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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Glenn Greenwald | April 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Gates admits his ‘large carbon footprint’ makes him a ‘strange person’ to pressure others – as he plugs climate-change book

RT | February 23, 2021

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has admitted his private jet and billionaire lifestyle make him a “strange person” to advocate against climate change, but insists he’s doing his part bankrolling obscure tech years away from adoption.

While Gates acknowledged his critics had good reason to question why a man with “the biggest carbon footprint west of the Mississippi” was “preaching” to them about climate change, the software magnate-turned climate crusader insisted he was sincere about trying to shrink even his own massive consumption levels.

In a chummy discussion with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, Gates was asked warm and fuzzy versions of some of the questions he’s gotten from the political right and left, taking the opportunity to puff up his new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” published on Tuesday.

The tech tycoon stressed that he was moderating his own hyperconsumption by buying “green aviation fuel” and paying for “direct air capture” to stop his private jet and other costly indulgences from being such a burden on the planet. However, his protestations aren’t necessarily reflective of the wider industry – “green” fuels represented less than 0.1 percent of all aviation fuel by 2018, and just five airports regularly offered biofuel distribution by the following year, even as the industry hopes to cut carbon emissions in half (from 2005 levels) by 2050.

While Gates lacks any credentials in climate science (or indeed any academic credentials at all, not having graduated from college), his prodigious financial resources have earned him entrée into essentially any industry he takes an interest in – and the force to exert his influence over whoever works in that industry.

Thus, while Gates repeatedly stressed that the country “needed” certain “breakthroughs” – by 2050 at the latest – regarding renewable electricity in order to avoid the predicted “climate catastrophe,” he suggested that relying on government to implement these breakthroughs was a recipe for disaster. The private sector would have to take an end run around government in order to ensure any policies put in place under one party wouldn’t just be stripped out by the other party four years later, he argued.

Gates couldn’t resist hinting at his ‘prediction’ of the Covid-19 pandemic again, either, warning that if the world didn’t listen to him on climate change, countries would be caught unawares in the same manner they had been when the coronavirus epidemic hit. Solving Covid-19 was “easy” compared to fighting climate change, Gates told the BBC last week.

MSNBC began life as a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC, and while the software giant sold its 50 percent interest in the network in 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continued to make hefty donations to its parent company NBCUniversal, including $1 million that same year for “special projects,” another $1.34 million in 2013, and $2.03 million in 2010 for “global policy and advocacy.”

IT’S OK WHEN BILL DOES IT!

Paul Joseph Watson | February 19, 2021

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s China tweet ‘destructive & deceitful’ as there isn’t ‘ANY QUESTION’ Russia behind latest hacking scare, Adam Schiff claims

RT | December 20, 2020

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has joined Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in blaming Russia for a recent massive cyber attack. He also slammed President Donald Trump for the inconvenient suggestion China could have been the culprit.

“Based on what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s any question that it was Russia,” Schiff, who is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Sunday, commenting on the hack.

The hacking operation in question targeted the SolarWinds Orion Platform, a network monitoring tool used by US government agencies and numerous corporations. There has been no evidence presented that Russia was behind the hack, but Pompeo alleged otherwise in a recent interview.

The president broke with his secretary of state on Saturday and called out “fake news media” for their anonymous reports pinning the hack on Russia. He also suggested China may have been behind the hack, tying it to his ongoing allegations of voter fraud in key swing states during November’s election.

Schiff, one of the president’s most vocal critics in the House and a supporter of evidence-free claims Russia colluded to influence the 2016 presidential election, called Trump’s tweets “uniformly destructive and deceitful and injurious” to the country’s “national security.”

In a previous tweet, Schiff called the president’s China accusation “another scandalous betrayal of our national security.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also pushed back against the president on Sunday, accusing him of having a “blind spot” when it comes to Russia.

“What Russia has done is put in place a capacity to potentially cripple us in terms of our electricity, our water, our communications,” the senator told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The Republican called for the cyber attack to be “met with a very strong response, not just rhetorical, important as that is, but also with a cyber response of like magnitude or greater.”

Similarly to 2016, the claim of a major Russian cyber attack on the US comes amid the expected transition of power at the White House – although President Trump continues his legal efforts disputing the election result over the alleged mass-scale voter fraud. When Trump assumed his post in January 2017, the stage had already been set for the worsening of relations with Moscow, which included dozens of Russian diplomats getting expelled by the Obama administration over the allegations of meddling in US affairs and over “hacking” of the election. As Trump’s term progressed, overshadowed by the failed ‘Russiagate’ investigation, initial hopes of a detente with Moscow have all but faded.

December 20, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

“Free Speech Is Being Weaponized”: Columbia Dean and New Yorker Writer Calls For More Censorship

By Jonathan Turley | December 11, 2020

We have been discussing how reporters, editors, commentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and key advisers. This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Now, Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. That’s right. A journalism dean and writer declaring that the problem is that free speech itself is allowing too much freedom on the Internet and other forums.

Coll’s comments came in a discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when he was asked by Kasie Hunt about the need for Big Tech to censor speech. Rather than defend the right of people to express themselves freely, Coll lashed out at companies like Facebook as “motivated, as all companies are, to make money” though at the same time is “acting like a public square.” He decried the failure to have more expansive regulation of free speech and showed little concern or merit for arguments from free speech advocates. Like Harvard academics who recently declared “China was right” about censorship, Coll just assumed that it was self-evident that too much free speech is a bad thing and that these companies need to protect people from harmful or false ideas.

“And yes, Facebook has moved somewhat. They’ve had a better election in 2020 than they did in 2016. They’ve learned to put some brakes on, you know, here and there, but you can’t get away from the fact that their mission is to connect everybody in the world. That’s what motivates Mark Zuckerberg and it’s his passion and he profoundly believes in free speech.”

What is most maddening is that Coll spoke on behalf of journalists in calling for less freedom:

“Those of us in journalism have to come to terms with the fact that free speech, a principle that we hold sacred, is being weaponized against the principle of journalism and what do we do about that,. As reporters, we kind of march into this war with our facts nobly shouldered as if they were going to win the day and what we’re seeing that is because of the scale of this alternative reality that you’ve been talking about, our facts, our principles, our scientific method–it isn’t enough. So what do we do?”

That used to be an easy question. What you do is allow free speech to combat bad speech. What you do is support the right of citizens and journalists to publish without censorship. What you do is to embrace the freedom of expression while reinforcing the need to use that freedom to counter disinformation. Instead, Coll is joining the forces seeking to silence or curtail the speech of others. You do not support free speech by calling for its curtailment. For free speech advocates, it is as compelling as saying that we needed to “save” villages by destroying them in Vietnam. Worse yet, he is doing it in the names of “good journalism.”

December 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

‘I want blood’: Rachel Maddow’s audience fired up by NYT story baselessly accusing ‘Russian hackers’ of attacking US hospital

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | November 30, 2020

Accusing Russia of hacking anything from the 2016 election to US cancer hospitals may be fun and games for MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, but when her audience responds by demanding apocalypse, the shtick stops being funny.

Maddow’s conspiracy theories about ‘Russian collusion’ and supposed hacking of the 2016 election that resulted in President Donald Trump have been a staple of MSNBC audiences over the past four years. She’s not giving up that routine now, even as the entire mainstream media machine has turned on a dime and insists that the 2020 election was flawless – since it resulted in Democrat Joe Biden’s victory, that is.

On Monday, Maddow cherry-picked a couple of quotes and linked a New York Times story – published last week – about ‘Russian’ hackers allegedly targeting the University of Vermont Medical Center last month.

The Times story is long on feelings and emotions of the medical personnel and cancer patients affected by the fact that the UVMC computers stopped working, but short on actual facts about the case. It works in a jab at President Donald Trump for firing head of the cybersecurity agency Chris Krebs – for disputing “baseless claims of voter fraud,” of course – even though that happened long after the alleged attack.

The story also notes that the FBI has requested the center administrators to refrain from commenting on the case – even to confirm or deny their own statements about alleged ransom requests. Absent the facts, the Times is happy to fill in the blanks by citing a private cybersecurity company, Hold Security.

Hold Security and its chief executive Alex Holden are the sole source for the claim that ‘Russian’ hackers were behind the alleged cyberattack on UVMC and other US hospitals – at least according to the Times, as well as the media coverage of the FBI’s warning in late October that Maddow referenced.

The whole thing sounds much like the debunked Times story about Russia allegedly paying “bounties” to the Taliban for killing US troops in Afghanistan, a June bombshell that was used to hammer Trump and oppose his efforts to end the endless US war there.

Even the Pentagon’s own denials didn’t make a difference; Maddow and her colleagues were “all in” on the bounties story being true. So was her audience, as evidenced by some of the replies to her tweet.

While much of the replies were in the same vein, there were some that crossed the line from partisanship into genocidal – and apocalyptic – calls for blood.

“Russia needs to finally be handled. They need to be knocked back into the stone age,” said one follower.

“I did not hate the leaders of the old Soviet Union as much as I hate the leaders of Russia right now. I want them to experience monumental, historic, unprecedented, apocalyptic pain for what they have done to us. I want blood,” said another.

Earlier this year, MSNBC’s lawyers defended Maddow against a defamation lawsuit by One America News (OANN) – whom she called “literally Russian propaganda” – by arguing her show isn’t news but opinion, and that her statement was “rhetorical hyperbole” that no reasonable person would understand as fact.

While that admission got Maddow and MSNBC off the legal hook, it raises the question of how many of her followers and their audience qualify as “reasonable” people – as the comments on her tweet about the Times story show anew.

No one, Maddow included, should be held legally liable for the content of their replies, obviously. It’s something beyond their control. But when a steady diet of propaganda, ‘insinuendo’ and conspiracy theories presented as facts creates an atmosphere that results in this sort of bloodthirst that’s on display, it doesn’t inspire confidence in her audience’s mental state.

Keep in mind that the politicians Maddow supports may soon end up with absolute power, if Trump’s claims about election fraud are really as “baseless” as the media claim. Also, don’t forget that the US and Russia have enough nuclear weapons between themselves to destroy all life on the planet. And that’s something people so obsessed with their feelings to be calling for “monumental, historic, unprecedented, apocalyptic pain” clearly haven’t given any thought.

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

So we’re racist because Biden didn’t get a landslide victory? That just shows how much the elite and the media hate Americans

By Tony Cox | RT | November 6, 2020

MSNBC host Joy Reid wants Americans to be ashamed for failing to deliver on the media’s false promises that Joe Biden would win the election easily, giving President Donald Trump the beating she thinks he deserves.

After five years of watching Trump’s alleged sins play out in the mainstream media, “it felt like a repudiation was coming,” MSNBC host Joy Reid said late Wednesday. When that failed to happen on election night, with swing-state races too close to call and the outcome heading for a legal battle, Trump’s strong showing only confirmed to her that America has “a great amount of racism, anti-blackness, anti-wokeness.”

“We know what this country is, but still part of you, I think part of your heart says, you know what, maybe the country’s going to pay off all of this pain, the children that were stolen, with a repudiation,” Reid said. “And as the night wore on and I realized and it sunk in, OK, that’s not happening, we are still who we thought, unfortunately.”

Van Jones, the CNN host and commentator, said essentially the same thing on election night, saying the results didn’t provide the “moral victory” that Democrats wanted after seeing children being taken away from their mothers at the border and black children being called “the n-word” at school under Trump’s leadership. “They want a moral victory tonight,” he said. “We wanted to see a repudiation of this direction for the country. And the fact that it’s this close, I think, it hurts, it just hurts.”

Reid and Jones are both black, and in their view, anything short of a dominating one-party rule by their preferred party can only mean that America is too racist to vote correctly. It can’t be that the pollsters and the mainstream media were incompetent and/or dishonest when they vastly underestimated voter support for Trump, just as they did in 2016.

Their words are condemning, especially in the case of Reid’s: “we are still who we thought, unfortunately.” We, as in America, are still as racist and reprehensible as we thought because we don’t vote Democrat in sufficient proportion. We don’t hate Trump sufficiently for sticking his thumb in the eye of the ruling class and obnoxiously leading the nation as a populist. This is the same Bad Orange Man who won’t start fake wars, won’t kiss the ring of the CIA-Pentagon intelligence-military complex, won’t play by the rules of corrupt establishment politicians, won’t cower when the press calls him a racist and won’t support globalist trade and environmental deals.

Reid and Jones didn’t get the landslide they were looking for because voters were too busy again repudiating the ruling class and its media mouthpieces to repudiate Trump. They were too busy rejecting the people who brought us NAFTA, spied on us, transferred our manufacturing jobs to China, depressed our wages with illegal immigration, and squandered our blood and treasure in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.

And they especially repudiated the liars who roll out the dreaded R words – ‘racism’ or ‘Russia’ – whenever someone needs to be silenced.

Contrary to leftist doctrine, most support for Trump isn’t about cultish followers who can’t be brought out of their trance long enough to come to grips with reality. A large portion of Trump supporters understand that he is a deeply flawed individual. He’s not righteous, his personality can be maddening, and he’s too easily baited into nonsensical arguments that distract from his agenda. But unlike the Joy Reids of the world – and their directors – he apparently loves America and its people.

It’s not only white people who notice the difference. CNN exit polls showed that support for Trump among Hispanic voters increased by 15-19 percentage points from 2016’s level in Florida, Georgia and Ohio. And Biden won just 80 percent of the black male vote, down from Hillary Clinton’s 82 percent in 2016 and Barack Obama’s 87-95 percent in 2008 and 2012. Trump also won 35 percent of the Muslim vote, compared with 15 percent support in that segment in 2016.

Those voters obviously didn’t believe the media mantra that Trump is a raging white supremacist. Or did they? The race hustlers have explanations for that, too, as it turns out. MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude argued that black and Hispanic men are guilty of “sexism and patriarchy,” just like white men.

Young Turks commentator Aida Rodriguez took the psychoanalysis to another level. “Many people showed up to support Trump because let’s keep it real, a lot of people of color hate themselves,” she said. “They want to identify with upward mobility, and to them, that means white is right.”

But Glaude quickly brought the indictment discussion back to the real culprits: White people. “This is a story about how whiteness still animates the core of this country, along with selfishness, because we know who this man is. This race shouldn’t be this tight,” he said.

Reid made similar comments on election night, saying the results raised “real questions about what America is at the end of the day and whether what Trump is, is more like the American character than people ever, ever wanted to admit.”

These attacks on the character of voters were more of the same from ruling-class ‘elites’ who show only contempt for Americans and Americanism. Americans voted for Barack Obama, twice, and yet they’re reminded daily of how racist they are – ironically, by bigots and liars.

Reid was outed in April 2018 for anti-gay, anti-Muslim posts that she had made years earlier on her blog. She responded by alleging that someone had hacked her former blog and planted the offensive material years ago without her noticing. Her lawyer said the FBI was investigating, and MSNBC stood by her. Months later, she apologized for the posts without mentioning the hacking allegations or the FBI probe.

So these are our moral superiors, we’re told. It doesn’t matter how many times they’re wrong, how many times they’re false or how many times they appear to behave like enemies of the American people. Any failure to agree with their politics can only be explained by the rest of us being morally disgusting, or as Hillary Clinton would say, “deplorable.”

Is it any wonder that the feeling is mutual?

Tony Cox is a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers.

November 6, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Journalism’s New Propaganda Tool: Using ‘Confirmed’ to Mean its Opposite

By Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept | September 5, 2020

One of the most humiliating journalism debacles of the Trump era played out on December 8, 2017, first on CNN and then on MSNBC. The spectacle kicked off on that Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. when CNN, deploying its most melodramatic music and graphics designed to convey that a real bombshell was about to be dropped, announced that anonymous sources had provided the network with a smoking gun proving the Trump/Russia conspiracy once and for all: during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump, Jr. had received a September 4 email with a secret encryption key that gave him advanced access to WikiLeaks’ servers containing the DNC emails which the group would subsequently release to the public ten days later. Cable news and online media spontaneously combusted, as is their wont, in shock, hysteria and awe over this proof that WikiLeaks and Trump were in cahoots.

CNN has ensured that no videos of the festivities are available on YouTube for anyone to watch. That’s because the claim was completely false in its most crucial respect. CNN misreported the date of the smoking gun email Trump, Jr. received: rather than being sent to him on September 4 — ten days prior to WikiLeaks’ public release, thus enabling secret access — the email was merely sent by a random member of the public after the public release by WikiLeaks (September 14), encouraging Trump, Jr. to look at those now-public emails.

Though the original false report cannot be viewed any longer (except in small snippets from other networks, principally Fox, discussing CNN’s debacle), one can view the cringe-inducing video of CNN’s Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju explaining, after the Washington Post debunked the story, that “we are actually correcting” the reporting, doing his best to downplay what a massive blunder this was (though the whole thing is fantastic, my favorite line is when Raju says, with no small amount of understatement: “this appears to change the understanding of this story,” followed by: “perhaps the initial understanding of what this email was, perhaps is not as significant based on what we know now”: perhaps):

The CNN page which originally published the blockbuster story contains this rather significant correction at the top:

Washington (CNN) Correction: This story has been corrected to say the date of the email was September 14, 2016, not September 4, 2016. The story also changed the headline and removed a tweet from Donald Trump Jr., who posted a message about WikiLeaks on September 4, 2016.

So mistakes happen in journalism, even huge and embarrassing ones. Other than some petty schadenfreude, why is this worth remembering? The reason is that that sorry episode reflects a now-common but highly corrosive tactic of journalistic deceit.

Very shortly after CNN unveiled its false story, MSNBC’s intelligence community spokesman Ken Dilanian went on air and breathlessly announced that he had obtained independent confirmation that the CNN story was true. In a video segment I cannot recommend highly enough, Dilanian was introduced by an incredibly excited Hallie Jackson — who urged Dilanian to “tell us what we’ve just now learned,” adding: “I know you and some of our colleagues have confirmed some of this information: what’s up?” Dilanian then proceeded to explain what he had learned:

That’s right, Hallie. Two sources with direct knowledge of this are telling us that Congressional investigators have obtained an email from a man named “Mike Erickson” — obviously they don’t know if that’s his real name — offering Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump, Jr. access to WikiLeaks documents… It goes to the heart of the collusion question….. One of the big questions is: did [Trump Jr.] call the FBI?

How could that happen? How could MSNBC purport to confirm a false story from CNN? Shortly after, CBS News also purported to have “confirmed” the same false story: that Trump, Jr. received advanced access to the WikiLeaks documents. It’s one thing for a news outlet to make a mistake in reporting by, for instance, mis-reporting the date of an email and thus getting the story completely wrong. But how is it possible that multiple other outlets could “confirm” the same false report?

It’s possible because news outlets have completely distorted the term “confirmation” beyond all recognition. Indeed, they now use it to mean the exact opposite of what it actually means, thereby draping themselves in journalistic glory they have not earned and, worse, deceiving the public into believing that an unproven assertion has, in fact, been proven. With this disinformation method, they are doing the exact opposite of what journalism, at its core, is supposed to do: separate fact from speculation.

CNN ultimately blamed its anonymous sources for this error, but refused to out them by insisting that it was a somehow a good faith mistake rather than deliberate disinformation (how did multiple “good faith” sources all “accidentally misread” an email date in the same way? CNN, in the spirit of news outlets refusing to provide the accountability and transparency for themselves that they demand from others, refuses to this very day to address that question).

But what is clear is that the “confirmation” which both MSNBC and CBS claimed it had obtained for the story was anything but: all that happened was that the same sources which anonymously whispered these unverified, false claims to CNN then went and repeated the same unverified, false claims to other outlets, which then claimed that they “independently confirmed” the story even though they had done nothing of the sort.

It seems the same misleading tactic is now driving the supremely dumb but all-consuming news cycle centered on whether President Trump, as first reported by the Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, made disparaging comments about The Troops. Goldberg claims that “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day” — whom the magazine refuses to name because they fear “angry tweets” — told him that Trump made these comments. Trump, as well as former aides who were present that day (including Sarah Huckabee Sanders and John Bolton), deny that the report is accurate.

So we have anonymous sources making claims on one side, and Trump and former aides (including Bolton, now a harsh Trump critic) insisting that the story is inaccurate. Beyond deciding whether or not to believe Goldberg’s story based on what best advances one’s political interests, how can one resolve the factual dispute? If other media outlets could confirm the original claims from Goldberg, that would obviously be a significant advancement of the story. … Full article

September 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

CNN & Fox cut Rand Paul’s anti-war speech at RNC as he calls out Biden for backing wars in M. East, Serbia

RT | August 26, 2020

Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Kentucky) speech at the Republican National Convention was butchered by major cable networks, with CNN cutting it completely and Fox replacing the anti-war part with an interview.

Senator Paul, who frequently crossed swords with Donald Trump when both were vying to become the Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 race, admitted during his speech that he did not always agree with the president, but said that Trump’s desire to put an end to the “endless wars” far outweighs their differences.

“I’m supporting President Trump because he believes as I do, that a strong America cannot fight endless wars, we must not leave our blood and treasure in the Middle East quagmire,” Paul said.

Calling Trump “the first president in a generation to seek to end war rather than to start one,” Paul went on to attack what he called the “disastrous record of Joe Biden,” pointing out that as a senator, Biden voted to give then-President George W. Bush the authority to use force in Iraq.

“I fear Biden will choose war again. He supported the war in Serbia, Syria, Libya. Joe Biden will continue to spill our blood and treasure.”

Paul’s anti-war message, however, did not reach CNN viewers, with the cable network instead airing an interview with CNN political contributor and host Van Jones.

Fox News, which snubbed most of the first night of the convention, opting for its usual programming instead, replaced parts of Paul’s speech with host Tucker Carlson interviewing Donald Trump Jr. live on air.

MSNBC also interspersed Paul’s speech with insights from host Rachel Maddow, who attempted to fact-check Paul on his claim that Trump was “bringing our heroes home.”

Maddow claimed that the total number of personnel deployed overseas has even grown under Trump’s watch, although Paul appeared to refer primarily to deployments in hot spots in the conflict-ridden Middle East.

After he became the Democratic presidential candidate, Biden called his Iraq vote in October 2002 a “mistake,” arguing that by siding with the hawks, he wanted, not to launch a war, but rather “to prevent the war from happening.” Biden insists that, by untying Bush’s hands, he believed the administration would have been able to put more pressure on the UN Security Council and late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Despite being a strong advocate for the US bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999, Biden also extended his condolences to the victims of the raids while visiting Belgrade, Serbia in August 2016.

August 26, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 3 Comments

MSNBC hires former FBI attorney Lisa Page as legal analyst

RT | June 6, 2020

Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer whose leaked anti-Trump text messages with another federal agent indicated deep-seated bias in the Russiagate probe, has been hired as an analyst at MSNBC, drawing jeers and praise alike.

Announcing the move on Friday, MSNBC said Page had been brought on as a national security and legal analyst after making her debut on the channel’s ‘Deadline: White House’ program. Wasting little time before weighing in on the decision, President Donald Trump deemed it a “total disgrace!”

Page rose to fame in 2017 after a series of text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok – with whom she was then having an affair – were leaked, showing the two bureau employees disparaging Donald Trump, who had not yet won the Oval Office at the time. In one of the messages, Strzok told Page that “we can’t… risk” a Trump presidency, describing an “insurance policy” that was apparently meant either to guarantee he never got elected or to have a back-up plan in case he did. Due to his apparent bias, Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow following the leaks, while Page later left the bureau on her own accord.

Much like the president, critics online have also castigated MSNBC for the hiring decision, with some poking fun at her credentials as a “non-partisan” and “impartial” analyst.

Page is not the first MSNBC hiree to feature prominently in the Trump-Russia probe following the 2016 election, with jobs also handed to Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan and Andrew Weissmann – who the New York Times described as former special counsel Robert Mueller’s “pit bull.”

June 6, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

Court rejects OAN suit over MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s claim about ‘Russian propaganda’

‘Rhetorical hyperbole’ and NOT FACT

© Global Look /ZUMA Press /Michael Brochstein
RT | May 23, 2020

A US judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit by One America News Network against MSNBC over Rachel Maddow’s claims that OAN was “literally” Russian propaganda, ruling that her segment was merely “an opinion” and “exaggeration.”

OAN sued the liberal talk show host and MSNBC for defamation, demanding over $10 million in damages, back in September 2019. The lawsuit was based on the July 22 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, where Maddow launched a scathing broadside against the conservative television network, labeling it “the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America” and “really literally paid Russian propaganda.”

In the segment, Maddow cited a story by The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen about OAN’s Kristian Rouz, who has previously contributed to Sputnik as a freelance author. Toeing the general US mainstream line on the Russian media, be it Sputnik or RT, Poulsen branded the Russian news agency “the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet” and said Rouz was once on its “payroll.”

Shortly after MSNBC’s star talent peddled the claim, OAN rejected the allegations as “utterly and completely false.” The outlet, which is owned by the Herring Networks, a small California-based family company, said that it “has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government,” with its only funding coming from the Herring family.

In their bid to win the case, Maddow herself, MSNBC, Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Media did not address the accusation itself – namely, that her claim about OAN was false – but opted to invoke the First Amendment, insisting that the rant should be protected as free speech.

Siding with Maddow, the California district court defined Maddow’s show as a mix of “news and opinions,” concluding that the manner in which the progressive host blurted out the accusations “makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact.”

“The statement constitutes opinion and rhetorical hyperbole protected under the First Amendment.”

The court said that while Maddow “truthfully” related the story by the Daily Beast, the statement about OAN being funded by the Kremlin was her “opinion” and “exaggeration” of the said article.

While the legal trick helped Maddow to get off the hook without ever trying to defend her initial statement, conservative commentators on social media wasted no time in pointing out that dodging a payout to OAN literally meant admitting that Maddow was not, in fact, news.

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Case of General Michael Flynn: The Use of Law as a Political Weapon

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | May 20, 2020

The audacious corruption of the FBI and the US Department of Justice (sic) is demonstrated by their frame-up of the three-star general, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump.

US Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that the department was forced to turn over to General Michael Flynn’s attorney reveal that the FBI found no wrongdoing by Flynn in its investigation of him and recommended the investigation be closed. Corrupt FBI official Peter Strzok, a leader of the anti-Trump cabal in the FBI, intervened. Strzok convinced the official managing the investigation not to close the case as it was the wishes of the “7th floor” (top FBI officials) to keep the case open. In the absence of evidence against Flynn, released FBI documents prove that the FBI leadership decided to frame General Flynn. The documents reveal that the FBI’s plan is “to get him (Flynn) to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired. . . . we should try to frame them in a way we want.” General Flynn was forced to incriminate himself with a guilty plea. Otherwise, the corrupt DOJ prosecutors threatened to indict Flynn’s son.

When this proof of egregious government misconduct came to light, the DOJ had no choice but to drop the case against General Flynn. Otherwise it would be clear that law in the US is a weapon in the hands of government. This would mean that control of government would be a life and death matter for the two political parties as it is in Ecuador and Bolivia where incoming presidents arrest or attempt to arrest outgoing presidents.

But we didn’t hear a word about the frame-up of General Flynn from the corrupt presstitutes. On May 7 the editorial board of the New York Times published the largest and most egregious collection of lies in the entire history of the disreputable organization. The editorial— “Don’t Forget, Michael Flynn Pleaded Guillty. Twice.” —claimed the lies coerced from Flynn proved Flynn’s guilt, and that Attorney General William Barr is a “personal fixer for the president” and used the Department of Justice to protect friends and to go after political enemies.

The New York Times has it backwards. Going after political enemies is precisely what the Obama Regime’s concocted case against General Flynn (and Trump) was all about. Remember, it was General Flynn who said on television that it was a “willful decision” of the Obama Regime to send the mercenary jihadists to attack Syria, a decision Obama made in the face of contrary advice by General Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. When Flynn revealed this, it blew up the fake news story spread by the Obama Regime and the presstitutes that the Obama-supported invasion of Syria by CIA mercenaries was an uprising by Syrian moderates fighting for democracy. Flynn’s blood is blood that the corrupt Obama Regime wanted very badly.

Obama’s role in the frame-up of Flynn and the orchestration of the Russiagate hoax is now coming to light, making the former president nervous. On May 10 the Wall Street Journal editorial board asked if Obama’s nerves are getting in the way of his judgment:

“Barack Obama is a lawyer, so it was stunning to read that he ventured into the Michael Flynn case in a way that misstated the supposed crime and ignored the history of his own Administration in targeting Mr. Flynn. Since the former President chose to offer his legal views when he didn’t need to, we wonder what he’s really worried about.”

The Democrats’ frame-up of General Flynn and their two attempted frame-ups of President Trump show an extraordinary audacity and a corruptly compliant FBI and DOJ. They thought that they could get away with it, and, of course, they had all the help possible from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the presstitute scum for whom lies are the currency of their fake news realm. The presstitutes have made clear that the US media is devoid of integrity.

After high officials such as James Clapper, Susan Rice, Samatha Power, and others repeatedly claimed evidence of Trump and Flynn’s guilt, when under oath their story changed 180 degrees. Here is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s incompetent National Security Adviser, and Samatha Power, Obama’s Russia-baiting ambassador to the UN, along with the rest of the disreputable Obama cabal, have admitted that they saw no specific evidence of any collusion between Trump and Russia. The entire thing was an orchestrated hoax that proves beyond all doubt that the Democrat Party and the US media are corrupt beyond redemption.

When the case against Flynn was dropped as a result of the damning evidence of egregious government misconduct in framing a senior official of the US government, the corrupt prosecutors who had prosecuted the innocent Flynn all resigned in a huff, pretending that it was Barr, not them, who used the Department of Justice for self-interested political purpose.

Two Georgetown University law professors, Kean K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer, totally discredited themselves and the Obama contingent in the DOJ, by alleging in the New York Times that the dropped charge against Flynn has resulted in the “utter demoralization” of “the law enforcement community.” In other words, for these law professors and “the law enforcement community” for which they claim to speak, dropping a case consisting entirely of an orchestrated frame-up, a contrived perjury trap, and threats against family members is demoralizing. The professors are so thoroughly dishonest that they use the lies coerced from Flynn—the price of his “cooperation with the investigation” in order that his son would not also be framed-up—as “evidence” of Flynn’s guilt and proof of the political use of the Justice Department by Trump and Barr in dropping the contrived case.

The frame-up of Flynn is not acknowledged by the law professors as political use of the Justice Department.

Instead the law professors describe the vindication of an innocent man on the basis of undeniable evidence as political use of the Justice Department.

If this is the kind of law Georgetown University teaches, the law school should be promptly shut down.

The question that demands an answer is how do people as corrupt and devoid of integrity as Comey, Mueller, and Strzok get into top FBI positions?

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment