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Biden’s allegation of ‘Russian interference!’ while silent on Big Tech’s meddling is astounding cognitive dissonance

By Laura Loomer | RT | July 31, 2021

As the 2022 midterm election season approaches, Joe Biden and the Democrat Party are already repeating their 2016 claims of “Russian interference,” which they falsely spewed throughout the entire first term of Donald Trump.

This week, Joe Biden accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to disrupt the 2022 US congressional elections by “spreading misinformation,” going as far as saying Russia was undermining and violating US sovereignty.

Election interference is real. However, Biden, who appears to be in a state of constant mental decline and confusion, demonstrates the election-interference cognitive dissonance that has become commonplace within the Democrat Party and among Democrat voters. As a Republican voter and Congressional candidate myself, I am very concerned about election interference in the 2022 congressional elections, just not from Russia. I agree with Biden’s concerns about the 2022 congressional elections being disrupted by election interference. In fact, the biggest issue currently facing the United States of America and the future of our elections process is election interference – just not by Russia.

The election interference that Americans must be weary of, heading into 2022, is Big Tech interference.

For Biden and the Democratic Party, Russia has become an easy scapegoat and political boogeyman for very real political issues that are affecting the integrity of our elections. As we saw during the four years that Donald J Trump was President, the Democrats have zero qualms about accusing their political opponents of being Russian bots, Russian agents, or about dividing the entire nation over a feverish conspiracy of Russian election interference.

What they are not willing to do, however, is admit that the biggest threat to the integrity of US elections is Big Tech tyranny. When it comes to interfering in elections, the evidence makes it very clear that Russia is of no concern, while Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter are deplatforming US Congressional candidates like myself and banning a sitting US President during the certification process of the 2020 elections. Political censorship and Big Tech election interference has created widespread distrust of America’s elections process, but Joe Biden refuses to address it because Big Tech companies and their executives are Democratic Party mega-donors and their election interference efforts are aimed at aiding and electing Democrat politicians.

Speaking at the Geneva Summit last month following his meeting with Vladimir Putin, Biden said he told Putin there would be consequences to any election interference in the United States, adding that those who engage in election interference will have shrinking credibility.

“Let’s get this straight. How would it be if the United States was viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everyone knew it? It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to maintain its standing as a major world power.”

Ironically, Biden is right, but his severe case of cognitive dissonance has prevented him from recognizing and properly addressing the fact that the most egregious election interference that is happening in the world is actually originating from the United States. It is happening in Silicon Valley, California, where a handful of billionaires have taken it upon themselves to decide which political candidates in America, and around the world, will be able to have a voice during elections.

The United States desperately wants to remain the arbiter of truth, morality, and to set the standard for what it means to have free and fair elections, but the Democratic Party’s acceptance of Big Tech’s blatant interference with the 2020 elections and recent admissions by Biden’s administration that he is actively working with Facebook to censor content he views as “misinformation,” has created a severe credibility issue.

Not only does Biden have a credibility issue regarding his accusations against foreign nations of election interference but, since the 2020 elections, the United States has a credibility issue in the eyes of other world leaders who have been told for generations that the United States is the leading world power.

Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Apple are American companies. While these companies certainly have an international and global consumer base, they were created and founded in the United States of America.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, “Employees of Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., and Microsoft Corp. , Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. were the five largest sources of money for Mr. Biden’s campaign and joint fundraising committees among those identifying corporate employers, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of campaign finance reports. Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign received at least $15.1 million from employees of those five tech firms, records show.”

There is no denying that Biden received significant financial support from both the employees of and the executives of these powerful Big Tech companies that are now curating political discourse and communication all around the world.

For this reason, Biden has refused to hold Big Tech to the same standard regarding election interference that he wishes to hold Putin.

Even more disturbing is the fact that Putin himself has been more vocal about Big Tech’s election interference than the US leader, which has further diminished the United States standing as an authority on fair elections

Following Trump’s ban from nearly every Big Tech social media platform in January 2021, Putin himself, who the Democrats have spent years vilifying and falsely accusing of election interference, used his platform to call out Big Tech’s out-of-control power. During his speech at the Davos World Economic Forum this year, Putin argued that Big Tech is undermining free and fair elections through their monopolistic business practices.

“Digital giants have been playing an increasingly significant role in wider society,” Putin said via videolink. “In certain areas they are competing with states… Here is the question, how well does this monopolism correlate with the public interest? Where is the distinction between successful global businesses, sought-after services and big data consolidation on the one hand, and the efforts to rule society […] by substituting legitimate democratic institutions, by restricting the natural right for people to decide how to live and what view to express freely on the other hand?” he asked.

As I previously wrote in a previous Op Ed: “Big Tech and the Democrats love virtue-signaling about fake news and foreign-election interference, but it’s a classic case of projection, because spreading fake news and interfering in democratic elections is exactly what they are guilty of doing.”

While there may be no cure for Biden and the Democratic Party’s debilitating case of cognitive dissonance, which will surely worsen as time goes on, it will be up to the American people during the 2022 midterm elections to adopt the task of curtailing Big Tech’s election interference so that America can continue to remain a respected world leader and set the global standard for free and fair elections.

Laura Loomer is an award-winning conservative investigative journalist, free-speech activist, and former Republican US congressional nominee in Florida’s 21st District. She is the author of “LOOMERED: How I Became the Most Banned Woman in the World.” Follow her on Gab and Parler @LauraLoomer, and on Telegram @loomeredofficial

July 31, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

Biden Doubles Down on Voters

Fraud in 2020 election is only a preview of what is coming

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • JULY 20, 2021

President Joe Biden has now declared that the United States is facing an existential crisis comparable to what it experienced during the Civil War, a struggle that will produce a truly democratic form of government with universal franchise or which will result in the denial of basic rights to many citizens. And he is quite willing to address the issue employing a maximum of emotion and fear mongering unmitigated by a minimum of reasonable suasion, saying “We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War — the Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th. I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”

Of course, what may have occurred on January 6th has nothing to do with the issue currently in play, which is voting rights, though it is only one aspect of what is essentially a revolution sponsored by the Democratic Party to reorder the American political system in such a fashion as to guarantee its dominance for decades to come. Other steps will include greatly increased immigration, a war on so-called domestic terrorists and decriminalizing or choosing not to prosecute many felonies committed by party constituencies.

The voting rights legislation currently before Congress includes the interestingly named For the People Act and its successor the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which would seek to restore certain unconstitutional aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Most important, they would eliminate the ability of the states to pass legislation that creates conditions on registering and voting. The text of the John Lewis Act now before Congress refers to these steps as “discriminatory laws, needless barriers, and partisan dirty tricks.”

At the heart of the push by the Democrats is the creation of a uniform national electoral system which will essentially make it much easier for people to vote, permitting block voting, ballot harvesting and both registration and voting itself by mail. If passed, the new legislation will compel each state to adopt “automatic and same-day voter registration, voting rights for felons, no-excuse absentee balloting, mandatory early voting, and taxpayer funding for political campaigns.”

The key objections to the new voting procedure being promoted by Biden are several, largely related to its lack of any requirement for potential voters to provide information or show documentation confirming citizenship and residency or even one’s identity. The Democrats are denouncing their Republican opponents who are raising these issues as guilty of “voter suppression.” If the Democrats win the debate, it will be possible for anyone to vote in elections without having any human contact whatsoever using the mail-in ballots which are potentially susceptible to large scale fraud.

Another problem with the Biden program to nationalize voting procedures is that the there are four amendments to the United States Constitution that make it clear that it is left to the states to determine the modalities of voting. That means that even if the new voting act passes through Congress and is signed by the president there still would certainly be challenges based on its unconstitutionality. While Blue states will presumably go along with the guidance from Washington, those states still leaning Red will undoubtedly resist any nationalization of voting procedures.

It is not as if the current voting system is fraud-resistant. All too often it is not, which is why state legislatures in Georgia, Texas and several other Republican controlled states have passed new voting laws that actually require in many cases one’s physical presence to vote as well as production of documentation or information confirming citizenship and residency. They also include the purging of electoral rolls of voters who have died or moved. The new laws come as close as is reasonably possible to creating a system where voting security and integrity will be greatly enhanced, but the fact is that the Democrats are not at all interested in reducing criminal voting. They are interested in creating a permissive environment where all their presumed supporters will be able to vote without having to make any effort to do so or even be compelled to demonstrate who they really are and that they are citizens.

Prior to the recent national election, I examined the procedures to register and vote in my home state of Virginia and determined that one could both register and vote without any human contact at all. The registration process can be accomplished by filling out an online form, which is linked here. Note particularly the following: the form requires one to check the box indicating US citizenship. It then asks for name and address as well as social security number, date of birth and whether one has a criminal record or is otherwise disqualified to vote. You then have to sign and date the document and mail it off. Within ten days, you should receive a voter’s registration card for Virginia which you can present if you vote in person, though even that is not required.

It is important to realize that no documents have to actually be presented to support the application, which means that all the information can be false. You can even opt out of providing a social security number by checking the box indicating that you have never been issued one, even though the form indicates that you must have one to be registered, and you can also submit a temporary address by claiming you are “homeless.” Even date of birth information is useless as the form does not ask where you were born, which is how birth records are filed by state and local governments. Ultimately, it is only the social security number that validates the document and that is what also appears on the Voter’s ID Card, but even that can be false or completely fabricated, as many illegal immigrant workers in the US have discovered.

Prior to the November election my wife and I received unsolicited four mail-in ballots, all of which were sent to us anonymously. I examined the ballots carefully and noted that they bore no serial numbers or other forms of validation that could conceivably be used to limit the potential for fraud. In a state like Virginia, the actual mail-in ballot only requires your signature and that of a witness, who can be anyone. That is also true in six other states. Thirty-one states require only your own signature on the ballot while just three states require that the document be notarized, a good safeguard since it requires the voter to actually produce some documentation and identification. Seven states require your additional signature on the ballot envelope and two states require that a photocopy of the voter ID accompany the ballot. Some of these procedures may have been changed since the November allegation but it appears that only the handful of Republican states that are in the process of passing new voting laws are taking the problem seriously. In other words, the safeguards in the system continue at this time to vary from state to state but in most cases, fraud would be relatively easy if one is using mail-in voting. In fact, former President Jimmy Carter’s headed a bipartisan commission in 2005 that concluded that mail-in ballots constitute the “largest source of potential voter fraud” of any voting system.

Joe Biden is of course right about a crisis developing comparable to the Civil War, but what he is choosing to ignore is that his White House is carelessly feeding into what has become a growing chorus of dissent. He and his colleagues in Congress are deliberately and with malice pushing an agenda that, if successful, will lead to something like one party rule in the United States. Combine that with impending legislation and executive action to pursue “domestic extremists,” whom the Administration has also defined as “white supremacists,” it is not hard to imagine what kind of trouble is brewing.

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

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | 1 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

Joe Biden and the Post-Corona “Great Reset”. The Protest Movement

Prof Michel Chossudovsky | Global Research | January 9, 2021

In the wake of the Wednesday January 6, 2021 Capitol Hill Event, we must reflect on what a  Joe Biden Administration will look like.

Joe Biden was not duly elected, he was selected. He is a groomed and “reliable” politician. He is a political instrument of the global capitalist establishment.

Biden is a firm supporter of the Corona lockdown. His statements concerning a “Dark Winter” in 2021 confirm that he not only endorses the adoption of staunch Covid-19 lockdown policies, his administration will pursue and adopt the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” as an integral part of US foreign policy, to be implemented or more correctly “imposed” Worldwide.

In turn, the Biden-Harris administration will attempt to override all forms of popular resistance to the corona virus lockdown.

We are at the crossroads of one of the most serious crises in World history. We are living history, yet our understanding of the sequence of events since January 2020 has been blurred.

What is unfolding is a new and destructive phase of US imperialism. It’s a totalitarian project of economic and social engineering, which ultimately destroys people’s lives Worldwide.

This “novel” neoliberal agenda using the corona lockdown as an instrument of social oppression has been endorsed by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

The Biden White House will be used to instate what David Rockefeller called “Global Governance”, which is tantamount to a Worldwide “democratic dictatorship”.

It should be noted that the protest movement in the US, against the lockdown is weak. In fact there is no coherent grassroots national protest movement. Why? Because “progressive forces” including leftist intellectuals, NGO leaders, trade union and labor leaders, most of which are aligned with the Democratic Party have from the outset been supportive of the lockdown. And they are also supportive of Joe Biden.

In a bitter irony, antiwar activists as well as the critics of neoliberalism have endorsed Joe Biden, who is now being accused by Trump supporters of being a “socialist”.

The preceding text is an excerpt from the concluding chapter of my E-Book: entitled.

The 2020 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup d’État and the “Great Reset”  first published in mid-December 2020.

To access the full text of nine chapters click here 

January 12, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump

The COVID-driven centralization of economic power and information control in the hands of a few corporate monopolies poses enduring threats to political freedom

By Glenn Greenwald | December 28, 2020

Asserting that Donald Trump is a fascist-like dictator threatening the previously sturdy foundations of U.S. democracy has been a virtual requirement over the last four years to obtain entrance to cable news Green Rooms, sinecures as mainstream newspaper columnists, and popularity in faculty lounges. Yet it has proven to be a preposterous farce.

In 2020 alone, Trump had two perfectly crafted opportunities to seize authoritarian power — a global health pandemic and sprawling protests and sustained riots throughout American cities — and yet did virtually nothing to exploit those opportunities. Actual would-be despots such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quickly seized on the virus to declare martial law, while even prior U.S. presidents, to say nothing of foreign tyrants, have used the pretext of much less civil unrest than what we saw this summer to deploy the military in the streets to pacify their own citizenry.

But early in the pandemic, Trump was criticized, especially by Democrats, for failing to assert the draconian powers he had, such as commandeering the means of industrial production under the Defense Production Act of 1950, invoked by Truman to force industry to produce materials needed for the Korean War. In March, The Washington Post reported that “Governors, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been urging Trump for at least a week to invoke the act, and his potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, came out in favor of it, too,” yet “Trump [gave] a variety of reasons for not doing so.” Rejecting demands to exploit a public health pandemic to assert extraordinary powers is not exactly what one expects from a striving dictator.

A similar dynamic prevailed during the sustained protests and riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd. While conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), in his controversial New York Times op-ed, urged the mass deployment of the military to quell the protesters, and while Trump threatened to deploy them if governors failed to pacify the riots, Trump failed to order anything more than a few isolated, symbolic gestures such as having troops use tear gas to clear out protesters from Lafayette Park for his now-notorious walk to a church, provoking harsh criticism from the right, including Fox News, for failing to use more aggressive force to restore order.

Virtually every prediction expressed by those who pushed this doomsday narrative of Trump as a rising dictator — usually with great profit for themselves — never materialized. While Trump radically escalated bombing campaigns he inherited from Bush and Obama, he started no new wars. When his policies were declared by courts to be unconstitutional, he either revised them to comport with judicial requirements (as in the case of his “Muslim ban”) or withdrew them (as in the case of diverting Pentagon funds to build his wall). No journalists were jailed for criticizing or reporting negatively on Trump, let alone killed, as was endlessly predicted and sometimes even implied. Bashing Trump was far more likely to yield best-selling books, social media stardom and new contracts as cable news “analysts” than interment in gulags or state reprisals. There were no Proud Boy insurrections or right-wing militias waging civil war in U.S. cities. Boastful and bizarre tweets aside, Trump’s administration was for more a continuation of the U.S. political tradition than a radical departure from it.

The hysterical Trump-as-despot script was all melodrama, a ploy for profits and ratings, and, most of all, a potent instrument to distract from the neoliberal ideology that gave rise to Trump in the first place by causing so much wreckage. Positing Trump as a grand aberration from U.S. politics and as the prime author of America’s woes — rather than what he was: a perfectly predictable extension of U.S politics and a symptom of preexisting pathologies — enabled those who have so much blood and economic destruction on their hands not only to evade responsibility for what they did, but to rehabilitate themselves as the guardians of freedom and prosperity and, ultimately, catapult themselves back into power. As of January 20, that is exactly where they will reside.

The Trump administration was by no means free of authoritarianism: his Justice Department prosecuted journalists’ sources; his White House often refused basic transparency; War on Terror and immigration detentions continued without due process. But that is largely because, as I wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in late 2016, the U.S. Government itself is authoritarian after decades of bipartisan expansion of executive powers justified by a posture of endless war. With rare exception, the lawless and power-abusing acts over the last four years were ones that inhere in the U.S. Government and long preceded Trump, not ones invented by him. To the extent Trump was an authoritarian, he was one in the way that all U.S. presidents have been since the War on Terror began and, more accurately, since the start of the Cold War and advent of the permanent national security state.

The single most revealing episode exposing this narrative fraud was when journalists and political careerists, including former Obama aides, erupted in outrage on social media upon seeing a photo of immigrant children in cages at the border — only to discover that the photo was not from a Trump concentration camp but an Obama-era detention facility (they were unaccompanied children, not ones separated from their families, but “kids in cages” are “kids in cages” from a moral perspective). And tellingly, the single most actually authoritarian Trump-era event is one that has been largely ignored by the U.S. media: namely, the decision to prosecute Julian Assange under espionage laws (but that, too, is an extension of the unprecedented war on journalism unleashed by the Obama DOJ).

The last gasp for those clinging to the Trump-as-dictator fantasy (which was really hope masquerading as concern, since putting yourself on the front lines, bravely fighting domestic fascism, is more exciting and self-glorifying, not to mention more profitable, than the dreary, mediocre work of railing against an ordinary and largely weak one-term president) was the hysterical warning that Trump was mounting a coup in order to stay in office. Trump’s terrifying “coup” consisted of a series of failed court challenges based on claims of widespread voter fraud — virtually inevitable with new COVID-based voting rules never previously used — and lame attempts to persuade state officials to overturn certified vote totals. There was never a moment when it appeared even remotely plausible that it would succeed, let alone that he could secure the backing of the institutions he would need to do so, particularly senior military leaders.

Whether Trump secretly harbored despotic ambitions is both unknowable and irrelevant. If he did, he never exhibited the slightest ability to carry them out or orchestrate a sustained commitment to executing a democracy-subverting plot. And the most powerful U.S. institutions — the intelligence community and military brass, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the corporate media — opposed and subverted him from the start. In sum, U.S. democracy, in whatever form it existed when Trump ascended to the presidency, will endure more or less unchanged once he leaves office on January 20, 2021.

Whether the U.S. was a democracy in any meaningful sense prior to Trump had been the subject of substantial scholarly debate. A much-discussed 2014 study concluded that economic power has become so concentrated in the hands of such a small number of U.S. corporate giants and mega-billionaires, and that this concentration in economic power has ushered in virtually unchallengeable political power in their hands and virtually none in anyone else’s, that the U.S. more resembles oligarchy than anything else:

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

The U.S. Founders most certainly did not envision or desire absolute economic egalitarianism, but many, probably most, feared — long before lobbyists and candidate dependence on corporate SuperPACs — that economic inequality could become so severe, wealth concentrated in the hands of so few, that it would contaminate the political realm, where those vast wealth disparities would be replicated, rendering political and legal equality illusory.

But the premises of pre-Trump debates over how grave a problem this is have been rendered utterly obsolete by the new realities of the COVID era. A combination of sustained lockdowns, massive state-mandated transfers of wealth to corporate elites in the name of legislative “COVID relief,” and a radically increased dependence on online activities has rendered corporate behemoths close to unchallengeable in terms of both economic and political power.

The lockdowns from the pandemic have ushered in a collapse of small businesses across the U.S. that has only further fortified the power of corporate giants. “Billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were struggling to get by on government schemes,” reported The Guardian in September. A study from July told part of the story:

The combined wealth of the world’s super-rich reached a new peak during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published by the consulting firm PwC and the Swiss bank UBC on Wednesday. The more than 2,000 billionaires around the world managed to amass fortunes totalling around $10.2 trillion (€8.69 trillion) by July, surpassing the previous record of $8.9 trillion reached in 2017.

Meanwhile, though exact numbers are unknown, “roughly one in five small businesses have closed,” AP notes, adding: “restaurants, bars, beauty shops and other retailers that involve face-to-face contact have been hardest hit at a time when Americans are trying to keep distance from one another.”

Employees are now almost completely at the mercy of a handful of corporate giants, far more trans-national than with any allegiance to the U.S., which are thriving. A Brookings Institution study this week — entitled “Amazon and Walmart have raked in billions in additional profits during the pandemic, and shared almost none of it with their workers” — found that “the COVID-19 pandemic has generated record profits for America’s biggest companies, as well as immense wealth for their founders and largest shareholders—but next to nothing for workers.”

These COVID “winners” are not the Randian victors in free market capitalism. Quite the contrary, they are the recipients of enormous amounts of largesse from the U.S. Government, which they control through armies of lobbyists and donations and which therefore constantly intervenes in the market for their benefit. This is not free market capitalism rewarding innovative titans, but rather crony capitalism that is abusing the power of the state to crush small competitors, lavish corporate giants with ever more wealth and power, and turn millions of Americans into vassals whose best case scenario is working multiple jobs at low hourly wages with no benefits, few rights, and even fewer options.

Those must disgusted by this outcome should not be socialists but capitalists: this is a classic merger of state and corporate power —- also known as a hallmark of fascism in its most formal expression — that abuses state interference in markets to consolidate and centralize authority in a small handful of actors in order to disempower everyone else. Those trends were already quite visible prior to Trump and the onset of the pandemic, but have accelerated beyond anyone’s dreams in the wake of mass lockdowns, shutdowns, prolonged isolation and corporate welfare thinly disguised as legislative “relief.”

What makes this most menacing of all is that the primary beneficiaries of these rapid changes are Silicon Valley giants, at least three of which — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — are now classic monopolies. That the wealth of their primary owners and executives — Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai — has skyrocketed during the pandemic is well-covered, but far more significant is the unprecedented power these companies exert over the dissemination of information and conduct of political debates, to say nothing of the immense data they possess about our lives by virtue of online surveillance.

Stay-at-home orders, lockdowns and social isolation have meant that we rely on Silicon Valley companies to conduct basic life functions more than ever before. We order online from Amazon rather than shop; we conduct meetings online rather than meet in offices; we use Google constantly to navigate and communicate; we rely on social media more than ever to receive information about the world. And exactly as a weakened population’s dependence on them has increased to unprecedented levels, their wealth and power has reached all new heights, as has their willingness to control and censor information and debate.

That Facebook, Google and Twitter are exerting more and more control over our political expression is hardly contestable. What is most remarkable, and alarming, is that they are not so much grabbing these powers as having them foisted on them, by a public — composed primarily of corporate media outlets and U.S. establishment liberals — who believe that the primary problem of social media is not excessive censorship but insufficient censorship. As Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) told Mark Zuckerberg when four Silicon Valley CEOs appeared before the Senate: “The issue is not that the companies before us today is that they’re taking too many posts down. The issue is that they’re leaving too many dangerous posts up.”

As I told the online program Rising this week when asked what the worst media failings of 2020 are, I continue to view the brute censorship by Facebook of incriminating reporting about Joe Biden in the weeks before the election as one of the most significant, and menacing, political events of the last several years. That this censorship was announced by a Facebook corporate spokesman who had spent his career previously as a Democratic Party apparatchik provided the perfect symbolic expression of this evolving danger.

These tech companies are more powerful than ever, not only because of their newly amassed wealth at a time when the population is suffering, but also because they overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party candidate about to assume the presidency. Predictably, they are being rewarded with numerous key positions in his transition team and the same will ultimately be true of the new administration.

The Biden/Harris administration clearly intends to do a great deal for Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley is well-positioned to do a great deal for them in return, starting with their immense power over the flow of information and debate.

The dominant strain of U.S. neoliberalism — the ruling coalition that has now consolidated power again — is authoritarianism. They view those who oppose them and reject their pieties not as adversaries to be engaged but as enemies, domestic terrorists, bigots, extremists and violence-inciters to be fired, censored, and silenced. And they have on their side — beyond the bulk of the corporate media, and the intelligence community, and Wall Street — an unprecedentedly powerful consortium of tech monopolies willing and able to exert greater control over a population that has rarely, if ever, been so divided, drained, deprived and anemic.

All of these authoritarian powers will, ironically, be invoked and justified in the name of stopping authoritarianism — not from those who wield power but from the movement that was just removed from power. Those who spent four years shrieking to great profit about the dangers of lurking “fascism” will — without realizing the irony — now use this merger of state and corporate power to consolidate their own authority, control the contours of permissible debate, and silence those who challenge them even further. Those most vocally screaming about growing authoritarianism in the U.S. over the last four years were very right in their core warning, but very wrong about the real source of that danger.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With Biden’s New Threats, the Russia Discourse is More Reckless and Dangerous Than Ever

The U.S. media demands inflammatory claims be accepted with no evidence, while hacking behavior routinely engaged in by the U.S. is depicted as aberrational.

By Glenn Greenwald | December 23, 2020

To justify Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump, leading Democrats and their key media allies for years competed with one another to depict what they called “Russia’s interference in our elections” in the most apocalyptic terms possible. They fanatically rejected the view of the Russian Federation repeatedly expressed by President Obama — that it is a weak regional power with an economy smaller than Italy’s capable of only threatening its neighbors but not the U.S. — and instead cast Moscow as a grave, even existential, threat to U.S. democracy, with its actions tantamount to the worst security breaches in U.S. history.

This post-2016 mania culminated with prominent liberal politicians and journalists (as well as John McCain) declaring Russia’s activities surrounding the 2016 [election] to be an “act of war” which, many of them insisted, was comparable to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attack — the two most traumatic attacks in modern U.S. history which both spawned years of savage and destructive war, among other things.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) repeatedly demanded that Russia’s 2016 “interference” be treated as “an act of war.” Hillary Clinton described Russian hacking as “a cyber 9/11.” And Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on MSNBC in early February, 2018, pronounced Russia “a hostile foreign power” whose 2016 meddling was the “equivalent” of Pearl Harbor, “very much on par” with the “seriousness” of the 1941 attack in Hawaii that helped prompt four years of U.S. involvement in a world war.

With the Democrats, under Joe Biden, [presumably] just weeks away from assuming control of the White House and the U.S. military and foreign policy that goes along with it, the discourse from them and their media allies about Russia is becoming even more unhinged and dangerous. Moscow’s alleged responsibility for the recently revealed, multi-pronged hack of U.S. Government agencies and various corporate servers is asserted — despite not a shred of evidence, literally, having yet been presented — as not merely proven fact, but as so obviously true that it is off-limits from doubt or questioning.

Any questioning of this claim will be instantly vilified by the Democrats’ extremely militaristic media spokespeople as virtual treason. “Now the president is not just silent on Russia and the hack. He is deliberately running defense for the Kremlin by contradicting his own Secretary of State on Russian responsibility,” pronounced CNN’s national security reporter Jim Sciutto, who last week depicted Trump’s attempted troop withdrawal from Syria and Germany as “ceding territory” and furnishing “gifts” to Putin. More alarmingly, both the rhetoric to describe the hack and the retaliation being threatened are rapidly spiraling out of control.

Democrats (along with some Republicans long obsessed with The Russian Threat, such as Mitt Romney) are casting the latest alleged hack by Moscow in the most melodramatic terms possible, ensuring that Biden will enter the White House with tensions sky-high with Russia and facing heavy pressure to retaliate aggressively. Biden’s top national security advisers and now Biden himself have, with no evidence shown to the public, repeatedly threatened aggressive retaliation against the country with the world’s second-largest nuclear stockpile.

Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO) — one of the pro-war Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee who earlier this year joined with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) to block Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan — announced: “this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor,” adding: “Our nation is under assault.” The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin (D-IL), pronounced: “This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has for years been casting Russia as a grave threat to the U.S. while Democrats mocked him as a relic of the Cold War (before they copied and then surpassed him), described the latest hack as “the equivalent of Russian bombers flying undetected over the entire country.” The GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee also blasted Trump for his failure to be “aggressively speaking out and protesting and taking punitive action,” though — like virtually every prominent figure demanding tough “retaliation” — Romney failed to specify what he had in mind that would be sufficient retaliation for “the equivalent of Russian bombers flying undetected over the entire country.”

For those keeping track at home: that’s two separate “Pearl Harbors” in less than four years from Moscow (or, if you prefer, one Pearl Harbor and one 9/11). If Democrats actually believe that, it stands to reason that they will be eager to embrace a policy of belligerence and aggression toward Russia. Many of them are demanding this outright, mocking Trump for failing to attack Russia — despite no evidence that they were responsible — while their well-trained liberal flock is suggesting that the non-response constitutes some form of “high treason.”

Indeed, the Biden team has been signalling that they intend to quickly fulfill demands for aggressive retaliation. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Biden “accused President Trump [] of ‘irrational downplaying’” of the hack while “warning Russia that he would not allow the intrusion to ‘go unanswered’ after he takes office.” Biden emphasized that once the intelligence assessment is complete, “we will respond, and probably respond in kind.”

Threats and retaliation between the U.S. and Russia are always dangerous, but particularly so now. One of the key nuclear arms agreements between the two nuclear-armed nations, the New START treaty, will expire in February unless Putin and Biden can successfully negotiate a renewal: sixteen days after Biden is [tentatively] scheduled to take office. “That will force Mr. Biden to strike a deal to prevent one threat — a nuclear arms race — while simultaneously threatening retaliation on another,” observed the Times.


This escalating rhetoric from Washington about Russia, and the resulting climate of heightened tensions, are dangerous in the extreme. They are also based in numerous myths, deceits and falsehoods:

First, absolutely no evidence of any kind has been presented to suggest, let alone prove, that Russia is responsible for these hacks. It goes without saying that it is perfectly plausible that Russia could have done this: it’s the sort of thing that every large power from China and Iran to the U.S. and Russia have the capability to do and wield against virtually every other country including one another.

But if we learned nothing else over the last several decades, we should know that accepting claims that emanate from the U.S. intelligence community about adversaries without a shred of evidence is madness of the highest order. We just had a glaring reminder of the importance of this rule: just weeks before the election, countless mainstream media outlets laundered and endorsed the utterly false claim that the documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop were “Russian disinformation,” only for officials to acknowledge once the harm was done that there was no evidence — zero — of Russian involvement.

Yet that is exactly what the overwhelming bulk of media outlets are doing again: asserting that Russia is behind these hacks despite having no evidence of its truth. The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, host of the paper’s popular The Daily podcast, asked his colleague, national security reporter David Sanger, what evidence exists to assert that Russia did this. As Barbaro put it, even Sanger is “allowing that early conclusions could all be wrong, but that it’s doubtful.” Indeed, Sanger acknowledged to Barbaro that they have no proof, asserting instead that the basis on which he is relying is that Russia possesses the sophistication to carry out such a hack (as do several other nation-states), along with claiming that the hack has what he calls the “markings” of Russian hackers.

But this tactic was exactly the same one used by former intelligence officials, echoed by these same media outlets, to circulate the false pre-election claim that the documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop were “Russian disinformation”: namely, they pronounced in lockstep, the material from Hunter’s laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information.” This was also exactly the same tactic used by the U.S. intelligence community in 2001 to falsely blame Iraq for the anthrax attacks, claiming that their chemical analysis revealed a substance that was “a trademark of the Iraqi biological weapons program.”

These media outlets will, if pressed, acknowledge their lack of proof that Russia did this. Despite this admitted lack of proof, media outlets are repeatedly stating Russian responsibility as proven fact.

“Scope of Russian Hacking Becomes Clear: Multiple U.S. Agencies Were Hit,” one New York Times headline proclaimed, and the first line of that article, co-written by Sanger, stated definitively: “The scope of a hacking engineered by one of Russia’s premier intelligence agencies became clearer on Monday.” The Washington Post deluged the public with identically certain headlines.

Nobody in the government has been as definitive in asserting Russian responsibility as corporate media outlets. Even Trump’s hawkish Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, crafted his accusation against Moscow with caveats and uncertainty: “I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.”

If actual evidence ultimately emerges demonstrating Russian responsibility, it would not alter how dangerous it is that — less than twenty years after the Iraq WMD debacle and less than a couple of years after media endorsement of endless Russiagate falsehoods — the most influential media outlets continue to mindlessly peddle as Truth whatever the intelligence community feeds them, without the need to see any evidence that what they’re claiming is actually true. Even more alarmingly, large sectors of the public that venerate these outlets continue to believe that what they hear from them must be true, no matter how many times they betray that trust. The ease with which the CIA can disseminate whatever messaging it wants through friendly media outlets is stunning.

Second, the very idea that this hack could be compared to rogue and wildly aberrational events such as Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attack is utterly laughable on its face. One has to be drowning in endless amounts of jingoistic self-delusion to believe that this hack — or, for that matter, the 2016 “election interference” — is a radical departure from international norms as opposed to a perfect reflection of them.

Just as was true of 2016 fake Facebook pages and Twitter bots, it is not an exaggeration to say that the U.S. Government engages in hacking attacks of this sort, and ones far more invasive, against virtually every country on the planet, including Russia, on a weekly basis. That does not mean that this kind of hacking is either justified or unjustified. It does mean, however, that depicting it as some particularly dastardly and incomparably immoral act that requires massive retaliation requires a degree of irrationality and gullibility that is bewildering to behold.

The NSA reporting enabled by Edward Snowden by itself proved that the NSA spies on virtually anyone it can. Indeed, after reviewing the archive back in 2013, I made the decision that I would not report on U.S. hacks of large adversary countries such as China and Russia because it was so commonplace for all of these countries to hack one another as aggressively and intrusively as they could that it was hardly newsworthy to report on this (the only exception was when there was a substantial reason to view such spying as independently newsworthy, such as Sweden’s partnering with NSA to spy on Russia in direct violation of the denials Swedish officials voiced to their public).

Other news outlets who had access to Snowden documents, particularly The New York Times, were not nearly as circumspect in exposing U.S. spying on large nation-state adversaries. As a result, there is ample proof published by those outlets (sometimes provoking Snowden’s strong objections) that the U.S. does exactly what Russia is alleged to have done here — and far worse.

“Even as the United States made a public case about the dangers of buying from [China’s] Huawei, classified documents show that the National Security Agency was creating its own back doors — directly into Huawei’s networks,” reported The New York Times’ David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in 2013, adding that “the agency pried its way into the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in Shenzhen, China’s industrial heart.”

In 2013, the Guardian revealed “an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow,” and added: “foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts.” Meanwhile, “Sweden has been a key partner for the United States in spying on Russia and its leadership, Swedish television said on Thursday,” noted Reuters, citing what one NSA document described as “a unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics.”

Other reports revealed that the U.S. had hacked into the Brazilian telecommunications system to collect data on the whole population, and was spying on Brazil’s key leaders (including then-President Dilma Rousseff) as well as its most important companies such as its oil giant Petrobras and its Ministry of Mines and Energy. The Washington Post reported: “The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.” And on and on.

[One amazing though under-appreciated episode related to all this: the same New York Times reporter who revealed the details about massive NSA hacking of Chinese government and industry, Nicole Perlroth, subsequently urged (in tweets she has now deleted) that Snowden not be pardoned on the ground that, according to her, he revealed legitimate NSA spying on U.S. adversaries. In reality, it was actually she, Perlorth, not Snowden, who chose to expose NSA spying on China, provoking Snowden’s angry objections when she did so based on his view this was a violation of the framework he created for what should and should not be revealed; in other words, not only did Perlroth urge the criminal prosecution of a source on which she herself relied, an absolutely astonishing thing for any reporter to do, but so much worse, she did so by falsely accusing that source of doing something that she, Perlroth, had done herself: namely, reveal extensive U.S. hacking of China].

What all of this makes demonstrably clear is that only the most deluded and uninformed person could believe that Russian hacking of U.S. agencies and corporations — if it happened — is anything other than totally normal and common behavior between these countries. Harvard Law Professor and former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith, reviewing growing demands for retaliation, wrote in an excellent article last week entitled “Self-Delusion on the Russia Hack: The U.S. regularly hacks foreign governmental computer systems on a massive scale”:

The lack of self-awareness in these and similar reactions to the Russia breach is astounding. The U.S. government has no principled basis to complain about the Russia hack, much less retaliate for it with military means, since the U.S. government hacks foreign government networks on a huge scale every day. Indeed, a military response to the Russian hack would violate international law . . . .

As the revelations from leaks of information from Edward Snowden made plain, the United States regularly penetrates foreign governmental computer systems on a massive scale, often (as in the Russia hack) with the unwitting assistance of the private sector, for purposes of spying. It is almost certainly the world’s leader in this practice, probably by a lot. The Snowden documents suggested as much, as does the NSA’s probable budget. In 2016, after noting “problems with cyber intrusions from Russia,” Obama boasted that the United States has “more capacity than anybody … offensively” . . . .

Because of its own practices, the U.S. government has traditionally accepted the legitimacy of foreign governmental electronic spying in U.S. government networks. After the notorious Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management database, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did. If we had the opportunity to do that, I don’t think we’d hesitate for a minute.” The same Russian agency that appears to have carried out the hack revealed this week also hacked into unclassified emails in the White House and Defense and State Departments in 2014-2015. The Obama administration deemed it traditional espionage and did not retaliate. “It was information collection, which is what nation states—including the United States—do,” said Obama administration cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel this week.

But over the last four years, Americans, particularly those who feed on liberal media outlets, have been drowned in so much mythology about the U.S. and Russia that they have no capacity to critically assess the claims being made, and — just as they were led to believe about “Russia’s 2016 interference in Our Sacred Elections” — are easily convinced that what Russia did is some shocking and extreme crime the likes of which are rarely seen in international relations. In reality, their own government is the undisputed world champion in perpetrating these acts, and has been for years if not decades.

Third, these demands for “retaliation” are so reckless because they are almost always unaccompanied by any specifics. Even if Moscow’s responsibility is demonstrated, what is the U.S. supposed to do in response? If your answer is that they should hack Russia back, rest assured the NSA and CIA are always trying to hack Russia as much as it possibly can, long before this event.

If the answer is more sanctions, that would be just performative and pointless, aside from wildly hypocritical. Any reprisals more severe than that would be beyond reckless, particularly with the need to renew nuclear arms control agreements looming. And if you are someone demanding retaliation, do you believe that Russia, China, Brazil and all the other countries invaded by NSA hackers have the same right of retaliation against the U.S., or does the U.S. occupy a special place with special entitlements that all other countries lack?

What we have here, yet again, is the classic operation of the intelligence community feeding serious accusations about a nuclear-armed power to an eagerly gullible corporate media, with the media mindlessly disseminating it without evidence, all toward ratcheting up tensions between these two nuclear-armed powers and fortifying a mythology of the U.S. as grand victim but never perpetrator.

If you ever find yourself wondering how massive military budgets and a posture of Endless War are seemingly invulnerable to challenge, this pathological behavior — from a now-enduring union of the intelligence community, corporate media outlets, and the Democratic Party — provides one key piece of the puzzle.

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic National Committee’s ‘intervention’ to blame for chaos at 2020 Iowa caucuses: Audit reveals

RT | December 13, 2020

An audit commissioned by the Iowa Democratic Party has found that the national Democratic Party’s “intervention” in the process led to the delayed and questioned results at the very beginning of the 2020 presidential election.

The Iowa caucuses should have kicked off a frontrunner in the race for the party’s presidential nomination. Two of the candidates – South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – were claiming they were winning the contest in a key state that often defines the eventual winner. However, inconsistencies in reporting results led many to question them, for example the Associated Press announced it did not have enough faith in the process to declare a winner at the time.

Back then, the eventual nominee, Joe Biden, did not get enough support in Iowa to even be among the top three candidates in the state, trailing behind Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. However, Buttigieg later handed all the delegates he won in Iowa to the former vice president, giving him a much-needed advantage over Bernie Sanders in the national fight for the nomination.

The report, released on Saturday, found that the DNC was responsible for delaying a new app meant to report results quicker, and their demand for last-minute technology to be implemented into the process ultimately led to a chaotic event.

“Without the DNC’s intervention in that process, the IDP may have reported results in real-time as it intended,” said the report, which also cast blame on the state party for not creating a back-up plan for reporting results.

“As of the Friday before the caucuses, the IDP knew there were only approximately 400 temporary precinct chairs (out of more than 1,700) who had successfully downloaded and accessed the app,” the report said. “The IDP should have taken aggressive steps to scale up its telephone back-up reporting system at that time.”

The leadup to the caucuses was peppered with confusion between state party officials and the DNC. The new report claims development of an app by Shadow Inc. was supposed to begin in July and end in November, leaving two months for training and implementation. The DNC, however, expressed security concerns with the state party, halting negotiations for months, leading to a rushed development process. The app was eventually rolled out only weeks before the caucuses were set to begin.

Shadow Inc. earlier received thousands of dollars from the Buttigieg campaign for developing a separate app. It was also contracted by Joe Biden’s campaign in the past as well.

On election night, the state party found itself unprepared to take results by phone as many volunteers chose not to work with the buggy app. The DNC also made a last minute requirement that Shadow provide them with real-time results so they could double-check state numbers, something the report claims the company was not prepared for and led to a halt in releasing results to the public as discrepancies in numbers were found and the last-minute demand created confusion.

“Attempting to graft an entirely new software element onto the back-end reporting system at the proverbial eleventh hour is likely always going to be problematic, and it was ultimately the cause of a major problem on caucus night,” the report said.

The report found that eventually votes could be confirmed through a manual paper system and claimed results submitted through the app were ultimately “accurately reported.”

DNC officials put the blame of the chaos on state party representatives in the weeks following the caucus.

Critics have responded to the report’s lengthy findings by chalking it up to the DNC trying to control or even “cheat” the results.

“In 2016, the DNC’s top 5 officials were forced to resign when WikiLeaks published proof they systematically cheated to prevent Bernie from beating Hillary,” reporter Glenn Greenwald tweeted on Sunday, referring to emails from 2016 showing national party officials favoring a Clinton victory over Sanders, ultimately leading to multiple resignations.

“In the first caucus of 2020 (Iowa), they cheated again, with the same goal. They blamed the state Party but it was the DNC,” Greenwald added.

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

The Hunter Biden Criminal Probe Bolsters a Chinese Scholar’s Claim About Beijing’s Influence With the Bidens

Professor Di Dongsheng says China’s close ties to Wall Street and its dealings with Hunter could enable it to exert more power than under Trump

By Glenn Greenwald | December 9, 2020

Hunter Biden acknowledged today that he has been notified of an active criminal investigation into his tax affairs by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. Among the numerous prongs of the inquiry, CNN reports, investigators are examining “whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China.”

Documents relating to Hunter Biden’s exploitation of his father’s name to enrich himself and other relatives through deals with China were among the cache published in the week before the election by The New York Post — revelations censored by Twitter and Facebook and steadfastly ignored by most mainstream news outlets. That concerted repression effort by media outlets and Silicon Valley left it to right-wing outlets such as Fox News and The Daily Caller to report, which in turn meant that millions of Americans were kept in the dark before voting.

But the just-revealed federal criminal investigation in Delaware is focused on exactly the questions which corporate media outlets refused to examine for fear that doing so would help Trump: namely, whether Hunter Biden engaged in illicit behavior in China and what impact that might have on his father’s presidency.

The allegations at the heart of this investigation compel an examination of a fascinating and at-times disturbing speech at a major financial event held last week in Shanghai. In that speech, a Chinese scholar of political science and international finance, Di Donghseng, insisted that Beijing will have far more influence in Washington under a Biden administration than it did with the Trump administration.

The reason, Di said, is that China’s ability to get its way in Washington has long depended upon its numerous powerful Wall Street allies. But those allies, he said, had difficulty controlling Trump, but will exert virtually unfettered power over Biden. That China cultivated extensive financial ties to Hunter Biden, Di explained, will be crucial for bolstering Beijing’s influence even further.

Di, who in addition to his teaching positions is also Vice Dean of Beijing’s Renmin University’s School of International Relations, delivered his remarks alongside three other Chinese banking and development experts. Di’s speech at the event, entitled “Will China’s Opening up of its Financial Sector Attract Wall Street?,” was translated and posted by Jennifer Zeng, a Chinese Communist Party critic who left China years ago, citing religious persecution, and now lives in the U.S. A source fluent in Mandarin confirmed the accuracy of the translation.

The centerpiece of Di’s speech was the history he set forth of how Beijing has long successfully managed to protect its interests in the halls of American power: namely, by relying on “friends” in Wall Street and other U.S. ruling class sectors — which worked efficiently until the Trump presidency.

Referring to the Trump-era trade war between the two countries, Di posed this question: “Why did China and the U.S. use to be able to settle all kinds of issues between 1992 [when Clinton became President] and 2016 [when Obama’s left office]?” He then provided this answer:

No matter what kind of crises we encountered — be it the Yinhe incident [when the U.S. interdicted a Chinese ship in the mistaken belief it carried chemical weapons for Iran], the bombing of the embassy [the 1992 bombing by the U.S. of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade], or the crashing of the plane [the 2001 crashing of a U.S. military spy plane into a Chinese fighter jet] — things were all solved in no time, like a couple do with their quarrels starting at the bedhead but ending at the bed end. We fixed everything in two months. What is the reason? I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here.

It’s just because we have people at the top. We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.

Who are these “old friends” of China’s “who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence” and have ensured that, in his words, “for the past 30 years, 40 years, we have been utilizing the core power of the United States”? Di provided the answer: Wall Street, with whom the Chinese Community Party and Chinese industry maintain a close, multi-pronged and inter-dependent relationship.

“Since the 1970s, Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States,” Di observed. Thus, “we had a channel to rely on.”

To illustrate the point of how helpful Wall Street has been to Chinese interests in the U.S., Di recounted a colorful story, albeit one fused with anti-Semitic tropes, of his unsuccessful efforts in 2015 to secure the preferred venue in Washington for the debut of President Xi Jinping’s book about China. No matter how much he cajoled the owner of the iconic D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, or what he offered him, Di was told it was unavailable, already promised to a different author. So he conveyed his failure to Party leadership.

But at the last minute, Di recounts, he was told that venue had suddenly changed its mind and agreed to host Xi’s book event. This was the work, he said, of someone to whom Party leaders introduced him: “She is from a famous, leading global financial institution on Wall Street,” Di said, “the president of the Asia region of a top-level financial institution,” who speaks perfect Mandarin and has a sprawling home in Beijing.

The point — that China’s close relationship with Wall Street has given it very powerful friends in the U.S. — was so clear that it sufficed for him to coyly laugh with the audience: “Do you understand what I mean? If you do, put your hands together!” They knowingly applauded.

All of that provoked an obvious question: why did this close relationship with Wall Street not enable China to exert the same influence during the Trump years, including avoiding a costly trade war? Di explained that — aside from Wall Street’s reduced standing due to the 2008 financial crisis — everything changed when Trump ascended to the presidency; specifically, Wall Street could not control him the way it had previous presidents because of Trump’s prior conflicts with Wall Street:

But the problem is that after 2008, the status of Wall Street has declined, and more importantly, after 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. It’s very awkward. Why? Trump had a previous soft default issue with Wall Street, so there was a conflict between them, but I won’t go into details, I may not have enough time.

So during the US-China trade war, [Wall Street] tried to help, and I know that my friends on the US side told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t do much.

But as Di shifted to his discussion of the new incoming administration, his tone palpably changed, becoming far more animated, excited and optimistic. That’s because a Biden presidency means a restoration of the old order, where Wall Street exerts great influence with the White House and can thus do China’s bidding: “But now we’re seeing Biden was elected, the traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street, so you see that, right?”

And Di specifically referenced the work Beijing did to cultivate Hunter:

Trump has been saying that Biden’s son has some sort of global foundation. Have you noticed that?

Who helped [Biden’s son] build the foundations? Got it? There are a lot of deals inside all these.

Some excerpts of Di’s speech can be seen below, and the translated transcript of it here.

The claims in his speech can be seen in a new light given today’s revelations that the U.S. Attorney has resumed its active criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and whether he accounted to the I.R.S. for the income (CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz says that “at least one of the matters investigators have examined is a 2017 gift of a 2.8-carat diamond that Hunter Biden received from CEFC [China Energy’]’s founder and former chairman Ye Jianming after a Miami business meeting.”


The pronouncements of this University Professor and administrator should not be taken as gospel, but there is substantial independent confirmation for much of what he claimed. That is even more true after today’s news about Hunter Biden.

That Hunter Biden received large sums of money from Chinese entities is not in dispute. A report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs earlier this year, while finding no wrongdoing by Joe Biden, documented millions in cash flow between Hunter and his relatives and Chinese interests.

Nor can it be reasonably disputed that Wall Street exerts significant influence in Democratic Party politics generally and in the world of Joe Biden specifically. Citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics, CNBC reported in the weeks before the election:

People in the securities and investment industry will finish the 2020 election cycle contributing over $74 million to back Joe Biden’s candidacy for president, a much larger sum than what President Donald Trump raised from Wall Street.

They added: “Biden also received a ton of financial support from leaders on Wall Street in the third quarter.” At the same time, said CNN, “professionals on Wall Street are shunning Trump and funneling staggering amounts of money to his opponent.” Wall Street executives, CNBC reported, specially celebrated Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate, noting that her own short-lived presidential campaign was deluged with “contributions from executives in a wide range of industries, including film, TV, real estate and finance.”

Moreover, Biden’s top appointees thus far overwhelmingly have massive ties to Wall Street and the industries which spend the most to control the U.S. government. As but one egregious example, Pine Island Investment Corp. — an investment firm in which key Biden appointees including Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief nominee Gen. Lloyd Austin have been centrally involved — “is seeing a surge in support from Wall Street players after pitching access to investors.”

Prior to the formal selection of Blinken and Austin for key Cabinet posts, The Daily Poster reported that “two former government officials who may now run President-elect Joe Biden’s national security team have been partners at a private equity firm now promising investors big profits off government business because of its ties to those officials.” The New York Times last week said “the Biden team’s links to these entities are presenting the incoming administration with its first test of transparency and ethics” and that Pine Island is an example “of how former officials leverage their expertise, connections and access on behalf of corporations and other interests, without in some cases disclosing details about their work, including the names of the clients or what they are paid.”

That China and Wall Street have an extremely close relationship has been documented for years. Financial Times — under the headline “Beijing and Wall Street deepen ties despite geopolitical rivalry” — last month reported that “Wall Street groups including BlackRock, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase have each been given approval to expand their businesses in China over recent months.”

A major Wall Street Journal story from last week, bearing the headline “China Has One Powerful Friend Left in the U.S.: Wall Street,” echoed Di’s speech by noting that “Chinese leaders have time and again turned to Wall Street for assistance in periods of trouble.” That WSJ article particularly emphasized the growing ties between China and the asset-manager giant BlackRock, a firm that already has outsized influence in the Biden administration. And Michael Bloomberg’s ties to China have been so crucial that he has regularly heaped praise on Beijing even when doing so was politically deleterious.

Even the smaller details of Di’s speech — including his anecdote about the book event he tried to arrange for Xi — check out. Contemporaneous news accounts show that exactly the book event he described was held at Politics and Prose in 2015, just as he recalled.

None of this means that Trump was some sort of stalwart enemy of Wall Street. From massive corporate tax cuts to rollbacks of regulations in numerous industries and many of their own in key positions, the financial sector benefited in all sorts of ways from the Trump presidency.

But all of their behavior indicates that they view a Biden/Harris administration as far more beneficial to their interests, and far more susceptible to their control. And that, in turn, makes Beijing far more confident that they will wield significantly more influence in Washington than they could over the last four years.

That confidence is due, says Professor Di, to Beijing’s close ties to a newly empowered Wall Street as well as their efforts to cultivate Hunter Biden, efforts we are likely to learn much more about now that Hunter’s activities in China are under active criminal investigation in Delaware. We should and could have learned about these transactions prior to the election had the bulk of the media not corruptly decided to ignore any incriminating reporting on Biden, but learning about them now is, one might say, a case of better late than never.

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BLM’s lesson in how ‘trained Marxism’ really works, leader rakes in millions while chapters get nothing

Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, December 1, 2020. © REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
By Nebojsa Malic | RT | December 4, 2020

While the Black Lives Matter Global Network, led by ‘trained Marxist’ Patrisse Cullors, embraced the windfall of donations following the George Floyd protests across America, local chapters say they were left holding the bag.

It was through the hard work of “radical black organizers” engaging in a “protracted struggle for our lives against police terrorism” that Black Lives Matter attracted millions of dollars in contributions this year, yet the BLMGN only recently invited selected chapters to apply for a $500,000 grant, ten chapters from across the US said in a statement this week.

“This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve,” they declared.

The Global Network is “not accountable to local communities” and chapters, and due to its lack of support their work “continues to be erased,” Black Lives Matter DC said in a twitter thread. The newly announced BLM political action committee (PAC) and Grassroots entities were set up without the chapter approval – or even knowledge. “[All] of these events occurred without democracy,” the chapters said.

This state of affairs isn’t exactly new. Between July 2017 and June 2019, the Global Network had spent $4.5 million on consultants, travel and salaries while giving only $328,000 to local chapters, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation. What’s new is that BLM fundraising went stratospheric in May this year, as riots over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota spread across the nation – and even globally.

BLMGN raked in millions using ActBlue, the fundraising platform serving the Democratic party, and while legions of fact-checkers insisted that none of that funding spilled over to the DNC or any campaigns, the Democrats admitted they also had a record fundraising haul paralleling the Floyd riots.

As the African-American activists gave the party a piggyback ride yet again, the very least they could have got out of the deal was some cash for their trouble. Not only did the BLM chapters not get that, they also bore the brunt of the backlash against rioting, arson, and property destruction inflicted by the riots on their own communities. It was a win-win for the self-styled leadership, lose-lose for the actual footsoldiers on the ground.

What Black Lives Matter chapters don’t understand is that the system they’ve embraced is working exactly as intended. They may have forgotten, and the mainstream media certainly hates reminding anyone, that Cullors boasted in a 2015 interview that she and BLMGN co-founder Alicia Garza were “trained Marxists.”

“We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk,” Cullors told Jared Ball of The Real News Network.

Having been trained in Marxism myself many years ago, in a country that’s no longer around, I recall all too well how in “scientific socialism” everyone is supposed to contribute according to their ability and receive according to their need. What happens in practice, however, is that this incentivizes the needs to grow – and abilities to diminish.

That’s even before the people in charge – who already believe they are “more equal than others” by the virtue of that, as George Orwell put it in ‘Animal Farm’ – decide that their needs are near-infinite. And since there’s a finite amount of wealth to be re-distributed, that means the needs of the many must amount to nearly nil. When the two inevitabilities converge… well, you get the picture.

Therefore, it is only right and proper that the activists on the ground get nothing while the leaders such as Cullors, or the Democrats piggybacking on the movement, get to laugh all the way to the bank. Complain all you want, but this is part and parcel of the ideology you signed up for.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Former Democratic Party organizer charged for attempted terrorist attack on railroad in Washington state

RT | December 2, 2020

Ellen Brennan Reiche, one of two women charged this week in Seattle for allegedly attempting a terrorist attack on a railroad, was reportedly the deputy field organizer for the Democratic Party in Washington state.

US Attorney Brian Moran announced the charges, saying that the 23-year-old Reiche and Samantha Frances Brooks, 27, were arrested on Saturday night after they allegedly placed a “shunt” on BNSF railroad tracks in Bellingham, Washington. A shunt is comprised of wire and magnets stretched between the tracks to disrupt the low-level electrical current and can be used to derail a train, cause train cars to decouple or stop safety gates from coming down at railroad crossings, Moran said.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been investigating the placement of shunts on BNSF tracks in Washington since January. There have been at least 41 such incidents during that period, causing crossing gates to malfunction, disrupting automatic braking systems and nearly derailing a train pulling tanks of hazardous and flammable chemicals.

An anarchist group called It’s Going Down claimed responsibility for the railway attacks on its website, saying it was being done to “fight against colonial invasion” of Wet’suwet’en Indian lands in British Columbia. Bellingham is located about 17 miles south of the Canadian border.

Reiche’s Linkedin profile, which has apparently been deleted, reportedly indicated that she had worked as deputy field organizer for Washington State Democrats. She’s currently a mentor for Wild Whatcom, which takes children on nature outings.

BNSF police observed Reiche and Brooks kneeling on railroad tracks on Saturday night, according to Moran’s statement. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department deputies confronted the two women at the scene and found a shunt on the tracks near the spot where they had been spotted by surveillance cameras.

Reiche and Brooks tried to flee on foot but stopped when a deputy ordered them to halt. Deputies said they had a paper bag containing wire and a drill with a brush head. The wire was similar to the material used in previous shunting incidents. When confronted, Reiche allegedly told deputies that she and Brooks were walking along the tracks to look for her keys. They had no flashlight or other device to help see in the dark.

Reiche told deputies that she had left her phone in her car and pointed out her vehicle parked nearby, according to court documents in the case. The car had a sticker on the back with the words “indigenous land” over a map of the US.

If convicted, Reiche and Brooks could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. “These crimes endanger our community,” Moran said.

December 2, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Bernie’s DSA blacklists Iran media: No change with Biden win?

By Ramin Mazaheri – Press TV – November 1, 2020

PressTV’s motto is to give “voice to the voiceless” and so we have given priority to non-mainstream political groups during our coverage of the US presidential election. We have spoken with socialists, Greens, Libertarians and more, but the Democratic Socialists of America – perhaps best exemplified by failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – has openly blacklisted Iranian media.

After repeated requests, the Chicago chapter of DSA wrote to Press TV that, “The officers of our organization have decided that it would not serve our interests to do an interview.”

This caused PressTV management to contact DSA’s headquarters in New York City to confirm if this allegedly-leftist political group was really enforcing a blacklist on the entire media of an internationally-recognized nation. As expected, no response was given, so – crucially – no denial either.

It is a disheartening policy for a group which openly promises that – if elected in greater numbers – their members will push the Democratic Party and thus the entire nation to an unprecedentedly progressive left.

Take, for example, their most prominent member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She said as recently as September, “I think, overall, we can likely push Vice-President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues. I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

That begs obvious questions: How can DSA officials from the national down to the local level make US foreign policy more progressive if they refuse to talk to foreigners and their representatives? Should DSA members get elected or be appointed to public office, their members are willfully ignorant of foreign viewpoints.

Just as worrying regarding the quality of the public service they will provide, DSA cadres are being trained to use a unilateral approach when dealing with non-Americans. Lastly, how authentic and patriotic is DSA if they are not reflecting the values which the average American seems to champion, such as the freedom of the press?

While Americans are days away from voting in their election, Iran’s next presidential election is in June.

It appears critical for Iranian voters to consider that if DSA – the allegedly-leftist wing of the Democratic Party – refuses to engage in normal cooperation with friendly Iranian media, then what is the likelihood that such people are going to truly push Washington’s Iran policy in a more open and progressive direction?

So even if Democrats win next week, DSA’s blacklist raises the question: How could a Joe Biden presidency drastically alleviate the US-led sanction war on Iran?

The Democratic Socialists of America should immediately reform their wrongly-guided decision to blacklist Iranian media. Refusal to do so would be an extremely belligerent policy which only helps to lay the groundwork for ignorance, murderous sanctions, war and anti-internationalism, and by a group which claims to be “Democratic” and “Socialist.”

November 1, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Dark web voter database report casts new doubts on Russian election hack narrative

By Gareth Porter | Grayzone | September 13, 2020

A new report showing that US state-level voter databases were publicly available calls into question the narrative that Russian intelligence “targeted” US state election-related websites in 2016.

A September 1 report in the Moscow daily Kommersant on a “dark web” site offering a database of personal information on millions of registered American voters undermines one of the central themes of the Russia hysteria pervading US politics.

Democratic politicians and corporate media pundits have long accepted it as fact that Russian intelligence “targeted” US state election-related websites in 2016. But the Kommersant report shows that those state registered voter databases were already available to anyone in the public domain, eliminating any official Russian motive for hacking state websites.

Kommersant reported that a user on a dark web Forum known as Gorka9 offered free access to databases containing the information of 7.6 million Michigan voters, along with the state voter databases of Connecticut, Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina.

There are differences between the Michigan database described by Gorka9 and the one that the State of Michigan releases to the public upon request. Tracy Wimmer, the spokesperson for the Michigan Secretary of State, said in an e-mail to Grayzone that when the Michigan voter registration database is released to the public upon request, the state withholds “date of birth (year of birth is included), driver’s license number, the last four digits of someone’s social security number, email address and phone number….”  However, Gorka9’s description of the Michigan data includes driver’s license numbers, full dates of birth, social security numbers and emails.

In fact both un-redacted and redacted state voter files are obviously widely available on the dark web as well as elsewhere on the internet. Meduza, a Russian-language news site based in Riga, Latvia, published the Kommersant story along with an “anonFiles” download portal for access to the Michigan voter database and a page from it showing that it is the officially redacted version. The DHS and the FBI both acknowledged in response to the Kommersant story that “a lot of voter registration data is publicly available or easily purchased.”

Criminal hackers have been seeking to extract such personal information from online state personal databases for many years — not only from voter registration databases but from drivers license, health care and other databases. Oregon’s chief information security officer, Lisa Vasa, told the Washington Post in September 2017 that her team blocks “upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day.”

Ken Menzell, the legal counsel to the Illinois state Board of Elections, told this writer in a 2017 interview that the only thing new about the hack of the state’s voter database in 2016, in which personal data on 200,000 Illinois registered voters was exfiltrated, was that the hackers succeeded. Menzell recalled that hackers had been “trying constantly” to get into every Illinois personal database ever since 2006.

The motive for the hackers was simple: as observed by Andrey Arsentiev, the head of analytics and special projects at the private security partnership, Infowatch, databases can be mined for profits on the dark web, primarily by selling them to scam artists working on a mass scale. Gorka9 was offering state voter files for free because the owner had already squeezed all the potential profit out of selling them.

For the Russian government, on the other hand, such databases would be of little or no value. When FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap was asked by a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017 how Moscow might use personal voter registration data, the only explanation he could come up with was that the Russian government and its intelligence agencies were completely ignorant of the character of U.S. state voter databases. “They took the data to understand what it consisted of,” Priestap declared.

Priestap was obviously unaware of the absurdity of the suggestion that the Russian government had no idea what was in such databases in 2016. After all, the state voter registration databases had already been released by the states themselves into the public domain, and had been bought and sold on the dark web for many years. The FBI has steered clear of the embarrassing suggestion by Priestap ever since.

Priestap’s inability to conjure up a plausible reason for Russia to hack U.S. election sites points to the illogical and baseless nature of the claims of a Russian threat to the U.S. presidential election.

DHS creates the Russian cyber campaign against state election sites

Back in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security did its best to market the narrative of Russian infiltration of American voting systems. At the time, the DHS was seeking to increase its bureaucratic power by adding election infrastructure to its portfolio of cybersecurity responsibilities, and exploiting the Russian factor was just the ticket to supercharge their campaign.

In their prepared statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, two senior DHS officials, Samuel Liles and Jeanette Manfra, referred to an October 2016 intelligence report published by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. They stated it had “established that Internet-connected election-related networks, including websites, in 21 states were potentially targeted by Russian government cyber actors.” That “potentially targeted” language gave away the fact that DHS didn’t have anything more than suspicion to back up the charge.

In fact DHS was unable to attribute any attempted election site hack to the Russian government. On October 7, 2016, in fact, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated explicitly that they could not do so. Liles and Manfra appeared to imply such an attribution, however, by associating DHS with a joint assessment by CIA, FBI and NSA released January 7, 2017, that contained the statement, the “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.”

But the meaning of that language was deliberately vague, and the only additional sentence related to it stated, “Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment.” That was far from any finding that Russia had scanned or hacked election-related websites.

In September 2017, under pressure from governors, DHS finally notified state governments about the cyber incidents that it had included in its October 2016 intelligence report as examples of “potential” Russian targeting. Now, it abandoned its ambiguous language and explicitly claimed Russian responsibility.

One state election official who asked not to be identified told this writer in a 2018 interview that “a couple of guys from DHS reading from a script” had informed him that his state was “targeted by Russian government cyber actors.”

DHS spokesman Scott McConnell issued a statement on September 28, 2017 that DHS “stood by” its assessment that 21 states “were the target of Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure.” But McConnell also revealed that DHS had defined “targeting” so broadly that any public website that a hacker scanned in a state could be included within that definition.

The dishonest tactics the DHS employed to demonstrate plausible evidence of “targeting” was revealed by Arizona Secretary of State Michelle Reagan’s spokesperson Matt Roberts, who told this writer in an interview, “When we pressed DHS on what exactly was targeted, they said it was the Phoenix public library’s computer system.” Another 2016 hacking episode in Arizona, which the FBI originally believed was a Russian government job, was later found to be a common criminal hack. In that episode, a hacker had targeted a local official with a phishing scheme and managed to steal their username and password.

Ironically, DHS had speculated in its initial intelligence report “that cyber operations targeting election infrastructure could be intended or used to undermine public confidence in electoral processes and potentially the outcome.”

That speculation, reiterated by corporate media, became a central feature of the Russiagate hysteria that electrified the Democratic Party’s base. None of the journalists and politicians who repeated the narrative stopped to consider how unsubstantiated claims by the DHS about Russian penetration of the US election infrastructure was doing just that – lowering public confidence in the democratic process.

The hysteria surrounding the supposed Russian threat to elections is far from over. The Senate Intelligence Committee report released in July 2019 sought to legitimize the contention by former Obama cyber security adviser Michael Daniel that Russia “may have” targeted all fifty states for cyber attacks on election-related sites.  In explaining his reasoning to the Senate committee’s staff, Daniel said: “My professional judgment was we have to work on the assumption [Russians] tried to go everywhere, because they’re thorough, they’re competent, they’re good.”

The New York Times eagerly played up that subjective and highly ideological judgment in the lede of a story headlined, ‘Russia Targeted Election Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds.’

As for DHS, it appeared to acknowledge by implication in an October 11, 2018 assessment excerpted in the Senate Committee report that it could not distinguish between a state-sponsored hack and a criminal hack. This August, the senior cybersecurity adviser for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Matthew Masterson, said, “We are not and have not seen specific targeting of those election systems that has been attributable to nation-state actors at this time….  We do see regular scanning, regular probing of election infrastructure as a whole, what you’d expect to see as you run IT systems.”

Despite these stunning admissions, DHS has faced no official accountability for deliberately slanting its intelligence assessment to implicate Russia for common criminal hacking activity. No matter how shoddy its origins and development have proven to be, the narrative remains too politically useful to be allowed to die.

September 16, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment