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Feds Secretly Paid Media to Promote COVID Shots

By Megan Redshaw | The Defender | March 9, 2022

The Biden administration made direct payments to nearly all major corporate media outlets to deploy a $1 billion taxpayer-funded outreach campaign designed to push only positive coverage about COVID-19 vaccines and to censor any negative coverage.

Media outlets across the nation failed to disclose the federal government as the source of ads in news reports promoting the shots to their audiences.

According to a Freedom of Information Request filed by The Blaze, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) purchased advertising from major news outlets including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

HHS also ran media blitzes in major media publications including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, BuzzFeed News, Newsmax and hundreds of local TV stations and newspapers across the nation.

In addition to paying news outlets to push the vaccines, the federal government bought ads on TV, radio, in print and on social media as part of a “comprehensive media campaign,” HHS documents show.

The ad campaigns were timed in conjunction with the increased availability of COVID vaccines. They featured “influencers” and “experts,” including Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House and director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In March 2021, Facebook announced a social media plan to “help get people vaccinated,” and worked with the Biden administration and U.S. health agencies to suppress what it called “COVID misinformation.”

BuzzFeed News advised everyone age 65 or older, people with health conditions that put them at high risk of severe illness from COVID, healthcare workers and those at high risk of exposure to the virus to get vaccine boosters, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other publications, including the Los Angeles Timesfeatured advice from experts on how readers could convince “vaccine-hesitant people” to change their minds.

The Washington Post presented “the pro-vaccine messages people want to hear.”

Newsmax said COVID vaccines have “been demonstrated to be safe and effective” and “encouraged citizens, especially those at risk, to get immunized.”

Yet, the latest data from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System shows 1,151,450 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 24,827 deaths since Dec. 14, 2020.

Numerous scientists and public health experts have questioned the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines, as well as the data underlying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the shots.

The media rarely covered negative news stories about COVID vaccines, and some have labeled anyone who questions the shots “science denialists” or “conspiracy theorists.”

“These outlets were collectively responsible for publishing countless articles and video segments regarding the vaccine that were nearly uniformly positive about the vaccine in terms of both its efficacy and safety,” The Blaze reported.

Congress appropriates $1 billion tax dollars to ‘strengthen vaccine confidence’

In March 2021, Congress appropriated $1 billion U.S. tax dollars for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to spend on activities to “strengthen vaccine confidence in the United States,” with $3 billion set aside for the CDC to fund “support and outreach efforts” in states through community-based organizations and trusted leaders.

HHS’s public education efforts were co-chaired by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky — with Vice President Kamala Harris leading the effort from the White House.

Federal law allows HHS, acting through the CDC and other agencies, to award contracts to public and private entities to “carry out a national, evidence-based campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the prevention and control of diseases, combat misinformation about vaccines and disseminate scientific and evidence-based vaccine-related information, with the goal of increasing rates of vaccination across all ages … to reduce and eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases.”

HHS did not immediately respond to The Blaze when asked if the agency used taxpayer dollars to pay for people to be interviewed, or for a PR firm to place experts and celebrities in interviews with news outlets.

The Blaze also reached out to several news organizations whose editorial boards claimed “firewall policies” preventing advertisers from influencing news coverage, but which nevertheless took money from HHS for targeted ads.

“Advertisers pay for space to share their messages, as was the case here, and those ads are clearly labeled as such,” Shani George, vice president of communications for The Washington Post, said in a statement. “The newsroom is completely independent from the advertising department.”

Although The Washington Post may have several departments, they’re all under the authority of the same CEO and key executive team.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times said their “newsroom operates independently from advertising.”

Former Newsmax anchor confirms network paid to promote only positive coverage

According to Desert News, Emerald Robinson, an independent journalist who previously served as the chief White House correspondent for Newsmax and One America News, said she was contacted by a whistleblower inside Newsmax who confirmed the news organization’s executives agreed to take money from HHS under the Biden administration to push only positive coverage of COVID vaccines.

Robinson was also contacted by top Newsmax executives in 2021, and told to stop any negative coverage of the COVID shots as “it was problematic.”

Robinson said she was warned multiple times by executives and was told by PR experts who worked with Newsmax that medical experts or doctors likely to say negative things about COVID vaccines would not be booked as guests.

Robinson was reportedly fired by Newsmax after tweeting “conspiracy theories” about COVID vaccines and was later banned from Twitter for “repeatedly violating the platforms’ rules on COVID-19 misinformation.”

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy in an op-ed applauded Biden for his vaccine efforts.

Ruddy wrote:

“At Newsmax, we have strongly advocated for the public to be vaccinated. The many medical experts who have appeared on our network have been near-unanimous in support of the vaccine. I myself have gotten the Pfizer vaccine. There’s no question in my mind, countless lives would have been saved if the vaccine was available earlier.”

In other examples cited by The Blaze, “fear-based vaccine ads” from HHS featuring “survivor” stories from COVID patients who were hospitalized in intensive care units were covered by CNN and discussed on ABC’s “The View” last October.

HHS ads on YouTube featuring celebrities like Sir Michael Caine and Sir Elton John garnered millions of views.

As The Defender reported in September, a group of people injured by COVID vaccines reached out to the media to tell their stories, only to be told by news agencies they could not cover COVID vaccine injuries.

Kristi Dobbs, 40, was injured by Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. Dobbs spent months pleading with U.S. health agencies to research the neurological injuries she and others are experiencing in hopes of finding a treatment.

Dobbs said she and others who developed neurological injuries after getting a COVID vaccine shared their experiences with a reporter, in hope of raising awareness about their experiences.

Dobbs said she and others knew they needed to tell their stories, without causing “vaccine hesitancy,” to protect others from the same fate — so members of the group started writing and calling anyone who would listen, including reporters, news agencies and members of Congress.

Dobbs said they tried the best they could as simple Americans to reach out to those who would hear their stories. Finally, a reporter from a small media company was willing to do a story. Dobbs and others from the group participated in a 2-hour and 40-minute interview.

“The story never went anywhere,” Dobbs said. She said the reporter told them a “higher up” at Pfizer made a call to the station and pressured staff there into not covering any other stories about vaccine adverse reactions.

As previously reported by The Defender, the same investment firms with financial interests in Pfizer also hold large ownership stakes of corporate media outlets.

In addition, Pfizer has contracts with the federal government, which has spent billions of American tax dollars both buying COVID vaccines and promoting only positive coverage to the public.

Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver told Desert News, “People have been injured and died as a result of the most extensive propaganda campaign in U.S. history and it was paid for with our taxpayer dollars.”

COVID vaccines are not safe or effective, but the American public has been given propaganda by the Biden administration instead of truth from the news media, Staver said.

“The consequence is that many people have needlessly suffered as a result of the censorship and propaganda.”


Megan Redshaw is a freelance reporter for The Defender. She has a background in political science, a law degree and extensive training in natural health.

© 2022 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red lines and dollar signs: the business of the Syrian War

The Rant Foundry | January 23, 2016

A damning report on the conflict of interests in the Syrian Crisis debate identified numerous corporate and defense industry ties of experts and think tanks who commented on potential military intervention. Much of the debate over Syria got underway in 2013, when not only were the conflicts-of-interest and military-industrial complex ties of these “consultants” and “experts” rarely disclosed, but the ideas they expressed were mere permutations of an ideologically narrow spectrum of U.S. and Western neo-conservative interventionism.

As US official sources are now claiming that ISIS is developing chemical weapons those same experts and think tanks are back with a vengeance.

The conflict-of-interest report by the Public Accountability Initiative (http://public-accountability.org) offers a new look at an issue raised by David Barstow’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series on the role military analysts played in promoting the Bush Administration’s narrative on Iraq. In addition to exposing coordination with the Pentagon, Barstow found that many cable news analysts had industry ties that were not disclosed on air.

During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances. Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed headlined “To stop Iran, Obama must enforce red lines with Assad.” The phrase “red line” has been used numerous times in reference to Syria and its President Bashar al-Assad, particularly in attempt to establish the legal intervention of Russian forces in Syria as a crossing of those lines. It was also used in 2014 by those in favor of forcible ‘regime change’ in Syria when rockets with sarin filled warheads landed in rebel-held residential areas in Ghouta, Syria, killing hundreds and injuring thousands.  Each side naturally blamed the other, with western intelligence agencies providing evidence supporting the opposition, and Russian intelligence supporting the regime. Both sides issued biased reports with cherry-picked evidence, only adding to the confusion.  An analysis of all evidence relating to the August 21st chemical attack indicate it was carried out by opposition forces. According to the most likely scenario, they used looted incendiary rockets, refilled them with sarin they manufactured themselves, and launched them from a rebel-held territory 2 km north of Zamalka.

Stephen Hadley’s television audiences were never informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. Hadley earns $128,500 in annual cash compensation from the company and chairs its public affairs committee. He also owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadley’s share’s worth $891,189). Despite this critically important financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert.

Though Hadley’s undisclosed conflict is particularly egregious, it is not unique. The following report documents the industry ties of Hadley, 21 other media commentators, and seven think tanks that participated in the media debate around Syria. Like Hadley, these individuals and organizations have strong ties to defense contractors and other defense- and foreign policy-focused firms with a vested interest in the Syria debate, but they were presented to their audiences with a veneer of expertise and independence, as former military officials, retired diplomats, and independent think tanks.

think-tank-map

A pentagonal network: think tank-defense industry ties [image via public-accountability.org]

If the recent debate around Syria is any guide, media outlets have done very little to address the gaps in disclosure and abuses of the public trust that Barstow exposed. Some analysts have stayed the same, others are new, and the issues and range of opinion are different. But the media continues to present former military and government officials as venerated experts without informing the public of their industry ties – the personal financial interests that may be shaping their opinions of what is in the national interest. This report details these ties, in addition to documenting the industry backing of think tanks that played a prominent role in the Syria debate. It reveals the extent to which the public discourse around Syria was corrupted by the pervasive influence of the defense industry, to the point where many of the so-called experts appearing on American television screens were actually representatives of companies that profit from heightened US military activity abroad. The threat of war with Syria may or may not have passed, but the threat that these conflicts of interest pose to public discourse – and democracy – is still very real.

January 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkish media questions Ankara’s version on Su-24

Sputnik – 30.11.2015

Analyzing the Turkish attack on a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria last week, Turkish journalist Umit Kivanc suggested that Ankara’s narrative on how things went down doesn’t seem to mesh with the basic facts, adding that a reasoned analysis has led him to conclude that the attack may have been a deliberate, political provocation.

In his analysis, published in Turkey’s Radikal newspaper, Kivanc emphasized that the Russians were not the only ones to condemn the shoot down, with even Turkey’s ostensible allies in the United States making harsh comments over the disproportionate response.

The journalist pointed to the commentary of Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, former US Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, who bluntly told Fox News that the attack was a “very bad mistake” and a sign of “poor judgment” on Turkey’s part.

McInerney, Kivanc noted, went so far as to call the attack an “aggressive” act, adding that the Russian plane had not made “any maneuvers to attack [Turkish] territory.” Having himself served as a NORAD commander in Alaska, McInerney noted that he could never imagine US planes responding to a violation of US airspace by shooting down the plane as the first response. Ultimately, the former military commander suggested that “this could have been a deliberate provocation by President Erdogan.”

Praising McInerney for his professionalism, and his ability to explain the situation in a simple and clear manner, Kivanc contrasted this with some of the rhetoric found in the Turkish press over the incident. Many Turkish commentators, he noted, have focused all their attention on the fact that the militants the Russian planes were bombing in the region weren’t Daesh (Islamic State).

“All this is well and good,” the columnist noted, “but did anyone ever claim that the Russians were bombing ISIL here? No, they didn’t. So why the commentary on ISIL’s absence? It is well-known that in this region, where the Syrian Army is attempting to advance, under the cover of Russian air support, there is Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front), Ahrar al-Sham, and other armed groups, with whom Turkey has rather close contacts. [Moreover,] according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the area contains terrorist infrastructure, including arms and ammunition depots and command centers.”

“Lavrov,” Kivanc added, “had mentioned this ‘infrastructure’ in the course of his telephone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu,” asking whether Ankara was deliberately looking to create a buffer zone to protect the terrorists.

Moving on to Turkish authorities’ claims that the Russian plane had violated Turkish airspace, for 17 seconds, and had been warned “ten times in five minutes,” the journalist noted that several questions could not give him peace of mind over Ankara’s claims.

First of all, Kivanc noted, “we are talking about a military plane, capable of increasing to speeds of a thousand kilometers or more per hour. If the aircraft was first warned over the space of ‘five minutes’, at what distance [from the border] did the warnings start? Were they understandable? Was the plane flying very slowly?”

The journalist pointed out that “judging by the fact that in a matter of 17 seconds the plane had [allegedly] flown 1.8 km into Turkish territory, I recalled the opinion of German pilots flying Tornado fighter bombers. In a commentary for Der Spiegel, one of them suggested, based on the trajectory pictured in the diagram [released by Turkish authorities], that the Russian plane could have been in Turkish territory for 10-15 seconds. In other words, we would not even have had the time to tell it to ‘shoo’, before it was gone!”

Furthermore, Kivanc recalled, “there are ways to address [airspace violations] before shooting a plane down. These include, for example, accompanying the plane until it exits from your airspace. This idea, for some reason, was ignored, instead moving right away to the last possible option.”

In fact, the journalist emphasized that the plane was allegedly in Turkish airspace “for such a short amount of time that not only was it not necessary to shoot it down –it wasn’t necessary to do anything with it.”

Commenting on the history of airspace violations involving his country, Kivanc pointed out that, for example, in January 2014 alone, “Turkish jets had violated Greek airspace 1017 times –up to forty (40!) times a day. Correspondence related to the violations of airspace was among the documents released by WikiLeaks. And if the destruction of aircraft were to occur following each violation, there would be no aircraft remaining.”

Poring over all the details of the attack, both in Turkish and Western media, the journalist suggested that the main issue, in his view, was that of the “huge disparity” between the alleged Russian violation, and the Turkish response, all of which seemed to demonstrate that authorities in Ankara may have been looking for just such a provocation.

Noting that the Turkish letter to the UN had declared that the Su-24 was shot down “in Turkish airspace,” Kivanc pointed out that the map released by Turkey’s own Ministry of Defense “refutes such suggestions.”

“The Russian plane,” the journalist noted, “was not hit when it was in Turkish airspace. Ankara acknowledges that the downed plane crashed in Syria, but denies that it was struck on the other side of the border. The fact that US officials know the truth, but do not want to disclose it, was clear hours after the incident, according to Reuters. The Russians, meanwhile, maintain that the Turkish F-16 which shot down their plane had itself violated Syrian airspace.”

All in all, Kivanc suggested, “the incident does not look like a natural reaction of a state whose airspace has been violated. One gets the impression that the decision was made in advance, and was itself extreme in character, deliberately searching for a suitable situation.” This, the journalist notes, is exactly how Russia characterizes it, with Foreign Minister Lavrov calling the attack a “pre-planned provocation.”

Noting that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had basically confirmed the political nature of the decision, when he noted following the attack that he had “personally given the instructions to the General Staff,” to deal with violations in a harsh manner, Kivanc added that “the fact that immediately following the incident, Ankara rushed to NATO, instead of establishing direct contact with Moscow, leads one to agree with the skeptical approach of the American Lieutenant General.”

November 30, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Lies, Damned Lies, and Global Warming Statistics

The Corbett Report | November 25, 2015

Don’t you hate when Fox News and the other MSM spin-meisters use simple tricks to skew and misrepresent data and statistics? How about when the World Meteorological Organization does it? Or NASA? Or the Journal of Climate ? Or GISS? Join James for today’s thought for the day as he shows you some of the grade school level parlour tricks the global warming alarmists use to misrepresent their data and bamboozle the public.

SHOW NOTES:
The statisticians at Fox News use classic and novel graphical techniques to lead with data

You can’t deny global warming after seeing this graph

Lying with Charts – Global Warming Graph

A History Of Dishonest Fox Charts

WMO Climate Status 1999

Black Tuesday of Climate Science

The Yamal implosion

YAD06 – the Most Influential Tree in the World

Sherwood 2008: Where you can find a hot spot at zero degrees

GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit

November 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

The Imaginary Cuban Troops in Syria

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts Blog | October 17, 2015

Fair-and-balanced Fox News reported on Wednesday that “Cuban military operatives reportedly have been spotted in Syria, where sources believe they are advising President Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers and may be preparing to man Russian-made tanks to aid Damascus in fighting rebel forces backed by the U.S.” Fox’s claim of an imaginary enemy alliance relies on two sources: the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies and an anonymous U.S. official.

The source at the Miami Institute indicated that “An Arab military officer at the Damascus airport reportedly witnessed two Russian planes arrive there with Cuban military personnel on board. When the officer questioned the Cubans, they told him they were there to assist Assad because they are experts at operating Russian tanks.”

It is unclear what nationality the “Arab” officer was. Perhaps, said Arab determined the people aboard the Russian plane were Cubans because he saw them smoking cigars and drinking mojitos. The Cuban soldiers then volunteered – supposedly – they were “there to assist Assad” because of their expertise manning Russian tanks. However improbable this may seem to an unbiased observer, the source from the Miami Institute said that “it doesn’t surprise me.”

The supposed U.S. official – who Fox grants anonymity to without giving a reason why – related “evidence” from “intelligence reports” that Cuban troops “may” have trained in Russia and “may have” come to Syria in Russian planes. Sounds legit.

Despite the thinness of the report’s sourcing and the improbability of its content, other news organizations were quick to parrot its claims. Spanish newspaper ABC noted the next day that media from Germany to Argentina to the Middle East had echoed the Fox News report, while ABC did the same themselves.

By Friday, the story had gained enough traction that it was raised at a White House briefing. In a response that should have been enough to put the story to rest, the White House Press Secretary said “we’ve seen no evidence to indicate that those reports are true.”

But a few hours later, the Daily Beast had definitively declared in a headline that: “Cuba Is Intervening in Syria to Help Russia. It’s Not the First Time Havana’s Assisted Moscow.”

Progressive concern troll James Bloodworth turned Fox’s rumors into fact and wrote that “Not for the first time Cuban forces are doing Russia’s dirty work, this time in Syria… Obama has been holding his hand out in a gesture of goodwill to America’s adversaries only for them to blow him a raspberry back in his face – while standing atop a pile of Syrian corpses.”

In reality, Obama’s “gesture of goodwill” is little more than behaving less overtly hostile after decades of American aggression against Cuba and Iran. If you are choking someone unprovoked and you loosen your grip, it is far from a gesture of goodwill.

Bloodworth also tries to make an historical argument that Cuba’s (imaginary) military actions in Syria are consistent with their “bloody” interventions elsewhere. He decries “Cuban terror in Ethiopia” that resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being killed. “The tragedy was largely a consequence of the policies pursued by the Communist dictatorship that ruled Ethiopia at the time – a regime propped up by Cuba and the Soviet Union.”

In 1977, Somalia had invaded Ethiopia in an attack that “had been encouraged by ambivalent signals from Washington,” according to historian Piero Gleijeses in his book Visions of Freedom. [1] Initially reluctant to become involved, Fidel Castro finally agreed to Ethiopian requests to send troops to repel the Somali invasion.

Gleijeses found in his extensive review of formerly classified military documents that Cuba’s motives in aiding Ethiopia were sincere:

With hindsight, we know that Mengistu’s policies resulted in disaster, but this was not clear in 1977: though the process was undeniably bloody, the Ethiopian junta had decreed a radical agrarian reform and taken unprecedented steps to foster the cultural rights of the non-Amhara population… The evidence indicates that the Cubans intervened because they believed, as Cuban intelligence stated in March 1977, that ‘the social and economic measures adopted by Ethiopia’s leadership are the most progressive we have seen in any underdeveloped country since the triumph of the Cuban revolution.’ [2] In addition to correcting the record on Ethiopia, Gleijeses’ study also serves to set the record straight on Cuba’s historical modus operandi in its military interventions abroad. Cuba did maintain a large military presence in Angola for nearly 15 years, starting in 1975.

Castro first sent troops in November 1975 after Angolan President Agostinho Neto warned of a South African invasion of the country already underway which would inevitably topple the nascent government without outside support. Cuba agreed to send soldiers to Angola right away. Several months later, they would repel the apartheid army back to Pretoria. They remained in Angola at Neto’s bequest to prevent further incursions from the racist South African army into the country’s sovereign territory.

At the same time, there was an ongoing civil war between Neto’s MPLA, the largest and most popular of the guerilla groups, and the South African and American-backed UNITA guerillas led by former Portuguese collaborator Jonas Savimbi.

Castro was adamant that Cuban troops would be responsible for preventing a South African invasion, while Angolan troops should deal with their own internal conflict. In meetings with Neto, Castro “kept hammering away on the need to fight the bandits … He explained to us that the fight against the bandits was necessarily and without question the responsibility of the Angolans, that we could not wage this war, that it was their war.” [3]

Cuba’s position during the Angolan conflict is consistent with the diplomatic approach they have repeatedly espoused in Syria, that the Syrian conflict is a domestic problem for the Syrian people and government to resolve themselves, while the international community works to achieve a peaceful solution.

“Cuba reiterates that international cooperation, based on the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity, is the only way to effectively promote and protect all human rights,” Cuban representative to the UN Human Rights Council Rodolfo Reyes said at a meeting in Switzerland. He added that “Cuba is confident of the capacity of the Syrian people and government to solve their domestic problems without foreign interference.”

Unreliable Sources

That the Fox News could cause such a stir is a testament to the refusal of mainstream news organizations to verify sources. In all of the iterations of the “Cuban troops in Syria” fantasy, there are no new sources cited. The original Fox News report cites one anonymous U.S. official who may, or may not, even exist. The only source on record with their incredulous claims is someone from the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami.

ICCAS is notorious for its reactionary, anti-Communist politics revered among the fanatically right-wing Cuban and Cuban-American population in Miami. Their academic research includes a conspiracy theory that appears to implicate Fidel Castro in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Another ICCAS report claims “the often-repeated view in many countries that the United States is an evil power, guilty for much of the problems and sufferings of the developing world, is owed in great part to the propaganda efforts of Fidel Castro” – not, rather, to decades of direct U.S. military intervention; profligate support to fascist military dictatorships; and predatory, neo-colonial lending policies that demand neoliberal structural adjustment programs which funnel public assets and resources to creditor interests, at the expense of the employment, health and well-being of the vast majority of local populations.

ICCAS is also home to the Cuba Transition Project whose mission is “to study and make recommendations for the reconstruction of Cuba once the post-Castro transition begins in earnest.” CTP acknowledges on its Web site that “the project was established in 2002 and supported by grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) until 2010.” It’s funding indicates it is at least indirectly an arm of the U.S. government’s destabilization and subversion efforts dedicated to regime change of the politically and economically independent Cuban government.

Cuban Prensa Latina reporter in Syria Miguel Fernández noted that ICCAS has reported six or seven times since 2006 that Fidel Castro has died. He suggested reports such as those originating with ICCAS about Cuban troops in Syria were part of the campaigns of reactionary groups opposed to normalization to tarnish the new relations between Cuba and the United States.

The Cuban Embassy in Damascus reportedly “laughed” at the report of Cuban troops in Syria, and told Sputnik News : “It’s pure lunacy. It is as if they were claiming that Russia had sent its troops to Madagascar to protect lemurs.”

Despite claims of Cuban troops in Syria contradicting Cuba’s stated policy and historical modus operandi, and the fact that now four days have passed without a single piece of corroborating evidence to the laughable Fox News report, the imaginary Cuban troops in Syria are likely to morph into more outrageous fantasies of media who have shown themselves primarily interested in fabricating tales of intrigue about America’s evil enemies rather than reporting actual verifiable facts.

References

[1] Gleijeses, Piero. Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991. The University of North Carolina Press, 2013. Kindle edition.

[2] Ibid.

[3] as quoted in Gleijeses, 2013

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | February 20, 2015

… as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it’s important to note that much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.

In no particular order, here are the ten most bogus ISIS scare stories over the past year:


1. Female genital mutilation edict – July 2014


Genital Mutilation

Who it fooled: Most major media outlets from Time to Reuters to The Atlantic to the BBC (whose story has since been scrubbed online). Above all, the UN itself.

Why it’s bogus: Actual residents of Mosul and regional experts quickly knew it reeked. The story was subsequently discredited by experts and jouranalists and called a hoax soon after.


2. Church-burning in Mosul – July 2014


Mosul Church Burning


Who it fooled: Human Rights Watch, The Atlantic, The Independent, The Times of India

Why it’s bogus: An intrepid archaeologist, Sam Hardy, called BS and thanks to the magic of reverse image Google search and some prodding by yours truly, it was eventually retracted by several outlets and never mentioned again.


3. ISIS in Mexico – October 2014


ISIS in Mexico


Who it fooled: Fox News, Judicial Watch, The Inquisitr.

Why it’s bogus: Absurd on its face, the story was quickly and roundly debunked.

4. ISIS recruiting emo British teen – December 2014


ISIS Emo Teen


Who it fooled: Metro, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph

Why it’s bogus: The person who uploaded the picture admitted on Twitter it was a fake. The media subsequently deemed it a “hoax”.


5. ISIS Caliphate map – July 2014


ISIS Map


Who it fooled: ABC News, International Business Times, Breitbart

Why it’s bogus: The original story from ABC News cited a map that had been floating around the Internet for months. To this day, its one and only source is a tweet from a noted white supremacist website Third Position.

io9.com and others eventually deemed it a hoax.

6. ISIS beheads Christian children – Aug 2014


aj_6


Who it fooled: Originally asserted on CNN by self-proclaimed Iraqi-Christian activist Mark Arabo–a grocery story industry lobbyist whose previous media appearance was on a local San Diego news channel to oppose an increase in minimum wage–this story spread among right-wing and Christian media.

Why it’s bogus: After a fairly thorough inquiry, snopes eventually determined the claim was “inconclusive,” having found no independent evidence it occurred.


7. $425m bank robbery – June 2014


ISIS Robbery


Who it fooled: The Washington Post, International Business Times, Fox News, Mic, Vocativ

Why it’s bogus: The story was based solely on accounts from the former mayor of Mosul and was later found to be uncredible by The Financial Times and, ultimately, US officials themselves.


8. ‘Over 100 Americans have joined ISIS’ – October 2014


100 Americans in ISIS


Who it fooled: NBC News, Washington Post, Al Jazeera


Only 12 Americans Fighting With ISIS


Why it’s bogus: After the FBI admitted there were only “about a dozen” Americans fighting alongside jihadists in Syria in September 2014, several media outlets continued to report “over 100,” despite the government correcting the record several weeks prior.

9. #AllEyesOnISIS “Twitter storm” – June 2014


ISIS Twitter War


Who it fooled: The Daily Mail, McClatchy

Why it’s bogus: Yours truly showed that the “Twitter storm” was simply a reposting of weeks- or months-old tweets by an overzealous ISIS fanboi.

10. ISIS’s ebola terror plot – December 2014


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Who it fooled: The Daily Mail, Fox News, Mashable, random right-wing media

Why it’s bogus: “Iraqi media” was the only source for the story, and the Iraqi minister of Health quickly debunked it.

February 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Illusion of Debate

By Jason Hirthler | CounterPunch | December 2, 2014

A recent article in FAIR reviewed the findings of its latest study on the quality of political “debate” being aired on the mainstream networks. It studied the run-up to the military interventions in both Iraq and Syria. Perhaps the arbiters of the study intended to illustrate what we’ve learned since the fraudulent Iraq War of 2003. Well, it appears we’ve learned nothing.

FAIR spent hours painfully absorbing the misinformation peddled by such soporific Sunday shows as CNN’s State of the Union, CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and ABC’s This Week, plus some of the more popular weekly political programming including ADHD-inducing CNN’s Situation Room, Fox News Channel’s Special Report, the venerable sedative PBS NewsHour, and MSNBC’s Hardball. You know the cast of characters: glib George Stephanopoulos, forthright Candy Crowly, harrowing Wolf Blitzer, and stentorian Chris Matthews. Images of their barking maws are seared into the national hippocampus.

Overall, 205 mostly government mouthpieces were invited to air their cleverly crafted talking points for public edification. Of them, a staggering sum of three voiced opposition to military action in Syria and Iraq. A mere 125 stated their support for aggressive action.

Confining its data to the Sunday shows, 89 guests were handsomely paid to educate our benighted couch-potato populace. One suggested not going to war. It stands to reason that considered legal arguments against these interventions got the short shrift, too.

The media consensus on Syria and Iraq isn’t an isolated instance of groupthink. Far from it. It conforms to a consistent pattern, one that has at its core a deliberate disregard for international law and efforts to strengthen transnational treaties and norms regarding military action. (Although transnational law regulating trade is highly favored, for obvious reasons.)

Here the New York Times uncritically repeats Israel casualty figures from the recent attack on Gaza. The journalist, Jodi Rudoren, gives equal legitimacy to sparsely defended claims from Tel Aviv and “painstakingly compiled research by the United Nations, and independent Palestinian human rights organizations in Gaza.” She adopts a baseless Israeli definition of “combatant”, ignoring broad international consensus that contradicts it. She dubiously conflates minors with adults, and under-reports the number of children killed. And so on. All in the service of the pro-Israel position of the paper.

In 2010 Israel assaulted an aid flotilla trying to relieve Palestinians under the Gaza blockade. Author and political analyst Anthony DiMaggio conducted Lexis Nexus searches that demonstrate how U.S. media and the NYT in particular scrupulously avoid the topic of international law when discussing Israeli actions. In one analysis of Times and Washington Post articles on Israel between May 31st and June 2nd, just five out of 48 articles referenced international law relating to either the flotilla raid or the blockade. DiMaggio dissects several of the methods by which Israel flaunts the United Nations Charter. He adds that Israel has violated more than 90 Security Council resolutions relating to its occupation. You don’t get this story in the American mainstream. But this is typical. U.S. media reflexively privileges the Israeli narrative over Arab points of view, and barely acknowledges the existence of dozens of United Nations resolutions condemning criminal actions by Israel.

It’s the same with Iran. For years now, Washington has been theatrically warning the world that Iran wants to build a bomb and menace the Middle East with it. That would be suicidal. It is common knowledge among American intelligence agencies, and any others that have been paying attention, that Iran’s foreign policy is deterrence. But this doesn’t stop the MSM from portraying Tehran as a hornet’s nest of frothing Islamists.

Kevin Young has done a telling survey of articles on nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. Some 40 editorials written by the Times and the Post were vetted. Precisely zero editorials acknowledged international legal implications of U.S. public threats and various subversions led by Israel, such as assassinating scientists and conducting cyber-attacks, both innovations on standard violations of sovereignty. However, 34 of the pieces “said or implied” that Iran was seeking a nuclear weapon. Forget that 16 American intelligence agencies stated that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program. These papers of record prefer to trade in innuendo and hearsay, despite assessments to the contrary. More than 80% of the articles supported the crippling U.S. sanctions that are justified by the supposed merit of the bomb-building claim.

Prior to Young’s work, Edward Hermann and David Peterson looked at 276 articles on Iran’s nuclear program between 2003 and 2009. The number itself is staggering, more so when stacked against the number of articles written over the same period about Israel’s nuclear program: a mighty three.

This is interesting considering the posture of both countries in relation to international treaties. Israel freely stockpiles nuclear weapons and maintains a “policy of deliberate ambiguity” about its nuclear weapons capacities, despite frequent efforts by Arab states to persuade it to declare its arsenal (which is estimated by some to be in the hundreds). Also, it has yet to sign the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that has been signed by 190 nations worldwide. This intransigent stance has marooned the broadly embraced idea of working to establish a nuclear weapons free zone in the region.

Contrast Israel’s behavior with that of Iran itself, which has permitted extensive inspections of its nuclear facilities. The Times recently noted the country’s main nuclear facilities were “crawling with inspectors.” Iran is also a party to the NPT and is a full member of the IAEA. It continues to try to work toward a reasonable solution with the West despite debilitating sanctions levied on it by the United States. America has unduly pressured the IAEA to adopt additional protocols that would require prohibitively stringent demands on Iran, rendering the possibility of a negotiated solution comfortably remote from an American standpoint. (These additional demands reportedly include drone surveillance, tracking the origin and destination of every centrifuge produced anywhere in the country, and searches of the presidential palace. All of this passes without comment from our deeply objective journalist class.)

Coverage of Iraq is no different, particularly in advance of periodic illegal war of aggression against it. Former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Palestine Richard Falk and author Howard Friel conducted a survey in 2004 assessing the New York Times’ pre-war coverage of Iraq in 2003. In more than 70 articles on Iraq, the Times never mentioned “UN Charter” or “international law.” The study also found “No space was accorded to the broad array of international law and world-order arguments opposing the war.” But such arguments only exist outside of Western corridors of power in Washington, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv.

This isn’t debate. Real debate is pre-empted by internal bi-partisan consensus on some basic issues: maintain a giant garrison state, shrink the state everywhere else, preference corporations over populations, restrict civil liberties to secure status quo power structures. So when it comes to Iran, Iraq, Syria and the like, the question isn’t whether to go to war, but what kind of war to fight. Hawks want bombs. Doves want sanctions. Publicans want Marines. Dems want a proxy army of jihadis. They both want Academi mercenaries. (Obama hired out the gang formerly known as Blackwater to the CIA for a cool $250 million.) And when we’ve finished off ISIS, the question won’t be about an exit strategy, but whether to head west to Damascus or east to Tehran.

The question isn’t whether to cut aid to Israel given its serial criminality in Gaza and the West Bank, but how fast settlements can annex the Jordan Valley without attracting more international opprobrium. (International law, again, set aside.)

On the domestic front, the question isn’t whether to have single payer or private healthcare, but whether citizens should be forced to purchase private schemes or simply admonished to do so. The question isn’t whether or not to keep or strengthen New Deal entitlements, but how swiftly they can be eviscerated. The question isn’t whether or not to surveil the body politic, but where to store the data, and whether or not to harvest two-hop or three-hop metadata. The question isn’t whether or not to hold authors of torture programs accountable, but how much of the damning torture report to redact so as to leave them unprosecutable. The question isn’t whether or not to regulate Wall Street but, as slimy oil industry lawyer Bennett Holiday put it in Syriana, to create “the illusion of due diligence.”

All this is not to say the MSM isn’t aware of alternative viewpoints. It is, but it only acknowledges them when they can be used to justify a foregone conclusion. In the past year, the MSM has nearly become infatuated with international law. Friel has tracked the paper of record’s response to the Ukrainian fiasco. What did he find? When Russia annexed Crimea, the Times inveighed against the bloodless “invasion” as a gross violation of international law. Eight different editorials over the next few months hyperventilated about global security, castigating Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “illegal” violation and his “contempt for,” “flouting,” “blatant transgression,” and “breach” of international law. Calls were sounded to “protect” against such cynical disregard of global consensus. Western allies needed to busy themselves “reasserting international law” and exacting heavy penalties on Russia for “riding roughshod” over such sacred precepts as “Ukrainian sovereignty.”

Quite so, as Washington supports the toppling of democratically elected governments in Kiev and Tegucigalpa, sends drones to ride “roughshod” over Yemeni, Pakistani, Somali and other poorly defended borders; and deploys thousands of troops, advisors, and American-armed jihadis to patrol the sectarian abattoirs of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But better to exonerate ourselves on those counts and chalk it up to the fog of war. After all, we follow the law of exceptionalism, clearly defined by Richard Falk as, “Accountability for the weak and vulnerable, discretion for the strong and mighty.”

Jason Hirthler is a veteran of the communications industry. He lives in New York City and can be reached at jasonhirthler@gmail.com.

December 2, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments