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U.N. Rejects Its Own Data to Claim ‘Climate Change’ Threatens Mass Starvation in Madagascar

Mainstream Media is Onboard with the Lie

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateRealism | June 24, 2021

A recent search of Google News for the term ‘climate change’ turns up a number of stories in the mainstream media promoting the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme saying climate change is causing a drought in Madagascar that threatens more than one million people with starvation.

Linking climate change to a temporary weather event, which this drought is, equates to a false comparison.

Also, the U.N.’s own data show Madagascar has been setting records in recent decades for crop production, so any food supply shortages are due to political or economic factors not declining crop production.

A story titled “Climate change has pushed a million people in Madagascar to the ‘edge of starvation,’ UN says,” by CNN is typical of the mainstream media’s uncritical coverage of the UN’s claims.

Climate change is the driving force of a developing food crisis in southern Madagascar, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned,” writes CNN.

The African island has been plagued with back-to-back droughts — its worst in four decades — which have pushed 1.14 million people ‘right to the very edge of starvation,’ said WFP executive director David Beasley in a news release Wednesday.

The UN and CNN should check their premises and data. History shows back to back droughts are not unprecedented in Madagascar’s history.

Indeed, CNN’s own coverage notes the current drought is the worst in forty years. Forty years ago, during Madagascar’s last major drought, scientists were warning of a coming ice age, not global warming.

Peer-reviewed research shows Madagascar’s large megafauna declined sharply, with many species going extinct during previously extended droughts.

Research indicates Madagascar suffered extended droughts nearly 6,000 and again nearly 1,000 years ago.

A drought, approximately 950 years before the present, triggered a large transformation in vegetation, an increase in wildfires, and a sharp decline in the island’s megafauna.

It may be true that some people in Madagascar face potential starvation, but contrary to UN Food Programme’s claims it can’t be due to more than a very recent decline in food supplies, because data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization show Madagascar’s food production has set repeated records since 1980, as seen in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Primary crops in Madagascar, all available years. Graph created from the FAO Website. Source

Rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes are three of Madagascar’s staple crops. Each has set multiple records for production over the past few decades. Between 1980 and 2019, the last year for which the FAO has records for Madagascar:

  • Rice production increased by approximately 101 percent.
  • Cassava production grew by slightly more than 73 percent.
  • Sweet potato production increased by more than 198 percent.

The FAO reports Madagascar also saw its fresh vegetable production grow 63 percent between 1980 and 2019.

Madagascar’s current drought is hardly unique and as dire as the present food shortage its people face may be, there is no evidence supposed human-caused climate change is to blame.

Indeed, during the era of global warming, Madagascar’s food production, like food production for the world as a whole, has increased significantly.

Research shows at least part of the recent increase in food production is due to the fertilization effect from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human fossil fuel use.

In a fervor to link the current drought and associated food shortages to climate change, the UN and CNN forgot a basic fact, weather is not climate and temporary weather conditions, such as back-to-back drought years, don’t necessarily reflect a changing climate.

The UN Food Programme should check its own data before it promotes climate alarm to the media.

Also, media outlets, like CNN, should be more skeptical of alarming climate change-related claims about drought and food production, which readily available data refute.


H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

Yet Another Media Tale — Trump Tear-Gassed Protesters For a Church Photo Op — Collapses

CNN with Anderson Cooper and Jim Acosta, June 1, 2020
By Glenn Greenwald | June 9, 2021

For more than a year, it has been consecrated media fact that former President Donald Trump and his White House, on June 1 of last year, directed the U.S. Park Police to use tear gas against peaceful Lafayette Park protesters, all to enable a Trump photo-op in front of St. John’s Church. That this happened was never presented as a possibility or likelihood but as indisputable truth. And it provoked weeks of unmitigated media outrage, presented as one of the most egregious assaults on the democratic order in decades.

This tale was so pervasive in the media landscape that it would be impossible for any one article to compile all the examples. “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” read the NPR headline on June 1. The New York Times ran with: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.” CNN devoted multiple segments to venting indignation while the on-screen graphic declared: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo Op.”

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos “reported” that “the administration asked police to clear peaceful protesters from the park across the White House so that the President could stage a photo op.” The Intercept published an article stating that “federal police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters from Lafayette Square in front of the White House,” all to feature a video where the first interviewee said: “to me, the way our military and police have behaved toward the protesters at the instruction of President Trump has almost been Nazi-like.” Nazi-like. This was repeated by virtually every major corporate outlet:

At a June 2 Press Conference, then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) proclaimed with anger: “last night I watched as President Trump, having gassed peaceful protesters just so he could do this photo op, then he went on to teargas priests who were helping protesters in Lafayette Park.” Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exclaimed: “What is this, a banana republic?,” when asked about NBC News’ report that “security forces used tear gas and flash-bangs against a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to clear the area for the president.”

There were some denials of this narrative at the time, largely confined to right-wing media. ABC News mocked “hosts on Fox News, one of the president’s preferred news media outlets, [who] have spent the days since the controversial photo op shifting defenses to fit the president’s narrative.” Meanwhile, The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway — in an article retweeted by Trump as a “must read” — cited sources to assert that the entire media narrative was false because force was to clear the Park not to enable Trump’s photo op but rather “because [protesters] had climbed on top of a structure in Lafayette Park that had been burned the prior night” and the Park Police decided to build a barrier to protect it.

But as usual, the self-proclaimed Superior Liberal Truth Squad instantly declared them to be lying. The Washington Post‘s “fact-checker,” Phillip Bump, mocked denials from Trump supporters and right-wing reporters such as Hemingway, proclaiming that a recent statement from the Park Police “brings the debate to a close,” as it proves “the deployment of security forces using weapons and irritants to clear a peaceful protest so that the president could have a photo op.”

All of this came crashing down on their heads on Wednesday afternoon. The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office’s findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama’s Commerce Department.

The letter released by Greenblatt’s office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.

The IG’s conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway’s widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “ the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day.”

The detailed IG report elaborated on the timeline even more extensively. It was “on the morning of June 1” when “the Secret Service procured anti-scale fencing to establish a more secure perimeter around Lafayette Park that was to be delivered and installed that same day.” The agencies had “determined that it was necessary to clear protesters from the area in and around the park to enable the contractor’s employees to safely install the fence.” Indeed, “we found that by approximately 10 a.m. on June 1, the USPP had already begun developing a plan to clear protesters from the area to enable the contractor to safely install the anti-scale fence” — many hours before Trump decided to go.

The clearing of the Park, said the IG Report, had nothing to do with Trump or his intended visit to the Church; in fact, those responsible for doing this did not have any knowledge of Trump’s intentions:

The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow the contractor to safely install the anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of property and injury to officers occurring on May 30 and 31. Further, the evidence showed that the USPP did not know about the President’s potential movement until mid- to late afternoon on June 1—hours after it had begun developing its operational plan and the fencing contractor had arrived in the park.

Beyond that, planning for that operation began at least two days before Trump decided to visit the church. “The fencing contractor told us and emails we reviewed confirmed that on May 30, the assistant division chief of the Secret Service’s Procurement Division discussed with the contractor how quickly the contractor could deliver anti-scale fencing to Lafayette Park,” the Report found.

Plans for the fence were finalized at least the day prior to Trump’s walk: “the fencing contractor’s project manager told us that she learned on May 31 that the Secret Service had contacted the fencing contractor about an anti-scale fence.” And while Attorney General William Barr did visit the Park shortly before Trump’s walk and saw what he viewed as unruly protesters, causing him to ask Park Police commanders whether they would still be there when Trump arrived, the order to clear the Park had been given well before that and was unrelated to Trump or to Barr: there is “no evidence that the Attorney General’s visit to Lafayette Park at 6:10 p.m. caused the USPP to alter its plans to clear the park.”

Indeed, none of the key decision-makers had any idea Trump was coming when they implemented plans to clear the Park:

The USPP operations commander, the USPP incident commander, and the USPP acting chief of police told us they did not know the President planned to make a speech in the Rose Garden that evening. The USPP incident commander told us he was never informed of the President’s specific plans or when the President planned to come out of the White House. He said, “It was just a, ‘Hey, here he comes.’ And all of a sudden I turn around and there’s the entourage.”

The USPP acting chief of police also told us he did not know about the President’s plans to visit St. John’s Church and that the USPP incident commander told him the President might come to the park to assess the damage at an unspecified time. The USPP acting chief of police and the USPP incident commander told us this information had no impact on their operational plan, and both denied that the President’s potential visit to the park influenced the USPP’s decision to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding areas. Numerous other USPP captains and lieutenants and the ACPD civil disturbance unit commanders also told us they received no information suggesting that the USPP cleared the area to facilitate the President’s visit to St. John’s Church. The DCNG major we interviewed told us that his USPP liaison appeared as surprised as he was when the President visited Lafayette Park, stating, “We [were] both kind of equally shocked.”

Of the dozens of people who participated in the investigation, “no one we interviewed stated that the USPP cleared the park because of a potential visit by the President or that the USPP altered the timeline to accommodate the President’s movement.”

In sum, the media claims that were repeated over and over and over as proven fact — and even confirmed by “fact-checkers” — were completely false. Watch how easily and often and aggressively and readily they just spread lies, this one courtesy of CNN‘s Erin Burnett and Don Lemon:

With the issuance of this independent debunking of their claims, the journalists who spread this latest lie have started to come to terms with what they did — yet again. “A narrative we thought we knew is not the reality,” NBC News’ chief CIA Disinformation Agent Ken Dilanian awkwardly acknowledged on Meet the Press Daily. Shortly before publication of this article, Politico begrudgingly admitted that while “the department’s Park Police failed to give Black Lives Matter demonstrators proper warning before it cleared them from Lafayette Park,” their primary media claim was untrue: “its actions were unrelated to President Donald Trump’s photo-op appearance at a nearby church.” Time will tell how readily others who spread this lie will account for how they — yet again — got this story so wrong.

Over and over we see the central truth: the corporate outlets that most loudly and shrilly denounce “disinformation” — to the point of demanding online censorship and de-platforming in the name of combating it — are, in fact, the ones who spread disinformation most frequently and destructively. It is hard to count how many times they have spread major fake stories in the Trump years. For that reason, they have nobody but themselves to blame for the utter collapse in trust and faith on the part of the public, which has rightfully concluded they cannot and should not be believed.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CNN anchor flies into rage after Pakistani FM says Israelis control media

This photo shows CNN anchor Brianna Golodryga’s twitter page, accusing Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi of anti-Semitism.
Press TV – May 22, 2021

A CNN news anchor has accused Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi of anti-Semitism after he said the Israeli regime has lost the media war in the latest aggression against Palestinians.

During a live interview with CNN on the latest Israeli war, Qureshi was accused of “invoking an anti-Semitic slur” after he simply said Israelis “control the media,” and have influential “connections”.

“Israel is losing out. They’re losing the media war despite their connections. The tide is turning,” the Pakistani foreign minister told CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga.

An apparently outraged Golodryga, who is Jewish herself, put aside her supposed journalistic impartiality, pouncing on the remarks to accuse Qureshi of anti-Semitism.

The journalist followed the statement asking for clarification on what their connections were. “Deep pockets,” he replied, adding later, “they are very influential people. They control media.”

Golodryga went on to accuse the FM of making an anti-Semitic remark, to which he responded, “Well, you see, the point is, they have a lot of influence. They get a lot of coverage. Now, what balances that is the citizen journalist who has been reporting, sharing video clips, and that has jolted people, and woken up people, and people who were sitting on the fence are today speaking up.”

Golodryga then took her inquisition to the next level, asking if the FM would condemn the anti-Jewish sentiment that is allegedly taking hold due to the Israeli violence in Palestine.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 248 Palestinians were killed in the new Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and at least 1,910 were injured.

Golodryga repeated her accusation later as she tweeted a clip of the interview, saying, “I had planned to speak with Pakistan’s foreign minister about paths towards a peaceful resolution between Israel and Hamas. Instead, he began the interview by invoking an anti-semitic slur.”

The interview prompted a chorus of support for the Pakistani foreign minister, while pro-Israeli voices cast scorn at his remarks.

Journalist and talk show host Fereeha Idrees defended Qureshi.

“He didn’t even utter the word ‘Jew’ or even made a feeble reference to it. All he said was media is controlled by Israel,” Idrees wrote on Twitter.

Idrees pointed out that during the recent aggression, Israeli jets had leveled a high-rise building in Gaza that housed the offices of several media outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments

CNN tries to make case for trusting anonymous-source echo chamber despite steady stream of fake news

RT | May 3, 2021

CNN took a holier-than-thou approach to explaining away mainstream media’s penchant for telling anonymously sourced stories that later prove to be false, saying that unlike “MAGA media,” it tries to get the news right.

“There are safeguards in place,” CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy told ‘Reliable Sources’ host Brian Stelter on Sunday. “Unfortunately, human error is still at play, and news organizations sometimes do get burned like this.”

Darcy was referring to the latest correction debacle involving multiple MSM outlets that supposedly confirmed each other’s anonymously sourced reports – only to later issue corrections admitting that their central claim was completely false. The New York Times, NBC News and the Washington Post said on Saturday that their reports claiming that US law enforcement had warned Rudy Giuliani and One America News that they were being targeted by a “Russian influence operation” were not true.

The false claim was so integral to the story that correcting it was not as simple as changing a name or recasting a sentence. “The premise and headline of the article below have been changed to reflect the corrected information,” NBC said in its correction.

Stelter lamented that “a bogus report of this magnitude” tars all mainstream outlets and allows “bad-faith actors” to lump them in with less credible outfits. Darcy argued that “responsible” media outlets set themselves apart by correcting their mistakes, whereas publications such as the New York Post avoid admitting their errors.

“Sometimes, it seems like they are intentionally promoting falsehoods and moving on, some of those folks in MAGA media,” Darcy said.

The Post last week removed an article from its website that said copies of a children’s book written by Vice President Kamala Harris were being put in the welcome kits given to migrant children being held at a shelter in California. In an updated version it issued a correction, saying it turned out there was only one known copy of the book at the shelter.

However, it was the New York Post that broke bombshell news last October, reporting on alleged influence-peddling by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, after obtaining emails from a laptop that the younger Biden had allegedly left at a repair shop. At the time, with the presidential election just a couple of weeks away, CNN called the reports “dubious” and cited anonymous people saying that “US authorities” were investigating whether the Hunter Biden emails were part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said there was no connection between Hunter Biden’s laptop and Russian disinformation, but only later did the likes of the New York Times and the Washington Post admit that the evidence-free conspiracy claims were apparently false.

The Washington Post has had its share of falsehoods lately. In March, the newspaper corrected a January story accusing former president Donald Trump of pressuring a Georgia official to help overturn the election’s result. The Post admitted that it had misquoted the official. In fact, it said that claims Trump urged the official to “find the fraud” and that she would be a “national hero” if she did were completely false.

CNN technical director Charlie Chester suggested that such “mistakes” weren’t accidental – at least at his network. Chester was shown on video telling an undercover Project Veritas reporter that CNN’s main focus was to help oust Trump from office through propaganda and that it purposely fearmongered about Covid-19 to boost ratings. He added that CNN also endeavored to make Black Lives Matter look good, a task made more difficult by the group’s conduct.

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who helped break the Edward Snowden NSA scoops in 2013, said MSM outlets are able to “independently confirm” each other’s false reports because their meaning of “confirm” is misleading. Rather than confirming that a report is true, they merely get the same anonymous source to make the same false claims to them.

“It’d be one thing if this were some rare occurrence,” Greenwald said. “The opposite is true. Over and over and over, these same big corporate outlets purport to have ‘independently confirmed’ one another’s stories that turn out to be totally false. Is that trustworthy?”

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist and Scandal-Plagued CIA Propagandist

CNN’s new national security reporter Natasha Bertrand, then of Politico and NBC News, with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sept. 19, 2019
By Glenn Greenwald | April 27, 2021

The most important axiom for understanding how the U.S. corporate media functions is that there is never accountability for those who serve as propagandists for the U.S. security state. The opposite is true: the more aggressively and recklessly you spread CIA narratives or pro-war manipulation, the more rewarded you will be in that world.

The classic case is Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote one of the most deceitful and destructive articles of his generation: a lengthy New Yorker article in May, 2002 — right as the propagandistic groundwork for the invasion of Iraq was being laid — that claimed Saddam Hussein had formed an alliance with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. In February, 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, NPR host Robert Siegel devoted a long segment to this claim. When he asked Goldberg about “a man named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” Goldberg replied: “He is one of several men who might personify a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.”

Needless to say, nothing could generate hatred for someone among the American population — just nine months away from the 9/11 attack — more than associating them with bin Laden. Five months after Goldberg’s New Yorker article, the U.S. Congress authorized the use of military force to impose regime change on Iraq; ten months later, the U.S. invaded Iraq; and by September, 2003, close to 70% of Americans believed the lie that Saddam had personally participated in the 9/11 attack.

Goldberg’s fabrication-driven article generated ample celebratory media attention and even prestigious journalism awards. It also led to great financial reward and career advancement. In 2007, The Atlantic‘s publisher David Bradley lured Goldberg away from The New Yorker by lavishing him with a huge signing bonus and even sent exotic horses to entertain Goldberg’s children. Goldberg is now the editor-in-chief of that magazine and thus one of the most influential figures in media. In other words, the person who wrote what is arguably the most disastrous article of that decade was one most rewarded by the industry — all because he served the aims of the U.S. security state and its war aims. That is how U.S. corporate journalism functions.

Another illustrative mascot for this lucrative career path is NBC’s national security correspondent Ken Dilanian. In 2014, his own former paper, The Los Angeles Times, acknowledged his “collaborative” relationship with the CIA. During his stint there, he mimicked false claims from John Brennan’s CIA that no innocent people were killed from a 2012 Obama drone strike, only for human rights groups and leaked documents to prove many were.

A FOIA request produced documents published by The Intercept in 2015 that showed Dilanian submitting his “reporting” to the CIA for approval in violation of The LA Times’ own ethical guidelines and then repeating what he was told to say. But again, serving the CIA even with false “reporting” and unethical behavior is a career benefit in corporate media, not an impediment, and Dilanian rapidly fell upward after these embarrassing revelations. He first went to Associated Press and then to NBC News, where he broadcast numerous false Russiagate scams including purporting to “independently confirm” CNN’s ultimately retracted bombshell that Donald Trump, Jr. obtained advance access to the 2016 WikiLeaks archive.

On Monday, CNN made clear that this dynamic still drives the corporate media world. The network proudly announced that it had hired Natasha Bertrand away from Politico. In doing so, they added to their stable of former CIA operatives, NSA spies, Pentagon Generals and FBI agents a reporter who has done as much as anyone, if not more so, to advance the scripts of those agencies.

Bertrand’s career began taking off when, while at Business Insider, she abandoned her obsession with Russia’s role in Syria in 2016 in order to monomaniacally fixate on every last conspiracy theory and gossip item that drove the Russiagate fraud during the 2016 campaign and then into the Trump presidency. Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable.

In 2018, it was Jeffrey Goldberg himself — knowing a star CIA propagandist when he sees one — who gave Bertrand her first big break by hiring her away from Business Insider to cover Russiagate for The Atlantic. Shortly after, she joined the Queen of Russiagate conspiracies herself by becoming a national security analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. From there, it was onto Politico and now CNN : the ideal, rapid career climb that is the dream of every liberal security state servant calling themselves a journalist. Her final conspiratorial article for The Atlantic before moving to Politico is the perfect illustration of who and what she is:

CNN’s new national security star was no ordinary Russiagate fanatic. There was no conspiracy theory too unhinged or evidence-free for her to promote. As The Washington Post‘s media reporter Erik Wemple documented once the Steele Dossier was debunked, there was arguably nobody in media other than Rachel Maddow who promoted and ratified that hoax as aggressively, uncritically and persistently as Bertrand. She defended it even after the Mueller Report corroborated virtually none of its key claims.

In a February, 2020 article headlined “How Politico’s Natasha Bertrand bootstrapped dossier credulity into MSNBC gig,” Wemple described how she was rewarded over and over for “journalism” that would be regarded in any healthy profession with nothing but scorn:

Where there’s a report on Russian meddling, there’s an MSNBC segment waiting to be taped. Last Thursday night, MSNBC host Joy Reid — subbing for “All In” host Chris Hayes — turned to Politico national security reporter Natasha Bertrand with a question about whether Trump “wants” Russian meddling or whether he can’t accept that “foreign help is there.“ Bertrand responded: “We don’t have the reporting that suggests that the president has told aides, for example, that he really wants Russia to interfere because he thinks that it’s going to help him, right?”

No, we don’t have that reporting — though there’s no prohibition against fantasizing about it on national television. Such is the theme of Bertrand’s commentary during previous coverage of Russian interference, specifically the dossier of memos drawn up by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. With winks and nods from MSNBC hosts, Bertrand heaped credibility on the dossier — which was published in full by BuzzFeed News in January 2017 — in repeated television appearances.

Wemple systematically reviewed the mountain of speculation, unproven conspiracies and outright falsehoods Bertrand shoveled to the public as she was repeatedly promoted. But it was the document that gave us deranged delusions about pee-pee tape blackmail and Michael Cohen’s trip to Prague that was her crown jewel: “The Bertrand highlight reel features a great deal of thumb-on-scale speculation regarding the dossier,” Wemple wrote.

And when information started being declassified that proved much of Bertrand’s claims about collusion to be a fraud, she complained that there was too much transparency, implying that the Trump administration was harming national security by allowing the public to know too much — namely, allowing the public to see that her reporting was a fraud. A journalist who complains about too much transparency is like a cardiologist who complains that a patient has stopped smoking cigarettes, or like a journalist who voluntarily rats out her own source to the FBI or who agitates for censorship of political speech: a walking negation of the professional values they are supposed to uphold. But that is Natasha Bertrand, and, to the extent that there are some people who still believe that working at CNN is desirable, she was just rewarded for it again yesterday — just as journalists who rat out their own sources to the FBI and advocate for internet censorship are now celebrated in today’s rotted media climate.

Bertrand’s trail of journalistic scandals and recklessness extend well beyond her Russiagate conspiracies. Last October, she published an article in Politico strongly implying that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe was speaking without authorization or any evidence when he said Iran was attempting to undermine President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. But last month, the Biden administration declassified an intelligence report which said they had “high confidence” that Iran had done exactly what Ratcliffe alleged: namely, run an influence campaign to hurt Trump’s candidacy. A former national security official, Cliff Sims, said upon hearing of CNN’s hiring that he explicitly warned Bertrand’s editors that the story was false but they chose to publish it anyway.

It was also Bertrand who most effectively laundered the extremely significant CIA lie in October, 2020 that the documents obtained by The New York Post about the Biden family’s business dealings in China and Ukraine were “Russian disinformation.” Even though the John-Brennan-led former intelligence officials admitted from the start that they had no evidence for this claim, Bertrand not only amplified it but vouched for its credibility by writing that the Post‘s reporting “has drawn comparisons to 2016, when Russian hackers dumped troves of emails from Democrats onto the internet — producing few damaging revelations but fueling accusations of corruption by Trump” (that those 2016 DNC and Podesta documents produced “few damaging revelations” would come as a big surprise to the five DNC operatives, led by Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who were forced to resign when their pro-Hillary cheating was revealed).

It was this Politico article by Bertrand that was then used by Facebook and Twitter to justify their joint censorship of the Post‘s reporting in the weeks before the 2020 election, and numerous media outlets — including The Intercept — gullibly told their readers to ignore the revelations on the ground that these authentic documents were “Russian disinformation.” Yet once it did its job of helping defeat Trump, that claim was debunked when even the intelligence community acknowledged it had no evidence of Russian involvement in the appearance of these materials, and Hunter Biden himself admitted he was the subject of a federal investigation for the transactions revealed by those documents.

Politico, Oct. 19, 2020

But even when her fantasies and conspiracies are debunked, Bertrand — like a good intelligence soldier — never cedes any ground in her propaganda campaigns. She was, needless to say, one of the journalists who most vocally promoted the CIA’s story — published as Trump was announcing his plans to withdraw from Afghanistan — that Russia had paid bounties to the Taliban for the death of U.S. soldiers. Yet even when the U.S. intelligence community under Joe Biden admitted last week that it has only “low to moderate” confidence that this even happened — with the NSA and other surveillance agencies saying it could find no evidence to corroborate the CIA’s story — she continued to insist that nothing had changed with the story, denying last week on a Mediaite podcast that anything had happened to cast doubt on the original story: “I think it’s much more nuanced than it being a walk-back. I don’t think that’s right actually.”

Even a cursory review of Bertrand’s prolific output reveals an endless array of gossip, conspiracy and speculative assertions masquerading as journalism. The commentator Luke Thomas detailed many of these transgressions on Monday and correctly observed that “arguably no single reporter has contributed more to the deranged and paranoid national security fantasies of the center-left than Natasha Bertrand. She’s an embarrassment to her profession and will, therefore, fit right in at CNN.”

As Thomas noted, beyond all of Bertrand’s well-documented and consequential propaganda, “she sees conspiracies and perfidiousness around every corner,” pointing to this demented yet highly viral tweet that deciphered comments from former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as inadvertently revealing some secret scheme to expand Trump’s pardon powers. That scheme, like most of her speculative predictions, never materialized.

Then there is her garden-variety ethical scandal. In January, freelancer Dean Sterling Jones accused Bertrand of stealing his work without credit or payment. In a post he published, Jones documented how he emailed Bertrand a draft with reporting he had been working on, and in response she agreed to report it jointly with him on a co-byline. Yet two weeks later, the article appeared in The Atlantic with Bertrand as the only named reporter. Only after Jones complained did they insert a sentence into the story begrudgingly citing him as a source. “By my count,” Jones wrote, “Bertrand’s article contains at least six unequivocal examples of direct copying and revisions of my work.” When he published his post detailing his accusations, Bertrand arrogantly refused even to provide comment to the freelancer whose work she pilfered.

Natasha Bertrand has spent the last five years working as a spokesperson for the alliance composed of the CIA and the Democratic Party, spreading every unvetted and unproven conspiracy theory about Russiagate that they fed her. The more loyally she performed that propagandistic function, the more rapidly she was promoted and rewarded. Now she arrives at her latest destination: CNN, not only Russiagate Central along with MSNBC but also the home to countless ex-operatives of the security state agencies on whose behalf Bertrand speaks.

Once again we see the two key truths of modern corporate journalism in the U.S. First, we have the Jeffrey Goldberg Principle: you can never go wrong, but only right, by disseminating lies and propaganda from the CIA. Second, the organs that spread the most disinformation and crave disinformation agents as their employees are the very same ones who demand censorship of the internet in the name of stopping disinformation.

I’ve long said that if you want to understand how to thrive in this part of the media world, you should study the career advancement of Jeffrey Goldberg, propelled by one reckless act after the next. But now the sequel to the Goldberg Rise is the thriving career of this new CNN reporter whose value as a CIA propagandist Goldberg, notably, was the first to spot and reward.

April 27, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Project Veritas Founder Sues Twitter After He Was Banned Amid Ongoing ‘Expose CNN’ Series

By Alexandra Kashirina – Sputnik – 20.04.2021

Earlier, Twitter permanently suspended the account of Project Veritas founder, James O’Keefe, as the watchdog continues to release its “Expose CNN” series, including the broadcaster’s director saying that the channel was using “propaganda”.

James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, filed a defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday, denying platform accusations that he used false pages, considered in Twitter rules as a way to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations.”

“This defamation action arises from Twitter’s false and defamatory April 15, 2021, statement concerning Twitter’s decision to ban Plaintiff James O’Keefe, an investigative journalist followed by over 926,000 Twitter users as of the time he was banned.”

“Twitter’s false claim that Mr. O’Keefe used ‘fake accounts’ on Twitter has caused Mr. O’Keefe damage and, unless retracted, will continue to cause him damage,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, “Twitter made such claims with knowledge of their falsity in order to distract and detract from Project Veritas’s CNN release of the same day.”

Last week, Twitter banned O’Keefe’s page after accusing O’Keefe of using “fake accounts.”

The ban came shortly after the release of a third Project Veritas revelation which included an interview with CNN technical director Charles Chester recorded clandestinely on a hidden camera. Chester claimed that the broadcaster was aiming to prevent former US President Donald Trump from being re-elected by focusing on negative news about him.

“Look what we did, we [CNN] got Trump out. I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out…I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that,” Chester appeared to say during a secretly recorded conversation with a Project Veritas journalist.

Chester also claimed that CNN was only covering US President Joe Biden in a favorable light and asserted that the network had assisted BLM the movement by concealing crimes committed by people of color.

The non-profit conservative outlet Project Veritas was founded in 2010 by O’Keefe and includes a group of journalists who focus on publishing investigative reports on officials they claim are liberal as well as various organizations, including big tech companies.

Project Veritas and the social media accounts of several of its employees have faced a number of bans regarding their reporting about Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Media Lied Repeatedly About Officer Brian Sicknick’s Death. And They Just Got Caught.

Nancy Pelosi at a congressional tribute to the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick who lies in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 3, 2021. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)
By Glenn Greenwald | April 19, 2021

It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

So The New York Times on January 8 published an emotionally gut-wrenching complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick’s skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died — and, just like the now-discredited Russian bounty story also unveiled by that same paper, cable outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible. Just watch a part of what they did and how:

As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick’s own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media’s claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke.

But the gruesome story of Sicknick’s “murder” was too valuable to allow any questioning. It was weaponized over and over to depict the pro-Trump mob not as just violent but barbaric and murderous, because if Sicknick weren’t murdered by them, then nobody was (without Sicknick, the only ones killed were four pro-Trump supporters: two who died of a heart attack, one from an amphetamine overdose, and the other, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot point blank in the neck by Capitol Police despite being unarmed). So crucial was this fairy tale about Sicknick that it made its way into the official record of President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, and they had Joe Biden himself recite from the script, even as clear facts mounted proving it was untrue.

Articles on this Substack, Feb. 16, 2021 and Mar. 5, 2021

Because of its centrality to the media narrative and agenda, anyone who tried to point out the serious factual deficiencies in this story — in other words, people trying to be journalists — were smeared by Democratic Party loyalists who pretend to be journalists as “Sicknick Truthers,” white nationalist sympathizers, and supporters of insurrection.

For the crime of trying to determine the factual truth of what happened, my character was constantly impugned by these propagandistic worms, as was anyone else’s who tried to tell the truth about Sicknick’s tragic death. Because one of the first people to highlight the journalistic truth here was former Trump official Darren Beattie of Revolver News and one of the few people on television willing to host doubts about the official story was Tucker Carlsonany doubts about the false Sicknick story — no matter how well-grounded in truth, facts, reason and evidence — were cast as fascism and white supremacy, and those raising questions smeared as “truthers”: the usual dreary liberal insults for trying to coerce people into submitting to their lies:

Because the truth usually prevails, at least ultimately, their lies, yet again, all came crashing down on their heads on Monday. The District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner earlier this morning issued his official ruling in the Sicknick case, and it was so definitive that The Washington Post — one of the media outlets that had pushed the multiple falsehoods — did not even bother to try to mask or mitigate the stark conclusion it revealed:

The first line tells much of the story: “Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes a day after he confronted rioters at the Jan. 6 insurrection, the District’s chief medical examiner has ruled.” Using understatement, the paper added: “The ruling, released Monday, likely will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death.”

This definitive finding from the medical examiner not only rids us of the Fire Extinguisher lie but also the second theory to which these media outlets resorted once they had to face the reality that they spent weeks spreading an outright lie (needless to say, they provided no real accountability or even acknowledgement for the fact that they did spread that Fire Extinguisher tale, instead just seamlessly moving to their next evidence-free claim). They changed their story to claim that pro-Trump protesters still murdered Sicknick, not with a fire extinguisher but with bear spray, which video shows at least one protester using in his vicinity.

Clockwise: Tweet of Associated Press, Jan. 29; Tweet of NBC’s Richard Engel, Jan. 9; Tweet of the Lincoln Project’s Fred Willman, Jan. 29; Tweet of The New York Times’ Nicholas Kirstof, Jan. 9

The problem with that theory is that bear spray is not usually fatal, and the medical examiner’s findings ruled out the possibility that this is what caused his death:

In an interview with The Washington Post, Francisco J. Diaz, the medical examiner, said the autopsy found no evidence the 42-year-old officer suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, which Diaz said would have caused Sicknick’s throat to quickly seize. Diaz also said there was no evidence of internal or external injuries…

Diaz said Sicknick suffered two strokes at the base of the brain stem caused by a clot in an artery that supplies blood to that area of the body. Diaz said he could not comment on whether Sicknick had a preexisting medical condition, citing privacy laws.

So there goes that second fairy tale. The Post did note the medical examiner’s observation regarding Sicknick’s participation in defending the Capitol that day that “all that transpired played a role in his condition.” That of course is true: just as it is true for the two pro-Trump supporters who had heart attacks that day and the other pro-Trump supporter who died from too much amphetamine in her system, having a stressful encounter as a police officer likely played a role in why someone would have two strokes the following day. But police officers are trained for stressful encounters, and that obviously is a far cry from being able to claim that any pro-Trump supporter murdered Sicknick.

I’ll have much more on this story as it unfolds. A significant amount of media accountability is warranted. But you’re seeing why there is so much resentment and so many attacks on platforms like this one that permit journalists to report and analyze facts and dissect media narratives without being constrained by liberal orthodoxies and pieties and while remaining immune from liberal pressure tactics: it’s one of the few ways that real dissent to their lies and propaganda can be aired.

The New York Times, in a now-”updated” article, Jan. 8, 2021

Truth matters. Noble lies are never justified no matter the cause, especially in journalism. But these employees of corporate media outlets have been taught the exact opposite model: that their primary obligation is to please and flatter the partisan agenda and political sensibilities of their audience even if it means lying or recklessly spreading unproven theories to do it. That is their profit model. And they have trained their audiences to want and expect this and that is why they never feel compelled to engage in any self-critique or accountability when they get caught doing this: their audiences want to be lied to — they are grateful for it — and would prefer that they not admit they did it so that their partisan interests will not be undermined.

What is most depressing about this entire spectacle is that, this time, they exploited the tragic death of a young man to achieve their tawdry goals. They never cared in the slightest about Officer Brian Sicknick. They had just spent months glorifying a protest movement whose core view is that police officers are inherently racist and abusive. He had just become their toy, to be played with and exploited in order to depict the January 6 protest as a murderous orgy carried out by savages so primitive and inhuman that they were willing to fatally bash in the skull of a helpless person or spray them with deadly gases until they choked to death on their own lung fluids. None if it was true, but that did not matter — and it still does not to them — because truth, as always, has nothing to do with their actual function. If anything, truth is an impediment to it.

April 19, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 5 Comments

Overexposed Fauci has nothing to add to gun debate and his intervention is an insult to firearms victims

By Micah Curtis | RT | April 19, 2021

CNN’s invitation to Dr. Anthony Fauci to opine on whether gun violence is a health issue in the US was totally misplaced. He’s not qualified to comment, and after his performance on Covid, few will be prepared to listen anyway.

The president’s chief medical adviser has been the darling of the political left ever since Covid-19 changed our world. He has been pushed and promoted outside his normal sphere to the extent that he was even invited to talk at the Latin American Music Awards alongside Ricky Martin. Boy, do I wish I was kidding…

Now that he’s the poster boy for all things health-related in America, it was perhaps not surprising that he was asked to  appear on CNN’s State of the Union program for his opinions on whether or not gun violence is a health issue in America. But there’s a problem with that. Because Dr. Fauci is an immunologist, not a psychologist.

Sure, the good doctor has a right to his opinion. He gets to enjoy that right just as much as any other American. However, some opinions have more value than others. And in this particular case, I think that Fauci’s opinion is worthless. I have nothing personal against him, but I would much rather hear a psychologist discuss this particular topic. After all, there is always an individual or individuals behind the violence, and I think we need to know what goes into the decision-making process to compel someone to kill so many people with a gun.

Then again, I’m also cognizant enough to know that the left does not care at all whether or not Dr. Fauci is qualified to give his opinion. At the moment he is their go-to guy, as opposed to someone like Bill Nye. And, ultimately, the reason that Fauci is given airtime has nothing to do with his actual qualifications, but everything to do with the fact that he is to be used as a cudgel. The administration that he works for declared gun violence a public health epidemic earlier this month. So he is there to make it seem like its decision to make such a declaration is rooted in science.

It’s a rather cynical move, and one that clearly is not very well thought out. Trying to use an overexposed immunologist to push gun control is not exactly going to be something that resonates with a lot of people in America. Many are simply sick of seeing this guy everywhere, so there’s no way that they’ll listen to what he has to say with regard to what should be done with firearms.

Whichever way you look at it, Dr. Fauci is as qualified to comment on this as he is on how to repair a muffler on a semi truck, and everyone knows it. And what makes it even worse is that his contribution to the debate solves nothing.

Right now, Democrats simply do not have the numbers to push through an assault weapons ban on Capitol Hill. And no matter how much data is brought together to show how many people are killed by guns, there is an overarching issue that isn’t being addressed. And that is why people are pulling the trigger in the first place.

In my opinion, this is the question we should be striving to find the answer for. And our failure to do so makes the situation even worse and more depressing. It shows a lack of care for the people who are victims of gun violence, and a lack of desire to figure out what exactly drives people to do such things.

Whether it’s extreme mental duress or an actual mental illness, at some point our culture is going to have to figure out exactly what causes people to kill so freely if we ever want America to get better.

Parading Dr. Fauci around like a prize parrot is going to do nothing more than annoy people… while others lose their lives.

April 19, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Corrupted News Network CNN

By Stephen Lendman | April 18, 2021

Founded in 1980, the most distrusted name in television news CNN consistently features fake news and mass deception over the real thing it long ago banned on air.

Like other establishment media, it reports a daily drumbeat of utter rubbish — truth and full disclosure on major issues nowhere in sight.

Project Veritas (PV) caught CNN reporting bald-faced Big Lies earlier.

Last week, Twitter suspended the account of its founder James O’Keefe for exposing anti-Trump propaganda reports by CNN — falsely claiming he violated company rules.

PV’s undercover video caught CNN technical director Charlie Chester red-handed — boasting about his anti-Trump propaganda, saying:

“Look what we did. (CNN fake news) got Trump out (sic).”

“I am 100​ percent going to say it, and I 100​ percent believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out (sic).”

“Our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was.”

He bragged about joining CNN to work on denying Trump a second term.

He also boasted about featuring (fake numbers of covid) deaths displayed at all times on CNN’s screen during broadcasts.

His aim was (and remains) all about boosting ratings by fear-mongering viewers to self-inflict harm by going along with government mandates and recommendations on all things seasonal flu-renamed covid.

He told an undercover PV reporter that “fear really drives numbers. (It) keeps them tuned in.”

Hyped covid related rubbish produced “gangbuster… ratings.”

“It’s why (CNN) constantly ha(s) the (covid) death toll on the side, which I have a major problem with, with how we’re tallying how many people die every day.”

Meaningless numbers are artificially inflated multiple times higher than reality.

CNN fake news artificially inflates them higher — for maximum fear-mongering effect.

Its viewers are too out-of-touch with real news and information to know they were willfully duped.

The same goes for other establishment media in cahoots with Big Government, Pharma and other monied interests.

Their mandate is all about proliferating fake news mass deception — CNN the worst of an on-air collective lying machine.

The same goes for the NYT in print.

CNN management mandates fake news about major issues, including about covid.

According to Chester, “(t)he special red phone rings and this producer picks it up.”

“You hear (murmurs) and every so often they put it on speaker, and it’s the head of the network being like, ‘There’s nothing that you’re doing right now that makes me want to stick.’ ”

Without mentioning WarnerMedia chairman Jeff Zooker by name, he quoted him, saying:

“Put the (fake covid death toll) numbers back up because that’s the most enticing thing that we had. So, put it back up.”

Virtually everything reported about all things covid since early last year was and continues to be willfully and maliciously fabricated.

It’s all about instituting and maintaining draconian control.

It’s part of Great Reset mass deception to create ruler/serf societies worldwide.

It’s about privileged interests owning everything, ordinary people nothing.

It’s about dystopian harshness replacing free and open societies.

It’s about government instituted/media supported tyrannical rule no one should tolerate anywhere.

April 18, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

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

By Glenn Greenwald | April 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNN Exposed Admitting They Rig The News On COVID19!

Project Veritas – April 15, 2021

New Project Veritas video filmed undercover catches a top CNN executive admitting everything rigged to fool the public into compliance.

Snippets from the confession: “Listen to the way we ask questions… we tell the interviewee what to say” Regarding Covid-19: Why don’t you guys cover Covid-19 recovery rates?: ‘Recovery rates? Big pause as he’s unsure what that is.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

‘Our focus was to get Trump out of office’: CNN technical director admits network is ‘PROPAGANDA’

RT | April 13, 2021

An undercover video released by Project Veritas shows CNN technical director Charlie Chester revealing how the network purposefully painted Joe Biden in a positive light to get Donald Trump out of office.

In a conversation with a Project Veritas journalist, Chester can be seen on video admitting CNN worked to make Trump look “unfit for office,” while simultaneously portraying Biden as healthy to combat fears the 78-year-old was not up to holding the presidency.

“Look what we did, we [CNN] got Trump out. I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out…I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that,” Chester says in the video.

He also detailed bringing in “medical people” to tell a story that was “all speculation” about Trump’s hand shaking.

“We were creating a story there that we didn’t know anything about. That’s what – I think that’s propaganda,” he said.

Chester revealed the opposite was done for Biden during the 2020 presidential race.

“We would always show shots of him [Biden] jogging and that [he’s] healthy, you know, and him in aviator shades. Like you paint him as a young geriatric,” he said, saying the strategy was a “deflection” of his age and numerous public gaffes.

CNN ran numerous stories about Trump’s health during the presidential race, including one from Brian Stelter with a headline reading: ‘It’s now up to journalists to get to the truth about Trump’s health’.

Another from outspoken Trump critic Jim Acosta in October read: ‘Trump’s doctors paint a rosy – but vague – picture of his health during Covid-19 treatment’.

The CNN employee also claimed his network’s strategy as it moves away from Covid-19 coverage is to shift to a focus on climate change.

“It’s going to be our [CNN’s] focus. Like our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was, right? So, our next thing is going to be climate change awareness,” he said.

Chester added he doesn’t specifically know what that coverage looks like, but it will likely include fear-mongering videos of “the effects it’s having on the economy,” as well as “decline in ice” and “weather warming.”

Chester revealed the person deciding all of this slanted coverage is CNN head Jeff Zucker.

The network had not reacted to the video at the time of this article’s publication. However, a source close to CNN told Mediaite Chester was targeted through the dating app Tinder, which included the detail that he worked for the channel.

April 13, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment