurrents are foaming and weltering, what probably unnerves the Biden Administration most could be the talk that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be planning to visit Saudi Arabia, amidst persistent reports recently that Riyadh and Beijing are in talks to price some of the Gulf nation’s oil sales in yuan rather than dollars, which would indeed mark a profound shift for the oil market and help advance China’s efforts to convince more countries and international investors to transact in its currency. 

The Saudi explanation for the shift to the yuan is that the kingdom could use part of new currency revenues to pay Chinese contractors involved in mega projects within the kingdom domestically, which would reduce the risks associated with the capital controls Beijing imposes on its currency. But, for Washington, that means certain sensitive Saudi-China transactions in yuan do not appear in the rearview mirror of the SWIFT messaging infrastructure, making transaction monitoring unviable.  

There are persistent US reports that with Chinese support, Saudi Arabia may be constructing a new uranium processing facility near Al Ula to enhance its pursuit of nuclear technology. Saudi Arabia’s generous $8 billion in financial support for Pakistan, unveiled this week, will almost certainly raise hiccups in Washington. 

Saudi Arabia is a central pillar of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and ranks in the top three countries globally for Chinese construction projects, according to the China Global Investment Tracker, run by the American Enterprise Institute. Suffice to say, the CIA chief’s call could not have been for a friendly chat with Prince Mohammad. 

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

US is world’s ‘greatest propagator of disinformation’ – Senator Paul

Samizdat | May 5, 2022

Due to its long track record of disinformation, the US government has no right to tell the American people what the truth is, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has stated. He went to list a number of examples of where Washington had lied to its own people, and the rest of the world.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Paul grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the so-called ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ his agency has announced to supposedly help social media platforms filter out ‘fake news.’

“Here’s the problem: we can’t even agree what disinformation is,” the Republican Senator pointed out. “You can’t even agree if it was disinformation that the Russians fed information to the Steele dossier.”

He was referring to the controversial and largely discredited report that relied on info from anonymous sources to allege collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Moscow ahead of the 2016 presidential election in the US.

“If you can’t agree to that, how are we ever going to come to an agreement on what is disinformation, so that you can police it on social media?” Paul wondered.

“Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The US government!” he insisted.

In order to back his claim, the Senator mentioned several examples of false information being deliberately spread by Washington over the past decades.

Among them were the so-called Pentagon Papers, which revealed that the US government had been misinforming the public about the scale of its military operations during the Vietnam War. The documents were officially declassified in 2011, but the media had been reporting on them since 1971.

Paul also mentioned “George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction,” referring to American claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been in possession of WMD, claims that were used by the US to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but were never confirmed by findings on the grounds.

His other example was the Iran–Contra affair, which saw top US officials secretly organizing the sale of weapons to Iran in violation of an arms embargo between 1981 and 1986 in order to obtain money to fund the Contras insurgent group in Nicaragua.

“I mean, think over all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country. We work them out by debating them. We don’t work them out by the government being the arbiter,” the Senator said.

“I want you to have nothing to do with speech… You think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is?” Paul added.

The creation of the Disinformation Governance Board was announced in late April. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the new body would help counter disinformation, which is being spread by “foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran,” and by human traffickers operating on the US-Mexico border, among others.

The DHS gave assurances that it won’t be targeting US citizens. But critics were quick to nickname the board ‘The Ministry of Truth,’ after a fictional organization from George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel ‘1984’.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Our Digital Panopticon

The CDC has been using phone tracking data to monitor schools and churches. The CIA has also been spying on Americans, with no judicial oversight and without congressional approval.

By Aaron Kheriaty, MD | Human Flourishing | May 4, 2022

Yesterday, Vice broke the story that during the previous two years, as the headline announced, “The CDC tracked Millions of Phones to See If Americans Followed COVID Lockdown Orders.” According to documents obtained by Motherboard, the CDC used phone location data to monitor schools and churches, and wanted to use the data for applications beyond covid: “The documents also show that although the CDC used COVID-19 as a reason to buy access to the data more quickly, it intended to use it for more-general CDC purposes.” The recovered CDC documents, dating from 2021, state that the data “has been critical for ongoing response efforts, such as hourly monitoring of activity in curfew zones or detailed counts of visits to participating pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.”

The documents contain a long list of what the CDC describes as 21 different “potential CDC use cases for data.” These include, among others, monitoring curfews, neighbor-to-neighbor visits, visits to churches and other places of worship, school visits, and “examination of the effectiveness of public policy on [the] Navajo Nation.” Other use cases mentioned in the documents include public health issues beyond covid, such as “research points of interest for physical activity and chronic disease prevention such as visits to parks, gyms, or weight management businesses” as well as “exposure to certain building types, urban areas, and violence.”

Although the data the CDC purchased from the controversial broker, SafeGraph, was aggregated and designed to show trends, “researchers have repeatedly raised concerns with how location data can be deanonymized and used to track specific people.” Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that that unmasking specific users from these aggregated human mobility datasets is possible. One research team studied fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and published their results in Nature: Scientific Reports: “In a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the [mobile phone] carrier’s antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals.” They coarsened the special and temporal data and still found “even coarse datasets provide little anonymity.”

“SafeGraph offers visitor data at the Census Block Group level that allows for extremely accurate insights related to age, gender, race, citizenship status, income, and more,” one of the CDC documents reads. Due to its questionable practices, SafeGraph was banned from the Google Play Store in June 2021, which meant that meant that any app developers using SafeGraph’s code had to remove it from their apps. The company includes among its investors the former head of Saudi intelligence. This is where the CDC went to get its tracking data, paying SafeGraph $420,000 for access to one year of data.

Evidence also emerged recently that the CIA, like Israel and Canada, has been similarly using unauthorized digital surveillance to spy on Americans. After supporting vaccine mandates in 2021, the ACLU finally took an interest again in civil liberties in 2022. They expressed alarm when newly declassified documents revealed that the CIA has been secretly conducting massive surveillance programs that capture Americans’ private information.

Like the Israeli spy agency Shin Bet, our federal intelligence agency was spying not on suspected terrorists but on ordinary Americans, with no judicial oversight and without congressional approval, as the ACLU noted: “This surveillance is done without any court approval, and with few, if any, safeguards imposed by Congress to protect our civil liberties.” They concluded: “These reports raise serious questions about what information of ours the CIA is vacuuming up in bulk and how the agency exploits that information to spy on Americans. This invasion of our privacy must stop.” Though ACLU arrived a bit late to the party, as the old saw has it, better late than never.

U.S. Senators Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, both Democrats and members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for declassification of relevant CIA documents. In a letter of April 13, 2021 which they made public, the two senators expressed concern that the CIA program was “entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection [of data], and without any of the judicial, congressional or even executive branch oversight that comes from [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—FISA] collection.” Despite Congress’s clear intent, with the support of the American people, to limit warrantless collection of Americans’ private records, the senators warn, “these documents reveal serious problems associated with warrantless backdoor searches of Americans, the same issue that has generated bipartisan concern in the FISA context.”

There is a broader legal context for these extra-legal developments in mass surveillance of civilian populations. Since the war on terror began, Western nations have legislatively scaled up their increasingly intrusive networks of mass surveillance (often referred to with the euphemism “bulk collection”). The last decade has seen such measures passed in the U.K., France, Australia, India, Sweden, and other countries—not to mention the AI and facial- and gate-recognition enabled surveillance in China, technology that Xi is already exporting to eager rogue regimes around the globe.

May 4, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Big Tech monopolies are good for national security, former intelligence officials say

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | April 25, 2022

Big Tech, its lobbyists and allies, have come up with yet another, opportunistic given the current geopolitical situation, “argument” as these corporate behemoths fight to prevent any legislation that would limit their already vast and growing power.

And the argument is that Big Tech serves US foreign policy as an important asset, essentially by means of providing wide-reaching censorship, and needs to be preserved just the way it is: with its monopolistic power not restricted with new laws, and that means no breaking up of these companies into parts that would render their stranglehold on the market weaker, nor passing any meaningful new regulation.

The ongoing war in Ukraine is used as a handy example and excuse for how important Big Tech companies are to the ability of the US to advance its policy around the world. (How this functions domestically, and what ties to what centers of power Big Tech has in that scenario, is a different question.)

The recommendation to leave Big Tech alone for the sake of US national interests abroad came in a letter signed by a number of former intelligence officials, whose names have already been cropping up over the years in a variety of now debunked affairs, complete with the claim that the Hunter Biden emails were not authentic, and were instead a product of Russian disinformation.

These officials include Obama administration-era CIA head Michael Morrell, Leon Panetta, who was both at the helm of Pentagon and the CIA during that time, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Observers critical of the Big Tech-Big Government dynamic, like Glenn Greenwald, consider these figures to be “disinformation agents” themselves, while presenting their activities as a relentless fight against disinformation; and on top of that, some of them have financial ties to some of the largest tech corporations. None of that is stopping these figures from assuming the self-styled role as spokespeople for national security.

But what’s happening here is just another instance of Big Tech lobbying, which has over the years and decades gone through different phases, enlisting at different times lobbying pros, public figures, and even small businesses who wind up suffering from the giants’ grip on the digital markets. Sometimes this lobbying has been “hidden” inside alleged grassroots campaigns, but not this time – this time it’s former spies, bringing up the issue of the importance Big Tech has for foreign policy, at a time when geopolitics is on everyone’s mind.

Boiled down, however, they do it to shore up Big Tech’s offensive against two particular pieces of legislation currently considered at various levels in the US Congress: these are bipartisan proposals that aim to tackle tech giants’ antitrust behavior that harms competition, thanks to the comprehensive nature of these companies’ control over various markets. One example given is how Google can – and does – use its Search to downrank video platforms, competitors to another of Google’s arms, YouTube. Not to mention what are by now notorious app store practices put in place by the Google/Apple duopoly. Beyond that, there’s the issue of the digital ad market tightly controlled by Google and Facebook.

Both bills designed to put an end to this and loosen the monopolistic stranglehold of Google, Apple, Amazon, and others – one in the Senate, and another in the House – have been doing well so far, receiving support from many lawmakers from both parties, emboldened by the general anti-Big Tech mood.

Even those senators that have financial ties with these corporations and refused to sponsor the Senate bill, eventually voted in favor when it was considered by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committee. This is seen as a sign that the public’s odium toward tech giants has now gained momentum that means politicians can no longer afford to ignore it, despite their campaigns, donations, and personal financial priorities.

All in all, many believe that the two bills have a good shot at becoming law – and that has clearly been the signal to the rattled tech juggernauts to bring out the big lobbying guns. And wrap the message in a big narrative: national security, and the Russian threat.

The signatories of the new letter, Greenwald writes, demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills “first be reviewed not only by the judiciary and antitrust committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector.”

April 25, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Durham: Five Witnesses Connected to the Clinton Campaign’s False Russian Claims Have Refused to Cooperate

By Jonathan Turley | April 17, 2022

Special Counsel John Durham continues to drop bombshells in filings in the prosecution of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. Just last week, Durham defeated an effort by Sussmann to dismiss the charges.  He is now moving to give immunity to a key witness while revealing that the claims made by the Clinton campaign were viewed by the CIA as “not technically plausible” and “user created.” He also revealed that at least five of the former Clinton campaign contractors/researchers have invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to cooperate in fear that they might incriminate themselves in criminal conduct. Finally, Durham offers further details on the involvement of Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias and former British spy Christopher Steele in the alleged false claims.

Recently, Durham revealed extremely damaging evidence against Sussmann. However, this is the first full description of the Clinton associates refusing to cooperate under the Fifth Amendment. Durham noted that he gave immunity to an individual identified only as “Research 2.” He then noted that this was made necessary by the refusal to cooperate by key Clinton associates:

“The only witness currently immunized by the government, Researcher-2, was conferred with that status on July 28, 2021 – over a month prior to the defendant’s Indictment in this matter. And the Government immunized Researcher-2 because, among other reasons, at least five other witnesses who conducted work relating to the Russian Bank-1 allegations invoked (or indicated their intent to invoke) their right against self-incrimination. The Government therefore pursued Researcher-2’s immunity in order to uncover otherwise-unavailable facts underlying the opposition research project that Tech Executive-1 and others carried out in advance of the defendant’s meeting with the FBI.” [Emphasis added]

For his part, Sussmann and the Clinton associates have sought to use attorney-client privilege to keep evidence from Durham.

Durham also detailed how the false Russian collusion claims related to Alfa Bank involved Clinton General Counsel Marc Elias and Christopher Steele. Indeed, the new requested immunized testimony would come from a Tech executive who allegedly can share information on meetings with Elias and Steele.

The Alfa Bank hoax and Sussmann’s efforts paralleled the work of his partner Elias at the law firm Perkins Coie in pushing the Steele Dossier in a separate debunked collusion claim.  The Federal Election Commission recently fined the Clinton Campaign and the DNC for hiding the funding of the dossier as a legal cost by Elias at Perkins Coie.

“Durham notes that both the CIA and FBI were sent on an effective wild goose chase by the Clinton campaign. He notes that the government found the allegations to be manufactured and not even technically possible.  He refers to the CIA in the following passage:
Agency-2 concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank-1 data and Russian Phone Provider-1 data was not “technically plausible,” did not “withstand technical scrutiny,” “contained gaps,” “conflicted with [itself],” and was “user created and not machine/tool generated.”

This dovetails with the statements of the Clinton associates themselves who were worried about the lack of support for the Russian collusion claims.  “Researcher 1” features prominently in those exchanges.

According to Durham, the Alfa Bank allegation fell apart even before Sussmann delivered it to the FBI. The indictment details how an unnamed “tech executive” allegedly used his authority at multiple internet companies to help develop the ridiculous claim. (The executive reportedly later claimed that he was promised a top cyber security job in the Clinton administration). Notably, there were many who expressed misgivings not only within the companies working on the secret project but also among unnamed “university researchers” who repeatedly said the argument was bogus.

The researchers were told they should not be looking for proof but just enough to “give the base of a very useful narrative.” The researchers argued, according to the indictment, that anyone familiar with analyzing internet traffic “would poke several holes” in that narrative, noting that what they saw likely “was not a secret communications channel with Russian Bank-1, but ‘a red herring,’” according to the indictment.

“Researcher-1” repeated these doubts, the indictment says, and asked, “How do we plan to defend against the criticism that this is not spoofed traffic we are observing? There is no answer to that. Let’s assume again that they are not smart enough to refute our ‘best case scenario.’ You do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag to even make a very weak association.”

“Researcher-1” allegedly further warned, “We cannot technically make any claims that would fly public scrutiny. The only thing that drives us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump]. This will not fly in eyes of public scrutiny. Folks, I am afraid we have tunnel vision. Time to regroup?”

It appears that the “time to regroup” has passed with the issuance of immunity deals to compel testimony.

Here is the filing:

US-v-Sussmann-04162022-US-Filing

April 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking Harder About False Flags and Other Fables

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • APRIL 19, 2022

The White House plan to destroy Russia by calling President Vladimir Putin names proceeds apace. Apparently, the man whom President Joe Biden has called a “thug,” “killer,” and “war criminal” is now also charged with carrying out a “genocide” and, according to CIA Director William Burns, he may in “despair” over his apparently stalled invasion, be contemplating the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Meanwhile over at the Pentagon, positively aglow with the largest “defense” budget since Vietnam, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley is advising that the war started in Ukraine will require building still more US military bases in Europe to confront Putin.

It is unclear who exactly in the band of rogues surrounding Biden is most responsible for the rhetorical flourishes and hyperbole, though one might assume that it is in a fact a group effort by a chorus of mental midgets, most of whom were inherited from the beatified Barack Obama’s Administration. Only Hillary is missing. But at the same time, one must wonder how if all the sobriquets inevitably fail to bring down Putin what plan B might be. After all, as Russia is a significant country possessing a ballistic and submarine launched nuclear missile capability that could destroy the United States, there will have to be some way to dialogue with the Kremlin after the Ukraine fiasco has ended. Calling foreign heads of state criminals and mass murderers is not the best way to restore a satisfactory level of mutual respect that will permit discussion regarding issues of mutual concern, like war and peace.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is being heavily coached by neocon handlers to push the right buttons to appeal to international sentiment in favor of his country. He has been very successful at being alarming about the Russian threat coupled with his demands for more and better weapons. Two expressions that have come to the surface recently to further blacken Vladimir Putin have centered around the concern that the Russians will employ what is referred to as a false flag deception or use chemical weapons in such a fashion, possibly against themselves, so as to justify broadening their invasion. Indeed, the two can be used together. A false flag essentially involves an assailant or a contact pretending to represent something apart from their or his/her genuine identify in an attempt to deceive the targeted individual. False flags are used extensively in intelligence operations and also in military operations where an attempt is being made to hide the true attribution of an act of war.

In my own experience as a CIA operations officer, I once “developed” a relationship with a Libyan intelligence officer using the false identity of an Italian businessman. The Libyan was amenable to an information sharing relationship with an Italian to line his own pockets, but would have balked at the treasonous implications of having a connection with an American. Libya was, not so long ago, a colony of Italy and my contact spoke decent Italian. That was a classic false flag operation conducted to carry out espionage against a foreign target.

A more recent instance of what might be regarded as a false flag with much more lethal consequences was when President Donald Trump attacked a Syrian airbase with 59 cruise missiles in the wake of an almost certainly fabricated report that President Bashar al-Assad’s army had used chemical weapons in an attack on Khan Shaykhun in 2017. Independent investigators subsequently determined that the anti-regime terrorists who were occupying the city at the time had themselves staged the attack and deliberately set it up and blamed it on the Syrian government to produce an expected US response, which was forthcoming as Trump responded to the news headlines and did not bother to order anyone to check the reliability of his intelligence sources before ordering “bombs away.” Fortunately, the evidence that it had likely been a false flag carried out by allies of Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) soon surfaced and there were no additional American attacks.

The latest recriminations hurled at Putin have included his alleged massacre of possibly hundreds of civilians at Bucha as well as the killing of over 50 civilians at the Kramatorsk Train station on April 8th, which almost immediately raised suspicion about a possible false flag. Starting with motive, it made no sense for Russia to either massacre civilians or attack a non-military target like a transportation hub, which would produce a large number of casualties, as it would give NATO and the US a wedge issue to increase pressure on Russia and its soldiers while also turning world opinion against Moscow. In that sense, both the claimed massacre and the attack succeeded as they were both immediately linked to Russia by hostile media.

But that is where the stories began to unravel. Russian soldiers left the town of Bucha on March 30th. Two days later, Bucha was occupied by the Ukrainian Azov Brigade with the objective of finding and removing ‘traitors’. The Azov Brigade has been plausibly described as extremely nationalist and even as neo-Nazi. On April 2/3 the first video was published that showed freshly killed men laying on the streets of Bucha, several of them displaying white arm bands that were presumably used for signaling to departing Russian forces that they were “friendlies.” The “west” and Ukrainian officials immediately called those dead the result of “Russian atrocities.”

Azov has reportedly shot men “fleeing” the combat zones as “traitors” and pledged no surrender to or collaboration with the Russians. It has credibly been responsible for atrocities committed against Russian ethnic Ukrainian citizens in the past. Going back to motive, it was definitely in the Ukrainian interest to kill a couple hundred of its own civilians to further demonize Putin and bring about a western direct military intervention, which is what Zelensky and his neocon advisers have been attempting to do. So, was it a false flag attack in which Ukrainian soldiers deliberately killed Ukrainian citizens so the deaths could be blamed on Russia?

And it also turned out that the missile used in the Kramatorsk Train station attack was of a type found in the Ukrainian arsenal, not that of Russia. A video report by Italy’s LA7 video channel was made by one of their teams inside Ukraine. They were one of first Western news teams to arrive at the alleged bombing site in Kramatorsk. At the time of the attack, numerous Ukrainian citizens were evacuating the city due to its proximity to fighting with Russian forces. Kramatorsk is the temporary seat of the administration of the Donetsk region because the city of Donetsk is in the hands of Russian affiliated Donbass militias and is not under the control of the Kiev based Ukrainian authorities.

The Italian film clip shows close-ups of the remains of the projectile that hit the building, which reveals that the serial number is that of the Tochka-U vehicle launched ballistic missile, which Kiev claimed was Russian, is actually far more plausibly Ukrainian. The clearly visible missile’s serial number appears as (Φ91579), and a comparison, admittedly made by Russian analysts, indicates that the missile belongs to the same series of weapons that have been fired against targets in the regions in the Donbass that are seeking union with Russia. They have been used against “Khartszsk in 04.09.2014 (rocket number ‘Φ15622’) and Tshevsky in 02.02.2015 (Rocket No. ‘Φ91565’), Lugvinova in 13.02.2015 (Missiles No. ‘Φ91566, Φ915527, Φ915328’), Perdiansk in 19.03.2022 (rocket no. ‘Φ915611’), and Militobol on 17.03.2022 (rocket no. ‘Φ915516’).” Furthermore, the missile in question is, according to the Kremlin, still in the Ukrainian arms inventory but considered obsolete by the Russian military.

But let’s think this through a little deeper. If the Russians truly want to blame the Ukrainians for killing other Ukrainians what better way to do it than to fake a missile launch using ordnance that is in operational use with the Ukrainian Army? There exist what are claimed to be eyewitness accounts of Russian troops using the Tochka inside Ukraine, though they come through Ukrainian controlled sources, but the Kremlin very likely has some Tochkas sitting around in various arsenals even if they are no longer suitable for front line use. And the serial numbers, which are painted on or appear on attached labels, can be changed.

The fundamental problem is not the possible use of a false flag in what is already a war between two neighboring states. It should be expected, when convenient for either side. The complication is that actually authenticable information about what is taking place is rare and the two sides are both lying and spinning like crazy to convince an international audience as well as their own citizenry of a “truth” which is actually often closer to fiction. As has long been recognized, the first victim of a war is the truth.

So forget about false flags and other tactical contrivances as well as the lies coming out of Washington and Western Europe. The sad part is that the focus on possible atrocities has reversed what the United States and the west should be doing, i.e. creating an environment where there can be a ceasefire leading to genuine negotiations that can bring about a status quo acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine. Instead, Washington and its allies seem intent on funneling ever more weapons into Ukraine based on a steady stream of questionable accounts of Russian war crimes, a guarantee that the fighting will go on for many more months, if not longer.

Witness for example the line being promoted by the notorious retired US Army Colonel Alexander Vindman, formerly of the US National Security Council but Ukrainian-Jewish born and an enthusiastic advocate of war with Russia. He argues based on the claimed Russian crimes that “Despite what people like Tucker Carlson tell you, there are not two sides to the story of Russia’s war on Ukraine. It IS a story of good and evil. All you have to do is look at the massacre of civilians in Bucha, the missile strike on Kramatorsk railway station, or the countless other atrocities being committed by Russian forces across Ukraine to see it clearly.”

Vindman’s thinking comes out of the neocon playbook of a proper role of the United States as the rule maker for the entire world without any accountability for its own action. He can easily be dismissed as little more than a partisan prepared to go with any half-truth as long as it denigrates Russia. Whatever one feels about “gallant little Ukraine” versus the Russian bear, this kind of advocacy by someone wrapping himself in the Ukrainian flag provides no real rationale for the United States to get involved in a war in which it has no real interest and which will almost certainly turn out badly for all involved. Unfortunately, Vindman is not the only public figure who suffers from precisely the same tunnel vision.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

April 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

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