Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

NPR Embarrasses Itself With Misinformation and Blatant Lies About Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | September 23, 2021

In a broadcast rife with disinformation, misinformation and outright lies, National Public Radio has embarrassed itself while maligning Dr. Mercola.

The broadcast opens with NPR host Robin Young calling Dr. Mercola “the biggest disseminator of COVID lies,” and then proceeding to call America’s Frontline Doctors, an independent organization of which Dr. Mercola is not a member and with which he has zero affiliation, “his” group that “he created.”

Young then interviews Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) about FSMB’s recommendation to state medical boards to fine, suspend and revoke the licenses of doctors who don’t follow the mainstream COVID narrative.

Together, Young and Chaurdhry repeatedly show that they’re either ignorant or deliberately spreading their own misinformation and disinformation when it comes to vaccine hesitancy, COVID treatments such as ivermectin (referring to it as an animal drug that has shown “absolutely no ability” to treat COVID) and medical professionals who are questioning the vaccines.

Asking whether Dr. Mercola still has his license to practice, Young claims a second time that he’s the “biggest distributor of misinformation” and that he doesn’t seem to care about that, as he’s making a lot of money by “selling alternatives to traditional standard care.”

Obviously, Young is only getting her news from the dark money-funded Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), which analyzed 483 pieces of social media content over six weeks to come up with what they called the “Misinformation Dozen,” with Dr. Mercola at the top of their list. The thing is Young is spreading more misinformation herself, seeing that Facebook’s vice president of content policy Monika Bickert issued a statement saying that there not only is no evidence that CCDH’s list is accurate, but that the people named by CCDH were responsible for only 0.05% of all vaccine content on Facebook’s site, not the 73% CCDH claims.

Young and Chaudhry conclude their show by calling on social media companies to better watch their forums to censor COVID and vaccine “misinformation” and for individual states to take a more active role in investigating and revoking the licenses of doctors who don’t toe the COVID line.

SOURCES:

WBUR (NPR Boston) September 21, 2021

New York Post August 18, 2021

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Facts Debunk NPR Claim that Global Warming Is Causing Dying Trees, Power Outages

By James Taylor | ClimateRealism | September 21, 2021

At the top of Google News search results this morning for “climate change,” National Public Radio (NPR) claims global warming is causing a mass die-off of trees in California and throughout the country, with the trees falling on power lines and causing power outages. In reality, objective facts show forests are becoming healthier during recent years and decades, falsifying any assertion that global warming is causing dying trees and power outages.

The NPR article, “Climate Change Is Killing Trees And Causing Power Outages,” attempts to shift blame for California power outages away from utilities’ negligence and poor government forest management to blaming global warming, instead. Quoting utility company personnel, NPR asserts, “According to more than a dozen of the country’s largest utilities, branches and trees falling on power lines are a leading source of power outages. Some utilities say that because of factors related to climate change, trees are dying faster than they can reach them on their normal trimming cycles.”

“We have never seen the sort of mass mortality that we’re seeing now,” said Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) advisor Igor Lacan in the NPR article.

Claimed NPR, “Extreme storms, droughts, disease and insects are stressing and killing trees, and these trees pose a growing threat of wildfires and to grid reliability, many large utilities say.”

If NPR’s claims are true, we should be able to see the declining tree numbers and “mass mortality” of forests in forestry data. Objective scientific data, however, show exactly the opposite is occurring.

Globally and throughout the United States, tree canopy gains far outweigh tree canopy losses. Since 1982, tree canopy cover in the United States has increased by more than 100,000 square miles. That is an area larger than Colorado. Globally, tree canopy has increased by more than 650,000 square miles.

Notably, the increase in tree canopy is occurring not just because forests are expanding their range. Tree growth within each forest acre is also outpacing tree mortality.

NPR focuses much of its tree mortality claims on California, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports there are presently three times as many trees per forest acre in California as there were  150 years ago. The tree growth is so significantly outpacing tree mortality that U.S. Forest Service ecologists are urging forest managers to thin the forests by chopping down trees. This is not consistent with NPR’s claim that forests are in a “mass mortality” die-off caused by global warming.

Power outages have the potential to create tremendous disruption and danger to our daily lives. Recognizing this, climate activists like NPR attempt to further their alarmist climate agenda by blaming power outages on global warming. In reality, objective science shows forests are becoming healthier in a warmer world with more atmospheric carbon dioxide, which reduces the factors that NPR claims are responsible for recent power outages.

September 22, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wild Exaggeration and Egregious Lies

By Kip Hansen | Watts Up With That? | May 6, 2021

The Covering Climate Now propaganda effort was “co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news” with the stated purpose “to produce more informed and urgent climate stories, to make climate a part of every beat in the newsroom”. Their basic document, the CCNow Climate Emergency Statement, claims, in part, “… to preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires, and ice melt of 2020 routine and could “render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable…”. To accomplish their goals, CCNow provides its partners with republishable stories from other partners (.pdf), editorial guidance, story writing ideas, a list of talking points labelled Climate Science 101 provided by Katharine Hayhoe.

Important Notice:  Call 911 immediately if you are choking or experiencing chest pains as a result of reading that last sentence – in Europe, dial 112 – in the UK, dial 112 or 999 – in Australia, 000 or 112.

CCNow also supplies NPR’s Climate Guide of mis- and dis-information on climate and their own “fact sheet“ [ sic ] “Who says it’s a climate emergency?” in addition to their list of ten  “Best Practices” for climate propagandists.

If this is your first time hearing about CCNow, please read my previous essays posted here at WUWT, most recently The Climate Propaganda Cabal and Turning Opinion into Science Fact. There are some earlier essays as well – here and here.

Last week, on April 27 2021, CCNow web site posted a list of Nine Pieces We Loved. One of those featured was:

How Warming Oceans Are Accelerating the Climate Crisis — Humans have locked in at least 20 feet of sea level rise—can we still fix it?” by Harold R. Wanless

On the upside, the article in The Nation is clearly and prominently marked:

Adapted from an article for the Florida Climate Reporting Network’s project “The Invading Sea,” this article is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My quick check of web search results show this article, one week old now, being re-posted or linked 16 times, before I stopped counting.

This article represents the “Big Lie” aspect of professional propaganda. Big Lies sell better, persuade people better than little nit-picky lies.

Here’s the bottom line Big Lie from this CCNow propaganda piece:

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood. The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.

As oceans heat up, the water rises—in part because warm water expands, but also because the warmer waters have initiated a major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.

Let me point out, unnecessarily for many readers, that not a single phrase or sentence in the first paragraph is true. The second paragraph fares little better. But only because “warm water does rise”  — just not in the odd way Wanless says. [Technically, warming the water in the ocean causes expansion of the ocean’s water  —  the fact the ‘warmer water rises’ is not involved in this – it is the expansion that can lead to rising sea levels.] Nothing else in the second paragraph is true.

I am loathe to exaggerate, as this is what I am accusing CCNow and Wanless of doing, so let’s take a close look:

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize.” There is no real physical climate emergency – there is only a shared opinion that there is a climate emergency. At best, the sentence is an unsupported opinion (being presented here as fact). It would be hard for the real climate situation to be bigger (worse) than some of the more bizarre activists and politicians (“we have nine years left” – John Kerry).

“Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood.” There is no scientific consensus that the Earth’s atmosphere has been “overheated”. Increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are believed to have caused a small amount of warming – but only that since the mid-1900s. Many think that that small warming and the CO2 that may have caused it are beneficial, including some of the smartest people in America. The real data on global heat waves, hurricanes, and extreme weather do not support the claim that the small warming experienced has “unleash[ed] punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather” – that is the climate activist’s preferred meme, not fact. More on the facts are available from the specialized pages on this web site and here. [Readers: Please supply links in comments to reliable graphs showing that the CCNow/Wanless claims are false.] Since this point is broadly contested by experts in wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes and extreme weather, it cannot be said to be “widely understood”.

“The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.” The oceans have not overheated – that is simply not true in any sense – it is difficult to even scientifically support that the oceans have warmed in any substantialclimatically important way.  Measuring ocean water temperature is an ongoing project and we have a very short time series of even moderately reliable data. It is madness to claim that the tiny amount (if any) of ocean water warming has “assur[ed] a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.”   

I will leave parsing the rest of second paragraph to readers. But let’s take a further look at the idea that sea levels are assured to rise “20 to 30 feet”.

Wanless states: But if seas rise 20 feet or more over the next 100 to 200 years—which is our current trajectory—the outlook is grim. In that scenario, there could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come.”

That link in there leads to “NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083 — GLOBAL AND REGIONAL SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS FOR THE UNITED STATES” [ .pdf ] which you will not be surprised says no such thing. The NOAA document does not say that the most extreme (RCP8.5) scenario is our current trajectory at all. And it does not, under any of the scenarios, predict 2 feet of sea level rise by 2040 or three feet by 2050, not even under RCP8.5 (a scenario which is now widely considered highly improbable to impossible).

Even under impossible RCP8.5 conditions, NOAA predicts only 16 inches (2040) and 25 inches (2050) [yellow highlight] – but in the real world, we saw only the 0.03m (30 mm) predicted for 2010 to 2020 for the very lowest scenario [blue highlight]. Wanless apparently gets his claimed our current trajectory to 20-30 feet from the lower right corner, highlighted in red, RCP8.5 at 2200.

Adding insult to injury, Wanless goes on to claim in his article that “Today, oceans are rising six mm a year (over two inches a decade), and this pace will continue to dramatically accelerate.” The only thing correct in this sentence is that 60mm is over two inches. Wanless’s link to a CSIRO page is broken but current sea level rise, according to NOAA:

Not 6 mm/yr, but 3.3 mm/yr, and level for the last two or three years. [source: https://climate.nasa.gov/ to see this graph select Sea Level from right hand bottom section of the graphic at the top of the page.]

You may ask, “How can any article with so many obvious, egregious errors – wild exaggerations, inaccuracies and falsehoods —  get published in The Nation?” That might be the wrong question. Better to ask, “How did it get published by the AGU in  EOS in its science news section?”

The answer is: The NationAGU and EOS are all partners of CCNow.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) and its associated online magazine, EOS, have abandoned even the pretext of science and opted to join forces with the acknowledged propaganda effort, Covering Climate Now, with its anything-goes push to convince the world that there is a Climate Emergency so they will willingly give up fossil fuels. This example today shows that that effort extends to publishing wild exaggeration and egregious lies to forward The Message – propaganda’s Big Lie in play.

I honestly don’t know how it has come to this and am simultaneously saddened and outraged.

This has now gone far, far beyond the go-along-to-get-along mutual back-patting of climate alarmists at AGU meetings of the 1990’s. Where are the real scientists who are members of the AGU? How can they remain silent when EOS publishes such articles without even a disclaimer. Shame.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

As the Insurrection Narrative Crumbles, Democrats Cling to it More Desperately Than Ever

Pelosi: We Need to Protect the Capitol from ‘All the President’s Men out There’
By Glenn Greenwald | March 5, 2021

Twice in the last six weeks, warnings were issued about imminent, grave threats to public safety posed by the same type of right-wing extremists who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. And both times, these warnings ushered in severe security measures only to prove utterly baseless.

First we had the hysteria over the violence we were told was likely to occur at numerous state capitols on Inauguration Day. “Law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony,” announced CNN. In an even scarier formulation, NPR intoned that “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.”

The resulting clampdowns were as extreme as the dire warnings. Washington, D.C. was militarized more than at any point since the 9/11 attack. The military was highly visible on the streets. And, described The Washington Post, “state capitols nationwide locked down, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities braced for potential violence Sunday mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.” All of this, said the paper, “reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations.”

But none of that happened — not even close. The Washington Post acknowledged three weeks later:

Despite warnings of violent plots around Inauguration Day, only a smattering of right-wing protesters appeared at the nation’s statehouses. In Tallahassee, just five armed men wearing the garb of the boogaloo movement — a loose collection of anti-government groups that say the country is heading for civil war — showed up. Police and National Guard personnel mostly ignored them.

All over the country it was the same story. “But at the moment that Biden was taking the oath of office in Washington, the total number of protesters on the Capitol grounds in Topeka stood at five — two men supporting Trump and two men and a boy ridin’ with Biden,” reported The Wichita Eagle (“With Kansas Capitol in lockdown mode, Inauguration Day protest fizzles). “The protests fizzled out after not many people showed up,” reported the local Florida affiliate in Tallahassee. “The large security efforts dwarfed the protests that materialized by Wednesday evening,” said CNN, as “state capitols and other cities remained largely calm.”

Indeed, the only politically-motivated violence on Inauguration Day was carried out by Antifa and anarchist groups in Portland and Seattle, which caused some minor property damage as part of anti-Biden protests while they “scuffled with police.” CNN, which spent a full week excitedly hyping the likely violence coming to state capitols by right-wing Trump supporters, was forced to acknowledge in its article about their non-existence that “one exception was Portland, where left-wing protesters damaged the Democratic Party of Oregon building during one of several planned demonstrations.”

Completely undeterred by that debacle, Democrats and their media spokespeople returned with a new set of frightening warnings for this week. The date of March 4 has taken on a virtually religious significance for the Q-Anon movement, announced NBC News’ Ben Collins, who was heard on NPR on Thursday speaking through actual, literal journalistic tears as he recounted all the times he called Facebook to plead with them to remove dangerous right-wing extremists on their platform (tears commence at roughly 7:00 minutes in). Valiantly holding back full-on sobbing, Collins explained that he proved to be so right but it pains and sorrows him to admit this. With his self-proclaimed oracle status fully in place, he prophesized that March 4 had taken on special dangers because Q-Anon followers concluded that this is when Trump would be inaugurated.

This is how apocalyptic cult leaders always function. When the end of the world did not materialize on January 6, Collins insisted that January 20 was the day of the violent reckoning. When nothing happened on that day, he moved the Doomsday Date to March 4. The flock cannot remain in a state of confusion for too long about why the world has not ended as promised by the prophet, so a new date must quickly be provided with an explanation for why this is serious business this time.

This March 4 paranoia was not confined to NBC’s resident millennial hall monitor and censorship advocate. On March 3, The New York Times warned that “the Capitol Police force is preparing for another assault on the Capitol building on Thursday after obtaining intelligence of a potential plot by a militia group.” All this, said the Paper of Record, because “intelligence analysts had spent weeks tracking online chatter by some QAnon adherents who have latched on to March 4 — the original inauguration date set in the Constitution — as the day Donald J. Trump would be restored to the presidency and renew his crusade against America’s enemies.”

These dire warnings also, quite predictably, generated serious reactions. “House leaders on Wednesday abruptly moved a vote on policing legislation from Thursday to Wednesday night, so lawmakers could leave town,” said the Times. We learned that there would be further militarization of the Capitol and troop deployment in Washington indefinitely due to so-called “chatter.” NPR announced: “The House of Representatives has canceled its Thursday session after the U.S. Capitol Police said it is aware of a threat by an identified militia group to breach the Capitol complex that day.”

Do you know what happened on March 4 when it came to violence from right-wing extremists? The same thing that happened on January 20: absolutely nothing. There were no attempted attacks on the Capitol, state capitols, or any other government institution. There was violent crime registered that day in Washington D.C. but none of it was political violence by those whom media outlets warned posed such a grave danger that Congress has to be closed and militarization of Washington extended indefinitely.

Perhaps the most significant blow to the maximalist insurrection/coup narrative took place inside the Senate on Thursday. Ever since January 6, those who were not referring to the riot as a “coup attempt” — as though the hundreds of protesters intended to overthrow the most powerful and militarized government in history — were required to refer to it instead as an “armed insurrection.”

This formulation was crucial not only for maximizing fear levels about the Democrats’ adversaries but also, as I’ve documented previously, because declaring an “armed insurrection” empowers the state with virtually unlimited powers to act against the citizenry. Over and over, leading Democrats and their media allies repeated this phrase like some hypnotic mantra:

But this was completely false. As I detailed several weeks ago, so many of the most harrowing and widespread media claims about the January 6 riot proved to be total fabrications. A pro-Trump mob did not bash Office Brian Sicknick’s skull in with a fire extinguisher. No protester brought zip-ties with them as some premeditated plot to kidnap members of Congress (two rioters found them on a table inside). There’s no evidence anyone intended to assassinate Mike Pence, Mitt Romney or anyone else.

Yet the maximalist narrative of an attempted coup or armed insurrection is so crucial to Democrats — regardless of whether it is true — that pointing out these facts deeply infuriates them. A television clip of mine from last week went viral among furious liberals calling me a fascism supporter even though it did nothing but point out the indisputable facts that other than Brian Sicknick, whose cause of death remains unknown, the only people who died at the Capitol riot were Trump supporters, and that there are no known cases of the rioters deliberately killing anyone.

(Two FBI operatives have since anonymously leaked that it is looking at a “suspect” who may have engaged with Sicknick in a way that ultimately contributed to his death. But nothing still is known; Sicknick’s mother claims he died of a stroke while his brother says it was from pepper spray; and all of this is worlds away from the endlessly repeated media claim that a bloodthirsty pro-Trump mob savagely bashed his head in with a fire extinguisher.)

What we know for sure is that no Trump supporter fired any weapon inside the Capitol and that the FBI seized a grand total of zero firearms from those it arrested that day — a rather odd state of affairs for an “armed insurrection,” to put that mildly. In questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Thursday’s hearing, a senior FBI official, Jill Sanborn, acknowledged this key fact:

(The “one lady” who died referred to by this FBI official was Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed Trump supporter who was killed when she was shot point blank in the neck inside the Capitol on January 6 by an armed Capitol Police Officer).

The key point to emphasize here is that threats and dangers are not binary: they either exist or they are fully illusory. They reside on a spectrum. To insist that they be discussed rationally, soberly and truthfully is not to deny the existence of the threat itself. One can demand a rational and fact-based understanding of the magnitude of the threat revealed by the January 6 riot without denying that there is any danger at all.

Those who denounced the excesses of McCarthyism were not insisting that there were no Communists in government; those denouncing the excesses of the Clinton administration’s attempts to seize more surveillance power after the Oklahoma City court bombing were not denying that some anti-government militias may do violence again; those who objected to the protracted and unhinged assault on civil liberties by the Bush/Cheney and Obama administrations after 9/11 were not arguing that there were no Muslim extremists intent on committing violence.

The argument then, and the argument now, is that the threat was being deliberately inflated and exaggerated, and fears stoked and exploited, both for political gain and to justify the placement of more and more powers in the hands of the state in the name of stopping these threats. That is the core formula of authoritarianism — to place the population in a state of such acute fear that it acquiesces to any assertion of power which security state agencies and politicians demand and which they insist are necessary to keep everyone safe.

There is, relatedly, a massive political benefit from convincing the population that the opponents and critics of those in power do not merely hold a different ideology but are coup plotters, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. That is the same political benefit that accrued from trying to persuade the population that adversaries of the Democratic Party were treasonous Kremlin agents. The more you can demonize your opponents as something monstrous, the more political power you can acquire.

And as Democrats and liberals now gear up to demand a new War on Terror, this one domestic in nature, it should be no surprise that the rhetorical leaders of their effort now are the same lowlife neocon and Rovian slanderers — Bill Kristol, David Frum, Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, Rick Wilson — who demonized everyone who questioned them as part of the first War on Terror as traitors and terrorist-lovers and subversives. It is not a coincidence that neocons are leading the way now as liberals’ favorite propagandists: they are the most skilled and experienced in weaponizing and exaggerating terrorism threats for political gain and authoritarian power.

Ultimately, if this “armed insurrection” and threat of domestic terrorism are so grave, why do media figures and politicians in both parties — from Adam Schiff to Liz Cheney — keep lying about it and peddling fictions? Politicians and media figures do that only when they know that the threat, in reality, is not nearly as menacing as they need it to be to fulfill their objectives of political gain and coercive power.

March 5, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

CIA Counterterror Chief Suggests Going To War Against ‘Domestic Insurgents’

By Steve Watson | Summit News | February 4, 2021

The former head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center has suggested that counterinsurgency tactics used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan should be applied to ‘domestic extremists’ inside the US.

NPR reports that Robert Grenier, who directed the CIA’s Counterterrorism program from 2004 to 2006, declared “We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen.”

In an op-ed for The New York Times last week, Grenier suggested that “extremists who seek a social apocalypse … are capable of producing endemic political violence of a sort not seen in this country since Reconstruction.”

Grenier, also a former CIA station chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan, grouped together “the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers, ‘Christian’ national chauvinists, white supremacists and QAnon fantasists” and claimed they are all “committed to violent extremism.”

Grenier labeled dissenters an “insurgency” and called for them to be “defeated” like an enemy army.

In further comments to NPR, Grenier stated that “as in any insurgency situation, you have committed insurgents who are typically a relatively small proportion of the affected population. But what enables them to carry forward their program is a large number of people from whom they can draw tacit support.”

Grenier also stated that insurgents may emerge from groups who “believe that the election was stolen,” or those “who don’t trust NPR or The New York Times.”

“The most violent elements that we are concerned about right now see former President Trump as a broadly popular and charismatic symbol,” the CIA spook added, before comparing Trump to Saddam Hussein.

“You know, just as I saw in the Middle East that the air went out of violent demonstrations when [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein was defeated and seen to be defeated, I think the same situation applies here,” he proclaimed.

Grenier suggested that Trump should be convicted at the upcoming impeachment trial as a ‘national security imperative’ because “So long as he is there and leading the resistance, if you will, which he shows every sign of intending to do, he is going to be an inspiration to very violent people.”

Grenier then compared Americans to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, noting that in Afghanistan “the thrust of our campaign there was, yes, to hunt down al-Qaida, but primarily to remove the supportive environment in which they were able to live and to flourish. And that meant fighting the Taliban.”

“I think that is the heart of what we need to deal with here,” he added.

Listen

Linking to Grenier’s comments, journalist Glenn Greenwald quipped that wedding guests throughout America should watch out for drone missiles.

The call to treat Americans as terrorist insurgents comes on the heels of a Department of Homeland Security warning that those dissatisfied with the election result may rise up and commit acts of terrorism in the coming weeks.

“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” stated the bulletin issued last week through the DHS National Terrorist Advisory System — or NTAS.

The bulletin added that ‘extremists’ may be “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force.”

February 4, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Demanding Silicon Valley Suppress “Hyper-Partisan Sites” in Favor of “Mainstream News” (The NYT) is a Fraud

By Glenn Greenwald | November 25, 2020

The most prolific activism demanding more Silicon Valley censorship is found in the nation’s largest news outlets: the media reporters of CNN, the “disinformation” unit of NBC News, and especially the tech reporters of The New York Times. That is where the most aggressive and sustained pro-internet-censorship campaigns are waged.

Due in part to a self-interested desire to re-establish their monopoly on discourse by crushing any independent or dissenting voices, and in part by a censorious and arrogant mindset which convinces them that only those of their worldview and pedigree have a right to be heard, they largely devote themselves to complaining that Facebook, Google and Twitter are not suppressing enough speech. It is hall-monitor tattletale whining masquerading as journalism: petulantly complaining that tech platforms are permitting speech that, in their view, ought instead be silenced.

In Tuesday’s New York Times, three of those censorious tech reporters — Kevin Roose, Mike Isaac, and Sheera Frenkel — published an article on Facebook’s post-election deliberations over how to alter its algorithms to prevent the spread of what they deem “misinformation” regarding the election. The most consequential change they implemented, The New York Times explained, was one in which “hyperpartisan pages” are repressed in favor of promoting “a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR” — a change the Paper of Record heralded as having fostered “a calmer, less divisive Facebook.”

More alarmingly, the NYT suggested (i.e., prayed) that these changes, designed by Facebook as an election-related emergency measure, would instead become permanent. Marvel at these two paragraphs and all of tenuous and self-serving assumptions buried in them:

New York Times article, “Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth,” Nov. 24, 2020

The conceit that outlets like The New York Times, CNN and NPR are the alternatives to “hyper-partisan pages” is one you would be eager to believe, or at least want to induce others to believe, if you were a tech reporter at The New York Times, furious and hurt that millions upon millions of people would rather hear other voices than your own, and simply do not trust what you tell them. Inducing Facebook to manipulate the algorithmic underbelly of social media to artificially force your content down the throats of citizens who prefer to avoid it, while rendering your critics’ speech invisible — all in the name of reducing “hyper-partisanship,” “divisiveness,” and “misinformation” — is of course a highly desirable outcome for mainstream outlets like the NYT.

The problem with this claim is that it’s a complete and utter fraud, one that is easily demonstrated as such. There are few sites more “hyper-partisan” than the three outlets which the NYT applauded Facebook for promoting. In the 2020 election, over 70 million Americans — close to half of the voting population — voted for Donald Trump, yet not one of them is employed by the op-ed page of the “non-partisan” New York Times and are almost never heard on NPR or CNN. That’s because those news outlets, by design, are pro-Democratic-Party organs, who speak overwhelmingly to Democratic readers and viewers.

It is hard to get more partisan than the news outlets which the NYT tech reporters, and apparently Facebook, consider to be the alternatives to “hyper-partisan” discourse. In April, Pew Research asked Americans which outlet is their primary source of news, and the polling firm found that the audiences of NPR, CNN and especially The New York Times are overwhelmingly Democrats, in some cases almost entirely so.

As Pew put it: “about nine-in-ten of those who name The New York Times (91%) and NPR (87%) as their main political news source identify as Democrats, with CNN at about eight-in-ten (79%).” These outlets speak to Democrats, are built for Democrats, and produce news content designed to be pleasing and affirming to Democrats — so they keep watching and buying. One can say many things about these news outlets, but the idea that they are the alternatives to “hyper-partisan pages” is the exact opposite of the truth: it is difficult to find more hyper-partisan organs than these.

Then there is the question of who does and does not spread “misinformation.” It is rather astonishing that the news outlets that did more than anyone to convince Americans to believe the most destructive misinformation of this generation: that Saddam had WMDs and was in an alliance with Al Qaeda — The New York Times, The Atlantic, NBC and The New Yorker — have the audacity to prance around as the bulwarks against misinformation rather than what they are: the primary purveyors of it.

Over the last four years, they devoted themselves to the ultimate deranged, mangled conspiracy theory: that the Kremlin had infiltrated the U.S. and was clandestinely controlling the levers of American power through some combination of sexual and financial blackmail. The endless pursuit of that twisted conspiracy led them to produce one article after the next that spread utter falsehoods, embraced reckless journalism and fostered humiliating debacles. The only thing more absurd than these hyper-partisan, reckless outlets posturing as the alternatives to hyper-partisanship is them insisting that they’re the only safeguards against misinformation.

Note how insidiously creepy is The New York Times’ description of a censored, regulated internet. They call it “a vision of what a calmer, less divisive Facebook might look like,” and claim an unnamed Facebook employee described it as “a nicer news feed.”

Yes, discourse that is centralized and regulated, where no dissent is tolerated, where alternative voices are silenced, is always “calmer” and “less divisive.” That’s always the core goal of censorsing speech and ideas: to eliminate “divisiveness” and to pacify the population (“calmer” and “nicer”). That is always the result when orthodoxies imposed downward from the most powerful institutions of authority can no longer be meaningfully challenged.

The censorious mentality being peddled with increasing aggression is always chilling and dangerous. That it is media outlets — which ought to be the most vocal champions of free discourse — instead taking the lead in begging and pressuring Silicon Valley to censure the internet more and more is warped beyond belief. The internet should be free and left alone, especially by those with their record of deceit and propaganda.

Indeed, if we are to have it an internet controlled from above by unseen tech overlords in the name of eliminating “hyper-partisanship” and “disinformation” and fostering a “calmer” and “nicer” population, the sites now being artificially and manipulatively promoted are the absolute last ones who can credibly claim entitlement to that benefit.

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Press in His Pocket: Bill Gates Buys Media to Control the Messaging

Editorial by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Board Chair, Children’s Health Defense | September 3, 2020

A Columbia Journalism Review expose reveals that, to control global journalism, Bill Gates has steered over $250 million to the BBC, NPR, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublica, National Journal, The Guardian, the New York Times, Univision, Medium, the Financial Times, The Atlantic, the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington Monthly, Le Monde, Center for Investigative Reporting, Pulitzer Center, National Press Foundation, International Center for Journalists, and a host of other groups. To conceal his influence, Gates also funneled unknown sums via subgrants for contracts to other press outlets.

His press bribes have paid off. During the pandemic, bought and brain-dead news outlets have treated Bill Gates as a public health expert—despite his lack of medical training or regulatory experience.

Gates also funds an army of independent fact checkers including the Poynter Institute and Gannett —which use their fact-checking platforms to “silence detractors” and to “debunk” as “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” charges that Gates has championed and invested in biometric chips, vaccine identification systems, satellite surveillance, and COVID vaccines.

Gates’s media gifts, says CJR author Tim Schwab, mean that “critical reporting about the Gates Foundation is rare.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declined multiple interview requests from CJR and refused to disclose how much money it has funneled to journalists.

In 2007, the LA Times published one of the only critical investigations on the Gates Foundation, exposing Gates’s holdings in companies that hurt people his foundation claims to help, like industries linked to child labor. Lead reporter Charles Piller, says, “They were unwilling to answer questions and pretty much refused to respond in any sort of way…”

The investigation showed how Gates’s global health funding has steered the world’s aid agenda toward Gates’ personal goals (vaccines and GMO crops) and away from issues such as emergency preparedness to respond to disease outbreaks, like the Ebola crisis.

“They’ve dodged our questions and sought to undermine our coverage,” says freelance journalist Alex Park after investigating the Gates Foundation’s polio vaccine efforts.


© September 3, 2020, Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Washington’s tall tale of Iranian-Al Qaeda alliance based on questionably sourced book ‘The Exile’

A disinformation campaign aimed to justify the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by painting him and Iran as willing enablers of al-Qaeda. The propaganda operation relied heavily on a shoddily sourced book, “The Exile.”

By Gareth Porter | The Grayzone | May 19, 2020

The U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani in January touched off a new wave of disinformation about the top Iranian major general, with Trump administration allies branding him a global terrorist while painting Iran as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Much of the propaganda about Soleimani related to his alleged responsibility for the killing of American troops in Iraq, along with Iran’s role in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

But a second theme in the disinformation campaign, which has been picked up by mainstream outlets like the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio, was the claim that Soleimani deliberately unleashed al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s campaign to kill Shiites in Iraq. That element of the propaganda offensive was the result of the 2017 publication of “The Exile,” a book by British journalists Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, which spun a new version of the familiar U.S. propaganda line of a supposed Iranian terror alliance with al-Qaeda.

Levy and Scott-Clark introduced the theme of secret collusion between the two open adversaries with an article in the The Sunday Times in early 2018, dramatically entitled “Tehran in devil’s pact to rebuild al‑Qaeda.” Soleimani, they claimed, “first offered sanctuary to bin Laden’s family and al-Qaeda military leaders,” then proceeded to “build them a residential compound at the heart of a military training center in Tehran.”

But those two sentences represented a grotesque distortion of Iran’s policy toward the al-Qaeda personnel fleeing from Afghanistan into Iran. Virtually every piece of concrete evidence, including an internal al-Qaeda document written in 2007, showed that Iran agreed to take in a group of al-Qaeda refugees with legal passports that included members of bin Laden’s family and some fighters and middle- and lower-ranking military cadres – but not Zarqawi and other al-Qaeda military leaders — and only temporarily and under strict rules forbidding political activity.

The crucial fact that Levy and Scott-Clark conveniently failed to mention, moreover, was that Iranian officials were well aware that al-Qaeda’s leadership figures, including military commanders and with their troops, were also slipping into Iran from Afghanistan, but Iranian security forces had not yet located them.

Keeping the legal arrivals under closer surveillance and watching for any contacts with those illegally in the country, therefore, was a prudent policy for Iranian security under the circumstances.

In addition, having bin Laden’s family and other al-Qaeda cadres under their surveillance gave Iran potential bargaining chips it could use to counter hostile actions by both al-Qaeda and the United States.

Al-Qaeda documents undermine narrative of cooperation with Iran

Careful study of the enormous cache of internal al-Qaeda documents released by the U.S. government in 2017 further discredited the tall tale of Iranian facilitation of al-Qaeda terrorism.

Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation and former senior research associate at the West Point Combating Terrorism Center, translated and analyzed 303 of the newly available documents and found nothing indicating Iranian cooperation with, or even knowledge about the whereabouts of Zarqawi or other al-Qaeda military leaders prior to their detentions of April 2003.

Lahoud explained in a September 2018 lecture that all actions by al-Qaeda operatives in Iran had been “conducted in a clandestine manner.” She even discovered from one of the documents that al-Qaeda had considered the clandestine presence of those officials and fighters so dangerous that they had been instructed on how to commit suicide if they were caught by the Iranians.

Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark were well aware that those al-Qaeda operatives living in Tehran’s military training center were under severe constraints, akin to a prison.  Meanwhile, senior figures like Zarqawi and Saif al-Adel, the head of the al-Qaeda shura council, were far away from Tehran, planning new operations in the region amid friendly Sunni contacts. These plans included Zarqawi’s campaign Iraq, which he began organizing in early 2002.

Nevertheless the authors declared, “From [the Iranian training center], al-Qaeda organized, trained and established funding networks with the help of Iran, co-ordinated multiple terrorist atrocities and supported the bloodbath against Shi’ites by al-Qaeda in Iraq….”

Anti-Iran think tanker Sadjadpour jumps on the conspiracy bandwagon

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a reliable fount of anti-Iran spin, responded within days of the Soleimani assassination with an article in the Wall Street Journal’s right-wing editorial section that reinforced the budding disinformation campaign.

Entitled “The Sinister Genius of Qassem Soleimani,” Sadjadpour’s op-ed argued that in March 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “Soleimani’s Quds Force freed many Sunni jihadists that Iran had been holding captive, unleashing them against the U.S.” He cited “The Exile” as his source.

Levy and Scott-Clark did indeed spin a tale in the book of Zarqawi’s troops — and Zarqawi himself — being rounded up and locked to the same prison as those al-Qaeda members who entered with passports in March 2003. The authors claimed they were released within days. But the only sources they cite to support their claims were two people they interviewed in Amman, Jordan in 2016.

So who were these insider sources? The only identifying characteristics Levy and Scott-Clark offer is that they were “in Zarqawi’s group at the time.” Furthermore, neither of these sources is quoted to substantiate the claim that Zarqawi was arrested and then released from prison, and they are mentioned only in a footnote on the number of Zarqawi’s troops that had been sent to the prison.

Sadjadpour offered his own explanation — without the slightest suggestion of any evidence to support it — of why Soleimani would support an anti-Shiite jihadist to kill his own Iraqi Shiite allies. “By targeting Shiite shrines and civilians, killing thousands of Iran’s fellow Shiites,” he wrote, “Zarqawi helped to radicalize Iraq’s Shiite majority and pushed them closer to Iran—and to Soleimani, who could offer them protection.”

In late January, on National Public Radio’s weekly program “Throughline,” Sadjadpour pushed his dubiously sourced argument, opining that Soleimani had figured out how to “use the al Qaeda jihadists of Zarqawi … to simply unleash them into Iraq with the understanding that you guys do what you do.”

The BBC promotes “The Exile” as the book’s narrative crumbles

In a BBC radio documentary broadcasted in late April, titled “Iran’s Long Game” (an allusion to Iran’s alleged long-term plan for domination of the entire Middle East), Cathy Scott-Clark told a story intended to clinch the case that Iran had helped Zarqawi: Other prisoners “heard conversations in the corridors” in which Iranian authorities allegedly assured Zarqawi, “You can do whatever you want to do … in Iraq.”

That story does not appear in her book, however. Instead, Adrian Levy and Scott-Clark related a comment by Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, a spiritual adviser to bin Laden, on hearing about the arrest and subsequent release of Zarqawi from another prisoner who eavesdropped by tapping the pipes leading into his room.

That narrative had already been definitively contradicted long before, however, in an account provided by Saif al-Adl, the most senior member of the al-Qaeda top leadership in Iran. Al-Adl had fled with Zarqawi from Afghanistan across the border into Iran illegally in late 2001 or early 2002 and was apprehended in April 2003 — weeks after the alleged events portrayed in al-Mauritani’s story.

In a memoir smuggled out of Iran to Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, which Husayn published in 2005 in an Arabic-language book (but available online in an English-language translation), Saif al-Adl described an Iranian crackdown in March 2003 that captured 80 percent of Zarqawi’s fighters and “confused us and aborted 75 percent of our plan”.

Because of that round-up, al-Adl wrote, “[T]here was a need for the departure of Abu-Mus’ab and the brothers who remained free.” Al-Adl described his final meeting with Zarqawi before his departure, confirming that Zarqawi had not been caught prior to his own apprehension on April 23, 2003.

Levy and Scott-Clark cited Saif al-Adl’s memoir on other matters in “The Exile,” but when this writer queried Scott-Clark about al-Adl’s testimony – which contradicted the narrative that underpinned her book – Scott-Clark responded, “I know Fuad Hussein well. Most of his information is third hand and not well sourced.”

She did not address the substance of al-Adl’s recollections about Zarqawi, however. When asked in a follow-up email whether she challenged the authenticity of Saif al-Adl’s testimony, Scott-Clark did not respond.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

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

Will NPR Now Officially Change Its Name to National Propaganda Radio?

By Edward J Curtin | September 6, 2019

Back in the 1960s, the CIA official Cord Meyer said the agency needed to “court the compatible left.” He knew that drawing liberals and leftists into the CIA’s orbit was the key to efficient propaganda. Right-wing and left-wing collaborators were needed to create a powerful propaganda apparatus that would be capable of hypnotizing audiences into believing the myth of American exceptionalism and its divine right to rule the world. The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites.

Frances Stonor Saunders comprehensively covers this in her 1999 book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters, and Joel Whitney followed this up in 2016 with Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers, with particular emphasis on the complicity between the CIA and the famous literary journal, The Paris Review. By the mid-1970s, as a result of the Church Committee hearings, it seemed as if the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, confessed their sins, and resolved to go and sin no more. Then in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire – “The CIA and the Media” – naming names of journalists and media (The New York Times, CBS, etc.) that worked hand-in-glove with the CIA, propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world.  It seemed as if all would be hunky-dory now with the bad boys purged from the American “free” press.  Seemed to the most naïve, that is, by which I mean the vast numbers of people who wanted to re-stick their heads in the sand and believe, as Ronald Reagan’s team of truthtellers would announce, that it was “Morning in America” again with the free press reigning and the neo-conservatives, many of whom had been “converted” from their leftist views, running things in Washington.

So again it is morning in America this September 6, 2019, and the headline from National Public Radio announces the glad tidings that NPR has named a new CEO. His name is John Lansing, and the headline says he is a “veteran media executive.” We are meant to be reassured.  It goes on to say that Mr. Lansing, 62, is currently the chief executive of the government agency, The U.S. Agency for Global Media, that oversees Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others. We are furthermore reassured by NPR that Lansing “made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.” The announcement goes on to say:

Lansing has earned an advanced degree in political agility. At the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Lansing championed a free press even as leaders of many nations move against it.

‘Governments around the world are increasingly cracking down on the free flow of information; silencing dialogue and dissent; and distorting reality,’ Lansing said in a speech he delivered in May to the Media for Democracy Forum. ‘The result, I believe, is a war on truth.’

He continued: ‘Citizens in countries from Russia to China, from Iran to North Korea, have been victimized for decades. But now we’re seeing authoritarian regimes expanding around the globe, with media repression in places like Turkey and Venezuela, Cambodia and Vietnam.’

So we are reassured that the new head of NPR, the chief of all U.S. propaganda, is a champion of a free press.  Perhaps NPR will soon enlighten the American public by interviewing its new head honcho and asking him if he thinks Julian Assange and Chelsey Manning, by exposing America’s war crimes, and Edward Snowden, by exposing the U.S. government’s vast electronic surveillance programs of its own citizens, deserve to be jailed and exiled  for doing the job the American mainstream “free press” failed to do. What NPR failed to do. Perhaps they will ask him if he objects to the way his own government “interfered” in the lives of these three courageous people who revealed truths that every citizen of a free country is entitled to. Perhaps they will ask him if the U.S. government’s persecution of these truthtellers is what he means by there being “a war on truth.” Perhaps they will ask him if he thinks the Obama and Trump administrations have been “distorting reality” and waging a war on truth.

Perhaps not. Of course not.

Don’t laugh, for the joke will be on you if you listen to NPR and its sly appeal to “liberal” sensibilities.  If you are wondering why we have had the Russia-gate hoax and who was responsible (see/hear Russia expert Prof. Stephen Cohen here) and are now involved in a new Cold War and a highly dangerous nuclear confrontation with Russia, read Lansing’s July 10, 2019 testimony before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: “United Sates Efforts to Counter Russian Disinformation and Malign Influence.” 

Here is an excerpt:

USAGM provides consistently accurate and compelling journalism that reflects the values of our society: freedom, openness, democracy, and hope. Our guiding principles—enshrined in law—are to provide a reliable, authoritative, and independent source of news that adheres to the strictest standards of journalism….

Russian Disinformation. And make no mistake, we are living through a global explosion of disinformation, state propaganda, and lies generated by multiple authoritarian regimes around the world. The weaponization of information we are seeing today is real. The Russian government and other authoritarian regimes engage in far-reaching malign influence campaigns across national boundaries and language barriers. The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation machine is being unleashed via new platforms and continues to grow in Russia and internationally. Russia seeks to destroy the very idea of an objective, verifiable set of facts as it attempts to influence opinions about the United States and its allies. It is not an understatement to say that this new form of combat on the information battlefield may be the fight of the 21st century.

Then research the history of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, etc. You will be reassured that Lansing’s July testimony was his job interview to head National Propaganda Radio.

Then sit back, relax, and tune into NPR’s Morning Edition.  It will be comforting to know that it is “Morning in America” once again.

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

NPR Mocks Cancer Survivor in Drumbeat of Syria Propaganda

Asma al-Assad, First Lady of Syria (from released Syrian Presidency Facebook page)
By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | August 20, 2019

It may be a new low in propaganda. National Public Radio (NPR) used the news that Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad had overcome breast cancer to mock her and continue the information war against Syria. They interviewed a Human Rights Watch staffer named Lama Fakih who is an American from Michigan now based in Beirut.

Do you believe Ms. Fakih in Beirut or do you believe people who live in Syria who say we are being lied to? Lilly Martin is such a person. Although she is American from Fresno California, Lilly has lived in Syria for nearly 25 years. She is married to a Syrian and has two Syrian sons. Dr. Nabil Antaki is another such person. He is a medical doctor in Aleppo, fluent in English and French as well as his native Arabic.

While NPR snorts about Asma al-Assad “sporting a chic blonde pixie cut”, Lilly Martin points out that she was recently bald while fighting for her life.

While Ms. Fakir in Beirut says that there is “quite a lot of anger” because Asma al-Assad has conquered cancer, Dr. Antaki says that Syrians are happy at the news. Asma al-Assad is First Lady, mother to three children, and known for her compassion. Lilly Martin says that even while she battled cancer Mrs. al-Assad continued her charitable work.

While Ms. Fakih says that the “Assad government has been systematically targeting medical facilities and medical personnel”, Dr. Antaki, who has remained in Aleppo throughought the conflict, says this is not true. While there are many western accusations that the Syrian government attacks hospitals, the evidence is remarkably thin. One of the most highly publicized cases was regarding “Al Quds Hospital” in east Aleppo. In April 2016 there was a media blitz about this hospital having been destroyed by the Syrian Army. Following  the departure of the “rebels”, it was discovered that “Al Quds Hospital” was an unmarked portion of an apartment building, that it had NOT been bombed and was the LEAST damaged building in the area. It was determined that the nearby Nusra (Al Qaeda) headquarters and ammunition depot was the Syrian army target. Accusations that “Al Quds Hospital” was bombed were false. It was a media stunt.

Ms. Fakih says that “Syrians have not been able to benefit from medical care in Syria since the beginning of the uprising in 2012”. Lilly Martin simply says “This is factually untrue. The Syrian system of national hospitals, free services to the public, are in every area of Syria and have run continuously throughout the war.” Dr. Antaki is an example; he is one of THOUSANDS of doctors working at HUNDREDS of hospitals throughout Syria. But you would never know it from NPR or Ms. Fakih.

It is true that there have been disruption and damage to many hospitals, as demonstrated in this jihadi assault on Al Kindi Hospital. These are the “rebels” supported by Ms. Fakih and Human Rights Watch. They effectively supported them in east Aleppo until they were expelled from the city. Now Ms. Fakih and HRW are supporting the “rebels” in their last redoubt in Idlib. There are countless videos demonstrating the cruelty and fanaticism of the “rebels”. For example, the aftermath of the above assault on Kindi Hospital and the execution of the Syrian soldiers who defended the hospital. Those who are cheerleading for the “rebels” and trying to prevent the Syrians reclaiming Idlib should look at the execution video to see what they are supporting.

The West has provided weapons and other support to the “rebels”. In parallel, there has been a campaign to whitewash the “rebels” and demonize the Syrian government. On top of this, the USA has imposed crushing sanctions on Syria which make it difficult or impossible to get critical medicines and replacement parts for western medical equipment. Dr. Antaki says it took him 1.5 years to obtain a replacement part for a Japanese medical instrument. I had my own experience with the draconian and inhumane sanctions. It took one year and endless hassle to send hearing aid batteries to help a deaf child in Syria.

This is one among hundreds of Syria “regime change” propaganda pieces broadcast on NPR. Behind a facade of authority and objectivity, there is bias and misinformation along with crocodile tears. As Lilly Martin says, “While the Syrian government medical system has tried to meet all the needs of Syrian civilians during 8 years of armed conflict, still there are numerous cases where the needs were not met and Syrians have suffered, and that blame must be shouldered by every person who held a gun against Syria and their foreign supporters who have succeeded in bringing the Syrian people into the depths of destruction and despair.”

As to Asma al-Assad and her integrity, it is best to listen and judge for yourself. At about 5:30 of the interview she speaks of the families of 100 thousand Syrian martyrs who died defending their country. “On a personal level, I am humbled by their determination, by their resilience, and by their love of Syria. They are my biggest source of strength and hope for the future.”

The sneers, misinformation, unverified accusations and de facto defense of Nusra/Al Qaeda by NPR and Lama Fakih stand in stark contrast.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who grew up in Canada but currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

August 20, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 3 Comments

Seth Rich’s Ghost Haunts the Courts

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | August 12, 2019

As if it weren’t enough of a downer for Russiagate true believers that no Trump-Russia collusion was found, federal judges are now demanding proof that Russia hacked into the DNC in the first place.

It is shaping up to be a significant challenge to the main premise of the shaky syllogism that ends with “Russia did it.”

If you’re new to this website, grab onto something, as the following may come as something of a shock. Not only has there never been any credible evidence to support the claim of Russian cyber interference, there has always been a simple alternative explanation that involves no “hacking” at all — by Russia or anyone else.

As most Consortium News habitués are aware, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (which includes two former NSA technical directors), working with independent forensic investigators, concluded two years ago that what “everyone knows to be Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee” actually involved an insider with physical access to DNC computers copying the emails onto an external storage device — such as a thumb drive. In other words, it was a leak, not a hack.

VIPS based its conclusion on the principles of physics applied to metadata and other empirical information susceptible of forensic analysis.

But if a leak, not a hack, who was the DNC insider-leaker? In the absence of hard evidence, VIPS refuses “best-guess”-type “assessments” — the kind favored by the “handpicked analysts” who drafted the evidence-impoverished, so-called Intelligence Community Assessment of Jan. 6, 2017.

Conspiracy Theorists

Simply letting the name “Seth Rich” pass your lips can condemn you to the leper colony built by the Washington Establishment for “conspiracy theorists,” (the term regularly applied to someone determined to seek tangible evidence, and who is open to alternatives to “Russia-did-it.”)

Rich was a young DNC employee who was murdered on a street in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016. Many, including me, suspect that Rich played some role in the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. There is considerable circumstantial evidence that this may have been the case. Those who voice such suspicions, however, are, ipso facto, branded “conspiracy theorists.”

That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Alan Dulles used the “brand-them-conspiracy-theorists” ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected — understandably — to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The “conspiracy theorist” tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now.

Rich Hovers Above the Courts

U.S. Courts apply far tougher standards to evidence than do the intelligence community and the pundits who loll around lazily, feeding from the intelligence PR trough. This (hardly surprising) reality was underscored when a Dallas financial adviser named Ed Butowsky sued National Public Radio and others for defaming him about the role he played in controversial stories relating to Rich. On August 7, NPR suffered a setback, when U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant affirmed a lower court decision to allow Butowsky’s defamation lawsuit to proceed.

Judge Mazzant ruled that NPR had stated as “verifiable statements of fact” information that could not be verified, and that the plaintiff had been, in effect, accused of being engaged in wrongdoing without persuasive sourcing language.

Imagine! — “persuasive sourcing” required to separate fact from opinion and axes to grind! An interesting precedent to apply to the ins and outs of Russiagate. In the courts, at least, this is now beginning to happen. And NPR and others in similarly vulnerable positions are scurrying around for allies.?? The day after Judge Mazzant’s decision, NPR enlisted help from discredited Yahoo! News pundit Michael Isikoff (author, with David Corn, of the fiction-posing-as-fact novel Russian Roulette). NPR gave Isikoff 37 minutes on its popular Fresh Air program to spin his yarn about how the Seth Rich story got started. You guessed it; the Russians started it. No, we are not making this up.

It is far from clear that Isikoff can be much help to NPR in the libel case against it. Isikoff’s own writings on Russiagate are notably lacking in “verifiable statements of fact” — information that cannot be verified. Watch, for example, his recent interview with Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria on CN Live!

Isikoff admitted to Lauria that he never saw the classified Russian intelligence document reportedly indicating that three days after Rich’s murder the Russian SVR foreign intelligence service planted a story about Rich having been the leaker and was killed for it. This Russian intelligence “bulletin,” as Isikoff called it, was supposedly placed on a bizarre website that Isikoff admitted was an unlikely place for Russia to spread disinformation. He acknowledged that he only took the word of the former prosecutor in the Rich case about the existence of this classified Russian document.

In any case, The Washington Post, had already debunked Isikoff’s claim (which later in his article he switched to being only “purported”) by pointing out that Americans had already tweeted the theory of Rich’s murder days before the alleged Russian intervention.

Persuasive Sourcing’ & Discovery??

Butowsky’s libel lawsuit can now proceed to discovery, which will include demands for documents and depositions that are likely to shed light on whatever role Rich may have played in leaking to WikiLeaks. If the government obstructs or tries to slow-roll the case, we shall have to wait and see, for example, if the court will acquiesce to the familiar government objection that information regarding Rich’s murder must be withheld as a state secret? Hmmm. What would that tell us?

During discovery in a separate court case, the government was unable to produce a final forensic report on the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC-hired cyber firm, CrowdStrike, failed to complete such a report, and that was apparently okay with then FBI Director James Comey, who did not require one.

The incomplete, redacted, draft, second-hand “forensics” that Comey settled for from CrowdStrike does not qualify as credible evidence — much less “persuasive sourcing” to support the claim that the Russians “hacked” into the DNC. Moreover, CrowdStrike has a dubious reputation for professionalism and a well known anti-Russia bias.

The thorny question of “persuasive sourcing,” came up even more starkly on July 1, when federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Robert Mueller to stop pretending he had proof that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency’s supposed attempt to interfere via social media in the 2016 election. Middle school-level arithmetic can prove the case that the IRA’s use of social media to support Trump is ludicrous on its face.

Russia-gate Rubble

As journalist Patrick Lawrence put it recently: “Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak.” Falling syllogism! Step nimbly to one side.

The “conspiracy theorist” epithet is not likely to much longer block attention to the role, if any, played by Rich — the more so since some players who say they were directly involved with Rich are coming forward.

In a long interview with Lauria a few months ago in New Zealand aired this month on CN Live!, Kim Dotcom provided a wealth of detail, based on what he described as first-hand knowledge, regarding how Democratic National Committee documents were leaked to WikiLeaks in 2016.

The major takeaway: the evidence presented by Dotcom about Seth Rich can be verified or disproven if President Trump summons the courage to order the director of NSA to dig out the relevant data, including the conversations Dotcom says he had with Rich and Rich may have had with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Dotcom said he put Rich in touch with a middleman to transfer the DNC files to WikiLeaks. Sadly, Trump has flinched more than once rather than confront the Deep State — and this time there are a bunch of very well connected, senior Deep State practitioners who could face prosecution.

Another sign that Rich’s story is likely to draw new focus is the virulent character assassination indulged in by former investigative journalist James Risen.

Not Risen to the Challenge

On August 5, in an interview on The Hill’s “Rising,” Risen chose to call former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney — you guessed it — a “conspiracy theorist” on Russia-gate, with no demurral, much less pushback, from the hosts.

The having-done-good-work-in-the-past-and-now-not-so-much Risen can be considered a paradigm for what has happened to so many Kool-Aid drinking journalists. Jim’s transition from investigative journalist to stenographer is, nonetheless unsettling. Contributing causes? It appears that the traditional sources within the intelligence agencies, whom Risen was able to cultivate discreetly in the past, are too fearful now to even talk to him, lest they get caught by one or two of the myriad surveillance systems in play.

Those at the top of the relevant agencies, however, are only too happy to provide grist. Journalists have to make a living, after all. Topic A, of course, is Russian “interference” in the 2016 election. And, of course, “There can be little doubt” the Russians did it.

“Big Jim” Risen, as he is known, jumped on the bandwagon as soon as he joined The Intercept, with a fulsome article on February 17, 2018 titled Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” Here’s an excerpt:

“The evidence that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win is already compelling, and it grows stronger by the day.

“There can be little doubt now that Russian intelligence officials were behind an effort to hack the DNC’s computers and steal emails and other information from aides to Hillary Clinton as a means of damaging her presidential campaign. … Russian intelligence also used fake social media accounts and other tools to create a global echo chamber both for stories about the emails and for anti-Clinton lies dressed up to look like news.

“To their disgrace, editors and reporters at American news organizations greatly enhanced the Russian echo chamber, eagerly writing stories about Clinton and the Democratic Party based on the emails, while showing almost no interest during the presidential campaign in exactly how those emails came to be disclosed and distributed.” (sic)

Poor Jim. He shows himself just as susceptible as virtually all of his fellow corporate journalists to the epidemic-scale HWHW virus (Hillary Would Have Won) that set in during Nov. 2016 and for which the truth seems to be no cure. From his perch at The Intercept, Risen will continue to try to shape the issues. Russiagaters major ally, of course, is the corporate media which has most Americans pretty much under their thumb.

Incidentally, neither The New York Times, The Washington Post, nor The Wall Street Journal has printed or posted a word about Judge Mazzant’s ruling on the Butowsky suit.

Mark Twain is said to have warned, “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!” After three years of “Russia-Russia-Russia” in the corporate — and even in some “progressive” — media, this conditioning will not be easy to reverse.

Here’s how one astute observer with a sense of humor described the situation last week, in a comment under one of my recent pieces on Consortium News :

“… One can write the most thought-out and well documented academic-like essays, articles and reports and the true believers in Russiagate will dismiss it all with a mere flick of their wrist. The mockery and scorn directed towards those of us who knew the score from day one won’t relent. They could die and go to heaven and ask god what really happened during the 2016 election. God would reply to them in no uncertain terms that Putin and the Russians had absolutely nothing to do with anything in ‘16, and they’d all throw up their hands and say, ‘aha! So, God’s in on this too!’ It’s the great lie that won’t die.”

I’m not so sure. It is likely to be a while though before this is over.


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Ray was a CIA analyst for 27 years; in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment