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The Game Is Over and They Have Lost

By Robert Blumen | Brownstone Institute | January 23, 2023

The Guardian on Jan 15, 2023 published the most perfect piece of new normal nostalgia that ever was or could be: Coronavirus: ‘People aren’t taking this seriously’: experts say US Covid surge is big risk by Melody Schreiber.

This piece may be studied as a Platonic Form. Nothing could more perfectly demonstrate the inability of the covid fear porn publishers to let go of the narrative. If the author didn’t have her own website, I would have attributed the piece to an instance of ChatGPT trained on every Guardian and New York Times article from the past three years.

The writer employs every single discredited covid trope at least once. I will list a few of the best, here. To cover them all I would have to quote the entire article and that would violate the Fair Use Doctrine. I have chosen a tabular form with a quote alongside the trope that it is derived from:

Quote Trope
“In the fourth year of the pandemic.” We are still in a pandemic. It will never end.
“This is one of the greatest surges of Covid cases in the entire pandemic, according to wastewater analyses of the virus.” The current wave is the worst wave ever.
“Covid-19 is once again spreading across America and being driven by the recent holidays.” Super-spreader events and family gatherings.
“The Omicron subvariants BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 as well as the quickly expanding XBB.1.5 make up the majority of cases.” Just when you thought we were over it, a new variant has emerged.
“With XBB, there’s such a significant transmission advantage that exposure is really risky – it’s riskier now than it’s ever been” in terms of transmissibility, Sehgal said.” The new variant is more dangerous than previous variants.
“And the more the virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to evolve, potentially picking up mutations that make it easier to overcome immunity.” The variants only get worse over time, never more mild.
“the winter surge, which is once again putting pressure on health systems.”“Williams is worried that hospitals are reaching maximum capacity.”“Health workers have experienced three years of burnout, disability and death, and some have needed to exit the workforce.” The health care system is under pressure. It will probably collapse. People will be dying in the streets, unable to obtain care.
“Despite the high rates of Covid spread, hospitalizations have not yet reached previous peaks seen earlier in the pandemic, probably due to immunity … but that protection should not be taken for granted, he said, particularly because immunity wanes.” Natural immunity does not protect you. Even if you are immune, you should still get all the vaccines and boosters.
“The severe cases we are seeing are probably at least somewhat avoidable, if folks make sure that they stay updated on vaccination, because that’s still the safest way to gain immunity.” Vaccination stops the spread.
“You’re just fighting a lot of misinformation.” Everything that you have read contrary to this narrative consists of lies by malevolent misinformation spreaders.
When Joe Biden declared the pandemic was “over” in September, he said, it probably stalled public enthusiasm for the new booster. Happy talk about the end of covid is dangerous.
“While vaccines are very important…” All roads lead to vaccination.
“In New Hampshire, nursing homes will not admit those that they feel that they cannot staff to care for, which I think is admirable, but the consequence of that is that the hospitals are jammed up,” he said. Hospitals that might release patients to care facilities for transitional or long-term care will see beds filled for longer.” The elderly in care homes are at risk.
“The share for children under four roughly doubled in 2022.” Children are at risk.
“As Ray put it: ‘When we could be wearing a mask, why aren’t we?’” Masks work to prevent respiratory viral transmission.

My favorite part of the piece is, “Yet because of poor messaging from officials, many people may not even realize the US is experiencing a surge.” I am one of those many people who did not know this. A surge of what? A normal seasonal flu that makes people feel a bit under the weather for a week? A bad cold-vid?

We can celebrate our return to the old normal when an outbreak of a seasonal virus is of concern to those who are infected or who care for a family member. All of society need not be thrust into a panic over such things. The more normal the world is, the more resources of those who are impacted will have to deal with their troubles. And the better will those who are not directly affected be able to support them.

As a software engineer I note with some amusement that the variant (or as I like to call them “scariant”) names now have two periods. In a software release version a version with double dot is used for a minor bug fix release, (e.g. 3.0.1). “Minor” means that the release is not important enough for users to upgrade immediately. Perhaps the same thinking should be applied to the way we handle the emergence of new viral variants.

When Biden said that the pandemic is over, followed by “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape,” that may have been his dementia inhibiting the filter that was supposed to kick in before he said something truthful. Biden only said the quiet part out loud: the public has put the panic phase in the rearview. Even Anthony Fauci made the incomprehensible statement that the pandemic isn’t over but we are out of the “pandemic phase.” Every statement like this is more toothpaste for the pandemic dead-enders to put back in the tube.

The article bemoans the low acceptance rate of the booster vaccinations. We are told that cases are avoidable if patients had sought additional injections. First thing: do we care about cases? Second thing: it is not true that the covid vaccines prevent infection. That could only be so if the failed claim of sterilizing immunity were valid.

Vaccine advocates have walked back the earlier claims that one or any number of shots would prevent the recipient from getting infected. It was let out late in 2022 that the clinical trials did not even test for the ability of the drugs to stop transmission. It’s hard to believe that anyone can still say that after so many multiply-vaccinated-and-boosted public figures have gotten covid.

My friend Kevin Duffy, a professional investor, after seeing the Guardian article, sent me this image. The graph shows the market psychology of a financial bubble and subsequent market crash. I have added the red oval highlighting where Kevin thinks we are now: in the denial phase, after the bubble has burst.

I am also reminded of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief that a patient or a loved one goes through when receiving a terminal diagnosis. The stage in her sequence is denial. The subsequent stages are anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The same could be said of all of these tropes: Does anyone believe them anymore? This is not news. It is a last-gasp attempt to squeeze more juice out of a dehydrated lemon. These messages were potent fear generators two years ago. But with each use, the charge becomes weaker.

The script has worn itself out. These tropes are now tired and ineffective. The fear-pushers seem unaware that the message has lost its effect, but do not have anything else to offer. The tell is not that they publish articles like this. It is how much these pieces show that they don’t know that the game is over and they have lost.

January 23, 2023 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 6 Comments

Gross distortion of facts on Mahsa Amini’s death in Western media

By Damian Lenard | Press TV | December 30, 2022

In his recent article Seven people with British links arrested in Iran over protests, freelance journalist for The Guardian, Nadeem Badshah, relates to the audience an interesting and all-too-familiar Western media version of the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran.

It is educational to dissect the article because it is representative of the propagandistic way in which foreign media have covered the tragic event for the past few months:

The 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian had been arrested for wearing “inappropriate attire” under Iran’s Islamic dress code for women

Witnesses said Amini was beaten while inside a police van when she was picked up in Tehran. Police have denied the allegations, saying she “suddenly suffered a heart problem”. 

I would refer to these short paragraphs as contextual snippets, repeated ad nauseam in media reports to drill propaganda points into the unprepared minds of the audience (yes, and we claim to abhor the widely misquoted “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” as if our own media was not an active part of that very machinery).

Let’s dig into this illustrative contextual snippet used by Badshah. I am by no means attempting to shame him, as it probably is a snippet offered by his employer/editor to make his job easier and — more importantly in this specific case — to make sure that key state propaganda is duly reinforced:

  1. Iran’s Islamic dress code for women

    Iran’s Islamic dress code, like Western and Eastern secularist dress codes, exists not only for women but for all people in society.

    Such dress codes are indeed applied differently for men and women not just in Iran, but everywhere around the world. The exception being the one or two countries on the face of the planet where public nudity or female toplessness is indiscriminately allowed in the majority of the territory.

    This first part of the Guardian’s contextual snippet used by Badshah aims to brainwash readers by repetition with the notion that Iran is the only country in the globe with a dress code or the only one which enforces it. Worse, it is exclusively so for women in Iran. And that this “abhorrence” is the result of religion (and even worse, Islam) applied to politics.

    The well is poisoned for the acceptance of the central part which follows:

  2. Witnesses said

    Since no evidence whatsoever exists to support the hypothesis of Mahsa Amini having been brutally beaten to death, Western media is forced to rely exclusively on “witnesses/family said” assertions as their top proof to attempt to causally link Amini’s brief detention with her death.

    The reader might already be willing to accept such a weak hearsay kind of proof (which would be disregarded or even mocked as poor journalism should it apply to an event in their own countries) because, after all, Iran is exceptionally evil as “proven” in point 1.

  3. Police have denied the allegations

    This segment is typically dedicated to the antithesis of the previous premises, supposedly for balance and to pretend journalistic honesty. What does the other side have to defend itself? In this case, what does it have? Claims by the police. Pretty weak, isn’t it? Is that all you’ve got Iran? So it’s the word of noble witnesses (do we care how it was established that they even exist?) against that of the evil Iranian police.

    The claim that “police have denied the allegations” implies the denial of the hypothesis (brutally beaten to death) is only supported by a police statement (the directly involved party and, we must remember, any authority in Iran is evil). Combined with them saying she “suddenly suffered a heart problem,” (note the cherry-picking of a quote with an inaccurate medical description to further undermine the credibility of the party) while totally omitting:

    (a) The existence of a clear CCTV camera video recording at the police station in which Amini collapses on her own without the aid of any external agent and,

    (b) The “leaked” hospital photographs of Amini showing no sign of trauma or blood consistent with a fatal beating (or debatable signs if one possesses a powerful imagination), expose the utter disregard for journalistic integrity, and full commitment to pedaling state propaganda regardless of the damage it causes.

The reason why I find this rather fascinating is because of the vicious circle that is built around these structures of reporting about a country like Iran:

The premises of point 1. (the exceptional evilness of religion applied in politics, the exceptional evilness of Iran’s dress code, the exceptional oppression Iran crushes women with) bias the evaluation of the following points, and at the same time tend to be “proven” with non-facts analogous — in terms of objective weakness — to those of points 2. and 3.

Thanks to meticulously-crafted reality distortion of this sort, the Western public, which believes itself to be professionally informed and impervious to manipulation, unsuspectingly swallows dogma after dogma of misrepresented reality.

The result is the installation of moral shock and the reaffirmation of solid prejudices useful to rally sufficient public support for the foreign policy of the day: usually the collective punishment of entire nations by war or economic sanctions.

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, so getting half a million Iraqi children killed by sanctions and millions more by war can be deemed “worth it” or at least as just an honest mistake, as opposed to punishable war crimes and crimes against humanity.

If only there was a way to poll the staunch defenders of freedom and democracy (a noble utopia that could only separate itself from tyranny with a perfectly well-informed public), asking how many of them were offered to watch the CCTV footage and “leaked” hospital photos of Mahsa Amini (as opposed to handed only hearsay rumors) that would have otherwise allowed them to decide for themselves.

Goethe was certainly on to something big when he wrote in his Elective Affinities: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Damian Lenard, Ph.D., is a political commentator with focus on Eurasian politics. He speaks fluent Persian and occasionally writes for Iranian publications.

December 30, 2022 Posted by | Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

How Billionaires Fill the Media With Climate Fear and Panic

BY CHRIS MORRISON| THE DAILY SCEPTIC | DECEMBER 20, 2022

The popular prints are flooded with climate and weather misinformation. Net Zero, seen by increasing numbers of people as a looming disaster, is lauded to the skies. Few journalists investigate the ‘unsettled’ science behind unproven claims that humans cause most, if not all, changes in the climate. To point out that there are not enough minerals in the ground to make batteries to power humanity’s basic transportation needs, let alone store the energy required to keep us all alive in the cold when renewables go on strike, is simply not allowed. Needless to say, as we have seen in a number of recent Daily Sceptic articles, this absurd state of affairs is partly the product of a carefully-curated public discourse targeting cash-strapped news rooms and funded by a vast supply of dark, green money.

Recently I reported that the Mirror had run a nonsense story about much of London disappearing beneath the waves within 80 years. I noted that this was not the handiwork of a crack team of investigative reporters, but rather the placed work of a U.S. green activist group called Climate Central. This operation specialises in ready-to-publish climate change material highlighting local landmarks allegedly due to disappear beneath the waves. Similar tactics are used by another activist group spreading fear and alarm called Covering Climate Now (CC Now). This operation is run out of the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and is backed by the Nation and the U.K. Guardian. Both operations rely heavily on large gifts from Left-leaning U.S. foundations.

CC Now was started in 2019 and claims to feed over 500 media operations with written stories and climate narratives. Its “partners” include some of the biggest names in news publishing such as ReutersBloombergAgence France-Presse (AFP), CBS News, ABC News and MSNBC News. Leading journals are said to include Rolling StoneHuff Post and Teen Vogue. The founders seek a “reframing” of the way journalists cover climate change. What this means in practice is amplifying an invented ‘climate emergency’ by constant story catastrophisation, while denying any inconvenient science. The political aim is the promotion of the command-and-control Net Zero agenda.

There is plenty of advice for tame journalists aiming to ramp up climate hysteria. “The fastest way to catch up is to emulate outlets that are already covering climate change well. You can’t do better than the Guardian,” CC Now suggests. But what to do about the problem that paying readers tend to disappear when fed a diet of spun political messages? “Foundations like Knight, Ford, McCormick and Emerson Collective are rightly increasing their support for local news organisations,” it adds.

Relentless catastrophising of individual weather events is the favoured weapon to spread climate fear among the wider population. Using the recent experience of the Covid pandemic, activists have been emboldened to spread panic and alarm in controllable media to achieve their wider political aims. Despite oft-made claims, it is impossible to use models to ‘attribute’ single weather events to long term changes in the climate. CC Now skirts this obvious problem by providing a number of helpful explanations for gullible journalists to copy-and-paste. “Climate change isn’t solely to blame for extreme weather, but… it stacks the deck against us… it’s baked in with our weather and often a key ingredient in the outcome… it supercharges normal weather patterns, like steroids.” Journalists are told to emphasise the human impacts of extreme weather, noting that it affects “the poor, communities of colour, and indigenous groups first and foremost”.

All this sterling work, of course, deserves prizes. The 2022 CC Now Journalism Awards “honoured” writers producing the “strongest coverage of the onrushing climate emergency and its abundant solutions”. Winners are said to have come from the Guardian, AFP, Al JazeeraPBS NewsHour and the Los Angeles Times. Journalist of the Year was Time Senior Correspondent Justin Worland. The judges singled out for particular praise an article he wrote ahead of COP26 titled, “The Energy Transition in Full Swing. It’s Not Happening Fast Enough“.

Billionaire-run foundations are spending enormous sums promoting junk alarmist science, in addition to funding on-side academic institutions and other influential bodies. Both Climate Central and CC Now are funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, while Climate Central takes support from the Grantham fund. This latter foundation is connected with the green billionaire investor Jeremy Grantham, and also partly funds three U.K. university institutes. At the LSE, this operation provides material that supports the Net Zero initiatives.

Jeremy Grantham is a long-time promoter of Net Zero and a future based on renewables. But it is not only journalists he has in his sights. Speaking in 2019 to a group of business people in Copenhagen about the approaching apocalypse, he asked rhetorically, “What should I do, you say”? His suggestion: “You should lobby your Government officials – invest in an election and buy some politicians. I am happy to say we do quite a bit of that at the Grantham Foundation… any candidate as long as they are green.”

The science writer and climatologist Dr. Judith Curry has become increasingly concerned about the effect of all this propaganda on children. In a recent essay, she wrote that it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that children are being used as tools in adults’ political agenda surrounding climate change. This is having adverse impacts on the mental health of children, she warned. The apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the climate ‘crisis’ has numerous victims, she added. “Children and young adults rank among the victims of greatest concern.”

Children and young adults are being used as tools in national and international political  campaigns, continued Dr. Curry. “Blaming this unfortunate situation of psychological stress on a changing climate is incorrect, and the use of the situation to achieve political goals is reprehensible behaviour that is acting to reinforce the children’s psychological injuries,” she charged.

Your correspondent’s advice: When you next see an identikit climate Armageddon story in the mainstream media, just laugh. You will be the sanest person in the room.

December 23, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

OVERPOPULATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE

OffGuardian | November 21, 2022

The big population news, reported late last month, is that we just crossed 8 billion humans on the planet.

This week, to coincide with the COP27 and G20 meetings, this news was parlayed into a climate change narrative.

DW asks “How can 8 billion people sustainably share a planet?” while Reuters reports that a population of 8 billion makes “climate justice harder”.

As usual, the most brazenly anti-human nonsense comes from the Guardian, whose environmental editor has a long piece headlined“It should not be controversial to say a population of 8 billion will have a grave impact on the climate”

Which includes this paragraph:

So of course the rich must change their behaviour. But making climate breakdown all about consumption has become an excuse for countries to do nowhere near enough to reduce their populations.

How exactly countries should go about “reducing their population” is left delightfully vague.

What’s brilliant about all this is the sheer lack of reality behind every single aspect of the story.

  • The world is not over-populated, that is a myth.
  • Climate change “science” is a scam.
  • They don’t even know how many people there really are, the global population figure is a guess based on modelling and old census data.

But the most fun article on this story is from Reuterswho actually fact-checked a viral social media post claiming overpopulation is a myth, and every human on earth could fit in a square 50 miles across.

They don’t fact-check the guys math, they even admit he’s completely correct, but then they say the figures “lack context”, and ask the opinion of an “expert” who reassures everyone “nowhere on earth could support that population density”.

No kidding guys.


More This Week In The New Normal.

November 21, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 3 Comments

The Alex Jones verdict is a declaration of war on independent media

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 14, 2022

A Connecticut court has handed down a 1 billion dollar fine on radio host and independent journalist Alex Jones, for “spreading misinformation” about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

This is a travesty, and that any could call such an absurd penalty “justice” is sickening. Especially when it is so obviously designed as warning to everyone in the independent media.

Indeed, outside of the specifics of this case, the potential fallout for everyone in the alt-media sphere is terrifying, because already the Jones precedent is being used as an argument for “regulation” of the internet.

Forget about Sandy Hook. Maybe it happened or maybe it didn’t, experience teaches us that virtually nothing happens exactly as the media reports, but even if it did – even if every single word Alex Jones ever said about Sandy Hook was a deliberate lie – you cannot “regulate” that, you cannot make it a crime, and you cannot silence people’s future for words they have said in the past.

That is censorship.

People have the right to free speech. And that includes – MUST include – the right to lie and the right to simply be wrong.

If you take away those rights, you put the power to regulate speech in the hands of those with enough influence to create official “truth” or hold the “right” opinions. And that has nothing to do with objective truth, or real facts.

The media, and the establishment it serves, do not care about truth or facts.

To take a recent example, a Pfizer executive recently reported the pharmaceutical giant never did any research to ascertain if their Covid “vaccine” halted transmission of the “disease” commonly called Covid.

There was never any trial data showing the “vaccines” prevented transmission of “covid”, and that means every outlet, channel or pundit who claimed the vaccine “stopped the spread” was actively “spreading misinformation”.

What’s more this misinformation has likely led to literally thousands of deaths. That is far more harmful than anything anyone could say about a ten-year-old school shooting, real or not.

Will CNN or The Guardian or the NYT face a billion-dollar fine?

Of course they won’t. Because this is not about “misinformation”, this is about uncontrolled information. It is about regulating – even criminalising – the free flow of ideas and opinions.

Even if this kind of rule were equally applied to all media on every topic, it would be still awful… and we all know it won’t be.

Instead, it will be applied to the independent media, to alternative and anti-establishment voices, and to the internet.

If you doubt that, check the media reaction.

One argument against the need for any new regulation of free speech is that we already have legal systems in place to protect people from “harmful speech” – threats, libel and defamation.

Indeed, Jones’ fate here could be held up as a prime example of “the system working”.

But that is not enough, according to this article on NPR which bemoans the “limits” of de-platforming and defamation suits.

That opinion is shared by this article on NBC, which headlines “Alex Jones’ lawsuit losses are not enough”, and concludes:

Defamation lawsuits are an important tool in the quest to reduce harm from harassment and abuse. But they are not a solution to the lie machines built by incredibly savvy, incredibly cynical pundits like Alex Jones. This week’s verdict, coupled with whatever else happens next, will certainly make conspiracy theorists think twice before they inflict pain on private individuals in the future. But it will not solve the bigger problem, which is our world’s dangerous, pervasive flood of misinformation.

That line about “making conspiracy theorists think twice” is the most honest sentence in the article, and confirms one of the major aims of the Jones trial narrative is to set an example.

But while the point of the article could not be clearer, the author never actually uses the words “regulation”, “legislation” or “censorship”. He chooses to play a more subtle game than that.

The same cannot be said for Simon Jenkins in yesterday’s Guardian, who eschews subtlety completely:

Only proper online regulation can stop poisonous conspiracists like Alex Jones

“Proper online regulation”. We all know what that means, it means censorship. He’s not even hiding it in coy language, but openly arguing for a global censorship programme.

He begins by pining for the days when nobody could get a scrap of the public’s attention without going through approved channels:

There have always been Alex Joneses spreading poison from the world’s soap boxes and pavements. As a boy I used to listen to them at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park […] Their lies never made it into newspapers or on to the airwaves. Free speech went only as far as the human voice could carry. Beyond that, “news” was mediated behind a wall of editors, censors and regulators, to keep it from gullible and dangerous ears.

Imagine the kind of mind that is nostalgic for an age when “News” – he is right to use quotes – had to pass through a “wall of editors, censors and regulators”. Imagine being able to simply dismiss the multitude of the public as “gullible and dangerous”.

From there he moves on to praise the verdict against Jones, and the state-backed censorship exhibited by the major social media platforms, but laments it does not go far enough, even hinting that people should have their own private websites confiscated:

The main social media outlets have accepted a modicum of responsibility to monitor content […] attempts are made to keep up with a deluge of often biased and mendacious material, but […] by the time it is taken down it re-emerges elsewhere. Jones has been banned by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but he can still reach audiences on his own website […] Justice is meaningless without enforcement or prevention.

Next, he tells us who exactly will be in the crosshairs of this suggested global censor. It’s a predictable list:

victims may have the rule of law on their side, but that does not curb the climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, trolls and QAnon followers or the appalling and anonymous abuse that now greets the expression online of any liberal – I might say reasonable – point of view.

Alongside a “no true Scotsman” fallacy altering the definition of free speech:

No one seriously believes free speech is an absolute right.

Like all censors before them, modern censors such as Jenkins seek to codify their desire for control in the language of concern. Proselytizing about the need to “protect people” and “the greater good”. They would, they claim, only censor harmful lies.

Such is the call of the censor through the ages. We’re only censoring heresy, we’re only censoring blasphemy, we’re only censoring treason.

Jenkins is aware of this, even as he uses special pleading to argue his version of censorship would be different:

Historians of the news media can chart a progress from early censorship by the church and crown to state licensing and legal regulation. This control was initially employed to enforce conformity, but over the past century it has also sought to sustain diversity and suppress blatant falsity.

The hypocrisy is rank. “Maybe they used to enforce conformity, but of course we would never do that…we just want to silence people who disagree, for society’s sake.”

Of course, none of those who seek to control the speech of their fellow humans ever claim to want to censor the truth. They call it “sedition” or “propaganda”, and claim to be safeguarding “the truth” even as they pull out tongues or break their victims on the rack.

Now they call it “Misinformation”. It’s all the same in the end.

One more time, for the people at the back.

  • Free speech is NOT reserved for people who are “right”.
  • Free speech is NOT only for people who tell “the truth”.
  • Free speech is NOT to be moderated by “a wall of editors and regulators”.

Free speech is not a privilege in the gift of the state, a commodity to be regulated by the government or a child’s toy to be punitively confiscated by grown-ups who know better.

It is a right. For everyone. Everywhere. Always.

And if it is removed from one of us, it is removed from all of us.

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 6 Comments

NORDSTREAM SABOTAGE: A NEW LOW FOR WESTERN MAINSTREAM MEDIA

By Dimitri Lascaris | October 7, 2022

The Guardian’s coverage of the recent Nord Stream sabotage highlights the increasingly absurd lengths to which Western media will go to promote the U.S. government’s hegemonic agenda.

Guardian coverage of this portentous event has included at least three, shameless exercises in propaganda-masquerading-as-journalism.

On September 28 – two days after natural gas began belching into the Baltic Sea due to multiple blasts targeting Nord Stream – the Guardian published an article by Philip Oltermann, the Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief, entitled “Nord Stream blasts could herald new phase of hybrid war, say EU politicians”.

By focusing attention on the perspective of EU politicians, the title of Oltermann’s article left no doubt as to its bias: E.U. governments have flooded Ukraine with weapons and have imposed sanctions on Russia that were plainly designed to destroy its economy. None of the E.U. officials quoted in the article can plausibly claim to be independent, objective arbiters of the debate over who attacked the Nord Stream pipelines.

According to Oltermann:

Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of parliament for the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told the Guardian the pipeline attack had the hallmarks of the “hybrid warfare approach” Russia has pursued for the last decade, with the aim of “dividing the European Union not by military but through social and diplomatic means”.

“We have to ask who has an interest in destroying this infrastructure,” said Kiesewetter, a member of the Bundestag’s committee on foreign affairs. While it was in the interest of the US, states in central and eastern Europe and the Baltics that Nord Stream 2 would never be activated, he argued that an act of state-sponsored sabotage by a Nato ally would have come attached with too large a risk of a political backlash.

“Russia, on the other hand, has an interest in sending us a signal: to threaten it could cause similar damage to pipelines between Algeria and France, to our power lines or submarine fibre-optic cables […] I consider it likely that Russia was behind this attack.”

What does Keisewetter mean by “hybrid warfare approach”, and why is this approach uniquely that of Russia? For decades, the U.S. military has degraded and destroyed the civilian infrastructure of its official enemies – for example, in Iraq and Libya. Therefore, one could just as easily argue that this act of sabotage has all “the hallmarks” of U.S. aggression.

Keisewetter does acknowledge that the U.S. (as well as certain unnamed European states) had an interest in killing the Nord Stream pipelines (more on that later), but he claims that the political backlash from their sabotage of Nord Stream would constitute “too large a risk”.

Yet, if recent history teaches us anything about relations between the United States and the E.U., it’s that the U.S. can get away with just about any betrayal of the E.U.’s trust.

In 2014, the Guardian and other Western media outlets revealed, thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the U.K. intelligence agency, GCHQ, had tapped into fibre-optic cables carrying global communications, and that GCHQ had shared vast amounts of data with its U.S. counterpart, the NSA. The targeted fibre-optic cables included three undersea cables with terminals in Italy.

The Snowden documents also disclosed that the U.S. had spied on E.U. internal computer networks in Washington and the E.U.’s United Nations office in New York, and that the NSA had conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels, where the E.U. Council of Ministers and the European Council were located.

At the time, Western media outlets also reported that the U.S. had secretly intercepted and monitored cell phone conversations of Angela Merkel, who was then Germany’s Chancellor.

What was the “backlash” resulting from U.S. spying on Merkel and other top E.U officials? What price did the U.S. government pay for undermining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure in the E.U.?

Apart from a few theatrical, you-hurt-our-feelings protestations from E.U. leaders — for example, Merkel’s pathetic complaint to Obama that U.S. spying on her cell phone conversations was “completely unacceptable” — there was no meaningful “backlash”.

The E.U. imposed no sanctions on the U.S. It did not sever diplomatic relations with the U.S.. It did not close down a single U.S. military base. Indeed, since the Snowden revelations emerged, U.S.-E.U. relations have been conducted essentially on a business-as-usual basis.

Predictably, Oltermann mentions none of these facts in his article of September 28. In fact, Oltermann evinces no scepticism that the political backlash would be too great if, indeed, the U.S. and/or its proxies had sabotaged Nord Stream.

Oltermann continues:

Nord Stream has been at the heart of a standoff between Russia and Europe over energy supplies since the start of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, but it is not immediately clear who stands to benefit from the destruction of the gas infrastructure.

Several paragraphs earlier, Oltermann had revealed that a member of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee had acknowledged that the U.S. and certain European states had an interest in preventing the activation of Nord Stream, yet it was “not immediately clear” to Oltermann who stands to benefit from the destruction of that infrastructure?

Oltermann then acknowledges that, in Germany, there had been calls recently “to open the pipeline as an energy crisis looms over Europe”, but he dismisses those calls as having come from “political parties on the far right and the far left.”

The reality is that, due to the inaccessibility of affordable Russian gas, Germany’s economy is now on the verge of collapse. That is why, immediately prior to the sabotage of Nord Stream, German protesters took to the streets to demand that Nord Stream be reopened and that a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine war be pursued.

Oltermann evidently believes that only Germans on the “far right” and “far left” are alarmed  about the immense hardships that Germany’s economic collapse will inflict upon their families and millions of ordinary Germans.

On September 29, the day after the Guardian published Oltermann’s article, it published an editorial focused on the Russian Federation’s just-completed annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts. In that editorial, the Guardian’s editors wrote:

The annexations come alongside the mobilisation order, and, many believe, the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines (while Russia clearly appears the most plausible culprit, US intelligence has been notably cautious about ascribing blame).

Nowhere in the editorial, however, does the Guardian explain the basis for its claim that “Russia clearly appears the most plausible culprit”. Its editors do not offer a scintilla of evidence or logic to support their eye-popping claim that Russia may have blown up its own pipelines. Nor do they explain why U.S. intelligence would hesitate to accuse Russia of sabotage if Russia “clearly” was “the most plausible culprit”. When has U.S. intelligence been reluctant to level evidence-free accusations of criminality at Russia’s government?

Finally, on September 30, the Guardian published an article by Kate Connolly, the Guardian’s Berlin correspondent, entitled “Size of Nord Stream blasts equal to large amount of explosive, UN told”. Connolly wrote:

Intelligence sources quoted in the news magazine Spiegel believe the pipelines were hit in four places by explosions using 500kg of TNT, the equivalent to the explosive power of a heavy aircraft bomb. German investigators have undertaken seismic readings to calculate the power of the blasts.

The first signs of explosions were registered on Monday morning by a Danish earthquake station after suspicious activity in the waters of the Baltic Sea. A monitoring station on the Danish island of Bornholm measured severe tremors.

A representative of the Swedish coastguard told AFP: “There are two leaks on Swedish territory and two on the Danish side.”

It remains a mystery as to how the explosives reached the pipeline. According to initial reports, the explosions happened at depths of between 70 and 90 metres.

There has been speculation that mini submarines might have been used to deliver the explosives. However, the amount of explosives that would have been necessary to cause such large blasts make this theory increasingly unlikely.

Instead, experts are suggesting that maintenance robots operating within the pipeline structure may have planted the bombs during repair works.

If this theory proves to be right, the sophisticated nature of the attack as well as the power of the blast would add weight to suspicions that the attacks were carried out by a state power, with fingers pointed at Russia. Moscow has repeatedly underlined its capability to disrupt Europe’s energy infrastructure.

On Friday, Vladimir Putin blamed the US and its allies for blowing up the pipelines, raising the temperature in the crisis. Offering no evidence for his claim, the Russian president said in a speech to mark the annexation of four Ukrainian regions: “The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved on to sabotage. It is hard to believe but it is a fact that they organised the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines.”

Three elements of Connolly’s report merit commentary.

First, who are “the experts” who suggest that maintenance robots operating within the pipeline may have planted bombs during maintenance? Connolly doesn’t tell us, nor does she explain why she omitted to reveal their identities. Are they government “experts”? Were they not authorized to speak publicly? If they were government experts, to what governments do they belong? Without this information, Connolly’s readers are unable to assess whether her sources do indeed have relevant expertise and are truly objective.

Second, Connolly claims that Moscow has repeatedly “underlined” its capability to disrupt Europe’s energy infrastructure. Really? I have never seen a threat from the Russian government to disrupt Europe’s energy infrastructure. If indeed the Russian government ever issued such a threat, then why doesn’t Connolly tell us when, how and by whom that threat was issued?

By contrast, the President of the United States explicitly threatened earlier this year to “bring an end” to Nord Stream if Russia invaded Ukraine. That threat was issued in a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz:

What is most damning about Biden’s threat is his response to a reporter’s question about Germany. When the reporter points out to Biden that Germany – a supposedly key ally of the United States – is part-owner of Nord Stream, Biden doesn’t flinch. He simply disregards Germany’s stake in the project and declares (with the hapless, weak-kneed Scholz standing near him) “I promise you, we will be able” to bring Nord Stream to an end.

For the sake of appearances and diplomacy, Biden could have dissembled. He could have said something like “of course, we will consult with our German partners before taking any action to end Nord Stream” or “the decision about ending Nord Stream will be made jointly with the German government”. Yet Biden said no such thing, evidently believing that the whole world should know that Germany’s view of the matter was irrelevant to the U.S. government.

Connolly says nothing in her article about Biden’s recent, explicit threat to ‘bring an end’ to Nord Stream, but she does make an unsubstantiated claim that Moscow had “underlined” its capacity to disrupt Europe’s energy infrastructure.

Finally, Connolly reports that Putin blames “the Anglo-Saxons” – presumably, the British and Americans – for the Nord Stream sabotage.

Let us contemplate that fact for a moment.

If in fact Russia did not blow up its own pipelines, and if the Russian government is convinced that the British and Americans sabotaged Nord Stream, the world is likely heading toward a very dark place, both figuratively and literally. The Russian government is not likely to tolerate Western attacks on vitally important Russian energy infrastructure. Somehow, at some point, Russia is liable to retaliate against the West’s energy infrastructure. The disabling of key energy infrastructure may well have dire consequences for Western economies that are already reeling from a global energy crisis.

If one or more Western governments are behind the sabotage of Nord Stream, they have crossed a red line that will expose Western economies and citizens to heightened energy insecurity in the months and years ahead. They may well have hurt the West far more than they have hurt Russia.

The Case Against Russia

I am a lawyer. I was first called to the bar in the State of New York thirty years ago. For most of my career, I have specialized in class action litigation. Typically, on behalf of my clients, I’ve prosecuted claims of fraud and other forms of corporate wrongdoing. Often, the claims I advance involve potential criminality. The complex evidence underlying these claims must be assessed and interpreted with meticulous attention to detail, but also with a healthy dose of scepticism and common sense.

Like any case of potential criminality, I approach the question of who sabotaged Nord Stream like a lawyer. I bring to bear my experience litigating claims of wrongdoing. Among other things, I ask: who possessed a motive to commit the crime? Who had both the ability and the opportunity to carry it out? Are the protagonists and the witnesses marshalled for and against those protagonists credible? What do qualified experts say? Are those experts unbiased? Taking into account these and other considerations, what are the most rational inferences to be drawn from all available evidence?

Certainly, the Russian military possessed the capacity to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines, but what possible motive would it have to do so?

Gazprom, a fossil fuels behemoth that is controlled by the Russian state, invested over US$5 billion in Nord Stream 2. Moreover, had Russia wanted to stop the flow of gas to Europe through Nord Stream, all it had to do was turn off the gas taps in Russia. There was no need for Russia to destroy those pipelines and jeopardize a state-owned entity’s multi-billion-dollar investment.

As long as Nord Stream remained functional, the Russian government was able to offer an enticement to Germany to remove sanctions on Russia. As long as Nord Stream remains non-functional, Russia’s leverage over Germany is diminished considerably.

Moreover, it is questionable whether the Russian military had the opportunity to commit this sabotage.

The explosions occurred near Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. Bornholm is surrounded by states that are either members of NATO or have applied to join NATO (Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Poland). It is only 100 km from the Polish coastline.

NATO heavily monitors and effectively controls the western Baltic Sea, where the sabotage occurred. How could Russian saboteurs execute this challenging operation while escaping detection by NATO?

The Case Against the United States

Arguably, no government had a greater motivation to destroy Nord Stream than the United States government.

Joe Biden was by no means the first U.S. politician to express a desire to see Nord Stream terminated. For years, U.S. government officials have condemned Nord Stream 2 and have pressured Germany’s government to abandon the project.

Here are but a few examples.

In 2014, former U.S. Secretary of State and unrepentant war criminal Condoleeza Rice gave an interview in which she was asked whether Germany had been sufficiently “aggressive” with Russia. In response, Rice expressed her desire that Europe “depend more on the North American energy platform” and “the tremendous bounty of oil and gas we are finding in North America.” “You want to have pipelines that don’t go through Ukraine and Russia,” she added. “For years, we’ve tried to get the Europeans to be interested in different pipeline routes. It’s time to do that.”

In December 2021, as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine intensified, Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, was questioned by Republican Senator Ron Johnson about the Biden administration’s plans for sanctioning Russia. Johnson prefaced his questions by noting that, despite their differences, Republicans and Democrats were united in their hostility to Russia. Johnson also stated that it was important to make Vladimir Putin understand how “harmful” U.S. sanctions would be to the “Russian people”. Then, after noting the Senate’s strong support for sanctions on Nord Stream, Johnson asked Nuland whether the Biden administration was contemplating sanctions that “would prevent Nord Stream 2 from ever being completed.” Nuland replied “absolutely”.

If Victoria Nuland is familiar to you, that might be due to her infamous 2014 conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. A leaked recording of that conversation revealed that the U.S. government had handpicked the next Prime Minister of Ukraine in advance of a coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych. In Nuland’s conversation with Pyatt, Pyatt noted that E.U. officials did not agree with Washington’s choice for Ukraine’s next PM. In response, Nuland said to Pyatt “fuck the E.U.”

One cannot overstate the U.S. government’s contempt for the priorities of its European allies vassals.

Despite the extensive and unambiguous record of U.S. government hostility to Nord Stream, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken laughably claimed, on the day after the sabotage, that the destruction of Nord Stream was in “no one’s interest”. If that were true, why would anyone destroy it?

It took the dim-witted Blinken less than one week to publicly contradict himself. On October 2, he giddily declared in a press conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly that the destruction of Nord Stream presented to the United States a “strategic” and “tremendous opportunity” to end Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Even in the absence of these and similar statements by U.S. officials, it would be obvious that the U.S. government has a motive to “bring an end” to Nord Stream.

The neocons who control U.S. government foreign policy covet, above all else, global hegemony. Maintaining U.S. global hegemony requires that the U.S. effect regime change in Russia and that it replace Russia’s nationalist government with a Yeltsin-like buffoon who will slavishly do the bidding of his American handlers. Only then will it be possible for the U.S. to isolate and ‘contain’ China, whose growing wealth and power is the primary impediment to U.S. hegemony. As long as the powerful German economy is closely intertwined with that of Russia, the U.S. government’s ability to undermine Russia’s economy will be limited.

Quite apart from that, the U.S. fossil fuels industry stands to gain enormously from the E.U.’s rejection of Russian fossil fuels. As Blinken acknowledged, U.S. gas producers are undoubtedly licking their chops at the “tremendous opportunity” created by Nord Stream’s destruction.

Not only did the U.S. have the motive to destroy Nord Stream, it had both the technological capability and the opportunity to do so.

The site of the sabotage lies in waters that are effectively controlled by NATO.

According to Flightradar24 data, U.S. military helicopters habitually and on numerous occasions circled for hours over the site of the Nord Stream sabotage near Bornholm Island earlier in September.

Moreover, in June of this year, the U.S. military conducted the BALTOPS naval exercise off the coast of Bornholm to demonstrate NATO’s mine hunting capabilities. According to an official publication of the Navy League of the United States, this exercise was used as “an opportunity to test emerging technology”:

In support of BALTOPS, U.S. Navy 6th Fleet partnered with U.S. Navy research and warfare centers to bring the latest advancements in unmanned underwater vehicle mine hunting technology to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the vehicle’s effectiveness in operational scenarios.

Experimentation was conducted off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark, with participants from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport, and Mine Warfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measuring all under the direction of U.S. 6th Fleet Task Force 68.

By contrast, I’m aware of no reports of the presence of Russian military assets at or near the site of sabotage in the months leading up to the incident. (If you have seen such reports, I encourage you to share them with me.)

Immediately before the explosions that disabled Nord Stream, German protesters had taken to the streets to call for the reopening of Nord Stream in the face of skyrocketing energy bills. What better way to prevent the German government from acceding to public pressure than making it impossible for Nord Stream to deliver gas to Germany?

Of course, this circumstantial evidence does not prove definitively that the U.S. military or a proxy acting with the consent and support of the U.S. government sabotaged Nord Stream, nor does it disprove definitively that Russia sabotaged its own pipelines.

Nonetheless, the totality of the circumstantial evidence makes a mockery of claims by the Guardian and other pro-NATO, Western media outlets that Russia is ‘the most plausible culprit’.

By any rational measure, the United States government is, by a wide margin, ‘the most plausible culprit’.

Another plausible culprit is Poland.

Not only is Poland closer to the site of the sabotage than Russia, Poland’s government is intensely hostile to Russia.

Poland’s government detests the Nord Stream pipelines. Using highly undiplomatic language against a fellow NATO and E.U. member, the Polish government has repeatedly castigated Germany’s government for the Nord Stream project. In 2021, for example, it accused Germany of forming a “brutal alliance” with Russia against the interests of other European states.

Shortly after the sabotage was revealed, Radek Sikorski, the former foreign and defence minister of Poland, tweeted an image of natural gas spewing from the site of the Nord Stream sabotage, along with the words “Thank you, USA.” He quickly deleted the tweet after it went viral.

It may well be that Poland played a role in the attacks on Nord Stream, but it is difficult to imagine that it would commit a crime of this magnitude without the consent and support of the U.S. government, NATO’s dominant member.

Where do we go from here?

Danish and Swedish authorities are reportedly conducting an investigation into the Nord Stream attacks. The Kremlin claims that it has not been invited to participate in the investigation, while Nord Stream operators say that they were unable to inspect the damaged sections of the pipelines because of restrictions imposed by Danish and Swedish authorities who had cordoned off the area.

Denmark is a member of NATO, while Sweden has applied for NATO membership.

If Germany was a truly sovereign state, its government would demand an independent, international investigation into the attacks on Nord Stream.

Moreover, no investigation supervised by a NATO or a wannabe-NATO government could be truly independent, especially if Russian authorities have been excluded from the investigation. All NATO states, and particularly NATO’s most powerful member (the U.S.), have a strong interest in pointing the finger at Russia.

The fact that Germany’s government has not demanded a truly independent investigation speaks volumes about Germany’s supposed sovereignty, but the German government’s feeble response should surprise no one. At the behest of their masters in Washington, German ‘leaders’ committed their country to economic suicide months ago.

Sooner or later, however, the truth about Nord Stream may well emerge. If it is ultimately demonstrated that the United States or a U.S. proxy attacked Nord Stream, and did so at a moment when Germany’s economy is collapsing under the weight of an energy crisis, the consequences will be enormous, not only for Russia’s relations with the West, but also for Germany’s (and the E.U.’s) relations with the United States and NATO.

Indeed, the Nord Stream sabotage may ultimately prove to be one of the most consequential crimes of the twenty-first century. If the U.S. committed the crime, Western media will have played a key role in protecting the criminals who did it.

I leave you with this video clip of an October 3, 2022 interview of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, former director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. When Dr. Sachs has the temerity to suggest that the U.S. government is behind the Nord Stream sabotage, two Bloomberg reporters freak out and attempt, unsuccessfully, to shut him down. (Check out his priceless facial expression when the Bloomberg reporters lose it.)

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Economics, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

They denounce Meloni, but the despots of the Covid State are the real fascists

By Paul Collits | TCW Defending Freedom | October 5, 2022

ACCORDING to the dictionary, fascism is: ‘A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc, and emphasising an aggressive nationalism and often racism.’

That’s all right as far as it goes. But I would add two other elements – the reach of fascism (and totalitarianism more generally) into people’s private lives, and the corporatist state model as fascism’s operating system.

The election in Italy – technically the home of fascism – of a Right-wing politician, Giorgia Meloni, was all too much for the dreary Left. Here in Australia, the Guardian’s Van Badham has given us the headline: The election of Italy’s fascist-adjacent Giorgia Meloni is a public reminder that women can be just as awful as men 

I have previously noted Badham in the context of women in politics. Here our interest is in Meloni’s other defining characteristic, her alleged fascism. Comparing perceived Right-wingers to Hitler is, of course, an old trick. But fascism is again all the rage with Meloni’s election.

Two of fascism reporting’s traditional attributes are the frequent misuse of the term (do most journalists even know what it means?), and the clueless irony of accusations of fascism by those who exhibit all the signs of being, well, fascists themselves.

I was not familiar with Badham’s Covid writing, and a quick internet search suggests I would not find it rewarding. More broadly, the Guardian has been at the forefront of Covidmania, what with all the death reporting (which it still runs) and the modern Left’s endless appetite for lockdowns and all the rest.

It is becoming tedious to report that (of course) the Guardian is funded by Bill Gates. So, no prizes for guessing the rag’s line on anti-vaxxers, and on all matters Covid.

Only this week, it reported on the vaccine review conducted by ‘respected’ public servant Jane Halton, aka Bill Gates’s girl in Canberra. Her conclusions? Keep the vaccines coming!  We aren’t out of the woods yet. A ‘twindemic’ is coming this British winter.

Jane reckons we are not yet at ‘Covid stable’. Yes, the commissars of the Covid State do actually talk like this. She says we should keep advertising the (unnecessary, dangerous and ineffective) vaccines ‘till 2024’. Why stop at 2024?

Seriously, how does this woman have the gall to keep telling blatant, self-serving porkies?  (To see why I say self-serving, just search her CV; she has a massive interest in prolonging the narrative).

To say that the Guardian’s reportage of Covid remains breathless would be to indulge in understatement. (‘Twindemic’ and ‘Covid stable’ are vying for Covid Bulls**t Term of the Week at this point).

Mercifully, the Guardian is still keeping us informed of Gates’s moods, with one recent headline stating: ‘The strain is the worst of my lifetime’: How Bill Gates is staying optimistic.  

Thank God Bill is staying optimistic. He has doubled his wealth in his proclaimed ‘decade of vaccines’, and now, in effect, runs global public health. The New World Order is running to plan. No wonder he is optimistic. And to have the Left media on side as well!

The point is that fascism as an ideology has far more in common with the Left than with the conservative or libertarian versions of ‘the Right’. The American conservative writer Jonah Goldberg realised this some time back, when he published his excellent book Liberal Fascism.

Fascism has more in common with anyone (like the World Economic Forum) supporting public-private partnerships, than with Meloni-type pollies – since fascism is, above all else, an ideology of the corporate state, big government and of global crony capitalism.

The irony of Left-wing media siding with Big Capitalism is exquisite, or would be if it were not so deadly. The Covid State IS fascism, nothing more and nothing less.

The ‘fascist-adjacent’ Meloni actually wants to get rid of the vile Green Passes (vaccine passports) in Italy. Hint to the Left – this is precisely why she was elected.

This is despite Meloni’s apparent support for elements of the Covid State in the past. It would be hilarious if Badham accidentally spoke the truth about Meloni. Perhaps Badham is like the broken clock, right twice a day. But for the wrong reasons, and she would not understand if I tried to explain it.

Supporting Covid policies in the past is the only link to fascism that I can see in Meloni, and it is tenuous at best. The alt-media as a jury is still very much out on the new Italian PM, not least because of the Covid stances referred to above. She also sounds too good to be true.

But it seems Meloni has clearly seen the error of her Covid policy ways.  (Like the economist John Maynard Keynes, who is famously said to have stated: ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’) Fact is, Meloni’s party alone in Italy stood up for freedom when it mattered in 2021.

Nicholas Farrell in the Spectator last year saw the irony, and was bemused by the non-opposition from Leftists to the Green Pass.   

He wrote: ‘Here is your starter for ten. Which Italian political party believes that individual liberty is sacred? Answer: The party invariably defined by the international media as “far Right” or “fascist” and jointly Italy’s most popular party in the opinion polls – in other words, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy).

‘Here in Italy, birthplace of fascism, the 44-year-old leader of the Right-wing Fratelli d’Italia – Giorgia Meloni – has been busy promoting distinctly anti-fascist values. In defence of human liberty, she has spoken out passionately against the decree issued on 22 July by Italian Premier Mario Draghi which will introduce the “Green Pass” to Italy.

‘As of this Friday, all Italians over the age of 12 will be banned from most enclosed public spaces and many open-air ones as well, unless they are equipped with this digital pass that proves they have had at least one Covid vaccine.’

But the legacy media cannot resist all the ‘far Right’ nonsense in its reportage on the Italian election. Here is Roberto Saviano in the Guardian: ‘The Brothers of Italy (a delightfully sexist name for a political party) leader denies she is a fascist, but clings to the Mussolini-era slogan “God, homeland, family”’.

It is hard to say which is the more ludicrous – bagging the support for nation, religion and family as dangerous, or branding it as fascist.

For patriots, deplorables, populists and conservatives everywhere, such a motto might be summarised thus: ‘Not all that we want, but a fine start’.

Throw in some ‘climate inaction now’, ‘woke comes here to die’ (with apologies to Ron DeSantis) and ‘crush the Covid State’ and we might just have a platform worth supporting.  And a platform that is not remotely fascist, by the way, on any definition.

Saviano also claims that Hungarians have lost all their rights under Meloni’s assumed mentor, Viktor Orban, another hate-figure for the Left and globalists everywhere.

Lost rights? This is rich coming from the Covid State’s chief media promoter. Here is the irony again. It is the truly fascist Covid Class that has disempowered people across the world.  The Guardianistas obviously don’t do irony, or read dictionaries.

October 5, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Yet another “whistleblower” means yet more censorship

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | September 13, 2022

A new Twitter “whistleblower” has come forward. Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, allegedly a former hacker and Twitter’s ex-head of security, testified in front of congress today, with dire warnings about the business practices of the social media giant.

Did he talk about the company’s egregious attacks on their users’ free speech under the guise of “protecting” the public?

Did he mention the suppression of alternative and independent journalism through practices such as “shadow-banning” and discretely removing followers?

Perhaps he told them about how, like all major social media platforms, it is so cross-pollinated with intelligence assets it may as well be considered just another branch of the Deep State.

No, none of that. His main concern is that Twitter’s security is too lax, and that the platform’s “cyber-security failures” leave it potentially open to “exploitation” that can “cause real harm to real people”.

According to the write-up of his testimony in The Guardian“Zatko said Twitter runs out-of-date and vulnerable software on more than half of its data center servers and that in “multiple episodes” the platform was breached by foreign intelligence agencies.”

Adding, “Zatko has also accused Twitter of doing little to combat problems with spam bots – an allegation that bolsters Elon Musk’s case for backing out of his Twitter acquisition.”

Do you see how this works? It’s gearing up the machinery to label anyone who dissents as either a “spy” or a “bot” (and perhaps reveals something of the purpose behind Elon Musk’s “revelation” about the number of “fake accounts” on twitter).

If this all sounds eerily familiar, don’t worry you’re not experiencing deja vu, you’re just remembering Frances Haugen, the facebook “whistleblower” from last year. She said very similar things in a very similar way.

We’ve seen this dance before, we know the steps. As I wrote only last year:

Like so many other testimonies before congress in the past, the entire event looks fake and probably is. A stage-managed exercise involving some “expert witness” telling a bunch of politicians exactly what they want to hear, so they can go ahead push the legislation they were going to push anyway. It’s all leading up to loud bipartisan calls for “regulation”, and that’s not a good thing.

They wheel out some person – who may or may not be real, and may or may not have an axe to grind – prop them up in a nice suit in front of some po-faced senators and have them reel off a few thousand serious sounding words.

Their pay-off is a few minutes of fame, a ghost-written book deal and being called “brave” by moist-eyed liberal pundits, their hands white-knuckling around their pearls.

While they prattle on at length about the supposed “problem”, the “solution” is already planned and ready to roll out. Such is the crushingly predictable nature of the Hegelian dialectic.

And, just in case any of you hadn’t already figured out what that was, The Guardian is more than clear [emphasis added]:

In his testimony, Zatko said there had not been enough government enforcement when it comes to the operations of big tech, and that the federal trade commission (FTC) is “in over its head” when going up against huge tech firms.

More “government enforcement”.

It’s all so tiresome.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

The Mainstream Media is Gaslighting Us About Climate Change

BY CHRIS MORRISON | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | AUGUST 12, 2022

In 2013, the CNN presenter Deborah Feyerick asked if asteroids falling to earth were caused by climate change. Earlier this year, CBS anchor Nate Burleson commented on the Tonga earthquake by saying: “We talk about climate change… these stories are a harsh reality of what we are going through. We have to do our part because these are more frequent.” Last week, the academic networking blog The Conversation discussed the Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption in Iceland and asked: “Is climate change causing more eruptions?”, adding that it had the potential to increase volcanic eruptions and affect their size.

Dear God – they’ll be telling us that climate change causes lightning next. Wait, hang on – “Washington DC lightning strike that killed two serves as climate warning” – Reuters, August 5th.

In the climate change show, jumping the shark is now a daily occurrence, particularly in the mainstream media. Gaslighting on a global scale is evident as the media push the command-and-control Net Zero agenda. Bad weather incidents and natural disasters are catastrophised to promote this increasingly hard-left political agenda. But the distinguished atmospheric scientist Emeritus Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT recently voiced the views of an increasing number of people when he said the current climate narrative was “absurd”. Yet he acknowledged that it had universal acceptance, despite the fact that in a normal world the counter-arguments would be compelling. “Perhaps it is the trillions of dollars being diverted into every green project under the sun, and the relentless propaganda from grant-dependent academics and agenda-driven journalists, along with the political control offered to elite groups in society by Net Zero, that currently says it is not absurd,” he speculated.

The Daily Sceptic has written numerous articles presenting evidence that global warming started to run out of steam over 20 years ago, despite the frequent, back-dated and upward temperature adjustments made by state-funded weather services. No science paper exists that proves conclusively that humans cause noticeable changes in the climate by burning fossil fuel. Despite years of research, scientists are no nearer knowing how much temperatures will rise if carbon dioxide doubles in the atmosphere. No link has been shown directly connecting temperatures and CO2 rises (and falls) over the entire paleoclimatic record. Countless natural processes play a part in determining climate conditions. And attempts to link individual weather events to long-term changes in the climate are produced by climate modellers and green activists giving vent to wishful thinking.

In the absence of credible science, there has been a resort to the name-calling, shaming and appeals to authority, common in previous ages. The recent news that the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) had returned to blooming health, and was showing record growth, was a disaster for most mainstream media outlets. All parts had reported for years that the coral was on its last legs due to human-induced climate change. During this time, the GBR observer Professor Peter Ridd was vilified for stating that the reef was a vibrant and healthy ecosystem. He was fired from his post at James Cook University for pointing out the deficiencies in the output of reef science institutions.

In August 2019, the Guardian reported that the former Australian chief scientist Ian Chubb had accused Ridd of “misrepresenting robust science” about the plight of the GBR. Shamefully, it repeated without comment Chubb’s slur that Ridd was relying on the “strategy used by the tobacco industry to raise doubts about the impact of smoking”.

Professor Ridd emerges from the whole sorry affair with his reputation restored and an acknowledgement that true scientists report their findings without fear of the mob, or seeking the favour of the Establishment.

Just days before the news was confirmed that the GBR was continuing to grow back in record amounts, the Guardian ran a long article saying that scientists had demonstrated “beyond any doubt” that humanity is forcing the climate to disastrous new extremes, They hadn’t, of course, and “beyond any doubt” is a phrase borrowed from the criminal law, not science. Professor Terry Hughes from the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce estimated that close to 50% of the GBR coral is already dead. Attribution science is said to show that the hot March weather in 2016 that caused a “catastrophic die-off” in 2016 was made “at least 175 times more likely” by the human influence on the climate. A more realistic explanation, invariably ignored in mainstream media, is that the powerful El Nino experienced in that year warmed sea waters temporarily, and led to a natural burst of bleaching. Full reef health was quickly restored when the effect of the natural oscillation was removed.

The global media gaslighting over political climate change is easier to understand if you follow the money. Earlier this year, the Daily Sceptic reported that the Associated Press was adding two dozen journalists to cover “climate issues”. Five billionaire foundations, including the left-wing Rockefeller operation, supplied $8 million. AP now says over 50 jobs are funded from these sources. The BBC and the Guardian regularly receive multi-million dollar contributions from the trusts of wealthy donors. It is estimated that Bill Gates has given more than $300 million over the past decade to a wide variety of media outlets. Democrat power couple James and Kathryn Murdoch also help pay the staff’s wages at AP. On their Foundation web site, it is noted that there is an investment in Climate Central, where meteorologists are used as “trusted messengers” of the links between extreme weather and climate change.

Meanwhile, the foundation of the green technology-funding Spanish bank BBVA hands out annual €100,000 payments. Last year the cash went to Marlow Hood of Agence France-Presse, who describes himself as the “Herald of the Anthropocene”, the latter being a political renaming of the current Holocene era. In 2019 Matt McGrath of the BBC took home the annual prize, while in 2020 it ended up in the coffers of the Guardian.

The White Queen tried to believe in six impossible things before breakfast. It’s a shame climate change wasn’t around in Alice’s day.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor

August 13, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO-backed network of Syria dirty war propagandists identified

Defaming journalism on the OPCW’s Syria cover-up scandal, The Guardian and its NATO-funded sources out themselves as the real “network of conspiracy theorists.”
By Aaron Maté | August 1, 2022

On June 10th, The Guardian’s Mark Townsend published an article headlined “Russia-backed network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified.” (“Russia-backed” has since been removed).

The article is based on what Townsend calls a “new analysis” that “reveals” a “network more than two dozen conspiracy theorists, frequently backed by a coordinated Russian campaign.” This network, Townsend claims, is “focused on the denial or distortion of facts about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and on attacking the findings of the world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). According to Townsend, I am named “as the most prolific spreader of disinformation” among the nefarious bunch.

In hawking this purported exposé of “disinformation”, Townsend violated every basic standard of journalism. He did not contact me before publishing his allegations; fails to offer a shred of evidence for them; and does not cite a single example of my alleged “prolific” disinformation. Instead, Townsend bases his claims entirely on a think-tank report  that also provides no evidence, nor even assert that I have said anything false. In the process, Townsend failed to disclose that the report’s authors — the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the Syria Campaign — are groups funded by the US government and other belligerents in the Syria proxy war. To top it off, Townsend fabricates additional allegations that his state-funded sources do not even make.

As a result, Townsend and the Guardian have engaged in the exact sort of conduct that they falsely impute to me and others: spreading Syria-related disinformation with coordinated support from state-funded actors. The aim of this propaganda network is transparent: defaming journalism that exposes the OPCW’s ongoing Syria cover-up scandal and the dirty war waged by Western powers on Syria.

The OPCW cover-up is arguably the most copiously documented pro-war deception since the US-led drive to invade Iraq. In Western media, as The Guardian’s behavior newly demonstrates, it is also without question the most suppressed.

At the center of the story are two veteran OPCW scientists, Dr. Brendan Whelan and Ian Henderson. The pair were among a team that deployed to Syria in April 2018 to investigate an alleged chemical attack in the town of Douma. They have since accused senior OPCW officials of manipulating the Douma probe to reach a conclusion that baselessly implicated the Syrian government in a chlorine gas attack. Their claims are backed up by a trove of leaked documents and emails that show extensive doctoring and censoring of the Douma team’s findings.

The Douma cover-up extends far beyond the OPCW’s executive suite. It also implicates NATO governments led by the US, which bombed Syria over the Douma chemical weapons allegation, and then, weeks later, privately pressured the OPCW to validate it. Since the OPCW scandal became public, the US and its allies have thwarted efforts to address it.

At the most criminal level, the scandal implicates sectarian death squads armed and funded by the US and allies during their decade-long campaign for regime change in Syria.

At the time of the incident, Douma was occupied by the Saudi-backed jihadi militia Jaysh-al-Islam and under bombardment from Syrian army forces attempting to retake control. Shortly before their surrender, local allies of Jaysh-al-Islam accused Syrian forces of using chemical weapons. They released gruesome footage of an apartment building filled with slain civilians. A gas cylinder was filmed positioned above a crater on the roof. Concurrently, the White Helmets, a NATO and Gulf state-funded, insurgent-adjacent organization, released footage of what it claimed were gas attack victims in a Douma field hospital. Several journalists, including Riam Dalati of the BBCRobert Fisk of the Independent, and James Harkin of the Intercept, found evidence that the hospital scene was staged. (In February 2019, Dalati claimed that he can “prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.” Oddly, more than three years later, he has not released his findings).

The White Helmets’ alleged fakery of a chemical attack aftermath, coupled with the censored OPCW findings showing no evidence that a chemical attack occurred, suggest the inescapable conclusion that insurgents in Douma carried out a deception to frame the Syrian government. And given the unexplained deaths of the more than 40 victims filmed in the Douma apartment building, that deception may have entailed a murderous war crime.

Unlike the Iraq WMD hoax, the very existence of the OPCW’s Douma scandal is unknown to much of the Western world. With few exceptions, establishment media outlets have refused to acknowledge the OPCW whistleblowers and the leaks that brought their story to light.

After largely ignoring the OPCW cover-up since it first surfaced in May 2019, the Guardian has now published defamatory claims about journalists, myself included, who have dared to report on the censored facts.

When I wrote The Guardian about the Townsend article’s journalistic lapses, I did not get a response. One week later, I phoned Townsend, who was now back in the office but had yet to reply. In our conservation, which I recorded and recently published, I repeatedly asked Townsend to substantiate his claims about me and identify even a single example of my alleged disinformation.

Townsend did not attempt to defend his article’s assertions, beyond claiming that they were based on what was “in a report.” When I pressed further, he claimed that he had to “dash for a meeting” and promised that I would soon hear from the paper’s reader’s editor. (Before I published our phone call, and this article, I emailed Townsend a detailed list of questions and invited him to offer any additional comment. He did not respond).

“Deadly Disinformation”

Townsend could not provide any evidence for his assertions because the report that he parroted offers none as well.

The report, titled “Deadly Disinformation” and authored by The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the Syria Campaign, contains bare references to my reporting and makes no effort to refute it. Nowhere does the report even claim that I have said anything false. It simply claims to have “identified 28 individuals, outlets and organisations who have spread disinformation about the Syrian conflict,” and that I am “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” among them.

When the report bothers to mention of anything that I have actually said, it engages in distortion. In its first mention, the report states that I wrote an article that “attacks Bellingcat for its contributions to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).” Here, they not only fail to assert that I said anything false, but offer a false portrayal of what happened.

As for “attacking” Bellingcat — a website that, like the report’s authors, is funded by NATO states that were belligerents in the Syria dirty war – what I really did was expose its disinformation.

In this case, Bellingcat fraudulently attacked Whelan (the key OPCW whistleblower), along with several journalists (myself included) by falsely accusing us of concealing an OPCW letter that, I quickly revealed, did not in fact exist. Bellingcat was forced to add a correction, delete embarrassing tweets, and apologize to one of the article’s targets, the journalist Peter Hitchens (who resides in the UK, home to strict libel laws). I later exposed that Bellingcat copied a hidden, external author for some of their false material.

In short, the ISD/Syria Campaign’s first purported example of my alleged “disinformation” is an easily verifiable case where I’ve exposed state-backed lies.

The report’s only other substantive example comes when it notes that I have argued that the OPCW probe’s Douma probe “was flawed.” This far understates my case: the OPCW’s Douma investigation wasn’t “flawed”; it’s a scandalous cover-up worthy of global attention. Regardless, yet again, the report does not even assert that my argument is false, let alone try to explain why.

In a July 13th email, I asked the ISD to substantiate their claim that I have spread disinformation, and provide even one example of it. On its website, the ISD claims to “take complaints seriously,” and promises a response “within ten working days.” As of this writing, after 13 working days, I have not heard back.

At The Guardian, OPCW leaks are “problematic”

When I emailed a complaint about Townsend’s reporting, The Guardian admitted fault only on failing to contact me before publishing his evidence-free allegations. This was the result, they claimed, of a “breakdown of communication internally.” I was then offered the chance to respond to the article in 200 words.

A key point in my reply (which can be read here) was that The Guardian and its state-funded source is unable to identify any falsehoods in anything I’ve written “because my reporting on the OPCW’s Douma cover-up scandal is based on damning OPCW leaks.” These leaks, I added, “reveal that veteran inspectors found no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, and that expert toxicologists ruled out chlorine gas as the victims’ cause of death. But these findings were doctored and censored by senior OPCW officials.”

At The Guardian, this passage set off an apparent alarm. After disparaging my reporting on the OPCW leaks, The Guardian informed me that they would now prevent me from even mentioning them. In a July 8 email, a Guardian editor wrote that the “the part about the OPCW” in my reply “continues to be problematic.” My reference to the OPCW leaks, the editor claimed, “makes an assertion that has been rebutted by an independent inquiry.”

I responded by asking the editor to specify exactly which “assertion” of mine has been rebutted. I also proposed that, if they believe that I have said anything “problematic,” they publish their own rebuttal.

In multiple follow-up emails, the editor failed to identify any “rebutted” assertion of mine. Despite that, the Guardian proceeded to publish my reply without its reference to the OPCW leaks. But this raised a new problem: in censoring my statement, they misquoted me. When I pointed out that error, they updated my reply to finally allow a (minimal) mention of the OPCW leaks.

The Guardian also took me up on my proposal that they publish their own rebuttal:

Editor’s note: Both the ISD and the Syria Campaign list a diverse range of funders and describe themselves as “fiercely independent”. In 2020 the OPCW rebutted claims about its investigation into the Douma incident (Inquiry strikes blow to Russian denials of Syria chemical attack).

As for the “inquiry” that The Guardian claims “rebutted claims about its investigation into the Douma incident,” the inquiry was not independent, and did not rebut anything.

The “inquiry” was appointed by the OPCW’s Director General’s office, the very body that presided over the cover-up. It was also staffed by two “investigators” from the US and UK. These happen to be the two states that bombed Syria based on the Douma allegations that the OPCW fraudulently validated, and that have since tried to bury the scandal at every stage.

Accordingly, the OPCW “inquiry” avoided the allegations of censorship in the Douma probe and instead disingenuously minimized the whistleblowers’ role. The whistleblowers themselves have rebutted the inquiry’s claims about them, as have I in subsequent reporting.

A network of NATO disinformation

As for what the Guardian calls the ISD and Syria Campaign’s “diverse range of funders,” both groups indeed enjoy a diverse range of funders: everyone from NATO governments to NATO government-funded organizations. They also receive support from billionaire-funded foundations that often work in concert with these same NATO governments’ foreign policy objectives.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s “diverse range of funders,” according to The Guardian.

The ISD’s “diverse” funders include the US State Department, the US Department of Homeland Security, three other US state-funded organizations, and more than two dozen other NATO government agencies. On the private side, the ISD’s funders include the foundations of three of the world’s richest oligarchs: Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Group, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In using the ISD as a source, The Guardian has a conflict of interest that its article did not disclose. The latter two ISD donors have also given sizeable grants to The Guardianat least $625,000 from Open Society Foundations since 2019, and at least $12.9 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since 2011.

Omidyar’s foundation has a direct role in the ISD/Syria Campaign report. The Omidyar Group’s Luminate Strategic Initiatives is listed alongside the German government-funded Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung foundation as the report’s fiscal sponsor.

Omidyar’s sponsorship of an attack on journalism about the OPCW scandal is highly fitting. The Intercept, the self-described “fearless and adversarial” outlet that Omidyar also funds with his vast fortune, has never once acknowledged the OPCW leaks or whistleblowers’ existence. While ignoring the OPCW scandal for more than three years, The Intercept has published multiple articles promoting the allegation that Syria committed a chemical attack in Douma.

Like the ISD, the Syria Campaign is also funded by governments and other belligerents in the Syria dirty war. As The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal reported in 2017, the Syria Campaign was founded by Ayman Asfari, a Syrian-British billionaire oil tycoon and leading financial supporter of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest government-in-exile group established after the Syria conflict erupted in 2011. The Syria Campaign has also done extensive P.R. and fundraising for the White Helmets, the insurgent-adjacent, NATO state-funded organization implicated in the Douma incident.

That these two state-funded groups “describe themselves as ‘fiercely independent'” is apparently enough for The Guardian. I trust that the Guardian would feel differently if they were dealing with self-described “fiercely independent” groups funded by the Russian and Syrian governments.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of sources quoted in the ISD/Syria Campaign report are funded or employed by the same NATO state and private sponsors. This includes the White Helmets; the Global Public Policy Institute; Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS); self-described journalist Chloe Hadjimatheou of the BBC, who produced a podcast series that disparaged the OPCW whistleblowers and whitewashed the Douma cover-up; and James Jeffrey, the former US Special Envoy for Syria.

For a report that claims to be concerned with protecting Syrians from “real-world harm,” Jeffrey is a particularly interesting interview subject. Few US officials have been as candid about their willingness to immiserate Syrian civilians in pursuit of hegemonic US goals in their country.

Jeffrey has declared that al-Qaeda is a US “asset” in Syria, and has admitted to misleading the Trump White House to undermine an effort to withdraw the US military, whose illegal occupation deliberately deprives Syria of its own wheat and fuel. Jeffrey has openly bragged about his “effective strategy” to ensure “no reconstruction assistance” in Syria — even though the war-ravaged country is “desperate for it.” And he has also taken credit for helping to impose crippling US sanctions on Syria that have “crushed the country’s economy.”

Jeffrey’s proudly self-acknowledged real-world harms on millions of Syrians don’t seem to bother the study’s authors, presumably because their Western state sponsors implement them.

The report is so invested in its state funders’ aims in Syria that it approvingly airs frustration that other governments are failing to toe the NATO line. A “former Western diplomat” complains that “disinformation” on Syria is helping states “avoid making the decisions that we want them to make, say in the Security Council or elsewhere.” (emphasis added). From the point of view of Western officials, the anonymous diplomat is employing an accurate operative definition of what constitutes “disinformation”: any information that causes those deemed subordinate to “avoid making the decisions that we want them to make.”

Fittingly, another anonymous “senior diplomat” laments that supposed Syria disinformation is intended “ultimately to cast doubt upon the legitimacy and integrity of the people doing this kind of [policy] work.” Daring to question the “legitimacy and integrity” of Western policymakers who oversaw a multi-billion dollar CIA-led dirty war on Syria that knowingly empowered al-Qaeda and other sectarian death squads while leaving hundreds of thousands dead — another intolerable act that can only result from “disinformation.”

A member of the US-funded, insurgent-adjacent White Helmets is also given space to lament that alleged “disinformation” is hurting its donations. “We hear about billions of dollars for aid at conferences on Syria but most of that funding goes to the UN,” a White Helmets manager complains. Unmentioned is that European governments have cut funding to the group after their late founder, the lavishly paid UK military veteran James le Mesurier, admitted to pocketing donor funds and financial fraud right before he took his own life.

Having promoted the hegemonic agenda of its state sponsors, the report closes with a thinly veiled call to censor the dissenting voices it targets.

The ISD and Syria Campaign urge policymakers to “adopt a whole-of-government approach in tackling disinformation” and “ensure that loopholes or special privileges are not created for ‘media’ which would only exacerbate the spread of disinformation.” These “privileges” presumably refer to free speech. The report also notes favorably that platforms have addressed “thematic harms such as public health disinformation or foreign interference in elections.” As a result, the report calls on these platforms to “commit to applying similar levels of resourcing… in the context of the ongoing Syrian conflict.” Perhaps they have in mind the censorship of journalism about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election, on the fake grounds that the story was “Russian disinformation.”

The fact that this network of state-funded actors is devoting energy to disparaging journalism about the OPCW’s Syria cover-up — and even advocating that it be censored – reflects their powerful sponsors’ desperation to bury a damning scandal.

In public, OPCW Director General Fernando Arias has provided misleading and outright false answers about the Douma probe, including why he refuses to meet with the dissenting inspectors and the rest of the original investigative team.

On top of the two known whistleblowers, Arias has ignored calls for accountability from his original predecessor, founding OPCW chief Jose Bustani, as well as four other former senior OPCW officials. Along with Bustani, former senior UN official Hans von Sponeck has spearheaded the Berlin Group 21, a global initiative to address the OPCW scandal. The US has responded to Bustani by blocking his testimony at the United Nations. Arias meanwhile refused to open a letter that he received from Sponeck’s group, returning it back to sender.

The response of Western media outlets like the Guardian to the stonewalling of these veteran diplomats and senior OPCW officials has simply been to ignore it.

In whitewashing the OPCW cover-up, the preponderance of state sources parroted by The Guardian reveals the ultimate irony in its allegations. While claiming to “identify” a fictional network of Russia-backed disinformation actors about Syria, The Guardian’s Townsend is himself spreading the disinformation of a NATO-funded network that defames voices who expose the dirty war on Syria.

In fact, one of Townsend’s central allegations goes well beyond his state-funded sources. Although Townsend’s article is premised on identifying a “network of conspiracy theorists,” Townsend’s sole source – the ISD/Syria Campaign report – never alleges that such a “network” exists. Nowhere in the report does the word “network” even appear.

Thus, Townsend has not only parroted state-funded sources, but concocted an additional allegation in the service of their narrative. This is not just an ordinary fabrication: in creating the fantasy of a “coordinated”, “Russia-backed”, “network of conspiracy theorists,” Townsend also reveals himself to be the very thing that he accuses his targets of being: a conspiracy theorist.

And given that Townsend not only parrots his state-backed sources but works for an outlet funded by some of the same sponsors, it is fair to say that The Guardian and these state-funded think tanks are a part of the same network.

Consequently, reading the article’s headline — “Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified”—as a description of The Guardian and the NATO-funded sources that it relied on, the claim is no longer inaccurate.

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 2 Comments

BRITISH “WATCHDOG” JOURNALISTS UNMASKED AS LAP DOGS FOR THE SECURITY STATE

By Jonathan Cook | MintPress News | June 21, 2022

Events of the past few days suggest British journalism – the so-called Fourth Estate – is not what it purports to be: a watchdog monitoring the centers of state power. It is quite the opposite.

The pretensions of the establishment media took a severe battering this month as the defamation trial of Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr reached its conclusion and the hacked emails of Paul Mason, a long-time stalwart of the BBC, Channel 4 and the Guardian, were published online.

Both of these celebrated journalists have found themselves outed as recruits – in their differing ways – to a covert information war being waged by Western intelligence agencies.

Had they been honest about it, that collusion might not matter so much. After all, few journalists are as neutral or as dispassionate as the profession likes to pretend. But as have many of their colleagues, Cadwalladr and Mason have broken what should be a core principle of journalism: transparency.

The role of serious journalists is to bring matters of import into the public space for debate and scrutiny. Journalists thinking critically aspire to hold those who wield power – primarily state agencies – to account on the principle that, without scrutiny, power quickly corrupts.

The purpose of real journalism – as opposed to the gossip, entertainment and national-security stenography that usually passes for journalism – is to hit up, not down.

And yet, each of these journalists, we now know, was actively colluding, or seeking to collude, with state actors who prefer to operate in the shadows, out of sight. Both journalists were coopted to advance the aims of the intelligence services.

And worse, each of them either sought to become a conduit for, or actively assist in, covert smear campaigns run by Western intelligence services against other journalists.

What they were doing – along with so many other establishment journalists – is the very antithesis of journalism. They were helping to conceal the operation of power to make it harder to scrutinize. And not only that. In the process, they were trying to weaken already marginalized journalists fighting to hold state power to account.

RUSSIAN COLLUSION?

Cadwalladr’s cooperation with the intelligence services has been highlighted only because of a court case. She was sued for defamation by Arron Banks, a businessman and major donor to the successful Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

In a kind of transatlantic extension of the Russiagate hysteria in the United States following Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, Cadwalladr accused Banks of lying about his ties to the Russian state. According to the court, she also suggested he broke election funding laws by receiving Russian money in the run-up to the Brexit vote, also in 2016.

That year serves as a kind of ground zero for liberals fearful about the future of “Western democracy” – supposedly under threat from modern “barbarians at the gate,” such as Russia and China – and the ability of Western states to defend their primacy through neo-colonial wars of aggression around the globe.

The implication is Russia masterminded a double subversion in 2016: on one side of the Atlantic, Trump was elected U.S. president; and, on the other, Britons were gulled into shooting themselves in the foot – and undermining Europe – by voting to leave the EU.

Faced with the court case, Cadwalladr could not support her allegations against Banks as true. Nonetheless, the judge ruled against Banks’ libel action – on the basis that the claims had not sufficiently harmed his reputation.

The judge also decided, perversely in a British defamation action, that Cadwalladr had “reasonable grounds” to publish claims that Banks received “sweetheart deals” from Russia, even though “she had seen no evidence he had entered into any such deals.” An investigation by the National Crime Agency ultimately found no evidence either.

So given those circumstances, what was the basis for her accusations against Banks?

Cadwalladr’s journalistic modus operandi, in her long-running efforts to suggest widespread Russian meddling in British politics, is highlighted in her witness statement to the court.

In it, she refers to another of her Russiagate-style stories: one from 2017 that tried to connect the Kremlin with Nigel Farage, a former pro-Brexit politician with the UKIP Party and close associate of Banks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been a political prisoner in the U.K. for more than a decade.

At that time, Assange was confined to a single room in the Ecuadorian Embassy after its government offered him political asylum. He had sought sanctuary there, fearing he would be extradited to the U.S. following publication by WikiLeaks of revelations that the U.S. and U.K. had committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks had also deeply embarrassed the CIA by following up with the publication of leaked documents, known as Vault 7, exposing the agency’s own crimes.

Last week the U.K.’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the very extradition to the U.S. that Assange feared and that drove him into the Ecuadorian embassy. Once in the U.S., he faces up to 175 years in complete isolation in a supermax jail.

ASSASSINATION PLOT

We now know, courtesy of a Yahoo News investigation, that through 2017 the CIA hatched various schemes to either assassinate Assange or kidnap him in one of its illegal “extraordinary rendition” operations, so he could be permanently locked up in the U.S., out of public view.

We can surmise that the CIA also believed it needed to prepare the ground for such a rogue operation by bringing the public on board. According to Yahoo’s investigation, the CIA believed Assange’s seizure might require a gun battle on the streets of London.

It was at this point, it seems, that Cadwalladr and the Guardian were encouraged to add their own weight to the cause of further turning public opinion against Assange.

According to her witness statement, “a confidential source in [the] U.S.” suggested – at the very time the CIA was mulling over these various plots – that she write about a supposed visit by Farage to Assange in the embassy. The story ran in the Guardian under the headline “When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange.”

In the article, Cadwalladr offers a strong hint as to who had been treating her as a confidant: the one source mentioned in the piece is “a highly placed contact with links to U.S. intelligence.” In other words, the CIA almost certainly fed her the agency’s angle on the story.

In the piece, Cadwalladr threads together her and the CIA’s claims of “a political alignment between WikiLeaks’ ideology, UKIP’s ideology and Trump’s ideology.” Behind the scenes, she suggests, was the hidden hand of the Kremlin, guiding them all in a malign plot to fatally undermine British democracy.

She quotes her “highly placed contact” claiming that Farage and Assange’s alleged face-to-face meeting was necessary to pass information of their nefarious plot “in ways and places that cannot be monitored.”

Except of course, as her “highly placed contact” knew – and as we now know, thanks to exposes by the Grayzone website – that was a lie. In tandem with its plot to kill or kidnap Assange, the CIA illegally installed cameras inside, as well as outside, the embassy. His every move in the embassy was monitored – even in the toilet block.

The reality was that the CIA was bugging and videoing Assange’s every conversation in the embassy, even the face-to-face ones. If the CIA actually had a recording of Assange and Farage meeting and discussing a Kremlin-inspired plot, it would have found a way to make it public by now.

Far more plausible is what Farage and WikiLeaks say: that such a meeting never happened. Farage visited the embassy to try to interview Assange for his LBC radio show but was denied access. That can be easily confirmed because by then the Ecuadorian embassy was allying with the U.S. and refusing Assange any contact with visitors apart from his lawyers.

Nonetheless, Cadwalladr concludes: “In the perfect storm of fake news, disinformation and social media in which we now live, WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything.”

‘SWIRLING VORTEX’

The Farage-Assange meeting story shows how the CIA and Cadwalladr’s agendas perfectly coincided in their very own “swirling vortex” of fake news and disinformation.

She wanted to tie the Brexit campaign to Russia and suggest that anyone who wished to challenge the liberal pieties that provide cover for the crimes committed by Western states must necessarily belong to a network of conspirators, on the left and the right, masterminded from Moscow.

The CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, meanwhile, wanted to deepen the public’s impression that Assange was a Kremlin agent – and that WikiLeaks’ exposure of the crimes committed by those same agencies was not in the public interest but actually an assault on Western democracy.

Assange’s character assassination had already been largely achieved with the American public in the Russiagate campaign in the U.S. The intelligence services, along with the Democratic Party leadership, had crafted a narrative designed to obscure WikiLeaks’ revelations of election-fixing by Hillary Clinton’s camp in 2016 to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the party’s presidential nomination. Instead they refocused the public’s attention on evidence-free claims that Russia had “hacked” the emails.

For Cadwalladr and the CIA, the fake-news story of Farage meeting Assange could be spun as further proof that both the “far left” and “far right” were colluding with Russia. Their message was clear: only centrists – and the national security state – could be trusted to defend democracy.

FABRICATED STORY

Cadwalladr’s smear of Assange is entirely of a piece with the vilification campaign of WikiLeaks led by liberal media outlets to which she belongs. Her paper, the Guardian, has had Assange in its sights since its falling out with him over their joint publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs in 2010.

A year after Cadwalladr’s smear piece, the Guardian would continue its cooperation with the intelligence services’ demonization of Assange by running an equally fabricated story – this time about a senior aide of Trump’s, Paul Manafort, and various unidentified “Russians” secretly meeting Assange in the embassy.

The story was so improbable it was ridiculed even at the time of publication. Again, the CIA’s illegal spying operation inside and outside the embassy meant there was no way Manafort or any “Russians” could have secretly visited Assange without those meetings being recorded. Nonetheless, the Guardian has never retracted the smear.

One of the authors of the article, Luke Harding, has been at the forefront of both the Guardian’s Russiagate claims and its efforts to defame Assange. In doing so, he appears to have relied heavily on Western intelligence services for his stories and has proven incapable of defending them when challenged.

Harding, like the Guardian, has an added investment in discrediting Assange. He and a Guardian colleague, David Leigh, published a Guardian-imprint book that included a secret password to a WikiLeaks’ cache of leaked documents, thereby providing security services around the world with access to the material.

The CIA’s claim that the release of those documents endangered its informants – a claim that even U.S. officials have been forced to concede is not true – has been laid at Assange’s door to vilify him and justify his imprisonment. But if anyone is to blame, it is not Assange but Harding, Leigh and the Guardian.

EFFORT TO DEPLATFORM

The case of Paul Mason, who worked for many years as a senior BBC journalist, is even more revealing. Emails passed to the Grayzone website show the veteran, self-described “left-wing” journalist secretly conspiring with figures aligned with British intelligence services to build a network of journalists and academics to smear and censor independent media outlets that challenge the narratives of the Western intelligence agencies.

Mason’s concerns about left-wing influence on public opinion have intensified the more he has faced criticism from the left over his demands for fervent, uncritical support of NATO and as he has lobbied for greater Western interference in Ukraine. Both are aims he shares with Western intelligence services.

Along with the establishment media, Mason has called for sending advanced weaponry to Kyiv, likely to raise the death toll on both sides of the war and risk a nuclear confrontation between the West and Russia.

In the published emails, Mason suggests the harming and “relentless deplatforming” of independent investigative media sites – such as the Grayzone, Consortium News and Mint Press – that host non-establishment journalists. He and his correspondents also debate whether to include Declassified UK and OpenDemocracy. One of his co-conspirators suggests a “full nuclear legal to squeeze them financially.”

Mason himself proposes starving these websites of income by secretly pressuring Paypal to stop readers from being able to make donations to support their work.

It should be noted that, in the wake of Mason’s correspondence,  PayPal did indeed launch just such a crackdown, including against Consortium News and MintPress, after earlier targeting WikiLeaks.

Mason’s email correspondents include two figures intimately tied to British intelligence: Amil Khan is described by the Grayzone as “a shadowy intelligence contractor” with ties to the U.K.’s National Security Council. He founded Valent Projects, establishing his credentials in a dirty propaganda war in support of head-chopping jihadist groups trying to bring down the Russian-supported Syrian government.

CLANDESTINE ‘CLUSTERS’

The other intelligence operative is someone Mason refers to as a “friend”: Andy Pryce, the head of the Foreign Office’s shadowy Counter Disinformation and Media Development (CDMD) unit, founded in 2016 to “counter-strike against Russian propaganda.” Mason and Pryce spend much of their correspondence discussing when to meet up in London pubs for a drink, according to the Grayzone.

The Foreign Office managed to keep the CDMD unit’s existence secret for two years. The U.K. government has refused to disclose basic information about the CDMD on grounds of national security, although it is now known that it is overseen by the National Security Council.

The CDMD’s existence came to light because of leaks about another covert information warfare operation, the Integrity Initiative.

Notably, the Integrity Initiative was run on the basis of clandestine “clusters,” in North America and Europe, of journalists, academics, politicians and security officials advancing narratives shared with Western intelligence agencies to discredit Russia, China, Julian Assange, and Jeremy Corbyn, the former, left-wing leader of the Labor Party.

Cadwalladr was named in the British cluster, along with other prominent journalists: David Aaronovitch and Dominic Kennedy of the Times; the Guardian’s Natalie Nougayrede and Paul Canning; Jonathan Marcus of the BBC; the Financial Times’ Neil Buckley; the Economist’s Edward Lucas; and Sky News’ Deborah Haynes.

In his emails, Mason appears to want to renew this type of work but to direct its energies more specifically at damaging independent, dissident media – with his number one target the Grayzone, which played a critical role in exposing the Integrity Initiative.

Mason’s “friend” – the CDMD’s head, Andy Pryce – “featured prominently” in documents relating to the Integrity Initiative, the Grayzone observes.

This background is not lost on Mason. He notes in his correspondence the danger that his plot to “deplatform” independent media could “end up with the same problem as Statecraft” – a reference to the Institute of Statecraft, the Integrity Initiative’s parent charity, which the Grayzone and others exposed. He cautions: “The opposition are not stupid, they can spot an info op – so the more this is designed to be organic the better.”

Pryce and Mason discuss creating an astroturf civil-society organization that would lead their “information war” as part of an operation they brand the “International Information Brigade”.

Mason suggests the suspension of the libel laws for what he calls “foreign agents” – presumably meaning that the Information Brigade would be able to defame independent journalists as Russian agents, echoing the establishment media’s treatment of Assange, without fear of legal action that would show these were evidence-free smears.

‘PUTIN INFOSPHERE’

Another correspondent, Emma Briant, an academic who claims to specialize in Russian disinformation, offers an insight into how she defines the presumed enemy within: those “close to WikiLeaks,” anyone “trolling Carole [Cadwalladr],” and outlets “discouraging people from reading the Guardian.”

Mason himself produces an eye-popping, self-drawn, spider’s web chart of the supposedly “pro-Putin infosphere” in the U.K., embracing much of the left, including Corbyn, the Stop the War movement, as well as the Black and Muslim communities. Several media sites are mentioned, including Mint Press and Novara Media, an independent British website sympathetic to Corbyn.

Khan and Mason consider how they can help trigger a British government investigation of independent outlets so that they can be labeled as “Russian-state affiliated media” to further remove them from visibility on social media.

Mason states that the goal is to prevent the emergence of a “left anti-imperialist identity,” which, he fears, “will be attractive because liberalism doesn’t know how to counter it” – a telling admission that he believes genuine left-wing critiques of Western foreign policy cannot be dealt with through public refutation but only through secret disinformation campaigns.

He urges efforts to crack down not only on independent media and “rogue” academics but on left-wing political activism. He identifies as a particular threat Corbyn, who was earlier harmed through a series of disinformation campaigns, including entirely evidence-free claims that the Labour Party during his tenure became a hotbed of antisemitism. Mason fears Corbyn might set up a new, independent left-wing party. It is important, Mason notes, to “quarantine” and “stigmatize” any such ideology.

In short, rather than use journalism to win the argument and the battle for public opinion, Mason wishes to use the dark arts of the security state to damage independent media, as well as dissident academics and left-wing political activism. He wants no influences on the public that are not tightly aligned with the core foreign policy goals of the national security state.

Mason’s correspondence hints at the reality behind Cadwalladr’s claim that Assange was the “swirling vortex at the centre of everything.” Assange symbolizes that “swirling vortex” to intelligence-aligned establishment journalists only because WikiLeaks has published plenty of insider information that exposes Western claims to global moral leadership as a complete charade – and the journalists who amplify those claims as utter charlatans.

In part two, we will examine why journalists like Mason and Cadwalladr prosper in the establishment media; the long history of collusion between Western intelligence agencies and the establishment media; and how that mutually beneficial collusion is becoming ever more important to each of them.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment