Aletho News


Crop Failures & The “Climate Disaster”

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | October 26, 2021

We looked at this phony Guardian report the other day:


One section deals with what it calls crop failure:


It claims that once-a-decade droughts are becoming more frequent, in comparison with 1850-1900! This apparently comes from the IPCC, but who was counting droughts in the 19thC?

As with disaster databases, it is only in recent years that organisations have been set up to monitor humanitarian crises and provide aid. A hundred years ago, there was no internet, television or mobile phones to relay the news.

A famine in Madagascar would simply have happened without being noticed.

The Guardian then goes on to “prove” its point, by cherry picking droughts in Guatemala and Zambia, as if they had never happened before. They are not even in the same year!


The dip in agricultural production in Guatemala is evident in 2017, but the trend for both countries is remorselessly up.


If there was any truth in the Guardian’s apocalyptic version of events, we would see global food production staggering from one crisis to another.

But we don’t.


The Guardian reckons that India and Pakistan will be particularly badly hit by crop failures, even in this decade:


But this goes totally opposite to what is actually happening there.


And long term monsoon trends clearly show that droughts are not becoming more severe or common in India, global warming or not. Most droughts are, in fact, associated with El Ninos, and not climate change:

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 2 Comments

Every US state-funded exposé on the lavish lives of elites is about Russia & Putin, even when he’s not mentioned

By Paul Robinson | RT | October 5, 2021

The powerful are wealthy, and the wealthy are powerful. They’ll also often go to great lengths to avoid paying taxes. Those are the conclusions from some 12 million financial files leaked to reporters last week and covered widely.

Known as the Pandora Papers, the revelations were handed to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and then picked up on Sunday by the BBC and The Guardian newspaper. The secret documents reveal how some 400 former and current world leaders, government officials and billionaires have funnelled their money through offshore accounts to buy property incognito and avoid paying taxes.

Oh, and in case you wondered what the fuss is all about, it all somehow leads back to Russia and President Vladimir Putin – though quite how is never properly explained. Suffice it to say that readers are meant to be shocked at the apparent corruption of the world’s elites, led by the most corrupt of them all – the Russians. Curiously though, none of those exposed are Americans. This may be because the American tax system allows its wealthy citizens to evade taxes without resorting to offshore companies. Or it could have something to do with the fact that the OCCRP is funded by, among others, the US Agency for International Development and the US Department of State.

Regardless, its discovery that the wealthy are good at tax evasion is hardly a huge surprise. Moreover, the revealed transactions all appear to be entirely legal.

For instance, the papers discuss how King Abdullah of Jordan purchased properties worth £70 million ($95 million) in the US and UK via a network of offshore companies. They also show how the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair avoided paying over £300,000 ($408,651) in stamp duty by setting up a company to purchase a building from the offshore organization that owned it. But neither transaction was illegal. As lawyers for King Abdullah noted, it is “common practice for high profile individuals to purchase properties via offshore companies for privacy and security reasons.”

If there’s a scandal here, it’s that countries like the UK have set up their financial systems in such a way as to allow the wealthy to avoid stumping up the money that ordinary folk has to pay. Oddly, though, that’s not the way that the press has decided to play the story. Instead, the words “Russia,” “Putin,” and “Kremlin” have led the way, as if clever tax dodges were somehow part and parcel of a web of corruption leading back to Moscow.

So it is that BBC’s lead story starts off with a big picture of Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, and King Abdullah, before telling readers that the leak “links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco.” Meanwhile, on The Guardian’s website, the biggest headlines all mention Russia, referring to “the Kremlin,” a “Russian tycoon’s links to alleged corruption” and “Putin’s inner circle.” A group of headshots of several prominent world leaders sits atop the Guardian headlines, with Putin’s head by far the largest of them all.

This is odd, because the name “Vladimir Putin” never appears in the Pandora Papers even once.

This doesn’t stop The Guardian mentioning the name “Putin” no less than 50 times in an article entitled “Pandora papers reveal hidden  riches of Putin’s inner circle.” The obsession with a person not even mentioned in the papers seems rather excessive. Moreover, the alleged “inner circle” consists of just two people, and no evidence is provided to connect Putin to those persons’ financial dealings. In short, the “link” to Putin is decidedly thin.

The nature of the alleged connection is that in 2003, a wealthy Russian woman named Svetlana Krivonogikh purchased a luxury flat in Monaco via a complex network of offshore companies. The Russian media outlet Proekt has alleged that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Krivonogikh was Putin’s lover and gave birth to his daughter, allegations that have never been substantiated.

In short, 20 years ago, somebody who may, or may not, have been Putin’s lover bought an apartment in Monaco. That’s it. As stories go, it’s not very exciting.

Nor is the other Putin “link” revealed in the papers. Krivonogikh’s apartment purchase was supposedly set up by a British accountancy and tax firm whose other clients include a long-standing friend of the Russian president – Gennady Timchenko.

And, that’s it, folks. That’s all that The Guardian has got. It can’t even come up with some allegedly crooked dealings by Timchenko and his British pals. And it most definitely doesn’t show that Putin himself is stashing cash away in Monaco, or anywhere else for that matter. But that doesn’t stop The Guardian’s ever-reliable mis-reporter Luke Harding from stirring up the dirt.

For Timchenko, you see, was a founder of Swiss-based oil trading company Guvnor, which is worth several billion dollars. This provides Harding with an opportunity to bring up allegations made by Moscow political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky that Putin is the real owner of Guvnor, supposedly making him a multi-billionaire.

The problem with Belkovsky’s claim is that absolutely no evidence has been produced to substantiate it. The entire story is one completely unconnected person’s entirely unsupported allegation. One would imagine that journalists devoted to reporting reliable information would give it a wide berth. Harding, however, devotes nearly 150 words to repeating the claim in depth. You can tell that he wants you to believe it.

It is a very curious piece of journalism. A set of leaked documents that have absolutely nothing to do with Putin are used as an excuse to throw out lots of articles mentioning his name over and over, and as an opportunity to dig out old and unverified rumours that are entirely irrelevant to the story in question.

The problem, one suspects, is that having got their hands on millions of pages of financial documents showing the wheelings and dealings of the rich and powerful, the massed ranks of Western journalism were left with the awkward reality that none of it shows any obvious wrongdoing. In fact, it’s all completely above board. There’s no scandal there – save for that of the fact it’s legal in the first place. So one has to be invented. At which point, Harding et al. turn to their favorite targets – Russia and Vladimir Putin – and make them their focus of attention. It’s a fairly shoddy tactic.

So what do the Pandora Papers actually tell us? Nothing about Russia. Merely that there are rich people out there; that power and money go together; and that the wealthy have the means and opportunity to exploit tax loopholes that ordinary mortals do not. In short, the rules favor the rich. Not quite the bombshell some had hoped for.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history and military ethics, and is the author of the Irrussianality blog.

October 6, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Absolutely no evidence in Pandora papers leak to back up assertions about ‘hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle’

By Jonny Tickle | RT | October 4, 2021

Assertions by the publishers of the Pandora papers that the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin has secretly enriched itself have no substance and aren’t backed up by proof, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed.

The Pandora papers are 11.9 million leaked documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which worked with journalists from over 117 countries, including outlets like The Washington Post and the BBC. It is said to be the biggest ever leak exposing tax evasion.

In the papers, several Russians are named, and according to the ICIJ, the country is “disproportionately represented” in the leaked documents. Two of the people named include Konstantin Ernst, the head of Russia’s most-watched broadcaster Channel One; and German Gref, the CEO of Sberbank, the country’s biggest financial institution.

However, despite his name not appearing in the documents, some of the journalists investigating the papers say that they show the great wealth of the president’s entourage, with London-based newspaper the Guardian claiming that it reveals the “hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle.”

However, according to the Kremlin, there is absolutely no evidence for this assertion.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Peskov said that Moscow has not seen any “hidden wealth.”

“We haven’t seen anything in particular so far,” he explained. “So far, it’s just about some assertions, and it’s not clear what they are based on. This is certainly not a reason for an investigation.”

In fact, according to Peskov, the investigation simply proves that the US is the world’s most prominent location for tax evasion.

The Pandora paper authors also name Svetlana Krivonogikh, the woman claimed by investigative website Proekt to be the mother of one of Putin’s children. The Kremlin has never responded to the allegations. In 2021, Proekt was labeled as a foreign agent.

Outside of Russia, the paper also names Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Czech President Andrej Babiš, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as those storing money offshore.

October 5, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

British Disinfo Machine Out of Whack: The Guardian’s Trump-Russia ‘Bombshell’ Reeks of Forgery

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 22.07.2021

The Guardian’s latest “bombshell” story about how President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian spies at a closed session of the National Security Council to use “all possible force” to make Donald Trump win in 2016 has not got as much media attention as it was apparently planned.

The article written, by Luke Harding, Dan Sabbagh, and Julian Borger appeared on The Guardian’s website on 15 July at 10:00 GMT. Another op-ed on the matter with a byline containing only Harding and Sabbagh was published on the same day at 17:05 GMT. The news was also advertised in the website’s First Thing section on 15 and 16 July and yet, surprisingly, just a “few Western mainstream media outlets have written or reported on what they were all speculating and salivating about for all four years of the Trump presidency”, notes Mark Sleboda, a US military veteran and international affairs and security analyst.

Still, there’s an obvious explanation why the MSM has not taken the bait: the so-called “leak” smacks of an obvious bunk, according to the analyst, who outlines some obvious discrepancies in The Guardian’s “exposé”:

First, it’s absolutely unclear how the supposed “leaked docs” ended up in The Guardian’s hands: there is no chain of custody or explanation at all.

Second, despite The Guardian’s claims that Western intelligence agencies have had these documents for months, no Western government or intelligence agency, neither the British nor the Americans, has so much as made a comment or peep about it.

Third, almost universally native Russian speakers have noticed and called out numerous incidences of lexical awkwardness and mistakes in the snippets, suggesting that the text was written by a non-native Russian speaker with limited cultural fluency.

Fourth, the Russian National Security Council is a formal political body which is not designed for discussing sensitive clandestine operations.

Fifth, the President’s Expert Directorate headed by economist Vladimir Simonenko – named by The Guardian as the apparent author of the grand design to take over the US elections – in fact deals entirely with domestic matters, including the financing of the president and the presidential administration’s activities, as well as collecting, analysing and preparing materials for the president’s annual addresses.

Sixth, the alleged secret meeting took place in January 2016 when Donald Trump was not even considered as a serious presidential candidate, let alone the Republican nominee.

Seventh, the article is riddled with hedging words and expressions, papers “appear to show”, “documents suggest”, “assessed to be”, etc., as if the authors knew that they were peddling disinformation.

​The Guardian report “reeks of disinformation operation”, former Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs remarked on 15 July. Krebs echoes another cybersecurity expert, Thomas Rid of John Hopkins University, who listed a series of issues with the “Kremlin leak” in a Twitter thread.

Many more former Western intelligence operatives and experts publicly questioned the documents’ veracity in both media and social media, including Director of Russian Studies at CNA Michael Kofman, former Information Security Specialist for GCHQ Matt Tait, and former US NSC staff Gavin Wilde.

​Even Dmitri Alperovitch, a co-founder and former CTO of Crowdstrike, who groundlessly blamed “Russian hackers” for breaching DNC servers back in 2016, has weighed in, dismissing the “leak” as forgery.

​What’s Behind the ‘Kremlin Leak’ Story?

On the surface, the “leak” appears to confirm practically every Russiagate fantasy and makes an oblique reference to unspecified “kompromat” on Trump – an apparent reference to ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s “dirty dossier” on the then presidential candidate and his campaign, Sleboda points out.

The analyst highlights that one of the authors of The Guardian’s latest exposé – Luke Harding – has long been an ardent adept of the Steele dossier, despite the ex-British spook’s bizarre claims having neither been corroborated nor confirmed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.

“There seems a likely possibility that these new ‘Kremlin documents’ like the previous Steele dossiers, were fabricated by British intelligence or elements within it, for the same purposes of discrediting Trump and preventing any, even faint, detente in US-Russian relations, whether under Trump or Biden”, suggests Sleboda.

The UK has played a special role in the Trump-Russia story: “There has long been a widely held belief by many because of the prominence of the Steele dossier during the whole Russigate episode that there was a significant degree of the British tail wagging the US political dog”, the analyst says.

Four years ago, Harding claimed that the UK intelligence service GCHQ became aware of “suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents” as early as in 2015, well before their American counterparts. Citing unnamed sources in the UK intelligence community, the journalist presumed that British and EU spies collected information on Trump between late 2015 and summer 2016.

“It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information”, Harding asserted on 13 April 2017. “The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets”.

Furthermore, “[Harding] has previously claimed in The Guardian that British intelligence and Foreign Office was given the Steele dossier before it was sent to the United States and vouched for Steele’s ‘credibility’ in reference to it”, Sleboda remarks.

In 2021 alone, the British media has published a number of articles in support of Steele’s debunked narrative:

·         in January, The Guardian ran an outlandish story of Trump being “cultivated” by the Soviet KGB for 40 years;

·         in May, The Telegraph broke a story about a “second dossier” written by Steele during Trump’s presidency;

·         four days prior to Harding’s “bombshell”, Guardian contributor Charles Kaiser tried to rehabilitate at least part of Steele’s “dirty dossier”, alleging that Trump aide Carter Page may have struck a lucrative deal with Russia’s Rosneft, something that wasn’t confirmed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The fact that Steele’s story is being kept alive in the British media would seem to indicate that the UK establishment is still backing Steele’s anti-Trump/anti-Russia disinformation campaign, the security analyst believes.

If the “Kremlin documents” were indeed deliberately planted by the UK intelligence elements to target Trump’s potential 2024 election bid as well as US-Russia relations under Biden, this is “an extremely important and dangerous situation”, according to Sleboda.

“It would mean that the British government and/or intelligence have repeatedly conducted active measures to manipulate and interfere in both US domestic elections and foreign policy, destabilising the US political system domestically and putting the entire world at risk by deliberately increasing tensions between the world’s two foremost nuclear armed powers”, he says. “There will likely be no investigation or accountability into this latest Guardian piece of disinformation about Russia in the Western MSM but there most certainly should and desperately needs to be one”.

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

RUSSIAGATE: Luke Harding’s Hard Sell

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | July 17, 2021

Luke Harding of The Guardian on Thursday came out with a new story that looks at first glance like an attempt to rescue the Russiagate story and the reputations of Harding and U.S. intelligence.

The headline reads, “Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House” with the subhead: “Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy.”

Harding’s report says that during a Jan. 22, 2016 closed session of the Russian national security council, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian spies to back a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump for the White House to “help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them ‘social turmoil’ in the US.”

“Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature,” Harding writes. “A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use ‘all possible force’ to ensure a Trump victory.”

The article, starting with the headline, is littered with the use of qualifiers such as “appears,” “suggests,” “apparent,” and “seems.” Such qualifiers tell the reader that even the newspaper is not sure whether to believe its own story.

Quoting from what he says is an authentic document marked “secret,” Harding writes that there is “apparent confirmation” that the Kremlin had dirt on Trump it could use to blackmail him, gathered during earlier Trump “‘non-official visits to Russian Federation territory.’”

This would seem to confirm a central part of the so-called Steele dossier, which Harding hawked in his bestselling book Collusion.

Harding’s newest story though says nothing about the involvement of Trump operatives with this Kremlin plot, as that was unfounded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Harding also suggests that the documents that came into his possession provides evidence of a Russian hack of Democratic National Committee computers.

Harding at the Nordic Media Festival, 2018. (Thor Brødreskift / Nordiske Mediedager/ Wikimedia Commons)

He writes:

“After the meeting, according to a separate leaked document, Putin issued a decree setting up a new and secret interdepartmental commission. Its urgent task was to realise the goals set out in the ‘special part’ of document No 32-04 \ vd. …

The defence minister was instructed to coordinate the work of subdivisions and services. [Sergei] Shoigu was also responsible for collecting and systematising necessary information and for “preparing measures to act on the information environment of the object” – a command, it seems, to hack sensitive American cyber-targets identified by the SVR. …

The papers appear to set out a route map for what actually happened in 2016.

A matter of weeks after the security council meeting, GRU hackers raided the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and subsequently released thousands of private emails in an attempt to hurt Clinton’s election campaign.”

These documents would perfectly confirm the story put out by U.S. intelligence and an eager Democratic media: that Russia’s defense intelligence agency GRU hacked the DNC and Russia leaked DNC emails to damage Hillary Clinton.

Except that Shawn Henry, the head of the company CrowdStrike hired by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign (while keeping the FBI away) to examine the DNC servers declared under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that no evidence of a hack was discovered. “It appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left,” Henry told the committee.

WikiLeaks, which Harding doesn’t mention, has also denied getting the DNC material from Russia that Harding says was released by Moscow. And Harding ignores the true contents of the emails.

Dmitri Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told The Guardian the story was “great pulp fiction.”

Let’s look at the motives of the players involved in this story.

Harding’s Motives

Henry’s denial of a hack and Mueller’s inability to prove Collusion, embarrassed Harding after he staked his reputation on his bestseller of that name. The book is essentially the story of Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent, who was paid by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to come up with opposition research against Trump.

Harding, like the Democratic media establishment, mistook opposition research, a mix of fact and fiction to smear a political opponent, for an intelligence document paid for by taxpayers, presumably in the interests of protecting the country rather than a political candidate. Of course, the FBI and the CIA sold it to the media as such to undermine the other candidate.

Harding has had a major omelet on his face after the Russiagate tale was ultimately exposed as opposition research paid for by the Democrats, who elevated it to a new Pearl Harbor.

Now I will engage in qualifiers here but it seems Harding is desperate to find anything that might rescue the story and his reputation. That’s a vulnerable position to be in, easily exploited by intelligence operatives, the way he was exploited with the original story.

An earlier attempt by Harding at rescuing himself was the disastrous piece he wrote for The Guardian that Paul Manafort, briefly Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, had visited Julian Assange at the Ecuador Embassy in London. It blew up in Harding’s face though his paper has never pulled the story.

U.S. Intelligence Motives

Members of the U.S. intelligence community were staring at possible prosecution in the investigation run by U.S. Attorney John Durham for their role in pushing the opposition research as truth, leading, among other things, to a doctored FBI report to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor a Trump campaign worker.

The Steele dossier became the basis for other shenanigans by U.S. intelligence. Though in the end there were no indictments, the reputation of especially the FBI took a hit.

Leaking a story now that it was all true, after all, might do wonders to restore its standing among wide sections of the U.S. public who lost faith in the bureau over Russiagate.

A Kremlin Leakers’ Motives

Harding writes in a cryptic way about how he got hold of these materials. He says the story is based on “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.” As they were marked “secret,” and supposedly came from Putin’s innermost circle, as Harding says, it stands to reason that few people in the Russian government would have had access to them outside of that circle.

We are being asked to believe that someone closest to Putin leaked these documents either directly to Harding or to U.S. or British intelligence who then passed it on to Harding. (Harding calling it a leak would rule out that they were obtained through a Western intelligence hack.)

It can’t be dismissed that U.S. intelligence may have an active mole inside the Kremlin. But one must ask would that mole — if he or she exists — risk their freedom by leaking documents that have absolutely no current strategic or even political significance, rather than, say, classified information about Russian troop movements and military intentions?

The only interests this leak serves — if it was a leak — are those of Harding and U.S. intelligence, who were hung out to dry by the collapse of the Russiagate narrative.

Evaluating the Story

Harding is clearly reporting from Russian-language documents, snapshots of which are reproduced in The Guardian article. He writes that these documents were shown to “independent experts” who said they “appear” to be “genuine.” Harding does not reveal who these experts are.

To evaluate the credibility of Harding’s story would require knowing how he got the documents, not the names of the person or persons who gave them to him, but the interests they represent. He is especially vague about this.

Harding writes:

“Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.”

If they were handed to Harding by U.S. or British intelligence who had them for months, the idea that these are the products of spycraft cannot be dismissed. Crafting what looks like classified evidence from an adversarial power and then leaking it to friendly press has long been in the arsenal of intelligence agencies the world over.

It is unlikely we will ever know how Harding came into possession of these documents or who the experts are who said they “seem” genuine.

But the purpose of this piece may have already been achieved.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at

July 19, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The Guardian plumbs new depths: its resident ‘Russiagate’ fanatics claim that Putin got Trump elected

By Paul Robinson | RT | July 16, 2021

From 2016 to 2020, a single story with two elements dominated the American headlines: Russiagate. The first part of the narrative was the claim that the Russian government had used a range of tools, including disinformation, to ensure Trump clinched his country’s highest office. The second was that Trump had knowingly colluded with Moscow to achieve this goal.

After endless repetition, these claims became something close to sacred ‘truths’ for some people. And yet, as we now know, the whole thing began with a falsehood, or more accurately a single document containing a whole series of falsehoods.

This was the infamous ‘Steele dossier’, assembled by former British intelligence office Christopher Steele, as part of a strategy by the Democratic Party to dig up dirt to blacken Trump’s reputation.

The dossier contained a number of inflammatory stories about Trump’s relationship with Russia. It also claimed its information came from sources close to the upper echelons of the Kremlin. This was untrue. As we now know, the information was hearsay, collected second- or third-hand by someone who didn’t even live in Russia. In short, it was a near total fabrication.

Unfortunately, Russiagate induced many journalists to abandon any effort at critical thinking and to treat all anti-Russian allegations with a distinct credulity. Particularly prominent among them was Luke Harding of The Guardian, who even published a book entitled ‘Collusion’, laying out the case against the Russians and Trump. Its logic was often rather bizarre. For instance, Harding’s “evidence” that an associate of an associate of Trump was a Russian spy was that he used emojis in an email.

I kid you not. You use emojis, you’re a Russian spy. It gives one a sense of the quality of Harding’s argument.

Indeed, Harding has what the British call ‘form.’ In another instance, he claimed Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, along with unnamed “Russians”, had met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Unfortunately, the story turned out to be untrue. It was never retracted.

In short, there are reasons why some might want to treat what Harding says with a generous pinch of salt.

All of which is necessary background for his latest article in The Guardian, which details confidential documents he claims to have seen, allegedly showing “that Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret spy operation to support a ‘mentally unstable’ Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election.” The piece is co-authored by two other reliably anti-Russian Guardian hacks, Dan Sabbagh and Julian Borger.

The documents in question are supposedly records of a meeting of Russia’s National Security Council, which is said to have concluded that Trump’s election was desirable, as it would “lead to the destabilization of the US’s sociopolitical system.” To this end, the meeting purportedly resolved to “use all possible force to facilitate his election,” including introducing “‘media viruses’ into American public life, which would … alter mass consciousness.”

Unfortunately, Harding fails to provide full copies of the documents in question, limiting himself to a single extract. Nor does he say where he got the papers. The only corroborating evidence is that “The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say that they appear to be genuine.” Of course, many “independent experts” also believed in the Steele dossier, the Hitler diaries, the Zinoviev letter, and many other dubious or entirely fabricated documents. An appeal to anonymous “experts” isn’t particularly useful.

Indeed, there are some reasons to treat the story with a degree of scepticism.

First, the documents are like the perfect, solid-gold-plated proof that Russiagate storytellers have been seeking for years. The story is a little bit too good to be true.

Second, if these papers are indeed real, either somebody in the Kremlin has decided to leak the most top secret of top-secret documents, or British intelligence has a spy there and has then fed the information to Harding, risking exposing him or herself.

Both options are out of keeping with the past. Leaks from Putin’s team are very rare, to the point of being almost non-existent, and, as far as we know, neither the British, nor indeed any Western intelligence agency, has ever had a spy in the heart of the Kremlin. One can’t rule it out, but one has to have one’s doubts.

Third, the alleged motivation for backing Trump outlined in the documents smacks of what people in the West now retroactively think happened, rather than what would have likely been in the mind of Russian officials at the time.

In 2016, the primary reason why the Kremlin might have wanted Trump elected was a perception that he was not as hostile to Russia as his rival Hillary Clinton. Indeed, he had stated in speeches that he favored better relations with Moscow. But this isn’t mentioned in Harding’s documents. Instead, the focus is on “destabilizing” the United States by stirring up trouble through the election of a mentally unstable president.

These are not ideas that anybody in authority in the Kremlin has ever publicly expressed. Instead, they are ideas that gradually became dogma among conspiracy theorists between 2016 and 2020. In other words, the documents read like what Western Russiagate theorists imagine is what the Russians think, rather than what they really do think.

And fourth, it turns out that the short excerpt published with Harding’s article has a number of linguistic and grammatical errors, giving rise to speculation that it was written by a non-native speaker of Russian and then translated. Of course, this is far from firm proof of forgery – it could be that Kremlin notetakers just don’t write very well. But it’s food for thought.

One common method of rating intelligence is an alpha-numerical system in which the letters measure the reliability of the source (from A, ‘Reliable’, to E, ‘Unreliable’, and F, ‘Reliability Unknown’), and the numbers measure the reliability of the information (from 1, ‘Confirmed from other sources’, to 5, ‘Improbable’, and 6, ‘Validity of the information cannot be determined’). In this case, one would probably have to rank Harding’s story as D6. The reliability of the source – Harding – is open to doubt, and the validity of the information cannot be confirmed.

This doesn’t mean the documents are fakes. D6 doesn’t mean false. But, at the same time, it’s not exactly A1 either – you need to treat the information in question with extreme caution.

Maybe the Russian National Security Council did indeed plot to put Trump in the White House. Or maybe not. We’re not in a position to tell. Either way, but you shouldn’t take The Guardian’s word for it.

Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog

July 17, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 3 Comments

Western media use images of PRO-government rally, protest in Miami to illustrate Cuban unrest as Havana warns of ‘soft coup’

The Guardian and a number of other Western news agencies used erroneously captioned photos of a pro-government protest in Havana, Cuba, presenting it as an opposition rally instead.
© / screenshot
RT | July 14, 2021

Several Western news outlets have used an erroneously captioned photo showing a pro-government rally in Cuba, deeming it an opposition protest, while CNN opted for an image of a Miami demonstration instead, raising eyebrows.

Captured by Associated Press photographer Eliana Aponte during a demonstration in support of the government in the Cuban capital on Sunday, the photo has made the rounds in the Western corporate press as unrest grips the Caribbean nation. However, multiple outlets have incorrectly described the image as an “anti-government protest,” including the GuardianFox News, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Times and Voice of America. The latter outlet, the US-government funded VOA, committed the error on two separate occasions.

GrayZone journalist Ben Norton and Alan MacLeod of MintPress News were among the first to note the error, sharing screenshots of several examples. MacLeod suggested the outlets may have simply “copied and pasted” the AP’s original photo caption, replicating the error across multiple agencies.

Both journalists pointed out the red-and-black flags hoisted by demonstrators in the photo, which read “26 Julio,” a reference to Fidel Castro’s 26th of July movement. The organization played a major role in the Cuban Revolution and later formed into a political party, with the two-colored flag becoming a common symbol of support for Cuba’s communist government.

Of the six news outlets cited above, only the Guardian had issued a correction at the time of writing, stating that it amended its story because the “original agency caption on the image… incorrectly described them as anti-government protesters. They were actually supporters of the government.”

The AP image is not the only photo to be misrepresented in Western media coverage. On its Instagram page, CNN also strongly implied that another photo showed Cuban protesters, with its caption reading, in part, “Thousands of Cubans protested a lack of food and medicine.” The image in question was taken by an AFP photographer, and a search through the agency’s photo gallery shows the rally was actually held in Miami, Florida. CNN appears to have omitted the first portion of the AFP caption, which made clear the protest was based in the US.

The photo mix-ups in corporate media have been compounded by a wave of false and misleading posts by observers online, with many users sharing photos of gatherings in Egypt, Spain and Argentina while claiming they depict unrest in Cuba – some racking up thousands of shares.

The anti-state protests kicked off in earnest on Sunday, seeing large crowds of demonstrators take to the streets in Havana and elsewhere to demand urgent action on food, medicine and power shortages. The government, however, claims the rallies are fueled by hostile foreign powers, namely Washington, and involve only a small number of ‘counter-revolutionaries’. President Miguel Diaz-Canal said US sanctions were to blame, arguing that Washington’s “policy of economic suffocation” aimed to “provoke social unrest” in Cuba.

Diaz-Canal also alleged that a “campaign against the Cuban revolution” had kicked off on social media platforms, saying they are “drawing on the problems and shortages we are living.” According to internet monitoring firm NetBlocks, Cuba’s state-run web provider ETECSA has moved to restrict access to certain sites and apps since the bout of unrest erupted on Sunday.

The head of the Cuban Communist Party’s ideological department, Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, also claimed that the country is experiencing an attempt at a “color revolution” or a “soft coup,” drawing a comparison to a failed US-backed uprising in Venezuela back in 2019.

Washington, for its part, has offered rhetorical backing to the protesters, with State Department spokesman Ned Price telling reporters on Tuesday that the government is looking at ways to “support the Cuban people,” though he did not elaborate.

Havana has so far offered few details on the number of arrests made or injuries sustained during the protests, though the Cuban Interior Ministry confirmed that the first death occurred during an anti-government action on Monday. Opposition groups, meanwhile, have alleged that a spate of arrests has targeted protesters, journalists and other activists.

July 14, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

There is no Covid third wave in Africa

Alarmist reporting is getting basic facts wrong

By Toby Green | Unherd | June 24, 2021

The last few days have seen an avalanche of reports that a third wave of Covid-19 is underway in Africa. Seasoned coronavirus watchers will not be surprised that the alarm was raised in Geneva. WHO Central issued alarming press releases on June 7th and 17th, with the Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stating in the latter that “Africa is in the midst of a full-blown third wave”. So what’s happening?

Since the June 7th press release, there have been 1,651 new deaths reported from Covid-19 across the entire continent in 17 days, less than 100 per day. In a continent where 9 million people die annually (roughly 25,000 per day), reported Covid deaths in this “full-blown” third wave thus currently account for roughly 0.4% of daily mortality in Africa. Certainly, there are mortality increases from Covid reported in some countries such as Cape Verde and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but they are not anything like on the scale of what has happened elsewhere.

Moreover, the vast majority of these fatalities have occurred in temperate zones: South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia account for 105,000 of the 139,500 deaths reported from Covid-19 across the continent.

Many of the reports on this “third wave” point to the failure to count deaths accurately, and suggest that these figures mask the true problem. Reports from the BBC and the New York Times have pointed to a continent-wide lack of systemic mortality figures. But running at 0.4% of current mortality, and touching a small area of the continent as a whole, even if this was an underestimate by 1000%, Covid would still only be a minor concern to most Africans. In fact, a recent paper disputes these accusations of undercounting: the authors note that “while only 34.6% of countries [in Africa] have complete death registration data… all countries have a system in place, and there is no evidence that COVID-19 mortality data is less accurately reported in Africa than elsewhere”.

What certainly does go under-reported are cases. This is good news, as it indicates that much of the continent’s population has already developed antibodies to Covid-19 through mild infections. In a study from July to October 2020 of mineworkers tested in Ivory Coast, 25.1% had Covid antibodies; meanwhile, a February study in South Africa based on blood donors found antibody levels of 63% in Eastern Cape, 46% in Free State, and 52% in KwaZulu Natal, while a study from Cameroon just published found antibody levels of 32%. These figures far outstrip recorded cases, suggesting that many Africans already have protection from Covid.

However the WHO redefined herd immunity last year as only achievable through vaccination, so it may not want to publicise this. The Guardian last week added to the clamour, reporting on research that had not been peer-reviewed and which claimed that Covid infection did not provide immunity. Ironically, a series of studies published in Nature the week before had found that “the evidence thus far predicts that infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces long-term immunity in most individuals”.

The evidence from Africa is quite clear, in fact. Large sections of the population have now developed Covid antibodies, and death rates are low compared to other chronic illnesses. Herd immunity does not have to be achieved through vaccination, either in Africa or elsewhere. But none of these conclusions fit with the catastrophic decisions taken by global policy elites over the past year, so they won’t be coming to a television news channel near you any time soon.

Toby Green is the author of The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality (Hurst).

June 25, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

How Bill Gates & Big Pharma used children as “guinea pigs”… and got away with it

Young tribal girls were lied to, treated as “human guinea pigs” without parental consent by a Gates-backed NGO
By Bernard Marx | OffGuardian | May 18, 2021

We’ve seen a lot of India in the news recently. A lot more than we usually do. There’s an apocalypse of sorts going on there, if the popular media is to be believed. But as is often the case, these reports are devoid of any context or perspective.

While the world’s media can’t get enough of India today, in its rush to support a narrative of terror about Covid-19, twelve years ago when there was a real story going on there, the world’s media was nowhere to be seen.


In 2009, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded NGO carried out unauthorised clinical trials of a vaccine on some of the poorest, most vulnerable children in the world. It did so without providing information about the risks involved, without the informed consent of the children or their parents and without even declaring that it was conducting a clinical trial.

After vaccination, many of the participating children became ill and seven of them died. Such were the findings of a parliamentary committee charged with investigating this wretched affair. The committee accused the NGO of “child abuse” and produced a raft of evidence to back up its claim. This entire incident barely registered on the radar of Western media.

PATH (formerly the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) is a Seattle based NGO, heavily funded by BMGF but which also receives significant grants from the US government. Between 1995 and the time of writing (May 2021), PATH had received more than $2.5bn from BMGF.

In 2009, PATH carried out a project to administer the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The project’s aim was, in PATH’s own words, “to generate and disseminate evidence for informed public sector introduction of HPV vaccines”. It was conducted in four countries: India, Uganda, Peru and Vietnam. Another Gates-funded organization, Gavi, had originally been considered to run the project, but responsibility was ultimately delegated to PATH. The project was directly funded by BMGF.

Significantly, each of the countries selected for the project had a different ethnic population and each had a state-funded national immunisation program. The use of different ethnic groups in the trial allowed for comparison of the effects of the vaccine across diverse population groups (ethnicity being a factor in the safety and efficacy of certain drugs).

The immunisation programs of the countries involved provided a potentially lucrative market for the companies whose drugs were to be studied: should the drugs prove successful and be included on these countries’ state-funded national immunisation schedules, this would represent an annual windfall of profits for the companies involved.

Two types of HPV vaccine were used in the trial: Gardasil by Merck and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In this article, we are going to examine PATH’s trial of Gardasil in India.

It’s worth noting here the relationship between BMGF and one of the companies whose drugs were being tested. In 2002, BMGF had, controversially, bought $205m worth of stocks in the pharmaceutical sector, a purchase which included shares in Merck & Co. The move had raised eyebrows because of the obvious conflict of interest between the foundation’s role as a medical charity and its role as an owner of businesses in the same sector.

The Wall Street Journal reported, in August 2009, that the foundation had sold its shares in Merck between 31st March and 30th June of that year, which would have been around the same time that the field trials of the HPV vaccine were starting in India. So for the entirety of this project (which was already in operation by October 2006), right up to its final field trials, BMGF had a dual role: as both a charity with a responsibility for care, and as a business owner with a responsibility for profit.

Such conflicts of interest have been a hallmark of BMGF since 2002. When Gates was making regular TV appearances last year to promote Covid-19 vaccination, giving especially ringing endorsements of the Pfizer-BioNTech effort, his objectivity was never brought into question. Yet his foundation is the part-owner of several vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, BioNTech and CureVac.


HPV vaccine aims to prevent cervical cancer. Gardasil had been launched successfully by Merck in the US in 2006, but its sales suffered after a series of articles in American medical journals had judged that its risks outweighed its benefits. Especially damaging was an analysis of reports made to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) about adverse reactions to Gardasil.

This analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on August 19th 2009. The 12,424 adverse reactions which had been reported included 772 which were considered serious, 32 of which were deaths. Other reported serious side effects included autoimmune disorders, venous thromboembolic events (blood clots) and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

In the same edition of JAMA, Dr. Charlotte Haug, then editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Associationwrote,

Whether a risk is worth taking depends not only on the absolute risk, but on the relationship between the potential risk and the potential benefit. If the potential benefits are substantial, most individuals would be willing to accept the risks. But the net benefit of the HPV vaccine to a woman is uncertain. Even if persistently infected with HPV, a woman most likely will not develop cancer if she is regularly screened. So rationally she should be willing to accept only a small risk from the vaccine.”

Dr. Haug also noted, “When weighing evidence about risks and benefits, it is also appropriate to ask who takes the risk, and who gets the benefit”, in a clear dig at Gardasil manufacturer Merck.

Merck’s attempts to promote Gardasil had been controversial. Dr. Angela Raffle, one the UK’s leading experts on cervical cancer screening, described Merck’s marketing strategy as “a battering ram at the Department of Health and carpet bombing on the peripheries.”

Dr. Raffle was concerned that the push to mass vaccination would harm the successful screening programme which had operated in the UK since the 1960s.

“My worry is that the commercially motivated rush to make us panic into introducing HPV vaccine quickly will put us back and worsen our cervical cancer control programme.”

Professor Diane Harper

Professor Diane Harper, then of Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, had led 2 trials of the vaccine and was adamant that Gardasil could not protect against all strains of HPV.

When Merck launched a huge public relations campaign in 2007 to persuade European governments to use the product to vaccinate all the continent’s young girls against cervical cancer, she said:

Mass vaccination programmes (would be) a great big public health experiment…. We don’t know a lot of things. We don’t know the vaccine will continue to be effective. To be honest, we don’t have efficacy data in these young girls right now. We’re vaccinating against a virus that attacks women throughout their whole life and continues to cause cancer. If we vaccinate girls at 10 or 11 we won’t know for 20 to 25 years whether it is going to work or not. This is a big thing to take on.”

So at the time that PATH was carrying out its trials in India, Uganda, Peru and Vietnam, Gardasil was a controversial vaccine: its safety, efficacy and Merck’s attempts to promote it were being questioned, not by “anti-vaxxers” and “conspiracy theorists”, but by the international medical establishment and the respected mainstream media.


Children of the Koya tribe, Khammam

Khammam district, in 2009, was a part of the eastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (boundary changes made in 2014 mean that today Khammam district belongs to the state of Telangana). The region is predominantly rural and is considered to be one of the poorest and least developed parts of India.

Khammam is home to several ethnic tribal groups,with some estimates putting its tribal population at about 21.5% (approximately 600,000 people). As is common for indiginous people throughout the world, the tribal groups of Khammam suffer from a lack of access to education. Consequently, their level of literacy is of a standard considerably lower than that of the region as a whole.

Some 14,000 girls were injected with Gardasil in Khammam district during 2009. The girls recruited for PATH’s project were between 10 and 14 years of age and all came from low-income, predominantly tribal backgrounds. Many of the girls did not reside with their families; instead they lived in ashram pathshalas (government-run hostels), which were situated close to the schools the children attended.

Professor Linsey McGoey, of the University of Essex, later stated she believed girls at ashram pathshalas had been targeted for the project as this was a way of:

“side-stepping the need to seek parental consent for the shots.”

Although we have seen a lot of India in the news recently, coverage of this country and its affairs is usually low-key. Despite being home to almost one fifth of the world’s population, reporting on India is sparse.

Few of us are aware, for example, of its abysmal history of health and safety or its long-standing tradition of corruption in government.

Such failings have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous profit-seekers for decades. Western media only reports on the consequences of these actions when their magnitude is too great to ignore.

We learned that up to 7,000 people were killed and more than half a million were injured after being exposed to deadly methyl isocyanate gas, following a gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. But we learned nothing in the years leading up to it of the culture of poor standards and disregard for regulation which was ultimately responsible for the disaster.

So it was typical that PATH’s project to administer and study the effects of the HPV vaccine went unheralded in the West. Typical, too, that the same was true in India itself: the Indian media is no more renowned for its reporting on tribal groups than the Western media is for its coverage of Indians.

Despite concerns expressed about the project in October 2009 by Sama, a Delhi-based NGO that advocates for women’s health, the matter remained absent from India’s news.

Members of the advocacy group Sama

This project, then, couldn’t have been more off-the-map had it taken place on the moon, and it remained so for several months until, early in 2010, stories began to filter out from Khammam that something had gone terribly wrong: many of the girls who had been involved in the trials had subsequently fallen ill and four of them had died.

In March 2010, members of Sama visited Khammam to find out more about the emerging stories. They were told that up to 120 girls had experienced adverse reactions, including epileptic seizures, severe stomach ache, headaches and mood swings. The Sama representatives remained in Khammam to investigate the situation further.

The involvement of Sama finally brought the matter to the attention of the Indian media and, amid a barrage of negative publicity, the Indian Council of Medical Research (IMCR) suspended the PATH project.

At this point the Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health began an investigation into the affair.

On May 17th, Sama produced a damning report highlighting, among other things: that the trials had been promoted as a government immunisation programme and not a research project, that the girls had not been made aware that they could choose not to participate in the trials, and that parental consent had neither been asked for nor given in many cases.

The report stated that:

“Many of the vaccinated girls continue to suffer from stomach aches, headaches, giddiness and exhaustion. There have been reports of early onset of menstruation, heavy bleeding and severe menstrual cramps, extreme mood swings, irritability, and uneasiness following the vaccination. No systematic follow up or monitoring has been carried out by the vaccine providers.”

Sama also disputed the Andhra Pradesh State Government’s claim that the deaths of four of the girls who had participated in the trials had nothing to do with vaccination.


Parliament House, seat of the Parliament of India, New Delhi

The wheels of bureaucracy are slow to turn. It was more than three years later, on 30th August 2013, when the report of the Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health was finally published. Although many had expected the report to be a whitewash, it was anything but: it made for shocking reading.

The report excoriated both PATH and the IMCR, concluding that the “safety and rights of children were highly compromised and violated.” The committee found that PATH, despite operating in India since 1999, had no legal permission to do so. It noted that although the organisation had finally received a certificate from India’s Registrar of Companies in September 2009, this certificate itself was in breach of the law.

The report stated that:

“PATH… has violated all laws and regulations laid down for clinical trials…. its sole aim has been to promote the commercial interests of HPV vaccine manufacturers…. This is a serious breach of trust… as the project involved the life and safety of girl children and adolescents who were mostly unaware of the implications of vaccination. The violation is also a serious breach of medical ethics.This act of PATH is a clear cut violation of the human rights of these girl children and adolescents. It is also an established case of child abuse.”

The committee charged that PATH had lied to it and had attempted to mislead it during the course of its investigation and recommended that the Indian Government report PATH’s violations of human rights to the WHO, UNICEF and the US Government.

The report declared that PATH’s whole scheme was a cynical attempt to ensure ongoing profits for Merck and GSK.

“The choice of countries and population groups; the monopolistic nature, at that point of time, of the product being pushed; the unlimited market potential and opportunities in the universal immunisation programmes of the respective countries are all pointers to a well-planned scheme to commercially exploit a situation. Had PATH been successful… this would have generated a windfall profit for the manufacturers by way of automatic sale, year after year, without any promotional or marketing expenses. It is well known that once introduced to the immunisation programme it becomes politically impossible to stop any vaccination.”

It went on:

“To achieve this end effortlessly, without going through the arduous and strictly regulated route of clinical trials, PATH resorted to an element of subterfuge by calling the clinical trials ‘Observational Studies’ or ‘a Demonstration Project’ and various such expressions. Thus the interest, safety and well being of subjects were completely jeopardized by PATH by using self-determined and self-servicing nomenclature which is not only highly deplorable but also a serious breach of the law of the land.”

Samiran Nundy, editor emeritus National Medical Journal of India

These charges were echoed by leading voices in India’s medical community. “It is shocking to see how an American organization used surreptitious methods to establish itself in India,” said Chandra M.Gulhati, editor of India’s influential Monthly Index of Medical Specialities, “(this) was not philanthropy”.

Samiran Nundy, editor emeritus of the National Medical Journal of India  and a long-standing critic of corrupt practices in health, did not mince his words:

“This is an obvious case where Indians were being used as guinea pigs.”

The standing committee’s report was also highly critical of the relationship between PATH and members of several of India’s health agencies, highlighting multiple conflicts of interest.

On the issue of informed consent, the committee confirmed the allegations made by Sama to be true, finding that the majority of consent forms weren’t signed by either the children or their parents, that many consent forms were postdated or not dated at all, that multiple forms had been signed by the same people (often the caretakers of the hostels the girls lived in) and that many signatures didn’t match the name on the form. It found that parents had not been given information on the necessity of vaccination, its pros and cons or its potential side effects.

No insurance was provided for any of the children in the event of injury and “PATH did not provide for urgent expert medical attention in case of serious adverse events.”

Further, PATH seriously contravened Indian health regulations by carrying out a clinical trial of a drug on children before first conducting a trial of the drug with adults as subjects.

Regarding the girls who had died, the committee criticized PATH, Indian medical authorities and the Andhra Pradesh State Government for summarily dismissing the link between their deaths and vaccination without conducting thorough investigations. By 2016, some 1,200 of the girls who had been subjects in the two HPV vaccine trials in India were reporting serious long-term side effects, more than 5% of the total cohort of 23,500. By then, the total number of deaths had risen to seven.


This appalling breach of medical ethics and human rights went almost completely unmentioned outside India. The Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health had literally accused an American NGO of child abuse, providing extensive evidence to support their charge, yet practically no mention of this was to be found anywhere in the Western media.

Popular science publications Nature and Science each contained a brief article about the debacle, but neither goes into any detail about PATH’s legal and ethical breaches. While the Science article is at least slightly critical, the Nature piece gives more space to a rebuttal of the charges by PATH director Vivien Tsu.

The way in which media around the world is funded by BMGF, and how this affects reporting about BMGF and the organisations it sponsors, deserves its own article. But it’s worth mentioning here that the BBC has received a total of $51.7m from BMGF, as of May 2021, and The Guardian has received $12.8m.

The Guardian, for all its claims to give a voice to the most vulnerable in the world, stayed curiously silent about the young girls of Khammam. That is, except for one article, published in October 2013, about six weeks after the release of the standing committee’s report.

The article was written not by one of the girls or one of their parents, not by one of the women from Sama who had advocated on the girls’ behalf, not even by one of the Indian parliamentarians who had been charged with investigating the affair.

No. It was written by an American man called Seth Berkely. Berkely is the CEO of Gavi, another BMGF funded health behemoth.

Seth Berkley, CEO GAVI

Berkely used his forum in The Guardian to claim that the girls who had died after being vaccinated in Khammam had committed suicide. Speaking about the 14,000 subjects involved in the trials, he said, “it would have been unusual if none of them went on to kill themselves.”

Compassion wasn’t the only element missing from his article. Not once did Berkley address the multiple breaches of law and ethics which had occurred or the role of PATH and that of his employers, the Gates Foundation, in his dismissal of this iniquity.

The Guardian began receiving funding from BMGF in August 2010. Prior to that arrangement, in 2007, the newspaper had published two separate articles which were critical of the lobbying tactics used by Merck to promote Gardasil and which questioned the efficacy of its use in mass vaccination programs.

Subsequent to their arrangement with Gates, all coverage by the Guardian of this drug (and of HPV vaccination in general) has been positive.


BMGF headquarters, Seattle

The Indian government was reluctant to take any of the measures recommended by the committee. After all, there were huge amounts of money being made available to the state, institutions and individuals from organisations like PATH.

So no official reports of human rights violations were ever made by the Indian government to the WHO, to Unicef or to the US government, as had been recommended by the standing committee.

However, in 2017, it announced it would no longer accept grants from BMGF for its Immunisation Technical Support Unit, an organisation which provides “vaccination strategy advice” in relation to an estimated 27 million infants. Nevertheless, the Indian government continues to accept the foundation’s grants in other areas.

Merck, and their HPV vaccine Gardasil, have done very well since the dismal events recounted in this article. The Khammam scandal never really affected the company, due to a lack of awareness about it outside India. In 2018 alone, Gardasil sales amounted to more than $3bn, thanks to its inclusion on immunisation schedules around the world, and its launch that year in China.

PATH has never been better. Just like Merck, the lack of reporting about what happened in Khammam meant the organisation didn’t suffer. Since 2010, it has continued to receive huge funding from BMGF and, to a lesser extent, the US Government. During this period, BMGF has provided PATH with more than $1.2bn in funding.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has continued expanding its web of influence. Describing the organisation’s practices around the time of the events outlined here, Jacob Levich said:

“In essence, BMGF would buy up stockpiled drugs that had failed to create sufficient demand in the West, press them on the periphery at a discount, and lock in long-term purchase agreements with Third World governments.”

The foundation has since moved on to even more lucrative pastures. The Covid-19 pandemic has really pushed BMGF to centre stage. Gates himself has seen his public profile and political influence grow to an extent that would have been unimaginable even in 2019.

Despite his lack of either scientific qualifications or an electoral mandate, he regularly presses the need for mass global vaccination with products made by the companies he owns, using platforms given to him by the media outlets he funds.

And the girls of Khammam?

Well, those poor children and their plight wasn’t even widely known outside of India back in 2010. To say they had been forgotten would be to imply that anybody knew about them or cared about them in the first place.

Bernard Marx is the pseudonym used by a writer and teacher based in Ireland. Bernard’s areas of interest include history, politics and popular music. You can read more of his work at Notes from the New Normal

May 18, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Wild Exaggeration and Egregious Lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

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

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

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

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

The Climate Propaganda Cabal

By Kip Hansen | Watts Up With That? | May 5, 2021

If you’ve recently read a newspaper, popular magazine, science journal or watched a major television news outlet, you have probably seen news item after news item regarding the Climate Crisis or the Climate Emergency. Story after story, covering medicine, weather, ecology, biology, psychology, emigration, international conflict and pet care, all converge on the single story-line that there is an ongoing, ever-present terrifyingly dangerous Climate Crisis, affecting every aspect of human existence.

As Dr. Judith Curry pointed out,TIME Magazine has published cover story titled Climate is Everything

Where is all this coming from? One of the major sources is Covering Climate Now, which characterizes itself this way:

CCNow collaborates with journalists and newsrooms to produce more informed and urgent climate stories, to make climate a part of every beat in the newsroom — from politics and weather to business and culture — and to drive a public conversation that creates an engaged public. Mindful of the media’s responsibility to inform the public and hold power to account, we advise newsrooms, share best practices, and provide reporting resources that help journalists ground their coverage in science while producing stories that resonate with audiences.

Co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news, and some of the smallest, because this story needs everyone. In addition to three of the world’s biggest news agencies — Reuters, Bloomberg, and Agence France Presse — each of which provides content to thousands of other newsrooms, our partners include CBS News, NBC and MSNBC News, Noticias Telemundo, PBS NewsHour, Univision, Al Jazeera; most of the biggest public radio stations in the US; many flagship newspapers and TV networks in the Americas, Europe, and Asia; and dozens of leading magazines and journals, including Nature, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and Mother Jones.

You may have thought the news was produced by independent news organizations and journalists. That is simply no longer the case when it comes to climate news. The most powerful news agencies and news outlets are shaping and coordinating coverage of every news beat to include “the climate emergency” in every story – whether or not there is any factual basis to do so.  It is not even any longer true the journals of science – Scientific American and The Lancet are both members.

Notably, The New York Times and the Washington Post reportedly declined membership on the basis that the effort “seemed like activism”. Both of these newpapers rightfully didn’t wish to appear to be engaged in activist journalism but both have their own Climate Crisis editorial narratives. Don’t be fooled though, both papers write climate activism – they are just not guided in doing so by CCNow.

Just how slanted, just how bizarrely biased, is the coverage promoted by CCNow? Here is their “Best Practices” list:

1. Say yes to the science. There are not two sides to a fact. For too long, especially in the US, the media juxtaposed climate science—a matter of overwhelming global consensus—with climate skepticism and denialism—seldom more than thinly-veiled protections of the fossil fuel industry. The resulting implication that these positions are equal, or that the jury is somehow still out, is in large part responsible for the public disengagement and political paralysis that have met the climate crisis so far. As journalists, we must write about climate change with the same clarity of the scientists who have been sounding the alarms for decades. Platforming those scientists’ detractors in an effort to “balance” our stories not only misleads the public, it is inaccurate. Where climate denialism cannot be avoided—when it comes from the highest levels of government, for example—responsible journalistic framing makes clear that it is counterfactual, if not rooted in bad faith.

2. The climate crisis is a story for every beat. At its core, the climate story is a science story. But whether you cover businesshealthhousingeducationfoodnational securityentertainment, or something else, there is always a strong climate angle to be found. And climate need not be a story’s central focus to merit mention. Also, journalists should be sure to emphasize the human-side of the climate story. For political reporters, for example, Biden’s climate agenda obviously deserves coverage. But audiences will likely be more engaged by stories that start with how the climate emergency is seen and felt by ordinary people — and then discuss how government policy can make a difference. In the words of renowned climate author Bill McKibben, climate change is “an exciting story filled with drama and conflict. It’s what journalism was made for.”

3. Emphasize the experiencesand activismof the poor, communities of color, and indigenous people. Environmental justice is key to the climate story. The poor, people of color, and indigenous people have long suffered first and worst from heat waves, floods, and other climate impacts. Yet their voices and stories are too often omitted from news coverage. Good climate reporting not only highlights these people’s trevails, it also recognizes that they are frequently leading innovators at the forefront of the climate fight. Coverage that focuses overwhelmingly on wealthy communities and features only white voices is simply missing the story.

4. Ditch the Beltway “he-said, she-said.” There are of course plenty of urgent climate stories to be told from halls of government. But when we treat the climate story first and foremost as a political dogfight, we give the narrative over to the same intractable partisanship that so degrades the rest of our political coverage. (One side wants to act. The other doesn’t. Looks like nothing can be done.) By foregrounding partisanship in our climate coverage, we also risk losing huge swaths of audiences that likely feel they get more than enough political news as it is. And, for those readers, viewers, and listeners whose political views are ensconced in one camp or the other, we forego opportunities to challenge assumptions.

5. Avoid “doom and gloom.” We can and must understand the epochal consequences of climate change. If our coverage is always negative, however, it “leaves the public with an overall sense of powerlessness,” in the words of former NPR reporter Elizabeth Arnold. “It just reaches this point where people feel hopeless and overwhelmed,” Arnold told Journalist’s Resource in 2018. “And when we feel that way, psychologists say, we tend to just avoid and deny, and tune out.” Indeed, for every wildfire or galling instance of denial by the powerful, there are untold multitudes of innovators and activists who are pioneering solutions. By elevating those stories, we show that climate change is not a problem too big to understand—or to tackle.

6. Go easy on the jargon. This is a tried and true tenet of journalism generally, but it especially applies here. The climate story is chock full of insider-y verbiage—parts per million of carbon dioxide, micrograms of particulate matter, and fractions of degrees Centigrade. The meanings and implications of these terms might be familiar to those who’ve been on the beat for decades, but they may be quite unfamiliar to some who are reading or watching our coverage. Always assume that your target audience is not scientists or fellow climate journalists and ask yourself: How can I help someone new to the problem understand it easily and accurately? Where possible, avoid clustering technical terms. And when attempting to quantify climate change, try to employ simple analogies. For example, when explaining how global warming contributed to the record wildfires in Australia, John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist, likened it to baseball players on steroids: a great slugger will hit plenty of home runs in any case, but a great slugger who takes steroids will hit more of them.

7. Beware of “greenwashing.” Companies around the world are waking up to public demands for eco-conscious business practices. Pledges to “go green,” however, often amount to little more than marketing campaigns that obscure unmitigated carbon footprints. So shun the stenography and cast  a skeptical eye on grand promises of net-zero or carbon-negative emissions, especially from big-name companies that have historically been a big part of the problem.

8. Extreme weather stories are climate stories. The news is awash in hurricanes, floods, unseasonable snow dumps, record heatwaves, and drought. They are not all due to climate change, but the increased frequency and intensity of such extreme weather certainly is. Yet much news  coverage makes little to no mention of the climate connection, leaving audiences without context and unaware that humanity is already experiencing climate disruption. (Worse still, some coverage greets this bad news with cheer. An alarmingly unseasonable heat snap, for example, is “a much welcome break from the cold.”) The climate connection need not dominate coverage, nor distract from the vital information audiences need in the face of  emergency weather conditions—but mentioning it is a must.

9. Jettison the outdated belief that climate coverage repels audiences and loses money. Climate stories have a bad reputation as low-traffic ratings killers. This might have been true in the past, but demographic shifts and growing public awareness have brought increased demands for smart, creative climate coverage—especially from young audiences, for whom the climate emergency is often top-of-mind. Indeed, there’s good evidence that strong climate coverage can actually boost a news outlet’s bottom line.

10. For God’s sake, do not platform climate denialists. We understand as well as anyone that opinion pages occasionally need to push the envelope with unpopular takes. But there is no longer any good faith argument against climate science—and if one accepts the science, one also accepts the imperative for rapid, forceful action. Op-eds that detract from the scientific consensus, or ridicule climate activism, don’t belong in a serious news outlet.

Note: Some of the bolded intros to each section are in newspeak, in which the words used don’t necessarily mean what they say. The “Say yes to the science”, for instance, really means “only speak of science that dictates a climate crisis – never mention contrary facts or opinions”. Worse than that, CCNow recommends that if contrary science must be presented, then it should be framed as “inaccurate” and counterfactual, if not rooted in bad faith.” It is forbidden by CCNow to report facts or opinions not in alignment with the Climate Emergency meme. This is reinforced in item 10: “For God’s sake, do not platform climate denialists.” Insisting that “there is no longer any good faith argument against climate science—and if one accepts the science, one also accepts the imperative for rapid, forceful action. Op-eds that detract from the scientific consensus, or ridicule climate activism, don’t belong in a serious news outlet.”

This whole CCNow effort is the very definition of the antithesis to journalism. Journalism is meant to inform the public of the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of issues facing the populace.  CCNow wants to propagandize the public.

Propagandize?  Yes, precisely the correct word.

prop·a·gan·dize /ˌpräpəˈɡanˌdīz/
verb derogatory

  1. promote or publicize a particular cause, organization, or view, especially in a biased or misleading way. Similar: advocate
  2. attempt to influence (someone) with propaganda.
    “people who have to be emotionalized and propagandized by logical arguments”

Whenever there are demands to present only one side of any issue, and to actively denigrate opposing views and those who hold those views, one is dealing with propaganda.  The rules and methods of effective propaganda have been honed over the decades:


Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts in order to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language in order to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented. Propaganda is often associated with material which is prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations, the media, and individuals also produce propaganda. [ source ]

CCNow acknowledges that it is a propaganda effort in its own words.

Are these people just a bunch of liars? No, I suspect that many of them are “True Believers” having grown up and been (mis)educated during the Global Warming/Climate Change era since the late 1980s. They want to believe and they want everyone else to believe too. They seem willing to do and say anything to make others believe. Unfortunately, they seem short on critical thinking skills, stubbornly remaining ignorant of any opposing facts, and suffer from varying degrees of Jor-El syndrome. They’ve been trained in a type of non-journalism, in which they are all imaging themselves to be the new “Woodward and Bernstein”  — exposing the evils of society and – in this case – Saving Krypton The Planet.

This article is an introduction to the story-lines being pushed by CCNow and their partners. I will be analyzing many of these stories over the next few weeks, but I start with this one simple example (out of many) from the CCNow page intended to assure their partners that there really is a Climate Emergency: “Who Says It’s a Climate Emergency?”

In early 2021, two-thirds of the world’s people think climate change is a “global emergency,” according to a new poll, the largest ever on climate.

Shocking news – two-thirds – two out of every three – “of the world’s people” (all 7.7 billion of them) “think climate change is a ‘global emergency’”. Really? Let’s see what this is really about. Let’s find out: what have they really counted?

The Guardian (a founding member of CCNow) published this:

UN global climate poll: ‘The people’s voice is clear – they want action’

Biggest ever survey finds two-thirds of people think climate change is a global emergency”

This headline and subsequent story are based on a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) survey. Here’s what they really did (please, don’t laugh, this is serious!):

UNDP Peoples’ Climate Vote

“The Peoples’ Climate Vote was conducted from 7 October to 4 December 2020 by distributing poll questions through adverts in popular mobile gaming apps to 50 countries. When a person played a popular mobile game – such as Words with FriendsAngry BirdsDragon City or Subway Surfers – the poll would replace the traditional in-game advert. This innovative approach led to a huge, unique, and random sample of 1.22 million people of all genders, ages, and educational backgrounds. It also meant that the Peoples’ Climate Vote reached people who are sometimes hard to reach in traditional polling, such as those below the age of 18.”

“Voters were first asked two questions about whether they believe climate change is a global emergency and, if so, what kind of action they think the world should take (see Box 1). Then they were asked a series of questions about the different kinds of climate policies – across the six key policy areas of the Mission 1.5 game – that they would like their government to enact. The data were collated and processed by analysts at the University of Oxford, who used official statistics to weight the data to create representative estimates of public opinion. With such a large sample size, and rich socio-demographic information, the margin of error of the results is on average +/- 2%.” [ source – full report pdf ]

Stop laughing, please.

Having collected 1.22 million responses from kids playing silly, online video games on their phones, every one of whom gave their serious and well-considered and true answers and never ever lied about themselves having a college degree or their age, the United Nations Development Programme, after “analysts at the University of Oxford . . . used official statistics to weight the data”, concluded confidently that:

“The Peoples’ Climate Vote found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of people in 50 countries believe that climate change is a global emergency”

Not one of CCNow’s partners have mentioned the absurdity of the finding and seem perfectly happy to pass it on as a Scientific Fact. The survey results are being used by CCNow and their 460 news partners to show just how real the Climate Emergency really is – after all, a lot of videogame playing kids say so.

Watch this space for further examples of what other propaganda is being churned out, and echoed again and again and again, in the world press.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

This propaganda effort is playing on and amplifying – in a feedback loop similar to the one that occurred with Covid-19 —  the Mass Hysteria surrounding the weather.

I could spend the rest of the year exposing both the subtle and the egregious lies being foisted off on the public through this pernicious effort.

I don’t hold out much hope of making a difference by doing so.

I do hope that I can offer little bits of Propaganda Fighting Tidbits to your personal arsenals.

May 5, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment


By Paul Robinson | IRRUSSIANALITY | April 26, 2021

Several press articles I’ve seen in the past few days have annoyed me rather, but I think that they are useful as examples of how reporting on Russia is distorted. For they demonstrate the methods used by journalists to paint a picture of the world that is far from accurate.

The articles in question come from those bastions of balanced reporting, The New York Times and The Guardian. The first is from Sunday’s edition of the NYT, with the title ‘The Arms Dealer in the Crosshairs of Russia’s Elite Assassination Squad’. This discusses Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, whose weapons were destroyed in an explosion in the Czech Republic in 2014, allegedly by Russian secret agents.

The second article is also from the NYT. This one has the title ‘After Testing the World’s Limits, Putin Steps Back From the Brink,’ and analyzes what author Anton Troianovski calls Russia’s ‘escalatory approach to foreign policy’, as seen by the Russian military build up near the Ukrainian border.

The third and final piece is from The Guardian, and is about last week’s protests in support of jailed oppositionist Alexei Navalny. This is somewhat schizophrenic, on the one hand saying that the pro-Navalny movement is in trouble, but on the other hand portraying the protests as a relative success and ending on a confident note that however grim things look for the opposition now, this can change at any moment.

Anyway, as one reads these articles one notices certain techniques that are used to paint a distorted picture of reality. So if you want to be a journalist, here’s what the articles teach that you should do:

1. Make stuff up. In the Guardian article, authors Andrew Roth and Luke Harding (yes, he!) begin by telling readers that ‘The future looked unspeakably grim for Alexey Navalny’s supporters before this week’s protests’. But it then lifts our spirits with the following:

What followed was surprisingly normal: a core of tens of thousands of Navalny supporters rallied near the Kremlin, waving mobile phone torches and chanting “Putin is a thief!” The police stood back in Moscow (there was a violent crackdown in St Petersburg). For an evening, the crowd roved the streets of the capital at will.

“This feeling of enthusiasm, of overcoming fear, the protest ended on a positive note … It left me with the feeling that nothing is lost, it’s still not the final battle, and that street protests in Russia are not over forever,” said Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, in an interview from Europe.

Ah yes, the protests were a huge success, euphoric. There were ‘tens of thousands of Navalny supporters rallied near the Kremlin.’

Except that most reporters said that there was nothing of the sort, and that the turnout was far below expectations.

Estimates of the size of the protest crowd vary, but the Russian Interior Ministry reckoned the numbers as 14,000 across the entire country and only 6,000 in Moscow. Interior Ministry counts tend to be on the low size, so you can treat them with a pinch of salt, but Russian media outlets were claiming a crowd in Moscow of 10,000 to 15,000, , while Western journalists’ estimates were in the same ballpark. Max Seddon of the Financial Times, for instance, reckoned the number at about 10,000 and commented that it was much lower than in the last protests in January. So ‘tens of thousands’ as The Guardian claims? Apparently not.

The Guardian isn’t alone in providing misleading data. In its article about the Bulgarian arms dealer, The New York Times has the following to say:

After pro-democracy protestors toppled the Kremlin’s puppet government there [i.e. Ukraine], Russia special forces units wearing unmarked uniforms seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula and also instigated a separatist uprising that is still going on in the east.

Let’s unravel this a bit: Were the demonstrators in Kiev really ‘pro-democracy’? Debatable, though not provably 100% false. But definitely untrue is the idea that the Ukrainian government that was toppled in February 2014 was a ‘Russian puppet’. That’s simply false. As for Russian special forces ‘annexing’ Crimea, it’s true in a way, although not the whole story of what happened. But the claim that Russian special forces ‘instigated a separatist uprising’ in Donbass is without foundation. I know of no evidence of ‘Russian special forces’ having been present in Donbass in the early weeks of the uprising there. (Strelkov and his goons were not ‘Russian special forces’, and most analyses of the uprising show how it was overwhelmingly spontaneous and local in origin.)

So, again, making stuff up.

2. Mention that others have ‘reported’, ‘claimed’, or ‘alleged’ something without pointing out that the claim in question is dubious at best, or false at worst.

For example. The NYT piece about Mr Gebrev talks about the alleged Russian spy unit, Unit 29155, and tell us that:

Last year, the Times revealed a CIA assessment that officers from the unit may have carried out a secret operation to pay bounties to a network of criminal militants in Afghanistan in exchange for attacks on US and coalition troops.

This is superficially true in that the Times did reveal this assessment. But what it doesn’t tell you is that the US government only has low to medium confidence that the claim is true. That’s kind of important, don’t you think? Shouldn’t it be mentioned? By failing to do so, the Times makes out that something is true that probably isn’t.

It’s not the only example. Talking of Ukraine a little later, the same article tells us that after war broke out in Donbass,

Russian assassins fanned out across the country, killing senior Ukrainian military and intelligence officials who were central to the war effort, according to Ukrainian officials.

They did, did they? Well, maybe ‘according to Ukrainian officials’ they did. But I have to say that it’s the first I’ve ever heard of it, and if it were true wouldn’t there have been news of lots of dead Ukrainian military and intelligence officers? Given that there wasn’t any such news, why repeat the claim? Shouldn’t the Times at least check it first.

3. Cite only sources that back up the narrative you are trying to tell. Ignore alternative viewpoints.

This kind of follows on from the last. If you are writing about Ukraine, cite ‘Ukrainian officials’. But don’t cite rebel spokesmen. If you’re talking about Russia, cite oppositionists. Ignore pro-government analysts.

We can see this in the Guardian piece. This quotes a couple of members of Navalny’s team, a British professor, a pro-Navalny Russia high schooler, and then to finish off some completely random former advisor to one-time British foreign minister Robin Cook, whose connection to, and knowledge of, Russia is completely unexplained. The only reason for giving him the final word seems to be that he came up with some nice lines about how opposition movements can suddenly triumph even when they seem to be losing. Needless to say, dissenting viewpoints are nowhere to be heard in the article.

The NYT piece about Russia stepping ‘back from the brink’ is similarly loaded with carefully chosen sources. First up is the ever-present Gleb Pavlovsky, a one-time advisor to Vladimir Putin turned oppositionist, who seems to be the eternal go-to person for anti-Putin quotes. After him, the article gives us a quote from Navalny’s assistant Leonid Volkov, a statement from Ukrainian National Security Advisor Oleksiy Danilov, and a few words from the generally pretty anti-Putin Estonian analyst Kadri Liik. For a pretence of balance we also get a statement by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and the opinion of Konstantin Remchukov, editor of Nezavisimaia Gazeta, a newspaper whose political stance isn’t 100% clear to me but strikes me as sort-of oppositional, sort of not (given that Remchukov ran the re-election campaign of Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin). All in all, the anti-government voices get the bulk of the space.

So there you have it. Make some stuff up. Reference ‘claims’ and ‘allegations’ without pointing out that they are unsubstantiated or even false. And throw in lots of quotes from pundits who support the chosen narrative. Easy as pie. A career as a journalist awaits you. Just don’t bother trying to be accurate. Understood?

April 26, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment