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On COVID-19 and Curtis LeMay

By Robert S. Griffin • Unz Review • March 26, 2020

As I write this in late March of 2020, the world is under attack from a deadly strain of coronavirus called COVID-19. Thus far, there have been around 18,000 deaths world-wide, including 550 deaths in the United States where I live. My country has come to a halt: schools and businesses are shut down and people have been warned to stay in their houses or apartments hunkered down in the face of this menacing enemy. We’re in a war, that’s how it is being described in the media. The president has said he is like a war-time president.

Speaking of war, tonight, hunkered down as I usually am in this very late stage of life—I didn’t need to be directed to hide out on this leather couch I’m sitting on at the moment—I read a biography of an American World War II-era air force general by the name of Curtis LeMay (LeMay: The Life and Times of General Curtis LeMay by Warren Kozak, Regnery, 2009). As I was reading along, it hit me that COVID-19 has a long way to go before it’s in a league with General LeMay as a killing machine. Back in 1945, in less than three hours, LeMay got way, way more killing done than COVID-19 has been able to accomplish in three months.

And it’s more than just in the sheer number of deaths that LeMay comes out on top in the comparison.

COVID-19 has been bad at snuffing out the lives of children and people who aren’t already sick with something. With LeMay, young and old, sick and well, he put them all in their graves.

And LeMay wasn’t limited to primly killing people lying quietly in hospital beds with rubber tubes running into them as COVID-19 has been. He set them on fire, deprived them of air to breathe, and heated them up like pot roasts. Imagine that action!

More, COVID-19 seems only to be proficient at x-ing out human life in cold weather; no good in the summer. LeMay demonstrated in both Europe and Asia that he was a man for all seasons, as it were—he was as effective cancelling someone’s existence in July as January.

Plus, Curtis LeMay didn’t just kill people; he also totally leveled the areas they lived in. COVID-19 has accomplished nothing in this regard.

In addition, Curtis LeMay had style and pizzazz—he had a snappy uniform and chewed on a big cigar. COVID-19, tiny and round with little spikes, no snappy uniform, no big cigar, nothing, lacks presence entirely.

Even more, Curtis LeMay was miles ahead of COVID-19 in public relations. He did his killing and came off looking good and got fawned over and invited to dinner parties, while COVID-19 does its killing and comes off looking bad and is shunned and people are brewing up poison to slip into its margarita. No contest there either.

The one area where COVID-19 comes out ahead of LeMay is in the ability to make the stock market plunge. LeMay was lacking in that area, though in fairness to him, he wasn’t dedicated to getting that accomplished—total destruction and super high death counts were his only priorities.

Assuming you don’t know about him, General Curtis LeMay conceived and ordered an incendiary bombing raid—fire bombs, they set everything aflame—on the civilian population of Tokyo, Japan, March 9th, 1945. Here’s a description of how it went down drawn from the LeMay biography I just read:

Across Tokyo, residents looked up in amazement. They had never seen the “B-sans” [B29 bomber airplanes] so low, nor had they ever seen so many at once. German Catholic priest, Father Gustav Bitter, who was there, later wrote, “The fire falling from the sky reminded me of tinsel hung on a Christmas tree. The red and yellow flames reflected from below onto the silvery undersides of the planes in the upper darkness gave them the appearance of giant dragon flies with jeweled wings. I watched as if I were in a trance.”

With sudden fury, tranquility became horror as the incendiaries hit home. They created tornadoes of fire. They sucked away oxygen; people couldn’t breathe and suffocated. Masuko Harino, a factory worker, reported, “Intense heat came from the firestorm. My eyes seemed about to pop out. People’s clothes were on fire. They were writhing in torment.” A young woman described a school that had become a three-story oven: every human being inside it was cooked to death. Strewn everywhere, some in batches, the incinerated bodies were black; they looked like logs from a distance. There was a dreadful sameness about the dead, no telling men from women or adults from children. If they could walk, survivors wandered about like ghosts, silent. Those still alive were left to die in agony; there was no medicine, food, or drinking water for them.

The raid lasted two hours and forty minutes. Sixteen square miles of Tokyo, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, was transformed into a moonscape of twisted reddish-black iron, roasted sheet metal, and rubble. Not a single man-made structure still stood. An estimated 100,000 people died in Tokyo that night. More than a million were left homeless. The grisly retrieval of bodies took weeks. At least 70,000 people were buried in mass pits. A U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded, “More persons lost their lives in Tokyo that night than in any equivalent period of time in the history of mankind.”

How did what Curtis LeMay pulled off that March night in 1945 go over? It went over really big. And LeMay himself went over really big. I read The New York Times every morning, and it’s been non-stop trashing COVID-19 for weeks, not one positive word, and there’s been all kinds of commiserating with the dead and dying. With LeMay, the Times jumped up and down like cheerleaders. Hurray for our hero! The paper pointed out that those people in Tokyo LeMay set on fire, asphyxiated, and baked had it coming—women, children, and infants, every last one of them–because “the people, factories, and small establishments all contributed to Japan’s war effort.” The Times celebrated LeMay’s admirable deed as the start of really good things: to wit, Japanese cities becoming “no more than holes in the ground.” Though the newspaper cautioned readers that the Japanese “have done their deadliest fighting from holes in the ground,” so we need to be diligent and thorough with the killing.

Following the bombing raid, New Yorker magazine had a glowing profile of LeMay. And he was on the cover of Time magazine and given an effusive write-up in its pages. Nothing like that for COVID-19. But then again, COVID-19 hasn’t done the bang-up job of extinguishing human life that LeMay did, and it’s not anihilating the people who most richly deserve to die like LeMay was so good at doing.

LeMay got a promotion to Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, and in 1968, ran for vice-president on a third-party ticket, garnering a hefty 13% of the vote. COVID-19 couldn’t come by a janitor’s job or get on the ballot for dogcatcher.

LeMay got an elementary school named after him, and . . . oh, you get my point. LeMay had it all going, and my best guess is that no matter how good COVID-19 does in the future—including getting up to speed with killing little children—it’s never going to measure up to him.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Russiagate: The Sequel

Impervious to facts, the false historical narrative is back for more

By Jason Hirthler | American Herald Tribune | March 23 ,2020

Famous muckraker journalist and author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, once declared that, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He was talking about mainstream journalism. Few mainstream outlets better exemplify his maxim than The New York Times. It should then come as no surprise that the Times, the bible of the bourgeoisie, is at it again. The editorial board recently published a new article bringing the coronavirus and this year’s election under the sweeping banner of Russiagate, a tattered and discredited narrative that is being anxiously rehabilitated by the Washington establishment. But of course. The estimable “editorial board” tells us “conditions are ripe,” sending a shiver down the spine of every Biden liberal on either coast. But ripe for what? I think we all know the answer to that question by heart: “to sow discord”. Indeed that infamous epithet is sewn into the headline of the story, as though it had never left.

The first paragraph begins with the assumption that Russian disinformation in our election has been conclusively demonstrated, such that the question need not even be broached. To be clear: Russian disinformation at the express direction of the Kremlin. This whopping assumption taken as a foregone conclusion, we jump ahead to the next question: How will the Russians interfere this time around? Having established an unproven history as fact, the board then moves on to reupholster the sagging narrative from 2016. This time it won’t be the “bumbling” G.R.U., but rather the “more competent, stealthier” S.V.R. Now, with the SVR presumably involved (thought unconfirmed), we may expect “pernicious operational innovation and escalation” with the Russians descending to new lows to weaponize the coronavirus.

Look what’s already been accomplished. A false historical narrative has been posited as the context in which the latest news is shared. Then they introduced a tantalizing new security agency to the plot. Finally, they elevate the idea that “active measures” campaigns, resurrecting an old Soviet term, were not intended to elect Donald Trump, this having been effectively challenged, but rather to, one shudders to think, “weaken the United States.” This sweeping new storyline has been adumbrated in paragraph without providing a single piece of verifiable evidence.

And so, what to expect during this year’s “quadrennial extravaganza”, as Noam Chomsky drily described our electoral farce? Not having any solid evidence of any SVR plans, better to consult Soviet history for clues. The article then accuses the Soviets of a “racial engineering” campaign of anti-semitism in West Germany in 1959, in New York and the U.S. in 1960, and Africa shortly thereafter. Again, no evidence is provided. This is particularly strange that the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany would have launched an anti-semitic campaign in the West, given that it alone conducted a thoroughgoing purge of Nazis from its society, while the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the West happily integrated the surviving Nazi braintrust into its power structures, and sent not a few off to the States to lend their dastardly talents to our ‘democracy promotion’ agendas.  

It is then said, with resigned recognition, that one of the central problems with combatting devious active measures of this kind was that “the K.G.B. largely stuck to the facts.” Which continues to be an insidious feature of modern Russian ‘active measures’, like the channel RT, for example, which regularly hosts angry populist Americans who rattle off chains of facts one can’t find in the mainstream press. It often seems the establishment media is more irritated at the inconvenience of alternative narratives than their veracity. Another ‘throwback’ story is tossed into the pot, perhaps to conjure dormant nostalgia for the Cold War: cigar boxes packed with explosives are sent to a ritzy dinner party to kill a diplomat. Surely the cigars in question were Cohibas, perhaps autographed by Fidel himself?

Just as one is beginning to get excited about all these ‘active measures’, the authors draw us hastily back to sobering reality. We are now given an elementary lesson in amateur psychology: active measures are intended, it seems, to elicit “emotional” reactions and “corrode” the target. Evidently, the best way to do this is to drive a wedge between deeply democratic, multicultural societies in any of the major western utopias. Hence the racial engineering. It is also important to blame the U.S. for afflicting brown people abroad: such as spreading dengue fever in Cuba and malaria in Pakistan. The authors fail to unravel these charges since each is absurd on its face. Or such is the editorial board’s consensus, if not the reader’s. One imagines the board members chucking at the charges: As if the United States of America would ever attempt such a thing! But then again, since World War Two, the U.S. has tried to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, assassinate some 50 foreign leaders, either invade directly or by proxy or simply bomb 30+ countries, not to mention interfering in some 30 foreign elections, all this with the aim of destabilizing and disbanding populist movements around the world. Nobody embodies counterrevolutionary imperialism better than Washington and its vassals. But these facts are, as Sinclair would remind us, what the board and its authors are paid to forget. 

But back to the true evildoers, Russia. According to anonymous sources with no evidence to share, the Russians will harness the coronavirus to divide Americans from each other. The authors reference a discord-sowing campaign being run out of Ghana by a group called ELBA, uncovered by Facebook and CNN. A modest single-story yellow house with stone-fronting is shown in the linked CNN article, the worldwide headquarters of the ghastly ELBA “Russian trolls” who, stunningly, were not even aware they were Russian trolls. Most were Ghanaians. But such is the surreptitious and artful Kremlin craft. Ghanaian security forces raided the small house and then darkly implied our worst fears when they attributed ELBA’s funding to a “European country.” CNN traced the Ghanaian man who ran the company back to Russia, where he worked as a translator. That manager, Seth Wiredu, was confused that Ghanaian security had raided his business. “I fight for black people,” he said. Indeed, the posts on Facebook were focused on repression of African-Americans, quite sensibly. Facebook quickly took down 71 associated accounts. Of course, our white authors at the Times, say the Russians have influenced African-Americans since 2016. CNN attempted to tie Wiredu to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of 2016 fame, though he flatly denied the association. 

And so, regarding the Russians supposed gameplan for 2020, we are left with little substantiated intelligence and much speculative fodder. The story itself is based merely on what “officials said.” Unnamed officials. Anonymous officials. Government agents. “They gave few details,” of course, but this, as you know, is all done in the name of national security. One can just imagine the Times deep throat hemming and hawing and biting his lip in some oil-stained underground parking deck, finally whispering, “I really can’t show you the evidence. It would compromise national security.” And then a conspiratorial and patriotic nod from the Times stenographer. “I understand completely,” he replies. “The safety of the American people is paramount.” 

Manufacturing Consent, Consensus, and Fear  

One of the filters that Noam Chomsky and Edward Hermann laid out in their classic Manufacturing Consent is to do with sources. Namely, “the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and ‘experts’ funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power.” Voices of the establishment, in other words. This is precisely how the MSM has managed the deliberate expansion of Russiagate. Times journalists reflexively accept the pronouncements of their government sources. It has gotten to the point where sources must no longer provide evidence for their claims. They must merely claim that providing evidence would compromise national security. Any serious journalist would insist on evidence. But journalists do not do this because they recognize that if they did, the source would likely quit being their source and begin to break stories with competitor news outlets. The muckraker again: their salary depends on blind faith. There is no reasonable excuse for this journalistic stenography. Parroting government sources is exactly that. 

Anonymous Sources Lack Credibility 

Aside from the self-evident willingness of the press to print unsubstantiated and inflammatory claims, there are three other reasons to view such stories with skepticism. First, how many times must we be told that the military-intelligence community is not trustworthy? An infinite number, it seems. From the Church Commission to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the invention of ‘perception management’ to a former CIA director’s naked admission that the organization lied, cheated, and stole as a business model. The government has lied to us about Iraq, the greatest war crime of this century. Before then it lied to us about Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, among many other nations. Since then it has spread disinformation about Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Evidence was manufactured to support a foregone conclusion. The CIA has bought and paid for journalists at least since the Church Commission. 

Second, aside from the perfidious track record of government sources, the mainstream media itself has been shown to be untrustworthy. The notion of journalistic impartiality is more mythic than substantiated. Not least because of its history of conspiracy and connivance with the government. The press hasn’t helped its cause by installing a surfeit of military and intelligence retirees as lead analysts. 

Third, and critically for this particular topic, we now know that much of the supposed evidence for Russiagate has been debunked: 

  • The idea the GRU was definitively behind the supposed hacking of the DNC is errant on two counts: the evidence suggests it was a leak, not a hack; and the CIA is known to have technology that allows it to fake any source it chooses. 
  • The Mueller Report was an unmitigated disaster for conspiracy-pushing Democrats. 
  • We know that the infamous dossier author Christopher Steele was a DNC contractor, like CrowdStrike, which refused to turn over its servers to the FBI for investigation after claiming it was hacked, and that the Clinton campaign paid for part of Steele’s investigative work. The Russians were central to Clinton’s explanation of why she lost. 
  • We know that there has been no definitive proof that the Kremlin was behind any of the social media posts that were said to corrupt the election. 
  • Supposed spy Maria Butina was essentially entrapped, jailed, had her reputation destroyed, and was then banished back to Russia. 
  • That Donald Trump’s entire presidency has been largely hostile to Russia, an odd stance for a supposed puppet of the Kremlin.
  • The Times itself launched and promoted the dissimulating sham known as the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian interference. The newspaper repeatedly claimed the ICA was signed off on by all 17 intelligence agencies, a claim it later quietly retracted when it was shown that only four handpicked agencies had actually supported the assessment. Likely handpicked by John Brennan to legitimate suspicions invented by… John Brennan. 
  • The supposed Russian backing of Roy Moore’s Alabama Congressional campaign was a false flag run by a company that wrote the Senate report on Russian interference.
  • We do know the Internet Research Agency was a for-profit clickbait agency that spent a comparative pittance ($100,000) compared to the hundreds of millions spent by the 2016 candidates. Neither have the IRA’s posts aligned with either candidate nor the election itself, with most posts occurring after the election. 
  • We know the MSM’s hysterical claims in reporting the supposed reach of 126 million people via social media posts have collapsed on examination. They actually represented four ten thousandths of the total number of posts on Facebook during the time period, a “miniscule” amount according to Facebook. They mostly occurred after the election, were not predominantly political in nature, and were based on the theoretical possibility that 29 million people may have gotten at least one post in their feed and shared the posts at the average sharing rate. All this setting aside that only 10 percent of Facebook posts in a feed are ever seen at all. 
  • A host of other ill-conceived stories, from Paul Manafort’s supposed clandestine meetings with Julian Assange, to Putin’s hacking of electricity grids, to sonic microwave attacks of U.S. diplomats, have all been exposed and treated with the contempt they deserved.
  • The indictments against the 13 members of IRA are in the process of being dropped. The reason? You guessed it: national security. 

Why Anti-Russian Disinformation? 

Given the breadth of Russiagate’s failure, we now know that the MSM is happy to disseminate largely counterfactual content. Why? Cui bono? After it was launched in 2016, Russiagate quickly became a perfect storm in which the interests of three powerful Washington entities converged. The Clinton campaign used the story to rationalize its embarrassing defeat to a casino mogul. The Democratic Party used the tale to attempt to excuse its discredited centrist politics to re-energize its disillusioned base in the faux resistance of a supposed traitor in the White House. And, most importantly, the intelligence community leveraged the claims to constrain Trump’s foreign policy, steering him away from befriending Russia or thoroughly dismantling costly wars abroad. All three were happy to then harness the alternative media that was undermining their chosen narratives. The Democrats and the military intelligence community likely see benefits in extending this threadbare fiction through the 2020 electoral season, not to mention the pandemic. After all, Bernie Sanders populist campaign has given the establishment a real fright, as Trump’s campaign did four years ago. Much of this has to do with deteriorating conditions among the working class. But also it has to do with access to alternative sources of information. It is the internet that has destabilized the establishment’s control of the national discourse over the last 20 years. It reached a crescendo in 2016. 

Since then, Russiagate has been leveraged to suppress alternative voices on the internet and insurgent contrarians in the mainstream. The censorship of left voices across the social media spectrum has been well noted, from Google algorithm changes to Facebook account deletion to demonetization on YouTube. Likewise, progressive voices in the mainstream, like Tulsi Gabbard, were smeared by MSM for their anti-war positions and marginalized in the national discourse. Gabbard correctly clarified in a Washington Post article that it was the intelligence community that was interfering in our elections by continually leaking Russiaphobic claims without evidence. This is precisely what the Times editorial board have long peddled. They are showing little sign of quitting their perfidy. 

This is standard issue rollback by federal forces. The history of anti-communism, expertly unpacked by Alex Carey among many others, demonstrates that anti-communism has been used to suppress socialist thought in America. Chomsky and Herman said anti-communism was the fifth filter by which elites managed the flow of information to the public. They called it a “national religion.” Historically, nothing has encouraged self-censorship better than the fear of being called a communist. In the post-Soviet era, that nimble and dexterous label has now been simply repurposed into the charge that one is a ‘Putin stooge,’ or a ‘Russian bot’ if you challenge Washington claims about Moscow. Easily done since Russia was the home of the Bolshevik Revolution. But it isn’t actually communism or Russia that is the underlying target of establishment repression: it is independence. Independent media, independent nations, independent politicians. 

Max Blumenthal, a stalwart of the anti-imperialist left, perhaps said it best when he summarized Russiagate as follows, “those responsible for this fake neocon intrigue got a new Cold War, record defense budgets, and a McCarthyite political atmosphere to denigrate opponents of permanent war. A waste of energy and a setback for peace.” Well put. We should thus remember, in a time of remarkable insecurity about our healthcare system and its ability to combat the pandemic, there has long been a media virus that has infected the nation’s understanding of foreign policy, ironically by sanitizing news of critical context, fact, and motive. Buyer beware.

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

The New York Times’ Insidious Ongoing Disinformation Campaign on Russia & Elections

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | March 17, 2020

For the past three years the new narrative of Russian interference in U.S. elections has bound corporate news media more tightly than ever to the interests of the national security state. And no outlet has pushed that narrative more aggressively – and with more violence to the relevant facts — than The New York Times.

Times reporters have produced a series of stories that loudly proclaim the Russian election meddling narrative but offer no real facts in the body of the story supporting its most sensational claims.

The Times service to the narrative was introduced by its February 2017 story  headlined, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence.” We now know from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign that the only campaign aide who had contacts with Russian intelligence officials was Carter Page, and those had taken place years before in the context of Page’s reporting them to the CIA. The Horowitz report revealed that FBI officials had hidden that fact from the FISA Court to justify its request for surveillance of Page.

But the Times coverage of the Horowitz report in December 2019 failed to acknowledge that the calumny about Page’s Russian intelligence contacts, which it had published without question in 2017, had been an FBI deception.

Two more Times Russiagate stories in 2018 and 2019 featured spectacular claims that proved on closer examination to be grotesque distortions of fact. In September 2018 a 10,000-word story by Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti sought to convince readers that the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) had successfully swayed U.S. opinion during the 2016 election with 80,000 Facebook posts that they said had reached 126 million Americans.

But that turned to be an outrageously deceptive claim, because Shane and Mazzetti failed to mention the fact that those 80,000 IRA posts (from early 2015 through 2017), had been engulfed in a vast ocean of more than 33 trillion Facebook posts in people’s news feeds – 413 million times more than the IRA posts.

In December 2019, senior national security correspondent David Sanger wrote a story headlined, “Russia Targeted Election Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds,” and Sanger’s lede said the Senate Intelligence Committee had “concluded” that all 50 states had been targeted. But the Committee report actually reaches no such conclusion. It quoted President Barack Obama’s cyber-security adviser Michael Daniel as recalling that he had “personally” reached that conclusion, but shows the only basis for his conclusion was remarkably lame: the “randomness of the attempts” and his conviction that Russian intelligence was “thorough.”

The Committee reported that some intelligence “developed” in 2018 had “bolstered” the subjective judgment by Daniel. But all but one of the eight paragraphs in the report describing that intelligence were redacted, and the one unredacted paragraph suggests that the redacted paragraphs provided no conclusive evidence that Russian intelligence had scanned any state election websites, much less those of all 50 states. The paragraph said, “However, IP addresses associated with the August 16, 2016 FLASH provided some indicators the activity might be attributable to the Russian government…. [emphasis added].”

The Committee report also contained summary statements from six states that the Department of Homeland Security has continued to include among the 21 states it insists were hacked by the Russians in 2016, denying any cyber threat to their systems. Another 13 states reported only that there was “scanning and probing” by inconclusive IP addresses the FBI and DHS had sent them.  Sanger did not report any of those troublesome details.

In January 2020 the Times began its coverage of the theme of Russian interference in the 2020 election with a story headlined, “Chaos is the Point: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020.”  The story, written by Sanger, Matthew Rosenberg and Nicole Perlroth, sought to heighten the existing U.S. climate of paranoia about a Russian attack in regard to the 2020 elections. Once again, however, nothing in the story supports the sinister tone of the headline.

It reported Department of Homeland Security officials’ anxiety about the ransom-ware attacks on 100 American towns, cities and federal offices during 2019, which are clearly criminal operations aimed at large-scale payoffs by cities. The story informed readers that DHS was investigating “whether Russian intelligence was involved in any of the attacks,” on the apparent theory that the criminals were being used by the Russians.

Since those ransom-ware attacks had been going on for years, the obvious question would have been why DHS would have waited until 2020 to reveal that it was investigating Russian involvement.  Thus, the only fact underlying the story was the DHS desire to find evidence to support its accusations of Russian election hacking.

Still at it in 2020

The Times continued its advocacy journalism in a Feb. 26 report that U.S. intelligence officials had “warned” in a briefing for the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 13 that “Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President Trump elected,” citing five people “familiar with the matter.”

The Times’ team of four writers proceeded to declare, “The Russians have been preparing – and experimenting – for the 2020 election… aware that they needed a new playbook of as-yet undetectable methods, United States officials said.” But instead of reporting actual evidence of any Russian action or decision for action, the Times writers again cited what their sources suspected could be done.

“Some officials,” they wrote, “believe that foreign powers, possibly including Russia, could use ransom-ware attacks…to damage or interfere with voting systems or registration databases.” The Times’ sources thus had no actual intelligence on the question and were merely speculating on what any foreign government might do to disrupt the election.

Three days after that report, moreover, the Times backed away from its previous lede after intelligence sources disputed its claim that Russia was intervening to reelect Trump, suggesting that the briefing officer, Shelby Pierson, had overstated the assessment. Sanger sought to limit the damage with a story labeling the problem one of “dueling narratives” in the intelligence community.

Then Sanger admitted, “It is probably too early for the Russians to begin any significant moves to bolster a specific candidate,” which obviously invalidated the Times’ previous speculation on the subject. But after The Washington Post published a story that the FBI had informed Senator Bernie Sanders that Russia had sought to help his campaign, Sanger quickly returned to the same narrative of Russian interference to advance its favorite candidates.

On the Times’ podcast “The Daily,” Sanger opined that the Russians were now supporting both Trump and Sanders – because Sanders, “like Donald Trump,” has “got a real aversion to interventions around the world.”

The most recent entry in the Times’ campaign to create anxiety about Russian interference in the election focused on race relations. On March 10, the Times headlined its story, “Russia Trying to Stoke U.S. Racial Tension before Elections, Officials Say.” In their lede Julian Barnes and Adam Goldman announced, “The Russian government has stepped up efforts to influence racial tensions in the United States as part of its bid to influence November’s presidential election, including trying to incite violence by white supremacist groups and stoke anger among Afro-Americans, according to seven American officials briefed on recent intelligence.”

But true to the modus operandi used routinely to push the Russian election threat narrative, the writers did not offer a single fact supporting such a story line. They even admitted that the officials who were making the claims provided “few details” about white supremacists and “did not detail how” blacks were being encouraged to use violence.

It turns out, in fact, that U.S. officials have found nothing indicating Russian support for violent white supremacists in America. The only fact that they could cite — based on a single source — was that the FBI is “scrutinizing any ties” between Russian intelligence and Rinaldo Nazzaro, the American founder of a “neo-Nazi group,” who lives with his Russian wife in St. Petersburg, Russia, but owns property in the United States. So, the Times’ single source had nothing but a suspicion for which the FBI was trying to find evidence.

The final touch in the piece was the accusation that RT had “fanned divisions” on race by running a story about a video of New York policemen attacking and detaining a young black man that Barnes and Goldman write “sparked outrage” and had also “posted tweets aimed at stirring white animosity.” But the RT article on the video merely reported accurately that the video depicted unprovoked police brutality and that it had already gone viral. The Times itself had published a much more detailed Associated Press story on the same incident that went into a discussion of the history of police brutality in New York City. By the Times’ own criterion, the AP was doing far more to stoke racial animosity than RT.

The opinion pieces that RT published attacking The New York Times for its coverage of a video at the University of Wisconsin that offended non-whites and for a Times opinion piece critical of the Apu character on “The Simpsons” echoed views on race and culture that most Americans find offensive. The idea that they were part of a Russian plot to generate racial animosity, however, is a very long stretch.

The descent of The New York Times into this unprecedented level of propagandizing for the narrative of Russia’s threat to U.S. democracy is dramatic evidence of a broader problem of abuses by corporate media of their socio-political power. Greater awareness of the dishonesty at the heart of the Times‘ coverage of that issue is a key to leveraging media reform and political change.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. His latest book, with John Kiriakou, is “The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis: From CIA Coup to the Brink of War.”

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

COVID-19: All Truth Has Three Stages

By Larry Romanoff | Global Research | March 19, 2020

First, it is ignored.

Second, it is widely ridiculed.

Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

With COVID-19, we have now entered Stage 2. At first, the media ignored the claims and the analysis that the virus could have originated in the US. But the spread of information and restatements of evidence from all sides, including in the US itself, has become too intense and now the claims are being openly ridiculed in the Western media.

Briefly, Chinese virologists discovered conclusively that the original source of the virus was not China, nor Wuhan, nor the seafood market, but had been traced to the US, a possible scenario being that the virus might have originated at the US Military’s bio-weapons lab at Fort Detrick (which was shut down by the CDC in July, because of outbreaks), and brought to China during the World Military Games in October 2019.

Also, Japanese and Taiwanese virologists arrived independently at the conclusion that the virus could have originated in the US.

The Americans did their best from before the beginning to deflect culpability by crafting tales of bats, snakes, pangolins, the seafood market, the Wuhan University being a bio-weapons facility (which it is not), and the CIA tale leaked through the VOA and Radio Free Asia that the virus leaked from that university. They stated (factually) that Chinese researchers had participated (7 years ago) in similar virus research funded by the US NIH, thus somehow insinuating Chinese culpability, ignoring that the prior research was irrelevant to current events.

I must say the Americans have proven to be very skillful in grabbing the microphone first, to create an “official” narrative of a current event while flooding the media with sufficient finger-pointing to preclude a gullible public the time to logically assemble the pieces on their own.

They ignored the very real fact that few nations would either create or release a biological weapon that attacks primarily itself. They ignored too, the geopolitical likelihood of an ”end game” – that a virus is a powerful weapon of economic warfare, able to do to China’s economy what a trade war could not do.

Casual readers tend to ignore the fact that, in the American mentality, there are many solid geopolitical reasons to attack China, Iran, and Italy, the remaining countries merely constituting unfortunate collateral damage.

Many virus articles containing this and similar information had been published by second-tier internet news sites, some articles gaining enormous readership with hundreds of thousands of downloads and much re-posting. Many of these articles have been translated into 6 or 7 languages and published on websites all around the world. Simultaneously, many posts were made on Chinese social media speculating on the odd circumstances and long chain of unusual coincidences that led to the virus outbreak in Wuhan.

One of the articles referred to above, was translated and posted on Chinese social media and gathered 76,000 comments in the first 8 hours. Eventually, the major Chinese media outlets made the same claims – that the virus could have originated in the US and that the Americans were engaging in a massive cover-up.

Then, Zhao LiJian, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, made the story official, through a number of posts on US social media. One major media article, this in the NYT, noted that “Zhao’s remarks were spread on China’s most prominent social media platform, Weibo . . . [and] had been viewed more than 160 million times, along with screenshots of the original Twitter posts.

It seems LiJian’s Twitter posts, being essentially an official source that could not easily be ignored, claiming the virus was brought to China from the US during the Military Games, and demanding an explanation from the US, were receiving too much public attention to be ignored. All of the above created sufficient political pressure to force the Western media to respond. And of course they responded by ignoring the facts of the message and trashing the messenger.

On March 12, the UK Guardian ran a story claiming China was “pushing propaganda” about the virus coming from the US. (1) On March 13, the New York Times ran a similar story of a “China coronavirus conspiracy” of false claims about the source of the virus. (2) Then, on March 14, ABC News ran a story titled “False claims about sources of coronavirus cause spat between the US, China”, in which it ridiculed China and the claims of a US-virus. (3)

The Seattle Times published a version of the story, stating, “China is pushing a new theory about the origins of the coronavirus: It is an American disease . . . introduced by members of the U.S. Army who visited Wuhan in October. There is not a shred of evidence to support that, but the notion received an official endorsement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose spokesman accused American officials of not coming clean about what they know about the disease.” (4) The UK Independent published their own version of “China’s conspiracy theory” (5), as did CNN (6).

The ABC article claimed that “Assistant Secretary David Stilwell gave [Chinese] Ambassador Cui Tiankai a “very stern representation of the facts,” claiming Cui was “very defensive” in the face of this “official” American assault. The US State Department is quoted as having said, “We wanted to put the [Chinese] government on notice we won’t tolerate [conspiracy theories] for the good of the Chinese people and the world.”

Following that, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and half a dozen other press wires and media outlets have contacted this author for interviews, eager for an opportunity to trash this ‘conspiracy theory’ at its source. The US Embassy in Beijing also “reached out” to the author “to talk about it”.

If the public information campaign and the resulting political pressure can continue, we will eventually enter stage three where the media will begin admitting first the possibility, then the likelihood, then the fact, of the US being the source of the “China” virus.

***

Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Notes

(1) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/conspiracy-theory-that-coronavirus-originated-in-us-gaining-traction-in-china

(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/asia/coronavirus-china-conspiracy-theory.html

(3) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/false-claims-sources-coronavirus-spat-us-china/story?id=69580990

(4) https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/china-spins-tale-that-the-u-s-army-started-the-coronavirus-epidemic/
https://www.ccn.com/did-coronavirus-originate-in-america-chinese-media-pushes-conspiracy/

(5) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-start-originate-conspiracy-china-us-wuhan-cdc-robert-redfield-a9398711.html

(6) https://www.ccn.com/did-coronavirus-originate-in-america-chinese-media-pushes-conspiracy/

Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Global Research, 2020

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 5 Comments

The Long Roots of Our Russophobia

By Jeremy Kuzmarov | CounterPunch | March 6, 2020

For the last five years, the American media has been filled with scurrilous articles demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has been accused of every crime imaginable, from shooting down airplanes, to assassinating opponents, to invading neighboring countries, to stealing money to manipulating the U.S. president and helping to rig the 2016 election.

Few of the accusations directed against Putin have ever been substantiated and the quality of journalism has been at the level of “yellow journalism.”

In a desperate attempt to sustain their political careers, centrist Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton accused their adversaries of being Russian agents – again without proof.

And even the progressive hero Bernie Sanders – himself a victim of red-baiting – has engaged in Russia bashing and unsubstantiated accusations for which he offers no proof.

Guy Mettan’s book, Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2017) provides needed historical context for our current political moment, showing how anti-Russian hysteria has long proliferated as a means of justifying Western imperialism.

Mettan is a Swiss journalist and member of parliament who learned about the corruption of the media business when his reporting on the world anticommunist league rankled his newspapers’ shareholders, and when he realized that he was serving as a paid stenographer for the Bosnian Islamist leader Alija Izetbegovic in the early 1990s.

Mettan defines Russophobia as the promotion of negative stereotypes about Russia that associate the country with despotism, treachery, expansion, oppression and other negative character traits. In his view, it is “not linked to specific historical events” but “exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim’s alleged behavior or characteristics.”

Like anti-semitism, Mettan writes, “Russophobia is a way of turning specific pseudo-facts into essential one-dimensional values, barbarity, despotism, and expansionism in the Russian case in order to justify stigmatization and ostracism.”

The origins of Russophobic discourse date back to a schism in the Church during the Middle Ages when Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Roman empire and modified the Christian liturgy to introduce reforms execrated by the Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine empire.

Mettan writes that “the Europe of Charlemagne and of the year 1000 was in need of a foil in the East to rebuild herself, just as the Europe of the 2000s needs Russia to consolidate her union.”

Before the schism, European rulers had no negative opinions of Russia. When Capetian King Henri I found himself a widower, he turned towards the prestigious Kiev kingdom two thousand miles away and married Vladimir’s granddaughter, Princess Ann.

A main goal of the new liturgy adopted by Charlemagne was to undermine any Byzantine influence in Italy and Western Europe.

Over the next century, the schism evolved from a religious into a political one.

The Pope and the top Roman administration made documents disappear and truncated others in order to blame the Easterners.

Byzantium and Russia were in turn rebuked for their “caesaropapism,” or “Oriental style despotism,” which could be contrasted which the supposedly enlightened, democratic governing system in the West.

Russia was particularly hated because it had defied efforts of Western European countries to submit to their authority and impose Catholicism.

In the 1760s, French diplomats working with a variety of Ukrainian, Hungarian and Polish political figures produced a forged testament of Peter 1 [“The Great”] purporting to reveal Russia’s ‘grand design’ to conquer most of Europe.

This document was still taken seriously by governments during the Napoleanic wars; and as late as the Cold War, President Harry Truman found it helpful in explaining Stalin.

In Britain, the Whigs, who represented the liberal bourgeois opposition to the Tory government and its program of free-trade imperialism, were the most virulent Russophobes, much like today’s Democrats in the United States.

The British media also enflamed public opinion by taking hysterical positions against Russia – often on the eve of major military expeditions.

The London Times during the 1820s Greek Independence war editorialized that no “sane person” could “look with satisfaction at the immense and rapid overgrowth of Russian power.” The same thing was being written in The New York Times in the 2010s.

A great example of the Orientalist stereotype was Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, whose main character was modeled after Russian ruler, Ivan the Terrible. As if no English ruler in history was cruel either.

The Nazis took Russo-phobic discourse to new heights during the 1930s and 1940s, combining it with a virulent anti-bolshevism and anti-semitism.

A survey of German high school texts in the 1960s found little change in the image of Russia. The Russians were still depicted as “primitive, simple, very violent, cruel, mean, inhuman, cupid and very stubborn.”

The same stereotypes were displayed in many Hollywood films during the Cold War, where KGB figures were particularly maligned.

No wonder that when a former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, took power, people went insane.

Russophobia in the United States has been advanced most insidiously by the nation’s foreign policy elite who have envisioned themselves as grand chess-masters seeking to checkmate their Russian adversary in order to control the Eurasian heartland.

This view is little different than European colonial strategists who had learned of the importance of molding public opinion through disinformation campaigns that depicted the Russian bear as a menace to Western civilization.

Guy Mettan has written a thought-provoking book that provides badly needed historical context for the anti-Russian delirium gripping our society.

Breaking the taboo on Russophobia is of vital importance in laying the groundwork for a more peaceful world order and genuinely progressive movement in the United States. Unfortunately, recent developments don’t inspire much confidence that history will be transcended.

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018) and Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting for the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).<

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Trump campaign sues Washington Post for ‘millions of dollars’ over ‘false and defamatory’ statements on ‘Russia collusion’

RT | March 3, 2020

Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign has reportedly filed a libel suit against the Washington Post for “millions of dollars,” accusing the newspaper of publishing “false and defamatory” statements about alleged collusion with Russia.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday, highlights two articles published by the Post in 2019 linking Trump’s team to alleged foreign interference in the 2016 election, Fox News reported.

The complaint, which was seen by the news outlet, alleges that the Post was “well aware” that the statements were false but published them anyway for the “intentional purpose” of hurting Trump’s campaign. The articles were part of the newspaper’s “systematic pattern of bias” against Trump, it said.

One of the articles, published on June 13, stated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s extensive investigation into alleged collusion concluded that Trump’s campaign “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia during the 2016 election.

Trump’s team noted that Mueller’s report in fact “concluded there was no conspiracy” between then-candidate Trump’s campaign and Russia – and that no US person intentionally coordinated with any alleged Russian effort to interfere with the 2016 election.

The second article, published on June 20, suggested Trump had “invited” both Russia and North Korea to “offer their assistance” to his campaign. This was also described as “false and defamatory” since there “has never been any statement” by anyone associated with Trump’s campaign inviting the two countries to interfere or assist.

The lawsuit also says there is “an extensive record” of statements from Trump’s campaign and the White House disavowing any notion of Russian assistance and “not a shred of evidence” that there were contacts between the campaign and North Korea.

Trump’s campaign said the lawsuit had been filed in order to “publicly establish the truth” and “properly inform” readers, as well as to seek “appropriate remedies for the harm caused.” The complaint says Trump’s campaign was damaged “in the millions of dollars” – the exact amount to be determined in court.

The suit against the Post comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit filed by Trump’s campaign against the New York Times last week in relation to a 2019 op-ed, which it said contained similarly false statements intended to influence the 2020 presidential election.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again!

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 27, 2020

Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.

Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”

And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.

According to the Times Bernie has been “warn[ed]… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.” The article then goes on to explain, relying on its anonymous sources, that “…to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent the past three years dissecting Russian motives in the 2016 election, and who tried to limit the effect of Moscow’s meddling in the 2018 midterms, what is unfolding in 2020 makes perfect sense. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders represent the most divergent ends of their respective parties, and both are backed by supporters known more for their passion than their policy rigor, which makes them ripe for exploitation by Russian trolls, disinformation specialists and hackers for hire seeking to widen divisions in American society.”

The Times article was written by David Sanger, the paper’s venerable national security correspondent. He is reliably wedded to Establishment views of the Russian threat, as is his newspaper, and strikes rock bottom in his assessment when he cites none other than “Victoria Nuland, who in a long diplomatic career had served both Republican and Democratic administrations, and had her phone calls intercepted and broadcast by Russian intelligence services.” Nuland, clearly the victim of a nefarious Russian intelligence operation that recorded her saying “fuck the EU,” opined that “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”

Given the fact that Russia will have very limited resources in their effort to corrupt American democracy, which is, by the way, doing a very good job of self-destruction without any outside help, how exactly will they do it? Sanger explains “As they focus on evading more vigilant government agencies and technology companies trying to identify and counter malicious online activity, the Russians are boring into Iranian cyberoffense units, apparently so that they can initiate attacks that look as if they originate in Iran — which itself has shown interest in messing with the American electoral process… And, in one of the most effective twists, they are feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media. By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts. That is an attempt to elude Facebook’s efforts to remove disinformation, which it can do more easily when it flags ‘inauthentic activity,’ like Russians posing as Americans. It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian story line, even unintentionally.”

So those wily Russians are making themselves look like Iranians and they are planning on “feeding disinformation” to “unsuspecting Americans” consisting of “conspiracy theories” and “baseless claims.” Sounds like a plan to me as the various occupants of the White House and Congress have been doing exactly that for the past twenty years. That we had a national election in 2016 in which a reality television personality ran against an unindicted criminal would seem to indicate that the effort to brainwash the American people has already been successful.

The usual bottom feeders are also piling on to the Russian interference story. Jane Harman, former congresswoman who once colluded with Israeli intelligence to lobby the Department of Justice to drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for Israel’s support to make her chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warns “How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan also has something to say. He is “very disturbed” by his conviction that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in support of President Trump. He said “We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” Brennan is best known for having orchestrated the illegal campaign to vilify Trump and his associates prior to, during and after the 2016 election. He also participated in a weekly meeting with Barack Obama where he and the president would add and remove names from a “kill list” of U.S. citizens residing overseas. He and his boss should both be in prison, but they are instead fêted as American patriots. Go figure.

Time to take a step back from the developing panic. As usual, the U.S. government intelligence agencies have produced no actual evidence that Moscow is up to anything, and there are already reports that the Office of National Intelligence briefer “overstated” her case against the Kremlin in her briefing of the House Intelligence Committee. Sure, the Russians have an interest in an American election and will favor candidates like Trump and Sanders that are not outright hostile to them, but to claim as the NY Times does that Russia has incompatible “territorial and nuclear interests” is a stretch. And yes, Moscow will definitely use its available intelligence resources to monitor the nomination and election process while also clandestinely doing what it can to improve the chances of those individuals they approve of. That is what intelligence agencies do.

In American Establishment groupthink there is one standard for what Washington does and quite a different standard for everyone else. Does it shock any American to know that the United States has interfered in scores of elections all over the world ever since the Second World War, to include those in places like France and Italy well into the 1980s? And in somewhat more kinetic covert actions, actually removing Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt just for starters, not even considering the multiple plots to kill Fidel Castro. And it continues to do so today openly in places like Iran and Venezuela while also claiming hypocritically that the U.S. is “exceptional” and also a “force for good.” That anyone should be genuinely worrying about Russian proxies buying and distributing a couple of hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of ads in an election in which many billions of dollars’ worth of propaganda will be on the table is ridiculous. It is time to stop blaming Russia for the failure of America’s ruling class to provide an honest and accountable government and one that does not go around the world looking for trouble. That is what the 2020 election should really be all about.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Collusion: Franklin Roosevelt, British Intelligence, and the Secret Campaign to Push the US Into War

President Roosvelt, Prime Minister Churchill and premier Stalin, at the historic “Big Three” conference in Yalta, February 1945
By Mark Weber – Institute for Historical Review – February 2020

We’ve heard a lot recently about alleged secret and illegal collaboration by prominent Americans with foreign governments. Collusion is widely regarded as so malign and disgraceful that any official who cooperates with a foreign power in an underhanded way is considered unfit to hold public office. In particular, politicians and media commentators have been charging that devious cooperation by Donald Trump with the government of Ukraine or Russia renders him unfit to be President.

However valid such accusations may be, secretive and unlawful collusion by an American leader with a foreign power that subverts the US political process is not new. The most far-reaching and flagrant case was by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940-41.

The stage for this had been set some months earlier. In September 1939, Germany and then Soviet Russia attacked Poland. Two days after the German assault, Britain and France declared war against Germany.

Following the defeat of Poland after barely five weeks of fighting, the German leader appealed to Britain and France for peace. Hitler’s plea was rejected. After British and French leaders made clear their determination to continue the war, Germany struck in the West in May 1940. Military and political leaders in Britain and France were confident that their forces would prevail. After all, those two countries had more soldiers, more artillery, more tanks and armored vehicles, and vastly more impressive and numerous naval vessels, than did the Germans. Nonetheless, in just six weeks German forces subdued France and forced the British to flee to their island nation.[1]

Hitler then launched yet another peace initiative. In a dramatic July 19, 1940, appeal for an end to the conflict, he stressed that his proposal did not in any way harm vital British interests or violate British honor. This offer was also rejected, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill vowed to continue the war.[2]

Privately, though, he and all other high-level British officials knew that their country’s resources were hopelessly inferior to those of Germany and her allies, and that Britain’s only hope for “victory” required somehow bringing the United States into the war. In a one-on-one conversation during this period Randolph Churchill pointedly asked his father just how Britain could possibly beat Germany. “With great intensity,” he later recalled, Winston Churchill replied: “I shall drag the United States in.”[3]

From mid-1940 onwards, bringing the US into war was a priority British government objective. The great problem, though, was that the great majority of Americans wanted to keep their country neutral, and avoid any direct involvement in the European conflict. Millions remembered with bitterness the deceit by which the US had entered the world war of 1914-1918, and the betrayal of the solemn, noble-sounding pledges made during those years by US President Wilson and the leaders of Britain and France.

Roosevelt secretly supported Churchill’s efforts. Even before the outbreak of war in September 1939, the President was already working, behind the scenes, to encourage Britain to make war against Germany, with the goal of “regime change” there.[4] America’s most influential newspapers, magazines and radio commentators shared Roosevelt’s hostile attitude toward Hitler’s Germany, and they supported his campaign for war by putting out stories designed to persuade the public that Germany was a grave danger. Even prior to the outbreak of war in Europe, for example, the country’s most influential illustrated weekly, Life magazine, published a major article headlined “America Gets Ready to Fight Germany, Italy, Japan.” Readers were told that Germany and Italy “covet … the rich resources of South America,” and warned that “fascist fleets and legions may swarm across the Atlantic.”[5]

In the months before December 1941, when the US formally entered the war in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt did everything he could to get America into the global conflict without actually declaring war. He proceeded with caution and cunning, because his measures were often contrary to US law, and without Congressional or Constitutional mandate. Roosevelt also acted with ever more brazen disregard for international law and America’s legal standing as a neutral country. As part of his campaign, he sought to convince the public that Hitler’s Germany threatened the US.

“The Nazi masters of Germany,” he announced in a December 1940 radio address, “have made clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe, and then to use the resources of Europe to dominate the rest of the world …” In August 1941, the President met with British premier Churchill to pledge US support for war against Germany. They issued a joint declaration, the “Atlantic Charter,” that laid out the ambitious and noble-sounding war aims of the two countries.[6]

Roosevelt and Churchill at their historic “Atlantic Charter” meeting off the coast of Newfoundland, August 1941
Roosevelt and Churchill at their historic “Atlantic Charter” meeting off the coast of Newfoundland, August 1941

In a nationally-broadcast address two weeks later, Roosevelt told Americans that “… our fundamental rights – including the rights of labor – are threatened by Hitler’s violent attempt to rule the world,” and pledged that “we shall do everything in our power to crush Hitler and his Nazi forces.”[7] In another radio address on September 11 the President announced a “shoot-on-sight” order to US naval warships to attack German and Italian vessels on the high seas.

In spite of these and other hostile measures, German leaders fervently sought to avoid conflict with the US. Hitler ordered German submarines to avoid any clash with American forces, and to use their weapons only in self-defense and as a final resort. So belligerent were US actions against Germany and her allies, and so blatant was US disregard for the country’s officially neutral status, that Admiral Harold Stark, US Chief of Naval Operations, warned the Secretary of State that Hitler “has every excuse in the world to declare war on us now, if he were of a mind to.”[8]

As part of Churchill’s effort to bring the US into the war, in 1940 his government established an agency that came to be known as the British Security Coordination (BSC), which managed operations in North and South America of Britain’s key intelligence bureaus, including MI5, MI6, the Special Operations Executive, and the Political Warfare Executive.

BSC operations were headed by William Stephenson. Born in Canada, he had distinguished himself as a flier with British forces during the First World War, and afterwards became a highly successful businessman in England. From its central offices on two floors of the Rockefeller Center building on Fifth Avenue in New York City, the BSC at its height supervised the work of more than two thousand full- and part-time employees, agents and operatives. These included linguists, cipher and crytology experts, intelligence agents, propaganda specialists, people skilled in business and finance, and operatives in a range of other fields. Nearly a thousand were active in New York, while more than that number worked in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as in Canada, Mexico City, Havana, and other centers in Latin America. “The scale and audacity” of British intelligence acclivities in the US between June 1940 and December 1941, concludes one historian, “were without parallel in the history of relations between allied democracies.”[9]

William Stephenson
William Stephenson

At the end of World War II, Stephenson arranged for an official history of the British Security Coordination to be written, based on its voluminous files and records. Just twenty copies of this secret and very restricted work were produced, and then the entire archive of BSC documents and papers was gathered together and burned.[10]

In the years that followed, some information about BSC operations came to public attention in a few widely-read books. But it was not until 1999 – more than half a century after the end of World War II – that the full text was finally published. This important primary source, titled British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-1945, throws light on the carefully hidden record of collusion between the Roosevelt White House and a foreign government.

Not long after William Stephenson arrived in the US to begin work, Prime Minister Churchill informed President Roosevelt of Stephenson’s assignment. After a briefing on the BSC’s planned operations, Roosevelt said: “There should be the closest possible marriage between the FBI and British intelligence.” The president also communicated his views on this to the British ambassador in Washington.[11] Roosevelt arranged for Stephenson’s agency to work closely with William Donovan, a highly trusted colleague of the President who went on to establish and head the wartime Office of Strategic Services, which after the war became the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency.

William Donovan
William Donovan

As the official BSC history acknowledges, BSC operations “could not have come into being at all without American approval on the highest level.” The official history goes on: “The climax of that offensive was reached some six months before Pearl Harbor when BSC secured, through the establishment of the organization which eventually came to be known as the Office of Strategic Services, an assurance of full American participation and collaboration with the British in secret activities directed against the enemy throughout the world.”[12]

Moreover, “Inasmuch as the cause of American intervention was symbolized in the foresight and determination of the President himself, the ultimate purpose of all BSC’s Political Warfare was to assist Mr Roosevelt’s own campaign for preparedness. This was not merely an abstract conception, for WS [William Stephenson] kept in close touch with the White House and as time went on the president gave clear indication of his personal concern both to encourage and take advantage of BSC’s activities.”[13]

This cooperation with British intelligence by the President and other high-ranking US officials, as well as with the FBI, the US federal government’s main domestic security and police agency, was quite illegal. Such collusion by the nominally neutral US to further the war aims of a foreign government was contrary to both US law and universally accepted international norms. Accordingly, the White House kept this collaboration secret even from the State Department.

Incidentally, the official BSC history acknowledges the role of Donovan in a little known but important chapter of World War II history. On March 25, 1941, Yugoslavia joined the Axis alliance with Germany, Italy and other European countries. Two days later, a group of Serbian officers led by General Dusan Simovic, carried out a putsch in Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital, that violently overthrew the country’s legal government. Ten days later the new regime signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union.

How did this sudden “regime change” come about? Several months earlier, during a visit to Belgrade in January 1941, William Donovan was in the Yugoslav capital as an agent of President Roosevelt and of the British government. During a crucial meeting and conversation with General Simovic, he set the stage for the “regime change” overthrow of the country’s government. The official BSC history puts it this way: “In Yugoslavia, Donovan paved the way for the coup d’état which resulted at the eleventh hour in Yugoslav resistance to, instead of acquiescence in, German aggression. He interviewed General Simovic, who asked him whether Britain could hold out against the Nazis and whether the United States would enter the war … He answered both questions in the affirmative; and at his persuasion Simovic agreed to organize the revolution which a few months later overthrew the pro-German government of Prince Paul.”[14]

William Stephenson is honored for his wartime service with the US “Medal of Merit,” presented by William Donovan at a ceremony in 1946
William Stephenson is honored for his wartime service with the US “Medal of Merit,” presented by William Donovan at a ceremony in 1946

A major task of the BSC – as the official history reports – was “to organize American public opinion in favour of aid to Britain.” As part of what the BSC called “political warfare designed to influence American public opinion,” BSC agents were “placing special material in the American press.” Stephenson’s operatives were very active in prodding, cajoling and steering the US media to foment fear and hatred of Germany, and to encourage public support for Roosevelt’s ever more overt campaign of military backing for Britain, and later for Soviet Russia.

“Of particular value,” the BSC history notes, was the cooperation of the publisher of the New York Post, the editor of the New York daily PM, the publisher of the New York Herald Tribune, the publisher of the Baltimore Sun, and the president of the New York Times, as well as the country’s most influential columnists, including Walter Lippman, Drew Pearson, and Walter Winchell. Pearson’s column alone appeared in 616 newspapers with a combined readership of more than twenty million. In working “to bring the United Sates into the `shooting’ war by attacking isolationism and fostering interventionism,” the BSC “was able to initiate internal propaganda through its undercover contacts with selected newspapers, such as the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post, and the Baltimore Sun; with newspaper columnists and radio commentators; and with various political pressure organizations.”

The BSC worked closely with a specially created news service. Set up in July 1940, the “Overseas News Agency” was a supposedly legitimate and trustworthy enterprise. Actually, and as the BSC history notes, this was “a branch of the Jewish Telegraph[ic] Agency, owned in part by the rich New York Jew who controlled the liberal and vehemently anti-Nazi New York Post.”

As the official history goes on to explain: “After a series of secret negotiations, BSC agreed to give ONA [Overseas News Agency] a monthly subsidy in return for promise of cooperation in certain specific ways … It’s value … lay in its ability not only to channel propaganda outwards but to assure wide dissemination of material originated by BSC and intended for internal consumption. In April 1941, the ONA clients within the United States already numbered more than forty-five English language papers, which included such giants as the New York Times … It afforded a useful instrument for rapid dissemination abroad of subversive propaganda originated by BSC in the United States.”[15]

The Jewish-run ONA agency soon became an important distributor of “fake news” as part of the widening campaign to smear and discredit National Socialist Germany, and to promote public support for US involvement in war against Germany and her allies. As one historian put it: “From the start, attacking Nazi Germany was a higher priority for ONA than hewing to the truth.” ONA articles influenced many millions of Americans, appearing in such major daily papers as the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post.[16]

Here are a few examples:

In August 1940 an ONA report cited anonymous “qualified Czech sources” to inform Americans that “Czechoslovak girls and young women have been transported from the [Czech] Protectorate to German garrison towns to become white slaves.” It went on to tell readers that “Nazi officials, dispatching these trainloads of prospective white slaves to the Reich, informed husbands and relatives that the women `will be entrusted with the important work of amusing German soldiers, in order to keep up the morale of the troops’.”[17]

In February 1941 American newspapers carried a sensational ONA report claiming that the US was threatened by “fascist bands” in the Caribbean country of Haiti, which had become a dangerous center of Nazi activity. Germans were supposedly preparing that county as a base for attacks on Florida, the Panama Canal, and Puerto Rico.[18] In June 1941 an ONA report appearing in newspapers across the US told of a daring British parachute raid within Germany that had succeeded in capturing 40 German pilots. This and similar stories were meant to encourage Americans to believe that the British had the skill and resolve to defeat Germany and her allies. But the raid never happened. This “fake news” story was conceived in London by the MI6 agency, and was written by a British agent.[19]

In August 1941, an ONA item in the New York Post told readers that “Hitler is not at the Russian front, but at Berchtesgaden suffering from a severe nervous breakdown.” The article went on to assert that the German leader’s personal physician had recently traveled to Switzerland to consult with the famed psychiatrist Carl Jung to discuss “the rapid deterioration of Hitler’s mental condition,” which was supposedly characterized by delusional rages.[20] That same month, The New York Times published a report of the Overseas News Agency telling readers that in the Middle East the recent death of a 130-year-old Bedouin soothsayer was widely regarded as “a sign of a coming defeat for Hitler.”[21]

Stephenson’s BSC also rigged public opinion polls to give the impression that Americans were more willing to join Britain and the Soviet Union in war against Germany than was actually the case. Polls that showed American unhappiness with British policies, such as Britain’s imperial rule in India, were suppressed. As a result, one historian cautions, many surveys of American public opinion during this period “should be seen for what they were: at worst they were flatly rigged, at best they were tweaked and massaged and cooked – advocacy polls without the advocate being visible.”[22]

An important British propaganda outlet during this period was radio station WRUL, an American short-wave broadcaster based in Long Island, New York. With 50,000 watts of power, its reach was unsurpassed by any other station either in the US or Europe. “By the middle of 1941,” the official BSC history reports, “station WRUL was virtually, though quite unconsciously, a subsidiary of BSC, sending out covert British propaganda all over the world … Daily broadcasts went out in no less than twenty-two different languages …”[23]

In its efforts to influence the American public, the British had formidable competition. News, photos and contextual information provided by German agencies was more timely and detailed, and consequently better appreciated and more effective, than what Britain provided. The German “news agencies, Transocean and DNB, were always first with the headlines,” the BSC history acknowledged.[24]

In two confidential telegrams sent to London in April 1941, Stephenson wrote frankly about the unsatisfactory situation: “Close examination of US press during past fortnight indicates almost complete failure [to] prevent Axis monopoly of war news coverage … most journals … carry predominance of Axis news … [and] photographs … few if any British photographs appear … Axis news reports reach here more quickly than ours … rapidly followed by copious flow of descriptive material, photographs and films … Transocean and DNB keep up flow and build up stories even in quiet periods … invariably beat our news to headlines … US newsmen here say Germans show far better sense of news and timing … infinitely better understanding US psychology.”[25]

As the BSC official history goes on to explain, “these warnings went unheeded, and accordingly WS [William Stephenson] decided to take action on his own initiative” by waging a “covert war against the mass of American groups which were organized throughout the country to spread isolationism and anti-British feeling.” This included coordination with vehemently anti-German organizations that were pushing for US involvement in war against Germany. BSC was especially keen to counter the formidable influence and effectiveness of the America First Committee. As the official history notes, “because America First was a particularly serious menace, BSC decided to take more direct action.” It took measures to “disrupt” America First rallies, and to “discredit” America First speakers. “Such activities by BSC agents and cooperating pro-British committees were frequent, and on many occasions America First was harassed and heckled and embarrassed.”

Gerald Nye
Gerald Nye

British intelligence agents also worked to elect candidates who favored US intervention in the European war, to defeat candidates who advocated neutrality, and to silence or destroy the reputations of Americans who were deemed to be a menace to British interests. An important target of BSC operations was US Senator Gerald Nye, an influential critic of the President’s campaign for war. Once, when he was getting ready to address a meeting in Boston, a BSC-backed group called “Fight for Freedom” “passed out 25,000 handbills attacking him as an appeaser and as a Nazi-lover.”[26]

Another political figure whom BSC operatives sought to discredit was US Representative Hamilton Fish, a vigorous critic of Roosevelt’s war policy. Fish was particularly effective because he was intelligent, well educated, and exceptionally knowledgeable about international relations, with extensive first-hand understanding of European affairs. British agents funded Fish’s election opponents, published pamphlets suggesting he was pro-Hitler, released a faked photo of Fish with the head of the pro-Nazi German American Bund, and planted stories saying that he was getting financial aid from German agents. Such underhanded activities were important in finally removing him from Congress in the November 1944 elections. The BSC history notes that while Fish “attributed his defeat to Reds and Communists. He might – with more accuracy – have blamed BSC.”[27]

Hamilton Fish
Hamilton Fish

Fortune tellers were also used by British intelligence to sway public opinion. Such propaganda, the official BSC history notes, is effective only with people who are not very discerning or sophisticated. The BSC begins its description of these operations with condescending remarks about American gullibility:

“A country that is extremely heterogeneous in character offers a wide variety of choice propaganda methods. While it is probably true that all Americans are intensely suspicious of propaganda, it is certain that a great many of them are unusually susceptible to it even in its most patent form … The United States is still a fertile field for outré practices. It is unlikely that any propagandist would seriously attempt to influence politically the people of England, say, or France through the medium of astrological predictions. Yet in the United States this was done with effective if limited results.”[28]

In the summer of 1941 the BSC employed Louis de Wohl, who is described in the BSC history as a “bogus Hungarian astrologer.” He was directed to issue predictions to show that Hitler’s “fall was now certain.” At public meetings, in radio appearances, in interviews, and in widely distributed press items, he “declared that Hitler’s doom was sealed.” De Wohl, who was presented as an “astro-philosopher,” also sought to discredit Charles Lindbergh, the much admired American aviator who was also a prominent spokesman for the America First Committee and an effective critic of Roosevelt’s war policies. De Wohl claimed that Lindbergh’s first son, who had been kidnapped and killed in 1932, was actually still alive and living in Germany, where he was being trained as a future Nazi leader. “There is little doubt,” the BSC history concludes, that the work of de Wohl “had a considerable effect upon certain sections of the [American] people.”[29]

British agents also publicized the equally absurd predictions of an Egyptian astrologer who claimed that within four months Hitler would be killed, as well as similarly fantastic predictions of a Nigerian priest named Ulokoigbe. As Stephenson and his BSC colleagues intended, American newspapers eagerly picked up and spread such nonsense to millions of readers.[30]

The BSC also set up a center that fabricated letters and other documents, as well as an organization that excelled in spreading expedient rumors. British agents illegally interecpted and copied US mail. They carried out wiretapping to get embarrassing information on those it wished to discredit, and leaked the results of its illegal surveillance. One important target was the French embassy in Washington, DC, which was wiretapped and burgled by Stephenson’s agents.[31]

Ernest Cuneo
Ernest Cuneo

An important figure in all this was Ernest Cuneo, a publicist, lawyer, and intelligence operative who played a key role as liaison between Stephenson’s BSC, the White House, Donovan’s agency, the FBI, and the media. He later described the scope of British operations in a memo. The BSC, he wrote, “ran espionage agents, tampered with the mails, tapped telephones, smuggled propaganda into the country, disrupted public gatherings, covertly subsidized newspapers, radios, and organizations, perpetrated forgeries – even palming one off on the president of the United States (a map that out-lined Nazi plans to dominate Latin America) – violated the aliens registrations act, shanghaied sailors numerous times, and possibly murdered one or more persons in this country.”[32]

A high point of British-White House collusion, and of the BSC campaign to influence American public opinion, came on October 27, 1941. While Franklin Roosevelt was not the first or the last American president to deliberately mislead the public, rarely has a major political figure given a speech as loaded with brazen falsehood as he did in his address on that date. His remarks, delivered to a large gathering at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, were broadcast live over nationwide radio.[33]

In a nationally broadcast address of Oct. 27, 1941, President Roosevelt claimed to have documents proving German plans to take over South America and abolish all the world’s religions.
In a nationally broadcast address of Oct. 27, 1941, President Roosevelt claimed to have documents proving German plans to take over South America and abolish all the world’s religions.

After giving a highly distorted review of recent US-German relations, Roosevelt made a startling announcement. He said: “Hitler has often protested that his plans for conquest do not extend across the Atlantic Ocean … I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government – by the planners of the new world order. It is a map of South America and a part of Central America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it.” This map, the President explained, showed South America, as well as “our great life line, the Panama Canal,” divided into five vassal states under German domination. He said: “That map, my friends, makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well.”

Roosevelt went on to announce another startling revelation. He told his listeners that he also had in his possession “another document made in Germany by Hitler’s government. It is a detailed plan to abolish all existing religions – Catholic, Protestant, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish alike” which Germany will impose “on a dominated world, if Hitler wins.”

“The property of all churches will be seized by the Reich and its puppets,” he continued. “The cross and all other symbols of religion are to be forbidden. The clergy are to be forever silenced under penalty of the concentration camps … In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an international Nazi church – a church which will be served by orators sent out by the Nazi government. In the place of the Bible, the words of Mein Kampf will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols – the swastika and the naked sword.”

“Let us well ponder,” he said, “these grim truths which I have told you of the present and future plans of Hitlerism.” All Americans, he went on, “are faced with the choice between the kind of world we want to live in and the kind of world which Hitler and his hordes would impose on us.” Accordingly, he said, “we are pledged to pull our own oar in the destruction of Hitlerism.”

The full story about these documents did not emerge until many years later. The map cited by the President did exist, but it was a forgery produced by British intelligence. Stephenson had passed it on to Donovan, who had it delivered to the President. The other “document” cited by Roosevelt, purporting to outline German plans to abolish the world’s religions, was even more fanciful than the “secret map.”

The “secret map” cited by President Roosevelt as proof of German plans to take over South America was produced by British intelligence and passed on to the White House by William Donovan.

It’s not clear if Roosevelt himself knew that the map was a fake, or whether he was taken in by the British fraud and actually believed it to be authentic. In this case we don’t know if the President was deliberately lying to the American people, or was merely a credulous dupe and tool of a foreign government.

The German government responded to the President’s speech with a statement that categorically rejected his accusations. The purported secret documents, it declared, “are forgeries of the crudest and most brazen kind.” Furthermore, the statement went on: “The allegations of a conquest of South America by Germany and an elimination of the religions of the churches in the world and their replacement by a National Socialist church are so nonsensical and absurd that it is superfluous for the Reich government to discuss them.”[34] German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels also responded to Roosevelt’s claims in a widely read commentary. The American president’s “absurd accusations,” he wrote, were a “grand swindle” designed to “whip up American public opinion.”[35]

That the President’s claims were absurd on their face should have been obvious to any discerning and reasonably well-informed person. Assertions that Germany was planning to take over South America were clearly fantastic given that, first, Germany had been unable or unwilling even to launch an invasion of Britain, and, second, that German forces at that moment were fully engaged in a titanic clash with Soviet Russia, a conflict that would ultimately end with the victory of the Red Army.

Roosevelt’s claim that Hitler was bent on quashing the world’s religions was not just a falsehood; it was nearly the opposite of the truth. At the same time he was telling Americans that Hitler’s Germany threatened religious life in their country and the rest of the world, President Roosevelt and his government were organizing military aid to the one country that was ruled by an openly atheist regime, the Soviet Union. While Roosevelt was speaking, military forces of Germany, Italy, Romania, Finland, Hungary and other European countries were battling to bring down the anti-religious Bolshevik state. Millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Lithuanians, Belarusians, and others who had already been freed from Soviet rule were, with German support, opening churches and restoring the traditional religious life that had been so brutally suppressed by the Stalinist regime.

During the war years, Germany’s Protestant and Catholic churches not only received government financial support, they were packed with worshipers. In Catholic regions of the Reich, notably in Bavaria and Austria, crucifixes were displayed in many public buildings, including courtrooms and school classrooms. The government of one country that was closely allied with Hitler’s Germany during World War II, Slovakia, was actually headed by a Roman Catholic priest.

In 1941 few Americans could believe that their President would so deliberately and emphatically deceive them, especially about matters of the gravest national and global importance. Millions accepted Roosevelt’s alarmist claims as true. After all, whom should any decent, patriotic citizen believe?: Their President, or the government of a foreign country that much of the American media told them was a mendacious regime dedicated to brutally imposing oppressive rule over the United States and the entire planet?

The Roosevelt-British propaganda campaign of 1940-41 was based on a great falsehood: the claim that Hitler was trying to “take over the world.” Actually, it was not Germany that launched war against Britain and France, but rather the reverse. It was Churchill, later joined by the US President, who rejected all German initiatives to end the terrible war. Demanding “unconditional surrender,” they insisted on the complete capitulation of Germany, including “regime change” elimination of the country’s government.

The legacy of President Roosevelt’s secretive and unlawful collusion with a foreign government, including his sanctioning of crimes by British and US agents, are relevant for our time. That’s especially true because Roosevelt is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most admirable of America’s past leaders. He is, for example, one of the very few persons whose image appears on US coins. Roads, streets, schools and other learning centers across the country bear his name.

His legacy should concern those who today are understandably unhappy with the routinely partisan and often polemical presentation of news and information in the mainstream media. The way that “fake news” and slanted, sensationalized information were given to the public in 1940-41 by the mainstream media, in secret collaboration with the White House and a foreign government, tells us much about how news and opinion can be manipulated in our country, and by whom.

In 1990 The New York Times issued a kind of apology for having published, decades earlier, the reporting of its once highly regarded correspondent in Moscow. In 1932 Walter Duranty’s dispatches from the Soviet Union earned him America’s highest award for journalistic achievement, the Pultizer Prize. Only years later did it become clear that Duranty’s portrayal of life in the USSR amounted to a deliberate whitewashing of reality. In particular he concealed the famine, starvation, and deaths of millions, especially in Ukraine, due to the Stalinist regime’s brutal “collectivization” of the vast country’s rural and farming population. Although reporting by major American newspapers in 1940-41 about Roosevelt administration’s policies for war was similarly distorted and misleading, neither the The New York Times, The Washington Post, nor any other paper has been moved to issue a comparable apology.

President Roosvelt, Prime Minister Churchill and premier Stalin, at the historic “Big Three” conference in Yalta, February 1945

President Richard Nixon is today widely regarded as a disgraced figure who deserved impeachment for trying to cover up the “Watergate” break-in. President Trump, many say, should likewise be punished for breaking the law. If that’s true, how then should we regard Franklin Roosevelt? His deceit and crimes – which are routinely ignored, excused or justified – vastly overshadow the misdeeds of Nixon and Trump.

Those who admire Franklin Roosevelt seem to believe that presidential deception and misconduct are justified if the perpetrator’s motives or goals are good. One influential scholar who has expressed this view is American historian Thomas A. Bailey. He acknowledged Roosevelt’s record, but sought to justify it. “Franklin Roosevelt repeatedly deceived the American people during the period before Pearl Harbor,” he wrote. “He was like the physician who must tell the patient lies for the patient’s own good … The country was overwhelmingly noninterventionist to the very day of Pearl Harbor, and an overt attempt to lead the people into war would have resulted in certain failure and an almost certain ousting of Roosevelt in 1940, with a complete defeat of his ultimate aims.”[36]

Prof. Bailey went on with a further justification: “A president who cannot entrust the people with the truth betrays a certain lack of faith in the basic tenets of democracy. But because the masses are notoriously shortsighted and generally cannot see danger until it is at their throats, our statesmen are forced to deceive them into an awareness of their own long-run interests. This is clearly what Roosevelt had to do, and who shall say that posterity will not thank him for it?”

In spite of all the rhetoric we hear about “our democracy” and “government of the people,” it seems that our leaders do not really believe that American-style democracy works as it’s supposed to. They don’t trust the people to “handle the truth.” The defenders of the Roosevelt legacy apparently believe that, at least sometimes, political leaders can and must break the law, violate the Constitution, and deliberately deceive the people for what a supposedly enlightened elite believes is in the nation’s “real” best interest, and for what it regards as a “higher” and worthy cause.

Roosevelt set a precedent for similarly deceitful and unlawful behavior by later presidents. Senator J. William Fulbright, a prominent critic of President Lyndon Johnson’s deception and disregard for law and the Constitution during the Vietnam war remarked that “FDR’s deviousness in a good cause made it much easier for LBJ to practice the same kind of deviousness in a bad cause.”[37]

“After a generation of presidential wars,” observed historian Joseph P. Lash, “it is possible to see that, in the hands of Roosevelt’s successors, the powers that he wielded as commander in chief to deploy the army, navy and air force as he deemed necessary in the national interest and to portray clashes in distant waters and skies as enemy-initiated led the nation into the Vietnam quagmire.”[38]

J. William Fulbright
J. William Fulbright

Roosevelt’s methods seem to have become firmly entrenched in modern American political life. President George W. Bush, for one, followed in Roosevelt’s path when he and other high-level officials in his administration, with support from the mainstream media, deceived the American people to make possible the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. “I used to puzzle over the question of how American democracy could be adapted to the kind of role we have come to play in the world,” Senator Fulbright said in 1971. “I think I now know the answer: it cannot be done.”[39]

While many Americans today yearn for honest and ethical political leaders, transparent governance, and “real” democracy, such hopes are likely to remain elusive as long as the mainstream media, educators and politicians continue to portray Franklin Roosevelt as an exemplary President, and his administration as a paragon of leadership, while successfully suppressing or justifying his record of deceit and wrongdoing.

Endnotes

[1] Basil H. Liddell-Hart, The Second World War (New York: Putnam, 1971), pp. 17-22, 66; Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (Chicago: 1993), pp. 79-80; Niall Ferguson, The War of the World (New York: Penguin, 2006), pp. 387-390; William Carr, Poland to Pearl Harbor (1986), pp. 93, 96.

[2] Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and `The Unnecessary War’ (New York: Crown, 2008), pp. 361-366; John Charmely, Churchill’s Grand Alliance (Harcourt Brace, 1996), pp. 82-83, 178; Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (1993), p. 124; Friedrich Stieve, What the World Rejected: Hitler’s Peace Offers, 1933-1939.

[3] Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour: Winston Churchill,1939-41 (1984), p. 358. Quoted in: Jon Meacham, Franklin and Winston (2004), p. 51; M. Hastings, Winston’s War, 1940-1945 (2010), p. 25.

[4] Joseph P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill (1976), pp. 23-31; M. Weber, “President Roosevelt’s Campaign to Incite War in Europe,” The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1983.

[5] “America Gets Ready to Fight Germany, Italy, Japan,” Life, Oct. 31, 1938.
( http://mk.christogenea.org/content/it-was-planned-way-3-years-previously-page-1 )

[6] Roosevelt “fireside chat” radio address of Dec. 29, 1940. ; Regarding the “Atlantic Charter,” see: William H. Chamberlin, America’s Second Crusade (1950 and 2008); Benjamin Colby, ‘Twas a Famous Victory (1975).

[7] Roosevelt Labor Day radio address, Sept. 1, 1941.

[8] Joseph P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill (1976), pp. 360, 415, 429; Stark memo to Secretary Hull, Oct. 8, 1941. Quoted in: J. P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill (1976), p. 426.

[9] Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (1999), p. 16; Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies: The Secret Connections Between Espionage and Journalism in Washington (Prometheus, 2018), pp. 101-104; Lynne Olson, Those Angry Days (New York: Random House, 2013), p. 117; William Boyd, “The Secret Persuaders,” The Guardian (Britain), Aug. 19, 2006.

[10] Nigel West (introduction) in: William Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (New York: 1999), pp. xi, xii.

[11] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. xxv.

[12] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. xxxvi, xxxiii.

[13] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 16.

[14] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 14.

[15] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 58, 59.

[16] Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), esp. pp. 135-140, 325-327; P. J. Grisar, “Sharks Defending Britain From Nazis? How ‘Fake News’ Helped Foil Hitler,” Forward, Oct. 22, 2018; Menachem Wecker, “The true story of a Jewish news agency that peddled fake news to undo Hitler.” Religion News Service, October 1, 2018

[17] Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), p. 135.

[18] S. T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), pp. 138-139, 326 (n.).

[19] Larry Getlen, “The Fake News That Pushed US Into WWII,” New York Post, Oct. 3, 2019, pp. 20-21.

[20] S. T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), p. 142.

[21] Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), pp. 139, 326 (n.); Menachem Wecker, “The true story of a Jewish news agency that peddled fake news to undo Hitler.” RNS, Oct. 1, 2018

[22] Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception (1999), pp. 70-86; S. T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), pp. 113-116, 154-155; W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 81-84.

[23] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 59, 60, 61.

[24] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 68.

[25] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 69.

[26] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 74.

[27] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 74, 80; T. E. Mahl, Desperate Deception (1999), pp. 107-135; Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), pp. 119-127; Christopher Woolf, “How Britain Tried to Influence the US Election in 1940,” PRI, Jan. 17, 2017.

[28] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 102.

[29] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 102-103, 104; S. T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), p. 139.

[30] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), p. 103.

[31] W. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination (1999), pp. 104, 105, 107, 109; Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies (2018), pp. 102, 140, 145-148.

[32] Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (1999), pp. 16, 193; Michael Williams, “FDR’s Confidential Crusader,” Warfare History Network. Jan. 17, 2019.

[33] John F. Bratzel, Leslie B. Rout, Jr., “FDR and The ‘Secret Map’,” The Wilson Quarterly (Washington, DC), New Year’s 1985, pp. 167-173; Ted Morgan, FDR: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), pp. 602, 603, 801 (notes); Mark Weber, “Roosevelt’s `Secret Map’ Speech,” The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1985.

[34] “The Reich Government’s Reply To Roosevelt’s Navy Day Speech,” The New York Times, Nov. 2, 1941; Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945. Series D, Vol. XIII, (Washington, DC: 1954), pp. 724-725 (Doc. No. 439 of Nov. 1, 1941).

[35] Joseph Goebbels, “Kreuzverhör mit Mr. Roosevelt,” Das Reich, Nov. 30, 1941. Nachdruck (reprint) in Das eherne Herz (1943), pp. 99-104. English translation: “Mr. Roosevelt Cross-Examined.”
( http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/goeb2.htm )

[36] Thomas A. Bailey, The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy. (New York: 1948), pp. 11-13. Quoted in: W. H. Chamberlin, America’s Second Crusade (Indianapolis: Amagi/ Liberty Fund, 2008), p. 125.

[37] Joseph P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939-1941 (New York: 1976), pp. 9, 10, 420, 421; Address by Fulbright, April 3, 1971. Published in: Congressional Record – Senate, April 14, 1971, p. 10356.
( https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1971-pt8/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1971-pt8-4-1.pdf )

[38] J. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill (1976), p. 421.

[39] Address by Fulbright, April 3, 1971. Congressional Record – Senate, April 14, 1971, p. 10356.

Bibliography / For Further Reading

Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008

Harry Elmer Barnes, ed., Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. Institute for Historical Review, 1993

William Boyd, “The Secret Persuaders,” The Guardian (Britain), August 19, 2006.
( https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/aug/19/military.secondworldwar )

John F. Bratzel and Leslie B. Rout, Jr., “FDR and The ‘Secret Map’,” The Wilson Quarterly (Washington, DC), New Year’s 1985 (Vol. 9, No. 1), pp. 167-173.

Anthony Cave Brown, The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan. New York: Times Books, 1982

Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and `The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. New York: Crown, 2008.

William H. Chamberlin, America’s Second Crusade. Chicago: 1950; Indianapolis: 2008

John Charmley, Churchill’s Grand Alliance: The Anglo-American Special Relationship, 1940-1957. Harvest/ Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Benjamin Colby, ‘Twas a Famous Victory. Arlington House, 1975

David Cole, “Tyler Kent and the Roosevelt Whistle-Blow Job,” Taki’s Mag, Nov. 19, 2019.
( https://www.takimag.com/article/tyler-kent-and-the-roosevelt-whistle-blow-job/ )

Jennet Conant, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Hunter DeRensis, “The Campaign to Lie America Into World War II,” The American Conservative, December 7, 2019
( https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-campaign-to-lie-america-into-world-war-ii/ )

Larry Getlen, “The Fake News That Pushed US Into WWII,” New York Post, Oct. 3, 2019.
( https://nypost.com/2019/10/02/the-fake-news-that-pushed-us-into-world-war-ii/ )

P. J. Grisar, “Sharks Defending Britain From Nazis? How ‘Fake News’ Helped Foil Hitler,” Forward, Oct. 22, 2018.
( https://forward.com/culture/412422/sharks-defending-britain-from-nazis-how-fake-news-helped-foil-hitler/ )

Henry Hemming, Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II. PublicAffairs, 2019.

Robert Higgs, “Truncating the Antecedents: How Americans Have Been Misled About World War II.” March 18, 2008.
( http://www.lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs77.html )

Herbert C. Hoover, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and its Aftermath (George H. Nash, ed.). Stanford University, 2011.

David Ignatius, “Britain’s War in America: How Churchill’s Agents Secretly Manipulated the U.S. Before Pearl Harbor, The Washington Post, Sept. 17, 1989, pp. C-1, C-2.

Tyler Kent, “The Roosevelt Legacy and The Kent Case.” The Journal for Historical Review. Summer 1983 (Vol. 4, No. 2), pages 173-203. With Introduction by Mark Weber.
( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v04/v04p173_Kent.html )

Warren F. Kimball, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman. Princeton University Press, 1991

Charles C. Kolb. Review of: W. S. Stephenson, ed., British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas 1940-1945. H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. December 1999.
( http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=3623 )

Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44. Brassey’s, 1999.

Jerome O’Connor, “FDR’s Undeclared War,” Naval History (U.S. Naval Institute), Feb. 1, 2004.
( http://historyarticles.com/undeclared-war/ )

Joseph E. Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage. Random House, 2001.

“The Reich Government’s Reply To Roosevelt’s Navy Day Speech,” The New York Times, Nov. 2, 1941. ( http://ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1941/411101a.html )

Bruce M. Russett, No Clear and Present Danger: A Skeptical View of the U.S. Entry into World War II. New York: Harper & Row, 1972

Friedrich Stieve. What the World Rejected: Hitler’s Peace Offers, 1933- 1939.
( http://ihr.org/other/what-the-world-rejected.html )

Steven T. Usdin, Bureau of Spies: The Secret Connections Between Espionage and Journalism in Washington. Prometheus, 2018

Steve Usdin, “When a Foreign Government Interfered in a U.S. Election – In 1940, by Britain,” Politico, Jan. 16, 2017.
( https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/when-a-foreign-government-interfered-in-a-us-electionto-reelect-fdr-214634 )

Mark Weber, “The ‘Good War’ Myth of World War Two.” May 2008.
( http://www.ihr.org/news/weber_ww2_may08.html )

Mark Weber, “Roosevelt’s `Secret Map’ Speech,” The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1985 (Vol. 6, No. 1), pp. 125-127.
( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p125_Weber.html )

Menachem Wecker, “The true story of a Jewish news agency that peddled fake news to undo Hitler.” Religion News Service, October 1, 2018
( https://religionnews.com/2018/10/01/the-true-story-of-a-jewish-news-agency-that-peddled-fake-news-to-undo-hitler/ )

Michael Williams, “FDR’s Confidential Crusader,” Warfare History Network. Jan. 17, 2019.
( https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2019/01/22/fdrs-confidential-crusader-2/ )

Christopher Woolf, “How Britain Tried to Influence the US Election in 1940,” Public Radio International, January 17, 2017
( https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-01-17/how-britain-tried-influence-us-election-1940 )

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow Slams ‘Paranoid’ Claims of ‘Russian Meddling’ in US Primaries, Expects More as Election Nears

Sputnik – February 21, 2020

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that US intelligence agencies had told President Trump that Russia was planning to meddle in the 2020 election to help reelect him.

Fresh claims about ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2020 US elections are “paranoid” nonsense, but can only be expected to increase as the November vote nears, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

On Thursday, NYT reported, citing several unnamed sources, that US intelligence agencies believed that Russia was plotting to meddle in both the Democratic primaries and the 2020 general election in a bid to get Donald Trump reelected. According to the newspaper, Russia’s plans included fiendish schemes to use “ransomware attacks to damage or interfere with voting systems or registration databases,” and attempts to undermine confidence in the US election system generally.

“This is just another paranoid report of the kind which, unfortunately, we will see more and more of as the election approaches. Of course, such claims bear no relationship to the truth,” Peskov said, commenting on the NYT piece.US officials and pro-Democratic media have spent well over three years accusing President Trump of being a Kremlin agent, and claiming that Moscow was engaged in an aggressive pro-Trump interference campaign in 2016. These allegations, collectively known as ‘Russiagate,’ essentially collapsed in April 2019, after the release of a 400 page+ report by special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller, who spent over two years examining alleged coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign in 2016, found no evidence of collusion. Furthermore, Mueller’s charges regarding instances of actual alleged ‘Russian meddling’ were limited to Facebook and Twitter trolling campaigns whose effectiveness and significance have repeatedly been called into question.

Earlier this month, investigative US media revealed that a key piece of ‘evidence’ used by the Obama White House to start the FBI probe into possible Trump-Russia collusion in 2016, the so-called ‘black ledger’ of secret cash payments to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during his work in Ukraine, was a complete fabrication created from scratch by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau and leaked to US media in the summer of 2016.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russiagate returns: MSM ecstatically exploit evidence-free NYT claim Moscow ‘helping Trump in 2020’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 21, 2020

The same media that flogged the insane ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory for years are resurrecting that particular dead horse, in what appears to be an effort to stop the White House from cleaning up the US intelligence community.

“Russia is aiding President Trump in the 2020 election, intelligence officials told lawmakers,” the New York Times blared on Thursday, adding that President Donald Trump berated the acting Director of National
How nice of the Times to prove Trump’s (alleged) point, then – and with a story that relies entirely on anonymous, unverifiable sources no less. It’s just like the early 2017 stuff about the “Trump-Putin dossier” on which the president-elect was briefed by FBI chief Jim Comey and DNI James Clapper, only for this to immediately leak to the #Resistance press, and set the stage for years of “Russian collusion” investigations.

Sure, the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense failed to stop Trump from getting elected or being sworn in, just like it failed to provide a pretext for his impeachment, so the Democrats had to make one up with the Ukraine phone call. That doesn’t mean they can’t try again, though!

MSNBC – which never recanted its Russiagate reporting – immediately blared the Times report as breaking news. CNN went a step further, calling on Clapper to comment on the story – yes, the very same former spook who brazenly lied to Congress about spying on Americans, co-authored the infamous “intelligence community assessment” claiming Russia was meddling in the 2016 election, and claimed Russians were “genetically driven” to subvert the US.

In what surely speaks volumes by itself, the story was uncritically amplified by the Washington Post’s chief fact checker.

Notice that all of this is happening just a day after nearly every single mainstream Western outlet outright misinterpreted a quote – in exactly the same way – from a court hearing about WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, because it fit their narrative about “Russian meddling.”

This new alleged “bombshell” also comes a day after Trump named trusted envoy Richard Grenell to oversee the ODNI – Clapper’s old beat – causing much wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the #Resistance and NeverTrumper types.

Could it be that they’re just a tiny bit nervous Grenell might clean house of all the “resistance” types that have acted for years on the self-righteous conviction that they, not the elected president, should run US policy? Folks like Clapper, Comey, CIA chief John Brennan, or the “whistleblower”-who-must-not-be-named who initiated the Ukrainegate fiasco, for example.

While normal, sane people may think that ‘Russiagate’ was a failure – and on its face, it was – it did actually manage to accomplish two major things. One was to validate the Trump Derangement Syndrome of the mainstream media and the Democrats, eventually encouraging them to believe they could actually impeach him. We all know how that ended.

The other, and perhaps more important, was to provide cover for all the people involved in the spying on Trump’s campaign, illegal FISA wiretaps and “unmaskings” of names, perjury traps, trumped-up prosecutions, letting Hillary Clinton off the hook for private email server use, and whatever actually happened to the DNC computers that got blamed on Russia.

Those people now have lucrative book deals or cushy jobs in the media and think tanks, rather than being charged with plotting a coup and being locked up in a federal penitentiary – even as they bleat how “no one is above the law.” Funny how Washington works, isn’t it?

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

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Antarctica’s ‘Hottest Day’? Not So Fast

By Michael Pile | Quadrant | February 18, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to play the Climate Game, or game the climate? If so, look no further than a remote research station on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a submarine-shaped office tower on Geneva’s Avenue de la Paix and an international media pack determined to ramp a single yet-to-be-confirmed measurement into another bogus climate scare.

The research station is the Argentine base, Esperanza, coordinates: 63°23′51″S 56°59′52″W. It claimed to have set a new record temperature of 18.3°C on February 6 this year, beating the previous record of 17.5°C on March 24, 2015, according to a tweet (below) from Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN), Argentina’s national meteorological service.

It was déjà vu all over again for the alarmist MSM.

BBC Scientists warn that global warming is causing so much melting at the South Pole, it will eventually disintegrate – causing the global sea level to rise by at least three metres (10ft) over centuries.

NY Times Antarctica, the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth, set a record high temperature on Thursday, underscoring global warming”. It went on to claim: “the high temperature is in keeping with the earth’s overall warming trend, which is in large part caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Guardian Antarctica is “one of the fastest warming places on earth, heating by almost 3°C [5.4°F] over the past 50 years”

The Guardian makes that claim despite recent research suggesting a cooling trend since the year 2000, contradicting the carbon dioxide-driven global warming scare. (Media’s horribly dishonest Antarctica warming propaganda, WUWT, February 9, 2020) Five years earlier, on April 1, 2015, it reported on the previous record under the headline: “Antarctica records unprecedented high temperatures – two temperature readings register ominous new potential measurements of accelerating climate change.” “What was incontestable,” the paper’s journalist concluded, “were the unprecedentedly high temperature readings on the Antarctic ice mass.”

Jack Weatherall: Warmists are feeling a polar chill

Yet mean monthly temperatures at Esperanza range from −10.5 °C (13.1 °F) in July, the coldest month, to 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) in January, the warmest month. During summer (December–February), the average high is between 3.7 and 4.3 °C (38.7 and 39.7 °F) while the average low is between −2.0 and −1.2 °C (28.4 and 29.8 °F). In winter, mean temperatures are around −6.0 °C (21.2 °F). So what is going on here?

ClimateChangeDispatch.com’s Thomas Richard ridiculed the Pavlovian alarmism:

To put this in perspective, it would be the equivalent of taking a temperature measurement in Reykjavík, Iceland, and proclaiming that this measurement is indicative of the temperature of the Arctic region, or worse, Tasiilaq (Ammassalik), Greenland. It’s a ridiculous statement and utterly useless. It is well known that West Antarctica is heavily influenced by underground volcanic activity, and hidden beneath its icy exterior is a myriad of active rift systems.

The glass, steel and aluminium tower adjacent Geneva’s Jardin Botaniques is the global headquarters of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) According to a local travel agency, Geneva Live Tourism, the building is “respectful of the environment,” and its “grandiose allure with the double façade seeming to dominate the surrounding space”. WMO is the beating heart of Big Climate. It is the UN’s “expert agency and voice regarding the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, its climate and the resulting distribution of water resources.” WMO issued a media release on the Esperanza result on February 7. It was a qualified announcement – New record for Antarctic continent reported – for the “likely legitimate record” was subject to formal verification.

A committee for WMO’s World Weather and Climate Extremes Archive (WWCEA) will now verify whether this indeed is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.

Dr Randall Cerveny, a professor of geographical sciences at Arizona State University, has been the WWCEA rapporteur – or gatekeeper – since its formation 14 years ago. “Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event.” Crucially, he also made this comment:

the record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional “foehn” event over the area:  a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain.

What is a foehn event? According to WUWT blogger Jim Steele,

… foehn events cause rapid extreme temperature jumps simply due to changes in the air pressure as winds descend from a mountain top. During the 2015 foehn event, Esperanza’s daily temperature jumped from 0°C [32°F] 2 days before, to a record setting 17.5°C [63.5°F]. Elsewhere, Antarctic foehn winds are common and have been extensively studied, often raising maximum temperatures by 10+°C [18+°F] above normal.

In other words, it was just local weather, not a consequence of so-called dangerous anthropogenic global warming, aka “climate change”.  “Verification was important”, Cerveny said. “It helps to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers.”

The WMO media release noted that: “the Antarctic, like the Arctic, is poorly covered in terms of weather observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea level rise.”

Despite a lack of data, WMO could not resist the opportunity to trumpet a warming warning. Included in the release were ominous comments on the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. The latter, allegedly, is “one of the largest contributors to global sea level rise from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. There was no mention of its precise “contribution”. That, dear reader, is another story, one about why the BBC failed to mention the many active volcanoes underneath this region, yet found space to jest about “snotsicles”.  Spending £38 million of US/UK government funding to “prove” we are in a “climate emergency” has never been such fun.

Scientists fear the Thwaites Glacier could be beginning a process of catastrophic collapse. There is more than three metres of potential sea level rise in the ice of West Antarctica, enough to swamp many of the great cities of the world and drive hundreds of millions of people from their homes.

In any case, speculating about the threat of global sea-level rise, despite the region’s prevailing temperature profiles, is surely a fool’s game.

The Antarctic Peninsula (the northwest tip near to South America) is among the fastest warming regions of the planet, almost 3°C over the last 50 years.  The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. Most of the ice loss takes place by melting of the ice shelves from below, due to incursions of relatively warm ocean water, especially in west Antarctica and to a lesser extent along the peninsula and in east Antarctica.

We will need more than the IPCC’s brave 2C warming guesstimate to melt the massive southern polar ice block.

Spanning 14 million km2 (roughly twice the size of Australia), the Antarctic’s average annual temperature ranges from about −10°C on the Antarctic coast to −60°C at the highest parts of the interior. Its immense ice sheet is up to 4.8km thick and contains 90% of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 metres were it all to melt. 

There is another important issue here too: geographical semantics. The WMO release conflates the Antarctic Peninsula with the continental Antarctic ice sheet. Little surprise, then, most of the MSM missed the fact that the Antarctic Peninsula is not the Antarctic continent or “region”. The former refers to the narrow northwest tip nearest to South America. As for the latter, the WMO – controversially – defines it as “everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude”. (See Antarctica map)

The Esperanza base is actually outside the Antarctic Circle, which runs 66°33′48.0″ south of the Equator. It is misleading – some might say mischievous – to imply that “record” temperature measurements on the Antarctic Peninsula – less than 5 per cent of the continent and especially those taken on islands at its northern extremity, are meaningful for Antarctica itself, as the WMO does here by including this sentence in its February 7 media release: “The record for the Antarctic region – that is, everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude – is 19.8C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.”

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Signy Research Station at Factory Cove, Borge Bay, Signy Island, is also outside the Antarctic Circle. Located at Lat. 60°43’0″S, Long. 45°36’0″W in the South Orkney Islands group, it is 1300 km from the Falkland Islands, 900 km from South Georgia, 600 km from the Antarctic Peninsula, and 3250 km  from the South Pole. According to the BAS website, meteorological records at this summer-only site “were kept by professional meteorologists from 1947 to 1969 and by station volunteers from 1969 to 1995.” How much confidence can we have, then, in the 19.8C reading of January 30, 1982 — a record maximum for any station south of 60°S — especially when the month is prone to significant variation, including “sudden falls in temperature”, down to -7°C?

Whatever the case, a recent detailed analysis of meteorological conditions prevailing at the time – prompted by Dr Cerveny and the WMO Committee on Antarctic Temperature Extremes — confirms that it, too, was due to foehn (or fohn) warming:

At the time of the record temperature exceptionally warm air was being advected southwards towards the South Orkney Islands from the subtropical South Atlantic…. Since conditions conducive to föhn occur relatively frequently, föhn warming may have a significant influence on the local climate and ecology of Signy Island.

As mentioned, WMO’s WWCEA committee rightly is not prepared to declare a new record for Esperanza without further investigation, at this stage referring only to a potential new Antarctic (continent) high temperature:

The Argentine research base, Esperanza, on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, set a new record temperature of 18.3°C on 6 February 2020, potentially beating the former record of 17.5°C on 24 March 2015.

WWCEAC would “now verify whether this indeed is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.” It has not done so yet, so we await the rapporteur’s “decision and relevant documentation” to be posted on this site (here).

Dr. Cerveny, incidentally, proposed creating WMO’s global archive for verifying, certifying and storing world weather extremes in 2006. As Rapporteur he has called an “ad hoc extremes committee” to “provide an expert and unbiased recommendation” on whether the new extreme qualifies for the archive. This process is easier said than done, for if “the truth be told, world record extremes are mistakenly created all the time.”

For example a “fat finger” error such as hand digitizing a 28.0°C as 82.0 would create a world record observation that every quality control system would say was invalid. Additionally, instrumentation problems can generate a report far in excess of the meteorological conditions. But sometimes a combination of fairly extreme meteorological conditions with minor instrumentation problems, such as calibration errors, can necessitate considerable detective work to determine whether a new world record observation was indeed valid or not. Since weather records are often used as indicators that the Earth’s climate is changing and/or becoming more extreme, confirmation of new weather extreme records should be recognized as a high priority in the meteorology community.

An alert blogger, Nicholas McGinley, made the following post at WUWT :

I am having a hard time verifying this report from Esperanza station.
The thermometer data from the last five days did not show anything close to what is being reported, when I looked earlier this evening. But now I checked again, and the numbers have changed completely. Here is a Tweet I posted with the two graphs side by side:

It has become nearly impossible to trust anything these days.
Besides for all of that … when a short term blip is announced as if it is a representation of the entire state of the planet, while in Alaska a two month trend of temps is showing the coldest period ever recorded in that entire state, something is not at all right.

Dr Cerveny and WMO’s WWCEA committee presumably will sort it all out soon. After all, it did so when a Czech Republic automatic weather station on Davies Dome in the northern part of Ulu Peninsula, James Ross Island, recorded a temperature of 17.9°C (64.2°F) on 23 March 2015, “a day before the current WMO accepted record of 17.5°C (63.5°F) was observed at Esperanza Base (Argentina) in the same general location in the Antarctic Region”.

The committee adjusted the Davies Dome observation down to 17.0°C ± 0.2°C (62.6°F ± 0.4°F) and declared it to be “the second-highest temperature recorded in the Antarctic Region (continent only).”

The recommendation follows a detailed discussion by the committee of the probability that the station experienced solar radiation bias on the temperature-recording instrument at the time of the record observation. In simple terms, the committee suggested that the temperature sensor at Davies Dome was heated to around 0.9°C (1.6°F) above the true air temperature by a combination of high solar radiation (coming both directly from the sun and also reflected from the underlying ice surface) and low wind speed.

Establishing a “true air temperature” in Antarctica, however the continent is defined, clearly can be a challenge. If one automatic weather station reading can be reduced (“adjusted downwards”) after a “detailed discussion” due to the probability of “solar radiation bias”, then what is the reliability of other station readings?

One item that ought to be on the committee’s agenda is a ten-minute video uploaded on February 9, 2020:  Climate Alarmists fleeing to Antarctica. As author Tony Heller demonstrates, with winter and the (temporary) collapse of Arctic melting hysteria, climate alarmists have flown south to the other pole. Let’s hope none of them ended up at Esperanza Base and the Thwaites Glacier.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Media’s Horribly Dishonest Antarctica Propaganda

By Jim Steele | Watts Up With That? | February 9, 2020

Attempting to reinforce the climate crisis narrative, a recent high temperature record in Antarctica has been misleadingly ballyhooed as an example of global warming by the world’s largest media outlets – New York Times, BBC, the Guardian, etc. Although the NY Times tries to sell their paper with the slogan “The Truth is Worth It”, their misleading articles suggest you should spend your money elsewhere. These media giants seem more intent on scaring the public and manufacturing a false climate crisis, than educating the public about the real physics that cause weather changes causing Antarctica’s temperature record!

The NY Times wrote, “Antarctica, the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth, set a record high temperature on Thursday, underscoring global warming” But the fact that Antarctica is the coldest place on earth, has nothing to do with a temperature record at a single weather station, Esperanza. Esperanza is located at the warmest, most northerly part of the mountainous Antarctica peninsula. Esperanza is most sensitive to El Nino warming. It most sensitive to the southward flow of warm moist subtropical winds. And Esperanza’s topography always amplifies temperatures when winds from the northwest cause foehn wind events. What happened at Esperanza has nothing to do with Antarctica’s overall climate trends, never mind any global warming trend.

The Guardian wrote, Antarctica “is one of the fastest warming places on earth, heating by almost 3°C [5.4°F] over the past 50 years”. However, the Guardian hides the fact they are using zombie data. Recent research shows a cooling trend since the year 2000 and that contradicts any CO2 driven global warming theory.

In the 2016 peer-reviewed paper “Absence of 21st century Warming on Antarctic Peninsula consistent with Natural Variability”, Antarctic climate experts documented that from 1979–1997, Antarctic had indeed experienced the globe’s fastest warming temperatures, increasing by 3.2 °C [5.8 °F] per century. In contrast, from 1999–2014, temperatures then decreased at a rate 4.7 °C [8.5 °F} per century. This strong cooling trend is rarely reported or referred to by media alarmists. Dishonestly, the Guardian ignores the recent cooling trends to suggest a recent one day Esperanza temperature record is “a sign that warming in Antarctica is happening much faster than global average” and “is the foreshadowing of what is to come.” Likewise the NY Times dishonestly claims, “The high temperature is in keeping with the earth’s overall warming trend, which is in large part caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Guardian’s author Graham Readfearn engages in his typical alarmist distortions to write, “Previous research from 2012 found the current rate of warming in the region was almost unprecedented over the past 2000 years.” Really? Almost unprecedented? The paper he refers to actually stated, “Although warming of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula began around 600 years ago, the high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia.

The BBC gets the prize for going completely off the rails stating, “Scientists warn that global warming is causing so much melting at the South Pole, it will eventually disintegrate – causing the global sea level to rise by at least three metres (10ft) over centuries.” But there has been no warming trend at the south pole nor in east Antarctica as exemplified by the Dumont D’Urville weather station.

clip_image002

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For those readers who only trust peer reviewed papers, I suggest reading, “Foehn Event Triggered by an Atmospheric River Underlies Record-Setting Temperature Along Continental Antarctica” which thoroughly investigated the causes of the previous 2015 record-setting temperature at Esperanza.

What is a foehn event? Foehn events cause rapid extreme temperature jumps simply due to changes in the air pressure as winds descend from a mountain top. During the 2015 foehn event, Esperanza’s daily temperature jumped from 0°C [32°F] 2 days before, to a record setting 17.5°C [63.5°F]. Elsewhere, Antarctic foehn winds are common and have been extensively studied, often raising maximum temperatures by 10+°C [18+°F] above normal.

As seen in figure “c” below, weather systems in 2015 had driven a warm and humid subtropical air flow from the northwest onto the northern Antarctic Peninsula. That warm air flow raised the western peninsula’s temperatures above normal. Then those winds rose up and over the peninsula’s mountain range amplifying temperatures even further on the east side of the peninsula. As the air rose, its water vapor condensed, both releasing precipitation and releasing latent heat that had further warmed the air. As that warmer and drier air passed over the mountain crest and descended onto Esperanza, temperatures warmed further as air pressure increased temperatures at a rate of over 5°F for every 1000-foot drop in altitude. A typical foehn event.

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As happens in all the earth’s mountainous regions, foehn winds warm the air due to simple physics and well-established gas laws. Warming does not require any added heat from the sun or CO2. During Esperanza’s 2015 record warmth, temperatures had hovered around 0.5°C [0.9 °F] the day before. But as winds from the northwest increased air flow over the peninsula’s mountains, those foehn winds increased Esperanza’s temperatures by 17.5 °C [63.5 °F]. Those same dynamics were in play during the February 2020 record temperature.

In contrast to several paragraphs trying to implicate global warming, the Guardian did offer one sentence hinting at a foehn wind warming, quoting Dr. Renwick: “higher temperatures in the region tended to coincide with strong northwesterly winds moving down mountain slopes – a feature of the weather patterns around Esperanza in recent days.”

Also a quote from Dr Steve Rintoul, an Antarctic expert at CSIRO, admitted: “This is a record from only a single station, but it is in the context of what’s happening elsewhere and is more evidence that as the planet warms we get more warm records and fewer cold records.”

But Rintoul is not sharing all the facts. The current context for the Antarctica Peninsula is that for over a decade it has experienced cooling temperatures driven by natural variability. In fact, glaciers in Esperanza’s region have also expanded. Esperanza’s record temperature simply happened due to foehn winds despite a cooling trend. Unfortunately, the media would rather scare the public to promote a climate crisis, than honestly educate them about the causes of natural climate variability.


Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

Contact: naturalclimatechange@earthlink.net

February 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 3 Comments