Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One

By Glenn Greenwald | April 16, 2021

That Russia placed “bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

What was missing from this media orgy of indignation and militaristic demands for retaliation was an iota of questioning of whether the story was, in fact, true. All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed. That is because the vast majority of the corporate sector of the press lives under one overarching rule:

When the CIA or related security state agencies tell American journalists to believe something, we obey unquestioningly, and as a result, whatever assertions are spread by these agencies, no matter how bereft of evidence or shielded by accountability-free anonymity, they instantly transform, in our government-worshipping worldview, into a proven fact — gospel — never to be questioned but only affirmed and then repeated and spread as far and wide as possible.

That has been the dynamic driving the relationship between the corporate press and the CIA for decades, throughout the Cold War and then into the post-9/11 War on Terror and invasion of Iraq. But it has become so much more extreme in the Trump era. As the CIA became one of the leading anti-Trump #Resistance factions — a key player in domestic politics to subvert the presidency of the 45th President regarded by media figures as a Hitler-type menace — the bond between the corporate press and the intelligence community deepened more than ever. It is not an exaggeration to call it a merger: so much so that a parade of former security state officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS and others was hired by these news outlets to deliver the news. The partnership was no longer clandestine but official, out in the open, and proud.

In case anyone needs reminding, here’s a partial list of the ex-spooks who served as media figures in the Trump years:

John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price, Rick Francona…

Also Michael Morell, John McLaughlin, John Sipher, Thomas Bossert, Clint Watts, James Baker, Mike Baker, Daniel Hoffman, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, David Preiss, Evelyn Farkas, Tony Blinken, Mike Rogers, “Alex Finley,” Malcolm Nance…

The first goal this story served was to weaponize it in the battle waged by pro-war House Democrats and their neocon GOP allies to stop Trump’s withdrawal plan from Afghanistan. How, they began demanding upon publication of the CIA/NYT story, can we possibly leave Afghanistan when the Russians are trying to kill our troops? Would that not be a reckless abdication to the Kremlin of this country that we own, and would withdrawal not be a reward to Putin after we learned he was engaged in such dastardly plotting to kill our sons and daughters?

In late June, this alliance of pro-war House Democrats — funded overwhelmingly by military contractors — and the Liz-Cheney-led neocon wing announced amendments to the military budget authorization process that would defund Trump’s efforts to withdraw troops from either Afghanistan or Germany (where they had been stationed for decades to defend Western Europe against a country, the Soviet Union, that ceased to exist decades ago). They instantly weaponized the NYT/CIA story as their primary argument.

The record-breaking $740 billion military budget was scheduled to be approved by the House Armed Services Committee in early July. In a joint statement with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) on June 29 — the day the NYT story appeared — Liz Cheney proclaimed that “we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.” One of the Democrats’ most pro-war House members, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), announced on July 1 (three days after the NYT story) his own amendment to block any troop withdrawal from Germany, citing “increasing Russian aggression.”

On July 1 and 2, the House Armed Services Committee held its hearings and votes — I watched all fourteen hours and reported on it in a series of articles and a 90-minute video report — and it not only approved this massive military budget but also both amendments to bar troop withdrawal. Over and over, the union of pro-war Democrats and Cheney-led neocon Republicans steamrolled the anti-war faction of left-wing and right-wing war opponents (led by Congressmembers Ro Khanna (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)), and repeatedly used the Russia bounty story to justify continuation of the longest war in America’s history. This little speech from Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) was illustrative of how this CIA story was used all day:

The U.S. media was somehow more militaristic and blindly trusting about this CIA story than even this pro-war union of lawmakers. That the CIA’s leaked claim to The New York Times should even be questioned at all — given that it was leaked anonymously and was accompanied by exactly zero evidence — is not something that even crossed their journalistic minds.

These people who call themselves “journalists” do not view pronouncements from the U.S. security state as something that prompts skepticism let alone requires evidence before believing. The officials who run those agencies are their friends, partners and colleagues — those they most revere — and their every utterance is treated as Gospel. If — after watching them behave this way the last five years without pause — you think that is an exaggeration, watch this short video compilation produced by The Daily Caller to see for yourself how they instantly converted this CIA “Russia bounty” leak into proven fact that nobody, least of all them, should question:

As usual, the media figure most loudly and dramatically enshrining the CIA leak about Russia as Proven Truth was the undisputed Queen of demented conspiracy theories, jingoistic rhetoric, and CIA propaganda: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Over and over, she devoted melodramatic segments to denouncing the unparalleled evil of Russian treachery in Afghanistan (because the U.S. would never pay bounties to kill Russian soldiers in Afghanistan), at no point pausing her histrionics for even a second or two to wonder whether evidence ought to be presented before telling the millions of #Resistance liberals who watch her show that she is vouching for the truth of this story.

Predictably, now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. Government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along.

The Daily Beast on Thursday was the first to notice that “the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story after all.” The outlet added: “that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.” The Guardian also reported that “US intelligence agencies have only ‘low to moderate confidence’ in reports last year that Russian spies were offering Taliban militants in Afghanistan bounties for killing US soldiers.” NBC News went even further, citing Biden’s campaign attacks on Trump for failing to punish Putin for these bounties, and noting: “Such a definitive statement was questionable even then…. They still have not found any evidence, a senior defense official said Thursday.”

What made this admission particularly bizarre — aside from rendering weeks of decrees from media figures and politicians humiliatingly reckless and baseless — is that the Biden administration continued to assert this claim as truth as recently as Thursday. When announcing new sanctions aimed at Moscow and diplomatic expulsions of Russian diplomats — primarily in response to allegations of Russian hacking — the White House said “it was responding to reports that Russia encouraged Taliban fighters to injure or kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.” The official White House announcement of the retaliation said explicitly that “the Administration is responding to the reports that Russia encouraged Taliban attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan based on the best assessments from the Intelligence Community (IC)” — a claim for which the IC itself admits it has only “low to moderate confidence” is even true.

When asked about this glaring contradiction yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave an answer that barely rose to the level of cogency, yet she clearly admitted the lack of evidentiary basis for this long-standing CIA/media tale:

That there is no evidence for this media-laundered CIA story is not something we learned only yesterday. It has been obvious for many months. In September, NBC News — as Maddow was in the midst of her performative sadness and indignation over the story on its cable network — noted:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

“It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. continues to hunt for new information on the matter, he said.

“We continue to look for that evidence,” the general said. “I just haven’t seen it yet.

That was what made the refusal to question this story all along so maddening. Not only was no evidence presented to support the CIA’s assertions — something that, by itself, should have prevented every real journalist from endorsing its truth — but commanders in Afghanistan were saying months ago they could not find convincing evidence for it. That is what The Daily Beast meant in Thursday’s report when it said “there were reasons to doubt the story from the start” — not just the lack of evidence but also that “the initial stories emphasize[d] its basis on detainee reporting” and “the bounties represented a qualitative shift in recent Russian engagements with Afghan insurgents.” NBC News on Thursday also said that “such a definitive statement was questionable even then.”

But these doubts were virtually non-existent in most media reports. Indeed, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the story publicly attacked me as a conspiracy theorist back in September when I cited that NBC News story about the lack of evidence while pointing out what a crucial role this uncorroborated story played in stopping troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and claiming Trump was beholden to Putin. And while The Daily Beast on Thursday said there were reasons to doubt the story from the start, that same outlet was one of the most vocal and aggressive in pushing the story as true:

Even worse, other media outlets — led by The Washington Post — purported to have “independently confirmed” the NYT/CIA tale of Russian bounties. Twice in the last year, I have written about this bizarre practice where media outlets purport to “independently confirm” one another’s false stories by doing nothing more than going to the same anonymous sources who whisper to them the same things while providing no evidence. Yet they use this phrase “independent confirmation” to purposely imply that they obtained separate evidence corroborating the truth of the original story:

For months, pro-war members of both parties and leading members of the NYT/CNN/MSNBC media axis pushed a story — an inflammatory, dangerous one — based on nothing more than the say-so of anonymous CIA operatives. How can anyone do this who knows even the bare minimum about what this agency does and what its function is: to spread disinformation not just to foreign countries but the domestic population as well? It is both mystifying and toxic. But for people who call themselves “journalists” to repeat, over and over, evidence-free CIA claims, telling those who trust them to believe it, is nothing short of repulsive.

If you think that, upon learning yesterday’s news, there was any self-reflection on the part of the media figures who spread this, or that they felt chastened about it in any way, you would be very, very wrong. In fact, not only did few if any admit error, but they did exactly the same thing on Thursday about a brand new evidence-free assertion from the U.S. Government concerning Russia: they mindlessly assumed it true and then stated it to millions of people as fact. They are not embarrassed to get caught spreading false CIA propaganda. They see their role, correctly, as doing exactly that.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, run by Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, issued a short Press Release about its targeting of Russian-Ukrainian political consultant, Konstantin Kilimnik, with new sanctions. One sentence of this press release asserted a claim that the Mueller investigation, after searching for eighteen months, never found: namely, that “Kilimnik provided the Russia intelligence services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” that he received from then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Is it true that Kilimnik passed this polling data to the Kremlin? Maybe. But there is no way for a rational person — let alone someone calling themselves a “journalist” — to conclude that it is true. Why? Because, like the CIA tale about Russian bounties — a claim they learned yesterday had no evidence — this is nothing more than a U.S. Government assertion that lacks any evidence.

Do you think journalists learned the lesson that they just had rubbed in their faces hours before about the foolishness of assuming official statements to be true with no evidence? Of course that is a rhetorical question: too many to count instantly proclaimed that this story was true without spending an ounce of mental energy to question if it was or apply any skepticism. Here’s Maddow’s MSNBC comrade showing how this is done:

Do you see what Hayes just did there? It is vital not to lose sight of how irresponsible and destructive this behavior is just because it is now so common. He saw a Press Release from a U.S. Government agency, read an assertion that it contained in one sentence, had no evidence that this assertion was true, but nonetheless “reported” it as if it were proven fact to millions of people in a predictably viral tweet.

Hayes was far from alone. I cannot count how many employees of corporate media outlets did the same: read the Treasury Department’s Press Release and, without pausing for a second, proclaimed it to be true. Indeed, the two MSNBC hosts who follow Hayes’s nightly news program explicitly described this evidence-free Press Release as “confirmation”— confirmation!

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell celebrating an evidence-free Treasury Department Press Release as “confirmation,” Apr. 15, 2021

Let’s set aside the absurdity of treating this as some shocking revelation even if it were true. Just like the oozing historical ignorance of pretending that there would be something astonishing about Russians paying for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan when the CIA just last week explicitly boasted of having done the same to Russian soldiers in Afghanistan, what is this Treasury Press Release supposed to prove that is so breathtaking and scandalous: that the Kremlin could not possibly have obtained polling data about the U.S. electorate had Manafort not provided it to them? That they never would have known that Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were swing states without an elaborate plot of collusion to learn this from the Trump campaign?

But the far more important point is the U.S. media’s willingness — their subservient eagerness — to obediently treat U.S. government pronouncements as Truth. Just like with the Russia bounty story, where there were ample reasons to doubt it from the start, the same is true of this Treasury Press Release. To begin with, if this were such a smoking gun “confirming” collusion, why did the Mueller investigation after eighteen months of highly aggressive subpoena-driven investigative activity not discover it?

Let’s express this as clearly as it can be expressed. Any journalist who treats unverified stories from the CIA or other government agencies as true, without needing any evidence or applying any skepticism, is worthless. Actually, they are worse than worthless: they are toxic influences who deserve pure contempt. Every journalist knows that governments lie constantly and that it is a betrayal of their profession to serve as mindless mouthpieces for these security agencies: that is why they will vehemently deny they do this if you confront them with this accusation. They know it is a shameful thing to do.

But just look at what they are doing: exactly this. These are not journalists. They are obsequious spokespeople for the CIA and other official authorities. Even when they learn that they deceived millions of people by uncritically repeating a story that the CIA told them was true, they will — on the very same day that they learn they did this — do exactly the same thing, this time with a one-paragraph Treasury Department Press Release. These are agents of disinformation: state media. And when they speak, you should listen to them with the knowledge of what they really are, and treat them accordingly.

April 17, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The CIA Used To Infiltrate The Media. Now The CIA Is The Media.

By Caitlin Johnstone | April 16, 2021

Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called  “Bountygate” story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.

“One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed ‘intelligence officials’) say today that it was a CIA claim,” Greenwald tweeted. “So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”

Indeed, NYT’s original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only “officials,” yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story’s roots in the lying, torturingdrug-runningwarmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes “The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment,” with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn’t until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.

This would be the same “Russian bounties” narrative which was discredited all the way back in September when the top US military official in Afghanistan said no satisfactory evidence had surfaced for the allegations, which was further discredited today with a new article by The Daily Beast titled “U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops“.

The Daily Beast, which has itself uncritically published many articles promoting the CIA “Bountygate” narrative, reports the following:

It was a blockbuster story about Russia’s return to the imperial “Great Game” in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.

So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.

This allowed the CIA to throw shade and inertia on Trump’s proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to continue ramping up anti-Russia sentiments on the world stage, and may well have contributed to the fact that the agency will officially be among those who are exempt from Biden’s performative Afghanistan “withdrawal”.

In totalitarian dictatorships, the government spy agency tells the news media what stories to run, and the news media unquestioningly publish it. In free democracies, the government spy agency says “Hoo buddy, have I got a scoop for you!” and the news media unquestioningly publish it.

In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled “The CIA and the Media” reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America’s most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird. It was a major scandal, and rightly so. The news media is meant to report truthfully about what happens in the world, not manipulate public perception to suit the agendas of spooks and warmongers.

Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of The Washington Post is a CIA contractor, and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on US intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA interns like Anderson Cooper and CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.

This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.

This is bad. This is very, very bad. Democracy has no meaningful existence if people’s votes aren’t being cast with a clear understanding of what’s happening in their nation and their world, and if their understanding is being shaped to suit the agendas of the very government they’re meant to be influencing with their votes, what you have is the most powerful military and economic force in the history of civilization with no accountability to the electorate whatsoever. It’s just an immense globe-spanning power structure, doing whatever it wants to whoever it wants. A totalitarian dictatorship in disguise.

And the CIA is the very worst institution that could possibly be spearheading the movements of that dictatorship. A little research into the many, many horrific things the CIA has done over the years will quickly show you that this is true; hell, just a glance at what the CIA was up to with the Phoenix Program in Vietnam will.

There’s a common delusion in our society that depraved government agencies who are known to have done evil things in the past have simply stopped doing evil things for some reason. This belief is backed by zero evidence, and is contradicted by mountains of evidence to the contrary. It’s believed because it is comfortable, and for literally no other reason.

The CIA should not exist at all, let alone control the news media, much less the movements of the US empire. May we one day know a humanity that is entirely free from the rule of psychopaths, from our total planetary behavior as a collective, all the way down to the thoughts we think in our own heads.

May we extract their horrible fingers from every aspect of our being.

April 16, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

How Bellingcat Launders National Security State Talking Points into the Press

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | April 9, 2021

AMSTERDAM — Investigative site Bellingcat is the toast of the popular press. In the past month alone, it has been described as “an intelligence agency for the people” (ABC Australia ), a “transparent” and “innovative” (New Yorker ) “independent news collective,” “transforming investigative journalism” (Big Think ), and an unequivocal “force for good” (South China Morning Post ). Indeed, outside of a few alternative news sites, it is very hard to hear a negative word against Bellingcat, such is the gushing praise for the outlet founded in 2014.

This is troubling, because the evidence compiled in this investigation suggests Bellingcat is far from independent and neutral, as it is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research.

Citizen journalism staffed with spies and soldiers

An alarming number of Bellingcat’s staff and contributors come from highly suspect backgrounds. Senior Investigator Nick Waters, for example, spent three years as an officer in the British Army, including a tour in Afghanistan, where he furthered the British state’s objectives in the region. Shortly after leaving the service, he was hired by Bellingcat to provide supposedly bias-free investigations into the Middle East.

Former contributor Cameron Colquhoun’s past is even more suspect. Colquhoun spent a decade in a senior position in GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA), where he ran cyber and Middle Eastern terror operations. The Scot specializes in Middle Eastern security and also holds a qualification from the U.S. State Department. None of this, however, is disclosed by Bellingcat, which merely describes him as the managing director of a private intelligence company that “conduct[s] ethical investigations” for clients around the world — thus depriving readers of key information they need to make informed judgments on what they are reading.

Bellingcat fails to inform its readers of even the most glaring conflicts of interest

There are plenty of former American spooks on Bellingcat’s roster as well. Former contributor Chris Biggers, who penned more than 60 articles for the site between 2014 and 2017, previously worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — a combat support unit that works under the Department of Defense and the broader Intelligence Community. Biggers is now the director of an intelligence company headquartered in Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington (close to other semi-private contractor groups like Booz Allen Hamilton), that boasts of having retired Army and Air Force generals on its board. Again, none of this is disclosed by Bellingcat, where Biggers’s bio states only that he is a “public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.”

For six years, Dan Kaszeta was a U.S. Secret Service agent specializing in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and for six more he worked as program manager for the White House Military Office. At Bellingcat, he would provide some of the intellectual ammunition for Western accusations about chemical weapons use in Syria and Russia’s alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

Kaszeta is also a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank funded by a host of Western governments as well as weapons contractors such as Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Its president is a British field marshal (the highest attainable military rank) and its senior vice president is retired American General David Petraeus. Its chairman is Lord Hague, the U.K.’s secretary of state between 2010 and 2015.

Bellingcat Sergei Skripal

A Bellingcat article covering the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a story covered heavily by the organization. Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP

All of this matters if a group is presenting itself as independent when, in reality, their views align almost perfectly with the governments funding them. But yet again, Bellingcat fails to follow basic journalism ethics and inform readers of these glaring conflict of interests, describing Kaszeta as merely the managing director of a security company and someone with 27 years of experience in security and antiterrorism. This means that unless readers are willing to do a research project they will be none the wiser.

Other Bellingcat contributors have similar pasts. Nour Bakr previously worked for the British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office while Karl Morand proudly served two separate tours in Iraq with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.

Government and intelligence officials are the opposite of journalists. The former exist to promote the interests of power (often against those of the public) while the latter are supposed to hold the powerful to account on behalf of the people. That is why it is so inappropriate that Bellingcat has had so many former spooks on their books. It could be said that ex-officials who have renounced their past or blown the whistle, such as Daniel Ellsberg or John Kiriakou, have utility as journalists. But those who have simply made the transition into media without any change in positions usually serve only the powerful.

Who pays the piper?

Just as startling as its spooky staff is Bellingcat’s source of funding. In 2016 its founder, Eliot Higgins, dismissed the idea that his organization got money from the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a ludicrous conspiracy theory. Yet, by the next year, he openly admitted the thing he had laughed off for so long was, in fact, true (Bellingcat’s latest available financial report confirms that they continue to receive financial assistance from the NED). As many MintPress readers will know, the NED was explicitly set up by the Reagan administration as a front for the CIA’s regime-change operations. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” said the organization’s co-founder Allen Weinstein, proudly.

Higgins himself was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s quasi-official think tank, from 2016 to 2019. The Atlantic Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of state power, from war planners like Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell to retired generals such as James “Mad Dog” Mattis and H.R. McMaster. It also features no fewer than seven former CIA directors. How Higgins could possibly see taking a paid position at an organization like this while he was still the face of a supposedly open and independent intelligence collective as being at all consistent is unclear.

Bana Alabed, an outsoken anti-Assad child activist, promotes Bellingcat at an Atlantic Council event. Photo | Twitter

Other questionable sources of income include the Human Rights Foundation, an international organization set up by Venezuelan activist Thor Halvorssen Mendoza. Halvorssen is the son of a former government official accused of being a CIA informant and a gunrunner for the agency’s dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s and the cousin of convicted terrorist Leopoldo Lopez. Lopez in turn was a leader in a U.S.-backed coup in 2002 and a wave of political terror in 2014 that killed at least 43 people and caused an estimated $15 billion worth of property damage. A major figure on the right-wing of Venezuelan politics, Lopez told journalists that he wants the United States to formally rule the country once President Nicolas Maduro is overthrown. With the help of the Spanish government, Lopez escaped from jail and fled to Spain last year.

Imagine, for one second, the opposite scenario: an “independent” Russian investigative website staffed partially with ex-KGB officials, funded by the Kremlin, with most of their research focused on the nefarious deeds of the U.S., U.K. and NATO. Would anyone take it seriously? And yet Bellingcat is consistently presented in corporate media as a liberatory organization; the Information Age’s gift to the people.

The Bellingcat to journalism pipeline

The corporate press itself already has a disturbingly close relationship with the national security state, as does social media. In 2019, a senior Twitter executive was unmasked as an active duty officer in the British Army’s online psychological operations unit. Coming at a time when foreign interference in politics and society was the primary issue in U.S. politics, the story was, astoundingly, almost completely ignored in the mainstream press. Only one U.S. outlet of any note picked it up, and that journalist was forced out of the profession weeks later.

Increasingly, it seems, Bellingcat is serving as a training ground for those looking for a job in the West’s most prestigious media outlets. For instance, former Bellingcat contributor Brenna Smith — who was recently the subject of a media storm after she successfully pressured a number of online payment companies to stop allowing the crowdfunding of the Capitol Building insurrectionists — announced last month she would be leaving USA Today and joining The New York Times. There she will meet up with former Bellingcat senior investigator Christiaan Triebert, who joined the Times’ visual investigations team in 2019.

The Times, commonly thought of as the United States’ most influential media outlet, has also collaborated with Bellingcat writers for individual pieces before. In 2018, it commissioned Giancarlo Fiorella and Aliaume Leroy to publish an op-ed strongly insinuating that the Venezuelan state murdered Oscar Perez. After he stole a military helicopter and used it to bomb government buildings in downtown Caracas while trying to ignite a civil war, Perez became the darling of the Western press, being described as a “patriot” (The Guardian ), a “rebel” (Miami Herald ), an “action hero” (The Times of London ), and a “liberator” (Task and Purpose ).

Until 2020, Fiorella ran an opposition blog called In Venezuela despite living in Canada. Leroy is now a full-time producer and investigator for the U.K.-government network, the BBC.

Bad news from Bellingcat

What we are uncovering here is a network of military, state, think-tank and media units all working together, of which Bellingcat is a central fixture. This would be bad enough, but much of its own research is extremely poor. It strongly pushed the now increasingly discredited idea of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, attacking the members of the OPCW who came forward to expose the coverup and making some bizarre claims along the way. For years, Higgins and other members of the Bellingcat team also signal-boosted a Twitter account purporting to be an ISIS official, only for an investigation to expose the account as belonging to a young Indian troll in Bangalore. A leaked U.K. Foreign Office document lamented that “Bellingcat was somewhat discredited, both by spreading disinformation itself, and by being willing to produce reports for anyone willing to pay.”

Ultimately, however, the organization still provides utility as an attack dog for the West, publishing research that the media can cite, supposedly as “independent,” rather than rely directly on intelligence officials, whose credibility with the public is automatically far lower.

Oliver Boyd-Barrett, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University and an expert in the connections between the deep state and the fourth estate, told MintPress that “the role of Bellingcat is to provide spurious legitimacy to U.S./NATO pretexts for war and conflict.” In far more positive words, the CIA actually appears to agree with him.

“I don’t want to be too dramatic, but we love [Bellingcat],” said Marc Polymeropoulos, the agency’s former deputy chief of operations for Europe and Eurasia. “Whenever we had to talk to our liaison partners about it, instead of trying to have things cleared or worry about classification issues, you could just reference [Bellingcat’s] work.” Polymeropoulos recently attempted to blame his headache problems on a heretofore unknown Russian microwave weapon, a claim that remarkably became an international scandal. “The greatest value of Bellingcat is that we can then go to the Russians and say ‘there you go’ [when they ask for evidence],” added former CIA Chief of Station Daniel Hoffman.

Bellingcat certainly seems to pay particular attention to the crimes of official enemies. As investigative journalist Matt Kennard noted, it has only published five stories on the United Kingdom, 17 on Saudi Arabia, 19 on the U.S. (most of which are about foreign interference in American society or far-right/QAnon cults). Yet it has 144 on Russia and 244 under its Syria tag.

In his new book “We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People,” the outlet’s boss Higgins writes: “We have no agenda but we do have a credo: evidence exists and falsehoods exist, and people still care about the difference.” Yet exploring the backgrounds of its journalists and its sources of funding quickly reveals this to be a badly spun piece of PR.

Bellingcat looks far more like a bunch of spooks masquerading as citizen journalists than a people-centered organization taking on power and lies wherever it sees them. Unfortunately, with many of its proteges travelling through the pipeline into influential media outlets, it seems that there might be quite a few masquerading as reporters as well.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Military Origins of Facebook

Featured image: Mark Zuckerberg walks among attendees at a VR conference in Barcelona, Spain in 2016, Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page
BY WHITNEY WEBB | UNLIMITED HANGOUT | APRIL 12, 2021

In mid-February, Daniel Baker, a US veteran described by the media as “anti-Trump, anti-government, anti-white supremacists, and anti-police,” was charged by a Florida grand jury with two counts of “transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure.”

The communication in question had been posted by Baker on Facebook, where he had created an event page to organize an armed counter-rally to one planned by Donald Trump supporters at the Florida capital of Tallahassee on January 6. “If you are afraid to die fighting the enemy, then stay in bed and live. Call all of your friends and Rise Up!,” Baker had written on his Facebook event page.

Baker’s case is notable as it is one of the first “precrime” arrests based entirely on social media posts—the logical conclusion of the Trump administration’s, and now Biden administration’s, push to normalize arresting individuals for online posts to prevent violent acts before they can happen. From the increasing sophistication of US intelligence/military contractor Palantir’s predictive policing programs to the formal announcement of the Justice Department’s Disruption and Early Engagement Program in 2019 to Biden’s first budget, which contains $111 million for pursuing and managing “increasing domestic terrorism caseloads,” the steady advance toward a precrime-centered “war on domestic terror” has been notable under every post-9/11 presidential administration.

This new so-called war on domestic terror has actually resulted in many of these types of posts on Facebook. And, while Facebook has long sought to portray itself as a “town square” that allows people from across the world to connect, a deeper look into its apparently military origins and continual military connections reveals that the world’s largest social network was always intended to act as a surveillance tool to identify and target domestic dissent.

Part 1 of this two-part series on Facebook and the US national-security state explores the social media network’s origins and the timing and nature of its rise as it relates to a controversial military program that was shut down the same day that Facebook launched. The program, known as LifeLog, was one of several controversial post-9/11 surveillance programs pursued by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that threatened to destroy privacy and civil liberties in the United States while also seeking to harvest data for producing “humanized” artificial intelligence (AI).

As this report will show, Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley giant whose origins coincide closely with this same series of DARPA initiatives and whose current activities are providing both the engine and the fuel for a hi-tech war on domestic dissent.

DARPA’s Data Mining for “National Security” and to “Humanize” AI

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, DARPA, in close collaboration with the US intelligence community (specifically the CIA), began developing a “precrime” approach to combatting terrorism known as Total Information Awareness or TIA. The purpose of TIA was to develop an “all-seeing” military-surveillance apparatus. The official logic behind TIA was that invasive surveillance of the entire US population was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, bioterrorism events, and even naturally occurring disease outbreaks.

The architect of TIA, and the man who led it during its relatively brief existence, was John Poindexter, best known for being Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor during the Iran-Contra affair and for being convicted of five felonies in relation to that scandal. A less well-known activity of Iran-Contra figures like Poindexter and Oliver North was their development of the Main Core database to be used in “continuity of government” protocols. Main Core was used to compile a list of US dissidents and “potential troublemakers” to be dealt with if the COG protocols were ever invoked. These protocols could be invoked for a variety of reasons, including widespread public opposition to a US military intervention abroad, widespread internal dissent, or a vaguely defined moment of “national crisis” or “time of panic.” Americans were not informed if their name was placed on the list, and a person could be added to the list for merely having attended a protest in the past, for failing to pay taxes, or for other, “often trivial,” behaviors deemed “unfriendly” by its architects in the Reagan administration.

In light of this, it was no exaggeration when New York Times columnist William Safire remarked that, with TIA, “Poindexter is now realizing his twenty-year dream: getting the ‘data-mining’ power to snoop on every public and private act of every American.”

The TIA program met with considerable citizen outrage after it was revealed to the public in early 2003. TIA’s critics included the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed that the surveillance effort would “kill privacy in America” because “every aspect of our lives would be catalogued,” while several mainstream media outlets warned that TIA was “fighting terror by terrifying US citizens.” As a result of the pressure, DARPA changed the program’s name to Terrorist Information Awareness to make it sound less like a national-security panopticon and more like a program aiming specifically at terrorists in the post-9/11 era.

DARPA’s IOA, oversaw Total Information Awareness during its brief existence

The TIA projects were not actually closed down, however, with most moved to the classified portfolios of the Pentagon and US intelligence community. Some became intelligence funded and guided private-sector endeavors, such as Peter Thiel’s Palantir, while others resurfaced years later under the guise of combatting the COVID-19 crisis.

Soon after TIA was initiated, a similar DARPA program was taking shape under the direction of a close friend of Poindexter’s, DARPA program manager Douglas Gage. Gage’s project, LifeLog, sought to “build a database tracking a person’s entire existence” that included an individual’s relationships and communications (phone calls, mail, etc.), their media-consumption habits, their purchases, and much more in order to build a digital record of “everything an individual says, sees, or does.” LifeLog would then take this unstructured data and organize it into “discreet episodes” or snapshots while also “mapping out relationships, memories, events and experiences.”

LifeLog, per Gage and supporters of the program, would create a permanent and searchable electronic diary of a person’s entire life, which DARPA argued could be used to create next-generation “digital assistants” and offer users a “near-perfect digital memory.” Gage insisted, even after the program was shut down, that individuals would have had “complete control of their own data-collection efforts” as they could “decide when to turn the sensors on or off and decide who will share the data.” In the years since then, analogous promises of user control have been made by the tech giants of Silicon Valley, only to be broken repeatedly for profit and to feed the government’s domestic-surveillance apparatus.

The information that LifeLog gleaned from an individual’s every interaction with technology would be combined with information obtained from a GPS transmitter that tracked and documented the person’s location, audio-visual sensors that recorded what the person saw and said, as well as biomedical monitors that gauged the person’s health. Like TIA, LifeLog was promoted by DARPA as potentially supporting “medical research and the early detection of an emerging epidemic.”

Critics in mainstream media outlets and elsewhere were quick to point out that the program would inevitably be used to build profiles on dissidents as well as suspected terrorists. Combined with TIA’s surveillance of individuals at multiple levels, LifeLog went farther by “adding physical information (like how we feel) and media data (like what we read) to this transactional data.” One critic, Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warned at the time that the programs that DARPA was pursuing, including LifeLog, “have obvious, easy paths to Homeland Security deployments.”

At the time, DARPA publicly insisted that LifeLog and TIA were not connected, despite their obvious parallels, and that LifeLog would not be used for “clandestine surveillance.” However, DARPA’s own documentation on LifeLog noted that the project “will be able . . . to infer the user’s routines, habits and relationships with other people, organizations, places and objects, and to exploit these patterns to ease its task,” which acknowledged its potential use as a tool of mass surveillance.

In addition to the ability to profile potential enemies of the state, LifeLog had another goal that was arguably more important to the national-security state and its academic partners—the “humanization” and advancement of artificial intelligence. In late 2002, just months prior to announcing the existence of LifeLog, DARPA released a strategy document detailing development of artificial intelligence by feeding it with massive floods of data from various sources.

The post-9/11 military-surveillance projects—LifeLog and TIA being only two of them—offered quantities of data that had previously been unthinkable to obtain and that could potentially hold the key to achieving the hypothesized “technological singularity.” The 2002 DARPA document even discusses DARPA’s effort to create a brain-machine interface that would feed human thoughts directly into machines to advance AI by keeping it constantly awash in freshly mined data.

One of the projects outlined by DARPA, the Cognitive Computing Initiative, sought to develop sophisticated artificial intelligence through the creation of an “enduring personalized cognitive assistant,” later termed the Perceptive Assistant that Learns, or PAL. PAL, from the very beginning was tied to LifeLog, which was originally intended to result in granting an AI “assistant” human-like decision-making and comprehension abilities by spinning masses of unstructured data into narrative format.

The would-be main researchers for the LifeLog project also reflect the program’s end goal of creating humanized AI. For instance, Howard Shrobe at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and his team at the time were set to be intimately involved in LifeLog. Shrobe had previously worked for DARPA on the “evolutionary design of complex software” before becoming associate director of the AI Lab at MIT and has devoted his lengthy career to building “cognitive-style AI.” In the years after LifeLog was cancelled, he again worked for DARPA as well as on intelligence community–related AI research projects. In addition, the AI Lab at MIT was intimately connected with the 1980s corporation and DARPA contractor called Thinking Machines, which was founded by and/or employed many of the lab’s luminaries—including Danny Hillis, Marvin Minsky, and Eric Lander—and sought to build AI supercomputers capable of human-like thought. All three of these individuals were later revealed to be close associates of and/or sponsored by the intelligence-linked pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who also generously donated to MIT as an institution and was a leading funder of and advocate for transhumanist-related scientific research.

Soon after the LifeLog program was shuttered, critics worried that, like TIA, it would continue under a different name. For example, Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told VICE at the time of LifeLog’s cancellation, “It would not surprise me to learn that the government continued to fund research that pushed this area forward without calling it LifeLog.”

Along with its critics, one of the would-be researchers working on LifeLog, MIT’s David Karger, was also certain that the DARPA project would continue in a repackaged form. He told Wired that “I am sure such research will continue to be funded under some other title . . . I can’t imagine DARPA ‘dropping out’ of a such a key research area.”

The answer to these speculations appears to lie with the company that launched the exact same day that LifeLog was shuttered by the Pentagon: Facebook.

Thiel Information Awareness

After considerable controversy and criticism, in late 2003, TIA was shut down and defunded by Congress, just months after it was launched. It was only later revealed that that TIA was never actually shut down, with its various programs having been covertly divided up among the web of military and intelligence agencies that make up the US national-security state. Some of it was privatized.

The same month that TIA was pressured to change its name after growing backlash, Peter Thiel incorporated Palantir, which was, incidentally, developing the core panopticon software that TIA had hoped to wield. Soon after Palantir’s incorporation in 2003, Richard Perle, a notorious neoconservative from the Reagan and Bush administrations and an architect of the Iraq War, called TIA’s Poindexter and said he wanted to introduce him to Thiel and his associate Alex Karp, now Palantir’s CEO. According to a report in New York magazine, Poindexter “was precisely the person” whom Thiel and Karp wanted to meet, mainly because “their new company was similar in ambition to what Poindexter had tried to create at the Pentagon,” that is, TIA. During that meeting, Thiel and Karp sought “to pick the brain of the man now widely viewed as the godfather of modern surveillance.”

Peter Thiel speaks at the World Economic Forum in 2013, Source: Mirko Ries Courtesy for the World Economic Forum

Soon after Palantir’s incorporation, though the exact timing and details of the investment remain hidden from the public, the CIA’s In-Q-Tel became the company’s first backer, aside from Thiel himself, giving it an estimated $2 million. In-Q-Tel’s stake in Palantir would not be publicly reported until mid-2006.

The money was certainly useful. In addition, Alex Karp told the New York Times in October 2020, “the real value of the In-Q-Tel investment was that it gave Palantir access to the CIA analysts who were its intended clients.” A key figure in the making of In-Q-Tel investments during this period, including the investment in Palantir, was the CIA’s chief information officer, Alan Wade, who had been the intelligence community’s point man for Total Information Awareness. Wade had previously cofounded the post-9/11 Homeland Security software contractor Chiliad alongside Christine Maxwell, sister of Ghislaine Maxwell and daughter of Iran-Contra figure, intelligence operative, and media baron Robert Maxwell.

After the In-Q-Tel investment, the CIA would be Palantir’s only client until 2008. During that period, Palantir’s two top engineers—Aki Jain and Stephen Cohen—traveled to CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, every two weeks. Jain recalls making at least two hundred trips to CIA headquarters between 2005 and 2009. During those regular visits, CIA analysts “would test [Palantir’s software] out and offer feedback, and then Cohen and Jain would fly back to California to tweak it.” As with In-Q-Tel’s decision to invest in Palantir, the CIA’s chief information officer during this time remained one of TIA’s architects. Alan Wade played a key role in many of these meetings and subsequently in the “tweaking” of Palantir’s products.

Today, Palantir’s products are used for mass surveillance, predictive policing, and other disconcerting policies of the US national-security state. A telling example is Palantir’s sizable involvement in the new Health and Human Services–run wastewater surveillance program that is quietly spreading across the United States. As noted in a previous Unlimited Hangout report, that system is the resurrection of a TIA program called Biosurveillance. It is feeding all its data into the Palantir-managed and secretive HHS Protect data platform. The decision to turn controversial DARPA-led programs into a private ventures, however, was not limited to Thiel’s Palantir.

The Rise of Facebook

The shuttering of TIA at DARPA had an impact on several related programs, which were also dismantled in the wake of public outrage over DARPA’s post-9/11 programs. One of these programs was LifeLog. As news of the program spread through the media, many of the same vocal critics who had attacked TIA went after LifeLog with similar zeal, with Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists telling Wired at the time that “LifeLog has the potential to become something like ‘TIA cubed.’” LifeLog being viewed as something that would prove even worse than the recently cancelled TIA had a clear effect on DARPA, which had just seen both TIA and another related program cancelled after considerable backlash from the public and the press.

The firestorm of criticism of LifeLog took its program manager, Doug Gage, by surprise, and Gage has continued to assert that the program’s critics “completely mischaracterized” the goals and ambitions of the project. Despite Gage’s protests and those of LifeLog’s would-be researchers and other supporters, the project was publicly nixed on February 4, 2004. DARPA never provided an explanation for its quiet move to shutter LifeLog, with a spokesperson stating only that it was related to “a change in priorities” for the agency. On DARPA director Tony Tether’s decision to kill LifeLog, Gage later told VICE, “I think he had been burnt so badly with TIA that he didn’t want to deal with any further controversy with LifeLog. The death of LifeLog was collateral damage tied to the death of TIA.”

Fortuitously for those supporting the goals and ambitions of LifeLog, a company that turned out to be its private-sector analogue was born on the same day that LifeLog’s cancellation was announced. On February 4, 2004, what is now the world’s largest social network, Facebook, launched its website and quickly rose to the top of the social media roost, leaving other social media companies of the era in the dust.

Sean Parker of Founders Fund speaks during the LeWeb conference in 2011, Source: @Kmeron for LeWeb11 @ Les Docks de Paris

A few months into Facebook’s launch, in June 2004, Facebook cofounders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz brought Sean Parker onto Facebook’s executive team. Parker, previously known for cofounding Napster, later connected Facebook with its first outside investor, Peter Thiel. As discussed, Thiel, at that time, in coordination with the CIA, was actively trying to resurrect controversial DARPA programs that had been dismantled the previous year. Notably, Sean Parker, who became Facebook’s first president, also had a history with the CIA, which recruited him at the age of sixteen soon after he had been busted by the FBI for hacking corporate and military databases. Thanks to Parker, in September 2004, Thiel formally acquired $500,000 worth of Facebook shares and was added its board. Parker maintained close ties to Facebook as well as to Thiel, with Parker being hired as a managing partner of Thiel’s Founders Fund in 2006.

Thiel and Facebook cofounder Mosokvitz became involved outside of the social network long after Facebook’s rise to prominence, with Thiel’s Founder Fund becoming a significant investor in Moskovitz’s company Asana in 2012. Thiel’s longstanding symbiotic relationship with Facebook cofounders extends to his company Palantir, as the data that Facebook users make public invariably winds up in Palantir’s databases and helps drive the surveillance engine Palantir runs for a handful of US police departments, the military, and the intelligence community. In the case of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Palantir was also involved in utilizing Facebook data to benefit the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign.

Today, as recent arrests such as that of Daniel Baker have indicated, Facebook data is slated to help power the coming “war on domestic terror,” given that information shared on the platform is being used in “precrime” capture of US citizens, domestically. In light of this, it is worth dwelling on the point that Thiel’s exertions to resurrect the main aspects of TIA as his own private company coincided with his becoming the first outside investor in what was essentially the analogue of another DARPA program deeply intertwined with TIA.

Facebook, a Front

Because of the coincidence that Facebook launched the same day that LifeLog was shut down, there has been recent speculation that Zuckerberg began and launched the project with Moskovitz, Saverin, and others through some sort of behind-the-scenes coordination with DARPA or another organ of the national-security state. While there is no direct evidence for this precise claim, the early involvement of Parker and Thiel in the project, particularly given the timing of Thiel’s other activities, reveals that the national-security state was involved in Facebook’s rise. It is debatable whether Facebook was intended from its inception to be a LifeLog analogue or if it happened to be the social media project that fit the bill after its launch. The latter seems more likely, especially considering that Thiel also invested in another early social media platform, Friendster.

An important point linking Facebook and LifeLog is the subsequent identification of Facebook with LifeLog by the latter’s DARPA architect himself. In 2015, Gage told VICE that “Facebook is the real face of pseudo-LifeLog at this point.” He tellingly added, “We have ended up providing the same kind of detailed personal information to advertisers and data brokers and without arousing the kind of opposition that LifeLog provoked.”

Users of Facebook and other large social media platforms have so far been content to allow these platforms to sell their private data so long as they publicly operate as private enterprises. Backlash only really emerged when such activities were publicly tied to the US government, and especially the US military, even though Facebook and other tech giants routinely share their users’ data with the national-security state. In practice, there is little difference between the public and private entities.

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, notably warned in 2019 that Facebook is just as untrustworthy as US intelligence, stating that “Facebook’s internal purpose, whether they state it publicly or not, is to compile perfect records of private lives to the maximum extent of their capability, and then exploit that for their own corporate enrichment. And damn the consequences.”

Snowden also stated in the same interview that “the more Google knows about you, the more Facebook knows about you, the more they are able . . . to create permanent records of private lives, the more influence and power they have over us.” This underscores how both Facebook and intelligence-linked Google have accomplished much of what LifeLog had aimed to do, but on a much larger scale than what DARPA had originally envisioned.

The reality is that most of the large Silicon Valley companies of today have been closely linked to the US national-security state establishment since their inception. Notable examples aside from Facebook and Palantir include Google and Oracle. Today these companies are more openly collaborating with the military-intelligence agencies that guided their development and/or provided early funding, as they are used to provide the data needed to fuel the newly announced war on domestic terror and its accompanying algorithms.

It is hardly a coincidence that someone like Peter Thiel, who built Palantir with the CIA and helped ensure Facebook’s rise, is also heavily involved in Big Data AI-driven “predictive policing” approaches to surveillance and law enforcement, both through Palantir and through his other investments. TIA, LifeLog, and related government and private programs and institutions launched after 9/11, were always intended to be used against the American public in a war against dissent. This was noted by their critics in 2003-4 and by those who have examined the origins of the “homeland security” pivot in the US and its connection to past CIA “counterterror” programs in Vietnam and Latin America.

Ultimately, the illusion of Facebook and related companies as being independent of the US national-security state has prevented a recognition of the reality of social media platforms and their long-intended, yet covert uses, which we are beginning to see move into the open following the events of January 6. Now, with billions of people conditioned to use Facebook and social media as part of their daily lives, the question becomes: If that illusion were to be irrevocably shattered today, would it make a difference to Facebook’s users? Or has the populace become so conditioned to surrendering their private data in exchange for dopamine-fueled social-validation loops that it no longer matters who ends up holding that data?


Part 2 of this series on Facebook will explore how the social media platform has grown into a behemoth that is much more extensive than what LifeLog’s program managers had originally envisioned. In concert with military contractors and former heads of DARPA, Facebook has spent the last several years doing two key things: (1) preparing to play a much larger role in surveillance and data mining than it currently does; and (2) advancing the development of a “humanized” AI, a major objective of LifeLog.

Whitney Webb has been a professional writer, researcher and journalist since 2016. She has written for several websites and, from 2017 to 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for Mint Press News. She currently writes for The Last American Vagabond.

April 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

A Damned Murder Inc: Kennedy’s Battle Against the Leviathan

By Cynthia Chung | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 2, 2021

As discussed in part two of this series, the war in Vietnam did not start on its official date, November 1st, 1955, but rather 1945 when American clandestine operations were launched in Vietnam to “prepare the ground”.

  1. Fletcher Prouty, who served as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Kennedy and was a former Col. in the U.S. Air Force, goes over in his book “The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy,” how the CIA was used to instigate psy-ops and paramilitary (terrorist) activities in Vietnam to create the pretext required for an open declaration of war and for the entry of the U.S. military into a twenty-year-long meat grinder.

This was a strategy reserved not just for Vietnam, but had become the general U.S. foreign policy in all regions that were considered threats to the Cold War Grand Strategy, as seen under the directorship of the Dulles brothers (See Part 1 and Part 2 of this series).

Any country that was observed to hold views that were not aligned with U.S. foreign policy could not simply be invaded in most scenarios, but rather, the ground would need to be prepared to create the justification for a direct military invasion.

This is one of the roles of the CIA which abides by the motto “fake it till you make it.

Don’t have an actual ‘enemy’ to fight and justify your meddling into another country’s affairs? Not a problem. Just split your paramilitary team into “good guys” and “bad guys” and have them pretend fight. Go village to village repeating this action-drama and you will see how quickly the word will spread that there are “dangerous extremists” in the area that exist in “great numbers.”

Prouty described this paramilitary activity, which is called “Fun and Games,” and how this tactic was also used in the Philippines, resulting in the election of Ramon Magsaysay who was declared a hero against a non-existing enemy. In fact, the Filipino elite units that were trained by the CIA during this period were then brought into Vietnam to enact the very same tactic.

Prouty writes:

“I have been to such training programs at U.S. military bases where identical tactics are taught to Americans as well as foreigners. It is all the same… these are the same tactics that were exploited by CIA superagent Edward G. Lansdale [the man in charge of the CIA Saigon Military Mission] and his men in the Philippines and Indochina.

This is an example of the intelligence service’s ‘Fun and Games.’ Actually, it is as old as history; but lately it has been refined, out of necessity, into a major tool of clandestine warfare.

Lest anyone think that this is an isolated case, be assured that it was not. Such ‘mock battles’ and ‘mock attacks on native villages’ were staged countless times in Indochina for the benefit of, or the operation of, visiting dignitaries, such as John McCone when he first visited Vietnam as the Kennedy appointed director of central intelligence [after Kennedy fired Allen Dulles].”

What Prouty is stating here, is that the mock battles that occurred for these dignitaries were CIA trained agents “play-acting” as the Vietcong… to make it appear that the Vietcong were not only numerous but extremely hostile.

If even dignitaries can be fooled by such things unfolding before their own eyes, is it really a wonder that a western audience watching or reading about these affairs going on in the world through its mainstream media interpreter could possibly differentiate between “reality” vs a “staged reality”?

Not only were the lines between military and paramilitary operations becoming blurred, but as Prouty states in his book, the highest ranking officers who were operating and overseeing the Vietnam situation were all CIA operatives, not only within the U.S. military but including the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge.

Prouty writes:

U.S. Ambassador Lodge – had since 1945 been one of the most important agents of the OSS and later the CIA in the Far East. His orders came from that agency.

Prouty goes further to state in his book that Lodge was brought into the role as Ambassador on August 26th, 1963 specifically to remove Ngo Dinh Diem President of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), who was seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict at that point.

Ngo Dinh Diem was killed two months after Lodge’s arrival in Vietnam, on November 1st, 1963. Twenty one days later John F. Kennedy who was in the process of pulling out American troops from Vietnam, was assassinated. The Vietnam War continued for 12 years more, with the Americans having nothing to show for it. And in 1976, the city of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, was renamed Ho Chi Minh city.

A “Legacy of Ashes”

The militarization of government began to return power to the corporate elite, as captains of industry and finance moved into key government posts. The Eisenhower presidency would see Washington taken over by business executives, Wall Street lawyers, and investment bankers—and by a closely aligned warrior caste that had emerged into public prominence during World War II.

Eisenhower wished to establish U.S. supremacy while avoiding another large-scale shooting war as well as the imperial burdens that had bankrupted Great Britain (to which the U.S. now did its bidding under NSC-75). By leveraging the U.S. military’s near monopoly on nuclear firepower, the president hoped to make war an unthinkable proposition for all American adversaries.

The problem with Eisenhower’s strategy was that by keeping Washington in a constant state of high alert, he empowered the most militant voices in his administration. Eisenhower had made the grave error of choosing Foster Dulles as one of his close if not closest advisers, and thus whether he liked it or not, Allen Dulles – I doubt Eisenhower ever had a free moment from the poisoned honey that was constantly being dripped into his ear.

The line between CIA and military became increasingly blurred, as military officers were assigned to intelligence agency missions, and then sent back to their military posts as “ardent disciples of Allen Dulles,” in the words of Prouty, who served as a liaison officer between the Pentagon and the CIA between 1955 and 1963.

Approaching the end of his presidency, in May 1960, President Eisenhower had planned to culminate a “Crusade for Peace” with the ultimate summit conference with USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Paris. It was Eisenhower’s clear attempt to finally push forward an initiative that was his own and which did not receive its “blessing” by Foster. If Eisenhower were to succeed in this, it would move to dissolve the Cold War Grand Strategy and remove the justification for a military industrial complex.

In preparation for the summit, the White House had directed all overflight activity over communist territory to cease until further notice. Yet on May 1st, 1960, a high flying U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers left Pakistan on a straight-line overflight of the Soviet Union en route to Bodo, Norway, contrary to the Eisenhower orders.

The U-2 crash landed in Sverdlovsk, Russia. Amongst the possessions found in the plane, were of all things, identification of Powers being a CIA agent, something highly suspect for an intelligence officer to be carrying during a supposed covert mission.

The incident was enough to cancel the peace summit, and the “Crusade for Peace” was bludgeoned in its cradle.

Rumours abounded quickly thereafter that it was the Soviets who shot down the plane, however, it was Allen Dulles himself, who gave testimony before a closed-door session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U-2 spy plane had not been shot down but had descended because of “engine trouble.” (1) This important statement by Dulles was largely ignored by the press.

Later, Eisenhower confirmed in his memoirs that the spy plane had not been shot down by the Soviets and had indeed lost engine power and crash-landed in Russia.

Prouty suspected that the “engine failure” may have been induced by a pre-planned shortage of auxiliary hydrogen fuel and that Powers’ identification items were likely planted in his parachute pack. With only a certain amount of fuel and a straight line trajectory, it would have been easy to calculate exactly where Powers would be forced to make a landing.

Prouty suspected that the CIA had intentionally provoked the incident in order to ruin the peace conference and ensure the continued reign of Dulles dogmatism.

Interestingly, the man who was in charge of the Cuban exile program, Richard Bissell (deputy director of plans for the CIA), was the same man who ran the U-2 program and who, according to Prouty ostensibly sent the Powers flight over the Soviet Union on May 1st, 1960.

Richard Bissell, who was most certainly acting upon the orders of Dulles, was among the three (Allen Dulles, Director of the CIA and Charles Cabell, Deputy Director of the CIA) who were fired by Kennedy as a result of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, or more aptly put for their act of treason.

On Jan. 5th, 1961, during a meeting of the National Security Council, a frustrated and worn down President Eisenhower, put on public record just weeks before Kennedy was to assume office, that the CIA under Dulles, had robbed him of his place in history as a peacemaker and left nothing but “a legacy of ashes for his successor.”

All Eisenhower had left of his own was his farewell address, which he made on Jan. 17th, 1961, where he famously warned the American people of what had been festering during his eight-year presidential term:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex… The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

A Phoenix Rising

Eisenhower may have left a legacy of ashes for his predecessor, but out of those ashes would emerge a force that would come to directly challenge the rule of the “power elite”. (2)

In April 1954, Kennedy stood up on the Senate floor to challenge the Eisenhower administration’s support for the doomed French imperial war in Vietnam, foreseeing that this would not be a short-lived war. (3)

In July 1957, Kennedy once more took a strong stand against French colonialism, this time France’s bloody war against Algeria’s independence movement, which again found the Eisenhower administration on the wrong side of history. Rising on the Senate floor, two days before America’s own Independence Day, Kennedy declared:

“The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile – it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism. Thus, the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.” (4)

In September 1960, the annual United Nations General Assembly was being held in New York. Castro and a fifty member delegation were among the attendees and had made a splash in the headlines when he decided to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem after the midtown Shelburne Hotel demanded a $20,000 security deposit. He made an even bigger splash in the headlines when he made a speech at this hotel, discussing the issue of equality in the United States while in Harlem, one of the poorest boroughs in the country.

Kennedy would visit this very same hotel a short while later, and also made a speech:

“Behind the fact of Castro coming to this hotel, [and] Khrushchev… there is another great traveler in the world, and that is the travel of a world revolution, a world in turmoil… We should be glad [that Castro and Khrushchev] came to the United States. We should not fear the twentieth century, for the worldwide revolution which we see all around us is part of the original American Revolution.” (5)

What did Kennedy mean by this? The American Revolution was fought for freedom, freedom from the rule of monarchy and imperialism in favour of national sovereignty. What Kennedy was stating, was that this was the very oppression that the rest of the world wished to shake the yoke off, and that the United States had an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for the independence of all nations.

On June 30th, 1960, marking the independence of the Republic of Congo from the colonial rule of Belgium, Patrice Lumumba, the first Congolese Prime Minister gave a speech that has become famous for its outspoken criticism of colonialism. Lumumba spoke of his people’s struggle against “the humiliating bondage that was forced upon us… [years that were] filled with tears, fire and blood,” and concluded vowing “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.”

Shortly after, Lumumba also made clear, “We want no part of the Cold War… We want Africa to remain African with a policy of neutralism.” (6)

As a result, Lumumba was labeled a communist for his refusal to be a Cold War satellite for the western sphere. Rather, Lumumba was part of the Pan-African movement that was led by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah (who later Kennedy would also work with), which sought national sovereignty and an end to colonialism in Africa.

Lumumba “would remain a grave danger,” Dulles said at an NSC meeting on September 21, 1960, “as long as he was not yet disposed of.” (7) Three days later, Dulles made it clear that he wanted Lumumba permanently removed, cabling the CIA’s Leopoldville station, “We wish give [sic] every possible support in eliminating Lumumba from any possibility resuming governmental position.” (8)

Lumumba was assassinated on Jan. 17th, 1961, just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, during the fog of the transition period between presidents, when the CIA is most free to tie its loose ends, confident that they will not be reprimanded by a new administration that wants to avoid scandal on its first days in office.

Kennedy, who clearly meant to put a stop to the Murder Inc. that Dulles had created and was running, would declare to the world in his inaugural address on Jan. 20th, 1961, “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”

And so Kennedy’s battle with the Leviathan had begun.

La Resistance

Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, Kennedy was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

The Bay of Pigs set-up would occur three months later. Prouty compares the Bay of Pigs incident to that of the Crusade for Peace, both events were orchestrated by the CIA to ruin the U.S. president’s ability to form a peaceful dialogue with Khrushchev and decrease Cold War tensions. Both presidents’ took onus for the events respectively, despite the responsibility resting with the CIA. However, Eisenhower and Kennedy understood, if they did not take onus, it would be a public declaration that they did not have any control over their government agencies and military.

Further, the Bay of Pigs operation was in fact meant to fail. It was meant to stir up a public outcry for a direct military invasion of Cuba. On public record is a meeting (or more aptly described as an intervention) with CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and Navy Chief Admiral Burke basically trying to strong arm President Kennedy into approving a direct military attack on Cuba. Admiral Burke had already taken the liberty of positioning two battalions of Marines on Navy destroyers off the coast of Cuba “anticipating that U.S. forces might be ordered into Cuba to salvage a botched invasion.” (9) (This incident is what inspired the Frankenheimer movie “Seven Days in May.”)

Kennedy stood his ground.

“They were sure I’d give in to them,” Kennedy later told Special Assistant to the President Dave Powers. “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well they had me figured all wrong.” (10)

Incredibly, not only did the young president stand his ground against the Washington war hawks just three months into his presidential term, but he also launched the Cuba Study Group which found the CIA to be responsible for the fiasco, leading to the humiliating forced resignation of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell. (For more on this refer to my report.)

Unfortunately, it would not be that easy to dethrone Dulles, who continued to act as head of the CIA, and key members of the intelligence community such as Helms and Angleton regularly bypassed McCone and briefed Dulles directly. (11) But Kennedy was also serious about seeing it all the way through, and vowed to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

* * *

There is another rather significant incident that had occurred just days after the Bay of Pigs, and which has largely been overshadowed by the Cuban fiasco.

From April 21-26th, 1961, the Algiers putsch or Generals’ putsch, was a failed coup d’état intended to force President de Gaulle (1959-1969) not to abandon the colonial French Algeria. The organisers of the putsch were opposed to the secret negotiations that French Prime Minister Michel Debré had started with the anti-colonial National Liberation Front (FLN).

On January 26th, 1961, just three months before the attempted coup d’état, Dulles sent a report to Kennedy on the French situation that seemed to be hinting that de Gaulle would no longer be around, “A pre-revolutionary atmosphere reigns in France… The Army and the Air Force are staunchly opposed to de Gaulle…At least 80 percent of the officers are violently against him. They haven’t forgotten that in 1958, he had given his word of honor that he would never abandon Algeria. He is now reneging on his promise, and they hate him for that. de Gaulle surely won’t last if he tries to let go of Algeria. Everything will probably be over for him by the end of the year—he will be either deposed or assassinated.” (12)

The attempted coup was led by Maurice Challe, whom de Gaulle had reason to conclude was working with the support of U.S. intelligence, and Élysée officials began spreading this word to the press, which reported the CIA as a “reactionary state-within-a-state” that operated outside of Kennedy’s control. (13)

Shortly before Challe’s resignation from the French military, he had served as NATO commander in chief and had developed close relations with a number of high-ranking U.S. officers stationed in the military alliance’s Fontainebleau headquarters. (14)

In August 1962 the OAS (Secret Army Organization) made an assassination attempt against de Gaulle, believing he had betrayed France by giving up Algeria to Algerian nationalists. This would be the most notorious assassination attempt on de Gaulle (who would remarkably survive over thirty assassination attempts while President of France) when a dozen OAS snipers opened fire on the president’s car, which managed to escape the ambush despite all four tires being shot out.

After the failed coup d’état, de Gaulle launched a purge of his security forces and ousted General Paul Grossin, the chief of SDECE (the French secret service). Grossin was closely aligned with the CIA, and had told Frank Wisner over lunch that the return of de Gaulle to power was equivalent to the Communists taking over in Paris. (15)

In 1967, after a five-year enquête by the French Intelligence Bureau, it released its findings concerning the 1962 assassination attempt on de Gaulle. The report found that the 1962 assassination plot could be traced back to the NATO Brussels headquarters, and the remnants of the old Nazi intelligence apparatus. The report also found that Permindex had transferred $200,000 into an OAS bank account to finance the project.

As a result of the de Gaulle exposé, Permindex was forced to shut down its public operations in Western Europe and relocated its headquarters from Bern, Switzerland to Johannesburg, South Africa, it also had/has a base in Montreal, Canada where its founder Maj. Gen. Louis M. Bloomfield (former OSS) proudly had his name amongst its board members until the damning de Gaulle report. The relevance of this to Kennedy will be discussed shortly.

As a result of the SDECE’s ongoing investigation, de Gaulle made a vehement denunciation of the Anglo-American violation of the Atlantic Charter, followed by France’s withdrawal from the NATO military command in 1966. France would not return to NATO until April 2009 at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit.

In addition to all of this, on Jan. 14th, 1963, de Gaulle declared at a press conference that he had vetoed British entry into the Common Market. This would be the first move towards France and West Germany’s formation of the European Monetary System, which excluded Great Britain, likely due to its imperialist tendencies and its infamous sin City of London.

Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson telegrammed West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer directly, appealing to him to try to persuade de Gaulle to back track on the veto, stating “if anyone can affect Gen. de Gaulle’s decision, you are surely that person.”

Little did Acheson know that Adenauer was just days away from singing the Franco-German Treaty of Jan 22nd, 1963 (also known as the ÉlyséeTreaty), which had enormous implications. Franco-German relations, which had long been dominated by centuries of rivalry, had now agreed that their fates were aligned. (This close relationship was continued to a climactic point in the late 1970s, with the formation of the EMS, and France and West Germany’s willingness in 1977 to work with OPEC countries trading oil for nuclear technology, which was sabotaged by the U.S.-Britain alliance. For more on this refer to my paper.)

The Élysée Treaty was a clear denunciation of the Anglo-American forceful overseeing that had overtaken Western Europe since the end of WWII.

On June 28th, 1961, Kennedy wrote NSAM #55. This document changed the responsibility of defense during the Cold War from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would have (if seen through) drastically changed the course of the war in Vietnam. It would also have effectively removed the CIA from Cold War operations and limited the CIA to its sole lawful responsibility, the coordination of intelligence.

The same year that de Gaulle and Adenauer were forming a pact to exclude Britain from the Commons Market, Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 on June 4, 1963, effectively bypassing the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on controlling U.S. currency for the first time since the private central bank was created in 1913. This executive order authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue silver backed notes and “to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury”.

By Oct 11th, 1963, NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy (16), was released and outlined a policy decision “to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963” and further stated that “It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965.” The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY ’65.

With the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, likely ordained by the CIA, on Nov. 2nd, 1963 and Kennedy just a few weeks later on Nov. 22nd, 1963, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 on Nov. 26th, 1963 to begin the reversal of Kennedy’s policy under #263. And on March 17th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy’s death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans, and 30 years if you count American covert action in Vietnam.

The Last Days of Kennedy

By Germany supporting de Gaulle’s exposure of the international assassination ring, his adamant opposition to western imperialism and the role of NATO, and with a young Kennedy building his own resistance against the Federal Reserve and the imperialist war of Vietnam, it was clear that the power elite were in big trouble.

There is a lot of spurious effort to try to ridicule anyone who challenges the Warren Commission’s official report as nothing but fringe conspiracy theory. And that we should not find it highly suspect that Allen Dulles, of all people, was a member of this commission. The reader should keep in mind that much of this frothing opposition stems from the very agency that perpetrated crime after crime on the American people, as well as abroad. When has the CIA ever admitted guilt, unless caught red-handed? Even after the Church committee hearings, when the CIA was found guilty of planning out foreign assassinations, they claimed that they had failed in every single plot or that someone had beaten them to the punch.

The American people need to realise that the CIA is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men. It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law. Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.”

Interestingly, on Dec. 22nd, 1963, just one month after Kennedy’s assassination, Harry Truman published a scathing critique of the CIA in The Washington Post, even going so far as to state “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position [as a] free and open society, and I feel that we need to correct it.” (17)

The timing of this is everything.

As Prouty has stated, anyone with a little bit of free time during an afternoon could discover for themselves that the Warren Commission was an embarrassingly incompetent hodge-podge, that conducted itself as if it were a done deal that Oswald killed Kennedy and was disinterested in hearing anything contrary to that narrative.

Not only did the record of Oswald’s interrogation at the Dallas Police Department go up in smoke, likely because he was making the inconvenient claim that he was a “patsy,” but his nitrate test which proved that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov. 22nd, 1963, was kept secret for 10 months and was only revealed in the final report, (18) which inexplicably did not change the report’s conclusion that Oswald shot Kennedy.

During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine (whose founder Henry Luce was known to work closely with the CIA (19)). This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from  behind.

When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman.

This was not the only piece of evidence to be tampered with, and includes Kennedy’s autopsy reports.

There is also the matter of the original autopsy papers being destroyed by the chief autopsy physician, James Humes, to which he even testified to during the Warren Commission, apparently nobody bothered to ask why…

In addition, Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney at the time who was charging Clay Shaw as a member of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, besides uncovering his ties to David Ferrie who was found dead in his apartment days before he was scheduled to testify, also made a case that the New Orleans International Trade Mart (to which Clay Shaw was director), the U.S. subsidiary of Permindex, was linked to Kennedy’s murder.

Garrison did a remarkable job with the odds he was up against, and for the number of witnesses that turned up dead before the trial…

This Permindex link would not look so damning if we did not have the French intelligence SDECE report, but we do. And recall, in that report Permindex was caught transferring $200,000 directly to the bankroll of the OAS which attempted the 1962 assassination on de Gaulle.

Thus, Permindex’s implication in an international assassination ring is not up for debate. In addition, the CIA was found heavily involved in these assassination attempts against de Gaulle, thus we should not simply dismiss the possibility that Permindex was indeed a CIA front for an international hit crew.

In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in Nov. 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. Souetre was arrested in Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and expelled to Mexico. (20)

Col. Clay Shaw was an OSS officer during WWII, which provides a direct link to his knowing Allen Dulles, and thus we come around full circle.

After returning from Kennedy’s Nov. 24th funeral in Washington, de Gaulle and his information minister Alain Peyrefitte had a candid discussion that was recorded in Peyrefitte’s memoire “C’était de Gaulle,” the great General was quoted saying:

““What happened to Kennedy is what nearly happened to me… His story is the same as mine. … It looks like a cowboy story, but it’s only an OAS [Secret Army Organization] story. The security forces were in cahoots with the extremists.

…Security forces are all the same when they do this kind of dirty work. As soon as they succeed in wiping out the false assassin, they declare the justice system no longer need be concerned, that no further public action was needed now that the guilty perpetrator was dead. Better to assassinate an innocent man than to let a civil war break out. Better an injustice than disorder.

America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order to not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order to not ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.”

April 3, 2021 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Papers reveal US-backed Brazil’s role in installing and supporting Pinochet in Chile

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | April 1, 2021

Washington’s involvement in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile in September 1973 is by this point well known. The pivotal role played by Brazil has not been as clear until now.

On the anniversary of the 1964 US-backed coup that led to Brazilian President Joao Goulart being replaced by a military junta, the National Security Archive has published a trove of previously classified documents showing the role that junta later played in subverting democracy in Chile, and its subsequent support of General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal repression of political opponents.

The file trail begins September 22, 1970, 18 days after Salvador Allende of the Popular Unity alliance narrowly won the Chilean presidency. A document, prepared for General Emilio Garrastazu Medici – then the third president of Brazil’s military dictatorship – summarizes a recent meeting between the US ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, and his Brazilian counterpart.

Following Allende’s victory, Korry, a veteran diplomat during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, vowed that “not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile” under the socialist’s rule, and if and when he took office in November that year, the US would “do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

Accordingly, the summary makes clear US plans to undermine Allende were well underway by the time the two ambassadors met.

“Following direct orders from the White House,” Korry was said to be “insinuating to all relevant sectors” that Chile would have “difficulties” – including a shortage of foreign credit and military aid – should the country’s Congress confirm Allende as leader. He also noted the US Embassy was distributing written material warning of the dangers of an Allende government to Chilean military commanders, the very elements that would brutally take power three years later.

Korry’s message was clearly received loud and clear, for in March the next year – five months after Allende’s confirmation – Chilean ambassador to Brasilia Raul Rettig submitted a troubling report to his foreign ministry, titled ‘Brazilian Army possibly conducting studies on guerrillas being introduced into Chile’.

Rettig – who, two decades later, chaired the country’s first ‘truth commission’, which investigated human rights abuses during Pinochet’s rule – had heard from multiple sources that the Brazilian regime was extensively evaluating how to instigate violent insurrection in Chile and overthrow the Allende government via an “armed movement.”

Plans were well developed already, with the military having established a dedicated ‘war room’, with maps and models of the Andean mountain range along the Chilean border, to plan infiltration operations. A number of Brazilian secret agents had also reportedly “entered the country as tourists, with the intention of gathering more background on possible regions where a guerrilla movement might operate,” Rettig’s report revealed.

Brasilia was highly confident of success. In a November 1971 meeting at the White House, President Medici assured Richard Nixon that Allende “would be overthrown for very much the same reasons that Goulart had been,” and Chile’s military was up to the task. He added that Brazil had been “exchanging many officers with the Chileans, and made clear that Brazil was working towards this end.”

In return, the US president pledged “to be helpful in this area,” such as providing “discreet aid,” on the basis that “we must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try, where possible, to reverse these trends.” A contemporary CIA intelligence memorandum noted that, to Brazilian military top brass, Washington “obviously” wanted Brasilia to “do the dirty work” in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

By July the next year, Brazil had established back-channel communications with Chilean army officers, covertly flying them into the country to meet with high-ranking authorities and begin plotting the downfall of Allende. An August 1973 Brazilian intelligence report details a summit at an airbase in Santiago, at which high-level Chilean military officials were given extensive briefings on Brazil’s own military coup nine years earlier, in the process learning “useful” lessons for their own impending action.

So, it was that, on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military stormed the presidential palace and took power by force. Ground troops were assisted by British-made Hawker Hunter aircraft, which bombed the building and suppressed rooftop snipers. Allende also died in the fighting, and while investigators have ruled it was suicide, some still question that conclusion, arguing that he was in fact murdered.

In the process, Chile – hitherto an aberrant beacon of democracy and stability in a region typified by dictatorships – became a military junta, led by General Pinochet. Death squads immediately set about rounding up thousands of known or suspected Chilean leftists in the country, imprisoning up to 40,000 people in the country’s National Stadium.

The new files make it clear that Brazil moved very quickly to legitimize the new regime, racing to become the first country to officially recognize Pinochet’s despotism, and drafting speeches for the government’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly to palliate the bloodshed unfolding in Santiago.

Plainclothes Brazilian intelligence agents also secretly assisted Chilean officials in conducting interrogations, torture, and executions at the National Stadium. Among those detained were US citizens, and Brazilians residing in Chile, at least three of whom were of such interest to Brasilia that officials were attempting to arrange their return home.

Comparable hands-on support persisted for many years thereafter. In August 1974, Colonel Manuel Contreras, chief of Chile’s Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), requested official passports for 12 officers for a trip to Sao Paulo, in order that they might receive training from their Brazilian counterparts.

Humberto Gordon, who later headed DINA, is named among the officers, as are individuals later involved in the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington DC, which was directly ordered by Pinochet.

In the wake of the coup, Letelier – a Chilean economist, politician, and diplomat during Allende’s presidency – was held for 12 months in several concentration camps, along the way being severely tortured, being released only due to international diplomatic pressure. He fled the country and took refuge in the US, becoming Pinochet’s most prominent overseas critic.

On September 21, 1976, Letelier was killed via car bomb – much of his lower torso was blown away and his legs severed. Documents previously unearthed by the National Security Archive indicate that US officials had foreknowledge of the assassination, but transmission of a State Department communiqué warning the Chilean government against carrying it out was blocked by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. … Full article

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Leave the Commies Alone

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | March 25, 2021

I’m not sure what good it did for the Cold War to end, given that the U.S. government has done everything it could since then to gin up hostilities, tension, and conflict with the communist and former communist world.

When Russia expressed a desire to have friendly relations at the start of the Trump administration, the Pentagon and the CIA went ballistic over that “attack” on their financial well-being. That’s when the big brouhaha over Trump supposedly being a covert Russian agent got launched, which played a major role in derailing his presidency.

Don’t forget also how NATO, under U.S. orders, began gobbling up former Warsaw Pact countries with the ultimate aim of absorbing Ukraine, which would have put U.S. nuclear missiles on Russia’s border and also would have put Crimea under the control of the U.S. military-intelligence establishment.

When China expressed a desire to have friendly relations with the U.S., President Trump launched his vicious trade war against the country, with the aim of preventing China from becoming more prosperous and more powerful. That’s what empires have done throughout history — launch preemptive strikes against rising nations, which are viewed as “adversaries,” “rivals,” “opponents,” “enemies,”or some other such imperialist nonsense.

And then there is North Korea, where the U.S. government intervened in the 1950s as part of its much-vaunted Cold War racket, in which the Pentagon and the CIA convinced Americans that the Reds were coming to get us. If the U.S. didn’t sacrifice tens of thousands of American men in the Korean civil war, U.S. officials maintained, it wouldn’t be long before the commies were running America’s public schools and our Interstate Highway System.

Today, the mainstream media is announcing that North Korea is “challenging” the Biden administration with the firing of what appear to be ballistic missiles. Question: Why aren’t the military exercises that the Pentagon conducts with South Korea considered to be “challenging” North Korea? Isn’t it possible that North Korea is simply responding to the “challenge” that the U.S. is posing to North Korea with its provocative military exercises?

Moreover, what about those cruel and brutal sanctions that U.S. officials continue to enforce against North Korea? They continue to target the North Korean people with death and economic impoverishment. Why aren’t those economic sanctions considered to be “challenging” North Korea? After all, given that their aim is to bring death to innocent people in the hope of achieving a political goal, how are they different from acts of terrorism?

It is the U.S. government — and specifically the U.S. national-security establishment — that is at the heart of the never-ending crisis in Korea, just as it is at the heart of the crises with China and Russia. The U.S. national-security establishment has never wanted to let go of its Cold War communist enemies, which enabled the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA to wallow in ever-increasing budgets, powers, and influence.

Crisis is the name of the game in the national-security state racket. The more crises, the better. If the communists won’t fit the Bill, there is always the war on terrorism … or Muslims … or Syria … or Venezuela … or whatever.

There is one reason for North Korea possessing nuclear weapons — to deter U.S. attacks on North Korea or, in the event the Korean War resumes, to defend against U.S. attacks on North Korea. Why should anyone be surprised when a Third World country wants to acquire nuclear weapons to defend itself from the Pentagon and the CIA and their policy of violent regime change?

Just ask the Iraqi people about that. They never attacked the United States. Nonetheless, the Pentagon attacked them, viciously, killing, torturing, and destroying hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It was nothing less than a “war of aggression,” a type of war declared a war crime by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.

There is something important to note about the U.S. war on Iraq: That Third World country didn’t have nuclear weapons. U.S. officials had nothing to fear from Iraq defending itself against the U.S. war of aggression.

Or ask the Cubans, another Cold War boogieman that U.S. officials claimed for 45 years posed a grave threat to “national security.” That was how the CIA justified its state-sponsored murder schemes against Cuban officials. It’s also how they justified an economic embargo aimed at killing innocent Cuban people as a way to achieve regime change on the island. It’s also what the Pentagon used as a justification to present its fraudulent Operation Northwoods plan to President Kennedy in the hopes that he would use it as an excuse to invade Cuba.

When Cuba brought in Soviet nuclear missiles, Kennedy agreed that there would be no invasion of the island in return for a Soviet withdrawal of the missiles. How could North Korea and every other Third World nation not see that?

It’s probably worth mentioning that although the Cold War ended decades ago, the U.S. government continues to target the Cuban populace with its vicious and brutal economic embargo. Hey, don’t forget: those Cuban Reds are only 90 miles away from American shores!

There is something else to note about U.S. troops in Korea. The war they are fighting is illegal under our form of government, given that Congress has never declared war on North Korea, as our Constitution requires. Don’t the troops take an oath to support and defend the Constitution?

The only thing that surprises me in this entire national-security state racket is that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA aren’t stirring up trouble in Vietnam. Hey, those dominoes could still start falling any day now!

March 26, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Joe Biden Enabling Russiagate 2?

His national security team provides the script

By Philip Giraldi | Unz Review | March 23, 2021

The old expression that “lightning never strikes the same place twice” is frequently used in the aftermath of a truly awful experience, meaning that the odds are that something exactly like that will never occur again. Unfortunately, however, we Americans will now have to endure lightning striking twice due to the emergence of President Joe Biden and whoever is telling him what to say. I am referring specifically to Russiagate, which is possibly the single most discredited bit of politically motivated chicanery that this country has seen in the past twenty years. Joe is relying on the “evidence” provided by a conveniently timed new declassified “Intelligence Community Assessment” entitled “Foreign Threats to the 2020 US Federal Election.” The document was dated March 10th but released by Director Avril Haines of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) on March 16th.

The new report consists of eleven pages of text and charts. It specifically discounts any direct evidence to alter votes electronically, but asserts that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed his spies and proxies to turn the US election in favor of Donald Trump. Based in part on the report, Joe Biden subsequently labeled Putin a “killer” and vowed that both Russia and its president would “pay a price” which we will be “seeing shortly” for their claimed meddling in American politics. The Bidenesque grotesque overreach has led to the Kremlin recalling its ambassador in Washington home for “consultations” and will at a minimum put US forces in the Middle East at risk.

Does it sound more than a bit like the Democratic Party is still looking for revenge for 2016? You bet, and the name calling that took place during the 2020 campaign made it predictable that they would turn on Russia as soon as an opportunity presented itself, if only because it is always convenient to have a foreign enemy to blame one’s own failings on. And there is also payoff personally for Joe and his sons in the report, which strongly suggests that the claims and evidence of Biden family corruption were actually just disinformation put out by the Kremlin’s spy agencies.

Anyone who reads the report and tries to assess its credibility from the viewpoint of the evidence that it presents to make its case will notice that there is very little solid to back up the conclusions, which themselves are weasel worded. The report in fact concludes with the disclaimer “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” There is, to be sure, no evidence that even a single vote was changed or that anyone succeeded in influencing any persons or policies that emerged from the election. And, as a former CIA field officer, I found that whoever drafted the final report in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) really doesn’t have a clue regarding how and why nations spy on each other, much less still how one runs what it is referred to as “covert action.”

The most important key judgement of the report, number two, reads as follows: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the US.”

Every foreign government with an external intelligence capability, including that of the United States, does exactly what Russia is being accused of. If there is another country that is either seen as an adversary or even a threat, the intelligence agencies will attempt to influence opinion of the public and elites in that country to avoid their doing things that do damage to one’s own interests. That is accomplished through placements in the media and direct contact with influential politicians in the country being targeted. As the Russians correctly saw a Democratic victory as detrimental to their interests, it is inevitably that they should use their own media resources to surface alternative views that might help the other candidate, in this case Donald Trump.

Lying is, after all, a traditional role for intelligence services. The Romans had a spy service run out of the imperial palace that provided military and political intelligence all across their vast empire. It included what might be called deception operations carried out to confuse enemies about intentions and capabilities. In more recent centuries, the British became masters of both spying and deception. Major influencing intelligence operations run against the United States can be credited with having led to American involvement in both world wars.

Currently, the world’s preeminent spy agency in terms of manpower, resources and global reach is undoubtedly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That is not to suggest that it is necessarily the best intelligence agency, as smaller, more nimble, focused organizations can outperform the spies from the large countries in the niche areas that they consider important.

America’s federal government’s various intelligence agencies are in fact into deception big time, so much so that they have a number of euphemisms that permit them to lie about lying. The CIA regards spreading false information as part of its “covert action” activity while the military prefers variations on “perception management.” Both occasionally refer to “influence” or “influencing” operations. Either way, it is in reality a form of “information warfare” in which words and ideas are used to shape a perspective favorable to the country engaging in the practice and damaging to one’s adversaries.

The United States Department of Defense defines “perception management” as “Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.” In other words, perception management is a multi-tasked mechanism designed to get an adversary to think or believe what one wishes, no matter what the truth actually is.

The CIA has historically disseminated disinformation primarily through press placements, using agents and collaborators worldwide to circulate stories that were presumed to be supportive of presumed U.S. interests. When possible, local politicians or journalists might be recruited and paid to support the effort, but the ODNI report does not accuse the Russians of doing that. In fact, given the U.S. disinformation efforts vis-à-vis Venezuela, Iran, China and regarding Russia itself, it would be wise to consider that the largest portion of disinformation circulating on the internet is produced by the United States government itself. And when all of that doesn’t work, the U.S. is more than willing to directly interfere in foreign elections. In fact, it has played an active role in elections worldwide, up and including regime change in places like Ukraine, at least 81 times according to its own publicly available data.

The ODNI report also mentions other countries that “interfered” or attempted to do so in 2020, naming Iran as a Biden supporter in Key Judgment Three: “We assess that Iran carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects— though without directly promoting his rivals— undermine public confidence in the electoral process and US institutions, and sow division and exacerbate societal tensions in the US.” China was let off this time around, with the assessment even conceding that there was no evidence that it had been involved in the election, but reports from Washington suggest that it will be sanctioned anyway, along with Iran and Russia as a consequence of being out of favor with the White House and Congress.

One suspects that in drafting up the report the neoconnish Avril Haines saw what she wanted to see because there is scant evidence to condemn the behavior of either Russia or Iran acting in their own interests without breaking into voting machines or suborning officials. Even the New York Times in its own reporting on the “Assessment” included a judgement taken directly from the document, that “Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect U.S. public perceptions” before admitting that “The declassified report did not explain how the intelligence community had reached its conclusions about Russian operations during the 2020 election. But the officials said they had high confidence in their conclusions about Mr. Putin’s involvement, suggesting that the intelligence agencies have developed new ways of gathering information after the extraction of one of their best Kremlin sources in 2017.” In other words, the Times is taking the assertions in the report as an act of faith as it has no idea what evidence actually supports the claims that are being made.

To be sure the release of the report was welcomed by the usual players in Congress, including Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who enthused that “The American people deserve to know the full truth when a foreign government seeks to interfere in our elections, and today’s release of the Intelligence Community’s Assessment is an important step.” Schiff predictably does not know what “interfere” means, for which there is no evidence, and he exhibits no curiosity about the report’s omission of the one country that does regularly interfere in American elections down to the local level. That country is, of course, Israel, which Noam Chomsky has referred to, observing that “Israeli intervention in U.S. elections ‘vastly overwhelms’ anything Russia has done.” It seems that Biden, Haines and Schiff all missed that little detail.

So here we go again. New president, new national security team, same old nonsense. Russiagate one more time around will not render the entire argument being made about a vast conspiracy to destroy democracy any more credible. Yeah, nations spy on each other and try to influence things their way but get over it. If the whole world is out to “get” the United States it just might be because the whole world has finally realized that Washington is neither exceptional nor a force for good. Leave everyone else alone and they will leave you alone. That’s a law of nature.

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 https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

March 23, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘Independent’ report claiming Uyghur genocide brought to you by sham university, neocon ideologues lobbying to ‘punish’ China

By AJIT SINGH · THE GRAYZONE · MARCH 17, 2021

Throughout March 2021, headlines in corporate media outlets from CNN to The Guardian blared about the release of the “first independent report” to authoritatively determine that the Chinese government has violated “each and every act” of the United Nations convention against genocide, and therefore “bears State responsibility for committing genocide against the Uyghurs.”

The report, published on March 8 by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, in collaboration with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, follows a last-minute accusation made in January by the outgoing Trump administration, along with similar declarations by the Dutch and Canadian Parliaments. It was published shortly after the release of a remarkably similar report on February 8 that was commissioned by the US government-backed World Uyghur Congress, and which alleged that there is a “credible case” against the Chinese government for genocide.

CNNThe GuardianAFP, and the CBC hailed the March 8 Newlines report as an “independent analysis” and a “landmark legal report” that involved “dozens of international experts.” Samantha Power, the Biden administration’s nominee to direct the US Agency for International Development (USAID), also promoted it: “This report shows how this [genocide] is precisely what China is doing with the Uighurs,” the notorious humanitarian interventionist stated.

The report’s authors have insisted that they are “impartial” and are “not advocating any course of action whatsoever.” But a closer look at the report and the institutions behind it reveals its authors’ claims of “independence” and “expertise” to be a blatant deception.

Indeed, the report’s principal author, Yonah Diamond, recently called on the Biden administration to unilaterally “confront,” and “punish” China for supposedly committing genocide, and expand sanctions against the country. Meanwhile, the think tanks behind the report have advocated fervently for the West to “combat” and sanction China, and have promoted US regime change policies targeting Syria, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia.

A majority of the report’s “expert” signatories are members of the Newlines Institute and the Wallenberg Centre. Others are members of the hawkish Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, former US State Department officials, and ardent supporters of US military interventionism. The report relies most substantially on the “expertise” of Adrian Zenz, the far-right evangelical ideologue, whose “scholarship” on China has been demonstrated to be deeply flawed, riddled with falsehoods and dishonest statistical manipulation.

The reliance on the voluminous but demonstrably fraudulent work of Zenz is not surprising, given that the report was financed by the Newlines Institute’s parent organization, the Fairfax University of America (FXUA). FXUA is a disgraced institution that state regulators moved to shut down in 2019 after finding that its “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, academic quality was “patently deficient,” and plagiarism was “rampant” and ignored.

Just days before the Newlines Institute published its “expert” report accusing China of genocide, an advisory board to the US Department of Education recommended terminating recognition of FXUA’s accreditor, placing its license in jeopardy.

“New” report regurgitates old, discredited “evidence”

The Newlines report presents no new material on the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Instead, it claims to have reviewed all of “the available evidence” and applied “international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.”

Rather than conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of “the available evidence,” the report restricted its survey to a narrow range of deeply flawed pseudo-scholarship along with reports by US government-backed lobbying fronts for the exiled Uyghur separatist movement. It was upon this faulty foundation that the report applies legal analysis related to the UN Genocide Convention.

Newlines’ report relies primarily on the dubious studies of Adrian Zenz, the US government propaganda outlet, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the US-funded separatist network, the World Uyghur Congress. These three sources comprise more than one-third of the references used to construct the factual basis of the document, with Zenz as the most heavily relied upon source – cited on more than 50 occasions.

Many of the remaining references cite the work of members of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group”, of which Zenz is a founding member and which is made up of a small group of academics who collaborate with him and support his conclusions.

As The Grayzone has reported, Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s government, deplores homosexuality and gender equality, and has taught exclusively in evangelical theological institutions. A careful review of Zenz’s research shows that his assertion of genocide is concocted through fraudulent statistical manipulation, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations. His widely-cited reports were not published in peer-reviewed journals overseen by academic institutions, but rather, by a DC-based CIA cut-out called the Jamestown Foundation and “The Journal of Political Risk,” a publication headed by former NATO and US national security state operatives.

As his academic malpractice comes to light, Zenz has faced increasing scrutiny and embarrassment, as evidenced by his threat to take legal action against his scholarly critics.

In order to shore up the report’s credibility, and to deflect from its essential reliance on Zenz’s reports, its authors have emphasized their supposed “independence” and “impartiality.”

“This [is] not an advocacy document, we’re not advocating any course of action whatsoever”, stated Azeem Ibrahim, Director of Special Initiatives at Newlines Institute. “There were no campaigners involved in this report, it was purely done by legal experts, area experts and China ethnic experts.”

However, just weeks before the publication of the report, its principal author, Yonah Diamond, penned a bellicose call for the Biden administration to eschew the UN (which Diamond deems to be “beholden to the Chinese government”) and unilaterally confront China. Following the Trump administration’s declaration that China was committing genocide in Xinjiang, Diamond argued that the US is legally obliged to “punish” China and that “the Biden administration must now take concrete action to that end together with U.S. allies”.

The report attempts to construct an appearance of broad expert consensus supporting its conclusions, including a list of 33 “independent expert” signatories. Unsurprisingly, this list consists of individuals pushing for a New Cold War and confrontation with China, and who support separatist efforts to transform the mineral-rich, geopolitically important region of Xinjiang into a NATO-oriented ethno-state:

Irwin Cotler and Helena Kennedy — co-chairs, along with Marco Rubio, of the hawkish Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Composed almost exclusively of white Western lawmakers, IPAC formed in 2020 in order to mount a “common defence” against the “rise of the People’s Republic of China.” Members of the World Uyghur Congress executive, Erkin Ekrem and Rahima Mahmut, sit on IPAC’s advisory board and secretariat; Adrian Zenz also sits on the advisory board.

David Scheffer, Beth von Schaack, and Gregory H. Stanton — Scheffer and Schaack are both former US State Department Ambassadors-at-Large, while Stanton is a former US State Department official.

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock — the former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Canadian UN Ambassador, respectively.

Adrian Zenz –– founding member of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group”

Rather than consult a wide range of authorities and academic experts, or subject its study to peer review, Newlines relied entirely on a narrowly focused community of like-minded ideologues. A majority of the signatories are members of the two think tanks behind the report, the Newlines Institute and the Wallenberg Centre. Far from “independent”, these organizations are deeply partisan, self-described “campaigners” that align closely with US and Western foreign policy goals, advocating for sanctions and intervention against China and other non-aligned nations across the Global South.

Newlines Institute: A collection of regime-change ideologues and “Shadow CIA” operatives

The supposedly independent report accusing China of genocide was published by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy based in Washington, DC and known formerly as the Center for Global Policy. Founded in 2019, the think tank’s stated aim is “to enhance US foreign policy” with a “specialization in Muslim states and societies.”

With extensive ties to the US regime-change establishment, the Newlines Institute is a reliable repository of anti-China material. For example, it has featured the ramblings of Robert Spalding, the former Senior Director for Strategy to President Trump and one of the architects of the Trump administration’s 2018 national security doctrine, which formally reoriented US foreign policy from a focus on the so-called “global war on terror” towards great power competition with China and Russia.

The leadership of Newlines Institute includes former US State Department officials, US military advisors, intelligence professionals who previously worked for the “shadow CIA” private spying firm, Stratfor, and a collection of interventionist ideologues. Its contributors represent a who’s who of Syria regime changers who cheerlead for US military interventionism while intimidating and bullying any prominent figure that dared present a critical perspective on the proxy war.

Hassan HassanDirector; Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newlines Magazine — Ardent supporter of US imperialism, including wars on IraqLibyaYemen and especially Syria. Along with Newlines contributor Michael Weiss, Hassan called for the US military to balkanize Syria, permanently occupy its oil-rich Jazira region and turn the country into “an American security protectorate.”

Azeem IbrahimDirector — Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Ibrahim is a co-author of the Newlines report.

Kamran BokhariDirector — Previously served as the Central Asia Studies Course Coordinator at US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute

Faysal ItaniDeputy Director — Former resident Senior Fellow at the US State Department-funded Atlantic Council, which functions as the semi-official think tank of NATO in Washington, DC.

Michael WeissSenior Editor – A veteran Israel lobbyist, neoconservative activist and anti-Muslim agitator-turned advocate of Islamist insurgents in Syria, Weiss has branded himself as an expert on Russia despite having never visited the country and speaking no Russian.

michael weiss jihadist rebels syria aleppo

Michael Weiss with jihadist rebels in Aleppo, Syria in August 2012

Muhammad Idrees AhmadSenior Editor – In 2016, Ahmad phoned Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal unsolicited before Blumenthal published a two-part investigative exposé on the Syrian White Helmets, threatening him with severe consequences if he went ahead. (Listen to a recording of Ahmad’s threatening call here). A lecturer on digital journalism at Stirling University in the UK, Ahmad recently attacked Democracy Now! for hosting scholar Vijay Prashad for a discussion on the danger of a new Cold War with China.

Rasha Al AqeediSenior Analyst — Iraq-born pundit who formerly worked as a research fellow at the neoconservative Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), a neoconservative think tank originally founded by white supremacists and Cold War hardliners that has honored Iraq war advocates John Bolton and James Mattis. Like her colleague Ahmad, Aqeedi dedicates a significant portion of her time to smearing anti-war figures on social media.

Elizabeth TsurkovNon-Resident Fellow — Previously worked for a number of neoconservative and establishment think tanks, including the Atlantic Council, Foreign Policy Research Institute and Freedom House. Tsurkov served in the Israeli military, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon. Throughout the Syrian proxy war, Tsurkov maintained friendly contacts with members of the Saudi-backed jihadist militia, Jaish al-Islam, and boasted about links both she and Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus maintained with Syria’s armed opposition.

Nicholas A. HerasSenior Analyst — Previously a research associate at the US Department of Defense’s National Defense University, Heras is also a fellow at the arms industry-funded Center for New American Security. There, he proposed using “wheat [as] a weapon of great power… to apply pressure on the Assad regime.” In other words, Heras advocated for the mass starvation of Syrian civilians by occupying their wheat fields, a US policy that is currently underway in the country’s northeastern region.

Caroline RoseSenior Analyst — Previously served as an analyst at Geopolitical Futures, headed by Stratfor founder, George Friedman. Stratfor is a private spying and intelligence firm commonly referred to as a “Shadow CIA.” It has contracted extensively with the US government, and has trained the radical wing of Venezuela’s opposition and advised them on destabilization tactics.

Robin BlackburnManaging Editor — For 12 years, Blackburn served as a writer and editor with Stratfor.

Robert InksEditor — Previously served as Director of the Writers Group and Special Projects Editor at  Stratfor.

Daryl JohnsonNon-Resident Fellow — Served in the US Army and previously worked as a senior analyst at the Department of Homeland Security. He is the founder of DT Analytics, a private consulting firm for police and law enforcement.

Eugene ChausovskyNon-Resident Fellow — Lectures on the “geopolitics of Central Asia” at the US State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Previously worked as Senior Eurasia Analyst at Stratfor for over a decade.

Imtiaz AliNon-Resident Fellow — Previously worked as a curriculum specialist at the US State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.

Ahmed Alwani is the founder and president of the Newlines Institute. Alwani previously served on the advisory board for the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) and is the Vice President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT); his father, Taha Jabir Al-Alwani was one of IIIT’s founders.

Newlines Institute recently took steps to counter rumors of IIIT’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. In an internal email obtained by The Grayzone, dated November 17, 2020, Newlines Director Hassan Hassan addressed the “accusation” against the then-Center for Global Policy. Hassan wrote that while a different “older entity” was funded by IIIT, “[t]he current one has no relation to IIIT.” Hassan attempted to assuage concerns by downplaying Alwani’s connection to IIIT, claiming that Alwani “inherited the International Institute for Islamic Thought as Vice President as a sort of legacy”, following his father’s death in 2018.

Newlines Institute overseen by disgraced sham “university”

Newlines Institute is a branch of a disgraced educational institution that has repeatedly violated state educational standards, raising further questions about the quality of the think tank’s work.

Newlines Institute’s parent institution is Fairfax University of America (FXUA), a school also founded and led by Alwani, and formerly known as Virginia International University. FXUA is a private university in Fairfax, Virginia. Founded in 1998, FXUA’s short track record has been riddled with numerous academic scandals and efforts by state regulators to shut the institution down.

In 2019, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia initiated proceedings to revoke FXUA’s (then known as Virginia International University) certificate to operate. The move came after state regulators found widespread noncompliance with state educational standards.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, auditors determined that “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, the academic quality and content of classes were “patently deficient”, and student work was characterized by “rampant plagiarism” that went unpunished.

“Unqualified students regularly submit plagiarized or inferior work; faculty turn a blind eye and lower grading standards (perhaps to avoid failing an entire class); and administrators do not effectively monitor the quality of online education being provided”, the audit said.

“That such substandard coursework could continue with no complaints from students, faculty or administrators raises concerns about the purpose of education at VIU [Virginia International University].”

review of Fairfax University/VIU by an anonymous employee

Indeed, signs point to FXUA/VIU serving as a “visa mill” rather than a legitimate educational institution. As Inside Higher Ed explains, the term “visa mill” refers to a sham operation where an institution “offers little by way of educational value,” but instead lures international students through its ability to offer access to student and work visas, while exploiting them by charging exorbitant tuition costs. FXUA/VIU’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), has long faced accusations of certifying such institutions.

In 2019, Inside Higher Ed reported that FXUA/VIU’s “appears to exist primarily to enroll international students,” finding that over the previous five years, “the percentage of students from North America varied between 1 and 3 percent”. Auditors found that the the student body was largely comprised of international students with an “abysmally poor command” of the English language. The students were charged $2,178 per graduate class and $1,266 per undergraduate class to receive their “patently deficient” education.

Although Virginia International University reached an agreement with state regulators that allowed it to continue operating and has rebranded itself as Fairfax University of America, significant concerns remain about the university, along with its subsidiary Newlines Institute.

Just days before Newlines Institute’s report on China was released, its FXUA’s accreditation was once again in potential jeopardy. On March 5, an advisory board to the US Department of Education recommended terminating recognition for ACICS. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted 11-to-1 to recommend that ACICS lose the federal recognition it needs to operate.

The advisory committee made the same recommendation in 2016, leading to the ACICS’s recognition being revoked under the Obama administration, before recognition was restored to the troubled accreditor in 2018 by then-President Trump’s Secretary of Education, the infamous privatization activist and oligarch Betsy Devos.

Raoul Wallenberg Centre founder Irwin Cotler (L) with pro-Israel lawyer and Wallenberg fellow Alan Dershowitz

The Wallenberg Centre: A haven for anti-China hawks and regime-change lobbyists

Newlines Institute published its report in collaboration with The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The report’s principal author, Yonah Diamond, is legal counsel for The Wallenberg Center, and many of the report’s signatories hold affiliations with the organization.

Based in Montreal, The Wallenberg Centre was founded by Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. While often touted as a “human rights champion”, Cotler is, in fact, a champion of the “responsibility to protect” and “humanitarian intervention” doctrines, regularly invoked by Western states in order to justify imperial interventions in the global south.

Cotler routinely levels propagandistic accusations of human rights abuses, atrocities, and genocide in service Western imperialism, including interventions in Libya and SyriaIran, and Venezuela, where Cotler served as legal counsel for far-right, US-backed Venezuelan coup leader Leopoldo López. Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, holds an advisory position at The Wallenberg Centre.

Cotler is also active in Haiti, serving as the Minister of Justice in the Canadian administration that worked with the US and France to help overthrow former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. In 2014, Cotler invited Maryam Rajavi, leader of the exiled Iranian MEK cult, to speak on Canada’s parliament hill. Four years later, he nominated US and UK-funded Syrian White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Cotler is an ardent supporter of Israeli apartheid and longtime advisor to Moshe Ya’alon, former Israeli Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Israeli military. Cotler has played significant role in the Canadian government’s efforts to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and smear the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Cotler has long harbored hostile sentiments towards China. For a number of years, Cotler served on the international legal team for Chinese anti-government dissident Liu Xiaobo, a right-wing ideologue who called for the privatization and “Westernisation” of China, ardently supported former President George W. Bush, and cheered on US wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

More recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, Cotler echoed calls of right-wing US lawmakers for international legal action and sanctions to punish China for supposedly causing the coronavirus pandemic.

In its mission statement, the Wallenberg Centre outlines its right-wing, Western imperial outlook in detail, explicitly identifying China, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia as countries that it is pushing to “combat” with sanctions.

The Wallenberg Centre has become a haven for anti-China hawks, including Senior Fellows David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State, and David Matas, senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, a right-wing organization that describes itself as dedicated to “Israel advocacy”.

Kilgour and Matas have extensive ties to the far-right, anti-China religious cult Falun Gong. Both men are regularly contributors to the group’s propaganda arm, The Epoch Times, a media network that The New York Times has described as an “anti-China, pro-Trump media empire” and “leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation”. In 2019, an NBC News exposé found that The Epoch Times spent over $1.5 million on approximately 11,000 pro-Trump advertisements in just six months, “more than any organization outside of the Trump campaign itself, and more than most Democratic presidential candidates have spent on their own campaigns.”

In 2006, Kilgour and Matas were commissioned by Falun Gong to author a report which made sensational accusations that the Chinese government was secretly conducting a mass campaign of live organ harvesting Falun Gong disciples. In 2017, an investigation by The Washington Post determined that the claims made by Kilgour and Matas were unfounded, with experts commenting that their allegations were “not plausible” and “unthinkable.”

* * *

As Washington advances its new Cold War strategy, it has amplified accusations of genocide and other atrocities against the Chinese government, all focused on Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang. To broaden support for the dubious narrative, the US government has turned to a series of pseudo-academic institutions and faux experts to generate seemingly serious and independent studies.

Any critical probe of the reams of reports on Xinjiang and the hawkish institutions that publish them will quickly reveal a shabby propaganda campaign dressed up as academic inquiry. Western media’s refusal to look beneath the surface of Washington’s information war against China only highlights its central role in the operation.

Ajit Singh is a lawyer and journalist. He is a contributing author to Keywords in Radical Philosophy and Education: Common Concepts for Contemporary Movements (Brill: 2019).

March 20, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

How Do Big Media Outlets So Often “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods?

NBC News’ national security reporter and long-time de facto CIA spokesman Ken Dilanian purporting to “independently confirm” a false CNN story, Dec. 8, 2017
By Glenn Greenwald | March 16, 2021

There were so many false reports circulated by the dominant corporate wing of the U.S. media as part of the five-year-long Russiagate hysteria that in January, 2019, I compiled what I called “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” The only difficult part of that article was choosing which among the many dozens of retractions, corrections and still-uncorrected factual falsehoods merited inclusion in the worst-ten list. So stiff was the competition that I was forced to omit many huge media Russiagate humiliations, and thus, to be fair to those who missed the cut, had to append a large “Dishonorable Mention” category at the end (note: the Intercept’s site seems to be down for the moment, rendering that first link inoperable).

That the entire Russiagate storyline itself was a fraud and a farce is conclusively demonstrated by one decisive fact that can never be memory-holed: namely, the impetus for the scandal and subsequent investigation was the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign had secretly and criminally conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election, primarily hacking into the email inboxes of the DNC and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. And a grand total of zero Americans were accused (let alone convicted) of participating in that animating conspiracy.

The New York Times’ May, 2017 announcement of Robert Mueller as special counsel stated explicitly that his task was “to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials” and specifically “investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.’”

The related secondary media-created conspiracy theory was that the Kremlin clandestinely controlled U.S. political institutions by virtue of sexual and financial blackmail held over President Trump, which they used to compel him to obediently obey their dictates. “I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially” was the dark innuendo which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her media allies most loved to spout. “Prestige news” outlets created their own Q-Anon-level series of art designed to implant in Americans’ minds a slew of McCarthyite imagery showing the Kremlin (or an iconic Moscow cathedral they mistook for the Kremlin) having fully infiltrated Washington’s key institutions.

Cover story of The New Yorker, Feb. 24, 2017

But that all came crashing down on their heads in April, 2019, when Mueller announced that he was closing his investigation without charging even a single American with the criminal conspiracy that launched the entire spectacle: criminally conspiring with the Russian government to interfere in the election. Again: while Mueller — like so many Washington special counsels before him — ended up snaring some operatives in alleged process crimes committed after the investigation commenced (lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice) or unrelated crimes (Manafort’s financial sleaze), the 18-month aggressive, sprawling investigation resulted in exactly zero criminal charges on the core claim that Trump officials had criminally conspired with Russia.

If that were not sufficient to make every person who drowned the country in this crazed conspiracy theory feel enormous shame (and it should have been), the former FBI Director’s final Report explicitly stated that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election.” In many cases, the Report went even further than this “did not establish” formulation to state that there was no evidence of any kind found for many of the key media conspiracies (“The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation”; the “evidence does not establish that one campaign official’s efforts to dilute a portion of the Republican platform was undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia”; “the investigation did not establish that [Carter] Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election”). The Report also barely even dignified let alone confirmed the long-standing, utterly deranged Democratic/media conspiracy theory that the Kremlin had taken over U.S. policy through blackmail.

The Advocate, Mar. 10, 2017

For a few weeks following the issuance of the Mueller report, Democrats and media figures gamely attempted to deny that it obliterated the conspiracy theories to which they had relentlessly subjected the country for the prior four years. How could they do otherwise? They staked their entire reputations and the trust of their audience on having this be true. To avoid their day of reckoning, they would hype ancillary events such as Paul Manafort’s conviction on unrelated financial crimes or Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for a minor and dubious charge (for which even Mueller recommended no prison time) or Roger Stone’s various process charges to insist that there was still a grain of truth to their multifaceted geopolitical fairy tale seemingly lifted straight from a Tom Clancy Cold War thriller about the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

But even they knew this was just a temporary survival strategy and that it was unsustainable for the long term. That the crux of the scandal all along was that key Trump allies if not the President himself would be indicted and imprisoned for having conspired with the Russians was too glaring to make people forget about it.

That was why former CIA Director John Brennan assured the MSNBC audience in March — just weeks before Mueller closed his investigation with no conspiracy crimes alleged — that it was impossible that the investigation could close without first indicting Trump’s children and other key White House aides on what Brennan correctly said was the whole point of the scandal from the start: “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians . . . . whether or not U.S. persons were actively collaborating, colluding, cooperating, involved in a conspiracy with them or not.” Brennan strongly insinuated that among those likely to be indicted for criminally conspiring with the Russians were those “from the Trump family.”

As we all know, literally none of that happened. Not only were Trump family members not indicted by Mueller on charges of “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians,” no Americans were. Brennan believed there was no way that the Mueller investigation could end without that happening because that was the whole point of the scandal from the start. To explain why it had not happened up to that point after eighteen months of investigation by Mueller’s subpoena-armed and very zealous team of prosecutors, Brennan invented a theory that they were waiting to do that as the final act because they knew they would be fired by Trump once it happened. But it never happened because Mueller found no evidence to prove that it did.

In other words, the conspiracy theory that the media pushed on Americans since before Trump’s inauguration — to the point where it drowned out most of U.S. politics and policy for years — proved to have no evidentiary foundation. And that is one reason I say that the sectors of the media pretending to be most distraught at the spread of “disinformation” by anonymous citizens on Facebook and 4Chan are, in fact, the most aggressive, prolific and destructive disseminators of that disinformation by far (nor was it uncredentialed YouTube hosts, Patreon podcasters or Substack writers who convinced Americans to believe that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons and was in an alliance with Al Qaeda but rather the editor-heavy prestige outlets such as The New York TimesThe New YorkerNBC News and The Atlantic).

With the crux of the Russiagate conspiracy theory collapsed, U.S. media outlets began acknowledging — because they had to — that none of it was vindicated by Mueller’s report. To do so, they abruptly nullified a rule that had been in place since Mueller’s appointment: one may not speak ill of the former FBI Director because he is a patriotic man of the highest integrity and to malign him is to undermine the Brave Men and Women of the FBI Who Keep Us Safe. The only self-preservation tactic they could find to salvage their credibility was to turn on Mueller, quite viciously. Overnight, the storyline emerged: the conspiracy theory we pushed on you was correct all along, but Mueller was a coward and failed in his patriotic duty to say so.

While the hypocrisy of watching a media that for months demanded reverence for Mueller turn on a dime to accuse him of being a borderline-senile, unpatriotic coward was quite amazing, it was at least some progress toward acknowledging the undeniable reality that the media had collectively failed. Their dark conspiracies and predictions of doom were pipe dreams. They flooded the country with disinformation for years about all of this. And while they characteristically engaged in exactly zero self-reflection or self-critique — preferring to heap all the blame on Mueller instead for failing to find the evidence that is still out there of their cognitive derangements — it at least consecrated the fact that this scandal ended in humiliation for them.


When I created my top ten list of media Russiagate debacles, choosing the top ten was difficult but choosing the top spot was not. It is worth briefly revisiting that particular journalistic humiliation because of what it reveals about ongoing media behavior.

On the morning of December 8, 2017, CNN went on the air with one of the most cataclysmic and breathless scoops of the entire Russiagate saga. The network hauled out all of its most melodramatic graphics, music and host voice-tones to signify that this was it : the smoking gun, the ultimate bombshell, the final nail in the coffin, inescapable proof for their conspiracy theory. The big huge scoop notably came from its Congressional reporter Manu Raju (one of the favorite dumping grounds for false leaks by leading House Democrat Russiagate fanatics such as Rep. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell (D-CA)).

According to this historic CNN revelation, a stunning and incriminating email had been obtained by “congressional investigators,” and “multiple sources” conveyed its contents to CNN. This email proved, said CNN, that Donald Trump Jr. was given advanced access to the archive of DNC and Podesta emails ultimately published by WikiLeaks on September 14, 2016. This earth-shattering email to Trump, Jr. was dated September 4 — ten days before WikiLeaks began publishing — and this, in the minds of CNN, proved somehow that the Trump campaign was in on the plot from the start.

Now, even if Trump had been shown the archive in advance by WikiLeaks or someone else, it would not have remotely proven that the Trump campaign was a participant in the plot, but let us not get detained on that hypothetical. The CNN story was treated by the entire liberal sector of the press as the most devastating and incriminating evidence yet produced to prove the truth of the Russiagate conspiracy theory, with one particularly loyal Democratic partisan-writer using an image of a nuclear explosion to convey its significance:

Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall, Dec. 8, 2017

As it turns out, there was one small problem with the CNN story: it was completely and utterly false. The email to Trump, Jr. on which the entire bombshell was based was sent after WikiLeaks began publishing the archive, not before. And it was sent not by some super-secret inside source with the Kremlin or WikiLeaks, but by a random member of the public who, having read about the WikiLeaks publications in the newspaper, emailed Trump, Jr. to encourage him to take a look.

How “multiple sources” all got the date on the email wrong — mis-reading it as September 4 rather than the real date of the email: September 14 — was never explained by CNN. That is because corporate media outlets believe they owe the public no explanation or accountability for the massive errors they commit.

But what was most notable about this episode is that it was not just CNN which reported this fraudulent story. An hour or so after the network shook the political world with its graphics-and-music-shaped bombshell, other news networks — including MSNBC and CBS News — claimed that they had obtained what they called “independent confirmation” that the story was true.

All of these media outlets, reading Orwell as if it is an instruction manual, have now scrubbed most of the humiliating videos where they did this from the internet. But one can still watch here as NBC News’ national security reporter and long-time de facto CIA spokesman Ken Dilanian breathlessly tells an MSNBC host, who herself can barely maintain her composure, that he has spoken with “sources” who have provided independent confirmation of the CNN story, thus adding NBC News’ imprimatur to it. Shortly thereafter, CBS News did the same.

All of this prompted the obvious question: how could MSNBC and CBS News have both purported to “independently confirm” a CNN bombshell that was completely false? The reason this matters is because the term “independently confirm” significantly bolsters the credibility of the initial report because it makes it appear that other credible-to-some news organizations have conducted their own investigation and found more evidence that proves it is true. That is the purpose of the exercise: to bolster the credibility of the story in the minds of the public.

But what actually happens is as deceitful as it is obvious. When a news outlet such as NBC News claims to have “independently corroborated” a report from another corporate outlet, they often do not mean that they searched for and acquired corroborating evidence for it. What they mean is much more tawdry: they called, or were called by, the same anonymous sources that fed CNN the false story in the first place, and were fed the same false story. And just as CNN did — repeated what they were told (almost certainly by Democratic Congressional members and/or their staff) without independently investigating it, because they knew any anti-Trump story would please their partisan audience — NBC News pretended they had obtained “independent confirmation” when all they had done was speak to the same sources that fed CNN.

This episode is so worth recalling not only because it is one of the most stunning and pathetic media humiliations of the Trump era — though it is that — but also because the shoddy tactic that drove it is still in full use by the same media outlets. We just saw proof of that again with a major Washington Post “correction” — which should be called a retraction — of one of the most-discussed news stories of the last six months: the Post’s claims about what Trump said when he called a Georgia election official while he was still contesting the 2020 election results.

On January 9, The Washington Post published a story reporting that an anonymous source claimed that on December 23, Trump spoke by phone with Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, and directed her that she must “find the fraud” and promised her she would be “a national hero” if she did so. The paper insisted that those were actual quotes of what Trump said. This time, it was CNN purporting to independently confirm the Post’s reporting, affirming that Trump said these words “according to a source with knowledge of the call.”

But late last week, The Wall Street Journal obtained a recording of that call, and those quotes attributed to Trump do not appear. As a result, The Washington Post — two months after its original story that predictably spread like wildfire throughout the entire media ecosystem — has appended a correction at the top of its original story. Politico’s Alex Thompson correctly pronounced these errors “real bad” because of how widely they spread and were endorsed by other major media outlets.

This is a different species of journalistic malpractice than mere journalistic falsehoods. As I detailed in February and again two weeks ago, the U.S. public was inundated for weeks with an utterly false yet horrifying story — that a barbaric pro-Trump mob had savagely murdered Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick by bashing his skull in with a fire extinguisher. That false tale about the only person said to have been killed at the January 6 riot other than pro-Trump supporters emanated from a New York Times report based on the claims of “two anonymous law enforcement officials.”

As it turns out, Sicknick’s autopsy revealed that he suffered no blunt trauma, and two men arrested this week were charged not with murder but assault and conspiracy to injure an officer: for using an unidentified gas. In reporting those arrests, even The New York Times acknowledged that “prosecutors stopped short of linking the attack to Officer Sicknick’s death the next day” because “both officers and rioters deployed spray, mace and other irritants during the attack” and “it remains unclear whether Officer Sicknick died because of his exposure to the spray.”

Many liberals defenders of these corporate media outlets insist that these major factual errors do not matter because the basic narrative — Trump and his supporters at the Capitol are bad people who did bad things — is still true. But these errors are enormous. That Trump, Jr. received that email from a random member of the public after WikiLeaks began publicly publishing documents transforms the story from smoking gun to irrelevant. That Trump did not utter the extremely incriminating quotes attributed to him in that call at least permits debate about whether he did anything wrong there and what his intent was (encouraging the official to find the fraud he genuinely believed was there or pressuring her to manufacture claims with threats and promises of reward). And there is, manifestly, a fundamental difference in both intent and morality between deliberately murdering someone by repeatedly bashing their skull in with a fire extinguisher and using a non-lethal crowd-control spray frequently used at protests even if it is ultimately proven that the spray is what caused Officer Sicknick’s death (which is why those two acts would carry vastly different punishments under the law).

But all of this highlights the real crisis in journalism, the reason public faith and trust in media institutions is in free fall. With liberal media outlets deliberately embracing a profit model of speaking overwhelmingly to partisan Democrats who use them as their primary source of news, there is zero cost to publishing false claims about people and groups hated by that liberal audience.

That audience does not care if these media outlets publish false stories as long as it is done for the Greater Good of harming their political enemies, and this ethos has contaminated newsrooms as well. Given human fallibility, reporting errors are normal and inevitable, but when they are all geared toward advancing one political agenda or faction and undermining the other, they cease to be errors and become a deliberate strategy or, at best, systemic recklessness.

But whatever else is true, it is vital to understand what news outlets mean when they claim they have “independently verified” the uncorroborated reports of other similar outlets. It means nothing of consequence. In many if not most cases — enough to make this formulation totally unreliable — it signifies nothing more than their willingness to serve as stenographers for the same anonymous political operatives who fed their competitors similar propaganda.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Bernays and Propaganda – Propaganda Continues Unabated – Part 5

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog | March 11, 2021 

In most nations, when a particular criminal conduct reaches epidemic proportion, the government finally acts decisively to eradicate it. Not in America; they solve the problem by legalising it. They did this with influence-peddling (lobbying) and drugs, the same now occurring with domestic propaganda which has been against the law for a very long time to protect citizens from psychological manipulation and control by their own government. The law has always been ignored, but Congress is now dispensing with the pretense in repealing two major laws, the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act (1) (2(3) (4) and the 1987 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, so as to permit the authorities to disperse false and misleading propaganda and campaigns of misinformation against its own people. Of course, the government has always done this surreptitiously, sometimes to an overwhelming extent as in the case of war marketing, but it has always been illegal. After this, it won’t be. One Pentagon official claimed this new provision will have “No checks and balances. No one will know if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false”. In an article in USA Today, it was quoted that the US military (Pentagon) already spends about $4 billion per year on propaganda to sway public opinion, much of that directed domestically. (5) (6) (7)

We now have the sock puppets, (8) (9) the fake social media personas on the Internet, used by the US military and intelligence agencies to affect and lead public opinion in many countries, usually with the intent of inciting civil unrest and revolution. It has been obvious for some time that these tactics have been used domestically as well, the new legislation simply legalising the process. Many US government agencies have obtained this software that permits them to flood the social media with fake people making fake posts in support of government positions and discrediting those who hold contrary views or are critical of the government. The software is extremely detailed, providing extensive backgrounds for these fictitious people, permitting a single human to assume the identities of as many as 1,000 fake people, and make them appear to actually be in a certain physical place or even attending an actual event. They control the IP address, making it impossible to detect that a single person in one location is orchestrating all that activity. The program manual states, “There is a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas”. The contract requires “virtual private servers” located in and outside the US, to give false locational information, and also requires what it calls “traffic mixing”, blending the persona controllers’ internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that offers “excellent cover and powerful deniability”.

This “Persona management software” is now being used to manipulate public opinion on key issues, with unlimited numbers of virtual people regularly flooding US social media with pro-government propaganda in attempts to manage public perception and kill political activism. This is called “counter-messaging” and the Pentagon has made no secret of its activities in promulgating “black propaganda” – which means knowingly spreading lies to mislead and misinform the public for the purpose of stifling political dissent. In its increasing fear of political activism, the US government has labeled the Internet as a “breeding ground for domestic terrorists”, and appears to include in this category anyone who questions the government’s version of events. This is all part of a massive program to intimidate, manipulate, and crush all public dissent, and to control not only domestic discussion but also to actively manipulate worldwide opinion. Their activity is becoming common in China where, on the occurrence of an event containing useful propaganda fuel, we often see a flood of commentary on Weibo supporting the American position, these ostensibly being posted by native Chinese but almost inevitably originating in Fort Langley, Virginia.

The government has used these in smear campaigns (10) (11) (12) against reporters and other high-profile individuals who criticise US government policy, to the extent of creating fake Facebook and Twitter accounts in their names, containing fake posts meant to be personally damaging, and have even created fake websites and Wikipedia pages purporting to belong to an individual, all for the purpose of discrediting “dissidents”. When a Taiwanese scientist aired his research identifying the 5 haplotypes of COVID-19 and proving America had to be the original source since these types existed only in the USA, the VOA harassed the man so badly online that he closed all his social media accounts and went dark.

The US government performs surveillance and infiltration in attempts to control the public dialogue in many nations, creating Twitter-like social media platforms in other countries, ostensibly local but all monitored and controlled by US agencies. Most are the work of USAID. The Americans innocently proclaim the purpose as “encouraging open political discussion” (in every nation but the US), but it’s a ‘discussion’ they mean to control entirely and skew to satisfy their agenda of inciting unrest and revolution. One such platform in Cuba was widely ridiculed when knowledge of it became public in early 2014, and was killed. (13) (14) (15) Even the Associated Press reported that it “was set up to encourage political dissent”, but White House officials claimed they wanted only “to provide Cubans with a platform to share ideas and exchange information”, claiming it was used to “share cricket scores” and by farmers to “share market prices”. Maybe, but it was used primarily for political destabilisation. The State Department and USAID actively pushed for these platforms after their successes in causing the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran. The State Department also provided several million dollars to a team of American hackers to develop a system known as a mesh network to enable US-sponsored dissidents in Cuba to communicate more freely and securely, with USAID committing yet another several million to the same cause. This is precisely what the US has been doing in Hong Kong for many years now.

The real owners and controllers of Google are reading from the same script. Google is not actively propagandising, but functions as an information gateway with all searches heavily censored and prioritised so that we see only what the secret government wants us to see and receive only the information they want or permit us to have. (16) Facebook and Twitter are not better. (17) Wikipedia is different, being one of the most criminally-dishonest active propagandists in the world. (18) There is surprisingly little in Wikipedia that is not either censored or outright false. If you want to know the number of protons in a Cesium atom, you will find the correct answer, but in any area related to history, politics, wars, government, the Jews, Israel, Arabs, ‘Axis of evil’ members, crimes of governments and corporations, the truths of the European bankers and their ravaging of the world, Wikipedia is 95% sanitised misinformation. And this propaganda is intense; Wiki has tens of thousands of ‘volunteers’ constantly scouring all the page entries to find items requiring editing or deleting. Many people have reported correcting an obviously false entry only to discover moments later that their corrections had been deleted and the page locked. Perhaps the biggest laugh is Wiki’s claim that “Content Requires Verifiable Data”. Maybe, but only from you.

The final pillar of this social engineering is the Jewish-owned and/or controlled media and entertainment industries which have long since abandoned the dissemination of truth and information and wholeheartedly adopted the primary task of propagandising the public mind. Today, the topics are different than the war marketing of Bernays, but – and this is very important to understand – the intensity remains the same. Just as Bernays once flooded every possible media channel with war-mongering hatred, today those same channels are directed to nations other than Germany (China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya Cuba, Syria, Venezuela), to the instillation of fear (the war on terrorism) which is easily manipulated to achieve astonishing measures of social control, and to detail-less information to maintain public ignorance and confusion on all important issues. Paul Craig Roberts wrote that “The American media does not serve the truth. It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government. The function of the “mainstream media” is to sell products and to brainwash the audience for the government and interest groups.” (19) That is precisely correct.

The book publishers are also onside in this vast propaganda campaign. The content of educational texts especially is heavily controlled by the disparate elements of the propaganda machine, with countless topics and theories proscribed. Howard Zinn was a notable exception in having some of his “radical” (i.e. accurate) history books published, but today, only shortly after his death, all his books are being removed from school libraries and destroyed. During the past two or three generations it has become increasingly difficult, and now almost impossible, to publish books on topics that would pose a threat to the activities of the secret government, and more than a few individuals have been killed for trying. The concentration of media and publishing power is not an accident, but part of a plan to eliminate information contradictory to the best interests of Bernays’ invisible people. Today, many publishers and authors will testify that Amazon actively suppresses many books while pretending to sell them.

Neal Gabler, author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood, (20) (21) wrote “What is amazing is the extent to which they succeeded in promulgating this fiction throughout the world. By making a ‘shadow’ America, one which idealized every old glorifying bromide about the country, the Hollywood Jews created a powerful cluster of images and ideas so powerful that, in a sense, they colonized the American imagination. Ultimately, American values came to be defined largely by the movies the Jews made.”

The US movie industry is the worst of all media for fictionalising history and reality and replacing them with fabricated mythology. A recent example is Steven Spielberg’s unforgivably distorted portrayal of Lincoln and slavery and the American civil war. It was the Rothschild’s Barings Bank that financed the slave trade, and a great many if not most of the slave traders were Jewish. Furthermore, we have adequate documentation that it was European Jewish bankers who stimulated the slavery-related rift in American society to instigate the civil war. In this context, Spielberg’s movie is an especially offensive false and mythical portrayal of the true facts. As one columnist noted, Spielberg’s movie “had too many negroes and too few Jews”. The upshot is that tens of millions of gullible Americans will take with them to their graves a totally and absolutely false understanding of a critical period in their nation’s history.

That is the real issue, and that brings us back to Bernays who wrote: “The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world to-day. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation.” It also begins very early to indoctrinate little minds.

“The American Jews have always used their films as an active propaganda channel to transmit not only their own political agenda but the fiction of US culture, values and way of thinking to people in other nations, these films containing an outpouring of individualism or struggles in pursuit of freedom or the realisation of the American Dream. They have always portrayed an idealised society intended to evoke in others a kind of yearning for America and the things it appears to be. All is cleverly arranged, with meticulous attention paid to the smallest details of setting, with the American flag so often prominent and Americans always portrayed as leaders of the world. All of this is a large and persistent attempt at a kind of cultural colonisation of the world, the Jews excelling at the presentation of a superficial layer of intense audio and visual effects that are “so image rich and content poor that they manipulate our emotions and short-circuit our reason”.”

The great objection to all this is that the presentation is totally false, the US being nothing like the mythical movie presentations, and the values promulgated and unconsciously accepted are not actually held by Americans, and certainly not by the nation’s leaders. Like everything similar emanating from the US, American movies are stimulating, high-quality lies, which is why many nations restrict American content.

All of the above, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, the advertising industry, Hollywood movies and TV programs, book publishing and book selling, Wikipedia, and the social media, are controlled by Jews. Their control over information is almost complete, giving them the power to directly influence people’s thoughts and behavior and to alter the course of events. All of these follow the same inescapable propaganda script. (22) (23) (24) They are not apologetic about this control; Philip Weiss wrote an article in Mondoweiss titled, “Do Jews Dominate in American Media? And So What If We Do?”. (25) I can think of several objections.

Control over the mass media and of the movie industry have always been central to the dissemination of propaganda in the US, with the media presenting the narrative to be adopted and the movies glorifying the propaganda myths disguised as entertainment. The US is the one nation most thoroughly saturated by the media, Americans being bombarded daily with thousands of images on what is essentially political ideology, guiding popular opinion in a predefined direction. The media themselves and many branches of the government spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the art of public propaganda directed at the bewildered herd, this mass media bombardment daily shaping the American view of reality. American author Gore Vidal wrote:

“You cannot get through the density of the propaganda with which the American people, through the dreaded media, have been filled and the horrible public educational system we have for the average person. It’s just grotesque. The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity, much less dissent.” (26)

All of the so-called values that Americans hold so dear and appear so determined to inflict on all other nations, have their origin in the propaganda disseminated by Bernays’ invisible government through this tightly-held media cartel. Dr. Nancy Snow, an assistant professor of political science, wrote “Propaganda is most effective when it is least noticeable. What the American people don’t know is that American propaganda is hidden, and its characteristics, integrated into communications and entertainment, convince people that they are not being manipulated. Propaganda is not supposed to be part of an ‘open society’. Much of our media now are so image rich and content poor that they just serve to capture the eye, manipulate our emotions, and short-circuit our reason. The propaganda and advertising industries therefore function increasingly like adult obedience industries. They instruct their audiences in how to feel and what to think, and increasing numbers of people follow and accept the cues without question.”

Snow described one of her previous jobs as being a “propagandist” for the US Information Agency. She said, “In the US, we don’t think of ourselves as a country that propagandises, even though to the rest of the world we are seen as really the most propagandistic nation”. According to her, the US has more PR professionals than news reporters, and the global reach of what Bernays called Public Relations is just a euphemism for propaganda that involves the entire US media. One example of this was the appointment of an advertising professional as Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs. In an article in the LA Times, Naomi Klein wrote that “[Charlotte Beers] had no previous State Department experience, but she had held the top job at both the J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather ad agencies, and she’s built brands for everything from dog food to power drills, and that her task now was to work her magic on the greatest branding challenge of all – to sell the United States and its war on terrorism to an increasingly hostile world”. (27) (28) (29) Secretary of State Colin Powell actively defended this: “There is nothing wrong with getting somebody who knows how to sell something. We are selling a product. We need someone who can re-brand American foreign policy, re-brand diplomacy.” (30)

I wrote elsewhere of the fake stories the US military produced for its invasions of Iraq and Libya, with fabricated video of locals apparently cheering the American invaders as liberating heroes. You may have wondered why ‘protestors for freedom’ in many foreign nations (Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Iran, Ukraine) inexplicably seem to create all their protest signs in English; they are all fake, meant for an American audience. Here is some background for you, from a speech given at the US Air Force Academy by John Rendon, a PR consultant employed by the US military. Rendon said, “I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician. I am a politician, an information warrior and a perception manager”, at which point he reminded his audience that when US troops entered Kuwait City during the first Persian Gulf war, they received a wildly enthusiastic greeting from hundreds of Kuwaitis waving US flags. He then asked, “Did you ever stop to wonder how the people of Kuwait City were able to get American flags? Well, you now know the answer. That was one of my jobs then”. (31) (32) It is interesting that Americans boast so openly about their perverted manipulation of the world’s peoples. This was Pompeo boasting, “We lied, we cheated, we stole.” And the American people cheered.

American propaganda foolishness knows no bounds. Some years ago, prior to President Bush’s helicopter landing in a public downtown park on his visit to Italy, I watched dozens of Secret Service agents with cans of paint, spray-painting all the grass a lovely shade of green so Bush would look prettier on TV. When a US President or State Secretary speaks to an empty hall at the United Nations, the media obligingly cut and paste an audience from another speaker’s talk to make Americans proud that their leader was enthusiastically applauded by a full house.

Today, every part of America is all about marketing the brand, selling the sizzle instead of the steak. The operating philosophy is termed “perception management”, the attempt to substitute a utopian fictionalised version of events for reality. Great efforts are made to determine which actions or attitudes or sentiments to portray to the American public and the world, which items of information should be denied to the public, and which “indicators” are necessary to convey to audiences to influence their emotions and dull their objective reasoning. This perception management combines some facts, some unrelated truths, a great deal of deception, all wrapped in layers of what is termed “psychological operations”, and used to sell patriotism, wars, capitalism, fear and fascism. This is the legacy of Lippman and Bernays: an entire nation has degraded to the point where product substance is irrelevant and brand perception is everything.

The picture in Americans minds of their own country consists of a vast array of misinformation, falsehoods and myths, covering every facet of the human experience and which they fervently, and even belligerently, believe to be true. The reason I have dwelt on the topic of propaganda to the extent I have done, is to demonstrate the equal truth that the picture foreigners hold in their minds of the US also consists of the same vast array of lies, misinformation, falsehoods and myths, their understanding of the US equally as flawed as that of the Americans themselves. Almost everything we read, see and learn about the US is mythical propaganda far removed from reality. We are buying the sizzle without the steak, paying for the brand without understanding or even receiving the product.

Bernays’ secret government has been taking control of the ideological foundations of all of America, the propaganda onslaught including the political, corporate, banking, foreign policy, military, media, and academic sectors of the nation, attempting to force all into a single cohesive mental state. It isn’t simply information or misinformation. By controlling the sources and so deciding what you can and cannot see or learn, they plan to decide how you feel and what you think, and ultimately who has or does not have a voice. This is what led CIA Director William Casey to state, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” (33)

The world finally appears to be awakening to the fictional foolishness that is America today. The Pew Research Center has done several recent studies which document a growing distrust of everything American in most countries (34), including China and Western Europe. At the same time, it notes that American citizens are receiving an increasingly narrow view of important world issues, exacerbating their already fabled ignorance. Pew also note that while the American people receive limited information reduced to child-like sound bytes lacking breadth, depth and context, this deliberately fabricated ignorance also increases the ease of propagandists to make false claims that appear real and are difficult to question.

One recent example was the political coup in the Ukraine, the second time the US has overthrown an elected government in that nation. The Americans first instigated a mini-revolution and installed Julia Tymoshenko as their puppet president, this queen’s reign terminated prematurely when she was imprisoned for massive fraud, embezzlement and murder. The Americans then invested – by their own admission – more than $5 billion to destabilise the country with an impressive amount of violence in a second attempt to take control. This disintegrated when most of Eastern Ukraine, especially the Crimea, objected to the US effort and voted to separate from the Ukraine and rejoin Russia. For background, the Crimea had always been part of Russia but was only recently ‘given’ to the Ukraine as a peace measure; its citizens are virtually all ethnic Russians and wanted to return home.

However, the US media carried only the news and video of riots, omitting the fact that they were all US-inspired and financed and that the CIA had a huge contingent resident in Kiev that was masterminding the events from the US Embassy. They specifically omitted video of the “democratic protestors” returning to the US Embassy compound afterward to collect their pay. The riots were attributed to Russia’s “meddling” and presented as cries for freedom by the Ukrainian people, and the secession vote by the Crimean residents which was entirely self-initiated, was described in the US media as a “Russian invasion” of the Crimea. It is in this context that the US climbs on its hypocritical moral white horse and pretends to “warn” Russia about “interfering in Ukraine’s elections”, filling American hearts with pride in their nation’s fight for truth and freedom. With this heavily-propagandised false picture flooding the US media, most Americans believe they clearly understand the situation in the Ukraine and that Russia is indeed “the evil empire”. In fact, they understand nothing clearly and what little they know is wrong, but when a nation’s government so thoroughly controls the media and the narrative, and is a pathological liar, what hope is there for the people?

This ‘perception management’ marketing of the US brand is not limited to US soil; even more time and money are spent on managing perceptions in other nations, one of these being China. The US spends more than $300 million in China each year on marketing their productless brand. It isn’t only obvious outlets like the Voice of America; the Americans make Herculean efforts to plant pro-American messages in newspapers, magazines, social media Weibo and WeChat, in the topic outline of speeches, placing visiting professors in schools and universities in China, and in thousands of other sources that reach the public. This is entirely a psychological warfare operation and is described by the Americans in these terms. The aim of this huge effort is simply to employ all manner of lies and misinformation to make China’s government look bad in the eyes of its people (and the world).

As one example, the U.S. Consul-General in Guangzhou, Jim Levy, filled the internet with outright false or badly-twisted information about sudden racial discrimination against blacks in China. For background, all visas expired during the COVID-19 epidemic, requiring foreign nationals to return home and wait for approval of new visas. Many Africans, in China to purchase low-cost goods to ship home, and reluctant to lose their income source, failed to comply, essentially hiding underground. As health officers were making the rounds to test foreigners and obtain health codes, there were many stories of Africans jumping out of windows (hopefully first-floor windows) to escape the medical authorities and avoid the necessary quarantines. Finally, the police had to instruct apartments and hotels to not provide accommodation to anyone lacking a valid visa, but the US Consulate filled Chinese social media and foreign airwaves with stories titled, “African nations, US decry racism against blacks in China”. (35) (36) My opinion of Levy is not high, especially since he was using his American diplomatic post to further the political aims of his Jewish masters. In a similar manner, Alan Dershowitz, another American Jew, this one from Harvard, not long ago gave a speech to AIPAC, the Godzilla of Jewish influence in the US, where he asked all Jews to create as much pressure as possible on China’s imaginary human rights violations in Tibet, to take the world’s attention off the Jewish atrocities in Palestine. International politics supported by propaganda, i.e. “perception management”, is a dirty business.

Hong Kong today is saturated with CIA and other US-based media control, their long-term propaganda campaign being the entire source of the Western-oriented political agitation and the persistently negative views of China that originate there. George Soros, another American Jew, finances the seditious “China Media Project” at Hong Kong University, creating a massive anti-China campaign and responsible for much of the violence there. The violence and chaos in Tibet and Xinjiang all have the same source. Philip Agee, a former CIA agent (37), wrote that the US has been conducting this illegal interference in Tibet since prior to the 1950s and 1960s, claiming that his duties in the CIA involved attempting to penetrate and manipulate the institutions of power, infiltrating and manipulating political parties, trade unions, youth and student movements, intellectual, professional and cultural societies, religious groups, women’s groups and especially the media. He details how he paid journalists to publish American propaganda as if it were the journalists’ own information, and how the CIA spent huge sums of money intervening in foreign elections to promote and elect an American puppet candidate. The NYT had very little nice to say about Agee in their obituary. (38)

Jonathan Power told us of one highly-placed British diplomat who stated, “One reads about the world’s desire for American leadership only in the United States. Everywhere else one reads about American arrogance and unilateralism”. (39) (40) Power wrote further that “America Is Sadly In The Grip Of ‘Exhausted Ideas’”. (41) And as Naomi Klein noted, nations don’t generally object to America’s so-called ‘values’, but to the fact that the US never adheres to them. Critics see only US unilateralism, defiance of all international laws, great wealth disparity, and increasing unjustified crackdowns and violations of civil rights. She wrote that America’s problem “was not with the brand but with the product”, and that the great and increasing international anger – and it is anger – arises “not only from the facts but also from a clear perception of false advertising”. In other words, American hypocrisy, the Utopia Syndrome I wrote of earlier. However, Americans seem oblivious to these realities and are redoubling their efforts to propagandise not only all Americans but the world.

Introduction – If America Dissolves…  https://thesaker.is/if-america-dissolves/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 1 of 5 — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 2 of 5 — The Marketing of War — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda-the-marketing-of-war/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 3 of 5 –– Democracy Control – http://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda-democracy-control/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 4 of 5 –The Transition to Education and Commerce – http://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda-the-transition-to-education-and-commerce-part-4/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 5 of 5 — Propaganda Continues Unabated — You are now here.

 


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 30 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’.

His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

*

Notes

(1) https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/5736

(2) https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/5736/text

(3) https://newswithviews.com/smith-mundt-act-of-1948-and-the-coup/

(4) https://www.rt.com/usa/smith-mundt-domestic-propaganda-121/

(5) https://jonathanturley.org/2012/05/20/how-about-some-government-propaganda-for-the-people-paid-for-the-people-being-propagandized/

(6) https://www.usatoday.com/story/nation/2013/06/27/afghanistan-propaganda-military-contractors/2463739/

(7) https://www.usatoday.com/story/nation/2013/07/08/pentagon-propaganda-post-somali/2498339/

(8) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

(9) https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/04/18/military-sock-puppets-nsa-trolls-cia-shills/

(10) https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/03/never-forget-how-the-msm-smeared-assange-notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

(11) https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/03/how-and-how-not-to-beat-a-smear-campaign/

(12) https://thegrayzone.com/2020/08/18/us-government-funded-coda-story/

(13) https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/u-s-created-cuba-twitter-sow-unrest-reports-ap

(14) https://apnews.com/article/904a9a6a1bcd46cebfc14bea2ee30fdf

(15) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/03/us-cuban-twitter-zunzuneo-stir-unrest

(16) https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated

(17) https://nypost.com/2021/01/04/ted-cruz-twitter-most-brazen-and-google-most-dangerous/

(18) https://www.serendipity.li/cda/censorship_at_wikipedia.htm

(19) https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/01/24/the-media-destroyed-america/

(20) https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Their-Own-Invented-Hollywood/dp/0385265573

(21) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/118657.An_Empire_of_Their_Own

(22) https://researchlist.blogspot.com/2011/06/jewish-ownership-of-big-media.html

(23) http://tapnewswire.com/2015/10/six-jewish-companies-control-96-of-the-worlds-media/

(24) https://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jews-in-the-media-hollywood/

(25) https://mondoweiss.net/2008/02/do-jews-dominat/

(26) https://www.latimes.com/la-bk-gore-vidal-1989-08-04-story.html

(27) Naomi Klein | The Spectacular Failure of Brand USA; https://naomiklein.org/spectacular-failure-brand-usa/

(28) http://www.pbs.org/pov/borders/2006/de_sellingamerica.html

(29) https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-mar-04-fg-beers03-story.html

(30) https://www.alternet.org/2002/03/brand_usa/

(31) https://nexus23.com/warfare2/the-rendon-group-reloaded/

(32) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Pentagon%27s_Information_Warrior

(33) https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/the-dangers-of-privatized-intelligence/

(34) https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2019/07/22/how-americans-see-problems-of-trust/

(35) https://abcnews.go.com/International/foreigners-black-people-unwelcome-parts-china-amid-covid/story?id=70182204

(36) https://www.aol.com/article/news/2020/04/11/african-nations-us-decry-racism-against-blacks-in-china/23975666/

(37) http://www.philipagee.com/

(38) https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/obituaries/10agee.html

(39) https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7021898632.pdf

(40) https://www.globalissues.org/article/163/media-in-the-united-states

(41) https://www.eurasiareview.com/22042020-america-is-sadly-in-the-grip-of-exhausted-ideas-oped/

March 12, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment