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New Normal Newspeak #3: “Progressive”

OffGuardian | July 30, 2021

“New Normal Newspeak” is a series of short articles highlighting how our language has come under assault in the past eighteen months.

***

We have a backlog for these NNNS posts, but I saw this today on Twitter, and it made me laugh so it gets to jump the queue.

A few days ago, Saudi Arabia announced they would be introducing vaccine passes for, essentially, anyone that wanted to do anything.

And then Max Boot, the neo-liberal warmonger who’s paid to squat over his keyboard and squeeze out columns for the Washington Post, called it “progressive”:

There it is in black and white – an absolute monarchy that still practices public beheadings, has no religious freedom, democracy or equal rights, has decided to add to their delightful resume by introducing digital surveillance, enforced experimental vaccination and medical apartheid. Doesn’t that sound so progressive?

The Council of Foreign Relations fellow has since deleted the tweet. And it’s not hard to see why.

Maybe no other word has had its meaning as brutally violated as “progressive” in the last decade. It is used to stifle freedom of speech, to camouflage corruption of “liberal” candidates, as a casus belli for regime change and to bang the drum for new cold wars with both Russia and China.

But applying it to Saudi Arabia is a whole new level of stretched meaning.

It’s also a little preview of how the billionaire-owned MSM will be selling medical apartheid to their hypnotized “liberal” readers in coming weeks.

July 30, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

They Denied A Lab Leak At Wuhan. They Are Wrong About Other Things.

By Mary Beth Pfeiffer | Trial Site News | June 16, 2021

After months of denial, the U.S. government has acknowledged that the COVID-19 catastrophe may indeed have originated in a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

We are now allowed to talk about what until May 13 was a debunked conspiracy theory. Like many facets of the pandemic of our age, Wuhan was censored with the dreaded “disinformation” label, on Facebook and just about everywhere else. Not anymore.

The Wuhan debacle shows what happens when public health institutions have too much power, and the media plays mouthpiece rather than watchdog. Truth suffers. So does trust.

This commentary isn’t about the media’s wholesale buy-in of a possibly mythical pangolin that caused a pandemic.

This is about other potential Wuhans — issues that social and mainstream media have put to rest and closed to honest examination. We are told: Vaccines are safe. Lockdowns are just. We must protect, and be protected from, children. All those statements should be open to debate — and dispute.

I have spent the last eight months attacking another insidious COVID myth. It holds that there is no early treatment.

This actual disinformation has led to deaths and debility. In reporting it, the guardians of media have endowed public figures and institutions with wisdom they surely did not and do not have. Once definitive, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization have reversed themselves on a potential Wuhan lab leak.

Then: “Extremely unlikely,” WHO said after a cursory probe.

Now: “Not convinced” the virus came from nature, said Fauci.

What else might they have gotten wrong?

‘Trusted’ News

Just months into the pandemic, research suggested that a handful of approved generic drugs could potentially quell COVID and save lives. By late last year, a safe drug that won its developers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015 had risen to the top: ivermectin.

Fifty-eight trials now show this 40-year-old drug, off patent since 1997, greatly reduces the ravages of COVID. It lessens severity, lowers hospitalization, and saves lives. Significantly, it also prevents infection.

That few Americans know this is a direct result of two things: First is an unreasonably high, and shifting, bar set by the NIH, FDA and WHO, which collectively reject, cherry-pick or ignore what is now a trove of studies. Second is a media campaign that upholds the anti-IVM dictum, using charged language – from “controversial” to “snake oil” — that makes doctors, medical journals and other media fearful of backlash.

In a case of government propaganda, the Food and Drug Administration actually warned against ivermectin last spring, based, it said, on “multiple” people sickened by an animal formulation, which turned out to be four. Moreover, FDA admitted it “hadn’t studied” the considerable data then available on treatment with the human form.

As government failed us, mainstream and social media did something unique in modern history. Google, YouTube, Facebook, BBC, Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters and others conspired to shape content and coverage in the government’s image.

They called it, ironically, the Trusted News Initiative. It existed to ferret out falsehoods and declare certainty in a rapidly changing information landscape. The media became a COVID fact-checking apparatus, devoid of nuance or meaningful investigation.

In the wake of Wuhan relevations, some outlets are now correcting the record.

Vaccine OR Treatment

From the start, there was no room for both vaccines and treatments under the statute that has allowed millions of Americans to be vaccinated with an unlicensed, largely unstudied substance. The key mechanism on which this turned was the vaccine’s “Emergency Use Authorization,” which can be granted by the FDA only if there is “no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing or treating” a disease.

But even as the vaccine was minimally tested and maximally hyped, there was an alternative. Ivermectin.

“It’s the most effective antiviral agent we have,” Dr. Paul E. Marik, co-founder of Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, said in a conversation for this article. “If the WHO was to say that or the NIH — were they to approve ivermectin — the EUA for all the vaccines would become invalid.”

Ivermectin, said FLCCC president Dr. Pierre Kory, “would kneecap the entire global vaccine policy around the world.”

The choice was always vaccines OR treatment. Not both. Operation Warp Speed spent three times as much — $18 billion — to develop a vaccine as it did to develop a treatment. Moreover, money for therapeutics went largely toward costly new drugs, some of which failed and others still in development.

The media did not question the oversight of existing drugs and emerging research. Instead, it became an arm of government in a shared single fixed goal: Vaccinate quickly and at any expense.

A Year Lost

America’s COVID Czar Anthony Fauci predicted in July of 2020 that an antiviral would be available by that fall. Then, last December he said his “highest priority” was a quick-acting COVID drug. In reality, NIH waited until April 29, 2021 to announce a large study of safety-tested, FDA-approved drugs. That was roughly 400 days – and nearly 600,000 U.S. deaths — into the pandemic.

Forget a few dozen studies – most from other countries — that universally agreed on ivermectin’s efficacy. Forget a peer-reviewed meta-analysis that showed 83 percent fewer deaths. Forget the experiences of hundreds of real treating doctors in the U.S. and around the world.

Viewed in the kindest possible way, that delay, that lost year, wasn’t so much intentional as institutionalized. U.S. treatments are driven by the integral and outsized influence of pharmaceutical money on the regulatory process, and no one was putting up $20 million for what are considered, questionably, the “gold-standard” of evidence-based medicine: randomized control trials.

Dr. Robert Malone, a vaccine researcher and inventor of mRNA technology, went bankrupt trying to repurpose old antiviral drugs to treat the Zika virus in the 2010s. “The investment community had zero interest because there’s no way to make a buck,” he said in a must-see podcast on pandemic missteps. “The financial incentives around drug repurposing are such that it doesn’t get done.”

Ivermectin is the penicillin of COVID, particularly when combined with other generics like fluvoxamine and the vilified but effective hydroxychloroquine. Now, however, as at the start of COVID, newly infected patients are still denied treatment and turned back into the community, often to infect others.

As Malone put it, “We’re sending people home and telling them not to come back until your lips are blue.”

“Were this a hundred years ago,” a Pennsylvania opthamologist named Neil Chasin told me months ago, “and Ivermectin was available, it would be used everywhere.”

Media Sees No Evil

The dereliction of duty, by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal (with the Wuhan exception), Associated Press, USA Today and other media giants, likely cost many thousands of lives. The questions that were never asked, the issues never investigated, include:

–In April 2020, Fauci endorsed the high-priced anti-viral remdesivir, calling it the “standard of care” before the first study was published. Did anyone in those investigative powerhouses question the financial ties between the NIH and the drug’s maker, Gilead? Did they care that the study showed no mortality improvement, and the trial’s endpoint was changed to improve benefits so marginal that the WHO advises against the drug?

–Hospitals vehemently oppose ivermectin, forcing some patients’ families to obtain court orders to get it. Does this comport with their liberal use of treatments like monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma that are still considered experimental? Just 19 deaths were associated with ivermectin in 20 years; 503 were linked to remdesivir in its first year. Annualized, that’s roughly a 500-fold higher toll for remdesivir. Why is ivermectin — safe, FDA-approved — not used off-label, especially in dying ICU patients, when the potential harm is miniscule?

–The COVID pandemic has led to the most widespread, government-sanctioned wave of censorship and authoritarian message control in American history. Rather than fighting this, the media carries the water. When Merck disingenuously disavowed ivermectin’s safety — a drug it gave away by the billion in a life-saving campaign against parasites — widespread media reports failed to note the company’s potential to make big money on patented new drugs on which it was already working.

–More importantly, the evidence in favor of ivermectin aligns so uniformly that the odds of it being wrong are infinitesimal. Why not read the studies? Why not talk to doctors who have used the drug and patients who have taken it?

The unholy alliance of media and money was foreshadowed at a 2016 conference on preparation for the next SARS epidemic. There, Peter Daszak, whose NIH funding for virus research in China is under scrutiny, emphasized the need to use the press. He is quoted in the proceedings:

“A key driver is the media, and the economics follow the hype. We need to use that hype to our advantage … Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of process, Daszak stated.”

So far, the hype has prevailed. But it can be wrong. Can we now talk about ivermectin?

***

Mary Beth Pfeiffer is an investigative journalist and author of two books. A list of her article links can be found here.

June 17, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CNN tries to make case for trusting anonymous-source echo chamber despite steady stream of fake news

RT | May 3, 2021

CNN took a holier-than-thou approach to explaining away mainstream media’s penchant for telling anonymously sourced stories that later prove to be false, saying that unlike “MAGA media,” it tries to get the news right.

“There are safeguards in place,” CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy told ‘Reliable Sources’ host Brian Stelter on Sunday. “Unfortunately, human error is still at play, and news organizations sometimes do get burned like this.”

Darcy was referring to the latest correction debacle involving multiple MSM outlets that supposedly confirmed each other’s anonymously sourced reports – only to later issue corrections admitting that their central claim was completely false. The New York Times, NBC News and the Washington Post said on Saturday that their reports claiming that US law enforcement had warned Rudy Giuliani and One America News that they were being targeted by a “Russian influence operation” were not true.

The false claim was so integral to the story that correcting it was not as simple as changing a name or recasting a sentence. “The premise and headline of the article below have been changed to reflect the corrected information,” NBC said in its correction.

Stelter lamented that “a bogus report of this magnitude” tars all mainstream outlets and allows “bad-faith actors” to lump them in with less credible outfits. Darcy argued that “responsible” media outlets set themselves apart by correcting their mistakes, whereas publications such as the New York Post avoid admitting their errors.

“Sometimes, it seems like they are intentionally promoting falsehoods and moving on, some of those folks in MAGA media,” Darcy said.

The Post last week removed an article from its website that said copies of a children’s book written by Vice President Kamala Harris were being put in the welcome kits given to migrant children being held at a shelter in California. In an updated version it issued a correction, saying it turned out there was only one known copy of the book at the shelter.

However, it was the New York Post that broke bombshell news last October, reporting on alleged influence-peddling by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, after obtaining emails from a laptop that the younger Biden had allegedly left at a repair shop. At the time, with the presidential election just a couple of weeks away, CNN called the reports “dubious” and cited anonymous people saying that “US authorities” were investigating whether the Hunter Biden emails were part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said there was no connection between Hunter Biden’s laptop and Russian disinformation, but only later did the likes of the New York Times and the Washington Post admit that the evidence-free conspiracy claims were apparently false.

The Washington Post has had its share of falsehoods lately. In March, the newspaper corrected a January story accusing former president Donald Trump of pressuring a Georgia official to help overturn the election’s result. The Post admitted that it had misquoted the official. In fact, it said that claims Trump urged the official to “find the fraud” and that she would be a “national hero” if she did were completely false.

CNN technical director Charlie Chester suggested that such “mistakes” weren’t accidental – at least at his network. Chester was shown on video telling an undercover Project Veritas reporter that CNN’s main focus was to help oust Trump from office through propaganda and that it purposely fearmongered about Covid-19 to boost ratings. He added that CNN also endeavored to make Black Lives Matter look good, a task made more difficult by the group’s conduct.

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who helped break the Edward Snowden NSA scoops in 2013, said MSM outlets are able to “independently confirm” each other’s false reports because their meaning of “confirm” is misleading. Rather than confirming that a report is true, they merely get the same anonymous source to make the same false claims to them.

“It’d be one thing if this were some rare occurrence,” Greenwald said. “The opposite is true. Over and over and over, these same big corporate outlets purport to have ‘independently confirmed’ one another’s stories that turn out to be totally false. Is that trustworthy?”

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

The “Russian Threat”

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | April 25, 2021

During 2016 CIA director John Brennan and FBI director James Comey, together with the corrupt Democrat party, began orchestrating Russiagate in order to prevent Trump from reducing the risk of nuclear war by normalizing relations with Russia. President Trump tried to nip a New Cold War in the bud, but that was not in the interest of the power and profit of the military/security complex which desperately needs the “Russian threat” as its raison d’etre.

Stephen Cohen, myself and a few others expressed concern that the tensions between the two nuclear powers were being driven to more dangerous highs than ever existed during the 20th century Cold War. Many websites joined in debunking the orchestrated Russiagate fabrication.

To discredit these voices, a new website, PropOrNot, suddenly appeared with a list of 200 “Russian agents/dupes.” Those of us who had raised red flags about Russiagate and the worsening of tensions were on the list. The Washington Post gave the accusation credibility by reporting the PropOrNot accusation that those who dissented from a hostile policy toward Russia were “Putin agents.”

A number of the falsely accused websites were intimidated and abandoned the truth. CounterPunch went even further. It dropped its best and most incisive writers—people such as Mike Whitney and Diana Johnstone. CounterPunch, which had once collected, published, and marketed a collection of my essays as a book, suddenly discovered that it preferred fiction over fact. Other websites that had religiously reproduced all of my columns now became selective about which parts of the official narrative they would permit to be examined on their sites. This was, perhaps, the beginning of the movement to de-platform all who challenge the narrative.

The threat to truth-tellers has now been elevated by election thief Joe Biden’s latest Executive Order declaring a “national emergency” to “deal with the Russian threat.” Pepe Escobar reports that Biden’s order opens every American to being accused of being a Russian agent engaged in undermining US security. “A sub-paragraph (C), detailing ‘actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad,’ is vague enough to be used to eliminate any journalism that supports Russia’s positions in international affairs.”

“Supports Russia’s position” includes an objective description and non-partisan analysis of Russian policy. The crucial point is that, in effect, Biden’s executive order places everyone reporting objectively on Russia’s political positions as a potential threat to the United States.

If we are honest, we will acknowledge that we have undergone the complete collapse of the United States. Truth is prohibited in the media, school systems, and universities if it conflicts with the elite agendas served by the official narratives. The First Amendment is dead and buried. Free speech is reserved for the official narratives, such as “systemic racism” and “Russian threat.” Those who exercise their Constitutional right find themselves de-platformed or fired.

To understand how the victory of propaganda over truth elevates the likelihood of nuclear Armageddon, consider the difference between the 20th century and 21st century cold wars.

In the original Cold War both Soviet and American leaders worked to defuse tensions. Agreements were made on arms control and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. There were regular meetings or summits between American and Soviet leaders. Diplomatic decorum was maintained. There were agreements that permitted each side to inspect the other’s compliance.

This process began with President John F. Kennedy and Soviet First Secretary Khrushchev. It continued through President Reagan and, more or less, President George H. W. Bush. It ended with the Clinton regime and has been downhill ever since. President Trump intended to reduce the dangerous tensions, but was not permitted. Indeed, his intent was sufficient cause for the Establishment to drive him from office. 2020 was a coup, not an election.

In the 20th century Cold War Russian experts differed in their assessments of the threat, and their differences were publicly aired. Differing assessments were debated. Dissenters were not demonized as Russian agents. Today American Russian experts find that being Russophobic is a career boost. In the 20th century the New York Times and Washington Post were aligned with peace efforts. Today they are part of the neoconservative warmongers’ propaganda ministry.

The alarming conclusion is that since the Clinton regime, the US government has worked consistently to worsen relations with Russia even to the extent of publicly demonizing the Russian president and strangling objective debate in the US. This is the perfect foundation for war.

All the while insouciant Americans elected governments that successively raised the likelihood of nuclear annihiliation while shutting down dissident concerns. As I reported on March 17, “In the United States Russian Studies has degenerated into propaganda. Recently, two members of the Atlantic Council think tank, Emma Ashford and Matthew Burrows, suggested that American foreign policy could benefit from a less hostile approach to Russia. Instantly, 22 members of the think tank denounced the article by Ashford and Burrows.”

Today even in Republican and conservative circles to question Putin’s demonization raises disapproving eyebrows (the same for China and Iran). The US Establishment has succeeded in labeling objective analysis as “pro-Russian” (or pro-Chinese or pro-Iranian). This means that an objective view of US/Russian relations is off-limits to US policymakers.

The “Russian threat” is another hoax, one that will destroy the world.

April 25, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

WaPo-Style Fake News Russia Bashing

By Stephen Lendman | April 20, 2021

Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post provides propaganda services for Washington’s intelligence community.

Like other establishment media, the broadsheet is militantly hostile toward nations unwilling to sacrifice their sovereign rights to US interests.

Relentless Putin bashing reflects his model leadership and prominence on the world stage — in stark contrast to pygmy US and other Western counterparts.

According to neocon WaPo editors, UN Charter-breaching Biden regime sanctions on Russia weren’t tough enough.

Imposed for invented reasons as part of longstanding US Russia bashing, WaPo claimed “punches were pulled (sic).”

International investors can still buy Russian bonds unobstructed, the broadsheet complained, adding:

Russian energy and mineral enterprises weren’t sanctioned.

A typical litany of Big Lies followed.

WaPo falsely accused Moscow of paying bounties to kill US forces in Afghanistan — citing no evidence because there is none.

Defying reality, the broadsheet falsely claimed that Russia “sponsored… attacks that seriously injured US officials in Moscow, Havana and China” — again no evidence cited.

Fake news accusations of Russian “aggression” persist — how hegemon USA and its partners operate.

The Russian Federation never attacked or threatened other nations.

Under Putin, the Kremlin prioritizes peace, stability, cooperative relations with other countries, and compliance with international law – worlds apart from how the US and its imperial partners in high crimes operate.

In response to years of US-orchestrated Kiev aggression against Donbass, WaPO falsely accused Moscow of US-led high crimes of war and against humanity.

Calling for more illegal sanctions on Russia, perhaps its editors won’t be satisfied unless US hardliners launch WW III.

Separately, WaPo ignored US war on humanity at home and abroad while falsely accusing Russia of “crush(ing) opposition” elements.

Falsely accusing China of spying on and repressing Uyghur Muslins, WaPo defied reality by claiming Russia operates the same way against targeted individuals.

It lied claiming Putin amassed billions of dollars of hidden wealth.

It lied saying he heaps “extravagances” on political allies.

It lied accusing him of poisoning political nobody Navalny.

It lied claiming he persecutes protesters and activists.

It lied accusing democratic Russia of being authoritarian, calling Putin a dictator.

Compared to low approval ratings for US leaders and Congress, nearly two-thirds of Russians approve of Putin’s leadership.

According to Statista Research on February 25, “65 percent of Russians approved of activities of Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

Biden’s approval rating hovers around 50, almost entirely from undemocratic Dem support.

Mind-manipulated Americans don’t understand how badly they’re harmed by US policymakers until they’re bitten hard on their backsides.

Even then, it takes multiple abusive practices for them to realize that dominant US hardliners are their enemies, not allies.

State-sponsored repression and other forms of abuse are longstanding US practices, notably against its most vulnerable people, as well as against targeted individuals of the wrong race, ethnicity, and/or nationality.

In stark contrast to long ago US/Western abandonment of international law, Russia scrupulously abides by its principles.

On all things related to truth and full-disclosure, the US, its hegemonic partners and press agent media stick exclusively to the fabricated official narrative.

On all things related to nations from from US control, both right wings of its war party target them for regime change — wars by hot and/or other means their favored strategies.

On issues mattering most, the US and its hegemonic partners consistently breach the rule of law, operating by their own rules exclusively.

Instead of straight talk, US-led Western officials and their press agent media feature managed news misinformation and disinformation exclusively — truth and full disclosure nowhere in sight.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

WAPO Opens “Domestic Terrorist” Campaign Against Those Who Refuse the Experimental COVID Vaccines

By Brian Shilhavy | Health Impact News | March 8, 2021

And so it begins.

Those of us who have been exposing the corruption in Big Pharma, and especially in the vaccine industry, for more than a decade now, knew this day was coming.

It’s been coming for a long time now, but the COVID Plandemic has shifted medical tyranny into high gear, primarily because this time around the masses have complied with the medical tyrants and, so far, voluntarily surrendered their rights all in the name of “public safety.”

Very soon now, the supply of experimental COVID vaccines will exceed the demand for those who have been lining up and begging to be injected with who-knows-what to fight the unseen enemy, the dreaded Coronavirus, and then it will be time to deal with the “vaccine resistant” who are perceived as a threat to public health.

Domestic Terrorists. That’s the new label for those who dare to question the new experimental COVID injections.

And who else should Big Pharma and their media anoint to start this new campaign, but California Senator Dr. Richard Pan?

Richard Pan is a pediatrician-turned-politician who has spearheaded California’s descent into medical tyranny, since 2015, when he wrote bill SB277 to remove all religious exemptions to childhood vaccines in the State of California, despite widespread public opposition by parents, doctors, lawyers, and educators.

Dr. Pan has a long history of lying to his constituents and selling them out to Big Pharma.

Not being content with spearheading the movement to remove religious exemptions to childhood vaccines in 2015, in 2019 he spearheaded an effort to remove the medical exemptions also, by going after California doctors who were writing medical exemptions to childhood vaccines as well. See:

Senator-Doctor Wants California to Eliminate Doctor’s Medical Exemptions to Vaccines

Today, if you live in California, it is nearly impossible to get any exemptions to childhood vaccines, which has driven many families out of California, and those that remain who want to protect their children from vaccines must home-educate their children and keep them out of the system (a good thing to do in ANY state!).

So it did not surprise me at all last week when an “Opinion” piece published in Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post titled: Opinion: Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism, was written by none other than the California Big Pharma spokesperson, Richard Pan.

I have probably written a couple of dozen of articles on Senator Pan over the years, so if you want to learn more about him, click here.

Kit Knightly, writing for OffGuardian, also picked up on this, relating it back to the January 6th “insurrection” and a way to enact new legislation on “domestic terrorism.”

CALLED IT: WaPo calls anti-vaxxers “domestic terrorists”

By Kit Knightly  | Off-Guardian | March 8, 2021

BACK IN JANUARY I WROTE ABOUT HOW THE CAPITOL HILL “INSURECTION” WAS LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR BIDEN’S ADMINISTRATION TO INTRODUCE A MUCH-TALKED-ABOUT NEW “DOMESTIC TERRORISM” LAW.

The piece speculated that any definition of “domestic terrorism” will be very loose, and include essentially anybody the state finds problematic. Including those who spread “anti-vaccine misinformation” [emphasis added]:

What will “Domestic Terrorism” mean in this law? The answer to that is pretty much always “whatever they want it to mean.”

It will probably be tied into the Covid “pandemic” in some way, too. After all, what is discouraging people from taking vaccines if not the very definition of “terrorism”, right?

It took less than two months for the mainstream media to prove OffG right. Just last week the Washington Post ran an op-ed piece by California State Senator Richard Pam headlined:

Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism

The article goes on to insist that “Laws need to be strengthened” to protect people administering vaccines from being “harassed”. That “Social media companies should not be complicit in this dangerous movement”, and caps it all off with glorious jingoism:

Getting vaccinated is a patriotic act. So is speaking up to support public health efforts. Let’s not allow extremism, division or fear to slow the efforts to end this deadly chapter in our nation’s history.

The message is clear: anyone who questions vaccination, especially the Covid “vaccine”, is a threat to public health and national security. A terrorist.

The WaPo is the first mainstream outlet to make the parallel so blatantly, but they almost certainly won’t be the last.

Be on the lookout for other examples. They’ll probably start building up this narrative quite fast.

And we can likely expect a new false-flag.

Something along the lines of a “lone wolf extremist” who was “radicalised online” by “militant anti-vaxxers” and then allegedly does something crazy like mail Bill Gates a suitcase full of home-made explosives or drives a tanker truck into a vaccination centre.

Of course, that will mean we need to start shutting down and censoring “vaccine misinformation” which is “encouraging violence” and “damaging public health”.

It’s all very predictable at this point.

March 8, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Claims of Silicon Valley bias are ‘disinformation’, say researchers citing disgraced partisan ‘experts’ and Big Tech itself

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 2, 2021

Silicon Valley wants you to know that even thinking they might be biased against conservatives is ‘disinformation,’ and cite a paper informed by censorious busybodies, partisan hacks and their own executives to prove it.

Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio approvingly quoted the Washington Post story about a report arguing that the “claim of anti-conservative animus on the part of social media companies is itself a form of disinformation: a falsehood with no reliable evidence to support it.”

Nothing to see here, folks, just a former press secretary for Democrat Kamala Harris (it’s in his bio) retweeting a newspaper that openly endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket saying that Democrats are right and Republicans are wrong, right?

Before the “fact checkers” declare that actually, Pacilio was a spokesman for Harris in 2011-2014, when she was California’s attorney general – the point is that he doesn’t bother hiding his political allegiance, and neither does the Post. But it would be wrong to judge a report solely by the people who endorse it, so let’s take a look at it, shall we?

Authored by Paul M. Barrett, deputy director of Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University (NYU) and research fellow J. Grant Sims, the 28-page paper is a regurgitation of talking points by mainstream media, “disinformation researchers” advocating for censorship under the guise of ‘Russiagate,’ and Big Tech companies themselves. Looking at their 74 endnotes, one finds multiple mentions of mainstream media outlets, but also citations of the Democrat propaganda shop Media Matters, the German Marshall Fund, and even the Biden-Harris campaign.

Any study of social media censorship that doesn’t address the New York Post getting locked out by Twitter and suppressed by Facebook over the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the run-up to the 2020 election is a farce. This report mentions it exactly once – in a “conservatives pounce” way, no less.

Describing the NY Post story as “questionable” and “apparently based on stolen emails,” the researchers claim it was a case of “reasonable decisions wrapped in mystifying processes.” Their conclusion mirrors the (footnoted) Washington Post editorial, literally headlined “Twitter and Facebook were right to suppress a Biden smear. But they should tell us why they did.” No bias here, everyone!

In other words, they literally want increased censorship on social media platforms, justified by the conservatives supposedly “falsely” claiming they’re being censored.

To no one’s surprise, the researchers conclude that platforms need a “content overseer” executive who would report directly to the top, and “do a better job of protecting users and society at large from harmful content.” They also want the Biden administration to either set up a new agency for digital oversight or give more power to existing ones, and reform Section 230 – the legal shield protecting platforms from lawsuits over content – to make it conditional on their censorship, or as they put it, “acceptance of a range of new responsibilities related to policing content.”

Now comes the best part. Among the people the authors thanked for their “time and insight” are representatives of Google, Twitter, and Facebook; two people from NewsGuard, a few Big Tech apologists from the neoliberal and neoconservative circles, a former Obama White House tech policy advisor – identified here by his new gig at Harvard Kennedy School – and Renée DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory. 

DiResta has made herself quite a career at Stanford, producing alarmist reports of what Russia “might” do to harm American democracy or something, but she started out as research director at a shop called New Knowledge. This group of “tech specialists who lean Democratic,” to use a New York Times understatement, was literally caught running a false flag “Russian bot” operation on Twitter in 2017, during the US Senate special election in Alabama, in order to elect a Democrat.

Her inclusion is just the cherry on top of the giant hypocrisy cake that is the Barrett-Sims paper. It’s worse than merely factually wrong: it’s an exercise in gaslighting, projection and breath-taking dishonesty, it relies on self-serving and dishonest sources, and literally advocates for censorship. Whatever it takes to protect Our Democracy from “disinformation,” I guess.

Once the story of that broke – in December 2018, too late to change anything – New Knowledge quietly rebranded as Yonder, and that was it. No accountability. Instead of being disqualified as partisan hacks, the Senate Intelligence Committee doubled down on “insights” from New Knowledge/Yonder to insist there was “Russian meddling” in the 2016 election. DiResta simply moved to Stanford and kept doing the same thing.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator and on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

With Biden’s New Threats, the Russia Discourse is More Reckless and Dangerous Than Ever

The U.S. media demands inflammatory claims be accepted with no evidence, while hacking behavior routinely engaged in by the U.S. is depicted as aberrational.

By Glenn Greenwald | December 23, 2020

To justify Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump, leading Democrats and their key media allies for years competed with one another to depict what they called “Russia’s interference in our elections” in the most apocalyptic terms possible. They fanatically rejected the view of the Russian Federation repeatedly expressed by President Obama — that it is a weak regional power with an economy smaller than Italy’s capable of only threatening its neighbors but not the U.S. — and instead cast Moscow as a grave, even existential, threat to U.S. democracy, with its actions tantamount to the worst security breaches in U.S. history.

This post-2016 mania culminated with prominent liberal politicians and journalists (as well as John McCain) declaring Russia’s activities surrounding the 2016 [election] to be an “act of war” which, many of them insisted, was comparable to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attack — the two most traumatic attacks in modern U.S. history which both spawned years of savage and destructive war, among other things.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) repeatedly demanded that Russia’s 2016 “interference” be treated as “an act of war.” Hillary Clinton described Russian hacking as “a cyber 9/11.” And Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on MSNBC in early February, 2018, pronounced Russia “a hostile foreign power” whose 2016 meddling was the “equivalent” of Pearl Harbor, “very much on par” with the “seriousness” of the 1941 attack in Hawaii that helped prompt four years of U.S. involvement in a world war.

With the Democrats, under Joe Biden, [presumably] just weeks away from assuming control of the White House and the U.S. military and foreign policy that goes along with it, the discourse from them and their media allies about Russia is becoming even more unhinged and dangerous. Moscow’s alleged responsibility for the recently revealed, multi-pronged hack of U.S. Government agencies and various corporate servers is asserted — despite not a shred of evidence, literally, having yet been presented — as not merely proven fact, but as so obviously true that it is off-limits from doubt or questioning.

Any questioning of this claim will be instantly vilified by the Democrats’ extremely militaristic media spokespeople as virtual treason. “Now the president is not just silent on Russia and the hack. He is deliberately running defense for the Kremlin by contradicting his own Secretary of State on Russian responsibility,” pronounced CNN’s national security reporter Jim Sciutto, who last week depicted Trump’s attempted troop withdrawal from Syria and Germany as “ceding territory” and furnishing “gifts” to Putin. More alarmingly, both the rhetoric to describe the hack and the retaliation being threatened are rapidly spiraling out of control.

Democrats (along with some Republicans long obsessed with The Russian Threat, such as Mitt Romney) are casting the latest alleged hack by Moscow in the most melodramatic terms possible, ensuring that Biden will enter the White House with tensions sky-high with Russia and facing heavy pressure to retaliate aggressively. Biden’s top national security advisers and now Biden himself have, with no evidence shown to the public, repeatedly threatened aggressive retaliation against the country with the world’s second-largest nuclear stockpile.

Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO) — one of the pro-war Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee who earlier this year joined with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) to block Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan — announced: “this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor,” adding: “Our nation is under assault.” The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin (D-IL), pronounced: “This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has for years been casting Russia as a grave threat to the U.S. while Democrats mocked him as a relic of the Cold War (before they copied and then surpassed him), described the latest hack as “the equivalent of Russian bombers flying undetected over the entire country.” The GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee also blasted Trump for his failure to be “aggressively speaking out and protesting and taking punitive action,” though — like virtually every prominent figure demanding tough “retaliation” — Romney failed to specify what he had in mind that would be sufficient retaliation for “the equivalent of Russian bombers flying undetected over the entire country.”

For those keeping track at home: that’s two separate “Pearl Harbors” in less than four years from Moscow (or, if you prefer, one Pearl Harbor and one 9/11). If Democrats actually believe that, it stands to reason that they will be eager to embrace a policy of belligerence and aggression toward Russia. Many of them are demanding this outright, mocking Trump for failing to attack Russia — despite no evidence that they were responsible — while their well-trained liberal flock is suggesting that the non-response constitutes some form of “high treason.”

Indeed, the Biden team has been signalling that they intend to quickly fulfill demands for aggressive retaliation. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Biden “accused President Trump [] of ‘irrational downplaying’” of the hack while “warning Russia that he would not allow the intrusion to ‘go unanswered’ after he takes office.” Biden emphasized that once the intelligence assessment is complete, “we will respond, and probably respond in kind.”

Threats and retaliation between the U.S. and Russia are always dangerous, but particularly so now. One of the key nuclear arms agreements between the two nuclear-armed nations, the New START treaty, will expire in February unless Putin and Biden can successfully negotiate a renewal: sixteen days after Biden is [tentatively] scheduled to take office. “That will force Mr. Biden to strike a deal to prevent one threat — a nuclear arms race — while simultaneously threatening retaliation on another,” observed the Times.


This escalating rhetoric from Washington about Russia, and the resulting climate of heightened tensions, are dangerous in the extreme. They are also based in numerous myths, deceits and falsehoods:

First, absolutely no evidence of any kind has been presented to suggest, let alone prove, that Russia is responsible for these hacks. It goes without saying that it is perfectly plausible that Russia could have done this: it’s the sort of thing that every large power from China and Iran to the U.S. and Russia have the capability to do and wield against virtually every other country including one another.

But if we learned nothing else over the last several decades, we should know that accepting claims that emanate from the U.S. intelligence community about adversaries without a shred of evidence is madness of the highest order. We just had a glaring reminder of the importance of this rule: just weeks before the election, countless mainstream media outlets laundered and endorsed the utterly false claim that the documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop were “Russian disinformation,” only for officials to acknowledge once the harm was done that there was no evidence — zero — of Russian involvement.

Yet that is exactly what the overwhelming bulk of media outlets are doing again: asserting that Russia is behind these hacks despite having no evidence of its truth. The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, host of the paper’s popular The Daily podcast, asked his colleague, national security reporter David Sanger, what evidence exists to assert that Russia did this. As Barbaro put it, even Sanger is “allowing that early conclusions could all be wrong, but that it’s doubtful.” Indeed, Sanger acknowledged to Barbaro that they have no proof, asserting instead that the basis on which he is relying is that Russia possesses the sophistication to carry out such a hack (as do several other nation-states), along with claiming that the hack has what he calls the “markings” of Russian hackers.

But this tactic was exactly the same one used by former intelligence officials, echoed by these same media outlets, to circulate the false pre-election claim that the documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop were “Russian disinformation”: namely, they pronounced in lockstep, the material from Hunter’s laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information.” This was also exactly the same tactic used by the U.S. intelligence community in 2001 to falsely blame Iraq for the anthrax attacks, claiming that their chemical analysis revealed a substance that was “a trademark of the Iraqi biological weapons program.”

These media outlets will, if pressed, acknowledge their lack of proof that Russia did this. Despite this admitted lack of proof, media outlets are repeatedly stating Russian responsibility as proven fact.

“Scope of Russian Hacking Becomes Clear: Multiple U.S. Agencies Were Hit,” one New York Times headline proclaimed, and the first line of that article, co-written by Sanger, stated definitively: “The scope of a hacking engineered by one of Russia’s premier intelligence agencies became clearer on Monday.” The Washington Post deluged the public with identically certain headlines.

Nobody in the government has been as definitive in asserting Russian responsibility as corporate media outlets. Even Trump’s hawkish Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, crafted his accusation against Moscow with caveats and uncertainty: “I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.”

If actual evidence ultimately emerges demonstrating Russian responsibility, it would not alter how dangerous it is that — less than twenty years after the Iraq WMD debacle and less than a couple of years after media endorsement of endless Russiagate falsehoods — the most influential media outlets continue to mindlessly peddle as Truth whatever the intelligence community feeds them, without the need to see any evidence that what they’re claiming is actually true. Even more alarmingly, large sectors of the public that venerate these outlets continue to believe that what they hear from them must be true, no matter how many times they betray that trust. The ease with which the CIA can disseminate whatever messaging it wants through friendly media outlets is stunning.

Second, the very idea that this hack could be compared to rogue and wildly aberrational events such as Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attack is utterly laughable on its face. One has to be drowning in endless amounts of jingoistic self-delusion to believe that this hack — or, for that matter, the 2016 “election interference” — is a radical departure from international norms as opposed to a perfect reflection of them.

Just as was true of 2016 fake Facebook pages and Twitter bots, it is not an exaggeration to say that the U.S. Government engages in hacking attacks of this sort, and ones far more invasive, against virtually every country on the planet, including Russia, on a weekly basis. That does not mean that this kind of hacking is either justified or unjustified. It does mean, however, that depicting it as some particularly dastardly and incomparably immoral act that requires massive retaliation requires a degree of irrationality and gullibility that is bewildering to behold.

The NSA reporting enabled by Edward Snowden by itself proved that the NSA spies on virtually anyone it can. Indeed, after reviewing the archive back in 2013, I made the decision that I would not report on U.S. hacks of large adversary countries such as China and Russia because it was so commonplace for all of these countries to hack one another as aggressively and intrusively as they could that it was hardly newsworthy to report on this (the only exception was when there was a substantial reason to view such spying as independently newsworthy, such as Sweden’s partnering with NSA to spy on Russia in direct violation of the denials Swedish officials voiced to their public).

Other news outlets who had access to Snowden documents, particularly The New York Times, were not nearly as circumspect in exposing U.S. spying on large nation-state adversaries. As a result, there is ample proof published by those outlets (sometimes provoking Snowden’s strong objections) that the U.S. does exactly what Russia is alleged to have done here — and far worse.

“Even as the United States made a public case about the dangers of buying from [China’s] Huawei, classified documents show that the National Security Agency was creating its own back doors — directly into Huawei’s networks,” reported The New York Times’ David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in 2013, adding that “the agency pried its way into the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in Shenzhen, China’s industrial heart.”

In 2013, the Guardian revealed “an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow,” and added: “foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts.” Meanwhile, “Sweden has been a key partner for the United States in spying on Russia and its leadership, Swedish television said on Thursday,” noted Reuters, citing what one NSA document described as “a unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics.”

Other reports revealed that the U.S. had hacked into the Brazilian telecommunications system to collect data on the whole population, and was spying on Brazil’s key leaders (including then-President Dilma Rousseff) as well as its most important companies such as its oil giant Petrobras and its Ministry of Mines and Energy. The Washington Post reported: “The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.” And on and on.

[One amazing though under-appreciated episode related to all this: the same New York Times reporter who revealed the details about massive NSA hacking of Chinese government and industry, Nicole Perlroth, subsequently urged (in tweets she has now deleted) that Snowden not be pardoned on the ground that, according to her, he revealed legitimate NSA spying on U.S. adversaries. In reality, it was actually she, Perlorth, not Snowden, who chose to expose NSA spying on China, provoking Snowden’s angry objections when she did so based on his view this was a violation of the framework he created for what should and should not be revealed; in other words, not only did Perlroth urge the criminal prosecution of a source on which she herself relied, an absolutely astonishing thing for any reporter to do, but so much worse, she did so by falsely accusing that source of doing something that she, Perlroth, had done herself: namely, reveal extensive U.S. hacking of China].

What all of this makes demonstrably clear is that only the most deluded and uninformed person could believe that Russian hacking of U.S. agencies and corporations — if it happened — is anything other than totally normal and common behavior between these countries. Harvard Law Professor and former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith, reviewing growing demands for retaliation, wrote in an excellent article last week entitled “Self-Delusion on the Russia Hack: The U.S. regularly hacks foreign governmental computer systems on a massive scale”:

The lack of self-awareness in these and similar reactions to the Russia breach is astounding. The U.S. government has no principled basis to complain about the Russia hack, much less retaliate for it with military means, since the U.S. government hacks foreign government networks on a huge scale every day. Indeed, a military response to the Russian hack would violate international law . . . .

As the revelations from leaks of information from Edward Snowden made plain, the United States regularly penetrates foreign governmental computer systems on a massive scale, often (as in the Russia hack) with the unwitting assistance of the private sector, for purposes of spying. It is almost certainly the world’s leader in this practice, probably by a lot. The Snowden documents suggested as much, as does the NSA’s probable budget. In 2016, after noting “problems with cyber intrusions from Russia,” Obama boasted that the United States has “more capacity than anybody … offensively” . . . .

Because of its own practices, the U.S. government has traditionally accepted the legitimacy of foreign governmental electronic spying in U.S. government networks. After the notorious Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management database, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did. If we had the opportunity to do that, I don’t think we’d hesitate for a minute.” The same Russian agency that appears to have carried out the hack revealed this week also hacked into unclassified emails in the White House and Defense and State Departments in 2014-2015. The Obama administration deemed it traditional espionage and did not retaliate. “It was information collection, which is what nation states—including the United States—do,” said Obama administration cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel this week.

But over the last four years, Americans, particularly those who feed on liberal media outlets, have been drowned in so much mythology about the U.S. and Russia that they have no capacity to critically assess the claims being made, and — just as they were led to believe about “Russia’s 2016 interference in Our Sacred Elections” — are easily convinced that what Russia did is some shocking and extreme crime the likes of which are rarely seen in international relations. In reality, their own government is the undisputed world champion in perpetrating these acts, and has been for years if not decades.

Third, these demands for “retaliation” are so reckless because they are almost always unaccompanied by any specifics. Even if Moscow’s responsibility is demonstrated, what is the U.S. supposed to do in response? If your answer is that they should hack Russia back, rest assured the NSA and CIA are always trying to hack Russia as much as it possibly can, long before this event.

If the answer is more sanctions, that would be just performative and pointless, aside from wildly hypocritical. Any reprisals more severe than that would be beyond reckless, particularly with the need to renew nuclear arms control agreements looming. And if you are someone demanding retaliation, do you believe that Russia, China, Brazil and all the other countries invaded by NSA hackers have the same right of retaliation against the U.S., or does the U.S. occupy a special place with special entitlements that all other countries lack?

What we have here, yet again, is the classic operation of the intelligence community feeding serious accusations about a nuclear-armed power to an eagerly gullible corporate media, with the media mindlessly disseminating it without evidence, all toward ratcheting up tensions between these two nuclear-armed powers and fortifying a mythology of the U.S. as grand victim but never perpetrator.

If you ever find yourself wondering how massive military budgets and a posture of Endless War are seemingly invulnerable to challenge, this pathological behavior — from a now-enduring union of the intelligence community, corporate media outlets, and the Democratic Party — provides one key piece of the puzzle.

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Washington Post Can’t Stop Babbling About Russians ‘Hacking Our Minds’

By Caitlin Johnstone | December 19, 2020

The Washington Post has published another article warning its readers that the Russians are “hacking our minds”, this one authored by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Russia hasn’t just hacked our computer systems. It’s hacked our minds.” blares the ridiculous, propagandistic headline for an article about “the Russian model” of propaganda which “rests on the principle that people get convinced when they hear the same message many times from a variety of sources, no matter how biased.”

Which is funny, since this is not the first time WaPo itself has repeated this cartoonish narrative about Russian mind-hackers.

Just two months ago the Washington Post editorial board published an article titled “The US may be safe from foreign interference in this election. But what about perception hacking?“, which opens with the line “Russia and other adversaries may not need to hack the election if they can hack something else: our minds.”

The paranoid screed unironically argued that Russia is using its super powerful propaganda engine to make people paranoid and doubtful of US electoral systems, which could actually have an adverse effect on the US election. As though telling people their mental and perceptual faculties are being hacked by a hostile foreign enemy with the goal of influencing the election would not make them paranoid and doubtful of US electoral systems.

Zakaria’s piece builds on this already established theme by parroting the still completely evidence-free claim that Russia was responsible for the far-reaching cyber intrusion into the IT company SolarWinds, whose cybersecurity we recently learned was left so unprotected that its update server’s password was literally “solarwinds123”.

“But what about the perhaps more insidious Russian efforts at disinformation, which have helped to reshape the information environment worldwide?” Zakaria asks. He then does a few mental gymnastics to tie Russia’s propaganda campaign to Donald Trump, because of course he does, and leaves the reader with the closing line, “The problem is not just that Russia has hacked America’s computer systems. It seems to have hacked our minds.”

WaPo keeps hammering this narrative about powerful Russian mind-hackers as though Russia is the only nation with an existing propaganda campaign on the world stage and not one of the weaker ones doing so. The US government itself openly uses propaganda on foreigners with programs like Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, which actually serve the more important function of presenting the illusion that those are the only form of US government propaganda.

In reality the plutocratic class which owns the mass media works closely with the US government and sets up its institutions to only elevate voices which advance narratives that are favorable to the status quo those plutocrats have built their kingdoms upon. WaPo itself is owned by the richest man in the world who is also a CIA contractor and sits on a Pentagon advisory board. The unofficial propaganda operations of the oligarchic empire give it a massive edge in international narrative control that dwarfs both official US propaganda programs and anything the Russian government could ever come up with.

Among some very stiff competition, one of the dumbest recurring themes in western imperialist media is the idea that world affairs, entire electoral and governmental systems, and even our very minds, are being controlled by a nation with the same GDP as South Korea. Russia does not have an especially strong sway over the world stage, it just happens to be one of the few remaining power structures which have resisted absorption into the US-centralized empire and is being targeted with a propaganda campaign aimed at changing that.

Russia is not hacking your mind. If anyone is hacking your mind, it’s the vast globe-spanning power structure loosely centralized around the United States which has been aggressively propagandizing you into supporting the continuation of status quo politics since you were born.

The dawn of political insight comes when you realize that propaganda is not just something that is done by other nations to other people. It is done by your own rulers, in your own nation, and it is being done to you.

Support Caitlin on Patreon.

December 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Washington Post claims RUSSIA behind SolarWinds hack, citing same ‘sources’ as it did for Russiagate

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | December 14, 2020

Having accused Russia of a ‘secret war’ on the US, the Washington Post is apparently trying to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, citing anonymous sources to blame the alleged hack of US cyber infrastructure on the Kremlin.

“Russian government hackers breached the Treasury and Commerce departments, along with other US government agencies,” the Post declared on Monday. It’s a serious accusation that one would think demands a serious weight of evidence. The Post offers only anonymous “people familiar with the matter,” however, and demands we take their word for it.

The alleged hack in question is what the US authorities described as an “active exploitation” of the SolarWinds Orion Platform, a network monitoring tool used by corporations as well as US government agencies such as the State Department, NASA, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon, the Executive Office and even the spying agency NSA. The breach supposedly happened between March and June.

One of the first to report the hack was FireEye, a cyber-security outfit that last week said its own hacking tools had been stolen. While FireEye didn’t name names, it was the Washington Post that blamed Russia for the theft. The paper’s editorial board then cited the hack of FireEye as one of the arguments for the existence of a “secret war” by Russia against the US.

The others ranged from fake news like the “bounties” for killing US troops in Afghanistan, to esoteric conspiracy theories like the Russian “hacking” of the DNC and attacking US diplomats in Cuba with “microwave weapons.”

The Post was one of the driving forces behind ‘Russiagate’, the conspiracy pushed by Democrats claiming that President Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to “hack” the 2016 election and serving as the basis for “resisting” his administration ever since.

Its reporters can’t help bringing that up, either, treating as a statement of fact the utterly unproven assertion that Russia hacked the DNC emails in 2016 and leaked them “to the online anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks in an operation that disrupted the Democrats’ National Convention in the midst of the presidential campaign.”

To further bolster its ‘nonpartisan’ bona fides, the Post sought comment from Michael Daniel, White House cybersecurity coordinator during the Obama administration and now president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance, “an information-sharing group for ­cybersecurity companies.” Huh, no wonder all these cyber outfits always spout the same talking points!

At the very end of the story, the reporters also quote a tweet from Dmitri Alperovitch, identified only as “cybersecurity expert and founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator think tank.” Yet Alperovitch would be far more familiar to the public as a fellow of NATO’s Atlantic Council and a former head of CrowdStrike, the security contractor hired by the DNC that’s the sole source of claims “Russia” hacked them.

Admittedly, CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry told Congress under oath that they never had more than circumstantial evidence the data was actually “exfiltrated” – i.e. that the hack happened – but that tiny detail from a secret testimony was only made public in May. Russiagate is an assumed fact now and Dmitry has moved to bigger and better things. As Hillary Clinton herself once put it: What difference, at this point, does it make?

Meanwhile, other mainstream media outlets were perfectly happy to report Russia was behind the “hack,” citing other “media reports” as sources and conflating them with US officials confirming only the existence of the breach.

One notable example was NPR, previously known for declaring that “Hunter Biden isn’t a story but a distraction.”

Getting back to the Post, however, you can see how the paper that’s basically been spreading disinformation about ‘Russian hackers’ for years is at it again. Never mind that no evidence is offered beyond anonymous sources and the usual suspects, or that the charges are serving a partisan political agenda – and that of their own editorial board.

Then again, why wouldn’t they? What’s stopping them exactly, journalist ethics? Their ‘Russiagate’ activism has only resulted in awards and rewards – and a return to political power. And in Washington, power is everything.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

December 14, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

There is no ‘Russian secret war’ on the US, but WaPo fantasy risks Biden starting a very real one

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | December 12, 2020

In a normal world, the Washington Post claiming the existence of a Russian ‘secret war’ against the US based on far-fetched conjecture and debunked conspiracy theories would be a laughing matter. We don’t live in such a world.

Democrat Joe Biden, anointed by the US mainstream media and Silicon Valley as the next president, “must call out Putin’s secret war against the United States” when he assumes office, the Post’s editorial board argued this week.

But this “secret war” exists only in their feverish imagination. Each and every one of the things they list as examples of it consists of assertions based on insinuation at best, or has otherwise been debunked as outright fake news.

Exhibit A is the “mysterious attacks” that supposedly “targeted” US diplomats and spies in Cuba, China, Australia and Taiwan. This ‘Havana Syndrome’ was blamed on Russia last week in a coordinated media campaign, but the “scientific” paper it was based on carefully avoids actual attribution, saying only that the vague symptoms were “consistent” with a posited microwave weapon.

This is an evolution of the original story, which claimed that Russia had used “sonic weapons,” not microwave ones. Even the New York Times later admitted that the headaches, sleep deprivation and other problems were more likely caused by the loud chirping of Cuban crickets.

Exhibit B is another doozy, the infamous “Russian bounties” story. The New York Times claimed in June that some money captured from local mobsters in Afghanistan was somehow proof that Russia was paying the Taliban to kill US soldiers – again, not on the basis of actual evidence, but on conjecture that this was “consistent” with what the CIA and US military said were Russian objectives.

Thing is, neither the US intelligence community nor the Pentagon were ever able to confirm the story, having investigated it for months. It just so happened that it was brought up just as the DC establishment sought to torpedo President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of Afghanistan and end the 20-year war that has long since forgotten its purpose.

Exhibit C is the “looting of valuable hacking tools” from the cybersecurity firm FireEye, announced earlier this week. FireEye itself never named the culprit, with its CEO Kevin Mandia only saying it was “consistent with a nation-state cyber-espionage effort.”

That didn’t stop the Post from claiming that “spies with Russia’s foreign intelligence service” are “believed” to have hacked FireEye, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Well there you go, anonymous and unverifiable sources asserted it, therefore it must be true!

Last but not least, Exhibit D is the assertion that the “Democratic National Committee’s computers were raided by Russian military intelligence to disrupt the 2016 election.” That is another assertion, based on allegations listed in indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller. As a federal judge helpfully reminded Mueller in another ‘Russiagate’ case, which the government later dropped, allegations made in indictments aren’t statements of fact.

If the phrase “consistent with” jumps out at you here, that’s no accident. Notice there is no actual evidence offered for any of these claims, only an insinuation that these alleged attacks would be “consistent” with what the US spies, anonymous sources and mainstream media think might be Russian objectives.

That’s exactly the claim made by the infamous January 2017 “intelligence community assessment,” which the media falsely attributed to “17 intelligence agencies” instead of a hand-picked team involved in spying on the Trump campaign at the time.

Keep in mind that these are the same spies and media that never saw the demise of the Soviet Union coming, and have been predicting Russia’s impending collapse any day now – for the past 20 years. So much for their actual knowledge of Russian goals or thinking.

Speaking of ‘Russiagate,’ the Post has been on the leading edge of that conspiracy theory from the start. It won Pulitzers for pushing it on the American public. It also played a key role in smearing Trump’s first national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, so he would be fired – and later cheered his railroading by Mueller. At least they’re consistent, so to speak.

Now, the Post editors may be privileged people, living comfortably off of Jeff Bezos’s Amazon fortune even as their country collapses under pandemic lockdowns. However, it would be a mistake to write off this editorial as a mere product of their vivid and feverish imaginations. After four years of Russiagate hysteria that even the Trump administration has internalized, this kind of rhetoric is actually dangerous.

That’s because the Post is literally in bed with what Trump called the Washington “swamp,” the entrenched US political establishment. What they print is what that establishment thinks and wants Americans to believe. With Joe Biden in the White House, the objectives of that establishment and the official US government would be, to use their own phrase, consistent.

Which is why the Post’s “secret war” fantasy is, shall we say, highly likely to become an actual shooting war with Moscow. As the US and Russia have enough nuclear weapons between themselves to destroy the world several times over, that can’t possibly be good for Amazon’s bottom line. Someone ought to tell Bezos.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

No, Climate Change Is Not Eliminating Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

By James Taylor | ClimateRealism | November 19, 2020

The Washington Post published an article yesterday claiming climate change is devastating Massachusetts cranberry production and threatening to eliminate America’s Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. In related news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a record 2020 Massachusetts cranberry crop.

The Washington Post article is titled, “How Climate Change Is Complicating a Thanksgiving Staple.” The subtitle is, “Heatwave, drought, lack of winter ice are taking a toll on a quintessential Massachusetts crop.” In the article, the Post quotes Bay Staters voicing their subjective feelings that climate change is making cranberry farming harder. The article is littered with subheads like, “The fight to save a small fruit.” The article, however, presents no objective data to support the claims. That struck us at Climate Realism as odd, considering objective cranberry data is available for Massachusetts and America as a whole.

Let’s take a look at objective cranberry facts:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service estimates record Massachusetts cranberry production in 2020. This directly contradicts the message of the Washington Post article, which likely explains why the Washington Post chose not to include any data in its article. USDA also estimates strong cranberry production in Wisconsin this year. Wisconsin and Massachusetts are the two leading states for cranberry production.

Cranberry production in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and the rest of the United States has been so strong in recent years that, according to the Wisconsin State Farmer news site, “Facing a continued glut of cranberries and depressed prices, in 2017 the cranberry industry asked federal officials in 2017 to take unusual steps aimed at reducing production.”

“The industry’s U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee asked the USDA to cap the amount of cranberries grown in 2018 at 75% of the normal crop. The committee also has asked the USDA to have cranberry companies withhold 15% of the 2017 crop from the marketplace,” the State Farmer reported.

The chart below, published by National Geographic, documents and illustrates the consistent, long-term growth in cranberry production. The chart ends with the year 2018, but that trend will continue with the estimated 2020 record crop production.

Ultimately, yesterday’s Washington Post article is merely the latest example of a nefarious strategy executed by climate activists and their corporate media allies. Their dishonest tactic is to identify an upcoming holiday or something that people really love, and then claim that global warming is destroying it, whether or not there is any evidence, truth, or basis for the alarmist claim.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment