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Star ‘disinformation’ reporter brags about doxxing Trump supporters & NBC defends it as journalism

RT | October 22, 2020

An NBC reporter has bragged about doxxing Trump supporters, “anti-vaxxers,” and other societal rejects, one self-described victim has revealed, suggesting the aim is to turn the US’ national security apparatus against her targets.

Brandy Zadrozny, an NBC feature reporter who specializes in ‘disinformation’ and ‘extremism’ on the internet, is teaching the world how she digs up data on her targets – from phone numbers and home addresses to property records and even Amazon wishlists – to expose their real-life identities. She recently shared her doxxing methods in an online textbook hosted by DataJournalism.com.

But while this might sound like standard journalism practice, Zadrozny’s targets – who have recently included anonymous Trump supporters on Twitter – are private citizens who have committed no crimes, and exposing their real-life identities for allegedly posting “disinformation” is a not-so-subtle effort to turn them into enemies of the state, one such recent target, Revolver News reporter Darren Beattie, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Wednesday.

“She uses state-of-the art-proprietary technical tools to dig up personal information about anonymous Trump supporters online,” Beattie told the Fox News host. “She’ll do anything she can to unearth anonymous Trump supporters – basically so she can ruin their lives.”

Beattie revealed that Zadrozny’s “doxxing handbook” is sponsored in part by Bellingcat, the notoriously partisan ‘open-source intelligence’ outfit that, in turn, is backed by the US’ National Endowment for Democracy. It’s also funded by Google, a military contractor in its own right, and the European Journalism Centre, which counts such oligarchic bogeymen as George Soros and Bill Gates among its financial backers. So much muscle behind the doyenne of doxxing would be enough to give anyone who’s ever tweeted “wrongthink” pause, especially when her how-to guide describes how she has “identified people by connecting photos of things like cars, homes, or pets” in addition to profile photos.

Calling the institutionally sanctioned outing “disgusting and disgraceful, even by modern journalism standards,” Beattie described the work of Zadrozny and her ilk as that of “a neo-Stasi” attempting to “crush the rebellion of the American people against their corrupt ruling class,” suggesting her repeated description of anonymous conservatives’ social media posts as “disinformation” was meant to bring down the force of the national security state “to silence Trump supporters domestically.”

The former White House staffer shared screenshots from the textbook on Twitter, revealing the extensive lengths to which Zadrozny went to “out” the Columbia Bugle, which she refers to as a “popular far-right anonymous Twitter account that boasts that it was retweeted twice by Donald Trump’s account.”

Such dogged detective work is one thing when an investigator is hunting a criminal, but quite another when the quarry’s only “crime” is posting political material on social media. And Zadrozny’s targets have been subjected to death threats and suffered real-world harm because of her work.

While Beattie and Carlson both called on NBC to denounce Zadrozny’s abusive tactics, the network responded by defending its employee, calling her an “incredible and meticulous reporter” whom they were “proud to call … our colleague.” Other colleagues stepped up to defend her and attack her accusers, painting the Fox News segment as a preemptive strike against an article Zadrozny was working on about Beattie’s site.

Trained by oligarch-funded journalism outfit the Poynter Institute, Zadrozny shot to journalistic stardom in the past few years, making her name hyping Russiagate, denouncing pedophile hunters, and shutting down Facebook communities in which parents of autistic children swap tips about healing what they believe are vaccine injuries. The unifying thread running through her work, other than a fanatical devotion to pro-establishment narratives, has been reliance on social media deep-dives to learn more about her subjects without having to actually, well, interview them.

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social media fact-checking, brought to you by the Deep State

By Daniel Espinosa | OffGuardian | September 7, 2020

Almost four years of mainstream media hype about “fake news” and “Russian meddling” propaganda has brought to the world exactly what they were intended to bring: an effective mechanism for internet and social media censorship.

In the center of this move toward global discourse control is an organization called the Poynter Institute, home to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), a body created to coordinate, promote and train dozens of fact-checkers from around the world.

The IFCN and many non-profits working in the same field are funded by the big capitalist “philanthropists” of our era, like George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, Bill Gates, and even the Koch brothers… but also by the US Department of State and a shady “aid” – in reality, political meddling – organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), historically linked to the CIA and regime change operations.

Google and Facebook – itself tied to the warmongering Atlantic Council and its “Digital Forensic Research Lab” – are also associated with Poynter, by funding and partnerships to fight “fake news” (including the development of an “automated” fact-checking program for the upcoming 2020).

The marriage between Poynter’s IFCN, politically inclined billionaires, the State Department – and the whitewashed public face of the Deep State – suggest that the institute is probably working in what Nelson Poynter, its founder, worked on for a key part of his life: propaganda and censorship for the US government.

Although this information is not available in Nelson Poynter’s Wikipedia profile or in poynter.org’s history page, his work for a government propaganda agency is not exactly a secret. A remembrance of his wife, Henrietta, also at the institute’s website, quickly passes over the fact that Poynter did work for the Office of War Information (OWI) during WWII, but his specific role as a government censor and propagandist is never mentioned.

Nevertheless, Hollywood Goes to War, a book written in 1987 by Clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black, is one of the many historical sources that tell the details of Poynter’s job.

Film censorship and the birth of the Voice of America

Nelson Poynter was recruited by the OWI with his wife Henrietta, who worked as assistant program chief under Elmer Davis, head of the agency. She came up with the name for the “Voice of America”, the famous psychological war operation of the US government.

The radio project was established in February 1942 and soon grew to be the most important US overt propaganda arm of the Cold War.

Unlike his wife’s job, Poynter’s regarded not radio – or his previous line of work, journalism – but movies. In 1942, the OWI’s Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) set up office in Hollywood, naming Poynter as its head. His mission was to act as liaison between the agency and the owners of Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, MGM and the other big studio names.

Elmer Davis, head of the OWI, regarded films as:

The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds”, in part, because they “do not realize that they are being propagandized”.

Davis was a career journalist who worked for ten years for the New York Times before being recruited by the government. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s White House needed the film industry to incorporate specific themes in their movies, ideas that promoted the notion of WWII as being a “popular” war, fought to defend his Four Freedoms.

But at first, Poynter’s office in Hollywood had little veto power over what the industry could produce – for the entire Western world – limiting itself to suggest cosmetic changes here and there, or the toning down of reactionary and racist imagery and language, an inherent feature in the Hollywood of that era.

The heads of the studios were on fairly good terms with the US Army, historically close to the industry. Its owners were happy to portrait US wars abroad as heroic, in exchange for the lending of military equipment, installations and expert advice.

But in most cases, a disappointed Poynter complained, war ended up only as “a backdrop” for shallow romance, cheap comedies and other proven formulas. Poynter and his boss at the BMP, Lowell Mellett, also hired a former assistant of Harold Lasswell, a famous social researcher who said – back in the 30s – that democracy needed propaganda because people were not the best judges of their own interest.

Eventually, the team devised a way to exert more power over the unruly, reactionary and overly commercial Hollywood studios. They decided to ask the US Office of Censorship to weigh in and threaten them with banning “offending” films from export, seriously reducing their potential earnings.

According to Koppes and Black’s Hollywood Goes to War, it was a success, prompting MGM, Warner and the other big names to start turning in their scripts for review to Poynter. The BMP knew it was important to intervene right at that stage, before large amounts of money were spent in production.

Poynter was a diligent censor and propagandist, going as far as to suggest dialogues for the movie scripts he was reviewing, breaching “one of the industries taboos” and provoking the powerful tycoons, according to the authors mentioned above.

When the war ended, Poynter went back to journalism. He eventually took over the St. Petersburg Times (renamed Tampa Bay Times in 2012), owned by his father. He also founded the Congressional Quarterly with his wife Henrietta, who died in 1968. As we can read in the Poynter institute’s website:

When Henrietta died suddenly at the age of 66, Nelson mourned deeply. ‘Her passing marked the end of an era for Mr. Poynter,’ said David Shedden, former research librarian at The Poynter Institute. ‘He started looking to the future and thinking about his legacy. He focused on creating a school for journalists, which of course became the Modern Media Institute, and then the Poynter Institute’.”

Nevertheless, historian W.C. Bourne explains that many of the OWI’s top brass – as Elmer Davis and Nelson Poynter, former journalists – returned to the corporate media after the war, but “retained an abiding belief in the things for which OWI stood and the possibilities of accomplishment in the international information picture”.

Many of them also retained the Deep State contacts and a nationalistic “spirit of collaboration”.

A legacy of censorship

Nelson Poynter’s work for the government ended many decades ago, and it would be reasonable to suggest that his ties to the US government and its propaganda apparatus probably never involved the journalism institution he founded years after leaving the OWI.

But we have evidence pointing precisely in the opposite direction.

Firstly, the obvious – and open – ties between the institute and today’s version of the foreign meddling machine installed by the US during the Cold War (i.e. the NED). As informed on many occasions by independent journalists, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy once admitted that:

“A lot of what we do today was done covertly twenty-five years ago by the CIA.”

Secondly, the intimate ties between the Poynter Institute and the US State Department, which selected it to conduct the “Edward Murrow Program for Journalists”.

It brings together “more than 100 emerging international journalists from around the world to examine journalistic practices in the United States”.

In other words, to be indoctrinated in Western corporate journalism and culture and start a relationship with a potential foreign opinion leader.

The State Department’s Murrow program is part of Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), an agency dedicated to “cultural diplomacy”, intimately tied to intelligence and foreign policy since way before the Cold War. The participants to be trained by Poynter are chosen by US embassies abroad.

A 2017 report of the historical success of the educational exchange agency stated that:

… 565 alumni of the ECA programs are current heads or former heads of state and government, and 31 alumni are heads of international organizations.”

Thirdly, the Poynter Institute, too, redacted an infamous blacklist of “fake news” sites, with the intention of marginalize and, in this case, deny many of them of any kind of advertisement money.

A blacklist to defund them all

For this operation, launched on April 30, 2019, Poynter ganged-up with the rest of the fact-checking “cartel”, so to speak.

The institute gathered the blacklists and analysis done in recent years by Snopes, Fact-check.org, Politifact (owned by the Tampa Bay Times and Poynter), OpenSources and the Fake News Codex, and used them to create the mother of all blacklists, naming 515 “unreliable” news websites.

It was retracted shortly after its publication, on May 2, after coming under criticism for “unreliability and poor methodology”. The irony! And this should be understood as an indictment on the whole bunch. As one critic from the George Washington University noted:

Beneath the veneer of its precision, the fact-checking enterprise relies heavily on opinion and interpretation… If a list summarizing fact-checking results and verified by fact checkers is ultimately retracted by those same fact checkers for not being rigorous, it underscores the question of why we should trust anything from the fact-checking community.”

To add insult to injury, Poynter’s dubious list of “unreliable websites” was intended to cause financial harm to those named in it, by guiding advertisers and ad-technology applications to deny them of ads.

After the retraction, Stephen Gutowski, a writer from one of the affected websites, Free Beacon, wrote:

What a disgusting exercise in bad faith from an organization that’s supposed to be about improving and promoting journalism. Instead, they’re creating tabloid-level listicles to smear reporters without offering even a single piece of evidence. Shame on you, @Poynter.”

Philip Klein, from The Washington Examiner – also listed – thought it was:

… worrisome to call for advertisers blacklisting news organizations, especially given the opacity of the process and arbitrariness of many of the judgements [sic].”

The “cartel”

Most of the non-profits behind Poynter’s blacklist share patrons, except for the controversial Snopes, that runs on less grant money than advertisement revenues.

The International Fact-checking Network and its more than a hundred “associated” – subordinated – smaller fact checkers around the globe, are also funded by the same “philanthropists”, like Bill Gates, whose foundation already finances tens of mainstream corporate news outlets with tens of millions of dollars, just like the Columbia Journalism Review recently uncovered.

Regarding Poynter and Gates, specifically:

… Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride said Gates’s money was passed on to media fact-checking sites, including Africa Check, and noted that she is “absolutely confident” that no bias or blind spots emerged from the work, though she acknowledged that she has not reviewed it herself.”

In a blatant conflict of interests, those same fact-checkers often (try to) debunk information related to the Gates Foundation, just like a private PR agency.

Many lesser players in the global constellation of fact checkers are also funded directly by George Soros and his Open Society Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the US embassy and/or the NED.

When “fact-checking”, the members of this private-public consortium often limit themselves to copy/paste from their “parent” sources, like Poynter’s Politifact and Snopes.

As Emil Marmol and Lee Mager recently wrote for Project Censored, the “fake news” psychological operation was little more than a “Trojan horse for silencing alternative news and reestablishing corporate news dominance” :

The fake news hysteria created by those in government and echoed by the corporate news media is being harnessed and used as a pretext for the suppression of dissent and counterhegemonic viewpoints while re-establishing the corporate press’s preeminence as the sole purveyor and manufacturer of public opinion.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the degenerative process under the guise of “protecting us”, prompting democratic governments to take dangerous paths, like arresting citizens for promoting street marches on Facebook.

The internet opened up a world of information to the regular citizen, we must keep it open so more of us can take a look.

Daniel Espinosa lives in Arequipa, second largest city of Peru. He graduated in Communication Sciences in Lima and started researching propaganda and mainstream media. He writes for a Peruvian in-print weekly, Hildebrandt en sus trece, since 2018, and collaborates with many online media. His writings are a critique of the role of mass media in society. You can read his previous work through his MuckRack profile.

September 8, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US contracts out its regime change operation in Nicaragua

By John Perry | COHA | August 4, 2020

Masaya, Nicaragua – An extraordinary leaked document gives a glimpse of the breadth and complexity of the US government’s plan to interfere in Nicaragua’s internal affairs up to and after its presidential election in 2021.

The plan,[1] a 14-page extract from a much longer document, dates from March-April this year and sets the terms for a contract to be awarded by USAID (a “Request for Task Order Proposal”). It was revealed by reporter William Grigsby from Nicaragua’s independent Radio La Primerisima[2] and describes the task  of creating what the document calls “the environment for Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” The aim is to achieve “an orderly transition” from the current government of Daniel Ortega to “a government committed to the rule of law, civil liberties, and a free civil society.” The contractor will work with the “democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) sub-sectors” which in reality is an agglomeration of NGOs, think tanks, media organizations and so-called human rights bodies that depend on US funding and which – while claiming to be independent – are in practice an integral part of the opposition to the Ortega government.

To justify such blatant interference, a considerable rewriting of history is needed. For example, the document claims that the ruling Sandinista party manipulated “successive” past elections so as to win “without a majority of the votes.” Then after “manipulating the 2016 presidential elections” to similar effect, it was warned by the Organization of American States (OAS) that there had been various “impediments to free and fair elections” as a result of which the OAS requested “technical electoral reforms.” What the document omits, however, are the overall conclusions of the OAS on the last elections. Although it identified “weaknesses typical of all electoral processes,” the OAS explicitly said that these had “not affected substantially the popular will expressed through the vote.” In other words, the nature of Daniel Ortega’s victory (he gained 72% of the popular vote) made any minor irregularities irrelevant to the result: he won by an enormous margin. The leaked document makes clear that the US is worried that the same might happen again and aims to stop it.

Not surprisingly, the document also rewrites recent history, saying that the “uprising” in 2018 (which had strong US backing) was answered by “the government’s brutal repression” of demonstrations, while it ignores the wave of violence and destruction that the opposition itself unleashed. The economic disruption it caused is still damaging the country, even though (pre-pandemic) there were strong signs of recovery. USAID, however, has to paint a picture of a country in crisis “… broadening into an economic debacle with the potential to become a humanitarian emergency, depending on the impact of the COVID-19 contagion on Nicaragua’s weak healthcare system.” Someone casually reading the document, unaware of the real situation, might get the impression that, in Nicaragua’s “crisis environment,” regime change is not only desirable but urgently required. The reality – that Nicaragua is at peace, has so far coped with the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well, and hasn’t suffered the severe economic problems experienced by its neighbors El Salvador and Honduras – is of course incompatible with the picture the US administration needs to present, in order to give some semblance of justification for its intervention.

A long history of US intervention

Given the long history of US interference in Nicaragua, going back at least as far as William Walker’s assault on its capital and usurption of the presidency in 1856, the existence of a plan of this kind is hardly surprising. What’s unusual is that someone has made it publicly available and we can now see the plan in detail. Of course, the US has long developed a tool box of regime change methods short of direct military intervention, such as when it sent in the marines in the 1920s and 1930s or illegally funded and provided logistical support for  the “Contra” forces in the 1980s. It now has more sophisticated methods, using local proxies, which are deniable in the unlikely event that they will be exposed by the international media (which normally displays little interest, being much more interested in electoral interference by Russia than it is in Washington’s disruption of the democratic processes).

The latest escalation in intervention began under the Obama presidency and continued under Trump, although the motivation probably has more to do with the US administration’s ongoing concerns about the success of the Ortega government’s development model since it returned to power in 2007 and began a decade of renewed social investment. Oxfam summarized the problem in the memorable title it gave to a 1980s report about Nicaragua: The Threat of a Good Example. Between 2005 and 2016, poverty was reduced by almost half, from 48 percent to 25 percent according to World Bank data. Nicaragua had a low crime rate, limited drug-related violence, and community-based policing. Over the 11 years to 2017, Nicaragua’s per-capita GDP increased by 38 percent—more than for any of its neighbors. Its success contrasted sharply with the experience of the three “Northern Triangle” countries closely allied to the US. While Nicaragua became one of the safest countries in Latin America, neighboring Guatemala, El Salvador and particularly Honduras saw soaring crime levels, rampant corruption and rapid growth in the drug trade that prevented social progress and produced the “migrant caravans” that began to head north towards the US in 2017.

The US administration’s efforts in 2016 and 2017, building on long experience of manipulating Nicaraguan politics, appeared to produce results in April 2018. The first catalyst for action by US-funded groups was an out-of-control forest fire in a remote reserve, inaccessible by road.[3] The tactics were clear: take an incident with potential to get young people onto the streets, blame the government for inaction (even though the fire was almost impossible to control), whip up people’s anger via social media, organize protests, generate critical stories in the local press, enlist support from neighboring allies (in this case, Costa Rica) and secure hostile coverage in the international media. All of these tactics worked, but before the next stage could be reached (protesters being repressed by the Ortega “regime”) the forest fire was extinguished by a rainstorm.

A week later, the opposition forces were unexpectedly given a second opportunity.  The government announced a package of modest social security reforms, and quickly faced new protests on the streets. The same tactics were deployed, this time with much greater success. Violence by protesters on April 19 (a police officer, a Sandinista supporter and a bystander were shot) brought inevitable attempts by the police to control the protests, leading to rapid escalation. Media messages proliferated about students being killed, many of them false. Only a few days later the government cancelled the social security reforms, but by now the protests had (as planned) moved on to demanding the government’s resignation. The full story of events in April-July 2018, and how the government eventually prevailed, is told in Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup?

A section of the report

Laying the groundwork for insurrection

How were the conditions for a coup created? The aims of US government funding in Nicaragua and the tactics they paid for in this period were made surprisingly clear in the online magazine Global Americans in 2018, which is partly funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).[4] Arguing (in May 2018, at the height of the violence) that “Nicaragua is on the brink of a civic insurrection,” the author Ben Waddell, who was in Nicaragua at the time, pointed out that “US support has helped play a role in nurturing the current uprisings.”

His article’s title, Laying the groundwork for insurrection,[5] was starkly accurate in describing the ambitions behind the NED’s funding program, which had financed 54 projects in Nicaragua over the period 2014-17 and has continued to do so since then. What did the projects do? Like the recently leaked document, NED promotes ostensibly innocuous or even apparently beneficial activities like strengthening civil society, promoting democratic values, finding “a new generation of democratic youth leaders” and identifying “advocacy opportunities.” To get behind the jargon and clarify the NED’s role, Waddell quotes the New York Times (referring to the uprisings in Egypt, where NED had also been active):[6]

“… the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.”

In the case of Nicaragua, the NED’s funding of groups opposed to the Sandinista government began in 1984, giving the lie to their aim being to “promote democracy” since that was the year in which Nicaragua’s revolutionary government held the country’s first-ever democratic elections. Waddell makes it clear that the NED’s efforts continued, years later:

“… it is now quite evident that the U.S. government actively helped build the political space and capacity in Nicaraguan society for the social uprising that is currently unfolding.”

The NED is not the only non-covert source of US funding. Another is USAID, which describes its role in the 2018 uprising in similar terms to the NED. Not long before he exposed the new document, William Grigsby was able to publish lists of groups and projects in Nicaragua funded by USAID and by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).[7] He showed that upwards of $30 million was being distributed to a wide range of groups opposed to the government and involved in the violence of 2018, and that in the case of the NDI at least this funding continued into 2020.

Last year, Yorlis Gabriela Luna recounted for COHA her own experiences of how US-funded groups trained young people, in particular, and influenced their political beliefs in the build-up to 2018.[8] She explained how social networks and media outlets were “capable of fooling a significant portion of Nicaragua’s youth and general population.” She explained how the groups used scholarships to learn English, diploma programs, graduate studies, and courses with enticing names like “democratic values, social media activism, human rights and accountability” at private universities, “to attract and lure young people.” She went on to explain how exciting events were organised in expensive hotels or even involving trips abroad, so that young people who had never before been privileged in these ways developed a sense of “pride,” belonging, and “group identity,” and as a result “wound up aligning themselves with the foreign interests” of those who funded the courses and activities.

The new task during and after the pandemic

Two years after the failed coup attempt, what are the organizations that receive US funding now supposed to do? The new document is full of jargon, requiring the contractor (for example) to engage in “targeted short-term technical and analytical activities during Nicaragua’s transition that require rapid response programming support until other funds, mechanisms, and actors can be mobilized.” The work also requires “longer-term programs, which will be determined as the crisis evolves.” Preparation is required for the possibility that “transition [to a new government] does not happen in an orderly and timely manner.” The contractor will have to prepare “a roster of subject matter experts in Nicaragua” to provide short term technical assistance, “regardless of the result of the 2021 election, even in the event of the Sandinistas ‘winning fairly’.” The document is full of requirements like being able to offer “a rapid response” and “seize new opportunities,” emphasizing the urgency of the task. In other words, a fresh attempt is underway to destabilize Daniel Ortega’s government and, in the event that this doesn’t work, and even should the Sandinistas win the next election fairly, as the document admits is a possibility, US attempts at regime change are stepping up a gear.

Who will carry this out? The document places much emphasis on “maintaining” and “strengthening” civil society and improving its leadership, which appears to refer to the numerous NGOs, think tanks and “human rights” bodies which receive US funding. At one point the document asks “what should donor coordination, the opposition, civil society, and media focus on?” – clearly implying that the contractor has a role in influencing not just these civil society groups but also the media and political parties.

Not surprisingly, the document has been interpreted as a new plan to destabilize the country. Writing in La Primerísima, Wiston López argues that the plan’s purpose is “to create the conditions for a coup d’état in Nicaragua.”[9] Brian Wilson, the VietNam veteran severely injured in the 1980s when attempting to stop a freight train carrying supplies to the “Contra,” and who lives in Nicaragua, concludes that the US now realizes that Ortega will win the coming election.[10] In response, the “US has launched a brazen, criminal and arrogant plan to overthrow Nicaragua’s government.”

Supposing that there is a clear Sandinista victory in 2021, will the US nevertheless refuse to accept the result? Having implied that the OAS had serious criticisms of the last election when this was not the case, the document implies that it will be pressured to take a different attitude next time, saying that “whether the OAS decides to pick up the pressure on electoral reform again will be an important international pressure point.” No doubt the US will try to insist that the OAS must be election observers, and if this is refused it will allow the legitimacy of the election to be called into question, if the result is unfavorable to US interests. Many question whether the OAS is even qualified to have an observer role any longer, however, after the serious harm it did to Bolivian democracy in 2019 by casting doubts on what experts considered a fair election and, in effect, instigating a coup.[11] This document creates legitimate concern that the US government would like to use the OAS to prevent another government that is not to its liking from winning an election, as it did so recently in Bolivia.

Not only must conditions be created to replace the current government, but once this is achieved the changes must extend to “rebuilding” the institutions of government, including the judicial system, police and armed forces. After the widespread persecution of government officials, state and municipal workers and Sandinista supporters that occurred in 2018, it is not surprising that this is interpreted as requiring a purge of all the institutions and personnel with Sandinista sympathies. As Wilson says, “the new government must immediately submit to the policies and guidelines established by the United States, including persecution of Sandinistas, dissolving the National Police and the Army, among other institutions.”

USAID makes it clear that it is internal pressure in Nicaragua that might eventually provoke a coup d’état, so it calls on its agents to deepen the political, economic and also the health crisis, taking into account the context of COVID-19. The US State Department recently awarded an extra $750,000 to Nicaraguan non-government bodies as part of its global response to COVID-19, and this includes “support for targeted communication and community engagement activities.”[12] As López points out in Popular Resistance, “Since March the US-directed opposition has focused 95% of their actions on attempting to discredit Nicaragua’s prevention, contention, and Covid treatment. However, this only had some success in the international media and is now backfiring since Nicaragua is the country with one of the lowest mortality rates in the continent.”[13] The Johns Hopkins University’s world map of coronavirus cases currently shows Nicaragua with 3,672 cases compared with 17,448 in El Salvador, 42,685 in Honduras and 51,306 in Guatemala.[14] Even though higher figures produced by Nicaragua’s so-called Citizens’ Observatory[15] are regularly cited in the international media, they currently show just 9,044 “suspected” cases, still far below the numbers in the “Northern triangle” countries.

What will the opposition do next?

COHA has already documented the disinformation campaign taking place against Nicaragua during the pandemic and how this has been repeated in the international media. So far, however, warnings of the health system’s collapse have proved to be unfounded.[16] If, as happened with the Indio Maíz fire and the social security protests in 2018, the opposition fails in its attempt to use the pandemic to destabilize the Ortega government, what will it do next? A recent incident shows that attempts to seize on events to spur a crisis will continue. On July 31, a fire occurred in Managua’s cathedral. The fire department responded quickly and put out the blaze within ten minutes, but a crucifix and the chapel where it stood were badly damaged. Within minutes opposition newspaper La Prensa reported that “an attack” had occurred involving a “Molotov cocktail” and that the government or its supporters were implicated.[17] This was echoed by other local and international media, opposition parties, the Archbishop of Managua, and by one of the NGOs which received USAID funding.[18] Despite the lack of any evidence to back up the media stories, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) also condemned the incident, obviously implying that it was an attack on human rights.[19]

Yet a police investigation quickly established that there was no evidence at all of any foul play, or that petrol or explosive materials were involved.[20] Their investigations pointed instead to a tragic accident involving lighted candles and the alcohol spray being used as a disinfectant as part of the cathedral’s anti-COVID-19 precautions. The Catholic Church has already announced that the damaged chapel will be restored to its former state. However, the damage that has been done to the government’s national and international reputation, and to its highly politicized relationship with the Catholic Church, will be more difficult to repair.

John Perry is a writer based in Nicaragua.

 


End notes

[1] Downloadable in English (pdf) at https://s3.amazonaws.com/rlp680/files/uploads/2020/07/31/aid-mayo-2020-ingles.pdf

[2] “EEUU lanza descarado plan intervencionista para tumbar al FSLN”, https://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/287264/eeuu-lanza-descarado-plan-intervencionista-A histotrypara-tumbar-al-fsln/

[3] “International Forces ‘Distorting’ Nicaragua’s Indio Maíz Fire,” https://www.telesurenglish.net/analysis/International-Forces-Distorting-Nicaraguas-Indio-Maiz-Fire-20180414-0019.html

[4] See details at https://www.ned.org/wp-content/themes/ned/search/grant-search.php (NED is nominally independent of the US administration, but is funded by Congress.)

[5] “Laying the groundwork for insurrection: A closer look at the U.S. role in Nicaragua’s social unrest,” https://theglobalamericans.org/2018/05/laying-groundwork-insurrection-closer-look-u-s-role-nicaraguas-social-unrest/

[6] “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/15aid.html

[7] “Asi financia EEUU a los terroristas,” http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/286068/asi-financia-eeuu-a-los-terroristas/

[8] “The Other Nicaragua, Empire and Resistance,” https://www.coha.org/the-other-nicaragua-empire-and-resistance/

[9] “EEUU lanza descarado plan intervencionista para tumbar al FSLN,” http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/287264/eeuu-lanza-descarado-plan-intervencionista-para-tumbar-al-fsln/

[10] “NIcaragua targeted for US overthrow in 2020-21,” https://popularresistance.org/nicaragua-targeted-for-us-overthrow-in-2020-21/

[11] “Bolivia’s Struggle to Restore Democracy after OAS Instigated Coup,” https://www.coha.org/bolivias-struggle-to-restore-democracy-after-oas-instigated-coup/

[12] See https://www.state.gov/update-the-united-states-continues-to-lead-the-global-response-to-covid-19/

[13] “US Launches Brazen Interventionist Plan to Overthrow the FSLN,” https://popularresistance.org/us-launches-brazen-interventionist-plan-to-overthrow-the-fsln/

[14] See https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

[15] See https://observatorioni.org/

[16] “Experts Warn about Possible Health System Collapse in Nicaragua,” https://www.voanews.com/episode/experts-warn-about-possible-health-system-collapse-nicaragua-4320606

[17] See https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2020/07/31/nacionales/2702954-lanzan-bomba-molotov-adentro-de-la-capilla-de-la-catedral

[18] See for example https://confidencial.com.ni/atentado-con-bomba-molotov-en-la-catedral-de-managua/ and https://elpais.com/internacional/2020-07-31/un-atentado-con-bomba-molotov-incendia-la-capilla-de-la-catedral-metropolitana-de-managua.html

[19] See https://twitter.com/OACNUDH/status/1289574031159488514?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1289574031159488514%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.laprensa.com.ni%2F2020%2F08%2F01%2Fnacionales%2F2703388-organismos-de-derechos-humanos-condenan-ataque-a-la-catedral-de-managua

[20] “Esclarecimiento de incendio en Capilla de la Sangre de Cristo, Catedral de Managua”, https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:105922-esclarecimiento-de-incendio-en-capilla-de-la-sangre-de-cristo-catedral-de-managua-presentacion

August 14, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Fact Checkers

By Iain | In This Together | February 28, 2020

Fact Checkers claim they check facts for you, so you don’t have to. The dictionary definition of a fact is:

“Something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information”

The legal definition of a fact is:

“An actual and absolute reality, as distinguished from mere supposition or opinion; a truth, as distinguished from fiction or error.”

Like reality and truth, a fact is absolute. It never changes, it is immutable and eternal. Our understanding of the facts may differ because we only have the available evidence to inform our knowledge of the facts. The availability of evidence is vital if we are to have any hope of knowing the facts. Our access to evidence doesn’t change the facts, it merely limits or expands our knowledge of them.

The definition of knowledge is:

“[Noun]… awareness, understanding, or information that has been obtained by experience or study, and that is either in a person’s mind or possessed by people generally.”

Vital Access to Information

Access to information is the key component for developing knowledge of the facts. Knowledge doesn’t mean we always get the facts right, but we have no chance if information is limited or deliberately restricted.

Some facts are relatively easy to understand. The boiling point of water is a fact we can physically measure with consistent results. Others are more difficult to know and therefore less certain from our perspective. For example, history comprises of nothing other than facts but for us to know what they are we need to sift through the evidence, some reliable some not, to build our knowledge of the historical facts.

The same is true with current affairs and public issues. The facts are fixed but our knowledge of them is determined by our access to information. Information is subject to many competing forces. Censorship, propaganda, commercial interest, fabrication, omission and basic human error all combine to distort, obfuscate or over emphasise information (evidence). This makes knowing the facts about contemporary public issues just as tricky as knowing the historical facts, often more so.

Fortunately, we can all employ critical thinking skills, cross reference the evidence from various sources and decide the facts for ourselves. Thanks to the current iteration of the internet, the logical pursuit of information, forming our own balanced judgments of the facts, has never been more accessible for ordinary folk. The process called thinking is the service the fact checkers are selling.

Fact checkers claim their knowledge of the information (evidence), which identifies fact, is both complete and indisputable. They are certain about what happened, thoroughly understand all the relevant circumstances, have a complete grasp of reality, knowledge of all the relevant information and are accurately able to determine what is fact.

In short, they say they possess the truth. If you disagree with them, you don’t know the truth and are therefore wrong, regardless of the evidence you cite.

If you rely upon the fact checkers for your facts you must accept this. You no longer need to think critically or examine the evidence yourself. The fact checkers will do the hard work for you. They will tell you what the information is, give you your knowledge and cement the facts in your mind. All you need do is “Google it.”

What Do Fact Checkers Do?

The State has decided people are incapable of critical thinking and can’t tell the difference between facts and disinformation. Further, they propose legislation that will fundamentally change the nature of the internet. It is in this political environment that fact checkers have been commissioned to discern the facts and present the truth to the confused public.

In 2014 there were just 44 Fact checkers worldwide. As of June 2019 there were 188. While the whole of Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America have 67 fact checkers between them, the much smaller geographical and less populated regions of Europe and North America have 121. So there must be more incorrect information in the U.S. and Europe than anywhere else in the world.

Fact Checking is a rapidly changing startup industry. In 2014 nearly 90% of Fact Checkers were directly funded by mainstream media corporations. Today that figure has dropped to just 56% with many more claiming they are independent. We are going to look at how independent they are.

Some independent fact checkers, such as the UK’s Full Fact, have been given charity status. The UK Charity commission accepted Full Fact’s charitable purpose:

“To provide free tools, advice, and information so that anyone can check the claims we hear about public issues.”

Fact Checking?

Fact Checkers make money by fact checking for multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), wealthy charitable foundations and the mainstream media. Global corporations, notably the tech giants, are under considerable political pressure to employ fact checkers and devise ways of stopping the spread of so called disinformation. Disinformation being anything that questions official narratives.

Recently Facebook announced that its subsidiary Instagram was working with fact checkers to deploy a rating system. They will apply a rating “label” to all information as either true, partly false or false. Information rated as partly false or false will then be removed from search results and associated hashtags denied. Once the label is activated Facebook and Instagram bots seek out all “matching” content and label it accordingly. Thus effectively removing the offending information from the public domain.

The public will then be redirected to the correct information:

“… If something is rated false or partly false on Facebook, starting today we’ll automatically label identical content if it is posted on Instagram (and vice versa). The label will link out to the rating from the fact-checker and provide links to articles from credible sources that debunk the claim(s) made in the post.”

“Credible sources”, as far as most International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) fact checkers are concerned, often means the mainstream media (MSM) who they cite while seemingly oblivious to the MSM’s never ending stream of fake news.

Independent Fact Checkers?

For fact checkers to have any credibility they need to be scrupulously unbiased, thoroughly independent and as objective as possible. Any evidence that they are not means they are not fact checkers at all but rather political organizations that offer an opinion. If they are paid by people or groups with clear agendas then they have no credibility and everything they say needs to be treated with caution. We would still need to exercise due diligence and examine the evidence ourselves to establish if the fact checkers opinions are indeed facts.

When the UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office established the Open Information Partnership (the Expose Network) they suggested their network of actors use approved fact checking services, such as Full Fact in the UK, who are members of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Poynter’s major funders include the Charles Koch Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Omidyar Network (Luminate), Google and the Open Society Foundation.

Therefore it is a fact that the IFCN, the “official” trade organisation for “approved” fact checkers, is funded by, among others, the multinational corporation Koch Industries, the C.I.A (NED), globalist venture capitalists (Omidyar), aggressive internet monopolists (Google) and globalist currency speculator & social change agent George Soros (Open Society). Nearly all of the fact checking signatories to the IFCN code have similar agenda driven backers. Members include Politifact, Full Fact, StopFake and AP Fact Check, to name but a few.

Full Fact, for example, list their corporate members to include the City of London Corporation (the UK financial sector and a global center for international finance), the global corporate law firm King & Wood Malleson, St Jame’s Place Wealth Management (a huge global capital investment firm), and the defence contractor Rolls Royce. Their funding partners include Google, The Omidyar Network and the Open Society foundation. They even wrote a policy proposal paper called “Tackling Misinformation In an Open Society.”

Full Fact’s trustees include former BBC Director of News and Current Affairs James Harding. James was responsible for one of the most egregious pieces of fake news war propaganda in modern history when he oversaw production of the BBC’s fake documentary Saving Syria’s Children.

BBC Fake Documentary To Promote War

Chair of the board of trustees is Conservative Party donor Michael Samuel and he is joined by fellow Conservative Lord Inglewood and Labour Peer Baroness Royal. The political establishment is well represented when it comes to making sure we have the right facts.

Another Full Fact trustee is Lord Sharkey Liberal Democrat Peer and former strategic adviser to once UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Clegg joined Facebook in October 2018 to become Facebook Head of Global Affairs. In January 2019 Full Fact became approved third party fact checkers for Facebook and in September 2019 Nick announced that Facebook won’t “fact check” politicians in the same way that it fact checks the general public. Speaking of Facebook’s approach to the political class Clegg said:

“From now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.” 

Obviously this carte blanche doesn’t extend to the general public. Presumably because we are all disinformation agents.

Another Full Fact trustee Tim Gordon was also an advisor to Nick Clegg. He co founded Best Practice AI which was the first UK AI firm invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council (GAIC). The GAIC bring together representatives from tech giants including Microsoft , IBM and Google’s Chinese division with British government ministers, such as former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright, who attending their council meeting in 2019.

GAIC is one of six WEF global councils focused upon technology and the fourth industrial revolution. Their stated purpose is:

“… to provide policy guidance and address governance gaps.”

So as Full Fact rolls out automated AI fact checking, fully funded by regular WEF attendees Pierre Omidyar and George Soros, with the full support of GAIC members Google, it is good to know these projects are rooted firmly in Full Fact’s independence. As they only report the facts they state on their website:

“Full Fact fights bad information. We’re a team of independent fact checkers and campaigners who find, expose and counter the harm it does.”

“Bad information” is information that questions government policy agendas and harms globalist interests. These interests are defined for government by global institutions like the World Economic forum, where government ministers attend to get their orders. Independent, in Full Fact speak, must mean “employed by global corporations and oligarchs.”

The extensive political, intelligence, non governmental and globalist network steering Full Fact is by no means unique to them. A cursory glance at the supporters of the other fact checking signatories to the IFCN reveal a similar web of globalist and corporate interests in practically every case. The IFCN, and its members, are paid by people with overt political, financial and social agendas. Independence is non existent and consequently the fact checkers claims of objectivity need to be treated accordingly. They have no credibility at all.

Not Fact Checking

Get Your Facts Straight

If fact checkers check facts then you would at least expect them to report the evidence accurately. However, all too often, they don’t. For example, AP Fact Check are IFCN members who report that World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7) collapsed on September 11th 2001 as a result of fires. This “fact” was first reported by AP Fact Check on 13/06/2017 and remains as their statement of fact today (28/02/2020.)

The engineering department of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) undertook a 4 year long study into the collapse of WTC7. The UAF report is currently open to peer review and cites the evidence it is based upon. It was published in draft form in mid September 2019 and the findings were officially announced at the same time. It categorically states:

“… fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse.”

The UAF study represents the most thorough, up to date, scientific analysis of the collapse of WTC7. Incomplete peer review of the UAF report is no reason for AP Fact Check to ignore it. The NIST report, the sole source for the fire collapse theory, has never been peer reviewed. Anyone using AP Fact Check to check the facts about the collapse of WTC7 would be wrong if they believed AP Fact Check. AP Fact Check haven’t got their facts straight.

This is a common problem with so called fact checkers. Due to the political nature of their role, all too often they stray into opinion rather than fact. There’s nothing wrong with that except the fact checkers falsely claim their opinions are facts not opinions. What’s worse is that the Internet is being policed and information censored on the basis that the fact checkers opinions are facts.

In January this year the HighWire released a video which contrasted clips of Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organisation (W.H.O). The Video was titled “W.H.O. Chief Scientist Caught Lying To The Public.” Their was no commentary in the Highwire video, viewers were simply presented with the two clips of Dr. Swaminathan. It was left to the viewers discretion to decide if they believed Dr. Swaminathan was, in fact, lying.

In the first clip, from an official W.H.O. vaccine promotional video, Dr. Swaminathan states:

“We have vaccine safety systems. Robust vaccine safety systems … [The] WHO works closely with countries to make sure that vaccines can do what they do best: prevent disease without risks.”

The second clip records Dr. Swaminathan’s address to the U.N. Global Vaccine Safety Summit in 2019. She informs the summit:

“… We really don’t have very good safety monitoring systems in many countries…..we’re not able to give clear-cut answers when people ask questions about the deaths that have occurred due to a particular vaccine… One should be able to give a very factual account of what exactly has happened and what the cause of deaths are, but in most cases, there is some obfuscation at that level.”

Creating Truth Policy

These two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true. If one is, the other is a lie. Vaccines cannot both “prevent disease without risks” while “deaths….have occurred due to a particular vaccine.”  The intention to deceive is an evident fact. Yet Facebook’s automated fact checking labeling system flagged the video as PARTLY FALSE and directed users to two articles from two credible sources which both presented specious, illogical arguments to discredit the factually accurate HighWire video.

In September 2019 climatologists and environmental experts protested to Facebook after its fact checkers labelled the article “The Great Failure of the Climate Models” as ‘FALSE.’ The article was blocked and users could not share it. The information in the article was censored. The article was based upon the work of scientists and statisticians and was factually accurate. Facebook not only labelled the article FALSE they directed readers to a dubious, poorly evidenced source, calling that “credible.”

Facebook removed the FALSE label shortly after receiving the protest letter, without explanation or apology. They clearly accepted their fact checking wasn’t checking any facts at all, simply censoring factually accurate information. However, in the fast paced modern information environment, the damage was done, and the political objective achieved.

This is not fact checking. This is political opinion masquerading as fact checking, deceiving the public into believing something is factually accurate (or inaccurate) when, in fact, it isn’t.

Poynter and the IFCN also confuse their opinion with fact. In May 2019 Poynter were forced to issue an apology, of sorts, to a number of media organisations after they issued an index of ‘unreliable’ media sources. When some of the listed organisations inquired about the basis for Poynter’s unfounded accusations, requesting Poynter and the IFCN provide some evidence to back up their claims, Poynter quickly removed the suggested “blacklist.”

Poynter’s IFCN make a great deal out of their fact checking principles so it’s a shame they didn’t apply any when they issued their blacklist. Poynter’s managing editor, Barbara Allen, said the purpose of the blacklist was as follows:

“… to provide a useful tool for readers to gauge the legitimacy of the information they were consuming… We began an audit to test the accuracy and veracity of the list, and while we feel that many of the sites did have a track record of publishing unreliable information, our review found weaknesses in the methodology. We detected inconsistencies between the findings of the original databases that were the sources for the list and our own rendering of the final report.”

This was tantamount to the IFCN admitting they chose who to put on their blacklist based upon their feelings. When we look at who funds the IFCN it’s pretty clear who those feelings lean towards.

When requested to evidence their decision the IFCN, guardians of the fact checking industry, couldn’t provide any. They had no relevant information, had no evidence to back up their opinion and were simply stating something as a fact when it was nothing of the sort.

Just because an organisation claims they are a fact checker it doesn’t mean they check facts. They are essentially establishment stooges whose role it is to police information and make sure the wider public doesn’t have access to any evidence that challenges official narratives and policy decisions. These fallible groups of people, no better informed than anyone else, are being used by the internet giants, at the behest of government, to censor what we can say online.

Let’s ignore the establishment’s fact checkers and hang on to our critical thinking skills for a while. It looks like we are going to need them more than ever.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

George Floyd protest is ‘for the benefit’ of ‘democratic struggles’ abroad, says US group known for promoting regime change

RT | June 6, 2020

The National Endowment for Democracy, a soft-power group mostly known for splashing government dollars on pro-US influence campaigns overseas to enforce regime change, has endorsed protests against police brutality at home.

In a statement on Friday, the NED came out in support of the protests against the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, which, while originally peaceful, spiralled into violence, wrecking havoc across dozens of US cities. The group, which styles itself as a “private and nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world” but is notorious for being used as a vehicle of US foreign policy abroad, said that it hopes that the movement for racial justice in the US will inspire other “brave people” to challenge the status quo all around the globe.

“Such a movement is needed not just for the sake of our own country, but for the benefit of brave people on the frontlines of democratic struggles around the world.”

In its emphatic endorsement of the ongoing protests, marred by looting, arson and numerous instances of violence, the group equated its doing of Washington’s bidding abroad with the civil rights movement that brought the system of legal segregation in the US to its formal end, arguing that the NED’s mission is “based on the same values of freedom and human equality.”

In a not so thinly-veiled innuendo, the group, which is sponsored by the US Congress and is backed by both Republican and Democratic parties, expressed hope that the events in the US could ignite similar movements elsewhere.

“May the present crisis lead to the realization of the ideals that animate our democracy, and may this give hope to those in other countries who share our commitment to freedom and human dignity.”

The NED, founded in 1983, has courted controversy for using its US government allocated resources for encouraging regime change in countries that refuse to toe Washington’s line, like  Russia and China. The group, along with other US-based “NGOs” supported the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine and later funneled millions of freedom dollars to the country ahead of the 2014 anti-Russian coup that brought down Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych.

In 2015, Moscow designated the NED’s activities as “undesirable” after it was found to have sponsored political campaigns aimed at influencing the Russian government’s decisions, including discrediting the nation’s military forces and the results of elections.

The outlet has also been caught red-handed stirring anti-Beijing sentiment  in Hong Kong, drawing fire from the Chinese government. In December 2019, Beijing sanctioned the NED along with several other US-affiliated organizations, accusing them of  “horrible activities in the months-long turmoil in the city.”

“[There is] a great amount of evidence proving that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces to create chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the time.

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

How a US Government-Sponsored Outlet Sparked Media Hysteria About Kim Jong-un’s ‘Death’

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – May 3, 2020

After weeks of speculation fueled by a lengthy absence, the North Korean leader suddenly reappeared in public on May 1 at the opening of a new fertilizer plant, dispelling rumours that he was dead or ‘gravely ill’.

Kim Jong-un’s surprise reemergence in public after weeks of speculation regarding his health raise a couple of important questions, specifically: how did the rumours get started, and who was behind them?

Queries regarding the North Korean leader’s whereabouts began swirling in mid-April, after he missed the public celebration of the Day of the Sun, the all-important April 15 anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, founder of North Korea and Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. Before that, Kim also missed the session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, making his last public appearance on April 11 at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea politburo.

NED-Sponsored Rumours

It was Daily NK, a South Korean-based online newspaper which receives grant funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a US government-funded non-profit with the stated goal of ‘promoting democracy abroad’, which began the rumour that Kim had undergone a “cardiovascular surgical procedure.” What was the paper’s information based on? An unnamed source inside North Korea.

CNN took the rumour and ran with it, with a US official ‘with direct knowledge’ of the situation telling the network on April 21 that US intelligence was monitoring reports that Kim was “in grave danger” after undergoing surgery.

South Korean officials, meanwhile, maintained at the time that Seoul had “seen no unusual signs with regard to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s health.” Also telling was the fact that US President Donald Trump, who initially ‘wished Kim well’ after hearing the reports, quickly corrected himself, saying he thought CNN’s reporting was “incorrect” and based on “old documents.”

On April 26, a senior advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke to CNN directly, once again dismissing rumours regarding Kim’s health, and reiterating that as far as Seoul was aware, he was doing just fine.

As for North Korean media, it issued a series of statements about Kim’s regular back-and-forth communications with officials, foreign leaders, and construction workers in Samjiyon, a model city in the country’s north.

Still, the lack of photos or videos meant that speculation would go on, with political talking heads mulling over Kim’s possible successor, possibly his sister Kim Yo-jong, while the Washington Post and the New York Times chalked out various apocalyptic scenarios, from panic buying in Pyongyang stores to fears of a cross-border refugee crisis and even a possible military incursion into North Korea leading to nuclear war.

Kim Reappears

On May 1, following an absence of 20 days, North Korean television broadcast a report featuring Kim attending a ceremony opening a new fertilizer plant in Sunchon, an industrial city north of Pyongyang. Photos shared by Korean Central News Agency showed Kim cutting a ceremonial red ribbon at the factory, flanked by officials. Video footage of the event emerged a day later, showing Kim speaking with officials, seemingly in good health and good spirits.

Undeterred by the photo and video evidence challenging their claims, the rumour mill has continued to churn, with ‘health professionals’ telling NK News, a South-Korean-based online newspaper with alleged links to the CIA, that a mark on Kim’s arm seen in the footage actually “corroborates” earlier reports about his alleged heart surgery.

On Sunday, a senior official from the South Korean President’s office dismissed these claims, telling Yonhap that Seoul has “reasons to believe that there was no surgery, but cannot disclose such details.”

The swirling of rumours regarding Kim’s health led to an explosion of memes after his reemergence in public.

Still, only a handful of observers have called out the mainstream media for this latest bout of “fake news,” with journalist and The Grayzone assistant editor Ben Norton calling it “example number 92,730,274 of how the Western corporate media is a totally useless propaganda machine that prints lie after lie in service of Western governments.”

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the country’s ruling Democratic Party reportedly demanded an apology from two defector parliamentarians on Sunday for their alleged role in circulating the fake news regarding Kim’s health. Before the release of fresh photos and video of Kim, high-profile defector and lawmaker Thae Yong-ho publicly said he was confident that the North Korean leader “cannot stand up by himself or walk properly,” while Ji Seong-ho, another opposition lawmaker, claimed he was “99 percent sure” Kim was dead. Jung Choun-sook, Democratic Party lawmaker and spokesperson, called on the pair of MPs to apologize over their now demonstrably “groundless remarks.”

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Uiyghur “Activist” Quickly Exposed As CIA Asset Slandering China

By R S Ahthion | December 12, 2019

Rushan Abbas an Uyghur “activist” has worked for a long list of US regime change organisations from US State Dept, Dept of Justice, Radio Free Asia, Homeland Security and even Guantanamo Bay

A map of the countries that support and denounce Chinas handling of it’s Uiyghur security problem. Doesn’t take much of a glance to realise that Muslim countries support China and the people that denounce China are the same ones that have been bombing, murdering and torturing Muslims for the last 2 decades straight. In fact if you overlaid the countries that denounce China’s policy you basically have a map of NATO.

Last night an AMA started on Reddit claiming: “Hi, I’m Rushan Abbas. I’m one of the Uyghur People of central Asia, and the Chinese Government has locked up many of my friends and relatives in concentration camps.”

For those not sure what any of the above words mean Reddit is a social media site. And an “AMA” stands for Ask Me Anything. Many celebrities have done AMA’s as well as regular folk (if you wanted to ask a doctor/farmer etc. what their daily life entails). The format (unsurprisingly) is one of people asking them questions and the celebrity/person responding.

This AMA was, quite predictably, a long list of propaganda aimed at China and Rushan Abbas advising further trade war against China could be “something Western Countries can do”

Also plugging a narrative that China is some kind of Nazi Germany. This kind of atrocity propaganda being a staple of US regime change. We need not forget the faked Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify the Vietnam war. Hilary Clinton claiming Ghaddaffi handed out Viagra to soldiers to rape to justify destroying the most successful country on the continent of Africa (Libya).

Anyone else remember WMDs in Iraq and 45 seconds to launch?

Incubator babies in Iraq? (to justify the first invasion in the 1990s).

She also bandies about “3 million Uyghurs in camps”.

The original number was “1 million” which has since been disproved by the excellent Grayzone.

This seems to be a staple of shitlibs. To just say an outlandish ridiculous and easily disprovable claim but hope it sticks. However the fake news media (from WaPo to NYTimes ) are more than happy to run with it. Just a coincidence a trade war between US and China is on, right?

However using the Archive.org website which holds archives of other websites someone discovered a page with a Rushan Abbas on it. And what we learn there is she’s essentially a US intelligence asset

Rushan Abbas brings over 15 years of experience in global business development, strategic business analysis, business consultancy and government affairs throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America. She also has extensive experience working with U.S. government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defence, Department of State, Department of Justice, and various U.S. intelligence agencies. In her role at ISI Consultants, Ms. Abbas leads the business development activities of the firm, which includes developing and leveraging international relationships to serve our clients. She also acts as the firm’s key liaison with US and foreign government departments, agencies and embassies in support of international business efforts. Before joining ISI Consultants, Ms. Abbas was the Director for International Business at Leo A. Daly, an internationally recognized leader in the design of the built environment that is consistently ranked among the top design firms in the world. Prior to that, she ran her own consulting firm, working with companies on the set-up, development and implementation of their international business and providing market intelligence and consumer insight to capitalize on new business opportunities in international markets. Ms. Abbas also served as International Marketing Liaison at Pelco (a subsidiary of Schneider Electric) and as International Business Development Manager at Perity Land Inc. the largest commodity exporter in North America. She was also employed at L-3, as a consultant at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2002- 2003 and as a news reporter at Radio Free Asia. Ms. Abbas has also worked as a linguist and translator for several federal agencies including work for the US State Department in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and for President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. Ms. Abbas holds a Bachelor of Science from Xinjiang University in China and completed a graduate program in International Business from California State University in Fresno. Outside of work Ms. Abbas has been an active campaigner for human rights and works closely with members of U.S. Senate, Congressional Committees, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the U.S. Department of State and several other US government departments and agencies.

In a surreal read she has worked for almost every arm of the US regime change machine: from Radio free Asia, US State department, Homeland Security, Department of justice and “various US intelligence agencies”.

So tied to the United States she even worked at Guantanamo Bay during the Bush administration.

Given she worked at Guantanamo Bay it would be interesting to find out her role there. Was she a translator while the CIA torturers beat, shackled, sleep deprived and water boarded detainees against the Geneva convention?

As displayed in a recent article in how the West is ramping up hybrid warfare against China, the NED ( a regime change arm of the United States) proudly displays the fact they pour 22 million US dollars into the Xinjiang region to fuel separatism.

Apparently this is enough to get you an AMA on reddit.

A screenshot of Rushan Abbas’s page when she was an ISI consultant:

January 1, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 4 Comments

New US Ambassadors to Central Asia – the Testament of Growing US Interest

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 03.12.2019

Carrying on the discussion about the role Central Asia plays in Washington’s grand designs and the tactics it employs to ensure its expansion in this region of the world, one cannot omit the criteria it employs to hand-pick ambassadors sent to regional capitals to advance Washington’s agenda.

In this regard, it’s only logical to cite Professor of International Affairs of the Pennsylvania State University, Dennis Jett who stated that:

In every other developed democratic country, the role of ambassador, with only very rare exceptions, is given to career diplomats who have spent decades learning the art of international relations. In the U.S., however, many ambassadors are untrained in diplomacy.

This matter became even more relevant after a series of scandals prompting interest both in the media and the US Congress regarding the role of non-career ambassadors damaging Washington’s ties with various states of the world. It came to a point when US Representative Ami Bera introduced legislation that would require at least 70% of a president’s ambassadorial appointments to come from the ranks of career Foreign Service officers and civil servants.

Returning to the matters of Wahington’s designs in Central Asia, it’s noteworthy that the White House has been appointing people with an extensive military background and first-hand experience in supervising government coups as US ambassadors to Central Asian countries for quite some time now.

Thus, Washington’s special interests in Uzbekistan, previously discussed by the American intelligence company Stratfor, are going to be advanced by its new ambassador to this country, Daniel Rosenblum, who arrived in Tashkent last July. It is noteworthy that Rosenblum holds an MA degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, with the same foundation hosting the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute – the key American think tank tasked with developing a strategy for shaping regional affairs. From 1997-2008, the now US ambassador to Tashkent held a variety of positions, including Deputy Coordinator, Director of the Eurasia Division, and Special Advisor for Economic Programs. That’s when he was tasked with overlooking preparations for a number of color revolutions in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005). Therefore, there is no doubt that Washington has sent the “right man for the job” to Uzbekistan, and judging by his appointment it’s not hard to figure out the precise nature of his job.

The overall increased interest in Central Asia shown by the US and its ongoing preparations for “offensive actions” in this region are clearly indicated by the roster of new US ambassadors that have been sent to the region this year. It is an indicator that we can safely expect a number of “color revolutions” to shake up the region.

Thus, both the new US ambassador to Ashgabat retired colonel Matthew S. Klimow and his wife, Major Edie Gunnels, who arrived to Turkmenistan last June, have extensive military experience. It is unlikely that anyone in this regard may have doubts about the true goals of their role in overlooking a great many of purely military questions that the United States wants resolved in this Central Asian country and the region as a whole.

In March, William H. Moser was sent to Kazakhstan to serve as the new US ambassador. In 2011-2015, he was the US ambassador to Moldova, that is, during the years of an extensive political crisis in this country, which would soon be shaped by the age-old Washington narrative, pushing Nur-Sultan away from Moscow, with emphasis on laying the foundation of American influence through the preparation of “national cadres” loyal to the United States. Without a doubt, the main occupation of the US Embassy under his leadership will be the further expansion of the omnipresent influence of such American NGOs as the Soros Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which are already hard at work implementing the program of “language and cultural Westernization” of Kazakhstan, aimed at closing Russian schools, ousting the Russian language with the subsequent Latinization of the country, and inciting anti-Russian sentiments.

Although, out of all of the Central Asian republics, Tajikistan appears to represent the least amount of interest for Washington, the White House is taking into account the fact that that by controlling the political narrative in Dushanbe and using Tajikistan as a bridgehead, the United States can inflict damage upon both Russia and the PRC, which are described as Washington’s strategic adversaries. Against this background, the arrival of the leading State Department Russian specialist, John Mark Pommersheim, to Dushanbe in the capacity of a US ambassador is very telling. In the 1980s, he worked at the US Information Agency (USIA), and was transferred to Tajikistan after working at the US Embassy in Kazakhstan. It goes without saying that he knows Central Asia well. To date, the United States hasn’t had an opportunity to undermine Russia’s or China’s influence in Tajikistan, put it doesn’t mean that it will not continue trying. Washington could have resorted to hard power, by sending the same militants it controls in Afghanistan to Tajikistan, but so far it has been resorting to soft power. Relatively speaking, Pomersheim is no stranger to the “diplomacy” of reinforcing anti-Chinese and anti-Russian narratives through a network of NGOs.

At the same time, one should not forget that, in addition to actively opposing Russia and its influence in the Central Asian states, Washington’s opposition to China will be the primary goal that all new US ambassadors appointed this year to Central Asia will be tasked to uphold. Indeed, by controlling (or destabilizing) Central Asia, Washington could destroy the whole concept of the One Belt, One Road global initiative, which implies China’s reorientation from relying on sea routes to in-land routes. Moreover, there’s the matter of exports of Central Asian hydrocarbons to China, and the way regional players can influence the Muslim population of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. It’s no secret that the successful destabilization and radicalization of Central Asia through the “assets” that Washington has managed to accumulate in Afghanistan may present a serious challenge to both China and Russia. That is why Washington needed precisely such “right men” to serve as US ambassadors in this region.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Events in Bolivia follow script of ‘color revolution’ – the antithesis of democracy

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | November 12, 2019

From the claim of a ‘stolen’ election to the opposition burning ballots and the forced resignation of President Evo Morales, the events in Bolivia have followed the script of the original “color revolution” in Serbia.

A politician critical of Washington seeks re-election, and wins the vote in the first round under the existing rules. Opposition parties cry foul and demand a runoff, only to attack the polling stations and burn the ballots, making an accurate count impossible. Then their demands escalate: the “dictator” must resign without a new vote, the “people power” in the streets demands it.

Yes, this is Bolivia in early November 2019. But I remember it also being Serbia, in early October 2000 – back when it was still known as Yugoslavia. One or two similarities would be a coincidence; this kind of eerie overlap points to something more. Especially when what happened in Serbia would later be identified as the very first case of “color revolution.”

There are two competing narratives when it comes to the ouster of Morales. The one embraced by the mainstream media calls it a democratic triumph of the Bolivian people against a selfish politician who refused to leave power after 14 years. Interestingly enough, this is something US President Donald Trump and CNN – normally at odds with each other – seem to agree on completely.

Meanwhile, non-mainstream voices, mainly from the political left, have denounced it as a “right wing coup,” either organized or abetted by the US, probably in order to seize Bolivia’s vast mineral resources and solidify Washington’s hold over Latin America.

“Restoring democracy” was also the narrative accompanying the US attempts – so far, unsuccessful – to install in power in Venezuela an unelected opposition politician polling in single digits. Those of you with longer memories may also remember that the October 2000 events in Serbia also involved an unpopular opposition leader of a coalition forced together by US diplomats. They were also painted as a spontaneous, grassroots protests – until it was over, and the media felt free to reveal the role of CIA and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) operatives and their “suitcases of cash.”

Four years later, the Guardian was confident enough to declare in a headline that it was a “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” describing the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine.

“The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections,” wrote Ian Traynor, even noting that it was developed and pioneered four years prior in Belgrade.

One of the names mentioned by Traynor is Michael Kozak, a US diplomat who had tried to replicate the “color revolution” recipe in Belarus. Today, Kozak is acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs – the State Department’s portfolio that includes Bolivia.

Here’s Kozak on October 21, accusing Bolivia of lacking “credibility and transparency” in the vote-counting process, and demanding that the “will of the Bolivian people is respected.” What a remarkable coincidence, indeed!

Then there is Jhanisse Vaca Daza, a prominent Bolivian opposition activist who has been trained in the US by an outfit called the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). Despite the innocuous-sounding name, this is a shadowy organization led by the former members of Otpor – a group crucial to the 2000 revolution in Serbia – turned professional revolutionaries working with the US Deep State around the globe.

It is worth noting that, while this racket has been extremely profitable for the CANVAS crew, most of their Otpor compatriots were less fortunate. The movement folded into a political party, and most of its members ended up disillusioned cogs in the political machine. Several even committed suicide, according to local media reports I have seen.

The “revolution” ended up delivering everything except democracy to Serbia, you see. Instead, it was saddled with a corrupt oligarchy and utterly meaningless elections, where votes are bought and sold and the dead vote with alarming regularity. Both the government and the opposition became agents of foreign powers, making the elections meaningless – what’s the use, when the US embassy ultimately decide who will be in charge? That’s no “democracy,” obviously.

Is this what’s in store for Bolivia? It’s hard to tell, but for me the Serbian experience certainly makes it seem so. Color revolutions are astroturfed at their core, a malicious manipulation of genuine discontent, a big lie that poisons the well of the entire political system – perhaps permanently. Any country that has had to deal with one,  whether successful or merely attempted, has emerged damaged in some way.

Media narratives play a decisive role in color revolutions. They are “a conflict between PR specialists of the government on one hand and the protest movement, or some foreign powers engaged on the other,” political scientist Mateusz Piskorski told RT in 2012.

There are layers of irony in that, given that Trump himself is engaged in a war of media narratives at home, against critics who are using the very same language of democracy and human rights to challenge his own legitimacy. They go so far as to call for the military to oust him from power – much as the Bolivian army just did Morales – all in the name of “our democracy,” of course.

That conversation, while worth having, is for another time. It is a cold comfort to the Bolivians, who now teeter on the precipice of a civil war.

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Morales’ resignation undermines claims he is dictator, US may be behind push to oust him’

RT | November 10, 2019

Washington has played a hand in the resignation of Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, human and labour rights lawyer Dan Kovalik told RT. The US has been stirring unrest for years with millions of dollars in democratic aid, he said.

“I think this is a bad thing that’s happened and I see the hands of the US behind it,” Kovalik said, adding that there has been “evidence released of conversation between the White House and opposition leaders,” indicating that anti-Morales protests might have been a “coordinated” campaign.

“And we know that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been spending millions of dollars in Bolivia for years trying to undermine Evo Morales.”

A CIA offshoot of sorts, the NED channeled nearly $1 million into the South American country in democracy promoting aid in 2018 alone. A huge chunk of the funds was used by International Republican Institute (IRI), in charge of promoting a right-wing agenda.

Kovalik said that more proof of the US involvement in the Bolivian turmoil is bound to come out with time.

Morales’ decision to resign rather than cling to power while risking lives of his supporters, who turn out for mass rallies in his name, “undermines the claims that he is some sort of a dictator,” Kovalik said.

“That shows a lot about who he is. That shows that Morales cares about his own country… he’s shown himself to have the well-being of his own people at heart.”

Noting that Morales, first indigenous leader in the history of his country, has vastly improved the living standard for regular people and the indigenous population, Kovalik argued that his departure might spell trouble for the South American country.

Kovalik believes that while right-wing parties might try to capitalize on Morales’s resignation, they do lack grassroots support.

“I’m not sure they have much popular support, so we’ll have to see if Evo Morales’s party can go on and win without him.”

Thousands of people flooded the streets to protest what the opposition called a rigged election on October 20, in which Morales secured a 10 percentage point gap, that allowed him to avoid a run-off. Morales, once a very popular leader, was faced with a wave of unrest and mutiny from the military. Kovalik believes that outside interference might have played a role in such a change of heart.

“Of course, people change their minds about things, but I also think there’ve been some manipulations of the public in Bolivia.”

November 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

State Funded Propagandists Claim Anti-War Journalists Are State-Funded Propagandists

By Alan MacLeod | American Herald Tribune | October 5, 2019

Investigative journalism website Bellingcat released a bombshell report September 30, that claimed to uncover a network of “pro-Assad media” infiltrating Western journalism. The author, Charles Davis, alleged there was a “shadowy group” connected to the government of Syria that was financing the careers of both left- and right-wing journalists, bloggers and news outlets that toed an Assadist line. Named in the report as effective agents of Damascus were the likes of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, investigative journalists Max Blumenthal, Rania Khalek and Whitney Webb, news outlets like MintPress News and independent journalists such as Caitlin Johnstone. Even the Green Party’s 2016 Vice-Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka was framed as an Assad puppet. Thus, virtually the entire gamut of Western antiwar voices on Syria was declared to be deceiving the public, feeding them Syrian propaganda.

These are extraordinary claims. Yet the evidence provided was far from extraordinary. Indeed, the base of the evidence given was that many of these figures had accepted awards from a US-based organization dedicated, in their own words to “integrity in journalism” which, Davis insists, is a front to spread Assadist propaganda. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the article caused waves on social media, with many seeing it as final proof of a worldwide conspiracy.

What Davis did not divulge, however, as was quickly pointed out by many he pointed the finger at, including Mint Press’ Mnar Muhawesh, was that Bellingcat itself is directly funded by some extremely shady organizations, including the Open Society Foundation and the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). That is the same NED that is currently bankrolling the protests in Hong Kong and has organized regime change operations in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The NED was established as a buffer organization between the CIA and the organizations it was sponsoring. “It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA,” NED President Carl Gershman told the New York Times in 1986. “We saw that in the Sixties, and that’s why it has been discontinued.” One of the NED’s founders, Allen Weinstein, was even more frank: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”, he told the Washington Post.

Davis’ report was met with scathing criticism by those who it named as Assad agents.

“I find it terribly ironic that an article that accused MintPress and other anti-war news sites and journalists of receiving “shady state-linked funding” was published on Bellingcat, a site funded by the US government – currently an occupying power in Syria ­– and Google – the tech behemoth currently working overtime to censor independent media” replied Whitney Webb, when asked by the American Herald Tribune for a response to the allegations, adding that the attempt to paint the Serena Shim Award as “shady” was “quite dishonest” as the cash prize is funded by an all-American political action committee that opposes US interventionism abroad.

Max Blumenthal appeared equally unconcerned with the allegations. “I’ll take a token award from an anti-war non-profit over a byline in an interventionist PR operation literally backed by a CIA cutout that destabilizes socialist and independent nations around the globe any day” he told the American Herald Tribune, adding that “it almost seems that Charles Davis’ entire life is dedicated to attacking and denigrating me. He literally does nothing else”.

If Webb, Blumenthal and others are correct, this latest article is little more than an attempt to denigrate anti-imperialist, anti-war voices, along the lines of what the Atlantic Council has attempted to do. Since 2016, the Council, an offshoot of NATO, has published a series of investigations called “the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses” claiming virtually every political party in Europe that does not fully embrace neoliberal economics and an aggressive policy towards Russia is secretly infiltrated by and directed from Moscow. These parties include Labour and UKIP in the UK, PODEMOS in Spain, Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece and the Lega Nord in Italy.

The Atlantic Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of neocon, interventionist foreign policy planners including Henry Kissinger, ex-Bush officials like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and James Baker, Generals like David Petraeus and Wesley Clark, and a host of ex-CIA directors and senior tech executives. It was this organization that Facebook announced it was teaming up with to fight fake news. Thus, the Council is helping the social media giant to decide what America (and the rest of its 2.4 billion users) sees in their news feeds and what is likely Russian-sponsored fake news. When an organization like this decides what is news and what is not, it is state censorship by any other name. As soon as this partnership was in place, Facebook began deleting news and media channels from Iranian and Latin American (particularly Venezuelan) media that contradicted NATO’s official line on their countries. And Facebook was already working closely with the Israeli government to silence Palestinian voices on its platform.

Eliot Higgins ba4ef

Eliot Higgins. Credit: Ars Electronica/ flickr

Bellingcat’s founder, Eliot Higgins, for the record, was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council between 2016 and 2019, where he published purportedly expert and independent reports into Russian aggression in Ukraine. Yet Bellingcat continues to present itself as a neutral observer in the cyberwar between Russia and the West.

And that is the trick. Under the guise of protecting us from supposedly extensive foreign, state-funded propaganda campaigns, we are, ourselves, being exposed to an even bigger, Western state-funded propaganda campaign, the extent of which is far greater than even the most lurid Russian fantasies of Bellingcat. Last year, for instance, it was exposed that the UK secret services have infiltrated media across Europe, building up “clusters” of sympathetic journalists in many nations in order to push certain lines crucial to their perceived interests. This “Integrity Initiative” as it is known, sprung into action in Spain, using their journalists to stir up a storm of controversy that managed to block the appointment of Colonel Pedro Baños to the position of head of Spanish national security. Baños, the Initiative had decided, was not sufficiently warlike on Russia, and needed to be blocked. Yet this blatant interference in foreign politics received scant attention in corporate media.

Ultimately, there is a new information war being waged in cyberspace, and the lesson to be drawn from this affair is to be very cautious of those decrying Russian propaganda while not also warning against the power of Google and the NSA, or calling for the release of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Cyberspace is the new battleground; and in war, truth is always the first casualty.


Alan MacLeod is a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. His latest book, Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting, was published by Routledge in April.

October 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 2 Comments

Pro-Hong Kong rally in DC against ‘CHINAZI regime’ being sponsored with US govt-linked money

A version of the ‘Chinazi’ flag © Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach
RT | September 11, 2019

A planned Washington DC protest in support of Hong Kong activists and promoting the ‘Chinazi’ flag is being sponsored by at least six organizations backed by the notoriously shady, US-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Posters for the event circulated online contain an image of the so-called ‘Chinazi’ flag – an altered version of the Chinese national flag with the yellow stars arranged to form a swastika and with a hammer and sickle placed in the center.

Protesters plan to form a human chain encircling the Chinese Embassy in Washington to protest the “Chinazi regime” and call for an independent Hong Kong. The #Chinazi hashtag has also become popular with activists on Twitter.

The list of event sponsors proves that the anti-China movement in Hong Kong is backed not only by American politicians, but also by American money – through US government-funded groups.

A DC-based organization called Citizen Power Initiatives For China, which describes itself as a “grassroots movement” dedicated to promoting democracy in China through “non-violent struggle” and “overseas assistance” to “influence” Beijing’s policies, appears to be the chief event organizer.

Information on the group’s funding is not easily found on its website, but a search of the NED database shows it received $206,500 from the US-funded organization between 2015 and 2016.

The NED, founded in 1983, claims to promote democracy abroad by offering government grants to civil society groups around the world. In reality, it has been used mainly as a soft-power vehicle to advance the US foreign policy and military agenda through sowing chaos in countries targeted for ‘regime change.’

The NED is “explicitly dedicated to meddling in other countries’ affairs, interfering in elections, toppling democratically elected leaders, and spreading public relations campaigns to sow chaos against countries that resist Washington’s agenda,” award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal told RT last year. Indeed, even one of the NED’s former presidents, Carl Gershman, has admitted it was created in order to continue the work of the CIA without the stigma of being attached to the spy agency.

Six more of the ‘Chinazi’ rally’s sponsors have also partnered with or received significant funding from the NED in recent years. Those include the Princeton China Initiative (received $323,811 between 2015-2017), Students for a Free Tibet (received $270,810 between 2015-2018), International Campaign for Tibet (received $35,558 in 2015), the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (received $104,496 in 2015), and the Uyghur American Association (received $295,000 in 2015). ChinaAid lists the NED and the US-funded Freedom House as partners.

Other sponsors of the event are also US-based, including Dialogue China (Maryland), The China Organ Harvest Research Center (New York) and The East Turkestan National Awakening Movement (Washington DC) – but information on their funding is not clear.

While Initiatives For China claims to support “non-violent struggle,” protests raging in recent weeks in Hong Kong have turned increasingly violent. Video footage has documented activists wielding bats and metal rods, attacking public property and throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at police. “Using force is one of our methods to protect ourselves and to protest,” one masked protester told Ruptly video agency.

The NED’s focus on Hong Kong fits with the typical US approach to anti-government protest activity abroad. A government memo, leaked in 2017, confirmed that it is US policy to “emphasize” pro-democracy movements in adversary nations, while playing them down or ignoring them in friendly nations – Beijing has accused the US of orchestrating the movement and analysts have argued that encouraging unrest in Hong Kong is seen to be beneficial for Washington as US President Donald Trump wages a trade and tech war with China.

Indeed, protesters have been seen waving US flags and key figureheads of the movement visited Washington to meet with high-ranking officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at the height of the chaos.

The links between US officials, anti-China activists and shady US government-funded organizations is reminiscent of countless US regime-change or ‘color revolution’ efforts seen around the world, from Ukraine to Syria, Libya and Venezuela.

Now, more evidence is stacking up to prove that the US is playing an active role in fueling turmoil in Hong Kong.

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment