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Tulsi Gabbard Slams “Neocon/Neolib Warmongers” After NBC Propaganda Exposed

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 02/04/2019

Tulsi Gabbard lashed out at “neocon” and “neolib warmongers” after NBC News was exposed trying to smear her as a Kremlin stooge. The network was called out over the weekend for relying on a Democrat-run firm that created fake Russian twitter bots to stage a “false flag” campaign against Republic Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama special election – New Knowledge.

To justify its claim that Tulsi Gabbard is the Kremlin’s candidate, NBC writes:

“analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they’ve spotted ‘chatter’ related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns.”

Only to be called out hard by journalist Glenn Greenwald:

After Greenwald fingered NBC for relying on New Knowledge – run by Jonathan Morgan (who also developed the technology behind “Hamilton 68” Russian bot-tracking propaganda website that refuses to disclose its methods) – Gabbard chimed in, tweeting:

“@ggreenwald exposes that @NBC used journalistic fraud to discredit our campaign. But more important is their motive: “to smear any adversary of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party – whether on the left or the right – as a stooge or asset of the Kremlin.”

She later added:

“As commander-in-chief, I will work to end the new cold war, nuclear arms race and slide into nuclear war. That is why the neocon/neolib warmongers will do anything to stop me.

Disturbingly, the Senate Intelligence Committee has relied on a report by New Knowledge on Russian social media election interference, while the firm has created a “Hamilton 68” offshoot, “Disinfo2018” referenced in the NBC article, which claims that three of the top URLs propagated throughout social media by Kremlin bots were about Gabbard.

In short; NBC relied on a known propagandist who created a Russian bot “false flag” to meddle in an election, who claims to track pro-Kremlin Twitter activity, in order to smear Tulsi Gabbard as a Putin puppet.

It’s uncanny what lengths the establishment will go to in order to eliminate threats. For example, take a look at this Vanity Fair hit piece from Jan 30, which uses perhaps the most unflattering photo Gabbard has ever taken and starts off (emphasis not ours):

The presidential campaign of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the renegade Democrat known as much for her chummy relationship with Bashar al-Assad as for supporting Bernie Sanders, is beginning to resemble the candidate herself: confusing, disorganized, and, according to Politico, falling apart. –Vanity Fair

One question remains; will Gabbard become a Democrat puppet like Bernie Sanders if the DNC colludes with their chosen candidate to cheat against her?

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 4 Comments

As she enters White House race, demonization of ‘Kremlin’s crush’ Tulsi Gabbard goes full tilt

By Igor Ogorodnev | RT | February 3, 2019

The sky may have been clear in Hawaii when Tulsi Gabbard read her speech promising to fight “greed and corruption,” but she enters her bid under a cloud of negative media coverage and accusations of being Russia’s darling.

At first glance Gabbard would seem almost too perfect for the Democratic candidate to face Trump in 2020: a 37-year-old part-Samoan woman, who previously broke off a promising career in local politics to volunteer for combat zone service in Iraq, and is unfailingly popular with voters on her home island.

“What our country needs now more than ever is the spirit of Aloha. That spirit of respect and love for one another and for our country,” she said in a launch speech that the 2008 Barack Obama, himself, might have found too idealistically bland.

Hours earlier, in a two-author NBC investigation an entirely different picture had been painted of the “controversial” Gabbard – the centerpoint of “the first stirrings of an upcoming Russian campaign” in which the Kremlin “propaganda machine” would seek to inject pro-Russian positions into the Democratic Party’s discussions and debates with help from “inauthentic accounts.”

I’m Not With Her

To understand why Gabbard is not treated as a customary feel-good story of a woman breaking multiple glass ceilings, but as a tool of the Kremlin, several pages of her biography need to be revisited.

The first, her resignation from the senior post of Vice President of the Democratic National Committee in protest at the lack of scheduled debates between frontrunner Hillary Clinton and the rising Bernie Sanders, whom she subsequently went on to endorse.

The second, a now-famous meeting with Bashar Assad in 2017, and Gabbard’s insistence that Washington should not engage in “regime change” or sponsorship of radical militant organizations in Syria or anywhere else.

Those two incidents alone have pitted Gabbard against two major establishment forces, and that is before one gets into the details of her socialist-tinged platform from healthcare for all to anti-Wall Street policy proposals. Or her support of stronger border control, which puts her at odds with her party’s official position.

Friendly fire

None of Gabbard’s stances are beyond debate, but she may not even get as far as debating them in public with the other Democrat nominees, if her campaign is dead on arrival. And the media hasn’t been her friend.

All candidates face scrutiny and an airing of their skeletons, but not only has she received less airtime than fellow relative novices Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, but the overall coverage of Gabbard has been uncharacteristically toxic, perhaps comparable only to the Democratic ostracism of Howard Schultz, following the former Starbucks CEO’s unbidden decision to enter the race.

The favored genre has been the expose.

In the past month alone: CNN has dug up Gabbard’s activism and comments, some dating back to the late 1990s, when she was a teenager, against same-sex marriage, for a campaign backed by her legislator father. The Intercept has accused her of associating with Hindu Nationalists, while the Daily Beast has published an article under the title ‘Horseshoe theory: Why Conservative Media and the Far Right Love Tulsi Gabbard for President’, in which it was emphasized that the “enigmatic” Gabbard had “earned substantial praise” from, among others, white nationalist David Duke. Huffington Post accused her of hypocrisy for accepting money from arms manufacturers in the past, even though she never concealed that fact, and is in reality one of just several members of the House who explicitly refuse campaign donations.

Politico published a detailed dissection of her campaign being “in disarray” based on detailed unattributed revelations from the inside, while Daily Kos, the Democrat politics blog, has already endorsed her rival for the 2020 Congress run, which equates to the real election in a district where the Democrats have never lost against the GOP.

‘Defended’ her in an article – how dare they?

On Friday, came NBC’s coup de grace.

“An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is set to make her formal announcement Saturday, has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016,” wrote the authors, one of whom Ben Popken, concluded that the Kremlin “has a crush” on Gabbard when he posted his article to Twitter.

The “analysis” – which appears to have been a name search – found that 20 articles have been published on Gabbard by RT (is it 21 now?), Sputnik and Russia Insider, twice as many as Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. And not just that, but in these articles Gabbard was not mentioned “perfunctorily” but “celebrated” and “defended” despite her “lack of voter recognition.”

Even supposing that all that is correct, does RT have to cover Joe Biden every time it mentions Tulsi Gabbard? Elizabeth Warren? Julian Castro? Should CNN stop putting Kamala Harris in almost every piece about the race? As a non-US news outlet is RT allowed to find her non-interventionist views more interesting for its international audience than those of a status quo Democratic runner? What about as an alternative media outlet? Should covering a candidate who “lacks voter recognition” be considered suspicious? How much of this is sufficient to justify accusations of meddling and being branded a “Russian troll” and presumably sanctioned? Does all of this apply when the US media writes about Juan Guaido in Venezuela?

But wait, there are also “experts who track inauthentic social media accounts” who back this up.

“A few of our analysts saw some chatter on 8chan saying she was a good ‘divider’ candidate to amplify,” New Knowledge’s director of research Renee DiResta told NBC. 8chan? Chatter? Also New Knowledge? The establishment Democrat tech outfit that has just been caught planting and creating fake Russian bots in the Alabama election as part of a false flag operation. They are your experts, NBC?

Even much of Dem-voting Twitter was appalled at such a ham-fisted smear job.

Incompetent, threat or victim of smear campaign?

The media are now fulfilling their own prophecies, as they publish pieces about the “rocky” or “chaotic” start to Gabbard’s campaign. As she keeps going on the defensive – apologizing for the gay marriage remarks, standing firm on Assad meeting – the Hawaiian representative may survive or wilt.

But two questions remain: Is Gabbard just a stumbling novice with odd views, or is the media trying to systematically bury her, as opposed to informing their readers, all because she presents a threat to accepted positions? And secondly, is it doing so at the behest of and with help from a network of influence, be it DNC operatives, or Washington insiders? If the answer to the first question is “the latter” or to the second is “yes,” perhaps instead of spending so much time on our website, investigative reporters should have a look at the provenance and motivations behind some of their own coverage.

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 13 Comments

Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 02.08.2018

President Donald Trump is threatening to take away the security clearances of a number of former senior intelligence and security officers who have been extremely critical of him. Most Americans were unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

A security clearance is granted to a person but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know anything about China’s spying on the United States. Or do you? If you transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

At top levels among the beltway bandit companies, where little work is actually done, some make the case that you have to remain “well informed” to function properly. The fact is that many top-level bureaucrats do retain their clearances for those nebulous reasons and also sometimes as a courtesy. Some have even received regular briefings from the CIA and the office of the Director of National intelligence even though they hold no government positions. A few very senior ex-officials have also been recalled by congress or the White House to provide testimony on particular areas of expertise or on past operations, which can legitimately require a clearance, though in such cases one can be granted on a temporary basis to cover a specific issue.

The problem arises when former officials use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion regarding specific candidates for office. Donald Trump was especially assailed by former officials John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden and Michael Morell before the 2016 election, all of whom continue to attack him currently, most particularly for the recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the 2016 campaign, Morell, who openly supported Hillary Clinton and is the designated intelligence on-air contributor for CBS news, deliberately linked the fact that he was ex-CIA Acting Director to his assertion that Trump was somehow an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation” to establish his credibility. That type of activity should be considered abusive and an exploitation of one’s former office.

Morell left CIA in June 2013 and by November was a senior counselor with Beacon Global Strategies. According to the firm’s website, Beacon Global Strategies is a government and private sector consulting group that specializes in matters of international policy, foreign affairs, national defense, cyber, intelligence, and homeland security. Morell may know little about those issues as they have evolved in the past five years, but citing his clearance gives him credibility for knowledge that he might not really possess and also gives him direct access to former colleagues that he can lobby to obtain government contracts.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who famously voted for the Communist Party candidate for US president in 1976, has also profited greatly from his government service, becoming rich from his board memberships. He sits on the board of directors of SecureAuth + CORE Security and also on the board of The Analysis Corporation. More important in terms of his public profile, he is the “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC and appears regularly.

Last week Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and recommended that Brennan’s security clearance be revoked. He argued that Brennan, Trump’s most aggressive critic, has been using his credentials to provide credibility when he calls meeting with Russia’s president “treasonous” and describes the president as “wholly in the pocket of Putin.” Clearance holders also more generally use their privileged access to “secret information” to leverage speaking and television network pundit fees. In other words, Brennan and the others are using their security clearances to enhance their incomes, monetizing their access to classified information to enhance their value.

It is by no means clear whether Trump will revoke the clearances of Clapper, Brennan, Morell and Hayden. As he is the legal source of all government clearances he has the power to do so. An equitable solution on the clearance issue more generally speaking would be to cancel all security clearances on the day when one leaves government service unless there is a direct and immediate transition to a private sector position that absolutely requires such a qualification. That would be fair to lower level employees seeking a second source of income and it would also eliminate many of those who are merely cashing in on their presumed access. As it is a rational solution it is very unlikely that it will be entertained by either the White House or by Congress.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

How the Media Wove a Narrative of North Korean Nuclear Deception

By Gareth Porter | 38 North | July 26, 2018

Since the June 12 Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US media has woven a misleading narrative that both past and post-summit North Korean actions indicate an intent to deceive the US about its willingness to denuclearize. The so-called intelligence that formed the basis of these stories was fed to reporters by individuals within the administration pushing their own agenda.

The Case of the Secret Uranium Enrichment Sites

In late June and early July, a series of press stories portrayed a North Korean policy of deceiving the United States by keeping what were said to be undeclared uranium enrichment sites secret from the United States. The stories were published just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was preparing for the first meetings with North Korean officials to begin implementing the Singapore Summit Declaration.

The first such story appeared on NBC News on June 29, which reported:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months—and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.

NBC News reporters quoted one official as saying, “There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.” They further reported that the intelligence assessment “concludes that there is more than one secret site” for enrichment.

The story was highly problematic because it reported the alleged conclusion of the intelligence report as a fact, even though it admitted that NBC reporters had not seen or been briefed in detail on any part of the intelligence assessment in question, but had relied entirely on general statements by unnamed officials. Furthermore, none of the officials on whom they relied were identified as members of the intelligence community.

Significantly, the story did not indicate whether the assessment was endorsed by the entire US intelligence community or, as turned out to be the case, only one element of it. Normal journalistic practice would have made clear that NBC was passing on an unconfirmed conclusion the accuracy of which they were unable to verify. Instead, the NBC reporters played up the alleged conclusion as unambiguous evidence that US intelligence believed the North Koreans intended to deceive the United States by maintaining secret enrichment facilities under a future agreement with the United States.

The Washington Post published a report by national security and intelligence reporters Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick the day after the NBC story that paralleled its main thrust and cited the same unnamed intelligence sources that were cited in the NBC story. But the Post also revealed that the intelligence assessment in question had come from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is generally recognized as an outlier within the intelligence community on most assessments of adversary capabilities and intentions. A former senior intelligence official with extensive experience dealing with DIA assessments explained in an interview with this writer that the DIA “would tend to put a worse-case spin” on any analysis of North Korean intentions.

That makes it all the more important to know whether the rest of the intelligence community agrees with the reported assessment of North Korean intentions. Nakashima and Warrick seemed to suggest that there is no doubt in the intelligence community that the North Koreans “have operated a secret underground enrichment site known as Kangsong,” and they linked to an earlier Post report on that alleged secret enrichment site published May 25.

That earlier Post story quoted a former senior US official as saying that intelligence agencies had “long suspected the existence of such a facility” and believed there were “probably” others as well. But a PowerPoint on the Kangsong issue by David Albright, the founder and CEO of the Institute for Science and International Security, makes it clear that US intelligence lacks hard evidence to support such suspicions. Albright, a former UN weapons inspector, revealed that the original allegation of the secret enrichment plant had come from a North Korean defector who said he had “worked near the site,” clearly implying that he had inferred the purpose of the site without having been inside it.

More importantly, according to Albright, “we have not located this site,” meaning that the US intelligence community still did not have a specific location for the suspected plant eight years after the defector was obviously asked to provide it. Albright further disclosed that some US intelligence analysts and senior officials of at least one foreign government have challenged the belief that the building in question was an enrichment site, because, “some aspects of the building are not consistent with a centrifuge plant.” And he recalled that other alleged covert enrichment facilities had been suggested to his organization, but that he viewed them as “less credible than the information about Kangsong.”

The intelligence community appears to have even less basis for claiming a secret North Korean nuclear site—much less multiple secret sites—today than it did when the US government charged that North Korea had a secret nuclear facility in mid-1998. That was when the Clinton administration informed congressional leaders and the South Korean government privately that US intelligence analysts were convinced that a site with tunnels carved into a mountain at Kumchang-ri was intended to house a new reactor and plutonium reprocessing center, based on satellite photographs and other intelligence.

After months of negotiations, the North finally agreed to US on-site inspections in June 1999 and again in May 2000. The result of those two inspections was that the US government was compelled to acknowledge that the purpose of the tunnel complex at Kumchang-ri had been to vent fumes from an underground uranium milling plant.

At least the intelligence community had identified a specific site in 1998 that it regarded with suspicion, which is not the case today. Nevertheless, a group of officials is promoting the idea that North Korea is planning to keep such sites secret under a negotiated agreement. The timing of the leaked intelligence assessment that prompted these stories suggested that someone in the Trump administration was seeking to sway the White House to adopt the tougher US stance in Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang in early July. Albright appeared to be referring to that effort when he told the Post that intelligence assessment came just when “there’s a worry that the Trump administration may go soft, and accept a deal that focuses on Yongbyon and forgets about these other sites.”

National security adviser John Bolton had been reported as pushing for a hard line in diplomatic talks with North Korea that would threaten their viability. These reports raise the obvious possibility that the officials who conveyed the alleged intelligence conclusion were part of a political effort coordinated with him.

Hyping Yongbyon Improvements to Discredit Diplomacy

During the same time period as the reporting on alleged secret sites, NBC News, CNN and the Wall Street Journal all reported on North Korea making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program—all at the very moment when Trump and Kim were agreeing on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at their Singapore Summit.

In each case, the reports cited analyses of commercial satellite imagery from independent analysts, including contributors to 38 North. But they all employed a common device to create a false narrative about the negotiations with North Korea: by misrepresenting the diplomatic context in which the satellite images were collected, they drew political conclusions about North Korean strategy that were unwarranted.

The series of stories involved more than a mere misunderstanding of the raw information being reported. They all denigrated the idea of negotiating with North Korea on the grounds that it cannot be trusted. The NBC News and CNN stories on improvements at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center cited the analysis of satellite images published by 38 North on June 26. And they were all slanted to lead readers to conclude that the improvements in question signified a nefarious intention by North Korea to deceive the Trump administration.

The headline of the June 27 NBC News story asked, “If North Korea is denuclearizing, why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” And it warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

CNN’s story about the same images declared that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” or “upgrades” at a “rapid pace” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said were carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It cited one facility that had produced plutonium in the past that had been upgraded, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal.

Both the NBC and CBS stories were misrepresenting the significance of the improvements described in the 38 North analysis. They either ignored or sought to discredit the carefully-worded caveat in that assessment, which cautioned that the continued work at the Yongbyon facility “should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize.”

The analysis was referring to the fact that the Singapore Summit’s joint statement did not commit North Korea to immediately halt its activities in their nuclear and missile programs and therefore the improvements at Yongbyon had no bearing on whether Pyongyang would agree to denuclearization. Indeed, during the negotiation of US-Soviet and US-Russian arms control agreements, both sides continued to build weapons until the agreement was completed. It should not have come as a surprise, therefore, that work at Yongbyon was continuing.

NBC News deliberately ignored these crucial contextual facts and instead selectively reported statements from other analysts dismissing the notion that North Korea would ever denuclearize and would continue to try to deceive the US about its true intentions.

On July 1, a few days after those stories appeared, the Wall Street Journal headlined, “New satellite imagery indicates Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as it pursues dialogue with Washington.” The lead paragraph called it a “major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant.”

The images of a North Korean solid-fuel missile manufacturing facility at Hamhung showed that new buildings had been added to the facility beginning in the early spring, after Kim Jong Un had called for more production of solid-fuel rocket engines and warhead tips last August. The exterior construction of some buildings was completed “around the time” of the Trump-Kim summit meeting, according to the analysts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. The Center’s David Schmerler told the Journal, “The expansion of production infrastructure for North Korea’s solid missile infrastructure probably suggests that Kim Jong Un does not intend to abandon his nuclear and missile programs.”

The improvements in North Korea’s infrastructure for missile parts manufacturing documented by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, which began well before the summit, are hardly evidence against North Korea’s willingness to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the United States. Like any country dealing with a serious military threat from an adversary, North Korea is both hedging against the real possibility of talks failing and signaling that it is not unilaterally surrendering. The United States is doing the same thing, albeit in different ways.

Conclusion

Major media reporting on what is alleged to be intelligence and photographic evidence that North Korea intends to deceive the United States in negotiations on denuclearization has been extraordinarily misleading. It has blithely ignored serious issues surrounding the alleged intelligence conclusions and suggested that North Korea has demonstrated bad faith by failing to halt all nuclear and missile-related activities.

Recent stories do not reflect actual evidence of covert facilities, but rather deep suspicions of North Korean intentions within the intelligence community that have been fed to the media by individuals within the administration who are unhappy with the direction of the president’s North Korea policy following the Singapore Summit. And breathless reports on improvements in North Korean nuclear and missile facilities ignore the distinction between a summit statement and a final deal with North Korea. They have thus obscured the reality that the fate of the negotiations depends not only North Korean policy but on the willingness of the United States to make changes in its policy toward the DPRK and the Korean Peninsula that past administrations have all been reluctant to make.

These stories also underscore a broader problem with media coverage of the US-North Korean negotiations: a strong underlying bias toward the view that it is futile to negotiate with North Korea. The latest stories have constructed a dark narrative of North Korean deception that is not based on verified facts. If this narrative is not rebutted or corrected, it could shift public opinion—which has been overwhelmingly favorable to negotiations with North Korea—against such a policy.

July 28, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Neocon Bret Stephens Wants Syria’s Assad Assassinated

By Michael S. Rozeff | Lew Rockwell | May 1, 2018

Bret Stephens is a political commentator who works for The New York Times and NBC News. Stephens was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post between 2002 and 2004.

His Jewish identity is mentioned hand-in-hand with his political orientation by The Times of Israel : “In criticizing Trump even after his electoral victory, Stephens joins other leading Jewish conservative voices, including Brooks, Jennifer Rubin and William Kristol.” His Jewish identity is pertinent because he is known as a neocon and a strong supporter of Israel. The one seems to reinforce the other. Furthermore, his position on Iraq was criminal and disastrous and now he’s advocating a position on Syria that would also be criminal and disastrous. We should be extremely skeptical of the objectivity of someone like him who comes across as a shill for Israel and the Empire all-in-one.

Strong criticism of his position on Syria appears in an article by Robert Rabil dated yesterday that quotes him as follows: “U.S. should target Assad and his senior lieutenants directly in a decapitation strike, just as the U.S. attempted in Iraq in 2003, and against Osama bin Laden in 2011… if we [Americans] are serious about confronting Iran, Syria remains the most important battlefield.” What may result from such an aggression and war crime as decapitating Syria? I quote the article:

“It is mind boggling that someone as astute as Stephens would call for the decapitation of the regime in the same way U.S. had done in Iraq without providing an alternative to the regime. No less significant, does ‘our’ seriousness about confronting Iran require decapitating the Syrian regime? Is punishing the Syrian regime a pretext to confront Iran? This is a dangerous and flawed logic divorced from the harsh reality of the Levant. How could anyone invoke what the U.S. attempted in Iraq without admitting and internalizing the staggering human and financial cost the U.S. has paid? Has the notion of what may happen the day after the decapitation strike and confronting Iran crossed Stephens’ mind, or of those echoing him?

“Undoubtedly, Syria will further descend into anarchy and wretchedness, leading up to regional and international strife. A decapitating strike against the Syrian regime and/or an open confrontation with Iran in Syria would most likely put Moscow and Washington on a path of armed conflict. Russia made its position clear that it will respond to any game changing attack on Syria…

“Most importantly, is it in the national interest of Washington to risk a war over Syria, and by extension Iran, with Moscow after what United States has gone through in Iraq and Afghanistan with little to show for the enormous sacrifices Americans have made?”

Stephens was born in New York City in 1973. Stephens is said to be “brilliant”. He has several awards, indicating he’s a smart fellow, but being smart doesn’t make you wise, right or someone whose ideas should be followed. He strongly endorsed the war on Iraq:

“Stephens was a ‘prominent voice’ among the media advocates for the start of the 2003 Iraq War, for instance writing in a 2002 column that, unless checked, Iraq was likely to become the first nuclear power in the Arab world. Although the weapons of mass destruction used as a casus belli were never shown to exist, Stephens continued to insist as late as 2013 that the Bush administration had ‘solid evidence’ for going to war. Stephens has also argued strongly against the Iran nuclear deal and its preliminary agreements, arguing that they were a worse bargain even than the 1938 Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany.”

Stephens’ advice on Syria is easily as criminal as his advice on Iraq. Keeping the covenant with Iran is productive of peace. Breaking it is productive of war.

The neocon world view fails to recognize the the tremendous injuries the U.S. is inflicting on peoples in other lands. It fails to recognize either their property rights or rights to self-determination. The neocons fail to recognize the long-term ill-will and retaliation that the U.S. is producing. The neocons naively and wrongly think that democracy is a wonderful institution, that the U.S. has a right to overthrow regimes and set up democratic governments. They wrongly think that they are capable of building states when they are not. The neocons fail to recognize the military capabilities, including the nuclear weapons, of other powers. The neocons overestimate the efficacy of the U.S. military. The Jewish neocons are influenced strongly by Israeli right-wingers, and they are not of a mind to devise peaceful solutions to the nagging problems associated with Israel. The neocons do not comprehend that the world can progress peacefully and without a dominant superpower attempting to impose its standards and form of government. The neocons fail to recognize the faults of the U.S. government. The neocons ignore the inflation of the domestic police state as a feature of the Empire, just as they ignore the mounting U.S. debt. The neocons fail to see or appreciate other peoples as persons, instead viewing them as pieces they can move on a world chess board.

Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Taking the World to the Brink

By Rick Sterling | Consortium News | April 10, 2018

Western neoconservatives and hawks are driving the international situation to increasing tension and danger. Not content with the destruction of Iraq and Libya based on false claims, they are now pressing for a direct US attack on Syria.

As a dangerous prelude, Israeli jets flying over Lebanese airspace fired missiles against the T4/Tiyas Airbase west of Palmyra following reports on Sunday of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus under rebel control.

As reported at Tass, the Chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, predicted the alleged use of chemicals almost a month ago. The report from March 13 says, “Russia has hard facts about preparations for staging the use of chemical weapons against civilians by the government forces. After the provocation, the US plans to accuse Syria’s government forces of using chemical weapons … furnish the so-called ‘evidence’ … and Washington plans to deliver a missile and bomb strike against Damascus’ government districts.”

Gerasimov noted that Russian military advisors are staying in the Syrian Defense Ministry’s facilities in Damascus and “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”

The situation is clearly fraught with the risk of sliding into international conflict between the two biggest nuclear weapons powers with all that that implies. Civilization itself is being put in peril so that the West can continue supporting sectarian armed groups seeking to overthrow the Assad government, in violation of international law and the UN Charter.

The most powerful country in the world is now led by a real estate, hotel and entertainment mogul without political experience. Behind the scenes, there is an entrenched foreign policy establishment determined to maintain and reclaim U.S. unilateral “leadership” of the world. American leaders fear that the U.S. is losing influence, prestige and power around the world. Israel and Saudi Arabia are seeing their designs on regional dominance failing.

East Ghouta, Damascus

East Ghouta is a district of farms and towns on the north-east outskirts of Damascus. For the past six years, various armed factions controlled the area. On a nearly daily basis, they launched mortar and hell cannon missile attacks into Damascus, and have killed thousands of civilians. This author personally witnessed two such mortar attacks in April 2014.

By the end of March most of East Ghouta had been retaken by the government. With the peaceful evacuation of armed militants, civilians flooded into the humanitarian corridors and then government camps for the displaced. The campaign was proceeding quickly with minimal loss of life as the Russian Reconciliation officers negotiated agreements which allowed the militants to keep small weapons and be transported to Idlib in the north.

Journalist Vanessa Beeley documented the situation including the happiness and relief of many civilians as they finally made it to safety. One described the feeling as “like being reborn”. Robert Fisk of Britain’s Independent newspaper was on site and reported what he saw first hand in stories titled Watching on as Islamist fighters are evacuated from war-torn Eastern Ghouta and Western howls of outrage over the Ghouta siege ring hollow.

As reported at the Russian Reconciliation Centre, by the end of March, 105,857 civilians had moved into government controlled areas while 13,793 militants, plus 23,433 family members had been transported north. Those who wanted to stay, including former fighters, were welcomed. They could rejoin Syrian society with the same rights and obligations as other Syrians.

The last remaining opposition stronghold was the town of Douma, controlled by the Saudi-funded Jaish al Islam. Negotiations were prolonged because Jaish al Islam did not want to go to Idlib, which is dominated by another militant opposition group, Jabhat al Nusra also known as Hayat Tahrir al Sham. It is the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

The Chemical Incident

On Saturday, April 7, video and stories claiming a chemical weapons attack in Douma were broadcast. The video showed dozens of dead children. On Sunday the story grabbed western mainstream media headlines. U.S. President Trump quickly came to a conclusion: “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay”.

There has been no objective investigation. The media claims are based on statements and videos from members of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the White Helmets. Both organizations receive significant funding from the US government and are not neutral as aid organizations should be. They both call for Western intervention in Syria.

Chemical weapons have emerged as the quick and easy justification for aggression. One year ago, in April 2017, it was the incident at Khan Shaykoun. That resulted in a US attack on a Syrian air base just days later. As reported here by Consortium News‘ late founder, Robert Parry, the subsequent investigation discovered that dozens of victims had shown up in hospitals in diverse locations and up to 100 kms away from the scene of the crime before the event happened. Indicative of apparent bias by the investigators, this red flag pointing to fraud was not probed further. If it was just a few victims or just one location, it might be a mistake in time record-keeping. However in this case there were dozens of discrepancies in multiple locations, clearly raising the possibility of fraud.

Now we have the incident in Douma. The armed opposition is in retreat. They are losing the war and are desperate. They have tried since 2012 to pressure the U.S. and NATO to intervene directly on their side. The rebels have access to chemical weapons in East Ghouta and they have a motive. They also have thousands of prisoners. This group put hundreds of prisoners, primarily women and children, in cages on the streets of Douma.

Who Benefits?

The timing of the chemical weapons incidents is also noteworthy. As documented here, one year ago on March 30, 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said U.S. policy was no longer focused on getting Assad out. Five days later the chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun happened, followed quickly by blaming the Syrian government without evidence, then the U.S. attack on a Syrian air base and a then restoration of the demand that “Assad must go.”

On March 29 this year, Trump said that U.S. forces will withdraw from Syria “very soon.” This was followed by outcries from the media and political establishment. Once again, following Saturday’s incident, the U.S. is again threatening to intervene. The chemical weapons incidents have consistently resulted in the reversal of a proposed change in hostility toward Syria.

Neoconservatives and the supporters of ‘regime change’ foreign policy have various theories why the Assad government would perpetrate a chemical weapons attack. Senator John McCain says the Syrian President was “emboldened” by Trump’s call to withdraw. Juan Cole, an academic who promoted the assaults on Libya in 2011, has a different theory. He says “Chemical weapons are used by desperate regimes that are either outnumbered by the enemy or are reluctant to take casualties in their militaries. Barrel-bombing Douma with chem seems to have appealed to the regime as a tactic for this reason. It had potential of frightening the Douma population into deserting the Army of Islam.”

In contrast with his theory, chemical weapons were used extensively by the U.S. in Vietnam and Iraq when they were far from desperate. As evidenced in the flow of civilians into government held areas, most of the civilian population are happy to get away from the sectarian and violent Army of Islam (“Jaish al Islam”). Cole seems to be basing his theories on inaccurate western media coverage just as he did regarding Libya where sensational claims about a looming massacre in Benghazi were later shown to be fraudulent.

It’s clear who benefits from sensational media coverage about a chemical weapons incident: those who seek to want the U.S. to intervene militarily. Every time there is an incident, and well before an investigation has even begun, it is seized on by governments and organizations who’ve sought regime change in Syria since the start of the war, and perhaps even earlier.

Manipulating Public Opinion

NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, exposed as part of hoax

The manipulation of western opinion about the Syrian conflict using fake events is not theory; it has been proven. A good example is the fake kidnapping of NBC reporter Richard Engel in December 2012. Engel and his media team were reportedly kidnapped and threatened with death by “shabiha” supporters of the Syrian president. After days in captivity the American team was supposedly rescued by Free Syrian Army “rebels” after a shootout. In 2015 it was confirmed this was a hoax perpetrated by the FSA and their American supporters. The entire charade was carried out by the “rebels”. The goal was to demonize the Assad government and its supporters, and to romanticize and increase support for the armed opposition. Neither Engel nor NBC confessed to the reality until it was about to be exposed years later, pointing to duplicity and collusion in the deception.

Four and half years ago, on August 21, 2013, the most famous chemical weapons incident occurred. The Syrian government was immediately accused of launching a sarin attack which killed hundreds of children and civilians. Over the next six months investigations were carried out. The conclusions of Seymour Hersh, Parry and the research site whoghouta.com concluded that the attack was almost certainly not from the government but actually from one of the ‘rebel’ factions with support from Turkish intelligence services. Two Turkish parliamentary deputies held a press conference and publicly revealed some of the evidence. The intent then, as now, was to provide justification and provocation for the US and NATO to bomb Syrian government installations.

The Drums are Pounding

Today there is the imminent possibility of a major attack based on the allegations of a clearly biased source, with international law and legal due process tossed aside. Why is violence being threatened before there is a serious, independent investigation of the chemical incident? If the accusations against Syria are true, why not let it be investigated, especially now that the area was liberated on Monday and safe access can be provided?

The drums of war are pounding. After over one year of incessant Russia bashing and disinformation, is the public ready to go to war with Russia over Syria? Neoconservative hawks and their Israeli and Saudi allies do not seem alarmed by this prospect. Their plans and predictions for Iraq, Libya and Yemen were delusional fantasies with the price paid in blood by the people of those countries and in treasure by Americans as well. Sadly, there has not been any accountability for the media and political establishment that promoted and launched those wars. Now they want to escalate the aggression by attacking Syria, causing vastly more blood to flow and risking confrontation with a country which can fight back.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia Denies Reports About Blocking Signals From US Drones in Syria

Sputnik – April 10, 2018

The Russian military has been scrambling some US military drones performing in Syria, seriously disrupting American military operations, the channel NBC announced, citing anonymous US officials.

According to US officials, the Russians had started blocking some smaller US drones several weeks ago after a “series of alleged chemical weapons attacks on civilians in Eastern Ghouta.” The NBC network’s sources stated that the Russian military was concerned that the US military would take revenge for the attacks and began jamming the GPS systems of the drones operating in the area.

“GPS receivers in most drones can be fairly easily jammed,” Dr. Todd Humphreys, the director of the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin said.

The Defense Department cannot with certainty state whether the jamming is the cause of the drones crashing, according to the operational security.

“The US military maintains sufficient countermeasures and protections to ensure the safety of our manned and unmanned aircraft, our forces and the missions they support,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Yevgeny Serebrennikov has denied reports that Russia has blocked signals of US drones in Syria.

“This is more fake information from American media, which appears so often in recent times. Russia has repeatedly said that its actions, including in Syria, are made only in accordance with international treaties, such actions could not really have taken place,” Serebrennikov said.

US-Russia Standoff

The announcement has been made following an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma, a number of countries, including the US, jumped at the chance to blame Damascus for the incident.

Last week, the US Treasury Department added another 38 Russian entrepreneurs, senior officials and companies to its sanctions list in response to Russia’s alleged “malign activity” worldwide.

READ MORE:

Reports of ‘Chemical Attacks’ in Syria Used to ‘Justify External Intervention’

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Give proof or end hacking accusations, Russia tells US

Press TV – December 16, 2016

Russia has rejected allegations by the United States government that Russia interfered in the recent presidential race in the US.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned US officials on Friday that they should either prove the claims or stop “indecently” accusing Russia.

“Either stop talking about it or finally provide some evidence. Otherwise it looks indecent,” Peskov said to reporters in Japanese capital, Tokyo, on Friday.

Peskov’s remarks came after the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had played a direct role in attempt to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election, which was held on November 8.

Earnest said Putin had personally ordered Russian agents to hack the Democratic Party organizations.

Earnest’s comments came after NBC News reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous US intelligence sources, that Putin became involved in the hacking operation during the election campaign as part of a “vendetta” against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

In 2011, when she was US Secretary of State, Clinton had undermined the legitimacy of the Russian parliamentary elections and reportedly attempted to incite anti-government protests.

Russia has denied the hacking allegations. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post that the allegations of hacking by Russia looked like “banal infighting between US security services.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

US anti-Russia rhetoric goes nuclear with threats of covert cyber-attacks

By Robert Bridge | RT | October 16, 2016

The world seems to be sleepwalking its way into a geopolitical maelstrom as the US, increasingly paranoid over Russia, said it is considering a cyber-attack against the Kremlin in retaliation for purported Russian meddling in the US election process.

NBC News, citing those conveniently omnipresent “anonymous sources,” reported that the CIA is preparing to deliver ideas to the White House for “a wide-ranging ‘clandestine’ cyber operation designed to harass and ‘embarrass’ the Kremlin leadership,” as if dragging the Kremlin through the mud of the 2016 presidential campaign wasn’t embarrassing enough.

The report went on to say that the covert action plan, which is certainly no longer covert, “is designed to protect the US election system and insure that Russian hackers can’t interfere with the November vote (…) Another goal is to send a message to Russia that it has crossed a line.”

Before continuing, it is important to note that America’s electronic voting machines have long been vulnerable to hackers and vote riggers. And with all due respect to Russian ingenuity and resourcefulness, it was not the Russians who revealed that information to the Americans. In 2006, a group of computer programmers from Princeton University said they successfully created “vote-stealing software” that could be easily installed on a Diebold AccuVote-TS (the programmers, incidentally, admitted they acquired the voting machine “at a party”).

NBC then interviewed former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell about Washington’s alleged plans to conduct a cyber-attack against Russia. Morell was against the covert cyber plan, but for all the wrong reasons.

“Physical attacks on networks is not something the US wants to do because we don’t want to set a precedent for other countries to do it as well, including against us,” he said. “My own view is that our response shouldn’t be covert – it should overt, for everybody to see.”

Incidentally, it was Morell who told Charlie Rose in August that“we need to make the Russians pay a price” – i.e. kill them – apparently for the Russian military’s actions in Syria, which came as a shock given its success in routing Islamic State forces in the war-stricken Arab Republic.

NBC, as well as every other media outlet that has reported on the “Russian hacks,” failed to provide any concrete evidence of Russia “tampering in the US election process.” The NBC article, however, did prove that the Democrats, in a desperate bid to keep their Oval Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, will do whatever it takes to ‘help’ Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump next month, even to the point of staging a zero-sum, take-no-prisoner poker game with Russia, the possible implications of which simply boggle the mind.

Political high stakes

Hunting season against the big, bad Russian bear opened in July this year, as WikiLeaks dumped a batch of incriminating emails showing that Hillary Clinton had received favorable treatment by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over other presidential contenders, including Bernie Sanders. The scandal led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the now-disgraced DNC chair.

Before WikiLeaks gleefully dumped the emails, the FBI had just concluded an investigation against Clinton for using her private server while handling thousands of government documents, many of them stamped ‘classified.’ The FBI, admitting the former Secretary of State had been “extremely careless” with her computer, recommended that no charges be filed against her. At this point, the reader may be asking: Okay, what does any of this have to do with Russia? That’s a very good question, and one that Russia is asking as well.

In fact, the only evidence is circumstantial, via a remark uttered by Donald Trump, who suggested – sarcastically – that Russia might want to help US authorities locate thousands of Clinton emails that mysteriously vanished in the ether.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump quipped at a news conference in late July. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

The Clinton campaign failed to see the irony of the comments, of course. Instead, it took Trump’s words quite literally, peddling to a gullible public the story of deep collaboration between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. From there, rumors of a budding ‘bromance’ between Putin and Trump provided the necessary diversion to distract attention away from the explosive content of Clinton’s emails, and to the fantasy land of “Russian aggression.”

The Clinton campaign’s readiness to do whatever it required to win the White House was brought out in stark relief with the latest batch of leaked emails. The Young Turks, for example, found that Clinton was actually tipped off regarding a question on the death penalty that would be asked at the CNN Town Hall Debate against Donald Trump. The email in question was sent by Donna Brazile, who was then employed at CNN before becoming interim DNC Chair.

When Brazile was confronted with the allegations, she reacted by casually dismissing them. “I refuse to open them,” she remarked, talking about the proof of the leaks that had been sent to her email, of all places. “And I’ve asked the staff at the DNC and all of our Democratic allies, don’t open up that crap, because it’s postmarked from Russia.”

Clinton officials echoed Brazile’s comments, dubbing the popular whistleblower website a “propaganda arm of the Russian government.”

So just like that, yet another case of Clinton political chicanery, worthy of a Watergate-style investigation, is swept under America’s carpet, while WikiLeaks and Russia are accused of working in tandem to stain the squeaky clean electoral process. And now here we are, with the Obama administration suggesting some sort of cyber-attack on Russia – a nuclear-armed country, by the way – over what really amounts to extreme misconduct at the highest levels of the Clinton campaign, with Russia being dragged in as scapegoat.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s dogged insistence that Russia is somehow responsible for the hacked emails, which even the media has admitted it cannot prove, is forcing the outgoing Obama administration to act as if it is doing something about it.

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden met “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd for an interview that has raised serious concern in Russia.

Without bothering to question the validity of the claims, Todd took the allegations of Russian hacking at face value, opening his interview with a loaded question: “Why haven’t we sent a message yet to Putin?”

After a moment of deafening silence in which it was possible to hear the gears grinding in Biden’s brain, the VP responded: “We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it and it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”

When Todd asked if the public will know a message was sent, Biden replied, “Hope not.”

Now just try and square that. Biden tells Todd on national television that the United States will “send a message” to Russia that has the “greatest impact,” yet he hopes the American public will not connect the dots and discover whodunnit.

The inherent danger of NBC News posting this story and interview is obvious. First, as has been said a hundred times already, there is zero proof to connect Russia to the alleged hacks; and if the Obama administration is sitting on evidence it defies logic not to provide that to the public. Furthermore, should Russia be hit one day by a cyber-attack in the near or distant future, the obvious temptation will be to pin the blame on the United States, and regardless of the state of bilateral relations at that time. So in that respect, the Obama administration is doing future US and Russian administrations a terrible disservice by uttering such mindless threats that will hang over US-Russia relations for as long as our technological societies are dependent on computer systems, i.e. a very long time.

In fact, this is not the first time that the brilliant idea of talking up a cyber strike on Russia has happened. In August, the influential Atlantic Council released a paper calling for Poland to ‘reserve the right’ to attack Russian infrastructure, including Moscow’s public transport and RT’s offices, via electronic warfare. One of the authors of that diabolical piece is an adviser to BAE Systems, Europe’s largest company in the Defence Sector. Go figure.

So whether Joe Biden is simply uttering election-year rhetoric to sway voter opinion no longer matters to Russia. Unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking is one thing, but when the second-ranking US official not only joins the blame game, but asserts that Russia will be on the receiving end of a cyber-attack, well, we’ve clearly entered an entirely new dimension – a parallel reality, if you like.

On Sunday, Vladimir Putin emphasized that US threats of cyber-attacks do not correspond to the norms of international relations.

“The only novelty is that for the first time, on the highest level, the United States has admitted involvement in these activities, and to some extent threatened [us] – which of course does not meet the standards of international communication,” the Russian leader said.

“Apparently, they are nervous,” he added.

“One can expect just about anything from our American friends. After all, what did he (Biden) say that we didn’t already know? Didn’t we know that US authorities are spying and eavesdropping on everyone?”

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks expressed reservations over the seriousness of a covert cyberwar on Russia.

“If the US ‘clandestine’ pending cyberwar on Russia was serious: 1) it would not have been announced 2) it would be the NSA [National Security Agency] and not the CIA,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter.

Aside from the leaked emails from WikiLeaks, which are tossing a monkey wrench into the Democrat’s election plans, there are many other issues affecting the cantankerous American campaign. Donald Trump, for example, has promised to severely scale back America’s military footprint around the world, as well as end military campaigns that are drying up US finances. This is the very last thing the elite and the powerful military-industrial complex want, and they are willing to do anything – including lying through their teeth about Russian hacking – to ensure that Clinton gets into the White House and maintain the status quo.

Regarding the claims of a possible cyber-attack on Russia, there are also grounds for taking this report with a generous handful of salt. First, Barack Obama is presiding over the remaining lame-duck days of his 8 years in office. And lately there have been disturbing signs of a mutiny of sorts inside his administration.

In June, for example, dozens of State Department diplomats, apparently upset with Russian military’s successes in Syria, signed an internal memo calling the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which sounds curiously like the position many predict Clinton will take should she reach the White House.

Since the NBC News report of an alleged plan to conduct a cyber-attack on Russia contained not a single named source, not to mention the futility of publicly declaring a “covert” operation, this may be nothing more than a case of the US mainstream media unilaterally poking the hornets nest, agitating Russia, while creating a perfect smokescreen to conceal the misconduct of their obvious favorite candidate – Wall Street-approved, Neocon-supported, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

@Robert_Bridge

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Corporate Media Backing Clinton Exploits Orlando Shooting for Passive Holocaust Denial

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | June 16, 2016

Within hours of the mass shooting in Orlando, the corporate media backing neoconservative favorite Hillary Clinton began, almost unanimously, to exploit the opportunity to passively promote holocaust and genocide denial.

Outlets including the NY Times, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, and so on, all referred to the Orlando massacre unequivocally as the worst shooting and/or worst act of gun violence in US history. (CBS News, at the time it was accessed for this piece, was running a large “I’m With Her” ad for Hillary Clinton at the top of its page.) A useful comparison to the corporate assessment might be to imagine if a German civilian gassed a group of people to death and the German press reported it as the worst gassing in German history. After the Paris shooting, the Western press likewise reported that as the worst shooting in recent Parisian history, despite that the Parisian police not long ago massacred some 300 peaceful marchers protesting the French dictatorship in Algeria and dumped their bodies in the river that runs through the city (more info in previous piece).

Native News Online quickly pointed out that the corporate media was almost completely whitewashing “mass killings of American Indians in its reporting” on Orlando. It gave two well-known (as far as these go) examples of worse gun-violence and mass-shootings: some 300 Native men, women, and children, were massacred at Wounded Knee, and 70 to 180 were massacred at Sand Creek.

One commenter on the Native News piece shared that she “wrote to every single news outlet yesterday from the New York Times, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and Salon to CNN, NBC, and the BBC. I have yet to receive a reply from any of them with the exception of the Oregonian, who changed its language immediately. They also informed me that the Associated Press has just begun to change its language. I’m hoping the Guardian and BBC begin to do the same too.”

Another commenter on the Native News piece gave a short list of some acts of gun-violence, mass-shootings, or mass killings perpetrated in US history, by US forces:

1864 – 300 Yana in California
1863 – 280 Shoshone in Idaho
1861 – 240 Wilakis in California
1860 – 250 Wiyot in California
1859 – 150 Yuki in California
1853 – 450 Tolowa in California
1852 – 150 Wintu in California
1851 – 300 Wintu in California
1850 – 100 Pomo in California
1840 – 140 Comanches in Colorado
1833 – 150 Kiowa in Oklahoma
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1782 – 100 Lanape in Pennsylvania
1730 – 500 Fox in Illinois
1713 – 1000 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1712 – 1000 Fox in Michigan
1712 – 300 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1704 – 1000 Apalachee killed & 2000 sold into slavery in North Carolina
1676 – 100 Algonquian and Nipmuc in Massachusetts.
1676 – 100 Occaneechi in Virginia
1675 – 340 Narragansett in Rhode Island
1644 – 500 Lanape in New York
1640 – 129 Massapeag in New York
1637 – 700 Pequot in Connecticut
1623 – 200 Powhatan & Pamunkey in Virginia with “poison wine”

Professor David E. Stannard describes one such massacre, wherein US forces weakened a Delaware group of Native men, women, children, and elders through starvation, convinced them it would be in their best interest to disarm, then tied them up and exterminated them and mutilated their dead bodies. Stannard notes that such massacres by US forces “were so numerous and routine that recording them eventually becomes numbing”. (American Holocaust, pp. 125/6)

A couple of corporate news outlets used somewhat more precise language to describe the Orlando massacre, editorializing (while again presenting it as fact) that it was the ‘worst shooting in modern US history’.

However, this still leaves unstated the writer’s opinion of what constitutes ‘modern’. The wounded knee massacre took place in 1898, and the Black Wall Street massacre, for example, in which 55-400 people were murdered and a wealthy black community in Oklahoma ethnically cleansed, took place in 1921. (More examples.)

And, of course, the US has massacred millions of people, many of them with rifles and other types of guns, but also in far worse ways, outside the territory it officially claims, and continues to do so. Obama recently massacred almost a hundred people at one time with what could be viewed as an AR-15 on steroids. Is any of this part of ‘modern US history’? Why or why not? The qualifications are unstated and thus subjective. The vague language from the neoliberal, government-linked corporate outlets may lead readers to believe that all of US history is included in their ‘factual’ statements, and that the US has never massacred more than fifty people anywhere.

In some cases, this impression will have been intentional on the part of the oligarch mouthpiece outlets, which have an interest in fostering a benevolent image of the US to help elites further capture global markets . In others, it will have been a result of conveniently self-aggrandizing ignorance on behalf of the writers and editors – an ignorance that makes an important contribution to their job security.

As some of them partially or belatedly demonstrated, all of the corporate outlets could have easily avoided any holocaust/genocide-denial by calling the shooting the worst by a single civilian on US territory in at least the last thirty years, or any number of other obvious, simple, direct phrasings, which are supposed to be integral to journalism, anyway.

But as John Ralston Saul points out, the neoliberal/neoconservative ideology relies on the ‘whitewashing of memory’. That doesn’t always work, though, especially on survivors of US and Western genocides, which is why, as Ralston Saul further notes, the West and its proxies are behind most of the global murders of writers, who may try to expose facts and evidence that interfere with the West’s historical whitewashing.

Since the Orlando massacre, both Clinton and Trump have called for further escalation of Western aggression in the Middle East.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry. Updates on Twitter.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Law Enforcement Misrepresentation of Orlando Killer’s 911 Call Ignores U.S. Foreign Policy Motivation

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | June 14, 2016

In the aftermath of the horrific mass murder at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando over the weekend in which 50 people were killed, media including CNN, USA Today, NPR, NBC News, and CBS News, all reported that the gunman called 911 during his murderous rampage and pledged allegiance to ISIS. None of the journalists writing for any of these news outlets heard the call themselves; they all cite the FBI as their source.

The U.S. government has been engaged in a war against the self-professed Islamic State for the last two years. Their military intervention consists of a bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Hyping the threat members connected to the terror group – or spiritually loyal to it – pose to American citizens is supportive of U.S. foreign policy. If ISIS, or people claiming to act on behalf of ISIS, are a real danger to Americans, it bolsters the notion that the group is a threat to national security and helps justify the government’s military response.

The FBI seems eager to show itself as disrupting ISIS plots in the States. As Adam Johnson has written in FAIR, the FBI has put Americans in contact with informants who claim to represent ISIS and then led the targets to believe they would help the targets join the terrorist organization. The media have then conflated this with an “ISIS Plot” and “ISIS Support,” when no members of ISIS were ever involved in any way.

The FBI’s motivation to portray events in a way that supports U.S. foreign policy, and its history of portraying its actions in a way that has served to hype an ISIS threat should make journalists cautious about taking officials’ words at face value. Especially in the case of a 911 call, which is a public record in Florida, proper journalistic due diligence would be to consult the actual source of the claims being disseminated.

Instead, not a single journalist appears to have done this with Orlando killer Omar Mateen’s 911 call.

On Tuesday, CNN aired interviews of eyewitnesses to the shooting spree who described their harrowing encounters with the gunman inside the club. Patience Carter, who was inside a bathroom stall feet from the gunman when he called 911, said he told the dispatcher that “the reason why he was doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country.” (Mateen is a native of the United States, but he was presumably referring to Afghanistan, where both of his parents are from.) She said he then declared that “from now on he pledges his loyalty to ISIS.”

This demonstrates that his primary motive for his terror attack was retaliation for the U.S. aggression in Afghanistan, where nearly 100,000 people have been killed since the illegal U.S. invasion in 2001. His mention of ISIS seems merely adjunct to what he admits was his justification for the attack. His motivation precedes his ideological alignment with ISIS, not the other way around.

Anti-war activists have long argued that overseas military operations endanger not only the populations whose countries are invaded, occupied and bombed, but Americans in the United States who are at risk of terrorist retaliation from people outraged by the death and destruction war inevitably produces to the point of being willing to resort to violence themselves.

Carter’s version of the 911 call reveals a very different picture than the partial one revealed by the FBI and reprinted by each of the largest news organizations. The complete conversation depicts Mateen as indicating that he considered his actions a response to U.S. foreign policy. Of course, the murder of innocent civilians is always reprehensible and can never be justified by claiming they are a response to a state’s military aggression, regardless of how deadly and devastating such military operations are. But it should be predictable that some people will use this rationalization regardless and seek out soft targets in the country whose government they claim to be retaliating against.

The FBI chose to omit Mateen’s professed motive entirely when recounting the 911 call to the media, and merely state that he professed allegiance to ISIS. Perhaps they recognized how putting Mateen’s call in context may lead people to question whether U.S. wars in Afghanistan (and Iraq) raise the terrorist threat at home.

After all, this is not the first time this has happened. The surviving Boston Marathon bomber cited the U.S. wars abroad as his motivation for committing the attack that killed three people and maimed dozens more.

It is not clear whether any journalist even asked to hear the 911 call themselves. But it is clear that they chose to disseminate second-hand information when the primary source should have been easily accessible. If it was not made available (as required by law), the public deserves to know that it was suppressed and be given an explanation why.

Media stenographers parroted government officials’ descriptions of the call, which left out the killer’s professed motivation for his politically motivated attack and failed to put the ISIS claim in any context. Unsurprisingly, their misrepresentation served the government’s policy agenda and avoided having the incident serve as an example of a negative consequence of U.S. foreign policy – one that anti-war dissenters have used in arguing against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since the War on Terror was launched more than a decade and a half ago.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syria’s Mobile Weapons Labs: Where Have We Heard This Before?

By Peter Hart | FAIR | December 20, 2012

If you were concerned that the Syria WMD stories didn’t already feel enough like the Iraq WMD reports, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius had one just for you (12/19/12). Ignatius reports that according to a Syrian defector, the Assad government’s chemical weapons are indeed on the move. Ignatius tells readers that, according to his source,

technicians constructed a mobile lab that could combine and activate so-called “binary” chemical weapons agents. These mobile mixers were constructed inside Mercedes or Volvo trucks that appeared, from the outside, to be similar to refrigerator trucks. Inside were storage tanks, pipes and a motor to drive the mixing machinery, the defector said.

The defector estimated that 10 to 15 of these mobile laboratories had been constructed. An independent source said these numbers were high, but he confirmed that the Syrians do have mobile labs.

Now it’s not that Ignatius doesn’t know that this story sounds, well, familiar. He places that giant caveat right near the beginning of his piece:

For some historical context, readers should recall the Iraqi defector known as “Curveball,” who made allegations about Iraqi chemical weapons a decade ago that bolstered the case for war–but turned out to be fabrications.

So there’s reason to be skeptical. But evidently not too skeptical. Ignatius goes on:

Seeking corroboration for the Syrian report, I checked it with knowledgeable, independent sources, who confirmed some of the details. With that support, I want to share it with readers.

Ignatius has confidence in at least some of this story, as evinced by his lead:

Reports from inside two Syrian chemical weapons facilities offer chilling new evidence that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime developed special vehicles last year for moving and mixing the weapons–and an unconfirmed allegation that Lebanese allies of the regime, presumably in Hezbollah, may have been trained 11 months ago in the weapons’ use.

What he’s saying, in other words, is that the mobile labs exist; the more frightening allegation–that the labs might be headed to Lebanon for use by Hezbollah–is “unconfirmed.” How solid is the sourcing? He writes:

A Syrian source provided a detailed account in a telephone conversation over the weekend, drawing on intelligence provided to him by a Syrian defector who worked inside the chemical weapons network.

So we have what would appear to be a secondhand account, delivered by phone, thanks to arrangements made by a Syrian opposition group. And how do we know the weapons were headed for Hezbollah? Ignatius tells us that his source says, “The officers placed the chemicals in a civilian vehicle and were seen driving across a bridge in the direction of the highway toward Lebanon.”

What does all of this mean? That’s impossible to say–though the idea that mobile chemical weapons labs were put together last year, after the revolt started, in order to coordinate transfer of the weapons to Hezbollah is, on its face, a little far-fetched.

Ignatius gives the Iraq stories all but one paragraph, but it’s important to recall more of the journalism from that period.  As Seth Ackerman wrote in Extra! (7-8/03), one of the most embarrassing–and largely forgotten–episodes of the Iraq War came when NBC breathlessly reported the discovery of Iraq’s feared mobile bio-weapons labs:

On May 12, NBC News correspondent Jim Avila, reporting from Baghdad, declared that the labs “may be the most significant WMD findings of the war.” Joining him was hawkish former U.N. nuclear inspector David Kay (now an “NBC News analyst”), who was flown to Iraq to perform an impromptu inspection for the cameras. Armed with a pointer, he rattled off the trailer ‘s parts: “This is a compressor. You want to keep the fermentation process under pressure so it goes faster. This vessel is the fermenter….”

Kay’s explanation–”think of it as sort of the chicken soup for biological weapons. You mixed it with the seed stock, which came from this gravity flow tank up here into the fermenter. And under pressure with heat, it fermented”–was convincing enough for television news. Kay stated: “Literally, there’s nothing else you would do this way on a mobile facility. It is it.”

Well, except for one problem: What they found was actually equipment to make hydrogen for weather balloons. But what they were looking for was what defectors told various officials they would find–and part of  what Colin Powell told the world about Iraq’s WMD program on February 5, 2003.  The old saying that when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail comes to mind.

Is “intelligence” on Syria any better? It’s unclear why we should think so. But for columnists like Ignatius, what someone told him on the phone based on what someone else may have seen is apparently good enough. And maybe it doesn’t really matter. As Ignatius once explained (Washington Post, 4/25/03):

Personally, I don’t much care if the U.S. reports about weapons of mass destruction prove to be imaginary. Toppling Hussein’s regime was still right.

Does he care this time whether or not the WMD stories he’s reporting as fact are imaginary or not? Or would toppling Assad’s regime be right no matter what?

December 20, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Syria’s Mobile Weapons Labs: Where Have We Heard This Before?