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Could a Biden Presidency Mean Return to Humanitarian Bombing of ‘Pax Obama’?

By James Tweedie – Sputnik – 25.11.2020

After the ‘America First’ foreign policy of Donald Trump – the first elected US president since Dwight Eisenhower not to start a major war – Joe Biden’s election portends a re-run of the Obama years, when the promise of peace was betrayed.

Joe Biden says his cabinet appointments show “America is back” on the world stage – but is that really a good thing?

With former vice-president Biden looking increasingly secure in his claim on the White House despite ongoing legal challenges to the election process, how will his choices for his governing team shape foreign and domestic policy?

But Biden’s presidency is already looking like an unofficial third term for Barack Obama, with a host of familiar faces packing the White House. And with many of the architects of the last Democratic president’s foreign policy back in charge, will the world see a return to the ‘Pax Obama’ of ‘humanitarian bombing’ and regime-change after four years of President Donald Trump’s America First policy?

Foreign Intervention

Antony Blinken, Biden’s designate for secretary of state, was deeply involved in Obama’s string of overseas proxy wars as deputy national security advisor and deputy secretary of state.

Blinken supported the US-led NATO bombing campaign on Libya in support of the overthrow of the Green Revolution and the murder of its leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

He also publicly justified the transfer of arms from Libya to sectarian militants attempting to overthrow the Syrian government, and was described by the Washington Post as “one of the government’s key players in drafting Syria policy” – which he frequently defended to Congress and the media, even as money weapons and recruits ended up in the arms of al-Qaeda and Daesh.

Blinken was also a point-man for Obama’s material support for the Saudi-led bombing and invasion of Yemen, which aid agencies say has caused a nationwide famine. His appointment belies Biden’s campaign-trail opposition to the Saudi war on its southern neighbour.

Speaking in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 2015, he said the bombing campaign sent a “strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force” – in reference to the sitting Yemeni government. “As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre.”​Blinken supported Israel’s 2014 bombing of the Gaza Strip and has also signalled that Biden will maintain Israeli military dominance in the Middle East. Recently he said the new administration would reverse Trump’s decision to allow the sale of Lockheed F-35 Lightning II stealth attack jets to the United Arab Emirates in a “quid pro quo” for normalising relations with Tel Aviv.

Blinken has also taken a hard line on whistle-blowers, both domestic and foreign. He has previously said that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden should return to the US from Russia and face trial, and that he wished the Obama administration could have found a way to charge Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Like Obama, Biden has promised to end the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Trump administration signed a peace accord with the Taliban and is withdrawing troops.

But Blinken said this week that could simply mean major troop deployments would be replaced by “discrete, small-scale, sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces to support local actors” – precisely the model used in Syria against the will of its government. He also repeated unfounded claims that Russia had put bounties on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan.

Biden’s appointment of Avril Haines, a lawyer like himself and running-mate Kamala Harris, as the first female Director of National Intelligence is not a good omen for human rights. As deputy director the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama, she worked with director John Brennan on the policy of “targeted killings” in drone strikes in nations with which the US was not at war.

The American Civil Liberties Union was highly critical of that policy, and cast doubt on the Obama administration’s 2015 claim that it had only killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” – as a euphemism for innocent civilians – since Obama took office in 2009. The ACLU quoted figures from journalists and human rights groups of between 200 and 1,000 civilian killing.

Haines also overruled the CIA’s inspector-general to drop charges against agents who snooped on Senate staffers working on the congressional report into the spy agency’s use of torture. She later backed Trump’s 2018 appointment of current CIA Director Gina Haspel, who had herself been accused of involvement in torture.

“This is a pretty ominous signal about what is to come” a Senate staffer told the Daily Beast. “To have the deputy CIA director touted for her record in advancing human rights and respect for the rule of law I don’t think can be adequately squared with not only her record but her deliberate choices of advocacy.”

Immigration Tsar

Biden’s homeland security secretary will be Alejandro Mayorkas, has been described as a “refugee” as his Jewish parents emigrated from socialist Cuba to the USA in 1960 when he was just a year old – which does not bode well for US relations with Latin America’s many left-wing governments.

Pro-migrant activists were quick to welcome his appointment after Trump’s four-year crackdown on illegal immigration across the southern border with Mexico that saw the fees charged by “coyotes” – human traffickers – double.

“He will not only bring critical leadership but a set of life experiences that will animate the department’s work ahead,” American Immigration Lawyers Association executive director Benjamin Johnson.

Others hoped it meant an end to detentions of illegal immigrants at the border and a strengthening of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme created by Obama in a 2012 executive order.

DACA allows those brought to the US illegally as children to apply every two years for right to remain, but does not grant citizenship. Trump sought to end the programme, saying he wanted Congress to legislate a permanent replacement, but was blocked by legal action from civil rights groups.

“We look forward to the immediate expansion of the DACA program and the dismantling of the detention and deportation machine that was created under Obama and expanded by Trump,” said immigrant legal aid charity RAICES chief advocacy officer Erika Andiola. “Leading this department will be no easy task, but we hope that as the first Latino and someone who has advocated for immigrant rights, he will change the direction of DHS once and for all.”

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , | 7 Comments

Ex-spooks again join for an anti-Trump missive, demanding Republican leaders pressure president to concede to Biden

RT | November 23, 2020

President Donald Trump has again inspired former US spy bosses and national security bureaucrats to get together for a joint letter – this time to demand that GOP leaders urge him to concede the election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump’s legal challenges to election results in several key states, more than two weeks on from media outlets declaring Biden the winner, represent “a serious threat to America’s democratic process and to our national security,” signatories to the letter said on Monday.

“It is now time for the rest of the Republican leadership to put politics aside and insist that President Trump cease his dilatory and anti-democratic efforts to undermine the result of the election and begin a smooth and orderly transition of power to President-elect Biden,” the Washington insiders said.

More than 100 former security and intelligence agency officials signed the letter. Many of the same names were on an October letter that sought – without any evidence – to dismiss reporting by the New York Post on the Biden family’s alleged influence-peddling in China and Ukraine. Team spook also came together for a collaborative letter in August to allege that Trump had “imperiled America’s security” by firing certain officials in his administration.

Much the same cast of characters highlighted the list of names on Monday’s letter, including former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden, ex-national intelligence director John Negroponte and Ronald Reagan-era FBI and CIA director William Webster.

The group apparently aims through a large number of names to carry more influence than might be achieved by individuals. Some of those individuals have credibility issues, such as Hayden, who was never held accountable for lying to Congress about the CIA torture program. Hayden also is a paid contributor for anti-Trump media outlet CNN. Negroponte was accused of supporting Contra death squads in Honduras.

More than 100 chief executives, concerned that the president’s refusal to accept the election results is hurting the U.S., plan to ask the administration on Monday to immediately acknowledge Joe Biden as the winner and begin a transfer of power. https://t.co/O8XnGPQF1j

— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 23, 2020

Mainstream media outlets in recent days have posted stories suggesting growing momentum to speak out against Trump’s election challenges, including such Republicans as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and US Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) calling on the president to quit his fight. The New York Times on Monday promoted a story about more than 100 corporate CEOs urging Trump to concede defeat to Biden.


November 23, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Video | , , | 2 Comments

Biden’s Deep State

By Steve Brown | Ron Paul Institute | November 18, 2020

Philosopher Hannah Arendt once wrote about the banality of evil, and there’s never been a more banal bunch than the foreign policy and security state crew Barak Obama surrounded himself with for eight years beside the possible exception of Bush’s own Neocons.

Now after three years screaming about “Russian collusion” it appears the Evil Empire is about to regain its lost ground, championing new wars and more interventionist expansionism with a much greater role for the US military in the world.

Let’s name names.

Pentagon

For the defense chief post, the Washington Post has portrayed the banal face of Michele Flournoy as the pick to ‘restore stability’ to the Pentagon, an entirely false assertion. Recall that Fluornoy promotes unilateral global US military intervention, and advocated the destruction of Libya in 2011. By the military-industrial revolving door, Flournoy enabled many Corporate weaponry contracts amounting to tens of millions. Likewise Fluornoy is on the Booz-Hamilton board, where the swamp cannot get any deeper. As if this wretched example of an agent-provocateur for war and destruction were not bad enough, Biden is reportedly considering Lockheed-Martin banal kingpin Jeh Johnson for the DoD position, too.

Lockheed director Johnson was employed by Rob Reiner and Atlantic editor arch-Neocon David Frum to run the Committee to Investigate Russia which mysteriously blew up as soon as the Mueller Report was released. Jeh Johnson has continued to warn of “Russian interference” in the US presidential election until now. Biden’s anointing as president-elect has ended that. As Homeland Security head, Johnson authorized cages for holding immigrant children. He also supported the assassination of General Suleimani, and has voiced support for US wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

State

From Libya to Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and beyond, the banality of evil is perhaps best personified by Susan Rice – apparently Biden’s premiere pick for Secretary. Rice was an abject failure at the United Nations, but all seems forgiven, probably at the behest of Biden’s donors. After her failure at the UN, Obama kicked Rice upstairs to be his National Security Advisor, a position that does not require Senate approval.

An obvious war hawk in the mold of the Democrat’s donor class, a Rice appointment could reinforce the liberal mantra that women can be just as good at interventionism as men, and ensure full re-establishment of the Neoliberal agenda in Washington. John Kerry has been flagged as a potential for State (again) too, but at age 77 and subsequent to the failure of the JCPOA Kerry is an unlikely pick.

Another potential pick among the banal Daughters of Darkness is Victoria Kagan-Nuland, architect of the 2014 debacle in Ukraine (among other things). Outed at State in an embarrassing act of what she called impressive statecraft and other embarrassing incidents, Nuland seems an unlikely choice. But Kagan-Nuland is as banal as banal can be, and Biden may somehow wish to reinforce his solidarity with the JTF and his donor class, on Israel.

National Security Advisor

Banality is certainly the mark of the beast here, in the form of Tony Blinken. Well in with Michele Flournoy (above) Blinken typifies the type of banality the Deep State engages in to promote its evil, with Blinken as successful as any other Deep State actor. A major hawk on Russia and war hawk in general, Blinken is an apologist for Israel. Blinken is a war hawk on Afghanistan and Syria too, and Blinken was directly involved in CIA operation Timber Sycamore. Oh, the banality.

Another model of banality is Leon CIA Panetta who so far claims that cruising the Monterey peninsula is more fun that being in Washington. But we know that’s false and Panetta would be a logical pick. Besides being a hawk on everything, and laughing about the fact he has no idea how many wars Obama’s America was fighting – because he lost count – Panetta is simply another sycophant for evil like Hannah Arendt portrayed in her study of Adolf Eichmann.

CIA

Banal of the banal is of course Mike Morell. This incredibly vacuous excuse for a human being has been hate-mongering for years. Beside his blatant pandering support for another banal and brutal warmonger – Hillary Clinton – Mike Morell is one Neoliberal who still maintains that Saddam Hussein actively aided and abetted al Qaeda with regard to the 911 attacks. But Morell simply and ultimately represents the banality of evil, just as Arendt depicted Adolf Eichmann, but in Morell’s case succinctly summarized here by Ray McGovern.

United Nations

Outing the banality of the banal would be incomplete without mentioning Jen Psaki. Although a potential pick for White House Communications Director, why not promote an accomplished liar to a venue where accomplished lying really matters?

Conclusion

There is no indication that the United States as an entrenched warfare state will ever change its course until forced to. Mr Trump was incapable of enforcing that change. Sidelined by Russiagate psychosis, as a Beltway Neophyte and his own worst enemy at times, that sank Trump’s agenda.* The actions of Mr Trump now – to end the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen — should have been undertaken in earnest and without compromise years ago. Point being that Mr Trump’s new appointments to the Pentagon – and let’s hope CIA – will hopefully blunt the efficacy of Biden’s bad actors going forward.

Regardless, characters the same or similar to the ones listed above will definitely infest Washington’s infernal Beltway cesspool once again via Joe Biden … make no mistake. …And they will be meaner and nastier than ever before! Guaranteed.

*Beside his appointment of dreadful characters like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams, apparently at the behest of his own donor class!

Follow Steve Brown on twitter @newsypaperz


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute.

November 18, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , | 9 Comments

President of Soros-Linked Voting Software Firm on Biden Transition Team – Trump Lawyers

By James Tweedie – Sputnik – 15.11.2020

Trump’s attorneys said the Smartmatic software used in the Dominion voting machines – which ‘flipped’ 6,000 votes cast for President Donald Trump to rival Joe Biden in one Michigan county alone – had ‘back doors’ allowing corrupt officials to rig elections.

US President Donald Trump’s legal team has named a retired US Navy admiral as the link between Joe Biden and the software for controversial e-voting machines.

Trump’s attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell alleged Smartmatic – whose chairman of the board, retired Admiral Peter Neffenger, is part of Joe Biden’s transition team – was at the heart of the vote-rigging in the November 3 election.

Smartmatic’s holding company is chaired by an associate of influential Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros. Neffenger is also a member of a think-tank that recently received funding from the Ukrainian firm that employed Biden’s son.

Giuliani told Fox News’ Mornings with Maria on Sunday that Smartmatic supplied the software for the Dominion Voting Systems machines that ‘glitched’ and transferred 6,000 votes cast for Trump to Democratic candidate Biden in one rural Michigan county alone.

Powell pointed out to host Maria Bartiromo that Neffenger is president of Smartmatic and also sits on its board of directors.

“It just so happens he’s on Mr Biden’s presidential transition team – which is going to be non-existent, because we’re fixing to overturn the results of the election in multiple states,” Powell said. “President Trump won by not just hundreds of thousands of votes, but by millions of votes that were shifted by this software that was designed expressly for that purpose.”

“We have sworn witness testimony of why the software was designed. It was designed to rig elections,” she added. The witness “was fully briefed on it, he saw it happen in other countries, it was exported internationally for profit by the people who are behind Smartmatic and Dominion.”

“They did this on purpose. It was calculated. They’ve done it before,” Powell said. “We have evidence from 2016 in California. We have so much evidence, I feel like it’s coming in through a fire hose.”

Powell also claimed Smartmatic paid “kickbacks” to public servants in return for lucrative state contracts. She said several whistle-blowers had come forward to say “substantial sums of money were given to family members of state officials” who bought the software.

Dominion machines were used in 28 states, including the six key battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“We’re talking hundred-million dollar packages for new voting machines, suddenly, in multiple states,” Powell said. The “benefits” to officials ranged from cash to “what I would call election insurance, because they know they can win the election if they are using that software.”

Powell said she was “livid” that successive governments had failed to act on many complaints about the hardware and software – including from senior Democrats Carolyn Maloney, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

“Which makes me wonder how much the CIA has used it for its own benefit in different places,” Powell said. She added that it was incomprehensible that Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel was still in her post, asserting: “She should be fired immediately.”

Bartiromo quoted a “senior intelligence official” as saying Smartmatic’s software has a “back door” that allows it to be “mirrored and monitored” to give an “intervening party a real-time understanding of how many votes will be needed to gain an electoral advantage.”

“I can prove that they did it in Michigan, I can prove it with witnesses,” Giuliani said. “We’re investigating the rest. In every one of those states though, we have more than enough illegal ballots, already documented, to overturn the result in that state.”

“Yes there is a back door, and we actually have proof of some of the connections to it,” Giuliani said. “Right now our cases are most developed in Pennsylvania and Michigan.”

Asked if he needed the Dominion hardware or Smartmatic software to prove his case, Giuliani said he had witnesses who “can describe the hardware in great detail,” along with government employees and others who “were there at the creation of Smartmatic. They can describe it, they can draw it, they can show it.”

“Beyond this election, this whole thing has to be examined as a national security matter,” Giuliani stressed. “The governors who gave contracts to this company never bothered to do any due diligence.”

“I can’t imagine you would give a contract to a company if you went one step further and found out it’s really being run by people that are close to [Nicolas] Maduro and [Hugo] Chávez” – the current and former Socialist presidents of Venezuela.” (see below)

Neffenger was made a ‘distinguished fellow’ at the Atlantic Council think tank after he left the US government in 2017. In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, which employed Biden’s son Hunter in controversial circumstances, donated $100,000 a year to the council from 2016 to 2018.

Smartmatic’s founder and CEO is Venezuelan Antonio Mugica, while Britain’s Lord Mark Malloch-Brown – a long-standing associate of Soros – is the chairman of Smartmatic’s London-based holding company SGO Corporation Limited.

Smartmatic equipment was used in the 2017 elections to the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly, after which Mugica turned against Maduro – contrary to Giuliani’s claim that the two are in cahoots.

Mugica admitted his software could be hacked to rig an election when he told a press conference in London that Maduro’s government had inflated the turnout by around a million. But he revealed he had failed to inform the proper authorities in Venezuela before his press conference, claiming “I guess we probably thought that the authorities would not be sympathetic to what we had to say.”

Malloch Brown was a junior minister from 2007 to 2009 in former British PM Gordon Brown’s short-lived government and has several links to Soros. He was a member of the billionaire’s advisory committee on Bosnia from 1993-94. In 2002, while working as an administrator for the United Nations Development Fund, he suggested the agency work with Soros’ Open Society Institute. In May 2007, he was hired as vice-president of Soros’s Quantum Fund but quit four months later to join the UK government.

Open Society Institute legal counsel Kenneth Anderson has also been a council member of the Human Rights Foundation – whose founder and president Thor Halvorssen is the cousin of fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Lopez was jailed in 2015 for inciting violence in the deadly 2014 Guarimba riots aimed at overthrowing Maduro’s government.

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , | 3 Comments

More on the Strange Demise of The American Herald Tribune

By Tony Hall • Unz Review • November 13, 2020

In recent days many news sites, including Unz Review, have highlighted the role of the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI and the CIA in removing web sites from the Internet. For five years I have worked as Editor in Chief of one of the targeted sites that was killed as a result of specious claims concocted by the US intelligence agencies and their media extensions. American Herald Tribune is a victim of a drive-by shooting inflicted by many of the same people seeking to impose the outcome of this presidential election. AHT is now a fallen soldier in the increasingly contentious Battle for Reality.

Initiated in 2015, AHT was made to disappear through the destructiveness of those presently vandalizing the Internet and much else besides. This modern-day version of book burning is based on a closed process where imperatives of the Empire of Deception are expressed. The imperatives of deception must be made to prevail no matter what; no matter who gets hurt or killed in the process

The destruction of the web site that I worked on with others was destroyed on the basis of a ridiculous claim from on high. American Herald Tribune was grouped together with dozens of other web sites said to form what was described as a worldwide propaganda scheme directed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is well integrated into the larger structures of the Iranian Armed Forces.

Based on a directive given in 2019 by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to US President Donald Trump, IRGC was added to the US list of terror organizations. Netanyahu thanked Trump for “responding to another important request of mine.” For one country to designate the Armed Forces of another country as “terrorists” is pretty much the same as a Declaration of War. It creates something new with no precedent or formal place in the constitutional inheritance of international law.

While it can be dangerous to say so out loud, it is well known among the attentive that the government of Israel holds seemingly unlimited sway over many aspects of US lives and US governance. The areas of Israeli and Jewish dominance include strategic communications and foreign policy.

Within this framework of power relations the dominant unfulfilled action sought by Israel First partisans is to maneuver the US Armed Forces into invading and destroying Iran. Sheldon Adelson has specifically called for the use of nukes to bomb Iran “half way into the stone age.”

The prospect of such a war, one that came very close to happening in the opening days of 2020, is one of the most destabilizing factors in global geopolitics. At its strategic nexus in the heart of Eurasia, the Islamic Republic of Iran is allied with China and Russia. Moreover Iran has its own highly sophisticated military apparatus. Many of its senior soldiers and commanders are battle hardened especially from the legacy of decade-long war with US-backed Iraq. Iran is the home of a well-educated population of Persians with a great sense of rootedness in one of the world’s most ancient and accomplished civilizations.

The assault on American Herald Tribune and other web sites was justified as a step along the lethal trajectory meant to lead to a military invasion on Iran. The US attack on web sites is better understood as part of a well orchestrated domestic attack not only on the free speech rights codified in the First Amendment but on the whole underlying essence of Constitutional governance in the beleaguered United States..

The very parties engaged in censoring the Internet and shaping it to advance their own self-interested agendas are themselves deeply implicated in perpetrating major international and domestic crimes. The pre-emptive disappearance of the American Herald Tribune is one small but telling example of a ritual of exorcism. Its dynamic includes an effort to protect the guilty from the incursions that can arise from genuine investigative journalism.

The crimes being pressed from within the US intelligence agencies are extensive, elaborate and devastating in their consequence. The role of the FBI in perpetrating and covering up crime is especially obvious. As Gareth Porter has demonstrated, the FBI was engaged at all stages in a process that disabled and eventually destroyed AHT. The destruction began with the FBI ordering the disabling of AHT first on the strategic platforms of Facebook, Instagram Twitter and Google.

On Nov. 4, just as the tsunami of dirty tricks entailed in election fraud began rolling into the American heartland, American Herald Tribune was removed altogether from the Internet. The site itself along with its archives were plunged into oblivion

It seemed that CIA skills in rigging many elections around the world are now being deployed domestically. The imperial chickens were coming home to roost. The USA is itself now the site of a George Soros-backed Color Revolution. The residue of democracy still barely alive in United Sates is thereby being flattened and killed as the media pushes aside due process to anoint “President Elect Joe Biden.”

US Department of Justice (DOJ) took the lead in justifying the purge that eliminated AHT from the mix of Internet offering. This assault on a small but symbolically significant vehicle of investigative journalism speaks of the rapid ascent of authoritarian milieu where the law-defying media cartels appointed themselves top government deciders.

The Post-Mafia Character of Organized Crime

Many of the agencies engaged in the ritual assassination of AHT are engaged in a range of operations that are taking place far outside the gamut of the rule of law. Organizations charged to counter high-level crimes are instead engaged in committing and covering up organized crime. Some of the crimes that the big US intelligence agencies are promoting rather than prohibiting include, for starters, aggressive warfare as well as drug dealing, money laundering, stock market manipulation, bribery, blackmail and fraud. This list is far from complete.

The inability of the US Justice Department to keep an incarcerated Jeffrey Epstein alive long enough to face his accusers in a trial is suggestive of many things to come. The demise of the Epstein case on the issues Mr. Epstein had come to embody points to the great power of those that traffic in the exploitation of sex slaves, including children.

It seems that one of the big payoffs in this gruesome category of crime involves the filming of influential figures having sex with children. Apparently the threat of exposing these films to public view forms one of the most reliable means for the intelligence agencies to blackmail trendsetters, opinion makers, financiers and deciders into compliance.

The systemic involvement of the big intelligence agencies in organized crime extends to the massive deceptions pressed on the public through the 24/7 dissemination of disinformation by agglomerated media cartels. These cartels have been working in concert with the tax-free and indemnified corporate monopolies presently engaged in seizing illicit control of the Internet.

The scope of the media Mafioso’s power grab is epitomized by its attempt to install Joe Biden as US President by ignoring or downplaying massive and growing evidence of widespread election fraud.

In the days leading up to the US election, Rudy Giuliani, former NY City mayor and one of the most successful prosecutors in US history, was pictured in the media busily marshalling evidence. The evidence he was amassing should be more than enough to trigger a full-fledged FBI investigation into the well-documented case swirling around the possible criminal conduct of Joe Biden’s and much of his family. A considerable amount of evidence is already on the public record. It illuminates the nature of a political career that seems deeply bound up, at the very least, with illicit influence peddling conducted by Joe Biden’s son and his brothers.

The findings of Rudolf Giuliani cannot be easily dismissed. As a federal prosecutor Giuliani succeeded in winning convictions of America’s leading mafia families. It is hard to counter Giuliani’s insistence concerning the broader implications of Hunter Biden’s escapades. Hunter’s conduct was especially significant when he was for all intents and purposes a foreign affairs emissary of the Obama-Biden White House.

Giuliani effectively makes the case that he, together with a small coterie of other experienced investigators, have already identified the broad outlines of a crime spree and a national security scandal involving the many-faceted infractions committed collectively by the racketeering members of the Biden Crime Family.

The publicity attending reports of the Laptop from Hell have helped draw attention to the Biden scandal as articulated by Giuliani and also by Steve Bannon, Senator Ron Johnson, Peter Scweitzer, Maria Bartiromo, and, for a time, by reporters at the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. The FBI is apparently holding the original hard drive of the Hunter Biden’s discarded Laptop from Hell.

Hence the receptacle of a significant part of the smoking-gun-evidence in the Biden scandal has apparently been gathering dust throughout 2020 in the office of FBI Director, Christopher Wray. This revelation has particular significance for me especially in light of the FBI cavalier removal of Internet content containing some of my best investigative work developed over a period of five years. Christopher Wray sat on the Biden laptop during the very months when his office was showering attention on the process leading to AHTs removal from cyberspace .

Who thinks that the FBI Director Wray got his priorities wrong? Who is willing to take on a federal police force possessing, no doubt, abundant surveillance files on every individual of consequence? This intrusive approach to federal policing was pioneered by J. Edgar Hoover. For almost half a century Hoover was the FBI’s notorious Director. No doubt the data-collecting capacities during Hoover’s time pale in comparison with government spying activities carried out by the post-9/11 surveillance state.

When I think of the FBI a flood of images of government malfeasance come to mind. I think, for instance, of the FBI’s involvement in the murders of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. I think of J. Edgar Hoover. I think of the farce of the FBI’s fake investigation into the 9/11 fiasco under the auspices of FBI Director Robert Mueller.

In 2017 Mueller returned to his role as a master of the FBI propensity to cover the tracks of high-ranking criminals. Mueller was brought in to clean up the mess created by the Clinton-Obama losers after they handed over the keys to the White House to the new Donald Trump administration.

The departing oligarchs acted on the principle that the best defence is a good offence. Donald Trump, it turned out, did not dare as he had promised to set in motion the jailing of Hillary Clinton. Instead Donald Trump was subjected to the Russiagate deception, a prelude to the current Irangate deception. A telling symbol of the Irangate deception is the FBI’s knife in the back of AHT.

When I think of the effort to undermine all possible platforms for aggressive investigative journalism, I am reminded of probable FBI-CIA collaboration in the murder of perennial truth teller, John Lennon. I think of the FBI’s role in the police killing in 1969 of the Black Panther activist Fred Hampton and of the FBI’s direct assassination of Lavoy Finicum in 2016.

Finicum was a rancher and an outspoken critic of the federal role in land management in the western US. Like Hampton, Finicum was a gifted speaker with a talent for widening the discussion from the grievances of particular groups to the grievances shared by people in general. Both Hampton and Finicum were victims of governmental homicide aimed at killing the messengers of popular discontent.

During the university winter break in 2016 I drove from my home in Lethbridge Alberta to investigate in Oregon the murder of Finicum as well as popular responses to it. In the course of my research I tried to visit the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, federal land that had been occupied in the protest movement led by Finicum, the Bundies and other members of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedoms.

As I approached the site of the Malheur protest I was stopped at a roadblock. I was suddenly confronted by about 6 machinegun-wielding officials all wearing overalls with the FBI crests. I was patted down and threatened and instructed in no uncertain terms to turn around and head back to where I had come from.

I wrote about the whole experience at some length as part of the process of taking on my new responsibilities as Editor in Chief of American Herald Tribune. Because of the FBI’s recent assault on AHT, the articles explaining my encounter in 2016 with FBI officials are no longer readily accessible. Some digital fragments of my writing on the Finicum affair survive here and there.

My point is not that the FBI helped to assassinate AHT in order to hide the FBI’s own crimes and misdemeanors. My point is that this federal police force has a history of committing crimes and covering up crimes so that the FBI is no longer a credible instrument of law enforcement. The history of FBI crimes via COINTELPRO that have been directed at, for instance, the peace movement, the American Indian Movement, the Black Panthers, the civil rights movement, the environment movement, and the Nation of Islam.

There are some very dark sides to the history of undercover assaults by the FBI and its accomplices on people and organizations pressing for needed changes to existing social, economic and political orders. The protesters in Black Lives Matter need to take seriously the politics of their siding with some of the primary opponents of the very principles they claim to be advancing in 2020. As always, its important to follow the large sums of money that are helping to fuel the sometimes violent BLM and Antifa actions.

The attack on AHT is quite well aligned with the FBI’s history of seeking the repression of progressive movements. The FBI is a failing federal police agency that should indeed be defunded. The FBI should be replaced with another entity designed to reflect the findings of an investigation into federal policing, an investigation that is long past due.

The Seeds of American Herald Tribune

I have never made any secret of the fact that I have visited Iran several times in the last six years. One of these visits arose from my agreement to deliver an invited paper at a history conference at the University of Tehran. I also attended an event in the Iranian Parliament where Muslim solidarity was expressed by many delegations including many that represented national governments. The shared cause that brought us together was justice for the Palestinians. My other visits involved attendance at New Horizon Conferences.

The most recent New Horizon conference took place in Beirut in the autumn of 2019. Invited US delegates including Dr. Philip Giraldi and Dr. Kevin Barrett. They were threatened by FBI officers promising harsh consequences if they attended the Beirut gathering.

My initial participation in a New Horizon conference took place in 2014. I was one of about 60 foreign delegates invited from throughout North America and Europe. The delegates included Pepe Escobar, Medea Benjamin, Ken O’Keefe, Imran Hussein, Thierry Meyssan, and Wayne Madsen.

One of the featured speakers was Gareth Porter. Dr. Porter introduced his book, Manufactured Crisis, where he exposed the errors in much US and Israeli alarmism concerning Iran’s nuclear energy program.

As I would later realize, the New Horizon conference of 2014 can be seen as a part of the political negotiations that would culminate in 2015 in the agreement of Iran with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. The aim of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was intended to enable the Iranian government to continue with its nuclear energy program with international monitoring.

Another aspect of the deal involved some reduction in economic sanctions imposed on the basis of the international power derived from the Federal Reserve banking system headquartered on Wall Street. To get a deal, US President Barak Obama had to invest considerable political capital in what could be seen as a move aimed at normalizing relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

When President Donald J. Trump came to power he very publicly renounced the deal on behalf of the US government. Much to the pleasure of the Israeli government, the resulting deterioration in US-Iran relations has become more and more severe right up to the present.

The whole experience of being part of a very significant event in Tehran was for me something of a revelation with many layers of meaning. As my time in Tehran passed I could see in my mind’s eye a melting away of media-generated caricatures embodied in popular stereotypes of the most demonized country on earth.

The agenda of the 2014 New Horizon conference included some very lively academic sessions. The exchanges among colleagues caused me to become more aware of subtle prohibitions on free speech in North America. I witnessed how the delegates in Tehran were able to converse on some contentious issues in a relaxed and poised way. I reflected on the irony of how difficult it would be to replicate this quality of open debate in academic conferences in North America.

As I ingested the basics of what was to me a new discourse, it seemed I had entered the vortex of very profound antagonisms between Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran. I could sense that these antagonisms were reverberating far beyond the region. Prototypes and patterns were being set that help shape many facets of international relations.

In the process of returning from Tehran to Lethbridge I saw from computer searches conducted in airports various versions of a much-mirrored report conveying unflattering things about the New Horizon conference. The same story was replicated across many influential venues.

The highlighted story featured angry condemnations hurled aggressively by Abe Foxman, then National Director of Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Foxman described the whole conference as a hate fest of anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers and 9/11 truthers.

Seeing this combination of weaponized phrases alerted me to how such terms can be combined to compound the harshness of defamatory smears. To be accused of any one of the ADL’s condemnations implied that the whole set of accusations applied to the entire conference and to every delegate who took part.

This crash course in the techniques of Israel First propaganda extended to shocking illustrations meant to indicate what the conference was supposedly all about. Accompanying text presenting hostile commentary on the New Horizon event I saw published images of angry demonstrators burning the Israeli flag. No such demonstration took place. But adherence to the truth of what did or didn’t happen has not been a priority for the authors of a smear campaign the likes of which I had never seen, let alone experienced up until that point

As I settled back into my usual routine in Canada I resolved to look more deeply into a research problem that had come into greater focus during my time in Iran. Since 1982 the academic focus of my research, publication, and teaching was centered on studying encounters between Indigenous peoples and the societies of the colonizing newcomers they encountered.

Over time I worked on expanding this study from Canada to North America and then to the Western Hemisphere. A reasonable extension of this approach, I determined, would be to expand this trajectory of study to the treatment of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine by the Zionist founders and builders of Israel.

A major thread of continuity in this study linking US and Israeli history was the Calvinist views of New England founder’s who saw themselves as God’s Chosen people, as Israelites seeking to establish a New Jerusalem. This vision of Manifest Destiny runs from the creation of New England to the transcontinental expansion of the United States to the US-backed expansion of Israeli settlements eastward to the West Bank and beyond.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky is the founder of revisionist Zionism, the version of imperial Zionism that today dominates the Israeli Knesset. In developing his vision of Greater Israel, or Eretz Israel, Jabotinsky drew heavily on his reading of US expansion into Indian Country. He provided the essential metaphor of the “Iron Wall” as the essential condition for Israeli security and for the Jewish state’s acquisition of new territory. Military force, not compromises and reciprocity with Indigenous peoples, was to provide the basis of the Iron Wall on the moving frontiers of the Jewish state.

The Life and Times of American Herald Tribune

In the months following my return to Canada I engaged in E-mail exchanges with a thoughtful Iranian graduate student who reached out to me based on what he saw at the New Horizon conference. Out of that exchange emerged the idea of the American Herald Tribune, a project we worked on together over a five-year period. During most of those years Donald Trump has been US President who adopted the specious 9/11 narrative and as well as the caricature of Iran as a country of ruthless terrorists.

The Zionist design to poison the minds of Westerners against the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been unrelenting especially since 2001. In the days following the 9/11 debacle, recall that George W. Bush characterized Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as members of“the axis of evil.”

After 9/11 the Israel First architects of the Global War on Terror were especially fast and zealous to pin the label of “terrorist” on the Palestinians and Iranians. After the New Horizon conference in Beirut in 2019 I addressed the meme of Israeliocentric allegation that Iran is the world’s biggest exporter of terrorism.

The misrepresentation of of 9/11 and many subsequent false flag terror events was systematically deployed to pave the way for the invasion of several Muslim-majority countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

These invasions were deemed acceptable in the West because of the toxification of the mental environment with poisonous inducements in popular culture to fear all Arabs and Muslims as potential jihadists. The result has been elevated levels of Arabophobia and Islamophobia. The Zionist Lobby worked especially hard, however, to stimulate attitudes of Iranophobia,

Iranophobia can flourish in societies where most people have very little knowledge of Iran and its deep Persian heritage. This ignorance of Iran is not inadvertent. Only very rarely do we see Iranians loyal to Iran’s present government invited to represent their country in the Western media. Increasingly the rule seems to be that Iran can only be spoken about by lobbyists actively promoting aggressive war against the Islamic Republic. There seems to be no room in the media for Iranians to represent their own country on their own terms. Nor is there room for proponents of peace with Iran to counter the messages of the war hawks.

My Iranian colleague and I have since 2015 worked together to build up American Herald Tribune. I was surprised myself by the growth of a large constituency of authors from around the world who became enthusiastic to contribute on a wide array of subjects. Initially some of the authors were paid small amounts and many contributors receive no recompense at all.

Some of the published pieces were contributions written especially for AHT and some of the items were mirrored from other sites. Some of the authors are experienced and well known and some of the authors were neophytes submitting their first attempts at journalism. All in all AHT became very multinational and international in character with a fairly frequent focus on West Asia and Eurasia.

In recent years whatever amounts of money were originally available apparently dried up. Like many Internet initiatives, the AHT project was by and large a labor of love, not a money-making enterprise. I made a point of contributing my modest talents and services for free. I did not seek and I was not offered any material gain. In my role as Editor in Chief I would intervene from time to time to sort out various contentions.

The subject of homosexuality, for instance, generated contrasting treatments by AHT contributors Miko Peled and Gearoid O’Colmain. My advice was not to pick sides but to publish the different perspectives of both commentators. The decision was not well received by some. AHTs then-regular columnist, George Galloway, for instance, chose to withdraw from AHT because of how we handled this matter.

While AHT had developed over time a genuinely international personality, the project continued to hold my interest largely because of my desire to promote the ideals of peace over the contentions of war. As part of this commitment I have become an advocate in Canada of the resumption of normal diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Israel First sycophant, Canadian PM Stephen Harper, had unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012. Justin Trudeau has promised to restore diplomatic relations but has failed to do so.

I have intervened against interventions by B’nai Brith Canada and its MEK partners to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the IRGC, as a terrorist organization. I my view, President Trump made a big mistake when he gave into Netanyahu’s demand to designate the Armed Forces of a sovereign government as a terrorist organization. If that approach was to catch on, how many peoples in the world would have good reason to designate the US Armed Forces as a terrorist organization?

I completely reject as absurd any notion that AHT is a venue somehow operated by the IRGC as part of a worldwide Iranian influence network. That hallucination is the product of the kind of twisted thinking that tends to develop in those whose perceptions have been distorted by too much war game strategizing. As for me, I am comfortable in my skin as an advocate of peace who makes a point of getting in the way of the intrigues of war mongers.

I took on the war mongers, for instance, at CNN and the Washington Post when earlier this years they both published articles aimed at stigmatizing AHT as a crude instrument of Iranian propaganda. My two responses originally published at AHT have been made to disappear. The articles, however, were picked up by other sources where they can still be found.

As I wrote in AHTs response to the Washington Posts smear of the targeted venue,

I proudly affirm that AHT is opposed to any US-led war with Iran. For those seeking to avoid the scourge of war, the pursuit of peace obviously favors dialogue and exchange rather than animosity and sword-rattling. AHT intends to continue favoring dialogue and exchange.

In answering the criticisms of CNN and WaPo, I was very much aware that I was responding to two media venues well known for their close relations with the US intelligence establishment but especially the CIA. While CNN was not established until 1980, both venues extend into contemporary times the older heritage of Operation Mockingbird, the mother lode of CIA-engineered propaganda establishing much of the narrative of the US-led side in the Cold War. CIA operatives and assets continue to be well represented within the staffs of many big media venues.

The Washington Posts essay on AHT was written as an account of the decision of the newspaper’s Iranophobic Editorial Board. I accused this Board of

… rattling off jargon paraphrasing a deeply flawed study that provides no evidence whatsoever for the extravagant claims being irresponsibly asserted.

The basis for the Washington Post’s claim goes back to a glossy document put together in Milpitas California by an organization named Fire Eye. Fire Eye’s CEO is Kevin Mandia who cryptically describes his company’s specialty as the defense against “cyberattacks.”

The title of the Fire Eye report is Suspected Iranian Influence Operation: Leveraging Inauthentic News Sites and Social Media Aimed at U.S., U.K., Other Audiences. No specific individuals have permitted their names to appear as authors. Thus no one takes specific responsibility for the report’s contents, an understandable absence given the shoddy quality of the study.

There is absolutely no information given about the funders of the report. Why? What is there to hide? Did CNN or the Washington Post or a subsidiary company help fund the study? Did the Israeli or US government pay the piper? The question of the sponsorship of such an investigation is crucial to an assessment of its credibility. Everything points to the fact that there is apparently much about the origins and genesis of this mysterious study that is being kept under lock and key.

There is no clear explanation or justification of the methodology used. There are no specific references to other studies of a similar nature except for vague references to the Democratic Party’s hunt for Russian influences on US politics. There are no scholarly references nor is there a bibliography.

I did not see anywhere in the anonymously authored document a single reference to American Herald Tribune. Not one. Instead the report is organized as individual studies devoting a few pages including screen shots to several sites. These sites are Liberty Front Press, US Journal, Real Progressive Front, British Left, Critics Chronicle and Instituto Manquehue. Before doing research for this essay I had not heard of any of these sites. When I looked them up on Internet search engines, I found in several places adjacent to the named sites results linking to the Fire Eye document.

Propaganda Directed at Iran and Iranians: Prof. Marandi Speaks

The allegations from the US intelligence agencies and their extensions in mainstream media devote enormous attention to what they see as inward-flowing propaganda from Russia and Iran. Those that make this case, however, fail to consider the reverse of what they are arguing. Very concerted efforts are being mounted to bring via media venues foreign influences into the formulation of the attitudes and behaviour of Iranians in Iran. Double standards are in effect. Iranians are being flooded with alien propaganda while any Iranian influence in US media is treated as necessarily evil and illegitimate.

Earlier this year by Professor Seyed Mohammed Marandi provided a very telling account of this inundation of Iran with hostile propaganda from the United States and Britain. Prof. Marandi was interviewed by Anya Parampilaya on Max Blumenthall’s social media operation, the Grayzone. Prof. Marandi did his Ph.D at the University of Birmingham. He is currently Professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran.

Prof. Marandi explained that tens of TV networks including BBC Persia broadcast into his country programming that often is rife with hostile depictions of Iranian society and government. With significant backing from US, Israeli and European sources, some of this propaganda is produced by MEK, an organization that joined with the Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq’s war with Iran during the 1980s.

MEK is known to have assassinated Iranian scientists. The MEK organization is widely perceived within Iran as a terrorist group supported by some Iranians who wish for a return to a regime similar to that of the Shah of Iran.

Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Shah was an instrument of Iran’s friendly integration with the West. Many saw the Shah as a puppet of US, British and Israeli interests.

As the primary source of oil for Royal Navy, Iran had played a crucial role in the history of the British empire throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The cycles of history that have made Iran a site of contention in global affairs gained momentum in 1953. The CIA and British intelligence interests organized a coup to fend off a bid to nationalize Iranian oil supplies. That hostile intervention by the West continues to reverberate across generations right up to present times.

Prof. Marandi explained that much of Farsi (Persian) language propaganda material emanating from foreign sources is engineered to instigate anti-Arab prejudices. Alternatively, much of the Arab-language propaganda generated by the Western-aligned monarchies in the Persian Gulf region is directed at engendering anti-Iranian, anti-Persian prejudices.

The interview with Prof. Marandi took place in the wake of the decision of Facebook and other social media to deplatform him. Prior to 2020 this Iranian academic was a frequent guest on many mainstream media outlets in the US, Great Britain and Australia. The effort to block Iranian perspectives in Western media hardened, however, after an unprovoked and lethal US drone attack in Baghdad that started the process of making 2020 a year like no other.

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Biden state media appointee advocated using propaganda against Americans and ‘rethinking’ First Amendment

By Ben Norton · The Grayzone · November 11, 2020

Richard Stengel, the top state media appointee for US President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, has enthusiastically defended the use of propaganda against Americans.

“My old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandist,” Stengel said in 2018. “I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population. And I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”

Richard “Rick” Stengel was the longest serving under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in US history.

At the State Department under President Barack Obama, Stengel boasted that he “started the only entity in government, non-classified entity, that combated Russian disinformation.” That institution was known as the Global Engagement Center, and it amounted to a massive vehicle for advancing US government propaganda around the world.

A committed crusader in what he openly describes as a global “information war,” Stengel has proudly proclaimed his dedication to the careful management of the public’s access to information.

Stengel outlined his worldview in a book he published this June, entitled “Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It.”

Stengel has proposed “rethinking” the First Amendment that guarantees the freedom of speech and press. In 2018, he stated, “Having once been almost a First Amendment absolutist, I have really moved my position on it, because I just think for practical reasons in society, we have to kind of rethink some of those things.”

The Biden transition team’s selection of a censorial infowarrior for its top state media position comes as a concerted suppression campaign takes hold on social media. The wave of online censorship has been overseen by US intelligence agencies, the State Department, and Silicon Valley corporations that maintain multibillion-dollar contracts with the US government.

As the state-backed censorship dragnet expands, independent media outlets increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs. In the past year, social media platforms have purged hundreds of accounts of foreign news publications, journalists, activists, and government officials from countries targeted by the United States for regime change.

Stengel’s appointment appears to be the clearest signal of a coming escalation by the Biden administration of the censorship and suppression of online media that is seen to threaten US imperatives abroad.

Richard Stengel MSNBC Russia propaganda censorship Biden

From Obama admin’s “chief propagandist” to Russiagate-peddling MSNBC pundit

Before being appointed as the US State Department’s “chief propagandist” in 2013, Richard Stengel was a managing editor of TIME Magazine.

In the Obama administration, Stengel not only created the Global Engagement Center propaganda vehicle; he also boasted that he “led the creation of English for All, a government-wide effort to promote the teaching of English around the world.”

After leaving the State Department in 2016, Stengel became a strategic advisor to Snap Inc., the company that runs the social media apps Snapchat and Bitmoji.

Stengel also found time for a fellowship at the Atlantic Council, a think tank closely linked to NATO and the Biden camp which has received funding from the US government, Britain, the European Union, and NATO itself, along with a host of Western weapons manufacturers, fossil fuel corporations, Gulf monarchies, and Big Tech juggernauts.

Stengel worked closely with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a dubious organization that has fueled efforts to censor independent media outlets in the name of fighting “disinformation.”

But Stengel is perhaps most well known as a regular political analyst on MSNBC in the Donald Trump era. On the network, he fueled Russiagate conspiracy theories, portraying the Republican president as a useful idiot of Russia and claiming Trump had a “one-sided bromance” with Vladimir Putin.

Stengel left MSNBC this November to join Biden’s presidential transition. The campaign announced that he was tapped to lead the Biden-Harris agency review team for the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

USAGM is a state media propaganda organization that has its origins in a Cold War vehicle created by the CIA to spread disinformation against the Soviet Union and communist China. (The agency was previously called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or BBG, until it rebranded in 2018.)

USAGM states on its website that its most important mission is to “Be consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States.”

An agency shakeup this year produced revelations that USAGM provided clandestine assistance to separatist activists during the protests that consumed Hong Kong in 2019. The program earmarked secure communications assistance for protesters and $2 million in “rapid response” payouts for anti-China activists.

Richard Stengel’s “obsessive” crusade against Russian “disinformation”

When Richard Stengel referred to himself as the State Department’s “chief propagandist,” advocated the use of propaganda against the American people, and proposed to “rethink” the First Amendment, he was participating in a May 3, 2018 panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

During the CFR event, titled “Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News,” Stengel hyped up the threat of supposed “Russian disinformation,” a vague term that is increasingly used as an empty signifier for any narrative that offends the sensibilities of Washington’s foreign policy establishment.

Stengel stated that he was “obsessed with” fighting “disinformation,” and made it clear he has a particular obsession with Moscow, accusing “the Russians” of engaging in “full spectrum” disinformation.

Joining him on stage was political scientist Kelly M. Greenhill, who mourned that alternative media platforms publish “things that seem like they could be true… that’s the sphere where it’s particularly difficult to debunk them… it’s this gray region, this gray zone, where it’s not traditional disinformation, but a combination of misinformation and play on rumors, conspiracy theories, sort of gray propaganda, that’s where I think the nub or the crux of the problem lies.”

Stengel approved, adding, “By the way those terms, the gray zone, are all from Russian active measures, that they’ve been doing for a million years.”

The panelists made no effort to hide their disdain for independent and foreign media outlets. Stengel stated clearly that a “news cartel” of mainstream corporate media outlets had long dominated US society, but he bemoaned that those “cartels don’t have hegemony like they used to.”

Stengel made it clear that his mission is to counter the alternative perspectives given a voice by foreign media platforms that challenge the US-dominated media landscape.

“The bad actors use journalistic objectivity against us. And the Russians in particular are smart about this,” Stengel grumbled.

He singled out Russia’s state-funded media network, RT, lamenting that “Vladimir Putin, when they launched Russia Today, said it was an antidote to the American English hegemony over the world media system. That’s how people saw it.”

Ben Decker, a research fellow at the Misinformation Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, lamented that “RT is invading every weekly finance media space.”

But Decker was cheered by the proliferation of US oligarchs committed to retaking control of the narrative. “In America and across the world,” he stated, “the donor community is very eager to address this problem, and very eager to work with communities of researchers, academics, journalists, etc. to target this problem.”

“I think that there is an appetite to solve this from the top down,” he continued, urging the many academics in the audience “to apply for grant money” in order to fight this Russian “disinformation.”

The CFR panel culminated with an African audience member rising from the crowd and confronting Stengel: “Because what is happening in America is what the United States flipped on the Global South and in the Third World, which we lived with, for many, many years, in terms of a master narrative that was and still is propaganda,” the man declared.

Rather than respond, Stengel rudely ignored the question and made his way hurriedly for the exit: “You know what, I hate last questions. Don’t you? I never, I usually just want to end something before the last question.”

The video of the revealing confrontation caused such a furor that CFR’s YouTube account disabled comments and made the video unlisted. It cannot be found in a search on Google or YouTube; it can only be found with the direct link.

The video of the full discussion is embedded below:

November 13, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

President Trump, Release the JFK Files

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | November 12, 2020

With President Trump’s critics decrying his lack of respect for America’s democratic system by his refusal to concede to Joe Biden, now would be a good time to remind such critics of one dark-side aspect of America’s much-vaunted democratic system—the national-security’s state’s violent regime-change operation in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Oh, yes, I know the standard response of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA and its ardent supporters in the Washington, D.C., establishment and the mainstream press. They immediately cry “Conspiracy theory!” whenever anyone points to that particular regime-change operation.

Mind you, they don’t cry “Conspiracy theory!” when one brings up other anti-democratic regime-change operations on both sides of the Kennedy one — Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Congo 1961, and Chile 1973. It’s only with the Kennedy regime-change operation that they cry “Conspiracy theory!”

From the beginning, the official story has been that a lone-nut communist ex-U.S. Marine, with no apparent motive, assassinated the president. Nothing to see here, folks, time to move on — U.S, officials said. Just a plain old ordinary murder case.

Really? Then why was the entire episode shrouded in national-security secrecy from the very moment that Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital? If it was just a matter of a random lone-nut, communist ex-U.S.Marine killing a president, what the heck does “national security” have to do with it? Why all the secrecy?

Indeed, why the need for a Secret Service team to force its way out of Parkland Hospital with the president’s body to prevent an autopsy from being conducted by Dallas County medical examiner? That Secret Service team, which said it was operating under orders, knew that Texas law required the autopsy to be conducted by the medical examiner.

Why deliver the president’s body into the hands of the military for the autopsy? The mainstream press has always held that that was normal. Really? I thought this was a democratic government, not a military one.

What about those enlisted men who came forward in the late 1970s telling how they had sneaked the president’s body into the Bethesda morgue at 6:35 p.m., almost an hour and a half before the official entry time of 8 p.m.? Why had they all been sworn to secrecy just after the conclusion of the autopsy?

What about Marine Sergeant Roger Boyajian, who was discovered by the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s? Why did the military keep him secret for 30 years? He told the ARRB that he was in charge of the team that carried in the president’s body at 6:35 p.m. in a cheap, military-style shipping casket rather than the expensive, ornate casket into which it had been placed in Dallas. He even handed the ARRB a copy of his official report to the military that he wrote at the time of the event. That military had never disclosed that report to the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the ARRB, or anyone else. They kept it secret the whole time. Why?

What about Saundra Spencer, the Navy petty officer in charge of the White House lab at the Naval Photographic Center in Washington. She told the ARRB in the 1990s that she had developed the autopsy photographs of President Kennedy’s body. She also had been sworn to secrecy. Given that she was participating in a top-secret, classified operation, she had kept her secret for some 30 years. She told the ARRB in the 1990s that the official photographs of the Kennedy autopsy are not the ones she photographed, which suggested two separate sets of autopsy photographs, one genuine and one deceptive.

What about Col. Pierre Finck’s testimony in the Clay Shaw trial in New Orleans in the late 1970s? He was one of the three autopsy physicians? He said that Admiral James Humes, who was another of the autopsy physicians, telephoned him at 8 p.m. on the night of the assassination to seek his help with the autopsy. He said that Humes told him that they already had x-rays of the president’s head. But 8 p.m. was also the official introduction of the president’s body into the Bethesda morgue. How could they already have x-rays of the president’s head, unless what those enlisted men said about the early secret introduction of the body into the morgue at 6:35 p.m.?

Finck also testified that the reason he didn’t “dissect” the president’s neck wound was that someone in authority ordered him not to. Who was that person? Finck said he couldn’t remember his identity. To this day, we don’t know who that person was, but clearly there was a powerful, darker, deep-state force in charge of autopsy operations at the Bethesda morgue that evening.

The time has come for America to accept its national-security state regime-change legacy, including anti-anti-democratic regime changes, not only in overseas countries like Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Cuba, Chile, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but also right here in the United States.

It’s time to release all of the official assassination records of the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, and all other federal agencies. The national-security rationale for continued secrecy is ludicrous and baseless. The only reason for continued secrecy is that the national-security establishment knows that the records will fill in more pieces to its November 22, 1963, regime-change operation.

In the 1990s, the JFK Records Collection Act gave federal agencies another 25 years to release their assassination-related records, based on the ridiculous claim of “national security.” That period of time expired early in Trump’s administration. After promising to release the files, Trump surrendered to the CIA’s demands for more secrecy, extending the time for secrecy until October 2021.

But we all know what’s going to happen in 2021. The CIA is going to tell President (sic) Biden that national security requires more years of secrecy and Biden is going to defer to the CIA.

Time’s up. Amidst all the hoopla over whether Trump is behaving disrespectfully of America’s democratic system, how about ordering the release of the estimated 15,000 records of the CIA and the federal agencies that are still being kept secret from the American people? After all, it’s pretty hard to reconcile regime-change and cover up with America’s much-vaunted democratic system, isn’t it?

President Trump — Do the right thing. Order the National Archives to release those long-secret assassination records to the American people now. Who cares if the CIA, the Pentagon, and other federal agencies get upset?

November 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

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

By Glenn Greenwald | November 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US – UK Intel Agencies Declare Cyber War on Independent Media

By Whitney Webb | Unlimited Hangout | November 11, 2020

In just the past week, the national-security states of the United States and United Kingdom have discreetly let it be known that the cyber tools and online tactics previously designed for use in the post-9/11 “war on terror” are now being repurposed for use against information sources promoting “vaccine hesitancy” and information related to Covid-19 that runs counter to their state narratives.

A new cyber offensive was launched on Monday by the UK’s signal intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which seeks to target websites that publish content deemed to be “propaganda” that raises concerns regarding state-sponsored Covid-19 vaccine development and the multi-national pharmaceutical corporations involved.

Similar efforts are underway in the United States, with the US military recently funding a CIA-backed firm—stuffed with former counterterrorism officials who were behind the occupation of Iraq and the rise of the so-called Islamic State—to develop an AI algorithm aimed specifically at new websites promoting “suspected” disinformation related to the Covid-19 crisis and the US military–led Covid-19 vaccination effort known as Operation Warp Speed.

Both countries are preparing to silence independent journalists who raise legitimate concerns over pharmaceutical industry corruption or the extreme secrecy surrounding state-sponsored Covid-19 vaccination efforts, now that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate is slated to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by month’s end.

Pfizer’s history of being fined billions for illegal marketing and for bribing government officials to help them cover up an illegal drug trial that killed eleven children (among other crimes) has gone unmentioned by most mass media outlets, which instead have celebrated the apparently imminent approval of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine without questioning the company’s history or that the mRNA technology used in the vaccine has sped through normal safety trial protocols and has never been approved for human use. Also unmentioned is that the head of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Patrizia Cavazzoni, is the former Pfizer vice president for product safety who covered up the connection of one of its products to birth defects.

Essentially, the power of the state is being wielded like never before to police online speech and to deplatform news websites to protect the interests of powerful corporations like Pfizer and other scandal-ridden pharmaceutical giants as well as the interests of the US and UK national-security states, which themselves are intimately involved in the Covid-19 vaccination endeavor.

UK Intelligence’s New Cyberwar Targeting “Anti-Vaccine Propaganda”

On Monday, the UK newspaper The Times reported that the UK’s GCHQ “has begun an offensive cyber-operation to disrupt anti-vaccine propaganda being spread by hostile states” and “is using a toolkit developed to tackle disinformation and recruitment material peddled by Islamic State” to do so. In addition, the UK government has ordered the British military’s 77th Brigade, which specializes in “information warfare,” to launch an online campaign to counter “deceptive narratives” about Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

The newly announced GCHQ “cyber war” will not only take down “anti-vaccine propaganda” but will also seek to “disrupt the operations of the cyberactors responsible for it, including encrypting their data so they cannot access it and blocking their communications with each other.”  The effort will also involve GCHQ reaching out to other countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance (US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) to alert their partner agencies in those countries to target such “propaganda” sites hosted within their borders.

The Times stated that “the government regards tackling false information about inoculation as a rising priority as the prospect of a reliable vaccine against the coronavirus draws closer,” suggesting that efforts will continue to ramp up as a vaccine candidate gets closer to approval.

It seems that, from the perspective of the UK national-security state, those who question corruption in the pharmaceutical industry and its possible impact on the leading experimental Covid-19 vaccine candidates (all of which use experimental vaccine technologies that have never before been approved for human use) should be targeted with tools originally designed to combat terrorist propaganda.

While The Times asserted that the effort would target content “that originated only from state adversaries” and would not target the sites of “ordinary citizens,” the newspaper suggested that the effort would rely on the US government for determining whether or not a site is part of a “foreign disinformation” operation.

This is highly troubling given that the US recently seized the domains of many sites, including the American Herald Tribune, which it erroneously labeled as “Iranian propaganda,” despite its editor in chief, Anthony Hall, being based in Canada. The US government made this claim about the American Herald Tribune after the cybersecurity firm FireEye, a US government contractor, stated that it had “moderate confidence” that the site had been “founded in Iran.”

In addition, the fact that GCHQ has alleged that most of the sites it plans to target are “linked to Moscow” gives further cause for concern given that the UK government was caught funding the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative, which falsely labeled critics of the UK government’s actions as well as its narratives with respect to the Syria conflict as being related to “Russian disinformation” campaigns.

Given this precedent, it is certainly plausible that GCHQ could take the word of either an allied government, a government contractor, or perhaps even an allied media organization such as Bellingcat or the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab that a given site is “foreign propaganda” in order to launch a cyber offensive against it. Such concerns are only amplified when one of the main government sources for The Times article bluntly stated that “GCHQ has been told to take out antivaxers [sic] online and on social media. There are ways they have used to monitor and disrupt terrorist propaganda,” which suggests that the targets of GCHQ’s new cyber war will, in fact, be determined by the content itself rather than their suspected “foreign” origin. The “foreign” aspect instead appears to be a means of evading the prohibition in GCHQ’s operational mandate on targeting the speech or websites of ordinary citizens.

This larger pivot toward treating alleged “anti-vaxxers” as “national security threats” has been ongoing for much of this year, spearheaded in part by Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the UK-based Center for Countering Digital Hate, a member of the UK government’s Steering Committee on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force, which is part of the UK government’s Commission for Countering Extremism.

Ahmed told the UK newspaper The Independent in July that “I would go beyond calling anti-vaxxers conspiracy theorists to say they are an extremist group that pose a national security risk.” He then stated that “once someone has been exposed to one type of conspiracy it’s easy to lead them down a path where they embrace more radical world views that can lead to violent extremism,” thereby implying that “anti-vaxxers” might engage in acts of violent extremism. Among the websites cited by Ahmed’s organization as promoting such “extremism” that poses a “national security risk” were Children’s Health Defense, the National Vaccine Information Center, Informed Consent Action Network, and Mercola.com, among others.

Similarly, a think tank tied to US intelligence—whose GCHQ equivalent, the National Security Agency, will take part in the newly announced “cyber war”—argued in a research paper published just months before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis that “the US ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement would pose a threat to national security in the event of a ‘pandemic with a novel organism.’”

InfraGard, “a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and members of the private sector,” warned in the paper published last June that “the US anti-vaccine movement would also be connected with ‘social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns’ orchestrated by the Russian government,” as cited by The Guardian. The InfraGard paper further claimed that prominent “anti-vaxxers” are aligned “with other conspiracy movements including the far right . . . and social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns by many foreign and domestic actors. Included among these actors is the Internet Research Agency, the Russian government–aligned organization.”

An article published just last month by the Washington Post argued that “vaccine hesitancy is mixing with coronavirus denial and merging with far-right American conspiracy theories, including Qanon,” which the FBI named a potential domestic terror threat last year. The article quoted Peter Hotez, dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, as saying “The US anti-vaccination movement is globalizing and it’s going toward more-extremist tendencies.”

Simone Warstat attends a rally against a legislative bill to make it more difficult for parents to opt out for non-medical reasons to immunize their children, June 7, 2020, in Denver Colorado.

It is worth pointing out that many so-called “anti-vaxxers” are actually critics of the pharmaceutical industry and are not necessarily opposed to vaccines in and of themselves, making the labels “anti-vaxxer” and “anti-vaccine” misleading. Given that many pharmaceutical giants involved in making Covid-19 vaccines donate heavily to politicians in both countries and have been involved in numerous safety scandals, using state intelligence agencies to wage cyber war against sites that investigate such concerns is not only troubling for the future of journalism but it suggests that the UK is taking a dangerous leap toward becoming a country that uses its state powers to treat the enemies of corporations as enemies of the state.

The CIA-Backed Firm “Weaponizing Truth” with AI

In early October, the US Air Force and US Special Operations Command announced that they had awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the US-based “machine intelligence” company Primer. Per the press release, “Primer will develop the first-ever machine learning platform to automatically identify and assess suspected disinformation [emphasis added]. Primer will also enhance its natural language processing platform to automatically analyze tactical events to provide commanders with unprecedented insight as events unfold in near real-time.”

According to Primer, the company “builds software machines that read and write in English, Russian, and Chinese to automatically unearth trends and patterns across large volumes of data,” and their work “supports the mission of the intelligence community and broader DOD by automating reading and research tasks to enhance the speed and quality of decision-making.” In other words, Primer is developing an algorithm that would allow the national-security state to outsource many military and intelligence analyst positions to AI. In fact, the company openly admits this, stating that their current effort “will automate the work typically done by dozens of analysts in a security operations center to ingest all of the data relevant to an event as it happens and funnel it into a unified user interface.”

Primer’s ultimate goal is to use their AI to entirely automate the shaping of public perceptions and become the arbiter of “truth,” as defined by the state. Primer’s founder, Sean Gourley, who previously created AI programs for the military to track “insurgency” in post-invasion Iraq, asserted in an April blog post that “computational warfare and disinformation campaigns will, in 2020, become a more serious threat than physical war, and we will have to rethink the weapons we deploy to fight them.”

In that same post, Gourley argued for the creation of a “Manhattan Project for truth” that would create a publicly available Wikipedia-style database built off of “knowledge bases [that] already exist inside many countries’ intelligence agencies for national security purposes.” Gourley then wrote that “this effort would be ultimately about building and enhancing our collective intelligence and establishing a baseline for what’s true or not” as established by intelligence agencies. He concludes his blog post by stating that “in 2020, we will begin to weaponize truth.”

Notably, on November 9, the same day that GCHQ announced its plans to target “anti-vaccine propaganda,” the US website NextGov reported that Primer’s Pentagon-funded effort had turned its attention specifically to “Covid-19 related disinformation.” According to Primer’s director of science, John Bohannon, “Primer will be integrating bot detection, synthetic text detection and unstructured textual claims analysis capabilities into our existing artificial intelligence platform currently in use with DOD. . . . This will create the first unified mission-ready platform to effectively counter Covid-19-related disinformation in near-real time.”

Bohannon, who previously worked as a mainstream journalist embedded with NATO forces in Afghanistan, also told NextGov that Primer’s new Covid-19–focused effort “automatically classifies documents into one of 10 categories to enable the detection of the impact of COVID” on areas such as “business, science and technology, employment, the global economy, and elections.” The final product is expected to be delivered to the Pentagon in the second quarter of next year.

Though a so-called private company, Primer is deeply linked to the national-security state it is designed to protect by “weaponizing truth.” Primer proudly promotes itself as having more than 15 percent of its staff hailing from the US intelligence community or military. The director of the company’s National Security Group is Brian Raymond, a former CIA intelligence officer who served as the Director for Iraq on the US National Security Council after leaving the agency.

The company also recently added several prominent national-security officials to its board including:

  • Gen. Raymond Thomas (ret.), who led the command of all US and NATO Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan and is the former commander of both US Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
  • Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson (ret.), the former deputy chief of staff for Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance who led the Air Force’s intelligence and cyber forces. She also personally developed “strategic partnerships” between the Air Force and Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM in order “to accelerate the Air Force’s digital transformation.”
  • Brett McGurk, one of the “chief architects” of the Iraq War “surge,” alongside the notorious Kagan family, as NSC Director for Iraq, and then as special assistant to the president and senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration. Under Obama and during part of the Trump administration, McGurk was the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department, helping to manage the “dirty war” waged by the US, the UK, and other allies against Syria.

In addition to those recent board hires, Primer brought on Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of National Intelligence, as a strategic adviser. Gordon previously “drove partnerships within the US Intelligence Community and provided advice to the National Security Council in her role as deputy director of national intelligence” and had a twenty-seven-year career at the CIA. The deep links are unsurprising, given that Primer is financially backed by the CIA’s venture-capital arm In-Q-Tel and the venture-capital arm of billionaire Mike Bloomberg, Bloomberg Beta.

Operation Warp Speed’s Disinformation Blitzkrieg

The rapid increase in interest by the US and UK national-security states toward Covid-19 “disinformation,” particularly as it relates to upcoming Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, is intimately related to the media-engagement strategy of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed.

Officially a “public-private partnership,” Operation Warp Speed, which has the goal of vaccinating 300 million Americans by next January, is dominated by the US military and also involves several US intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as intelligence-linked tech giants Google, Oracle, and Palantir. Several reports published in The Last American Vagabond by this author and journalist Derrick Broze have revealed the extreme secrecy of the operation, its numerous conflicts of interest, and its deep ties to Silicon Valley and Orwellian technocratic initiatives.

Warp Speed’s official guidance discusses at length its phased plan for engaging the public and addressing issues of “vaccine hesitancy.” According to the Warp Speed document entitled “From the Factory to the Frontlines,” “strategic communications and public messaging are critical to ensure maximum acceptance of vaccines, requiring a saturation of messaging across the national media.” It also states that “working with established partners—especially those that are trusted sources for target audiences—is critical to advancing public understanding of, access to, and acceptance of eventual vaccines” and that “identifying the right messages to promote vaccine confidence, countering misinformation, and targeting outreach to vulnerable and at-risk populations will be necessary to achieve high coverage.”

The document also notes that Warp Speed will employ the CDC’s three-pronged strategic framework for its communications effort. The third pillar of that strategy is entitled “Stop Myths” and has as a main focus “establish[ing] partnerships to contain the spread of misinformation” as well as “work[ing] with local partners and trusted messengers to improve confidence in vaccines.”

Though that particular Warp Speed document is short on specifics, the CDC’s Covid-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook contains additional information. It states that Operation Warp Speed will “engage and use a wide range of partners, collaborations, and communication and news media channels to achieve communication goals, understanding that channel preferences and credible sources vary among audiences and people at higher risk for severe illness and critical populations, and channels vary in their capacity to achieve different communication objectives.” It states that it will focus its efforts in this regard on “traditional media channels” (print, radio, and TV) as well as “digital media” (internet, social media, and text messaging).

The CDC document further reveals that the “public messaging” campaign to “promote vaccine uptake” and address “vaccine hesitancy” is divided into four phases and adds that the overall communication strategy of Warp Speed “should be timely and applicable for the current phase of the Covid-19 Vaccination program.”

Those phases are:

  • Before a vaccine is available
  • The vaccine is available in limited supply for certain populations of early focus
  • The vaccine is increasingly available for other critical populations and the general public
  • The vaccine is widely available

Given that the Covid-19 vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer is expected to be approved by the end of November, it appears that the US national-security state, which is essentially running Operation Warp Speed, along with “trusted messengers” in mass media, is preparing to enter the second phase of its communications strategy, one in which news organizations and journalists who raise legitimate concerns about Warp Speed will be de-platformed to make way for the “required” saturation of pro-vaccine messaging across the English-speaking media landscape.

November 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-CIA Director Urges Palace Coup Against President Trump to Stop Declassifications

By James Tweedie – Sputnik – 10.11.2020

Former Spy Chief and long-time foe of Donald Trump John Brennan told CNN’s Chris Cuomo he feared the president could declassify sensitive information or give military orders that would undermine US “national security interests” – and urged Vice-President Mike Pence to seize power.

US ex-spy chief John Brennan has urged a palace coup against President Donald Trump before presumed election winner Joe Biden takes office in January.

The former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director told CNN News’ Chris Cuomo – brother of Democrat New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo – that Vice-President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet should invoke the 25th constitutional amendment to oust him as a risk to “national security.”

“I’m very concerned what he might do in his remaining 70 days in office,” said Brennan on Monday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time. “Is he going to take some type of military action? Is he going to release some type of information that could, in fact, threaten our national security interests?”

​​Trump embarrassed both Brennan and the opposition Democratic Party in October when he declassified a memo written by the ex-CIA director revealing that 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton planned the since-debunked ‘Russiagate‘ allegations against Trump.

“If Vice President Pence and the cabinet had an ounce of fortitude and spine and patriotism, I think they would seriously consider invoking the 25th Amendment and pushing Donald Trump out because he is just very unpredictable now,” Brennan added.

And the former spy chief claimed Trump had fired outgoing Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Monday for refusing to carry out his orders.

“If Mark Esper has been pushed aside because he is not listening to Donald Trump, carrying out these orders, who knows what his successor, this acting secretary Chris Miller’s going to do if Donald Trump does give some type of order that really is counter to what I think our national security interests need to be,” Brennan said.

Esper’s predecessor General Jim Mattis dissuaded Trump from his first bid in 2017 to end the 19-year war in Afghanistan, instead sending more troops to the Asian nation. But it was under Esper that Trump’s order to withdraw troops illegally occupying northern Syria was reversed.

Brennan also echoed Cuomo’s speculation that Trump would pursue “vendettas” against current FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel – who oversaw torture of prisoners at an agency ‘black site’ in Thailand in 2002 – although he did not say what for.

Brennan was given the top job at the CIA by then-president Barack Obama, serving from March 2013 to January 2017, when Trump took office. US-supported regime change efforts during his tenure included the 2014 Maidan Square colour revolution in Ukraine, the Guarimba riots against Venezuelan socialist president Nicolas Maduro the same year and the long-term CIA programme of training and arming anti-government militants in Syria.

In 2016 he collaborated with then-FBI director James Comey to set up the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigations into unfounded Democrat allegations of Russian collusion in Trump’s election campaign – a probe that involved intelligence surveillance of Trump aide carter Paige.

Since leaving the agency, Brennan has been harshly critical of Trump, labelling his government a “kakocracy” following Brennan’s firing. Trump eventually revoked Brennan’s security clearance in August 2018.

Brennan opposed the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, passed by Congress over Obama’s veto, which allowed US citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over its alleged role in the 2001 World Trade Centre attacks.

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Suspect AI Software Verified Mail-In Ballots With Little Human Oversight in Key Battleground States

By Whitney Webb | Unlimited Hangout | November 9, 2020

Though accusations of election fraud in the 2020 US presidential election have been swirling across social media and some news outlets for much of the past week, few have examined the role of a little known Silicon Valley company whose artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm was used to accept or reject ballots in highly contested states such as Nevada.

That company, Parascript, has long-standing cozy ties to defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and tech giants including Microsoft, in addition to being a contractor to the US Postal Service. In addition, its founder, Stepan Pachikov, better known for cofounding the app Evernote in 2007, is a long-standing and 2020 donor to Democratic presidential candidates.

Parascript’s AI software was used during this election in at least eight states for matching signatures on ballot envelopes with those in government databases in order to “ease the workload of staff enforcing voter signature rules” resulting from the influx of mail-in ballots. Reuters, which reported on the use of the technology, asked the company to provide a list of counties and states using its software for the 2020 election. Parascript, however, declined to supply the list, replying, instead, that their clients “included 20 of the top 100 counties by registered voters.”

Despite not receiving the official list from Parascript, Reuters was able to compile its own partial list, which revealed that several counties in Florida, Colorado, Washington, and Utah, among others, utilized the AI software to determine the validity of ballots. Reuters also reported that Clark County, Nevada, which is one of the hotspots of litigation between the Trump and Biden campaigns and fraud allegations, was one that used the software. Reuters was able to determine how the software was used in some counties, with many counties allowing the software to approve anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of mail-in ballots as acceptable. For several counties included in the Reuters list, staff reviewed 1 percent or less of the AI software’s acceptances. Figures were not available for Clark County, Nevada.

Prior to the election, concerns were raised regarding the efficacy of AI signature-verification software for use on mail-in ballots. For instance, Kyle Wiggers, a journalist who covers AI for Venture Beat, noted that the accuracy of such systems is believed to vary between 74 and 96 percent. However, he also stated that “we don’t have benchmarks from the systems that are in use to verify signatures on these mail-in ballots. We basically have to go by what the manufacturers of the systems are telling us, which is that the systems are accurate.” Given that states and counties have relied on companies themselves for information on the accuracy of their algorithms, it becomes important to take a deeper look into Parascript, their partners, and their software.

An Untested “Xpert”

This May, Parascript announced a new version of its automated signature-verification software, called SignatureXpert, which the company said was able to “evaluate ballot signatures and compare them with voter record signatures pulled from driver’s licenses,” adding that “with advanced machine learning image perfection, even low-resolution driver’s licenses can be used.”

At the time of the announcement, Parascript’s vice president of marketing and product management, Greg Council, stated:

“We did a lot of research with our partners and found oftentimes the most efficient way for municipalities to create voter signature databases was to pull them from signatures on driver’s licenses. . . . But we found that these images are often stored at lower resolutions. With our new advanced machine learning image processing, we can take lower resolution images and improve them to high levels of quality that enable automated signature verification to be used on more ballots.”

What Council did not state is that most driver’s license signatures are acquired via an electronic tablet or signature pad, which often results in a very different signature than one written on a paper ballot.

Regarding the use of their new SignatureXpert software in the 2020 election, the company stated in a blog post that “ASV [automated signature verification] is used today in the vote-by-mail processes of many states to provide solid assurances that each vote is treated fairly and thoroughly reviewed. For this election, some of the larger cities and counties in America are deploying ASV software from Parascript to assist their verification teams to produce accurate results.”

Parascript’s October 30 blog post on its software also noted that that the algorithm had yet to be verified for use on mail-in ballots, but it attempted to obfuscate this fact. In response to the question “Is this proven technology?” the post responded:

“In the case of Parascript, the answer is yes. The AI that powers SignatureXpert has been field-proven in the banking industry for over a decade and is trusted to produce reliable voting results. States such as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Utah use it to ensure that every election is efficient, legitimate and secure. Voters can also be assured knowing SignatureXpert is always used to assist, not replace, election officials so there is no worry that the ASV bots will secretly throw the election!”

While the AI that powers SignatureXpert was tested for use in the banking industry, it has not been tested for use on mail-in ballots. Furthermore, the statement that several states use the software “to ensure that every election is efficient, legitimate and secure” omits the fact that the version of SignatureXpert to be used on mail-in ballots was not announced until this May and had yet to be tested for mail-in ballots, having only been previously used in Colorado to verify signatures on petitions. In addition, the claim that SignatureXpert only assists and does not replace election officials varies by county, as each county decides if there is human oversight and to what extent. As previously mentioned, Reuters found that several counties only have humans review 1 percent or less of ballots accepted by Parascript’s software.

Also notable is Parascript’s concluding statement regarding its promotion of the use of its AI software for mail-in ballots in the presidential election. The company states that “no matter which candidate wins the 2020 election, the voting process will have changed forever. AI such as that provided by Parascript will become more commonplace in the never-ending battle to keep our elections safe and secure from fraud.”

Parascript Post

Today, Parascript boasts clients in numerous sectors, including finance, health care, logistics, and the public sphere, with one of their most prominent clients being the US Postal Service. Since 2011, Parascript has provided the USPS with automated and bundled mail-sorting equipment that utilizes the company’s optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

In addition to their multimillion-dollar contracts with the USPS, Parascript is partnered with another major USPS contractor, Lockheed Martin. While best known as a weapons manufacturer and a key fixture of the military-industrial complex, Lockheed Martin has also long been the contractor for the USPS’s remote-computer-reader system, which utilizes Parascript’s software. Through its partnership with Lockheed, Parascript’s software has been a component of USPS’ automated mail sorting process since at least 2003.

A Parascript press release stated the following regarding the Lockheed Martin–Parascript relationship as it relates to this USPS system:

“Parascript was recognized [by Lockheed Martin], in particular, for providing highly advanced and reliable Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software for handwritten address recognition and interpretation on letter mail pieces with its AddressScript technology. The primary purpose of the AddressScript OCR system is to work closely with Lockheed Martin’s advanced mail processing technology to meet and exceed requirements of the USPS.”

Since 2017 Lockheed Martin has also provided the USPS with its “next generation” processing systems for packages and mail. These processing machines “are capable of automatically separating mail pieces, reading printed and handwritten addresses, and sorting packages, priority and bundled mail,” according to a Lockheed Martin press release. Parascript’s AI software automatically identifies and sorts the addresses.

Notably, Lockheed Martin is one of the leading investors in the intelligence-linked cybersecurity firm Cybereason, which, for well over a year, has simulated various chaotic scenarios for the 2020 US election. Cybereason’s various simulations ended with Americans’ faith in the electoral process being utterly destroyed and subsequent declarations of martial law. Despite Cybereason’s clear and enduring ties to the intelligence apparatus of a foreign power (Israel) with a history of using backdoors in software to spy on the US government, Lockheed Martin has served as the key conduit that allowed Cybereason’s cybersecurity software to gain access to some of the United States’ most classified systems. This election cycle, Lockheed Martin affiliates donated heavily to both candidates but gave nearly $27,000 more to Biden than to Trump.

In addition, Parascript is also partnered with Pitney Bowes, a private “work-share partner” that sorts and processes an estimated 15 billion pieces of mail annually on behalf of the USPS. Pitney Bowes is also one of the leading companies that has pushed for the privatization of the USPS, even funding a report authored by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) that laid out a roadmap for transforming the USPS into a “public-private hybrid” in which all retail and processing components of the USPS would be privatized. Pitney Bowes “Exemplar Mail Sorting Solution” utilizes Parascript’s software, according to the company’s promotional material. More recently, Pitney Bowes has become heavily focused on e-commerce, developing a very close relationship with eBay, which is owned by Silicon Valley billionaire and Democratic Party donor Pierre Omidyar.

Pitney Bowes has long offered an automated mail-in balloting system for elections, called Relia-Vote, which was used to sort mail-in ballots during the 2020 presidential election. However, Relia-Vote is now owned by Bluecrest, a spin-off of Pitney Bowes that has operated independently of its parent company since 2018. Bluecrest is currently owned by Platinum Equity, an investment firm founded and headed by Tom Gores. Gores donated $100,000 to Hillary Clinton in her unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2016. It is unclear if the latest version of Relia-Vote, which was used in the 2020 presidential election, employs Parascript’s AI software.

Given the use of Parascript’s unproven AI software for the verification of signatures on mail-in ballots during this year’s highly contested election, the near ubiquitous presence of this company’s software on automated mail-sorting machines and its long-standing ties to the USPS and other prominent USPS contractors is worth noting.

Parascript’s Powerful Partners

In addition to Lockheed Martin, Parascript enjoys partnerships with other prominent companies with long-standing ties to US intelligence. For instance, Parascript is a partner of Hewlett-Packard, a company whose close ties to the CIA and its venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, particularly under the leadership of Carly Fiorina, is an open secret.

Parascript is also partnered with IBM. Just last year, the CIA hired IBM Federal vice president Juliane Gallina to serve as the intelligence agency’s chief information officer. In that position, Gallina oversees “the CIA’s modernization efforts as well as making better use of the massive amount of data it possesses.” In addition, IBM is a major corporation driving the push to create “smart cities” in the United States and globally, but to date they have focused much of their smart city efforts on China and have long-standing ties to China’s political and economic elites. In addition, IBM is one of the four sponsors of the Center for Presidential Transition, which issued a statement on Sunday (November 8) urging President Trump to concede to his rival Joe Biden. IBM had previously sponsored Biden’s cancer initiative for the Department of Veterans Affairs when he was vice president and, this election cycle, donated $640,801 to Biden, compared to $139,373 to Trump.

In addition to its partnerships with HP and IBM, Parascript is also a “gold” application development partner of Microsoft and has a long-standing relationship with the tech giant. Parascript’s previous iteration as a company, Paragraph International, developed the first handwriting-recognition technology employed by Microsoft in the 1990s. When Paragraph International transformed into Parascript the partnership continued through application development, with Microsoft fully integrating Parascript’s image-recognition technology into its SharePoint software in 2014.

Notably, the two former Parascript software leads for developing USPS mail sorting now hold prominent positions at Microsoft. The development lead for Parascript’s automated address-reading software, Mikhail Parakhin, is now Microsoft’s corporate vice president of technology. Max Lepikhin, who worked directly under Parakhin in overseeing the development of Parascript’s mail-sorting–related software, currently works at Microsoft as a principal software engineer.

Stepan Pachikov, Parascript’s founder, with Bill Gates in 1990

Microsoft executives have shown obvious support for Biden during this election cycle, with nearly $2 million donated to him in his bid to oust Trump. In addition, the wife of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer donated the maximum amount for an individual to the Biden campaign, while Microsoft’s current president, Brad Smith, hosted fundraisers for Biden. Microsoft chief technology officer, Kevin Scott, also donated over $50,000 to support Biden’s election efforts, and Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn founder who sits on Microsoft’s board, was one of Biden’s largest donors in this campaign cycle, funneling over half a million to Biden, the DNC, and related PACs. Microsoft affiliates have donated to the RNC during this election cycle, but those donations are dwarfed by contributions to the DNC and Biden.

Currently, US election infrastructure is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), headed by Chris Krebs, who was a top Microsoft executive before taking on his current role. Under Krebs’s leadership, CISA’s 2020 election operations center includes representatives from major Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as unspecified “election technology” companies. The center also works with the Center for Internet Security, which is funded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and has several members of the Obama administration’s cybersecurity team and/or National Security Council on its board. Microsoft directly partnered with the Center for Internet Security’s efforts related to the 2020 election this past June and IBM is also partnered with the center.

Krebs, in his capacity as CISA director, has advocated for the implementation of Microsoft’s controversial ElectionGuard software nationwide. ElectionGuard was co-developed by Microsoft and Galois, a cybersecurity contractor for the national security state whose only investors are the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research. Over the past two years, Microsoft has finalized agreements or is in the process of drafting agreements with the main voting-machine manufacturers in the United States. Microsoft has publicly stated on several occasions in just the past week that it expects ElectionGuard to be widely adopted nationwide for the 2024 presidential election and ostensibly all subsequent presidential elections. ElectionGuard recently received a glowing review from the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute.

Stepan Pachikov and the DNC’s “Russian Interference” Double Standard

Given its partners, it should be unsurprising that Parascript’s founder and many employees have close ties to prominent Silicon Valley billionaires and are known for their support of the Democratic Party and their rejection of President Trump.

Paragraph International, it should be noted, was founded by a team of immigrants from the Soviet Union led by Stepan Pachikov and funded by American venture capitalists. As Paragraph International, it made several big deals with Apple and Microsoft in the 1990s before becoming Parascript in 1996. Most of Parascript’s top executives are Russian citizens who have been with the company for decades, starting when it was Paragraph International.

Pachikov, as mentioned, is better known as a co-founder of Evernote. Evernote’s founding CEO and current chairman, Phil Libin, has developed close ties to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman. Pachikov, like many in Silicon Valley, is an avid transhumanist who continues to promote the use and development of brain implants to “improve memory” and “dreams of immortality by uploading all memories to artificial intelligence.” In fact, Pachikov’s original vision for Evernote was of a brain-machine interface that would allow a user to “remember everything.” In a piece for Evernote’s blog written by Pamela Rosen, Pachikov denotes his belief that “future technology [will exist] as a literal physical extension of the human brain, perhaps as an embedded chip,” with Pachikov adding that “we have no choice” when it comes to merging the human body with machines. “It’s just another type of integration,” he asserts.

In addition to his embrace of transhumanism, Pachikov is a long-time donor to Democratic Party candidates, having contributed to Obama in his presidential campaigns, Hillary Clinton in her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign and previous senatorial campaigns, and to the Democratic Party in this election cycle. Pachikov’s distaste for Donald Trump was the subject of his 2016 Bloomberg op-ed entitled “Russian-Americans Don’t All Back Trump.”

Given this background, one thing that is particularly odd about Parascript’s role in the 2020 election is that there were no complaints from the Democratic National Committee or any prominent “Russiagaters” regarding a company that is founded and staffed largely by Russian citizens. Russians having such intimate involvement in the verification of mail-in ballots in a highly contested presidential election, especially when such technology has been accused of being biased against ethnic minorities and immigrants for whom English is a second language, is something one would think would evoke distress from those espousing concern about foreign interference in our electoral process.

The DNC and many prominent Democrats have put forward claims (discredited) of Russian election interference on behalf of Donald Trump (and against Hillary Clinton) during the 2016 election, with many warning in recent months that “Russians” would seek to meddle in the 2020 contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Indeed, highly contested parts of the country, including Clark County, Nevada, used Parascript’s software and were subsequently accused of election fraud, something that would presumably spark the ire of Russiagaters everywhere. Yet, since proponents of Russiagate are by and large supporters of Biden and critical of Trump, it appears that prime opportunities to breathe new life into the discredited Russiagate narrative are readily cast aside when it benefits their preferred candidate.

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Angelina Jolie’s MI6 Interview Shows Just How Connected Hollywood Is To the Deep State

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | November 4, 2020

With election fever still gripping the U.S., talk of rigging or interference in the democratic process is reaching new levels, high enough that even Hollywood legend Angelina Jolie is talking about it. In an extraordinary interview in Time magazine, the star of “Wanted, Maleficent, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” sat down with the former head of the UK’s MI6 spy network, Sir Alex Younger, to ask how worrying the threat from Russia or China really is.

“Russia feels threatened by the quality of our alliances and, even in the current environment, the quality of our democratic institutions. It sets out to denigrate them, and it uses intelligence services to that end. It is a serious problem, and we should organize to prevent it,” the British spook told the actress.

Younger also went on to discuss the rise of China, and how the West must act to challenge the supposed threat Beijing poses. “We are going to have two sharply different value systems in operation on the same planet for the foreseeable future. We mustn’t be naïve. We need to retain the capacity to defend ourselves,” he told Jolie.

Never challenging him, Jolie even asked the head of perhaps the world’s most notorious spying agency how we can protect ourselves from fake information.

To some, the pairing of a Hollywood star and a veteran spymaster might seem strange. But, in reality, the silver screen and the national security state have always been intimately intertwined. And as much as Jolie presents herself as a leading humanitarian, even being appointed as a Special Envoy for the UN Commission for Refugees, she has spent an inordinate amount of her free time rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.

At World Refugee Day in 2005, Jolie shared a stage with then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice was a key player in the Bush administration, responsible for the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, two of the world’s worst humanitarian and refugee crises that continue to plague the planet to this day.

Jolie herself has slowly become a leading member of the U.S. national security apparatus, joining the influential and well-endowed Council on Foreign Relations think tank in 2007, and penning a joint op-ed in The New York Times with John McCain two years ago calling for U.S. intervention in Syria and Myanmar. “Around the world, there is profound concern that America is giving up the mantle of global leadership,” they questionably asserted, decrying America’s “steady retreat over the past decade” that has, “dangerously eroded the rule of law,” and condemned the Trump administration’s inaction in Syria that could have “deterred mass atrocities,” and reduced the refugee crisis.

Salt

Jolie’s collaboration with high-level government officials is not limited to her personal life, however. The 45-year-old Californian has also worked closely, and openly, with CIA officials as part of her movies. A case in point is the 2010 blockbuster Salt, where Jolie plays a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy. The movie was released at the same time as the real-life Anna Chapman scandal, where the Russian national was caught spying for her country inside the U.S., and marked the beginning of hardening American relations with Moscow, ending up at the point where some have declared the beginning of a new Cold War.

Salt was the first big cultural product reflecting this geopolitical change, for most of the 2000s Hollywood had no interest in evil Russians,” Tom Secker, an investigative journalist with SpyCulture.com told MintPress. “If you watch the film the Russian politicians are clearly based on Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.”

Jolie, playing an evil Russian spy in Salt, chokes out an NYPD officer

“We talked to a lot of the women in the CIA,” said Jolie of her experiences preparing for her role. She appeared to have nothing but admiration for the organization; “One after the other, they are just these lovely, sweet women that you can’t imagine being put in a dangerous situation, but they really are,” she added. Salt even hired a former CIA officer to be an on-set technical advisor.

A CIA document Secker shared with MintPress highlights the extent of CIA involvement in Hollywood and their reasons for doing so. “In an effort to ensure an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA,” it reads. “For years the Agency has worked with creative artists from across the entertainment industry. [The CIA Office of Public Affairs] interacts with directors, producers, screenwriters, authors, documentarians, actors and others to help debunk myths and provide authenticity, and of course to protect Agency equities,” it adds. But perhaps the most important reason stated is, “to help prevent inappropriate negative depictions of the Agency,” in mass media.

Propaganda on an enormous scale

The level of state involvement in Salt is far from abnormal. In fact, Alford and Secker’s book “National Security Cinema” details how, since 2005, documents they obtained showed that the Department of Defense alone had closely collaborated in the production of over 1,000 movies or TV shows. This includes many of the largest film franchises, such as “Iron Man,” “Transformers,” “James Bond,” and “Mission: Impossible,” and hit TV shows like “The Biggest Loser,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Master Chef” and “The Price is Right.”

In general, the military or the CIA will offer free services to productions, such as the use of prohibitively expensive military equipment, or technical direction, in exchange for editorial control over scripts. This allows the agencies to make sure the power, prestige, and integrity of these organizations are not challenged. Sometimes entire movies are radically rewritten.

“The Department of Defense actually apologized in their covering letter to the producers of “Hulk” (2003), since the changes they required were so extensive,” Dr. Matthew Alford of the University of Bath told MintPress.

“But really the disturbing thing here is the pattern and the scale… What I suggest is that we focus on the deliberate, major, secretive pressures that rewrite scripts — and we find they’re all on the side of the national security state. Systematically scrubbed from the screen is an unsavoury century of military history including war crimes, illegal arms sales, racism and sexual assault, torture, coups, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction. It amounts to the airbrushing of an entire mediated culture.”

Thus, the large majority of big-budget productions featuring military or intelligence services have been greenlighted by the national security state, who have negotiated for control over the message in order to better propagandize both Americans and the global public. However, serious antiwar content rarely makes it to network TV or Hollywood drawing boards, so wholescale interference is usually unnecessary.

In 2014, former Deputy Counsel or Acting General Counsel of the CIA, John Rizzo, wrote that his organization “has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers—studio executives, producers, directors, big-name actors.” Many of America’s most familiar faces have visited the organization’s headquarters in Langley, VA, including Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, Bryan Cranston, and Tom Cruise.

In recent years, collaboration has become even more overt. The Department of Defense even tweeted out during the Oscars how proud it is to work so closely with Hollywood to further its own image.

Meanwhile, the latest series of the hit spy show “Jack Ryan,” for instance, has the eponymous CIA hero travel to Venezuela to help overthrow tyrannical dictator Nicolas Reyes (a clear allusion to current president Nicolas Maduro). John Krasinski, who plays Ryan, said that he worked closely with the Agency in order to make the show more realistic. Krasinski also described the CIA as amazingly “apolitical.” “They’re always trying to do the right thing,” he said of them, claiming they “care about the country in a bigger, more idealistic way.”

Last month, a real CIA agent, Matthew John Heath, was arrested outside Venezuela’s largest oil refinery carrying explosives, a grenade launcher, a submachine gun, and stacks of U.S. dollars.

“Probably Hollywood is full of CIA agents and we just don’t know it. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all to discover that this was extremely common,” said “Batman” star Ben Affleck in 2012, before going to describe himself, perhaps jokingly, as a CIA agent himself.

Propaganda works

The effect of years of propaganda has been to improve the standing of the deep state and make the American public more conducive to supporting the tactics of the CIA and the military. One academic study found that showing torture scenes from the hit spy series “24” to liberal college students made them far more likely to support the use of it against anyone deemed an enemy of the state.

Democrat-aligned voters’ opinion of the FBI has been steadily rising over the last decade, to the point that 77% hold a favorable view of the institution (and almost two-thirds of the country supports the CIA).

Thus, while the entertainment industry might be liberal in that it largely opposes Trump and donates to the Democratic Party, it works closely to support and uphold the national security state, promotes ultra-patriotism and American aggression throughout the world. While Jolie might present herself as a champion of human rights, working with the very institutions responsible for destroying those rights around the globe undermines this assertion.

Alan MacLeod is a 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.

November 4, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 8 Comments