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US NED-Funded Meddling Exposed in The Philippines

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By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 21.06.2019

With little else to offer the nations of Southeast Asia, the US has opted instead to wield the familiar and well-honed weapon of political subversion to peel potential partners away from Beijing in Washington’s continued bid to rescue its waning primacy in Asia-Pacific.

The most recent manifestation of this can be seen in the Philippines where Manila has accused media front Rappler, founded by long-time CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa, and others of representing foreign interests and conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies in direct violation of the nation’s constitution.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its defense of Rappler would claim:

First were the politically motivated state charges that funding provided to the news website Rappler by a U.S. philanthropic foundation represented a violation of constitutional provisions barring foreign control or ownership of Philippine media.

Then came government allegations in April that journalists from independent media groups, including Rappler, the independent media organization VERA Files, and the non-profit Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, were involved in a conspiracy to discredit and oust President Rodrigo Duterte’s elected government. All four outlets issued statements denying the allegation.

Now, a pro-government media campaign claims that the same independent news outlets and the Philippine press freedom group Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility are in the pay of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a potential criminal offense under local law.

The CPJ notes that all of the accused groups are openly and admittedly funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CPJ admits (my emphasis):

All four outlets receive substantial grants from the NED. 

Funded largely by Congress, NED was founded in the early 1980s as a way for the U.S. to openly promote democracy worldwide by providing annual grants to non-governmental groups, according to its website.

The CPJ categorically fails to challenge what are the NED’s own assertions that it is merely “promoting democracy worldwide.”

NED: The Public Face of (Often Violent) US Regime Change

The NED’s board of directors includes individuals openly involved in US-backed regime change including in Iraq, Ukraine and ongoing US regime change efforts in Venezuela.

Board members including Francis Fukuyama and Elliott Abrams openly advocated the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which the government in Baghdad was toppled and its senior leadership murdered based entirely on now verified lies regarding supposed “weapons of mass destruction.”

Elliott Abrams is listed on the NED’s website as “On Leave,” having been appointed as a US special envoy for Venezuela amid ongoing efforts to overthrow the government there.

The Guardian in an article titled, “US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela: Elliott Abrams, who was linked to failed coup against Chávez, to join Pompeo to urge security council to recognize Guaidó as head,” would report:

Elliott Abrams was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela on Friday, as Donald Trump’s administration and European leaders on Saturday further increase the pressure on the socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, to step aside from leading the country he has taken into a deepening crisis.

Abrams will accompany the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to a meeting of the UN security council in New York on Saturday, during which Pompeo will urge members to join the US in declaring Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of state.

The Guardian also notes:

Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.

Other NED directors include Victoria Nuland who played a key role in leading US regime change efforts in Ukraine in 2014.

Reuters in its article, “Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU,” would admit:

A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine that was posted on YouTube revealed an embarrassing exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude American swipe at the European Union.

The article also admitted:

The audio clip, which was posted on Tuesday but gained wide circulation on Thursday, appears to show the official, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, weighing in on the make-up of the next Ukrainian government.

The convergence of senior US representatives openly and repeatedly involved in (often violent) regime change most certainly involving the CIA among myriad other US organisations within the halls of the NED is no coincidence.

The NED exists to promote regime change worldwide, merely under the guise of “promoting democracy worldwide.”

The CPJ Defends US-funded Subversion Under Guise of “Press Freedom”

The CPJ failed categorically to inform readers of facts surrounding the true nature of NED and its activities in its defence of Rappler.

This however should come as no surprise. The CPJ itself is yet another shell organisation likewise funded by US corporate foundations for the purpose of promoting US interests. The CPJ does this by protecting fronts like Rappler under the guise of “press freedom” from the repercussions of engaging in US government-funded subversion.

Fronts like Rappler serve as a propaganda “sword” while the CPJ exists as a “shield” to block efforts by targeted nations to defend themselves.

The CPJ in its 2018 annual report (.pdf) is admittedly funded by corporate foundations like convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, US corporations like pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and tech giants Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo, financial institutions like Mastercard and Morgan Stanley and mainstays of Western media including Reuters, Vice, NPR, PBS, Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC.

Many of these interests funding the CPJ are involved in activities at the NED. Anne Applebaum, for example, is a senior columnist at the above mentioned Washington Post and serves as an NED director.

The CPJ’s defence of Rappler continues, claiming:

Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta, in an April 30 op-ed, called for the enactment of a foreign agents registration law to “tame in a hurry the intrusive criticism and interference in national affairs by these foreign-funded [media] organizations, whose activities are subversive by design.” Makabenta continued, “Indeed, if they are working for a group like the CIA, they could be working to change the government.”

CPJ has chronicled how governments, including in Russia and China, have passed laws that require bloggers, journalists and civil society members to register as foreign agents in moves that threaten to obstruct the free flow of information, including over social media. Makabenta’s op-ed suggested the Philippines should implement similar legislation.

The U.S. government has denied the CIA is involved in any destabilization plot against Duterte. The U.S. ambassador responded to the claims by saying, “There is absolutely no effort by the CIA to undermine the Philippines leadership,” according to reports.

Makabenta’s fears are well-founded.

Even at a glance the NED’s board of directors reflects the organisation’s role in fueling regime change worldwide. NED-funded media fronts are demonstrably biased and transparent in their efforts to undermine targeted governments and to promote US-favoured politicians, political parties and opposition groups.

The Philippines’ Punishment for Building Bridges with Beijing 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated a pattern of disobedience toward Washington, having previously threatened to expel US forces from Philippine territory, building closer ties with Beijing and even excluding Washington from bilateral talks held with Beijing seeking solutions to disputes over the South China Sea.

For all of these reasons and more, President Duterte and others throughout the Philippines’ establishment have become targets of US-backed subversion, the public face of which being NED-funded media fronts like Rappler.

A similar pattern can be seen throughout Southeast Asia with NED-funded fronts like Prachatai, iLaw, Isaan Record and Benar News targeting the current Thai government headed by a Beijing-friendly military-led faction that twice ousted US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies from power.

It is difficult to say how long organisations like the CPJ can continue successfully defending fronts like Rappler under the guise of defending “press freedom.” Only the CPJ’s intentional omission of facts like the nature of the NED’s board of directors and its extensive history of regime change allows the CPJ to portray its defense of Rappler and others taking NED funds as credible.

Were the CPJ truly dedicated to defending press freedom it would note the danger of foreign-funded sedition dressed up as journalism and alert the public to how this above all else threatens to undermine a free press. Instead, the CPJ defends this abuse, thus ironically undermining genuine press freedom in the process.

Should the Philippines enact an effective foreign agents registration law, other nations in the region might follow, delivering a severe blow to US meddling and pose as a further setback to US ambitions to reassert itself vis-à-vis China.

With the US unable to compete with China’s infrastructure-centred regional partnerships, and even lagging behind in the sale of military hardware, security partnerships and investments, political subversion is the last tool on offer. But maybe taking this last tool away from Washington could be a blessing in disguise. Without it, perhaps Washington will reevaluate other, more constructive methods of engaging with Asia-Pacific (and the rest of the world) based on mutual respect and benefits and above all, upon the primacy of national sovereignty.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas.

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Year of selective blindness: Russian journalist still in Ukrainian jail under bogus treason charges

A rally in support of Kirill Vyshynsky in Moscow. ©Sputnik / Aleksey Kudenko
By Alexandre Antonov | RT | May 15, 2019

Exactly a year ago the head of a Russian-Ukrainian news agency was snatched in Kiev and put in jail under a charge of high treason. Western champions of media rights have shown spectacular will to ignore the scandalous case.

Being a journalist in a nation where the government can put you in jail for unfavorable reporting is understandably risky, but at least one can hope to find international support after getting into trouble. Foreign governments and international organizations would cry foul and try to pressure the persecutors.

Well, Kirill Vyshinsky didn’t get this response. On March 15, 2018 he was arrested by agents of the SBU, Ukraine’s powerful national security agency, and charged with treason. His alleged crime was that as head of a Russian-Ukrainian news agency he waged “information warfare” against Ukraine, or at least that’s what the SBU said at the time. The accusation may result in a 15 year jail term.

Vyshinsky has been kept in pre-trial detention since, denied bail or hospital treatment and restricted in visitation rights. The prosecution managed to formulate an 80-page indictment by March, listing 72 stories and opinion pieces published by the news agency since 2014, which the prosecution claims to be manipulative or false.

The journalist insists the accusations are absurd. How can a factually accurate news report about Crimea changing its time zone to that of Moscow or an opinion piece giving a historic overview of referenda held in Ukraine since gaining independence in 1991 be anti-Ukrainian, he argued. The prosecutors said even factually accurate stories can be “anti-Ukrainian in nature.”

Regardless of one’s attitude to what happened between Ukraine and Russia during and after the Maidan mass protests, accurate reporting of facts should not be criminalized. Just imagine what would happen, for example, if in 1999 Russia arrested and put on trial the head of the BBC Russian service, saying the British broadcaster’s coverage of the freshly reignited hostilities in Chechnya was “anti-Russian.” All hell would break loose, and rightfully so.

On Wednesday, there was a protest in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, calling on Kiev to free Vyshinsky. And a deafening silence from the usual Western defenders of media freedom. Amnesty International, for example, doesn’t mention Vyshinsky’s name on its website at all – not even on the Russian-language and Ukrainian-language versions.

Officials from the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe and International Federation of Journalists voiced concern about Vyshinsky’s continued incarceration when asked for comments by the Russian media. But the organizations didn’t release any official statements on the occasion of the anniversary. Neither did the Committee to Protect Journalists, although it did report the start of Vyshynsky’s trial in early April.

As for mainstream media in the West, they don’t seem to be particularly interested in their Russian-Ukrainian colleague. Unless, of course, there is a chance to brand him a Russian propagandist who may threaten America’s democracy. A story that the Daily Beast ran in March says Vyshinsky’s wife hired US political consultant Ezra Friedlander to lobby for the journalist’s release in Ukraine, and implied that this may have compromised Friedlander’s other clients, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. In other words, red-baiting at its best.

Apparently, not all reporters are made equal in the eyes of the West. There are those that deserve protection. And there are people like Vyshinsky, or WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, who are not really reporters – just some guys telling true but unwelcomed facts about the US and its allies. They deserve to rot in jail, right?

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour equates climate ‘deniers’ with proponents of ‘ethnic cleansing and genocide’

By Marc Morano – Climate Depot – November 25, 2016

Amanpour: Press Faces ‘Existential Crisis’ Under Trump; ‘I Believe In Being Truthful, Not Neutral’

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour has equated climate change skeptics with the purveyors of “ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia” and “unspeakable crimes.” She also declared that the media should not give voice to those who reject the alleged “consensus” of man-made climate fears. Amanpour warned of a “Tsunami of fake news.”

Amanpour was honored with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), for her extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom on November 22, 2016. (Email: press@cpj.org) She is the Chief International Correspondent for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program Amanpour.

Amanpour said the following about “global warming” and “press freedom” at 4:35 into the video: Note: The transcript at the Real Clear Politics link (slightly different from what she actually says in the video) includes the following:

Key Excerpt of Christiane Amanpour speech:

“It appeared much of the media got itself into knots trying to differentiate between balance, objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, truth. We cannot continue the old paradigm–let’s say like over global warming, where 99.9 percent of the empirical scientific evidence is given equal play with the tiny minority of deniers.

I learned a long, long time ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then if you do, particularly in situations like that, you are party and an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

So I believe in being truthful, not neutral.”

End excerpt.

Wikipedia states that “The CPJ International Press Freedom Awards honor journalists or their publications around the world who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment.”

As  Climate Depot reader Tony Kondaks noted: Neither Amanpour or the CPJ “was aware of the irony that an award for ‘press freedom’ is going to an individual who feels that defending press freedom means that journalists must self-censor and RESTRICT their readers’ access to countering and opposing views.”

Amanpour also noted the oft repeated incorrect claim of a 97% consensus about “global warming” but she even juiced that number to 99.6%.

For the truth about the 97% “consensus” claims, see below.

97% Climate Consensus?

The claim that “97% of scientists agree” is in part based on 77 anonymous scientists who [participated] in a survey. The survey started by seeking opinions from 10,257 scientists. However, it was then whittled down to 77. So the 97% “consensus” claim is not based on thousands of scientists or even hundreds of scientists – but only on 77 scientists. Out of those 77 scientists, 75 answered the survey to form the mythical 97% ‘consensus.’

In 2013 and 2014, other claims of an alleged 97% climate ‘consensus’ emerged, prompting UN IPCC lead author Dr. Richard Tol to publish a critique and declare: “The 97% is essentially pulled from thin air, it is not based on any credible research whatsoever.” The new 97% claim by climate activist John Cook was so “so broad that it incorporates the views of most prominent climate skeptics.” Another researcher, Andrew Montford, commented: “The [97%] consensus as described by the survey is virtually meaningless and tells us nothing about the current state of scientific opinion beyond the trivial observation that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.”

Lord Christopher Monckton’s analysis found that “only 41 papers – 0.3% of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0% of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1%” actually endorsed the claim that “more than half of recent global warming was anthropogenic.”

Bjorn Lomborg wrote: “Do you remember the ‘97% consensus,’ which even Obama tweeted? Turns out the authors don’t want to reveal their data. It has always been a dodgy paper. Virtually everyone I know in the debate would automatically be included in the 97%.”

UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol: The 97‰ ‘consensus’ is a ‘bogus number’ – Some of the mistakes in the study should be obvious to all. There are hundreds of papers on the causes of climate change, and thousands of papers on the impacts of climate change and climate policy. Cook focused on the latter. A paper on the impact of a carbon tax on emissions was taken as evidence that the world is warming. A paper on the impact of climate change on the Red Panda was taken as evidence that humans caused this warming. And even a paper on the television coverage of climate change was seen by Cook as proof that carbon dioxide is to blame.

Cook and Co. analysed somewhere between 11,944 and 12,876 papers – they can’t get their story straight on the sample size – but only 64 of these explicitly state that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming. A reexamination of their data brought that number down to 41. That is half a per cent or less of the total, rather than 97 percent.

MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Mocks 97% Consensus: ‘It is propaganda’ – 97 Consensus? Dr. Lindzen: ‘They never really tell you what they agree on. It is propaganda. So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2 you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce co2 etc. If you can make an ambiguous remark and you have people who will amplify it ‘they said it not me’ and he response of the political system is to increase your funding, what’s not to like?’

November 27, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment