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Media trust ranker NewsGuard launches in UK by greenlighting tabloids, adding ex-NATO chief to board

RT | April 24, 2019

NewsGuard, the trust-rating outfit that continues to approve of US media that spread the Russiagate conspiracy theory, has expanded operations to the UK and added a former NATO chief to its advisory board.

Announcing its UK debut on Wednesday, NewsGuard bragged about including Anders Fogh Rasmussen to their advisory board, describing him only as “former prime minister of Denmark.” While he did serve in that capacity between 2001 and 2009, his most recent public office was secretary-general of NATO (2009-2014), which NewsGuard omits from their tweet – but not from the Advisory Board page.

Rasmussen’s colleagues on NewsGuard’s board include former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, as well as the self-described former “chief propagandist” for the US government Richard Stengel.

Other new additions to the board are Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Richard Sambrook, former “Director of Global News for the BBC” who now provides “editing and editorial guidance” for NewsGuard’s “nutrition labels.”

Those labels rank news outlets оn a number of categories, which are then combined into a trustworthiness score, expressed as a green checkmark or red “x.” There is a certain pattern in which kinds of outlets get the former and which get the latter.

Three major UK tabloids – The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Star – all got an overall “green” rating, for instance. While NewsGuard claims to be rating outlets rather than individual articles, if you have their extension installed in your browser (and it comes by default with Microsoft’s Edge), you’ll see a NewsGuard symbol next to actual story headlines in your searches.

Media critic John Nolte of Breitbart – in the “red” category just like RT – pointed out on Monday that NewsGuard’s seal of approval can be found on nine of the top 12 debunked stories pushing the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory. He provided screenshots.

Even after the 448-page report by special counsel Robert Mueller spelled out “no collusion” between US President Donald Trump and Russia, multiple mainstream media outlets that have pushed this conspiracy for almost three years have refused to apologize or correct their reporting, claiming instead it was “mostly” proven correct.

“That big, green checkmark of approval still sits next to some of the most misleading stories in history,” Nolte wrote, adding, “In all my decades of following the media, I have never seen a more Orwellian attempt to mislead people by deliberately labeling lies as truth and truth as lies.”

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

‘I Was Set Up’: Papadopoulos Tells Sputnik He Was Target of US, UK Intelligence

Sputnik – 24.04.2019

George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the first person to plead guilty in the Russiagate investigation, told Sputnik Tuesday that he was targeted by UK and US intelligence to serve as a “patsy” who would ease their targeting of the Trump campaign.

“I was set up to become some sort of patsy in this conspiracy, which I believe was designed for two reasons: one was to initially cover up that I was being spied on for other reasons,” Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday, “and two, to then use me and frame me to eventually undermine the Trump presidency and use me as some sort of conspiracy person that connects all the dots that never existed in the first place.”

In October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in what was the first guilty plea of those charged in the Russia probe. In the two years since, he has become a household name. A former volunteer foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of the FBI regarding his contacts in 2016 related to US-Russian relations. In the end, he took a plea to the throwaway charge of making a false statement. He now has a book out called “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.”

​Papadopoulos explained that in the summer of 2015, he went to Europe for work after his initial approach to the Trump campaign was rebuffed and Ben Carson’s campaign fell apart. When he was preparing to leave after Trump did eventually approach him with an offer of work, he was invited by Arvinder Sambei, a co-director of the London Center of International Law Practice, to a conference on the Link Campus University in Rome, where he could meet well-connected people that would help him in future political work with the Trump campaign.

It was in March 2016 at the Link Campus, a CIA spy school that trained Italian intelligence services, that he met a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud, who offered to introduce Papadopoulos to Eurasian politicos, including in Russia, and to be a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It was this meeting, which Papadopoulos says he misreported the date of to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, that got him charged.

However, Papadopoulos said the Trump campaign was in general ambivalent and noncommittal about the idea of a foreign policy trip to Russia, which the adviser suggested in order to present image of worldliness and diplomatic credentials to US public, not to coordinate with Russia.

Papadopoulos said he never told the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s sudden revelations one night that the Russians ostensibly had “thousands” of Hillary Clinton’s emails, because he “never found this person credible.”

He noted that “in Europe there was open speculation that Hillary Clinton’s personal server had been hacked, so when Joseph Mifsud told me this information I thought he was validating a rumor, but then I was confused as to how he could have had inside information when this person couldn’t even introduce me to the Russian ambassador in London after I asked him to at least five times.” The former adviser said he “gossiped about it with the Greek foreign minister,” Nikos Kotzias, but never told Alexander Downer, then the Australian high commissioner to the UK, at a meeting at which Papadopoulos supposedly drunkenly blabbed about Russia having Clinton’s emails.

However, Papadopoulos told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that Downer requested the meeting with him and that he believed the diplomat was recording him, so he remained “very cognizant of my surroundings at that meeting” — suspicions he said were later vindicated by conversations with FBI agents.

Papadopoulos told Sputnik he thought he was set up by US intelligence as a “patsy.”

“I believe I had been under surveillance immediately upon joining the campaign. And then there was this understanding that I was trying to organize this meeting with Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, and he drops this information in my lap, and they hoped that I would repeat it to the campaign, but I never did.”

The former adviser said he was emailed out of the blue by Stefan Halper seeking a report on Greek and Cypriot politics at Cambridge University, where Halper heads the Department of Politics and International Studies. However, when they met in Britain, Papadopoulos says the scholar berated his opinions and asked very open-ended and leading questions about him and the Trump campaign’s goals, which Papadopoulos forcefully rejected.

The adviser told Sputnik that when Halper asked those questions, he pulled out his phone “similarly to how Alexander Downer had done, so I suspected right away that he was spying or he was recording my conversation.” Indeed, Halper was outed by US media as an FBI informant in May 2018 and, as the Intercept reported at the time, had also worked as a CIA operative to illegally spy on President Jimmy Carter’s administration during the 1980 presidential election.

“The Reagan campaign — using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-vice-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush — got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration,” the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote. “The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”

Papadopoulos said Halper was a spy, used to try and frame him as well as to “spy on me for my ties to the Israeli and Cypriot energy business, which I’ve been told I had a FISA warrant issued on me for, and that’s why he paid me $3,000 and lured me to London, where the CIA has jurisdiction, not the FBI, and where MI6 has jurisdiction… obviously Stefan Halper has very close links to MI6,” he said. Papadopoulos noted that Downer and Mifsud also have “suspicious links” to both each other and to MI6, the British intelligence agency.

Papadopoulos said he didn’t speak out after being implicated because he had a gag order, but also the FBI threatened his girlfriend Simona, “because she knew too much about Joseph Mifsud and his connections to Italy,” and she was serving as his voice during that period.

“Without her I would’ve had no credibility,” he told Sputnik, “and I think that’s actually why the Mueller team arrested me in the savagelike manner that they did, the reason they had me under a gag order and why they had me under a sealed indictment the way that they did, because they never wanted any of this story ever coming out. But unfortunately for them, it is coming out, and my testimony has been used by the Republicans to help launch new investigations into the investigators.”

None of this, he noted, could have ever taken place without the initiative of the Obama administration and the cooperation of foreign governments.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Folks Who Lie, Cheat and Steal for a Living — Project Fake Duck

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | April 24, 2019

Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and now chief diplomat of the United States, made the following remarks in a recent interview:

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s — it was like — we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

That perhaps won’t come as too much of a surprise to many people, but it is nonetheless welcome to have it admitted by no less a person than the former director of that organisation.

However, in the light of the stunning, albeit unwitting, revelation in The New York Times, that the then deputy director of the CIA (now director), Gina Haspel, used pictures of sick children and dead ducks allegedly from the Salisbury poisoning to persuade Donald Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats — even though no children became ill and no ducks died — one wonders whether those entire training courses Mr Pompeo refers to include modules on “How to lie to the President,” and “The use of fowl play to manipulate the Commander-in-Chief”.

But there is, I think, even more to the duck story than meets the eye. In order to explain why this is so, it is necessary to first set out a timeline of events connected with it:

4th March
Two people were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings in Salisbury in what was initially thought to be a Fentanyl overdose.


5th March
Military personnel in HazMats intensely searched a bin located adjacent to the Avon Playground (see here and here)


13th March
Theresa May spoke to Donald Trump by phone. According to Downing Street’s report of the conversation:

“The Prime Minister set out the conclusion reached by the UK government that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. President Trump said the US was with the UK all the way, agreeing that the Russian government must provide unambiguous answers as to how this nerve agent came to be used.”

According to the British Government, no further phone calls took place between the two leaders after this until 28th March.


18th March*
The parents of Aiden Cooper and the two other boys involved in feeding the ducks were contacted by police and checked out for possible symptoms of poisoning, but were given the all clear.
(*I have stated 18th March, but this is an approximate date based on an interview with Aiden Cooper’s father, Luke, who said that the police came knocking on the door “two weeks after” the incident, which would make it on, or close to, 18th March.)


20th March
President Trump called President Putin, to congratulate him on his election win. He did not, however, mention the Skripal case. According to the Washington Post:

“Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow… Trump’s failure to raise Moscow’s alleged poisoning of the former spy in Britain risked angering officials in London, who are trying to rally Britain’s closest allies to condemn the attack.”


Between 20th and 23rd March

The Deputy Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, used fake images of sick children and dead ducks to persuade President Trump to take the toughest action against the Russian state, which involved the expulsion of 60 diplomats and the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle.


Saturday 24th March

The first mention in the media (The Mirror ) that Mr Skripal fed ducks near the Avon Playground, giving bread to three boys. The article also contained two very significant statements. The first was this:

“The incident involving the boys, who are believed to have been given the all-clear, was confirmed by Public Health England and described by British officials to US authorities [my emphasis].”

The second was the first mention in the media of the possibility of the door handle as the place of poisoning:

“The shocking revelation is one of a series we can make today, including how investigators are now focusing on the double agent’s front door handle as the “ground zero” where spooks planted the deadly poison.”


25th March
At his Mar-a-Lago resort, President Trump was briefed by his aides who explained that the number of diplomats the US would be expelling – 60 – was roughly the same amount as the Europeans.


26th March

The expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats by the US was publicly confirmed. On the same day, Theresa May made a statement to the House of Commons, in which she said the following:

“And as I announced today, 18 countries have announced their intention to expel more than 100 Russian intelligence officers, including 15 EU member states as well as the US, Canada and the Ukraine. And this is the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.”

It should also be noted that her statement contained an outright falsehood. She stated:

“Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain critically ill in hospital. Sadly, late last week doctors indicated that their condition is unlikely to change in the near future and they may never recover fully.”

This was not true, since “late last week”, Yulia Skripal was being taken out of an induced coma by doctors, which was completed by 23rd or 24th March (see here for further details).


28th March
The door handle as the place of poisoning was said to have been confirmed. On the same day, The Sun carried an interview with Aiden Cooper and his parents about the duck feed incident. In the piece, Aiden’s father, Luke, confirmed that it was “two weeks” after the poisoning that police had contacted them.


What can we make of this?

The first thing to say is that a key piece of evidence in this whole saga is to be found in the event that took place 5th March. Approximately 24 hours after the incident on the bench, military personnel in Hazmats were filmed searching very intensely in a particular bin. But there are three very curious points to note about this bin:

  1. It is not located near the bench on which the poisoned pair were found.
  2. It is absolutely not on the route from the Sainsbury’s car park to Zizzis or The Mill, and would in fact constitute a bizarre detour, if your intended destination was Zizzis or The Mill.
  3. It absolutely is located next to the Avon Playground, and is in fact the exact location of the duck feed.

It seems to me that the only explanation for why this bin, which is a good 50 yards or so away from the bench, and which is not on the route from the car park to Zizzis or The Mill, was the focus of such intense scrutiny, is that it was known already by the evening of 5th March that the Skripals had been there. Why else would it have been checked? Whether this was because police had already seen the clear CCTV footage of the Skripals in this area that was subsequently shown to the parents of the three children two weeks later, or whether it was known because Mr Skripal was being watched on 4th March, I do not know. But I can think of no reason why this particular bin would have been searched so meticulously, other than the one I have advanced, which is that it was already known on 5th March that the Skripals had been around it.

But if this is the case, it raises the following point:

That as early as 5th March, police knew that Mr Skripal had been in contact with three boys near that bin, and that he had shared bread with them in order to feed ducks.

If this is so, it leads to the huge question of why the boys’ parents were not contacted until two weeks later. Clues to why that might be are also in the timeline I have set out.

Mrs May spoke to Mr Trump on 13th March, the day after she originally set out the case against Russia in the House of Commons, and the day before she formally charged the Russian Government with being behind the case, expelling 23 Russian diplomats. On the surface of it, it seems that Mr Trump stood fully behind Mrs May, and that he would agree with whatever action was proposed to him, since — according to the British Government’s summary of the call — he said that “the US was with the UK all the way.”

However, the fact that this was not so was seen by what happened on 20th March. This was the day when Mr Trump phoned the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and despite being advised by his aides not to congratulate him on his re-election, Mr Trump ignored them and did so anyway. But even more crucially, he also failed to mention anything about the Skripal case, which again went against the advice of his aides, who had urged him to condemn it in the conversation. Given that his reaction to seeing Ms Haspel’s fake pictures was to agree to the expulsion of 60 diplomats, I think we can safely say that at the time of his call to Mr Putin, he had not yet seen these images.

The fake pictures of the sick children and dead ducks were, I submit, very probably a reaction to that conversation. Although Mr Trump was apparently “with the UK all the way” on 13th March (at least that’s how Downing Street put it), it seems that on 20th March, he still wasn’t nearly as troubled by the event as Ms Haspel and Co. hoped he would be. She was angling for the “strong option” of expelling 60 diplomats, and there was Mr Trump not even bothering to mention it in his conversation with Mr Putin. And so he had to be “persuaded” by the deputy director of the organisation that “lies, cheats and steals”.

(As an aside, I have stated that this meeting with Ms Haspel probably took place between 20th and 23rd March. The reason for the former data is that, as stated above, I am sure that Mr Trump had not been shown these pictures when he spoke to Mr Putin on 20th March. The reason for the latter date is that the New York Times tells us that this meeting occurred at the White House, and by late afternoon on 23rd March Mr Trump was on his way to his Mar-a-Lago resort, and he didn’t return until late on Sunday 25th, the day before the public announcement of the expulsion of the diplomats. So Project Fake Duck had to have happened between those two dates).

All this raises huge issues in the US, where it appears that the CIA deputy director fed the President of the United States false information to twist his arm to achieve the outcome she wanted to see. That’s for journalists in the US to take up, if they care to, but what happened in Britain?

As I mentioned above, the activity around the bin next to the Avon Playground convinces me that the duck feed must have been known to the authorities as early as 5th March. And yet the parents of the boys involved were only contacted on 18th March. If Mr Skripal had really been contaminated with “Novichok” at the time of that incident, the best you could say of the investigators in relation to this is that they were woefully incompetent; the worst being that they were criminally negligent.

But of course, the fact that none of the boys or ducks became contaminated with the “Novichok” that Mr Skripal was apparently so covered with that they had to incinerate the table in Zizzis at which he was sat a few minutes after this incident, and the fact that the authorities didn’t bother contacting the parents of the boys for a fortnight, all indicates that he was not in fact contaminated at all at that time.

But if this is the case, why did the duck feed make it into the media at all? Given that it was almost certainly known about on 5th March, but the authorities decided not to do anything about it for two weeks (i.e. no public appeals showing the CCTV of Mr Skripal with the boys), why was it ever even mentioned at all? I think that there are two reasons, which are not mutually exclusive.

The first is that the British authorities, aware that their claims of a poisoning by the world’s deadliest nerve agent didn’t exactly match what actually happened — only three people ever experienced symptoms of poisoning and needed treatment — wanted to make it look far more dramatic than it actually was. And so they not only decided to finally visit the boys and their parents two weeks after the fact, but the story was then leaked to the media intentionally to add another sinister dimension to the event — the possible poisoning of children!

To give credence to the theory that officials were intent on exaggerating the fallout of the poisoning, because their claims of what happened didn’t actually match well with the facts, look at what Theresa May said of the incident in her statement to the House of Commons on 26th March:

“While Public Health England have made clear that the risk to public health is low — and this remains the case — we assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.”

She really should win an award for the use of the most weasel words in one sentence, although I appreciate that she herself has set the bar pretty high on a number of other issues. More than 130? Could have been? Potentially exposed to this nerve agent? Absolute rot of course. Firstly, if the world’s deadliest nerve agent had been used and traipsed all over Salisbury by Mr Skripal and his daughter, as we were told, then an awful lot more than 130 would have been exposed. But more to the point, this didn’t actually happen. What happened is that three people were affected. Not four. Not five. Not 10. Not 130. Not 10,000. No, just three.

In other words, there was a blatant attempt to exaggerate what happened, or what might have, could have, potentially happened, with the Prime Minister getting in on the act. The duck feed, in my view, was part of this blatant attempt to embellish the story, even though the truth was that it had been known from 5th March that it had happened, yet nobody bothered to contact the parents because it was known that the children were never in any danger.

I am, of course, unsure whether British officials fed this story, together with fake pictures, to the CIA, or whether the CIA faked them, or whether both worked in concert together on Project Fake Duck. However, I have to say that the latter of these three possibilities seems to me to be by far the most plausible. I simply cannot imagine that British officials would dare to feed the CIA fake pictures, in the knowledge that these could be used to deceive the President. And I simply cannot imagine that the CIA would pass off pictures as being received from British Intelligence, in order to deceive the President.

What I can imagine is that both sides had a need to find a way to exaggerate the case. British officials needed to make what happened seem more dramatic, and what better way than to finally get around to visiting the boys who had received bread from Mr Skripal, and then pass the details to a journalist in a major British newspaper, who would then publish a story showing the sheer callousness of the poisoning — children were involved. As for the deputy director of the CIA, she also had a need to exaggerate the case, since it was her desire to take the harshest diplomatic response against Russia, and yet the President was probably too bored or distracted by Twitter to care or even notice. “Any pictures you’ve got will be welcome.” “Oh yes, we can get those for you.” And so the lying, cheating and stealing was used on the President himself, and Duckgate was spawned. Except no mainstream journalist will touch it of course.

But I think that there is another reason why the duck feed made it into the media, despite the fact that the boys and their parents were ignored for two weeks. It is to do with that other significant incident mentioned in the timeline above: the naming of the door handle as the place of poisoning.

I believe I have pretty conclusively shown why the door handle was not, and indeed could not have been, the location of the poisoning. The duck feed itself is ample evidence, since none of the boys became contaminated and no ducks died. But if that doesn’t convince you, the fact that in the days following 4th March unprotected police officers were seen going in and out of Mr Skripal’s house via the same front door which, weeks later, was said to have the highest concentration of the world’s deadliest nerve agent on, really ought to put it to bed for good (you can read a more detailed debunking here).

If you accept this conclusion, it necessarily follows that the door handle theory, rather than being an honest account of what really happened, was actually an attempt to divert attention from the actual place of poisoning, and also an attempt to try to explain how it was that Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey became the third person to be poisoned. And indeed this explains why the duck feed, which was ignored for two weeks (because it was known that the boys were not in any danger), suddenly became a thing. Why? Well imagine that investigators had come out with the claim that Mr Skripal had been poisoned at the door handle, but the boys and their parents were not contacted. That would have left open the potential for the boys’ parents, at some point, to raise the claim that their sons had been in contact with Mr Skripal, and the authorities had done nothing to contact them, thus putting their lives in danger. And so I believe that by far the most plausible explanation for this is that it was decided to contact the parents of the boys, even though it was two weeks after the incident, and even though it was known that they were never in any danger, in order to ensure that there was no possible comeback after the door handle explanation was made public.

However, like the whole of this saga, the incident has merely ended up raising more questions. It has raised the question of why the boys and their parents weren’t contacted for a whole fortnight, even though it was surely known by 5th March that they had fed ducks with Mr Skripal. It has raised the question of why these boys and the ducks they fed did not become ill. It has raised the question of why the incident was then used, together with fake pictures, to deceive the President of the United States.

The answer, as I have attempted to set out above, is essentially two-fold:

Firstly, because the poisoning and its aftermath didn’t actually chime with the claim of “Novichok” being used, something more dramatic was needed to up the ante. The fact that children were known to have been with Mr Skripal that afternoon was then exploited by both British officials and the CIA to further their own agendas.

Secondly, because the duck incident presented a potential problem for the door handle theory, in that the boys received bread from the apparently highly contaminated Mr Skripal just 15-30 minutes after he left his house, a visit to the parents of the boys was deemed necessary to avoid a potential claim of negligence later on.

Let me end by saying this: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first mention of the duck feed, the first mention of the door handle explanation, and the first mention of British officials describing the duck feed incident to US authorities all appeared in the same article (The Mirror ). The issues are intrinsically tied together, and they all provide more evidence that the truth has been covered up. But then again, when you’re talking about the sorts of people who think nothing of lying, cheating and stealing for a living, I don’t suppose that should surprise us.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

David Attenborough’s BBC show would better have been called “Climate: Change The Facts”

Reviewing “Climate Change: the Facts” | April 21, 2019

… If you are going to present a film called Climate Change: the Facts the very least you should be doing is, well, presenting the facts. Well here they are, in two of the areas which made up such a hefty part of the film: wildfires and hurricanes. Are wildfires increasing? They are according to Attenborough. One of the scientists who takes part in the programme, Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University, goes as far as to say there has been a “tripling in the extent of wildfires in the Western US”. He is not specific about his evidence for this claim, nor said over what timeframe wildfires are supposed to have trebled, but it is not a fair assessment of the data collected by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). This shows no upwards trend in the number of wildfires in the US over the past 30 years.

But then again, go back further, to the 1920s, and you see that both the number of US wildfires and acreage burned in them has plummeted.

That is nothing to do with the climate – more down to firefighters getting better at tackling fires. But that reduction in wildfires – which, after all, were occurring naturally long before Europeans arrived in the US – has brought with it a problem: deadwood is not being cleared out at the rate which it used to be. As a result, when a wildfire does take hold, it tends to be a more powerful fire, which is one reason large acreages tend to get burned when fires do take hold. That was a large part of the debate which followed the wildfires in California last November.

But I know what will have entered the heads of many of Attenborough’s viewers: that wildfires are being caused by climate change and that is that. […]

The same will be true for hurricanes. If you are a child, for whom hurricanes are a novel phenomenon, watching the film will have given you the impression that hurricanes are pretty much a function of man-made climate change. A voiceover, indeed, makes the claim that climate change is causing ‘greater storms’. But again, the data on cyclone activity in the Atlantic, Gulf and Mexico and Caribbean does not support that idea. Figure one shows a very slight upwards trend in the number of hurricanes occurring in these waters but a flat or perhaps slightly downwards trend in the number of hurricanes making landfall in the US. There are two other methods of measuring hurricane activity which are used by the EPA. The first, the accumulated cyclone index (figure two) shows no obvious trend over the past 70 years. The second, the ‘power dissipation index’ shows an upwards spike in the early years of this century, followed by a reversion to mean since then.

Not that this seems to prevent documentary-makers like Attenborough resorting to footage of houses being demolished by winds and lorries being blown off bridges to show the supposed climate change we are already experiencing.

It is little wonder that terrified kids are skipping school to protest against climate change. Never mind climate change denial, a worse problem is the constant exaggeration of the subject. I had thought David Attenborough would be above resorting to the subtle propaganda which others have been propagating, linking every adverse weather event to climate change. But apparently not. — Ross Clark, The Spectator, 20 April 2019


… [W]e have already seen what can happen when ‘panic’ determines policy: the introduction of measures conceived by a need to be seen to be doing something under pressure from groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

Without making this clear, the film revealed one of the worst examples of this unfortunate effect. A powerful sequence showed an orangutan, fleeing loggers who have been eradicating Borneo’s rainforest.

This is disastrous for both wildlife and the climate because, as the film pointed out, a third of global emissions are down to deforestation, because giant trees lock up a lot of carbon.

But why are Borneo’s forests being cut down? The reason, as Attenborough said, is palm oil, a lucrative crop used in products ranging from soap to biscuits. Unfortunately, he left out the final stage of the argument.

Half of all the millions of tons of palm oil sent to Europe is used to make ‘biofuel’, thanks to an EU directive stating that, by 2020, ten per cent of forecourt fuel must come from ‘renewable’ biological sources. Malaysia says this has ‘created an unprecedented demand’.

To put it another way: misguided ‘action’ designed to save the planet is actually helping to damage it – although the EU has pledged to phase out palm oil biofuel by 2030.

Another example of a misconceived effort to save the planet is Drax power plant in Yorkshire which is fed, thanks to £700 million of annual subsidy, by ‘renewable’ wood pellets made from chopped-down American trees – while pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than when it burnt only coal.

In theory, the trees it burns will be replaced – but a large part of its supply comes from hardwood forests that take 100 years to mature.

There are times when climate propaganda – for this is what this was – calls to mind the apocalyptic prophets of the Middle Ages, who led popular movements by preaching that the sins of human beings were so great that they could only be redeemed by suffering, in order to create a paradise on earth. Perhaps this is how Attenborough, nature journalism’s Methuselah, sees himself. But climate change is too important to be handled in this manner. It needs rational, well-informed debate. Too often, cheered on by the eco-zealots of Extinction Rebellion, the BBC is intent on encouraging quite the opposite. —David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 21 April 2019


… A former top executive at the BBC has warned that it is “at risk of being eaten” as new figures reveal that more than 880,000 television licences were cancelled last year. Cancellations among the under-75s rose from 860,192 in 2017-18 to 882,198 in the period from March 2018 to the end of February, new data shows. Mosey, 61, criticised the dumbing-down of news and “the nonsense put on social media by BBC” staff.  —The Sunday Times, 21 April 2019

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

How Has Former MI6 Spymaster Richard Dearlove Dodged Scrutiny Despite Links To Russiagate?

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/18/2019

One of the figures involved in the Obama administration’s “Russiagate” scandal who has largely avoided scrutiny is former MI6 spymaster Sir Richard Dearlove, who is intimately linked to several key players in what many now believe was a high-level Set-up against the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election.

Dearlove, who served as chief of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, had contact during the 2016 campaign with dossier author Christopher Steele. He is also a close colleague of Stefan Halper, the alleged FBI and CIA informant who established contact with several Trump campaign advisers. Dearlove and Halper attended a Cambridge political event in July 2016 where Halper had his first contact with Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. –Daily Caller

Of note, Dearlove is best known for peddling a report alleging that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, which then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair used to justify launching a war against Iraq.

In 2014, the retired British spymaster hosted an event at Cambridge University along with Halper. In attendance was then-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn, as well as a Russian-born college student Svetlana Lokhova. Both Dearlove and Halper reportedly expressed concerns about Flynn’s contacts with Lokhova – which the 38-year-old Russian-born academic says is complete bullshit.

 

Stefan Halper and the Pentagon, which paid him over $1 million during the Obama administration for “research.”

General Flynn was the guest of honor and he sat on one side of the table in the middle. I sat on the opposite side of the table to Flynn next to Richard Dearlove because I was the only woman at dinner, and it’s a British custom that the only woman gets to sit next to the host,” Lokhova told Fox News, who added that she has never been alone with Flynn. On the contrary, the unplanned encounter was professional and mildly productive.

Sir Richard Dearlove (L), Prof. Christopher Andrew (center), and then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn (R), at Cambridge University, Feb. 28, 2014. (Photo courtesy Svetlana Lokhova via the Daily Caller)

Dearlove – who has feigned not knowing “Trump-Russia” dossier author Christopher Steele, discussed ongoing matters with the former MI6 spy during a meeting in London’s posh Garrick Club according to the Washington Post.

And as the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross points out, “Despite his presence at those key junctures, Dearlove has mostly dodged media attention, as well as that of American lawmakers investigating the origins of the Russia probe,” adding “That’s perhaps a testament to Dearlove’s 38 years in MI6.

As journalist Daniel Lazare wrote last year in Consortium News

A few things stand out about this august group.  One is its in-bred quality.  After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself “The Cambridge Security Initiative.”  Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet.  Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt’s international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor.

Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else.  But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence.  Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale.  In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump’s future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd.

Dearlove, meanwhile, has showered praise upon Halper – a longtime suspected CIA and FBI informant, and has been involved in US politics at the highest levels for decades, becoming George H.W. Bush’s National Director for Policy Development during his presidential campaign. After Bush lost to Reagan, Halper worked as Reagan’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State – where he served under three different Secretaries.

He then became a senior advisor to the Department of Defense and DOJ between 1984 and 2001. Halper’s former father-in-law was Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA. He also allegedly spied on the Carter administration – collecting information on foreign policy (an account disputed by Ray Cline).

Halper received a DoD contract from the Obama administration for $411,575 – made in two payments, and had a start date of September 26, 2016 – three days after a September 23 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff about Trump aide Carter Page, which used information fed to Isikoff by “pissgate” dossier creator Christopher Steele. The FBI would use the Yahoo! article along with the unverified “pissgate” dossier as supporting evidence in an FISA warrant application for Page.

Most famously, however, Halper is known for infiltrating the Trump campaign on behalf of the Obama DOJ – spying on advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who he lured into his orbit under the guise of seeking legitimate professional relationships.

Meanwhile, his buddy Richard Dearlove has remained largely out of the spotlight despite his glaring connections to Russiagate.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Facebook bans British anti-immigrant groups including EDL, BNP and Britain First

RT | April 18, 2019

Facebook has banned 12 high-profile, anti-immigrant British organizations and individuals including the English Defence League, the British National Party, Britain First and Jayda Fransen.

The silicon valley company said it took the decision because it bans users who “proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence.”

“Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” it said in a statement.

The following organizations and people are now prohibited from the site: The British National Party and Nick Griffin, Britain First and Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, English Defence League and Paul Ray, Knights Templar International and Jim Dowson, National Front and Tony Martin, and Jack Renshaw.

They were all outlawed under Facebook’s ‘Dangerous Individuals & Organisations policy’. They will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram and posts and other content which expresses praise or support for them will also be banned.

“Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our Community Standards,” the statement added.

The Knights Templar International said it was “horrified” by the ban, and that it was investigating legal options. “Facebook has deemed our Christian organisation as dangerous and de-platformed us despite never being charged, let alone found guilty of any crime whatsoever,” it said in a statement. “This is a development that would have made the Soviets blush.”

In February the social media giant banned EDL founder Tommy Robinson from its platforms saying the prominent anti-immigration activist repeatedly breached its policies on Hate speech.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

New York Times Accidentally Unravels UK Government’s Official Skripal Narrative

By Kit Klarenberg – Sputnik – 17.04.2019

While London almost immediately blamed Moscow for being behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury in March 2018, Russia has strongly rejected its involvement, stressing it’s been denied access both to the investigation into the incident and the Russian nationals affected.

On 16th April, the New York Times published a glowing profile of Gina Haspel, who in May 2018 became the seventh director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The article referred to Haspel — the former head of a CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand at which an indeterminate number of suspected terrorists were viciously tortured — as an “adept tactician” blessed with “good listening, empathy and an ability to connect”, and discussed the difficulties the intelligence chief faced in ensuring “her voice is heard at the White House”, due to the intransigence of President Donald Trump and a White House that allegedly treats national security professionals “with deep skepticism”.

So far, so obsequious — but buried in the hagiography is a fascinating disclosure. In a section titled ‘The keys to talking to Trump? Realism and emotion’, authors Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman document how Haspel “solidified her reputation” as one of the “most skilled briefers” of the President.

Following the 4th March 2018 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, top national security officials are said to have gathered inside the White House to discuss with Trump how Washington should respond — at the time, Whitehall was preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the UK, and aggressively pushing various key international allies to follow suit.

Trump was said to have initially dismissed the significance of the poisoning, characterising it as “legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage”. However, Haspel lobbied the President to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US — and persuaded Trump to take the “strong option” by showing him the Skripals “were not the only victims of Russia’s attack”.

“Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms. Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option,” the article states.

Lame Ducks

This small excerpt raises innumerable questions about the ever-mystifying Salisbury incident. Firstly, the images apparently provided to Haspel by the British government have never been published, or even mentioned, by the British media.

Given Whitehall’s determination to blame and diplomatically punish the Russian state for the poisoning before a motive had been established, any perpetrators identified, or other basic facts ascertained — in the face of significant public disapproval, and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding action be informed by evidence — it’s entirely inconceivable that if these pictures existed, they wouldn’t have been provided to major news outlets and prominently publicised. If they were sufficiently impactful to convince a sceptical US President to support Whitehall’s strategy, hesitant British citizens may well have been similarly swayed.

Moreover though, since March 2018 no UK media outlet, government minister/spokesperson, health professional or law enforcement official has ever even claimed a single child was “sickened” after coming into contact with so-called “Novichok” (there have likewise been no reports of any waterfowl having tragically died due to the nerve agent). Again, it’s utterly imaginable that had a child suffered adverse effects from the nerve agent, it wouldn’t have been widely reported.

There could be several explanations for this seeming anomaly. To name just some of the most unsettling:

  • Several children were hospitalised, and several ducks did die, and for reasons unclear the British government didn’t inform the public and prevented the children and their parents from revealing they’d been affected, while secretly communicating the fact to other governments in literally graphic detail.
  • Counterfeit and/or misleading images may have been produced by persons unknown to bolster Britain’s case for concerted international action, and further been relayed to Haspel (if not other overseas officials), conning her and Trump into backing its mass-expulsion policy.

Alternatively of course, perhaps the stirring tale of Haspel converting the reticent President with impactful images is mere gossip, or spin — after all, the article’s authors didn’t discuss the episode with the CIA chief herself, but based their article on interviews “with more than a dozen current and former intelligence officials who have briefed or worked alongside her”.

However, even if the explanation is quite so anodyne, that in turn raises major questions about how and why the individual(s) who relayed the story to Barnes and Goldman came to believe children and ducks had been affected by Novichok.

Shifting Chronicle

The official narrative of the Salisbury incident is ever-fluctuating. Seemingly each and every article, news segment, official statement or documentary about any element of the case contains new information, requiring the established account to be at least partially rewritten and/or contradicting established elements of the story.

To name but two significant instances of this strange phenomenon in recent memory, on 19th January it was revealed 16-year-old Abigail McCourt had won a ‘Lifesaver Award’ for giving first-aid to the Skripals after finding them unconscious on a public bench in the centre of Salisbury. Accompanying reports indicated she’d been the first person to notice the collapsed father and daughter, and had quickly alerted her mother Alison — together, they provided potentially life-saving assistance to Sergei and Yulia.

The story was somewhat at odds with the official timeline, as advocated by Whitehall and the Metropolitan Police, which stated an off-duty doctor and nurse had found the Skripals — but moreover, Abigail’s award announcement also revealed her mother wasn’t merely a nurse, but the Chief Nursing Officer for the British Army, with the rank of Colonel.

Similarly, on 3rd March the BBC reported police only “realised the seriousness” of the Salisbury incident after Googling the name Sergei Skripal — while the information wasn’t in fact new (similar claims were made in Panorama documentary Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story in November the previous year), the article indicated the first police officer on the scene was Sergeant Tracey Holloway.

Again, this small detail had massive ramifications for the British state’s narrative — for previously government and police spokespeople had unanimously claimed Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey had been the first police officer to attend to the Skripals, hailing his courage in rushing to help them without any regard for his own safety. It was also claimed his contact with them on the scene exposed him to the nerve agent, leading to his own hospitalisation — it’s now ‘established’ he was poisoned after visiting Skripal’s home.

Elements of the official narrative also bizarrely and frequently vanish without warning or explanation — a key example being the Skripals giving bread to three local boys to feed to ducks in Salisbury’s Avon Playground at approximately 1:45pm on 4th March. The incident was initially widely reported in the media, with The Daily Mail claiming the children — one of whom apparently ate some of the bread given to them by the Skripals — had been “rushed to hospital for blood tests amid fears they’d been poisoned”, although the children were entirely unharmed, and discharged from hospital having been given “the all-clear”.

“To try to kill Skripal is one thing, but now it seems children may have been caught up in it. It shows whoever did this didn’t care who they killed or maimed,” a spokesperson for Public Health England told the Sunday Mirror.

Strikingly, this episode would soon completely disappear from media coverage of the Salisbury incident, while never appearing in any officially sanctioned narrative — although it’s easy to understand why. According to the Metropolitan Police’s timeline, after leaving the Avon Playground the Skripals went on to the Bishops Mill Pub in Salisbury town centre, before arriving at Zizzi restaurant at around 14:20pm. They left at around 15:35pm, and emergency services received the first report they’d been found unconscious at around 16:15pm.

British authorities determine Sergei and Yulia were poisoned by Novichok spread around their home — in particular the front door handle — at some point before 13:30pm, when Sergei’s car was seen on Devizes Road heading towards the town centre. The pair were apparently so infected by the nerve agent, and the substance so dangerous, Zizzi was forced to close for eight months due to high levels of contamination, and the table the pair dined at had to be destroyed. The Mill pub, which they headed to immediately after their exploits in Avon Playground was likewise subject to extensive decontamination and only declared safe for reopening in August, although it remains shut even today. The bench the Skripals were found lying on was also destroyed.In spite of this, the children given bread by the Skripals and the ducks they fed were completely unharmed by novichok. It was obviously necessary for the pair’s contact with the trio, one boy’s ingestion of the bread, and indeed their en-masse duck-feeding, to be suppressed. Otherwise, the finding that the pair were poisoned at home before travelling into Salisbury is simply unfeasible — and the pair were poisoned elsewhere, at another time and by another means entirely.

It’s puzzling in the extreme this keenly forgotten aspect of the incident allegedly is said to have featured so prominently in Haspel’s case for decisive US action against Russia — and begs the question of who deceived and is deceiving who, how and why.

Own Initiative?

Adding to the intrigue, on the day of its publication the New York Times article caught the attention of Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes, who duly shared the piece on Twitter, praising Barnes for his work (Goldman went uncredited) and drawing particular attention to the passage relating to the images of “sickened” children.

However, in a suspicious volte-face, within hours Haynes tweeted that “UK security sources” had told her they were in fact “unaware of children hospitalised because of novichok or wildlife killed” in the Salisbury incident.

Sky News' Deborah Haynes Backtracks

Sky News’ Deborah Haynes Backtracks

For her part, Haynes claims she asked “UK contacts” about the images after reading the article, and their denials prompted her to post an “update”. This may well be the case — she certainly has close connections with security services and the military, as evidenced by her honorary membership of the Pen & Sword Club, a group which “[provides] a link between serving and retired officers and supporters within the Ministry of Defence”, and promotes “media operations as a necessary and valued military skill in the 21st century”. She’s one of very few journalists named in their ‘club members’ section — almost all others have military and/or intelligence backgrounds.

Moreover, it’s somewhat odd Haynes was initially seemingly unaware no children were hospitalised in the Salisbury incident, given she wrote extensively about the topic while Defence Editor of The Times. As my previous reports have documented, much of this output was heavily influenced by the Integrity Initiative, a British military intelligence operation which sought to systematically shape media reporting on, and Whitehall’s response to, the Salisbury incident from day one. Evidently, the British deep state is equally as capable of contacting Haynes directly as she is them — and its operatives would have every reason to want one of their most prominent media advocates to speedily retract and repudiate an extremely inconvenient disclosure such as that contained in the New York Times’ report.

If nothing else, that Haynes was willing to transmit an apparently obvious fiction speaks volumes about the willingness of mainstream journalists to parrot each and every fresh claim in the Skripal case, even if it wildly conflicts with what they themselves have written previously.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

CIA Docs Shows UK, France and West Germany Wanted to Bring “Operation Condor” To Europe

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | April 17, 2019

SANTIAGO, CHILE — A recently declassified CIA document has revealed that members of the intelligence agencies of France, the United Kingdom and West Germany discussed how to establish “an anti-subversive organization similar to [the CIA’s Operation] Condor” in their own countries. Described by the CIA as “a cooperative effort by the intelligence/security services of several South American countries to combat terrorism and subversion,” Operation Condor was a campaign of state terrorism originally planned by the CIA that targeted leftists, suspected leftists and their “sympathizers” and resulted in the forced disappearances, torture and brutal murders of an estimated 60,000 people, as well as the political imprisonment of around half a million people. Around half of the estimated murders occurred in Argentina.

The document, released last Friday as part of a release of newly declassified U.S. government documents related to the U.S.-backed military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, states that:

Representatives of West German, French and British intelligence services had visited the Condor organization secretariat in Buenos Aires during the month of September 1977 in order to discuss methods for establishment of an anti-subversion organization similar to Condor” due to their view that “the terrorist/subversive threat had reached such dangerous levels in Europe.”

The representatives from the three countries then stated that they felt that pooling “their intelligence resources in a cooperative organization such as Condor” would be an important way of combating the “subversive threat.” Notably, England at the time was already involved in an international “intelligence sharing” program known as ECHELON, a program between the “Five Eyes” intelligence pact between the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand that continues in a different form today.

The document, which was written in 1978, came two years after Operation Condor targeted left-wing Latin American exiles living in Europe. Several other documents in the recent release discuss a decision made by Condor member countries in May 1976 to train and send a military unit to “conduct physical attacks” against left-wing Latin American exiles and their supporters in France, in what was codenamed “Teseo.” Several Condor countries, aside from Brazil and Bolivia, were eager to participate and the training of the “Teseo” unit did occur, though the CIA was apparently unaware whether the unit was actually sent to France.

Operation Condor: Made in the West

European interest in bringing home a state-sponsored terror campaign may seem shocking, given Europe’s publicly stated concerns at the time regarding Condor member countries’ mind-boggling human rights abuses and state-sponsored murders. But it will hardly surprise those who have studied Operation Condor, as the operation itself was a Western invention that was imposed on Latin America through a series of military coups, which again were backed by Western governments.

Operation Condor officially began in 1975, though CIA documents in this recent release suggest that the inter-country intelligence-sharing aspect had likely begun a year earlier in 1974. The countries involved — Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia — were all backed and supported by the U.S., which was also incidentally the largest weapons dealer to these government over this same time frame. During the latter portion of Operation Condor, one of the recently declassified documents claims that Israel took over key roles played by the U.S. in Operation Condor, including the “training of local personnel and sales of certain types of advanced military equipment,” despite the many innocent Jews murdered by several of the Condor dictatorships.

Several of the Condor countries had seen their military dictatorships installed with U.S. government involvement, as was the case in Chile and Brazil, with the U.S. government suspected in other coups that preceded Operation Condor by only a few years, such as the 1971 coup in Bolivia and the 1973 coup in Uruguay. After the 1976 coup in Argentina — Argentina’s sixth and final coup of the 20th century — it too joined Operation Condor.

The U.S. provided planning, training, funding and arms for Operation Condor, and European nations also provided a significant number of weapons. France — one of the countries interested in creating a Condor-style program for Europe — was noted in one of the recently declassified documents for its “excellent prospects for sales of jet aircraft and air defense systems” to Condor dictatorships; while West Germany, another country interested in a European Condor, “should be able to market missiles, ground force equipment and submarines.”

U.S. and European intelligence agencies were well aware of what Condor dictatorships were doing with those weapons, as indicated by past and recent document releases that detail horrific descriptions of the torture and murder of those suspected of being left-wing and those suspected of sympathizing with the left, as well as those who opposed the neoliberal economic policies imposed by all of the U.S.-backed Condor dictatorships.

Some of the more infamous tactics used by Condor nations had also been inspired by past European and U.S. war crimes. This includes the “death flights,” where victims were drugged, bound and placed in plastic body bags, and/or had their stomachs cut open before being thrown out of a plane or helicopter over the ocean. This tactic was said to have been inspired by the actions of French armed forces during the Algerian war and, according to the 2003 documentary The Death Squads: The French School, French intelligence had taught these and other methods to Argentine military officials during the dictatorship.

Whitewashing away the full horror of Condor

Notably, much of the recent coverage of Operation Condor and the CIA releases has sought to whitewash the program’s horrific legacy, with The Guardian describing Operation Condor as “a secret programme in which the dictatorships of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador conspired to kidnap and assassinate members of leftwing guerrilla groups in each other’s territories.” This, of course, implies that those targeted were guerilla members and thus combatants.

However, many — and one could convincingly argue the majority — of those killed, tortured and imprisoned were not members of guerilla groups, as there are thousands of documented cases of college students, musicians, writers, journalists, priests and nuns, pregnant women, teachers, indigenous leaders, union members and others who were subject to the extreme prejudice of Operation Condor despite not being combatants in any capacity. The Guardian also dramatically downplayed the program’s death toll, claiming that “the conspiracy led to the deaths of at least 100 people in Argentina,” while the actual figure is around 30,000. The Guardian also failed to mention the intimate role of the U.S. and other Western nations in facilitating and arming the program.

Such poor reporting is offensive to those who lost their lives and to their families, many of which have never stopped looking for their lost loved ones. Many of those families, such as Argentina’s “Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo,” have spent the last several decades looking for the estimated 500 children and babies separated from their disappeared and murdered parents and given to dictatorship-supporting families.

In a clear testament to how the effects of Operation Condor are still felt today, one of those babies — now over 40 years old — was identified on April 9 and is set to be reunited with her father, who survived the dictatorship and has spent the last several decades looking for his lost daughter. The mother was kidnapped while pregnant, allowed to give birth to the baby and killed immediately afterwards.

The very idea that European countries wanted to bring such a horrific terror campaign to their continent to target “subversives” should serve as a cautionary tale to Europeans who trust their government’s professed interest in promoting democracy and human rights, all while exporting terror overseas.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck

By Craig Murray | April 17, 2019

One of the striking things about the official Skripal story is the way its more wildly improbable aspects have been released to the mainstream media over a long period, so as to manage their impact. So, for example, police acknowledgement that the perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found was sealed and could not have been the container used on the Skripals is comparatively recent, and it took nine months for us to learn that, by a truly wonderful coincidence, the first person to find the Skripals ill on the bench was the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

I covered these points in full in my article on the ten points I do not believe in the official story – an article which nobody has sought to refute, other than to yell “conspiracy theory”, as though that was an argument.

But today we learn from the Guardian (quoting the New York Times) that Donald Trump was only convinced to back the UK government line after being shown photos of dead ducks and hospitalised children by CIA director Gina Haspel.

The problem is that, there were no hospitalised children. No children have been reported as becoming ill following their duck feeding with the Skripals. We have heard from one of the parents that they were shown by the police extremely clear CCTV footage of the duck feeding, which has never been made public. Surely if the child had been hospitalised, the parent would have been mentioned it?

Dr Stephen Davies of Salisbury Hospital’s letter of 16 March 2018 to the Times has been explained away as poorly written or edited, in relation to the cause of the Skripals’ illness. But be that as it may, one thing the doctor’s letter does without any shadow of a doubt, is rule out the possibility of hospitalised children.

There were no hospitalised children.

We also know that the duck feeding was the time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were physically closest to the Skripals. But this is the first time there has ever been any mention of any harm to the ducks. Dead ducks would have been noticed by the public.

Possibly the Guardian and New York Times are inventing utter drivel, as in the Manafort meeting Assange story. That would in itself be worrying. The other possibility is that the security services produced fake photographs of hospitalised children and slaughtered some ducks, in order to convince Donald Trump. If the latter explanation is true, then the entire Skripal saga looks more and more staged.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

What If Mainstream Media’s Message About Putin Was Delivered in Orwell’s Language?

By Patrick ARMSTRONG | Strategic Culture Foundation |16.04.2019

The West is under attack by Putin; he is at war with us and wars demand extreme measures. Putin’s influence is spreading: everywhere he is nibbling away at the foundations of democratic society. He is the dictator of Russiastill evil, still an empire; Russians are genetically driven to co-opt and penetrate and gain favour: it’s who they are and what they do. Russian scum! Putin interferes in referendums and elections all over the democratic world. A world that, for no good reason except his own needs, he calls his enemy. When his bots swung the US election and made his puppet POTUS, the world community began to wake up to the threat. Putin is bent on restoring the USSR and, until he can, he assembles an empire of losers, basket-cases and rogue states. When the weather is cold, we should fear him more. Putin’s whole existence depends on having an enemy and we are that enemy. We must defend against Putin’s threat to democracy; he threatens our democracy because he hates democracy and he fears democracy. We must defend against these multi-facetedaggressive, unacceptable, bullying, continual and sinister attacks on the Rules-Based International Order which our democracies uphold. (Added to which, he’s short and can’t hide the fact and that makes him a megalomaniac.)

I humbly offer a few proposals so that we can better defend our precious heritage of democracy against his attacks.

• Putin hates democratic elections and seeks to twist them to his ends. He will interfere in Your Democracy’s elections. If your Ruling Party loses, it’s because Putin wanted it to lose and interfered with the voting: if your Ruling Party loses, Putin wins. Therefore, the “election” must be annulled and the Ruling Party must stay in power. That way Putin loses and we all win.

• Putin seeks to sow division in Your Democracy. Disagreement with the Ruling Party’s policy helps Putin divide us. Russian bots are ceaselessly trying to sow division; therefore you, as a True Democrat, must resist all attempts to disagree with your Ruling Party. Remember, disagreeing with the Ruling Party is what Putin wants you to do and that means he wins; agreeing with the Ruling Party means we all win and Putin loses.

• As a corollary, objectively speaking, if you disagree with the Ruling Party, you are agreeing with Putin and he wins. Putin hates what the Ruling Party stands for and you, as a True Democrat, shouldn’t hate what Putin hates. So love the Ruling Party: we all win and Putin loses.

• Putin and his legions of trolls engage in hybrid warfare an important part of which is the spreading of fake news. Putin and his trolls know that, while full mind control may not be possible or practical, sowing doubt is much easier. The True Democrat will never risk the chance of having his opinions infiltrated and therefore will be careful to read only news that has been first authenticated by responsible news outlets. Reading unauthenticated stories can let Putin into your brain. Keep him out and we all win.

• Putin uses social media to spread fake news and sow division in Your Democracy. It was one of the most important of his tools in winning the election for his stooge Trump. Putin is subtle – he even uses children’s cartoons and he has weaponised humour – and we must be protected if we don’t want him to win. The True Democrat will encourage efforts to regulate social media by trusted and reliable authorities such as the aptly-named Minister of Democratic Institutions in Canada. If Putin wins, we all lose!

• Putin needs useful idiots in Your Democracy to further his aims. Therefore the True Democrat will continually examine his thoughts to see whether any doubt or divisions are taking root: Putin wants us all to live in his “paranoid and polarized world“. If you find any division in your mind, Putin has put it there and you should make full confession to the authorities so that the rot may be stopped early and the damage repaired. The True Democrat will monitor his neighbours for signs of infection. Always remember that doubting the Ruling Party is what Putin wants you to do: stop doubting and we all win and Putin loses.

• Your Democracy’s security services work hard to protect our freedoms against Putin’s attacks. Putin wants us to criticise and impede the work of these brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us. Only Putin is served when these institutions are attacked. Support our brave men and women in all that they do to protect us. In that way we all win and Putin loses.

• From time to time, although they never start wars, democracies must use military force to end evil in the world. Putin is on the side of evil – he opposes the Rules-Based International Order – and he supports, when he is not actually causing, most of the evil and suffering in the world. As a dictator himself, he invariably sides with dictators who are torturing their populations. Dictators are repugnant to True Democracies and, therefore, they must occasionally take up arms in order to secure peace and order and punish the dictator’s “cruel indifference to the suffering of his people“. True Democrats understand this and support the Ruling Party in its occasional but justified uses of limited force. Objectively speaking, opposing these wars is the same as supporting Putin. True Democrats understand that wars must be fought for the sake of peace so we can all win and Putin can lose.

War against Putin is Peace

Freedom to Question is Slavery to Putin

Ignorance of Putin is Strength

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is the U.S. Prepared to Accept a Defeat in Venezuela?

By Marco Teruggi – Pagina 12 – April 12, 2019

The attack should have been short since the Maduro administration was not strong enough to resist. This was the conviction of the United States as they carried out a strategy to overthrow him: they built a President 2.0 Juan Guaido; they gave him a fictionalized government, international recognition, a collective narrative among mass media companies, accelerated economic sanctions at different levels. Overlapping these variables, different results were expected to be achieved on their path of getting a forced negotiation or the toppling of the government.

Events did not take the planned course. First and most important, the breaking of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB): a crucial element that should have happened but did not. A series of tactics were implemented for it, from internal conspiracy with the support of a lot of dollars, visas and guarantees, or the strategy of a latent threat of a possible U.S. intervention. A combination of bluff – an unloaded weapon pointed at your head – with built up dates to try to achieve a rupture, such as on February 23rd.

The second event that should have occurred, despite the difficulty in defining a target, was Guaido supposedly building mass support in the streets. He boasted that 90 per cent of the population supports him. Pictures of his mass mobilization capacity show that the initial momentum on January 23, when his self-proclamation was acknowledged by Donald Trump through a tweet, lost strength. A major reason for this was the crisis of expectations that resulted from the unfulfilled promise of an immediate outcome. Another is that it was an artificial, communicational, diplomatic construction which could not gather more than the right’s historical rank-and-file supporters, characterized by a specific social, geographic class, living conditions, idiosyncrasy and symbolism. The opposition looked too much like themselves.

Third was the attempt to take the poor to the streets; blackouts and the water shortages were the most favorable of the scenarios to provoke this. But the outcome was not what they expected either.  The clearer and wide reaching reality was the majority trying to solve their problems, individually, collectively, together with the Venezuelan Government. Sustained protests, fostered almost completely by the right, were scarce and without capacity to spread in the country.

Each of these variables has feedback points. The crisis of expectations is the result, for instance, of the fact that the Armed Force has not broken, that Guaido speaks of a hastiness that does not occur, with the conclusion that if they don’t succeed in any of their three targets, the last resort is an international intervention headed by the United States. That same interventionist narrative moves away from those who see Guaido as an alternative to the current political and economic situation. Calling on the majorities to achieve an international operation comes across evident obstacles.

Overthrowing Maduro does not seem possible in the correlation of national forces. It has been proven that the attack will not be short and that Chavismo, which is more than a Government, has enough strength to resist. If it was just a national affair, Guaido would lose strength to the point that he wouldn’t even be part of the list of opposition leaders that carry the burden of defeat. The problem is that this new coup attempt was devised over a point of no return with the United States building of a parallel government facade, acknowledged by the European Union, the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and right-wing governments in Latin America. What to do with Guaido when the plan is not successful due to initial miscalculations?

The question is due to the US, its current Administration is a mixture of Donald Trump-neoconservative leaders, and the so-called deep state; that is to say, real, invisible structures of power that constitute and safeguard that country’s strategic development in the geopolitical struggle. A defeat in Venezuela would be charged to the Administration in a pre-election period and it would suffer a double blow with Maduro’s continuity, or the lack of ability make a key Latin American country fall in line, and its implications in the international arena.

The deep state has grown stronger recently through tweets and speeches of U.S. spokespeople like Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Southern Command’s commanding general Craig Faller. Their different statements have shifted towards painting Venezuela as an operational base for Russia, Iran, Cuba and China, while the Maduro administration would be subordinated to each of these governments and their corresponding intelligence and military services —particularly to the first three.

The United States has announced its following steps based on that narrative. Pompeo is going to Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia; Abrams to Spain and Portugal; and they convened a third meeting in the United Nations Security Council to talk about Venezuela’s situation. They have not announced the goals of the different moves yet. It is possible though to predict that there is a private and public dimension to the agreements. A possibility would be for the US to declare the Venezuelan government a transnational criminal organization and branding colectivos (Chavista grass-roots organizations) as terrorist groups that “undermine the Constitution and territorial integrity of Venezuela,” according to Bolton’s description. New possible actions would result from each of these elements.

That increase in pressure, tightening the blockade, and isolation has not led yet to the possibility of a military intervention, despite the repeated “all options are on the table.” Abrams himself sidestepped that hypothesis last Thursday. Therefore, how are they planning to achieve the outcome proposed with the combination of these actions? The United States needs to establish means, on-the-ground operational capacity, and domestic and diplomatic agreements. In this regard, the European Union stance was expressed by its high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, who affirmed that “new free and credible presidential elections should be held as soon as possible.”

Would the U.S. be willing to accept a negotiated outcome in which Maduro remains in power? So far, that does not look possible. They don’t seem willing to accept a geopolitical defeat in Venezuela either. The U.N. Security Council met on Wednesday to deal with this aspect. At the same time, the right called for more mobilizations. The pieces are still in motion.

Translation by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

Edited by Venezuelanalysis.com

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment