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New York Times Decides Lockdowns are Actually Draconian and Economically Destructive when China Does Them

“Right-wing conspiracy theorists with ties to anti-Xi opposition elements spread baseless rumours, deny science, and endanger lives” – strangely not how the NYT chose to caption this image.
eugyppius: a plague chronicle | November 28, 2022

Three years ago, Zero Covid was the aspiration of public health bureaucrats and politicians across the West. Charlatan techbros like Tomas Pueyo appeared on national television to demand nationwide house arrest; leaders like Angela Merkel surrounded themselves with virus-eradicationist modellers and imposed unprecedented months-long closures upon their countries. When protests inevitably broke out, they were violently suppressed; the protesters were slandered as conspiracy theorists and fascists.

The New York Times played a leading role in this long and excruciating charade. In April 2020, they reported that “an informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the [Trump] White House” was responsible for “quietly working to nurture protests and apply … pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.” In March 2021, they ran an obnoxious opinion piece about What Happened When Germany’s Far-Riught Party Railed Against Lockdowns, which called the German protesters “an amorphous mix of conspiracy theorists, shady organizations and outraged citizens” and appeared to accuse the right-populist party Alternativ für Deutschland of opportunism for joining their ranks.

What a difference a few years have made.

China Protests Break Out as Covid Cases Surge and Lockdowns Persist is a lead headline in today’s New York Times : “Strict Covid restrictions are hurting the country’s economy and angering members of the public, who are taking to the streets,” we read in the article that follows. Western anti-lockdown protesters are fascists and conspiracy theorists; Chinese anti-lockdown protesters, on the other hand, are ordinary people protesting their oppression:

“Lift the lockdown,” the protesters screamed in a city in China’s far west. On the other side of the country, in Shanghai, demonstrators held up sheets of blank white paper, turning them into an implicit but powerful sign of defiance. One protester, who was later detained by the police, was carrying only flowers.

Over the weekend, protests against China’s strict Covid restrictions ricocheted across the country in a rare case of nationwide civil unrest. There had been signs of dissent, but the new wave of anger may pose a bigger challenge for the government.

Some demonstrators went so far as to call for the Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, to step down. Many were fed up with Mr. Xi, who in October secured a precedent-defying third term as the party’s general secretary, and his “zero-Covid” policy, which continues to disrupt everyday life, hurt livelihoods and isolate the country.

Western lockdowns were necessary to save lives. Chinese lockdowns are the repressive tactic of an undemocratic regime.

The Chinese government on Monday blamed “forces with ulterior motives” for linking a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region to strict Covid measures, a key driver as the protests spread across the country.

In much the same way, the New York Times blamed shadowy political actors with ties to Trump for anti-lockdown protests in 2020.

Outside China, the rest of the world has adapted to the virus and is near normalcy. Take soccer’s premier event, the World Cup. Thousands of people from across the globe have assembled in Qatar and are cheering on their teams, shoulder-to-shoulder, without masks, in packed stadiums.

China’s approach won praise during the beginning of the pandemic, and there is no doubt it has saved lives. But now that approach looks increasingly outdated. Almost three years after the coronavirus emerged, the contrast between China and the rest of the world couldn’t be starker.

Emphasis mine, because it’s probably the most amazing line in the whole piece. Here we have America’s foremost propaganda outlet, trying desperately to accuse China of unjust dictatorial repression, for the crime of implementing in a more organised and coherent way the very same Zero Covid policies that Times journalists spent nearly two years supporting. What’s actually wrong with the harsh Chinese lockdowns? Well, say the Times, because they can’t say anything else, they’ve become unfashionable.

The Times have also suddenly discovered that lockdowns are bad for the economy. “China’s economy has been hurt by the restrictions,” which have “hammered business both large and small,” they report. Major companies are seeking to escape the effects of closures by “expand[ing] production outside China”, all while “reduced foot traffic” hurts businesses in “the main streets of towns and cities.” That’s bad when it happens in China, but Germany or Canada it’s totally worth it.


On the one hand, we should be probably be happy about the implicit repudiation of lockdowns that articles like this represent, and the strong signal they send that none of our opinion makers wants to return to them. Some of you will have your own more detailed theories about why this is, but my broad view, is that mass containment adheres to the same trajectory everywhere: 1) There is the initial lockdown followed by a seasonally-induced collapse in cases, which encourages among policymakers to an illusion of control. 2) When infections inevitably surge the second time, they try to play the lockdown card again and again, always with less success. 3) Finally, in the face of growing protests and destruction, the policies are abandoned and everything reopens. The only difference between China and the West, is that a few years intervened before the first and the second of these steps.

On the other hand, the increasingly open hypocrisy and manipulation of the press are reaching terrifying levels I’d never imagined before, and I think this is very bad.

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is Dr. Asish Jha (President Biden’s Covid Czar)?

Top public health empty suit is a pandemic planner and propagandist

Dr. Ashish Jha
By John Leake · Courageous Discourse · November 25, 2022

At at press briefing on November 22, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, reiterated that God gave us two arms in order to receive multiple vaccines and boosters. I write “reiterated” because he made the same stupid remark at a press briefing back in September.

I wasn’t surprised when the Biden Administration appointed Dr. Jha to serve as its Covid Czar. As we recount in our book, Dr. Jha was the minority witness at Senator Ron Johnson’s November 19, 2020 hearing on Early Outpatient Treatment. This hearing began with testimony from Drs. Peter McCullough, Harvey Risch, and George Fareed on the safety and efficacy of repurposed, FDA-approved drugs for treating COVID-19—especially in the disease’s early stage—to prevent hospitalization and death.

Following their testimony, Dr. Jha testified that their observations and findings were erroneous. In fact, he claimed, there were no effective early treatments for COVID-19, and that our best and only hope was the vaccine that was then in development.

An especially dramatic and somewhat comical moment in the hearing occurred when Dr. George Fareed said, “I wonder if Dr. Jha actually treats patients by the way he talks.” Senator Johnson took this remark as a cue for querying Dr. Jha.

“Have you treated any Covid patients,” Senator Johnson asked.

“I have not, sir,” Dr. Jha replied. We recount this scene in the following excerpt from The Courage to Face COVID-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex:


Dr. Jha had splendid academic credentials to match his splendid manners, but at this moment he lost a lot of credibility. It was perhaps the equivalent of an aeronautical engineer admitting that he’d never flown in a plane, or a marital counselor admitting he’d never been married.

He implied that Professor Risch—a distinguished epidemiologist twenty years his senior—was categorically wrong in his interpretation of the data. Then he implied that Dr. Fareed’s observations as a treating physician were an illusion—that the high-risk patients who received the Zelenko Protocol would have recovered in the same dramatic way without the intervention.

This was probably the most notable moment in the hearing. Since graduating from medical school in 1970, Dr. Fareed had logged fifty years as a medical researcher and treating physician. It would be hard to find a doctor in the entire country with more clinical experience. He testified to the U.S. Senate that he’d successfully treated 1,000 high-risk COVID-19 patients. A few minutes later, a doctor 25 years his junior—one who’d never treated a single COVID-19 patient—asserted that “there is now clear consensus in the medical and scientific community” that a key ingredient of Dr. Fareed’s treatment protocol doesn’t work. In effect, Dr. Jha told Dr. Fareed to reject the evidence of his own eyes and ears.

Shortly after the hearing, Dr. Jha published an opinion piece for the November 24, 2020, edition of the New York Times titled “The Snake-Oil Salesman of the Senate.” He opened with likening the event to a contagion.

There was a super-spreader event last week in the United States Senate. It wasn’t the coronavirus, however, that was spreading, but misinformation. … The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing about early treatment for COVID-19. Yet instead of a robust discussion about promising emerging therapies or what Congress might do to accelerate such treatments, the conversation was all about the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. … Neither Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican senator nor his chosen witnesses—three doctors who have pushed hydroxychloroquine—displayed more than a passing interest in evidence. Intuition and personal experiences of individual doctors were acclaimed as guiding principles.[i]

Dr. Jha didn’t mention that he himself had focused his Senate remarks on hydroxychloroquine and hadn’t mentioned any “promising emerging therapies” apart from vaccines. He also didn’t state the names or credentials of the hearing’s witnesses or a summary of their findings or experiences. He compared them to the snake oil salesmen from the frontier past with their advocacy of the drug that President Trump had touted in the spring, implying they were equally lacking in medical sophistication.

“I was called reckless because I pointed to facts that could prevent people from getting the treatment,” he wrote, but he didn’t state these facts. The online version of his essay hyperlinked the word “reckless” to a similar hatchet job report on the hearing in the Washington Post. He claimed the witnesses had expressed a distrust of science and had even “suggested that scientists were part of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy to deny Americans access to lifesaving therapies.” This was, he asserted, “a powerful reminder that not even Congress is immune to toxic conspiracy theories…”

Dr. Jha’s New York Times opinion was, itself, evidence that early treatment of COVID-19 was the subject of a well-orchestrated smear campaign. Why else would such a distinguished academic pen such rank propaganda against his colleagues and their work? That he was personally stung by the revelation that he’d never treated a single COVID-19 patient could only partly account for it.

A possible answer to this question may be gleaned from Dr. Jha’s remarks at a January 10, 2017, Georgetown University conference titled “Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration.”

Like the participants at the October 2019 Pandemic Simulation Exercise at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Jha predicted that a devastating pandemic “is going to come at some point.” Dr. Fauci, the keynote speaker, made a more precise prediction.

“There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases,” he proclaimed. “The thing we’re extraordinarily confident about is that we’re going to see this in the next few years.”[ii]

As psychiatrist and author Peter Breggin, MD, remarked in his extraordinary book COVID-19 and the Global Predators: We Are the Prey, Dr Jha did not speak in a somber tone about the coming devastation. On the contrary, he emphasized that he was excited about the ambitious project of helping the U.S. and other governments, and equally excited about the many pandemic preparation events in Georgetown and Cambridge that lay ahead. The conference was, he said, the “beginning of a journey.”[iii]

Dr. Jha and his colleagues were animated with the same excitement that denizens of the military-industrial complex would feel at the prospect of a coming war in which they would assume leadership positions. At last, they would be able to deploy all of their forces. With the recognition that the coming war was inevitable, they could call upon the government to allocate far more resources for new technologies, weapons systems, bases, and military organizations. In an atmosphere of such heady excitement, the suggestion of defusing the coming war with diplomacy wouldn’t be received with much enthusiasm.

The irony of Dr. Jha’s excitement is that, when the pandemic he predicted arrived three years later, he didn’t attempt to treat patients or scramble to find consultants to intervene against the disease before it wrecked bodies and imprisoned people in hospitals. Instead, he penned propaganda against hydroxychloroquine and against Drs. McCullough, Risch, and Fareed. Why was the New York Times Editorial Board compelled to publish his misleading account of the Senate hearing? Did the editors even watch the C-SPAN recording of it?

It’s not plausible that their motive was a concern about hydroxychloroquine’s safety. Dr. Jha himself conceded in his testimony that he wasn’t particularly concerned about safety, so why the vast and ceaseless quibbling about whether its efficacy for outpatients had been proven? As Senator Johnson had said in the hearing, this makes no sense.


[i] Jha, Ashish, MD. The Snake Oil Salesmen of the Senate. New York Times, Nov. 24, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/24/opinion/hydroxychloroquine-covid.html

[ii] Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science & Security, Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration. January 10, 2017. https://ghss.georgetown.edu/pandemicprep2017/

[iii] Breggin, Peter R, MD and Ginger Ross Breggin, COVID-19 AND THE GLOBAL PREDATORS: WE ARE THE PREY. Ithaca: Lake Edge Press, 2021, p. 259.

November 25, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

The Covid/Crypto Connection: The Grim Saga of FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried

By Jeffrey A. Tucker | Browstone Institute | November 18, 2022

A series of revealing texts and tweets by Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced CEO of FTX, the once high-flying but now belly-up crypto exchange, had the following to say about his image as a do-gooder: it is a “dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”

Very interesting. He had the whole game going: a vegan worried about climate change, supports every manner of justice (racial, social, environmental) except that which is coming for him, and shells out millions to worthy charities associated with the left. He also bought plenty of access and protection in D.C., enough to make his shady company the toast of the town.

As part of the mix, there is this thing called pandemic planning. We should know what that is by now: it means you can’t be in charge of your life because there are bad viruses out there. As bizarre as it seems, and for reasons that are still not entirely clear, favoring lockdowns, masks, and vaccine passports became part of the woke ideological stew.

This is particularly strange because covid restrictions have been proven, over and over, to harm all the groups about whom woke ideology claims to care so deeply. That includes even animal rights: who can forget the Danish mink slaughter of 2020?

Regardless, it’s just true. Masking became a symbol of being a good person, same as vaccinating, veganism, and flying into fits at the drop of a hat over climate change. None of this has much if anything to do with science or reality. It’s all tribal symbolism in the name of group political solidarity. And FTX was pretty good at it, throwing around hundreds of millions to prove the company’s loyalty to all the right causes.

Among them included the pandemic-planning racket. That’s right: there were deep connections between FTX and Covid that have been cultivated for two years. Let’s have a look.

Earlier this year, the New York Times trumpeted a study that showed no benefit at all to the use of Ivermectin. It was supposed to be definitive. The study was funded by FTX. Why? Why was a crypto exchange so interested in the debunking of repurposed drugs in order to drive governments and people into the use of patented pharmaceuticals, even those like Ramdesivir that didn’t actually work? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Regardless, the study and especially the conclusions turned out to be bogus. David Henderson and Charles Hooper further point out an interesting fact: “Some of the researchers involved in the TOGETHER trial had performed paid services for Pfizer, Merck, Regeneron, and AstraZeneca, all companies involved in developing COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines that nominally compete with ivermectin.”

For some reason, SBF just knew that he was supposed to oppose repurposed drugs, though he knew nothing about the subject at all. He was glad to fund a poor study to make it true and the New York Times played its assigned role in the whole performance.

It was just the start. A soft-peddling Washington Post investigation found that Sam and his brother Gabe, who ran a hastily founded Covid nonprofit, “have spent at least $70 million since October 2021 on research projects, campaign donations and other initiatives intended to improve biosecurity and prevent the next pandemic.”

I can do no better than to quote the Washington Post:

The shock waves from FTX’s free fall have rippled across the public health world, where numerous leaders in pandemic-preparedness had received funds from FTX funders or were seeking donations.

In other words, the “public health world” wanted more chances to say: “Give me money so I can keep advocating to lock more people down!” Alas, the collapse of the exchange, which reportedly holds a mere 0.001% of the assets it once claimed to have, makes that impossible.

Among the organizations most affected is Guarding Against Pandemics, the advocacy group headed by Gabe that took out millions in ads to back the Biden administration’s push for $30 billion in funding. As Influence Watch notes: “Guarding Against Pandemics is a left-leaning advocacy group created in 2020 to support legislation that increases government investment in pandemic prevention plans.”

Truly it gets worse:

FTX-backed projects ranged from $12 million to champion a California ballot initiative to strengthen public health programs and detect emerging virus threats (amid lackluster support, the measure was punted to 2024), to investing more than $11 million on the unsuccessful congressional primary campaign of an Oregon biosecurity expert, and even a $150,000 grant to help Moncef Slaoui, scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine accelerator, write his memoir.

Leaders of the FTX Future Fund, a spinoff foundation that committed more than $25 million to preventing bio-risks, resigned in an open letter last Thursday, acknowledging that some donations from the organization are on hold.

And worse:

The FTX Future Fund’s commitments included $10 million to HelixNano, a biotech start-up seeking to develop a next-generation coronavirus vaccine; $250,000 to a University of Ottawa scientist researching how to eradicate viruses from plastic surfaces; and $175,000 to support a recent law school graduate’s job at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Overall, the Future Fund was a force for good,” said Tom Inglesby, who leads the Johns Hopkins center, lamenting the fund’s collapse. “The work they were doing was really trying to get people to think long-term … to build pandemic preparedness, to diminish the risks of biological threats.”

More:

Guarding Against Pandemics spent more than $1 million on lobbying Capitol Hill and the White House over the past year, hired at least 26 lobbyists to advocate for a still-pending bipartisan pandemic plan in Congress and other issues, and ran advertisements backing legislation that included pandemic-preparedness funding. Protect Our Future, a political action committee backed by the Bankman-Fried brothers, spent about $28 million this congressional cycle on Democratic candidates “who will be champions for pandemic prevention,” according to the group’s webpage.

I think you get the idea. This is all a racket. FTX, founded in 2019 following Biden’s announcement of his bid for the presidency, by the son of the co-founder of a major Democrat Party political action committee called Mind the Gap, was nothing but a magic-bean Ponzi scheme. It seized on the lockdowns for political, media, and academic cover. Its economic rationale was as nonexistent as its books. The first auditor to have a look has written:

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”

It was the worst example of a phony perpetual-motion machine: a token to back a company that itself was backed by the token, which in turn was backed by nothing but political fashion and woke ideology that roped in Larry David, Tom Brady,  Katy Perry, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton to provide a cloak of legitimacy.

Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas April 2022

And you can’t make this stuff up anymore: FTX had a close relationship with the World Economic Forum and was the favored crypto exchange of the Ukrainian government. It looks for all the world like the money-laundering operation of the Democratic National Committee and the entire lockdown lobby.

I will tell you what infuriates me about these billions in fake money and deep corruptions of politics and science. For years now, my anti-lockdown friends have been hounded for being funded by supposed dark money that simply doesn’t exist. Many brave scientists, journalists, attorneys, and others gave up great careers to stand for principle, exposing the damage caused by the lockdowns, and this is how they have been treated: smeared and displaced.

Brownstone has adopted as many in this diaspora as possible for fellowships as far as the resources (real ones, contributed by caring individuals) can go. But we cannot come anywhere near what is necessary for justice, much less compete with the 8-digit funding regime of the other side.

The Great Barrington Declaration was signed at the offices of the American Institute for Economic Research, which, apparently, six years prior had received a long-spent $60,000 grant from the Koch Foundation, and thus became a “Koch-funded libertarian think tank” which supposedly discredited the GBD, even though none of the authors received a dime.

This gibberish and slander has gone on for years – at the urging of government officials! – and Brownstone itself faces much of the same nonsense, with every manner of fantasy about our supposed power, money, and influence swarming the darker realms of the social-media dudgeons. In fact, the actual Koch Foundation (probably unbeknownst to its founder) was funding the pro-lockdown work of Neil Ferguson, whose ridiculous modeling terrified the world into denying human rights to billions of people the world over.

All this time – while every type of vicious propaganda was unleashed on the world – the pro-lockdown and pro-mandate lobby, including fake scientists and fake studies, were benefiting from millions and billions thrown around by operators of a Ponzi scheme based on cheating, fraud, and $15 billion in leveraged funds that didn’t exist while its principle actors were languishing in a drug-infested $40 million villa in the Bahamas even as they preened about the virtues of “effective altruism” and their pandemic-planning machinery that has now fallen apart.

Then the New York Times, instead of decrying this criminal conspiracy for what it is, writes puff pieces on the founder and how he let his quick-growing company grow too far, too fast, and now needs mainly rest, bless his heart.

The rest of us are left with the bill for this obvious scam that implausibly links crypto and Covid. But just as the money was based on nothing but puffed air, the damage they have wrought on the world is all too real: a lost generation of kids, declined lifespans, millions missing from the workforce, a calamitous fall in public health, millions of kids in poverty due to supply-chain breakages, 19 straight months of falling real incomes, historically high increases in debt, and a dramatic fall in human morale the world over.

So yes, we should all be furious and demand full accountability at the very least. Whatever the final truth, it is likely to be far worse than even the egregious facts listed above. It’s bad enough that lockdowns wrecked life and liberty. To discover that vast support for them was funded by fraud and fakery is a deeper level of corruption that not even the most cynical among us could have imagined.


Jeffrey A. Tucker, Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute, is an economist and author. He has written 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press.

November 18, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 2 Comments

American voters don’t need Russian trolls to tell them how bad things are

By Robert Bridge | RT | November 8, 2022

As US voters head to the polls for the much-anticipated Midterms, talk of Russian trolls monkeying with US democracy is back in the news. But does the country really need Russia’s help in “stoking anger” among the electorate?

If the hyper-liberal New York Times can be taken at face value just two days before an epic election, Russia’s underground army of trolls is, once again, attempting to seed the minds of malleable US voters to the Kremlin’s advantage. If those charges sounded outlandish in 2016, when the Democrats accused Russian ‘influencers’ of denying Hillary Clinton the presidency, they seem doubly so today.

The Times reported that the goal of the reactivated Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg is to “stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system.” Judging by the looks of things, the Russians are a bit late to the party. It would be hard to name another period in US politics when the level of anger and distrust has been so extreme, and that is something the Russian trolls, despite their supposed superhuman abilities, can’t take credit for.

Take inflation, for example, the single most pressing issue among US voters. It doesn’t require any sort of Russian mind-bending operation to inform Americans that the economic situation is deteriorating before their eyes, and has been ever since Biden entered office. They only need to look at their food and utility bills each month, and the price at the gas pump, to feel fury for what the Biden administration has done to the economy in a shockingly short period of time. Any effort to blame these negative sentiments on “the Russians” is just another way of the Democrats saying that soaring prices is “disinformation” and unworthy of your attention.

The Times mentions another point of contention among US voters, particularly the Republicans, and that is the blank-check powers that have been awarded to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Citing the work of “cybersecurity researchers,” the article alleges that the Russian influence campaign “appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.” Again, here is an issue that has already been undermined by the Republicans ever since the Democrats commenced with their proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, a massively hazardous venture where no expense is considered too great.

On this point, the Democrats are able to claim, much like in 2016, that the Russians and the Republicans are working in collusion, this time against Kiev. The Russians are anxious to see US military spending on Ukraine come to an end as all of those sophisticated weapons are only prolonging the conflict. Meanwhile, some of the Republicans campaigned on promises to terminate funding to the Zelensky regime and divert those billions of dollars to national security projects, like fortifying their own border and fighting crime.

It would be a mistake to think that Americans are not acutely aware of the issues now dividing the country. Every day, social media users can see for themselves everything they need to know about crime, inflation, transgender issues, and the border, to name just a few of the hot-button issues dividing the country. To suggest that Russian trolls are required to “stoke conservative anger” is to grossly underestimate the political intelligence of the average US voter, who appears better informed than ever before. The fact is, the Democrats are afraid of being wiped out in a landslide come Tuesday. Conjuring up the ghost of Russia interference at the 11th hour reveals their insecurity and will provide them some partial excuse in the event of a blowout.

With regards to these latest accusations of election interference, Moscow is understandably losing its patience. It requires either a certain lack of self-awareness, or an astonishing excess of arrogance, for the United States to lecture any country on the question of meddling. After all, in the case of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, we’re talking about a mere $150,000 spent on several thousand Facebook ads, many of which had no political message whatsoever. When it is considered that US presidential elections have turned into multi-billion-dollar pageants, with no expense spared on campaign attack ads, it is hard to imagine that Russia’s severely limited campaign had any effect whatsoever (it needs emphasis that not even Facebook is entirely sure where the posts originated from. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, would only say they “likely operated out of Russia”).

Now compare that to the way the United States “meddles” in the affairs of foreign countries, like Ukraine. In November 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovich opted in favor of closer ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union instead of the EU, protests broke out in the country. How did the United States respond? Not with internet trolls, that’s for sure. It dispatched high-ranking US officials to Kiev, like Senator John McCain and Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, where they agitated the masses against the democratically elected government. On the question of who would ultimately govern the splintered country, Nuland was overheard in a phone call with the US ambassador to Ukraine handpicking the eligible candidates.

Once again, the United States proved that there are rules for itself and rules for the rest of the world, and increasingly it is the American people who must pay the price for that supreme arrogance.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream.

November 8, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

How sarcastic remarks became basis for resurrecting ‘Russiagate’

By Drago Bosnic | November 8, 2022

The so-called “Russiagate” conspiracy theory has been the main go-to scapegoat for the failures of the DNC, be it the 2016 presidential or 2018 midterm elections. For six years the mainstream propaganda machine has been parroting the supposed “Russian election meddling” narrative.

Despite the official investigation giving no proof to support the claims that Moscow secured the United States presidency for Donald Trump, “Russiagate” persisted even after he left office. Several major events, such as the humiliating US defeat in Afghanistan and the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, pushed the debunked conspiracy theory out of the spotlight for some time. Still, just when the world forgot about “Russiagate”, the propaganda machine decided to resurrect it as a scapegoat once again, this time for the 2022 midterms.

On November 7, The New York Times published a report claiming that the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, the alleged “true founder and financial backer” of the “Wagner” PMC (private military company), made a “sardonic” statement about the supposed Russian meddling in 2022 US midterms. The Western mainstream media regularly accuse Prigozhin of “having close ties” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and they’ve even given him a rather cliché “supervillain” nickname – “Putin’s Chef”. Despite holding no official position in the Russian government, he is accused of conducting “clandestine operations” for the Kremlin, including alleged election interference.

“Gentlemen, we have interfered, we do interfere and we will [continue to] interfere,” Prigozhin said in a statement in response to a question from a Russian news outlet. “We will do it carefully, precisely, surgically as we are capable of doing it. During our targeted operations, we will remove both kidneys and liver at once,” he concluded in what was quite obviously a sarcastic remark. Russian news agency RIA Novosti described the comments as such as well, but the US mainstream propaganda machine is adamant that the statement is “clear proof” that Russia will supposedly affect the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections.

In 2018, Prigozhin was even indicted by the US that he funded and organized the so-called “troll factory” to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections, which was one of the staples of the “Russiagate” conspiracy theory. Despite no clear evidence that he did any of this, in 2021 the FBI put Prigozhin on its most-wanted list, while the US Treasury imposed sanctions on him for allegedly “organizing disinformation campaigns” in elections in Asia, Europe and Africa. The Biden administration placed additional sanctions on Prigozhin in March, due to his supposed “crucial role” in Russia’s counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Europe.

The US State Department also commented on Prigozhin’s statement, with the spokesman Ned Price calling it “a bold confession”. She added that it was “clear that a person of Mr. Prigozhin’s stature would not be in a position to make such claims unless the Kremlin, at some level didn’t approve.”

According to The New York Times, the unnamed “researchers” have supposedly “detected a new, though more concentrated, campaign by Russia to try to influence Tuesday’s midterm elections.” The alleged goal is “to empower angry conservative voters with the aim of undermining faith in American democracy … at a time when soaring energy prices and inflation threaten to dent support for the war, the campaign also appears intent on undermining the Biden administration’s extensive financial and military support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.”

The report further claims that “the campaign — using accounts that pose as enraged Americans — has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most heated races, including the Senate seats being contested in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania.” The alleged “calculation appears to be that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could dent American support for the war in Ukraine.”

The claims are quite clearly yet another attempt to use foreign powers as scapegoats and an excuse between political opponents in the US. The New York Times is infamous for being one of the strongholds of the neoliberal portion of the US establishment. By accusing the “angry conservatives” of working with Russia, the outlet is obviously trying to discredit the GOP to help the Democrats and give them at least somewhat better chances in the midterms.

The Republicans themselves aren’t immune to this, as they also resort to it by accusing the DNC of working with China. However, in this particular case, the Democrats, terrified of the prospect of losing both the House of Representatives and the Senate, are trying everything in their power to sway public opinion toward supporting their policies, both domestic and foreign, the unpopularity of which has reached its peak in recent months.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

November 8, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Reporters in Moscow

Malcolm Muggeridge, Walter Duranty, and the collision of ideology with evidence

Malcolm Muggeridge, Moscow correspondent for the Manchester Guardian
By John Leake | Courageous Discourse | November 7, 2022

Blinded by Ideology: Part 4 in a series on Willful Blindness

Malcolm Muggeridge was an exceptionally talented journalist who lived in Moscow in 1933, working for the Manchester Guardian. Though attracted to communism in his youth, the experience of being in Stalin’s Russia and observing what was going on in it caused him to become disillusioned. Especially disturbing was his realization that Stalin’s army and police were—as part of their collectivization program—starving millions of landowning peasants (known as kulaks) in the Ukraine by confiscating their grain. This massive organized crime—known as the Holodomor—resulted in the deaths of millions in the winter of 1933.

Muggeridge was the only western journalist to report what was going on. When his reports were published, many of his fellow writers—including George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Jean-Paul Sartre, Upton Sinclair and Theodore Dreiser, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb—refused to believe them and passionately asserted that Muggeridge was spreading falsehoods about Stalin’s regime. Muggeridge was related to the Webbs by marriage, and years later he told a funny story about Beatrice.

I remember Mrs. Webb, who after all was a very cultivated upper-class liberal-minded person, an early member of the Fabian Society and so on, saying to me, ‘Yes, it’s true, people disappear in Russia.’ She said it with such great satisfaction that I couldn’t help thinking that there were a lot of people in England whose disappearance she would have liked to organize.”

For decades, Muggeridge’s accurate reporting of the Holodomor was denied and suppressed. The dominant narrative of Stalin’s Russia in the early thirties was that propagated by the New York Times Moscow bureau chief, Walter Duranty, who vehemently denied the Holodomor. While Muggeridge’s true and courageous reporting was denied, Duranty won a Pulitzer Price for his concealment of one of the greatest crimes of the 20th Century. It’s a testament to the power of Duranty’s mendacious work that most Americans have still never heard of the Holodomor.

Walter Duranty, Moscow bureau chief for the New York Times

Over the last two years I’ve often thought about Muggeridge and Duranty as I have watched courageous scholars like Dr. Peter McCullough persecuted and censored, while COVID-19 vaccine ideologues are rewarded. Most notable is the COVID-19 vaccine propagandist, Dr. Peter Hotez, who was recently nominated for the Nobel Prize.

One of the most bizarre features of our bizarre time is that an experimental, gene transfer technology has become an object of unshakable devotion. Among members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Cult, belief in the substance (about which they know nothing) is an article of faith.

In the 1930s, 40s, and even 50s, many of the most prominent journalists, writers, intellectuals, and artists believed in Stalin’s Cult of Personality. Muggeridge knew (from his own observations) that they weren’t seeing the reality of Stalin’s regime. Because they viewed the world through the highly distorting lens of ideology, they couldn’t see what was right in front of them.

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Naughty Russians

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • NOVEMBER 6, 2022

According to the New York Times those naughty Russians are at it again.

Today’s online lead story entitled “Russia Reactivates Its Trolls and Bots Ahead of Tuesday’s Midterms” with the subtitle Researchers have identified a series of Russian information operations to influence American elections and, perhaps, erode support for Ukraine” marks a new low in what the Gray Lady, self-designated as one of America’s “newspapers of record,” prefers to call “journalism.” The author of the piece, clearly somewhat biased over Russia and Putin, is one “Steven Lee Myers [who] covers misinformation for The Times. He is also the author of ‘The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin.’”

Here is what it is all about: “The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol. The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine’s president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda.”

Per the Times, “The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.”

Well, one might object that Ukraine’s president is indeed a figure tailor-made for ridicule as he used to play a piano with his penis, but that is perhaps a secondary issue. The more significant theme is that people who oppose the Ukraine war, for any number of reasons, and, particularly if they are conservatives, are becoming trolls for Russia in part due to the disinformation efforts and are being influenced by way of discussion fora like Gab. The targets “are generally US conservatives who are maybe more accepting of conspiratorial claims” according to one of the cybersecurity experts consulted by the author. The Times links Berka, who might indeed be a made-up identity “posing as an outraged American,” to the secretive Russian Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg which it claims was involved in interfering in both the 2016 and 2020 US elections.

The Times also names another site that it links to Russia, electiontruth.net “For its contact information, electiontruth.net lists a cafe inside a converted gas station in Cotter, Ark., a town of 900 people on a bend in the White River. The cafe has closed, however… No one at Election Truth responded to a request for comment submitted through the site.”

One might object that neither Berka nor electiontruth.net would appear to be a major disinformation threat sponsored by a foreign government intended to bring down the Republic. Nevertheless, the article clearly adheres to the view that anyone objecting to the continuing war in Ukraine is a Russian dupe. It cites Liz Cheney, who has called the few Republicans who want to cut funding for the war as “the Putin wing of the Republican Party,” and Myers observes that the disinformation unfortunately echoes “a theme that has gained some traction among Republican lawmakers and voters who have questioned the delivery of weapons and other military assistance.”

Another “expert” cited in the article, one Edward P. Perez, a board member with the OSET Institute, a self-described “nonpartisan election security organization,” called the Russian efforts “manufactured chaos” in the country’s body politic – in part because the divisions in American society are already such fertile soil for disinformation. “Since 2016, it appears that foreign states can afford to take some of the foot off the gas because they have already created such sufficient division that there are many domestic actors to carry the water of disinformation for them.”

Myers and his agenda driven quoted “experts” do not consider for a moment that there are a lot of good reasons for opposing US involvement in the fighting in Ukraine, many of which are rooted in a conservative view of what is America’s appropriate role in what is becoming a multipolar world. First, the United States has no national interest at stake that compels it to enter the fighting on behalf of Ukraine. Second, the war itself could have been averted if the United States and Europeans had been willing to address and negotiate Russian national security concerns in a serious way before the fighting broke out. Third, even now, a push by the US and its allies would likely bring the two sides to the negotiating table and a truce could be arranged. Fourth, the United States would in fact be playing a positive role if it would opt to do whatever it takes to end the slaughter taking place. Fifth and finally, expansion of a US direct role in the conflict could prove catastrophic if someone blinks and the war goes nuclear.

So, the compelling need for the continuation of an unnecessary war is the main point being made by Mr. Myers’ featured article, which clearly reflects the views of the New York Times editorial staff. And the enemy characteristically comes from within – Americans who oppose the involvement of the United States in the war against Russia and are accused of being little more than “domestic actors” who are peddling disinformation provided by the Kremlin. Given that this article has appeared two days before national elections, the intent is clear. The Russians are, per the Times, generating disinformation about Ukraine and Americans who go along with the lies are being manipulated. Moscow is again interfering in a US national election! Vote for the Democratic candidates as they will be the ones that can be relied upon to keep the war going! Three cheers for Joe Biden!

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Russia Says “Top Priority” Is To Avoid Nuclear Clash, Reiterates Purely Defensive Use

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | November 2, 2022

Russia on Wednesday warned that the world’s “top priority” should be the nuclear-armed super powers avoiding confrontation at all costs or else this would lead to “catastrophic consequences.”

“We are firmly convinced that in the current difficult and turbulent situation — a consequence of irresponsible and shameless actions aimed at undermining our national security — the top priority is to prevent any military clash of nuclear powers,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

While not naming its chief nuclear-armed rivals the United States or the United Kingdom specifically, the Kremlin called on all other nuclear states to “abandon dangerous attempts to infringe on each other’s vital interests.”

The statement reiterated a key tenet of Russia’s official nuclear doctrine, saying, “Russia is strictly and consistently guided by the tenet that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” It reemphasized a nuclear doctrine that is “purely defensive in nature” – which only allows deployment of nuclear arms “when the very existence of our state is threatened.”

In a statement early last month, President Joe Biden expressed that he doesn’t think Russia’s Vladimir Putin will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. “Well, I don’t think he will,” Biden previously said in a CNN interview. “But I think that it’s irresponsible for him to talk about it.”

Also on Wednesday The New York Times has published some hugely significant claims

Senior Russian military leaders recently had conversations to discuss when and how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, contributing to heightened concern in Washington and allied capitals, according to multiple senior American officials.

President Vladimir V. Putin was not a part of the conversations, which were held against the backdrop of Russia’s intensifying nuclear rhetoric and battlefield setbacks.

But the fact that senior Russian military leaders were even having the discussions alarmed the Biden administration because it showed how frustrated Russian generals were about their failures on the ground, and suggests that Mr. Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons might not just be words.

According to follow-up reporting in CNN, the alleged Kremlin discussion among top officials of using tactical nukes against Ukraine is based on a US intelligence assessment.

But importantly, CNN cites that there remain dissenting opinions within the US intelligence community. CNN’s reporting begins, “Russian military officials have discussed how and under what conditions Russia would use a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, according to a US intelligence assessment described to CNN by multiple sources who have read it.”

“The assessment, drafted by the National Intelligence Council, is not a high confidence product and is not raw intelligence but rather analysis, multiple people who have read it told CNN,” the report continues, before emphasizing: “For that reason, some officials believe the conversations reflected in the document may have been taken out of context, and do not necessarily indicate that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”

It is a significant and eye-brow raising moment when CNN spotlights the likelihood of intelligence ‘cherry picking’ in a story which relates to Russia, which indeed casts serious doubt on the original NYT Times reporting and claims by unnamed US intelligence officials.

November 3, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

EU trying to play the arbiter of alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine

EU judicial institutions never showed interest in investigating the nearly decade-long mass murder of civilians in Donbass

By Drago Bosnic | October 17, 2022

Ever since Russia started its counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Eastern Europe, the political West has been parroting the narrative that Moscow is allegedly committing war crimes in Ukraine. Although there has been virtually zero evidence to support such claims, the mainstream propaganda machine refuses to give up. The Kiev regime and its geopolitical puppet masters in Washington DC and Brussels are also resorting to false flags and so-called deep fakes to create and maintain the narrative that Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilians. And yet, the Western mainstream propaganda machine often gets caught in its own web of lies. On October 11, The New York Times published an op-ed by Mike Ives in which he made the following claim:

“The Russian missile and drone attacks that killed at least 19 people across Ukraine on Monday were traumatic and wide-ranging, but they were not as deadly as they could have been… …That has renewed questions over the quality of Russia’s weapons and about the capacity of its forces to carry out President Vladimir V. Putin’s military designs.”

The claim clearly indicates that Russia’s recent missile strikes targeting the Kiev regime’s critical military infrastructure are somehow seen as “ineffective” because there were “too few” casualties. Such a sadistic claim serves as proof that propaganda pushed by the political West has no limits. Russia has been using advanced long-range precision weapons to target key military units and infrastructure of the Kiev regime forces. This approach is a result of both high-tech aspects of the Russian military and the fact that Moscow’s special military operation is still prioritizing the reduction of civilian casualties. And yet, even though the Western propaganda machine acknowledges this reality, the narrative of alleged Russian “war crimes” in Ukraine needs to be pushed into the mainstream. This is especially true when it comes to giving these false claims a legal and judicial aspect.

In recent days multiple reports have been published, claiming the European Union and Eurojust, the bloc’s agency dealing with judicial cooperation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states, have been working to create the judicial framework for dozens of fabricated reports of supposed Russian “war crimes” in Ukraine. According to Eurojust’s October 13 press release, this was the central theme of the 16th meeting of the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General of EU Member States. Prosecutors General and Directors of Public Prosecutions discussed the self-appointed “expanded role” of Eurojust in matters of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also met with their new Kiev regime counterpart Andriy Kostin and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim A.A. Khan KC.

Olivier Christen, Director of Criminal Affairs and Pardons of France, stated that the EU “remains fully committed” to identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of the atrocities taking place in Ukraine. He further pointed out that Eurojust has “expanded its prerogatives” in order to improve the “fight against impunity for war crimes.” Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran stated that “never in the history of armed conflict has the legal community responded with such commitment and determination” and that the meeting “will further fuel the joint ambition to bring justice to the Ukrainian people.” Apart from alleged Russian “war crimes”, the panel members discussed what they called the “disinformation via cyberspace”, which was further expanded to include notes on “practical experiences and challenges in relation to the prosecution of violations of the current EU sanctions against Russian and Belarusian individuals and companies.”

In another press release, also published on October 13, Eurojust announced that Romania also became a member of the joint investigation team (JIT) on alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Romania was the seventh member of the JIT, which was set up on 25 March 2022 by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine and later joined by Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia. In April of this year, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) became a participant in the JIT. The relevant meeting was held just prior to the aforementioned 16th Meeting of the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General. According to their own admission, Eurojust is also providing “essential logistical and operational support” to the JIT partners, including to “investigators” on the ground in Ukraine.

Needless to say, there was no mention of the Kiev regime death squads operating in the Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson and Donbass. The meeting members discussed only alleged Russian “war crimes” and the supposed Moscow’s “disinformation campaign”, despite the fact that the Neo-Nazi junta henchmen are openly boasting about “killing traitors”. Numerous Telegram channels have already published gruesome videos showing the Neo-Nazi death squads killing civilians and then throwing them into mass graves. In doing so, the Kiev regime accomplishes at least two goals – it gets rid of “noncompliant” or “pro-Russian” civilians and also gets to accuse Russian troops of killing them. The propaganda machine of the political West then comes into play, while EU agencies such as Eurojust cement the narrative from a judicial and legal perspective.

It would be naive, to say the least, to believe that the EU or any other entity of the political West would ever objectively investigate actual war crimes taking place in Ukraine. Charades such as the ones in Bucha and recently in the Kharkov region serve as a testament to that. None of the so-called “international” judicial institutions, such as the aforementioned ICC, ever showed interest in investigating the nearly decade-long mass murder of civilians in Donbass. Despite approximately 15,000 deaths from 2014 to 2022, with hundreds or even thousands more in recent months, as the Kiev regime forces never stopped shelling Donetsk and other towns and areas, the mainstream propaganda machine has been successful in suppressing most information on this. 

What’s more, the Neo-Nazi junta has been using NATO-supplied weapons to target civilians beyond Donbass, in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, killing hundreds in recent months. Will Eurojust and JIT investigate those already documented war crimes or are their actions reserved only to further reinforce the Kiev regime’s propaganda war?

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

New York Times sacks Gaza journalist for expressing support for Palestinian resistance

MEMO | October 6, 2022

Palestinian photojournalist, Hosam Salem, has been fired by the New York Times for expressing support for Resistance against Israeli occupation. The Gaza- based journalist has been working as a freelancer for the American outlet since 2018, but was dismissed after a dossier compiled by a pro-Israel group, accusing Salem of anti-Semitism, was presented to the Times.

Since joining the Times, Salem has been covering critical events in Gaza, such as the weekly protests at the border fence with Israel. He carried out an investigation into the Israeli killing of field nurse Razan Al-Najjar and, more recently, the May 2021 Israeli offensive on the Gaza strip, which killed at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people.

Details of his dismissal were revealed by Salem himself on Twitter. He said that the decision to fire him was made based on a report prepared by a Dutch editor – who obtained Israeli citizenship two years ago – for a website called “Honest Reporting”. The anti-Palestinian group is a staunch supporter of Israel and is often accused of peddling false narratives in Western media about Israel’s human rights violations.

Salem said that the dossier used by the Times to dismiss him used examples of social media posts in which he expressed support for Palestinian Resistance against Israeli occupation. “My aforementioned posts also spoke of the resilience of my people and those who were killed by the Israeli army – my cousin included – which “Honest Reporting” described as ‘Palestinian terrorists,'” said Salem on Twitter.

Salem claims that the editor of the dossier later wrote an article stating that he had succeeded in sacking three Palestinian journalists working for the Times in the Gaza Strip, based on allegations of anti-Semitism.

“Not only has “Honest Reporting” succeeded in terminating my contract with The New York Times, it has also actively discouraged other international news agencies from collaborating with me and my two colleagues,” Salem continued, while warning of the silencing of Palestinian voices.

“What is taking place is a systematic effort to distort the image of Palestinian journalists as being incapable of trustworthiness and integrity, simply because we cover the human rights violations that the Palestinian people undergo on a daily basis at hands of the Israeli army.”

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 4 Comments

North Korea responds to Russian arms sales claims

Samizdat | September 22, 2022

North Korea has said it has no plans to sell arms to Russia, calling the idea a “conspiracy theory” after US officials claimed that a deal is in the works involving “millions” of artillery shells and rockets.

Pyongyang’s Ministry of Defense released a statement on Wednesday responding to the claims, saying that while it does not accept United Nations penalties prohibiting all arms sales by North Korea, it also has no intention of transferring weapons to Russia.

“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia in the past, and we have no plans to do so in the future,” an unnamed military official said, as cited in state media, adding, “We strongly condemn and sternly warn the United States to stop recklessly spreading anti-DPRK conspiracy theories in order to pursue vicious political and military atrocities.”

First noted in a New York Times report citing “declassified” US intelligence materials, the purported arms deal was later given official credence by State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, who told reporters that Russia “is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine” earlier this month.

However, the White House walked back the charge soon afterwards, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stating that there are “no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine.”

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, had previously dismissed the claim as “another fake being circulated around.”

The alleged weapons sale by Pyongyang mirrors similar allegations from US officials about an upcoming drone transfer from Iran to Russia. A little more than two weeks after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Washington had clear evidence that Iran was preparing to deliver “several hundred” armed UAVs to Russia, Kirby again clarified that the US had “seen no indications of any sort of actual delivery and/or purchase of Iranian drones by the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Tehran initially denied any plans to share drone technology with Moscow, though the Pentagon has continued to claim the sales are taking place, alleging a “first shipment” of drones in late August.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

New Fakes about Russia-DPRK Military Cooperation

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 19.09.2022 

More recently, the author analyzed misinformation that North Korean special forces were about to appear in the Donbass, but the global media soon encountered another misinformation launched from the West: it turned out that North Korea was preparing to supply Russia with shells and possibly military equipment on a massive scale. Or it is already supplying, but that is not certain.

It all started on September 5 with a New York Times article quoting “declassified intelligence reports” that “Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, … a sign that global sanctions have severely restricted its supply chains and forced Moscow to turn to pariah states for military supplies.”

However, the newspaper immediately noted that there were few details about the exact weaponry, timing or size of the shipment, and generally, “there is no way yet to independently verify the sale”, but immediately went on to theorize as to why this was the case. It turns out that the Russian Federation now allegedly has no ability to buy advanced weapons or the electronics to produce them, as international sanctions on Moscow disrupt its supply chains, stocks of shells and missiles are running out and Russia is forced to look for suppliers. This, in particular, was stated by the quoted expert with the Ukrainian-speaking surname Kagan.

A little later, AP Agency gave some details and quotes, which, however, still did not clarify the situation. Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon Press Secretary, said “the information that we have is that Russia has specifically asked for ammunition” but had no other details, including whether money changed hands and whether any deliveries were continuing.

Asked why this information was declassified, Ryder said it was important to illustrate the state of Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. And, the author would add, against the backdrop of Ukraine’s attempted counter-offensive.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said there was no indication yet that the arms purchase had actually taken place or that any North Korean munitions had entered the battlefield in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the talks themselves are “just further evidence of how desperate Putin is becoming”, with US intelligence suggesting that Russia is buying millions of rounds of ammunition from the DPRK.

After that, the news spread around the world media and even reached South Korea, but discussion on the relatively objectivist website NKNews showed that assessments are directly dependent on both their bias and their distance from the Russian context.

For example, Jack Watling, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, confidently stated that since February 2022 Moscow had been buying up stocks of 152mm and 122mm shells “in any way they can. And that includes North Korea.” All this is said to be common knowledge in intelligence circles, but the source of this information is not in the public domain, and he is personally unaware of specific deliveries from North Korea to Russia. However, Watlig’s level of knowledge is better described by another quote:  “Moscow had for some time pushed for Pyongyang to support its war effort,” which, he said, was not limited to supplying ammunitions.

For his part, Joost Oliemans, a specialist focused on DPRK military capabilities, expressed more restraint – Pyongyang certainly has a huge amount of old ammunition, and can produce new weapons for export, but “if this story is really true, we could expect to see video evidence of North Korean ammunition in Ukraine in the coming months.” In other words, he is not prepared to discuss the subject without evidence.

By the very next day on September 6, both Ryder and Kirby had already given up somewhat. The former said in a press briefing that “we do have indications that Russia has approached North Korea to request ammunition”, he could not provide more details, but in any case “it is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities.” And also that Moscow is asking for help precisely from those countries that the US has defined as “rogue”.

Kirby also conceded that the US doesn’t “have any indication that the purchase has actually occurred yet so it’s difficult to say what it’s actually going to end up looking like”, much less evidence that these weapons are being used in Ukraine.

The Russian side has also spoken out. According to Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Vasily Nebenzya, “I have not heard about it and I think it’s just another spreading fake news.”

On September 7, 2022, NKNews specifically updated its piece to clarify that “there is no evidence in the public domain of Russian efforts to procure North Korean arms since February 2022”. By this time, both Russian and unbiased Western experts had formulated a set of theses indicating that the hype news was nothing more than misinformation.

  1. The DPRK’s arms exports to Russia are a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which prohibit that country from exporting or importing arms from other countries. Moreover, back in the day Vladimir Putin banned the supply of small arms and light weapons to North Korea as part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2270 of March 2, 2016. An overt violation of this kind undermines Russia’s status as a permanent member of the UNSC, and from the author’s perspective even the hypothetical arrival of North Korean construction workers in the DLPR (a far less overt violation) is at best discussed. Perhaps this disregard for sanctions will happen later on the backdrop of a further breakdown of the old world order, but that time has not yet come.
  2. It is not at all clear how sending such a volume of cargo is compatible with “emergency anti-epidemic measures” and border closures. Especially considering that there is only one railroad bridge between the Russian Federation and the DPRK, which has limited capacity. How exactly Moscow will pay is also a good question in view of the sanctions.
  3. A comparison of Russia’s and DPRK’s weapons production capabilities also leads to the question of whether Russia does not have its own military and industrial complex at all, and whether the start of the SMO has not affected the rate of ammunition production. And also regarding the volume of Russian military stockpiles: as even Oliemans pointed out, Moscow must have a huge amount of old Soviet ammunition, which is unlikely to run out anytime soon.
  4. All right, let’s say that “the Russians don’t want to go below a certain level of reserves in case they face other threats”, but the same logic is all the more applicable to the DPRK, which is constantly on alert against a superior enemy. By that logic, Pyongyang needs the shells and missiles itself.
  5. Most importantly, there is no idea how exactly US intelligence could have obtained such data. But misinformation fits in well with the West’s propaganda mindset that the successes of Russian SMO in Ukraine are about to come to an end. It is known that these successes are largely due to technical rather than numerical superiority, and therefore the argument “we’ll talk when the Russians run out of shells” is very popular in the pro-Ukrainian environment.

Of course, if one considers this misinformation as a kind of “mental exercise”, North Korean military equipment and ammunition might well come in handy. Russian military expert Vladimir Khrustalyov lists a whole range of DPRK military equipment capable of showing off in Donbass – the arsenal turns out to be quite impressive.

But talk of “what would have been” is beyond the scope of the article, and the author is far more interested in how the US intelligence community knew about the ominous “signs”. The author has two options and the first one is that this information is not intelligence but military-psychological. In other words, the news was simply made up for propaganda purposes to cradle the “desperate Putin is trying to find a million missiles” picture, which will leave a certain residue even after the falsity of the data comes to light.

The second option is more amusing and, alas, more realistic: the source of the sensational information could be such an anonymous and specific medium as Russian politicized Telegram channels, in which the SMO is constantly discussed. However, Telegram’s anonymity often makes it impossible to identify the channel’s real author. This means that any high-school student with a glib tongue can easily portray himself as an “expert from those very structures” involved in the “secrets of the Kremlin court”, even if the information has no real basis in fact.

For the author, the validity of such anonymous channels amounts to reports of “secret informants in the DPRK” who “know the local life” and “report the truth”, but non-core or engaged experts easily cite such sources in case they fit their point of view. In addition, even a broken clock is right twice a day. On this basis, it can be assumed that a Russian-speaking US military intelligence official subscribed to a similar channel that discussed the notion that Russia would soon run out of bombs and missiles and need to buy them somewhere, probably even from North Korea.

Perhaps the scout did not distinguish the ironic context from the dramatic one. It is even more likely that he did not realize that the alleged foreign intelligence general or presidential administration official describing the secret talks was typing on his smartphone in algebra class. But the information has gone up the chain of command and in one way or another has “come in handy”.

To conclude the conversation, it is worth noting how the propaganda image of the DPRK has changed: before the SMO, the Western media presented North Korea as a starving third-world country, but now it is a superpower providing Putin with builders, soldiers and now also ammunition. Therefore, the fake about millions of missiles is clearly not the latest fake about the “Jucheans in the Donbass”.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

September 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments