Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

NYT Advocates Internet Censorship

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | November 20, 2016

In its lead editorial on Sunday, The New York Times decried what it deemed “The Digital Virus Called Fake News” and called for Internet censorship to counter this alleged problem, taking particular aim at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for letting “liars and con artists hijack his platform.”

As this mainstream campaign against “fake news” quickly has gained momentum in the past week, two false items get cited repeatedly, a claim that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump and an assertion that Trump was prevailing in the popular vote over Hillary Clinton. I could add another election-related falsehood, a hoax spread by Trump supporters that liberal documentarian Michael Moore was endorsing Trump when he actually was backing Clinton.

But I also know that Clinton supporters were privately pushing some salacious and unsubstantiated charges about Trump’s sex life, and Clinton personally charged that Trump was under the control of Russian President Vladimir Putin although there was no evidence presented to support that McCarthyistic accusation.

The simple reality is that lots of dubious accusations get flung around during the heat of a campaign – nothing new there – and it is always a challenge for professional journalists to swat them down the best we can. What’s different now is that the Times envisions some structure (or algorithm) for eliminating what it calls “fake news.”

But, with a stunning lack of self-awareness, the Times fails to acknowledge the many times that it has published “fake news,” such as reporting in 2002 that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes meant that it was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program; its bogus analysis tracing the firing location of a Syrian sarin-laden rocket in 2013 back to a Syrian military base that turned out to be four times outside the rocket’s range; or its publication of photos supposedly showing Russian soldiers inside Russia and then inside Ukraine in 2014 when it turned out that the “inside-Russia” photo was also taken inside Ukraine, destroying the premise of the story.

These are just three examples among many of the Times publishing “fake news” – and all three appeared on Page One before being grudgingly or partially retracted, usually far inside the newspaper under opaque headlines so most readers wouldn’t notice. Much of the Times’ “fake news” continued to reverberate in support of U.S. government propaganda even after the partial retractions.

Who Is the Judge?

So, should Zuckerberg prevent Facebook users from circulating New York Times stories? Obviously, the Times would not favor that solution to the problem of “fake news.” Instead, the Times expects to be one of the arbiters deciding which Internet outlets get banned and which ones get gold seals of approval.

The Times lead editorial, following a front-page article on the same topic on Friday, leaves little doubt what the newspaper would like to see. It wants major Internet platforms and search engines, such as Facebook and Google, to close off access to sites accused of disseminating “fake news.”

The editorial said, “a big part of the responsibility for this scourge rests with internet companies like Facebook and Google, which have made it possible for fake news to be shared nearly instantly with millions of users and have been slow to block it from their sites. …

“Facebook says it is working on weeding out such fabrications. It said last Monday that it would no longer place Facebook-powered ads on fake news websites, a move that could cost Facebook and those fake news sites a lucrative source of revenue. Earlier on the same day, Google said it would stop letting those sites use its ad placement network. These steps would help, but Facebook, in particular, owes its users, and democracy itself, far more.

“Facebook has demonstrated that it can effectively block content like click-bait articles and spam from its platform by tweaking its algorithms, which determine what links, photos and ads users see in their news feeds. … Facebook managers are constantly changing and refining the algorithms, which means the system is malleable and subject to human judgment.”

The Times editorial continued: “This summer, Facebook decided to show more posts from friends and family members in users’ news feeds and reduce stories from news organizations, because that’s what it said users wanted. If it can do that, surely its programmers can train the software to spot bogus stories and outwit the people producing this garbage. …

“Mr. Zuckerberg himself has spoken at length about how social media can help improve society. … None of that will happen if he continues to let liars and con artists hijack his platform.”

Gray Areas

But the problem is that while some falsehoods may be obvious and clear-cut, much information exists in a gray area in which two or more sides may disagree on what the facts are. And the U.S. government doesn’t always tell the truth although you would be hard-pressed to find recent examples of the Times recognizing that reality. Especially over the past several decades, the Times has usually embraced the Official Version of a disputed event and has deemed serious skepticism out of bounds.

That was the way the Times treated denials from the Iraqi government and some outside experts who disputed the “aluminum tube” story in 2002 – and how the Times has brushed off disagreements regarding the U.S. government’s portrayal of events in Syria, Ukraine and Russia. Increasingly, the Times has come across as a propaganda conduit for Official Washington rather than a professional journalistic entity.

But the Times and other mainstream news outlets – along with some favored Internet sites – now sit on a Google-financed entity called the First Draft Coalition, which presents itself as a kind of Ministry of Truth that will decide which stories are true and which are “fake.”

If the Times’ editorial recommendations are followed, the disfavored stories and the sites publishing them would no longer be accessible through popular search engines and platforms, essentially blocking the public’s access to them. [See Consortiumnews.com’sWhat to Do About ‘Fake News.’”]

The Times asserts that such censorship would be good for democracy – and it surely is true that hoaxes and baseless conspiracy theories are no help to democracy – but regulation of information in the manner that the Times suggests has more than a whiff of Orwellian totalitarianism to it.

And the proposal is especially troubling coming from the Times, with its checkered recent record of disseminating dangerous disinformation.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

UK’s Iraq war probe designed to ‘avoid blame,’ Whitehall memos reveal – report

RT | November 20, 2016

The injury into UK’s involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was designed by the government to avoid allocating blame to individuals and departments, memos obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have reportedly revealed.

The papers were made public thanks to Chris Lamb, an FOI campaigner from Bristol, who had won a two-year court battle for the right to access classified memos by government officials relating to the creation of the Chilcot Inquiry. The memos were penned in the four-week period in May and June 2009, the Observer reported.

The documents revealed that high-level politicians in Britain sought to ensure that the probe would not result in branches of the government or individuals being held legally liable for the Iraq war. Some officials opposed a public inquiry due to the amount of daily publicity, cost and, ironically, long time such a procedure would take.

The Chilcot Report, released in July, was the culmination of seven years of investigation, started by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009, and chaired by Sir John Chilcot. Although the investigation had found that Saddam Hussein had not posed any credible threat to the West – nor were there any WMD in his possession – it stopped short of assigning any blame to Tony Blair, who was UK prime minister at the time of the invasion, or any officials in his government.

Now it has been reportedly revealed that officials at the highest levels were involved in driving the inquiry to that outcome.

“The inquiry was hobbled before it even started, with tight restrictions on what it could do that were not fully made public,” Lamb told the newspaper.

The Observer reports that according to the memos, former cabinet secretary under Brown, Sir (now Lord) Gus O’Donnell ignored Whitehall protocol when he made Margaret Aldred the secretary on the inquiry – one of the most senior roles with the investigation.

Aldred had chaired the Iraq senior officials group during the period Chilcot was investigating and her appointment ran against the advice by Cabinet Office official Ben Lyon, who said in one memo that the secretariat should not draw from civil servants, and specifically that they “should not have been involved in Iraq policy since 2002.”

Other people involved in the 2003 war helped set up the inquiry, including Sir Jeremy Heywood, who served as Blair’s parliamentary private secretary until 2003, and former spy chief Sir John Scarlett, who was the central figure in trumpeting up the so-called Iraq dossier on Saddam Hussein’s non-existant arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

In another memo, O’Donnell advised to avoid a legal focus, and recommended that the investigation be structured so as to prevent “any conclusion on questions of law or fact, which create circumstances which expose organizations, departments and/or individuals to criminal or civil proceedings or judicial review.” Part of this approach was not to have any judges or lawyers among the inquiry appointees.

Another big point for the investigation was to keep it secret rather than public. Lyon warned that a public inquiry would “attract a daily running commentary,” like the 2003 Hutton inquiry into the death of Iraq weapons inspector David Kelly. O’Donnell used the same reasoning and warned that a public inquiry would “threaten legal liability for individuals” and “take a long time.”

Brown initially wanted the injury to be carried by the Privy Council and announced this procedure in June 2009. But after a public outcry he agreed to make some of the hearing public.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

State crimes against democracy

By Prof Lance de Haven-Smith | CanSpeccy |April 2, 2011

1. What are State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs)?

I coined the term “State Crimes Against Democracy” in a peer-reviewed article published by Administrative Theory & Praxis, the journal of the Public Administration Theory Network. SCADs are defined as “concerted actions or inactions by government insiders intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty.” Until recently, scholarly research on political criminality has given little attention to antidemocratic conspiracies in high office, focusing instead on graft, bribery, embezzlement, and other forms of government corruption where the aim is personal enrichment rather than social control, partisan advantage, or political power. However, SCADs are far more dangerous to democracy than these other, more mundane forms of political criminality because of their potential to subvert political institutions and entire governments or branches of government.

2. What are some examples of SCADs in recent U.S. history?

Examples of SCADs that have been officially proven include the Watergate break-ins and cover up; the secret wars in Laos and Cambodia; the illegal arms sales and covert operations in Iran-Contra; and the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson by revealing his wife’s status as an intelligence agent. Examples of suspected SCADs include the fabricated attacks on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964; the “October Surprises” in the presidential elections of 1968 and 1980; the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King; the attempted assassinations of George Wallace and Ronald Reagan; the election breakdowns in 2000 and 2004; the numerous defense failures on 9-11-2001; the anthrax mailings in October 2001; and the misrepresentation of intelligence to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

3. Are suspicions about SCADs “conspiracy theories”?

The concept of State Crimes against Democracy was developed, in part, to replace the term “conspiracy theory.” The conspiracy-theory literature about assassinations, 9/11, and other suspicious events has generally examined each event in isolation. The SCAD construct was introduced to move inquiry beyond incident-specific theorizing. It delineates a crime category comparable to white collar crime, organized crime, and hate crime. SCAD research looks for patterns across events. The objective is to develop (a) an empirically grounded theory of elite political criminality, (b) forensic methods for SCAD detection and investigation, and (c) political reforms to discourage SCADs from being committed in the first place.

4. Why are SCADs difficult to detect?

SCADs are usually complex conspiracies involving people with expertise in law, law enforcement, and police procedures. Ordinary crimes are often solved by pressuring criminals to inform on one another, but this may be impossible with SCADs because they are often organized like covert intelligence operations. Each element of the operation is compartmentalized, and information about participant roles is shared only on a need-to-know basis.

5. Why are SCAD suspects seldom convicted and punished?

One reason SCADs often go unpunished is that the agencies assigned to investigate what may be high crimes often bear some blame or have some connection to the events in question; hence, personnel in these agencies are inevitably tempted to conceal evidence that would implicate or embarrass the agencies or their top managers. In the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy, for example, both the FBI and the CIA concealed evidence of their contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby (Talbot, 2007). Likewise, in response to the inquiry into the defense failures surrounding 9-11, the Department of Defense appears to have withheld from the 9-11 Commission evidence that military intelligence agents had uncovered the 9-11 hijackers’ activities well in advance of September 2001. SCAD investigations and prosecutions are also impeded by Presidential pardons and commutations. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon without even allowing a full investigation into all of Nixon’s possible crimes. Similarly, George H.W. Bush pardoned the Iran-Contra conspirators and effectively prevented further investigation of his own role in the affair. George W. Bush appears to have had similar motives with respect to Scooter Libby. In commuting Libby’s sentence rather than issuing a pardon, Bush made it impossible for Congress to compel Libby’s testimony in any further inquiry into Plame’s exposure.

6. Why do the mainstream media spurn “conspiracy theories”?

There are powerful norms among political, economic, and media elites that discourage speculation about corruption in high office. In elite discourse, convention prohibits suspicions from being voiced about top officials unless their guilt can be proven unambiguously by “smoking gun” evidence. This norm does not come from the principle in American jurisprudence that suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty. The presumption of innocence was never intended to outlaw suspicions. Rather, it calls for suspicions to be tested with thorough and fair investigations grounded by procedural rules for procuring and presenting evidence. Norms against conspiratorial speculations in elite discourse function to protect the legitimacy of elites as a class.

7. Was 9/11 a SCAD?

Much circumstantial evidence suggests the Bush-Cheney Administration may have somehow been involved in 9-11. The Administration ignored many warning signs that the 9-11 terrorist attack was imminent and that the attack might include hijackings; the CIA had a working relationship with bin Laden, and provided weapons, money, and technical support to Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation; some officials appear to have received warnings not to fly on 9-11; the Twin Towers and Building 7, which collapsed at near free-fall acceleration, are suspected of having been brought down by controlled demolition; chemical tests have found traces of Thermate (an incendiary for cutting steel) in dust from the Trade Center site; and, as is usual with most SCADs, the Twin Towers crime scene was cleaned up quickly and given only a superficial investigation.

8. What patterns have been uncovered with SCAD research?

Several patterns stand out when SCADs and suspected SCADs are considered comparatively. First, many SCADs are associated with foreign policy and international conflict: the Gulf of Tonkin incident; the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office; Iran-Contra; 9-11; Iraq-gate; the assassinations of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy; and the attempted assassinations of Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle. All of these SCADs contributed to the initiation or continuation of military conflicts.

Second, SCADs are fairly limited in their modus operandi (MO). The most common SCAD-MOs are assassinations and mass deceptions related to foreign policy. Other MOs include election tampering, contrived international conflicts, and “black bag” burglaries. All of these MOs are indicative of groups with expertise in the skills of espionage and covert, paramilitary operations.

Third, many SCADs in the post-WWII era are associated with two presidents: Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Nixon was not only responsible for Watergate and the illegal surveillance of Daniel Ellsberg, he alone benefited from all three of the suspicious attacks on presidential candidates in the 1960s and 1970s: the assassinations of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, and the attempted assassination of George Wallace. The SCADs that benefited Bush include the election-administration problems in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004; the defense failures on 9/11; the (U.S. defense grade) anthrax attacks on top Senate Democrats in October 2001; Iraq-gate; and the multiple and specious terror alerts that rallied support for Bush before the 2004 presidential election.

9. Are there any patterns in assassination targets?

The range of officials targeted for assassination is limited to those most directly associated with foreign policy: presidents and senators. Presidents are most vulnerable when they have Vice Presidents who are more closely aligned than they are to military and intelligence elites. This was the case for both Kennedy and Reagan. Senators are most vulnerable when the Senate is very closely divided along partisan lines and the death of a single senator will shift control of the Senate to the more hawkish party. This was the situation when Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a suspicious plane crash, and when anthrax was mailed to Senators Daschle and Leahy.

Most other high-ranking officials in the federal government have seldom been murdered even though many have attracted widespread hostility and opposition. In the post-World War II era if not generally, no Vice Presidents have been assassinated, nor have any members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Supreme Court. If lone gunmen have been roaming the country in search of political victims, it is difficult to understand why they have not struck more widely, especially given that most officials receive no Secret Service protection.

10. What do SCAD patterns reveal about SCAD perpetrators?

SCADs frequently involve presidents either as victims or principals, benefit military and military-industrial elites, and employ the skills of intelligence and paramilitary operatives. This policy locus could mean that the nation’s civilian leadership is being targeted by military and intelligence elites, or that military and intelligence assets and capabilities are being politicized by the civilian leadership, or both. In any event, officials at the highest levels of American government appear to be using deception, conspiracy, and violence to shape national policies and priorities. This sub rosa manipulation of domestic politics is an extension of America’s duplicity in foreign affairs and draws on the nation’s well-developed skills in covert operations.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

WikiLeaks exposes liberal group’s efforts to thwart climate writings of CU’s Roger Pielke Jr.

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | October 26, 2016

A University of Colorado professor who’s been criticized for his writings about climate change has been caught up in WikiLeaks’ dump of emails involving John Podesta, campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.

Roger Pielke Jr., who has been a faculty member on the Boulder campus since 2001, was the subject of a July 2014 email about an essay he wrote on climate change for the website FiveThirtyEight.

Pielke writes a regular column about sports governance for the Daily Camera.

The email was sent by Judd Legum, the editor of ThinkProgress, a site that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, which was founded by Podesta in 2003.

In his email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed Climate Progress, the environmental arm of ThinkProgress, got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for FiveThirtyEight.

“I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538,” Legum wrote.

Legum did not respond to interview requests on Wednesday.

The email was one of tens of thousands of messages from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account released by WikiLeaks this month.

The group took issue with Pielke’s piece titled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever —- But Not Because of Climate Change,” in which he questioned the link between rising natural disaster costs and climate change.

Pielke argued that the cost of disasters is increasing because the world is getting wealthier, not because there are more — or more intense — floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes.

“We’re seeing ever-larger losses simply because we had more to lose — when an earthquake or flood occurs, more stuff gets damaged,” he wrote.

Pielke, who has written extensively about climate-change economics, is a polarizing figure among climate change scientists and activists.

Pielke refutes claims that he’s a climate-change skeptic or denier, pointing to his public support for a carbon tax. He says that many of the arguments he presents are supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Nevertheless, shortly after Pielke’s FiveThirtyEight piece was published, ThinkProgress wrote a story quoting climate scientists who said Pielke’s claims were misleading. FiveThirtyEight published a rebuttal to Pielke’s piece.

The criticism of Pielke’s piece continued, with stories about Pielke and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver appearing in Salon, Slate and the Huffington Post.

“Silver is still backing the wrong horse, and the sooner he dumps Pielke, the better,” David Auerbach wrote for Slate.

Shortly thereafter, Pielke stopped writing for FiveThirtyEight. In the email released by WikiLeaks, Legum gave ThinkProgress credit for that.

“I don’t think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate,” Legum wrote of FiveThirtyEight.

A year later, Pielke was the target of an investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry.

Pielke has more or less stopped writing about climate change. Since then, he’s focused his efforts on sports governance and is now the director of CU’s Sports Governance Center.

“They were ultimately successful in removing an academic from working on a topic,” Pielke said, adding that there’s “nothing like a political witch hunt to help you focus on career priorities.”

When he read the leaked email last week, Pielke said he wasn’t surprised by its contents.

“It spells out in black and white … that there was an organized, politically motivated campaign to damage my career and reputation, based on a perception that my academic research was thought to be inconvenient,” he said.

CU board shows support for faculty, students’ academic freedom

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | November 10, 2016

The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents reaffirmed its support for academic freedom on Thursday in light of recently released emails that showed that a liberal group targeted CU Boulder Professor Roger Pielke Jr. for his writings on climate change.

At a regular meeting in Denver, the regents passed a resolution 9-0 to send the message that “faculty and students must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others.”

The principles of academic freedom are codified in regent laws, which govern the university. The board was restating its commitment to those principles on Thursday.

Though he was not mentioned in the resolution, Pielke was the motivating factor behind it, according to its author, Regent John Carson, a Republican from Highlands Ranch.

Pielke was the subject of a 2014 email sent by the editor of ThinkProgress, a website that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

In Judd Legum’s email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed the website got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for the data-focused news website FiveThirtyEight.

The email was part of an October WikiLeaks dump of emails involving John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and the chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Pielke and others described the email as evidence that there was a “politically motivated campaign” to damage his career and reputation. Ultimately, he stopped writing about climate change and now directs CU’s new Center for Sports Governance.

Carson said he felt that type of conduct was unacceptable and that he thought the board should show all CU faculty and researchers that it stands behind them.

“I want to go on record making clear that I don’t think this type of conduct is appropriate and we’re going to defend our faculty and we’re going to go on record, when we find out about these types of things, opposing it,” Carson said.

Pielke wrote for FiveThirtyEight that “human-caused climate change is both real and important,” but came under fire for an essay the website published in which he argued that rising natural disaster costs were not linked to climate change.

Reporters at ThinkProgress asked several climate scientists to weigh in on Pielke’s claims and published stories in which those scientists said Pielke’s claims were misleading. By Pielke’s count, the website has published more than 160 critical articles about him.

Legum, the ThinkProgress editor, said there was no organized campaign to damage Pielke’s career. Rather, the website was trying to report accurate information about climate change.

“There was inaccurate information being presented in his writing … We called a number of climate scientists and asked them about the claims he was making in this piece,” Legum told the Daily Camera last month. “They said that there were a lot of really inaccurate or misleading things, and we reported on that.”

Pielke was also the target of a 2015 investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry. […]

Though he did not attend the meeting, Pielke wrote in an email to the Daily Camera that he felt supported by the leaders of the university.

He said the bipartisan-backed resolution sent a strong message “to my faculty peers who may question whether it is worth participating in important debates of the day — that CU has their back.”

Sarah Kuta: 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Washington Post & The “Super Hot” Arctic

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | November 20, 2016

meanT_2016

Daily mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year.

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

There has been much excitement about much of the Arctic being warmer than usual at the moment.

The Washington Post describes it as “insane”. (The 36 degrees is Fahrenheit, by the way).

image

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/17/the-north-pole-is-an-insane-36-degrees-warmer-than-normal-as-winter-descends/?utm_term=.5ff31de316a8

Chris Mooney is well known for biased and misleading reporting where climate change is concerned, but it is always sad to see otherwise respectable meteorologists such as Jason Samenow, one of the Capital Weather Gang, roped in as well, something that has become more frequent in recent years.

The simple reality, as Samenow should know, is that such departures above “normal” are not unusual during the colder months in the Arctic.

DMI have records back to 1954 for Arctic temperatures, and a quick trawl uncovers several similar instances, for instance 1972, 1974 and 1976:

meanT_1972

meanT_1974

meanT_1976

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

 

The only difference was that these occurrences took place in January/February, rather than November. We should bear in mind that the 1970s were a time of expanding Arctic ice.

The Washington Post article actually explains what has been going on:

The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia…..

It’s about 20C [36 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia,” Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday.

“The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream.”

 

imrs.php

 

 

The key is the comment about warm/moist air. Because of latent heat, when that moist air turns back to water, heat is given off, thus warming the atmosphere disproportionately.

Jennifer Francis has long claimed that the “wavy jetstream” is caused by melting Arctic ice. Yet HH Lamb found the same phenomenon in the 1960s and 70s, and believed it was caused by a colder Arctic!

Indeed, if we check out the GISS global temperature maps for the three years I have highlighted above, 1972, 1974 and 1976, we find very similar weather patterns, with very cold polar air displaced over Siberia and North America, along with warm air invading the Arctic.

 

amaps

1974amaps

am1976aps

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

The truth is that there is nothing unusual or unprecedented going on here. It is simply weather.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

4,000 NATO troops take part in Lithuania’s largest exercise near Russia’s border

RT | November 20, 2016

Eleven NATO countries have sent 4,000 troops to Lithuania, the largest Baltic nation, to participate in this year’s Iron Sword exercises. The war games are meant to test the country’s ability to rapidly deploy a large number of troops.

The exercise, which started on Sunday and is set to last till December 2, involves training at two separate sites in Lithuania.

“This time poses new unexpected challenges before our military. We have to prepare units and their commanders to efficiently respond to conventional military threats,” General Waldemar Rupšys, the head of Lithuania’s Land Forces, told journalists ahead of the exercise.

This year’s Iron Sword maneuver, which is the third and, by far, largest held so far, involves almost 4,000 troops from the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Luxemburg, and the three Baltic states. The exercises held in the last two years had 2,500 and just over 2,000 troops participating, respectively.

The troops will train to execute offensive and defensive operations, rapid deployments, and other tasks, Lithuania’s Defense Ministry said.

Iron Sword 2016 is Lithuania’s first chance to test its new Žemaitija (Iron Wolf) brigade, which was formed earlier this year. It currently has two battalions and support units, but is to add two more battalions next year. The brigade consists of soldiers conscripted after Lithuania reinstated mandatory military service in March of 2015.

NATO is placing additional military assets in Eastern Europe and conducting intensified training there, claiming that such measures are necessary to deter what it calls “Russian aggression.” However, Moscow denies threatening its neighbors and says the alliance is using the notion as a pretext to justify increased military spending and encroach on Russia’s border.

Lithuania, like some other European NATO members, is struggling to meet its obligation to spend two percent of its GDP on defense, but the government says it will be able to meet this benchmark by 2018.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Egypt jails 3 anti-coup presenters for ‘false news’

MEMO | November 20, 2016

An Egyptian court on Saturday slapped three anti-coup TV presenters with a 3-year jail term each in absentia for spreading false news.

Egyptian authorities accuse Mohamed Naser, a presenter at the Mekameleen satellite channel, and two other colleagues of incitement and spreading false news.

The presenters, for their part, say they expose human rights abuses committed by Egypt’s military-backed authorities.

Saturday’s verdict, which still can be appealed, came shortly after an Egyptian court slapped the head of Egypt’s press syndicate and two board members with a 2-year jail term each for harbouring two journalists sought by the authorities at the syndicate’s headquarters.

In May, police raided the syndicate’s premises in Cairo, arresting the two journalists for allegedly “inciting protests” and “plotting to overthrow the ruling regime”.

Syndicate officials have decried the raid – the first in the syndicate’s history – as a “blatant assault on journalists’ dignity” and have demanded the interior minister’s dismissal.

Egyptian authorities have launched a harsh crackdown on dissent following the 2013 coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Last year, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said more than 20 journalists had been detained by Egyptian authorities since the coup.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

John Kirby quotes terrorists to lie about Russia

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | November 19, 2016

Recently, John Kirby lost his rag when challenged to name the sources which gave him ‘information’ implying that Russia had helped the Syrian Arab Army bomb civilian targets such as hospitals. His reaction was typical of Shakespeare’s dictum, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.

As it turns out, Kirby was not quoting any government sources, he admitted as much. He claimed that the United States, her allies, Russia or Syria did not provide the information upon which he relied. Instead he stated that the claims he was making were based on findings from ‘aid organisations’. Such a phrase, whilst linguistically innocuous, implies something very different in the context of the Syrian conflict. Many groups calling themselves ‘aid organisations’ are actually either terrorist sympathisers or terrorist organisations in all but name.

One such organisation is the western funded White Helmets, an organisation whose crimes against humanity The Duran was among the first to expose.

It is this organisation who filmed the savage, medieval beheadings of prisoners before disposing of the mutilated bodies. It is this organisation whose bearded members jump for joy, holding guns, whilst chanting for the death of legitimate political leaders like President Assad, it is this organisation which acts on behalf of Al-Qaeda’s surrogate in Syria, al-Nusra. It is this organisation that provided the United States with false information about Russia which John Kirby was all too happy to parrot as though it was fact.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashekov spoke of Kirby’s insincerity in the following way:

After three days it is absolutely clear for everyone that the allegedly bombed “hospitals” and “mobile clinics” in Aleppo exist only in US State Department spokesman John Kirby’s imagination. This ‘information blooper’ will certainly remain a stain on Admiral Kirby’s biography.

He continued:

We have repeatedly asked representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, other countries and international organisations to provide any information on the location of medical aid posts (hospitals) or schools in Syrian areas controlled by terrorists… The answer is always the same—no one has such information. There are only reports by the ‘White Helmets’ or anonymous local “journalists’.

Kirby’s outburst and the false report which he based his previous statements on, demonstrates not just a lack of transparency on behalf of the United Sates, but a totally dishonest position. To think that the most powerful country in the world has to rely on off-shoots of terrorist organisations in order to obtain false information with which to slander Russia, is beyond absurd and beyond pathetic, it is disgraceful.

If the United States is as powerful as the world knows it is, the fact that it is relying on terrorist groups like the White Helmets for information, is demonstrative of a wanton act of deception. US intelligence could find the facts if it was the facts which they were interested in. Clearly, this is not the situation. They are interested in parroting terrorist propaganda which conforms to President Obama’s wicked agenda.

What’s even more disgraceful is that many western mainstream media outlets take people like Kirby at face value when they speak of amorphous ‘aid organisations’. They do not bother to investigate the fact that such ‘aid organisations’ are actually parts of terrorist syndicates working with a stated mission to wage war against the legitimate government of Syria.

We now know the real reason John Kirby went insane when asked some sensible questions by RT’s Gayane Chichakyan. He was caught relying on false information by terrorist sources.

The sooner he and his ilk are gone forever, the better. Although it is still early days, I find it personally hard to believe that Donald Trump, who appears to be genuinely interested in fighting terrorism, would allow his inferiors to spout such lies.

Time will tell, but nothing could be as bad as this.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Trump Dump The Wahabbi Autocrats?

By Caleb Maupin – New Eastern Outlook – 20.11.2016

US leaders almost always justify their foreign policy with words about “democracy” and “human rights.” Especially when talking about the Middle East, the insincerity of such words are blatantly obvious. While US leaders criticize Iran and Syria for alleged human rights violations, the entire world can see that the US allies in the region are serial human rights violators.

Israel has been widely condemned for its treatment of Palestinians. Saudi Arabia is a country where even the basic notion of human rights does not exist. The Kingdom is an absolute monarchy where people can still be executed by beheading or crucifixion in the 21st century. Crimes punishable by death under the Saudi regime include “sorcery” and “insulting the King.” Under Saudi law, the people are not citizens with rights, but rather “subjects” who are essentially the King’s property.

Qatar is yet another repressive regime. Like Saudi Arabia, it is an absolute monarchy, where a King serves as the unelected autocrat.

Bahrain is known not only for its lack of democratic structures, but for its repression of the Shia Muslim majority who frequently take to the streets, demanding their rights.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, and almost every other US-aligned regime in the Arab world has a primitive political system, centered on an autocratic monarchy. These regimes are known to torture, behead, flog, repress free speech, oppress religious minorities, and do all kinds of things US leaders claim to oppose.

This does not prevent the United States from selling weapons to these regimes, or from purchasing their oil. This also does not prevent the USA from establishing military bases on their soil, and otherwise coddling them.

In fact, the Financial Times describes how the United Arab Emirates is becoming a beloved “tax haven” for the rich and powerful in the western world. While western leaders love to talk about human rights, they have no problem with autocratic emirates handling their money.

The Roots of Wahabbi Terrorism

More shockingly, the involvement of these regimes in terrorism has not deterred US support. It took 15 years for the classified 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report to be released. The pages revealed that Saudi government officials had collaborated with the 9/11 hijackers. It furthermore revealed that Saudi Arabia had been uncooperative and offered minimal support to US officials with their investigations during the aftermath of the attacks.

The Saudi Royal family owes its reign to the British Empire. During the 1900s the British discovered that the House of Saud were useful allies against the Ottoman Empire, and were more than willing to sell their oil at a reasonable price. The Saudi monarchy professes a particularly conservative brand of Islam known as “Wahabbism.”

While not every Wahabbi has been involved in terrorism, Al-Queda, ISIS, Al-Nusra, Osama Bin Laden, Omar Mateen, and nearly every Middle-Eastern or Central-Asian terrorist who has menaced the world in recent years has been an adherent of Wahabbism. Wahabbism is particularly anti-Western and anti-American. Opponents of the Saudi ideology often call it “Takfirism,” a term that refers to Wahabbi’s willingness to kill other Muslims with whom they disagree.

The relationship between Wahabbi fanatics and Britain’s wealthy has not ended. A recent article in the Financial Times describes how British Houses of Finance now specialize in “Islamic Banking.” While many Islamic scholars describe the very concept as fraudulent, many financial institutions are accommodating sultans, emirates, and princes who adhere to strict Wahabbi laws. Islam forbids lending money for interest, so many financial institutions have invented loopholes with hidden fees, investment returns, and other mechanisms that can accommodate strict adherents.

During the 1980s, the CIA worked with the heir of a wealthy Saudi construction dynasty to build a Wahabbi army. Osama bin Laden was sent to Afghanistan to build an army of “Mujihadeen” to topple the People’s Democratic Party. The US worked closely with the fanatical Wahabbi terrorists to battle the Marxist government of Afghanistan and their Soviet allies.

Currently, the United States works with Saudi Arabia to fund a Wahabbi insurgency against the secular Syrian Arab Republic. ISIS and Al-Nusra are known to be terrorists inspired by the Saudi ideology. The Saudis have been caught directly helping them out. Among the US backed “moderate rebels,” many Wahabbis can also be found.

Most of the various US-aligned autocracies in the Middle East can be linked to the Wahabbi forces in Syria. Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and other regimes have made the goal of “regime change” in Syria a priority, and many ISIS fighters have emerged from their respective populations.

Is The Tide Turning? 

While the past three presidencies of Bush, Obama, and Clinton have involved massive coddling of the Saudi regime, Donald Trump often spoke against Saudi Arabia during his Presidential campaign. Furthermore, in a recent move, the US Congress dramatically overrode Barack Obama’s veto, and passed the controversial JASTA bill, allowing victims of terrorism to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts.

While Trump often appealed to ignorant and Islamophobic sentiments among Americans, he also appealed to an isolationist desire to stop meddling around the world. Trump made fighting ISIS, the Wahabbi extremist group unleashed amid US-Saudi regime change efforts, a key plank of his campaign.

Will Trump live up to his words? Will the USA end its alliance with Pro-Wahabbi autocratic regimes that are linked to terrorism?

Though Trump spoke against the Saudis and talked of fighting ISIS, his campaign included reckless denunciations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Trump’s speeches often seemed to lump Iran in with ISIS, ignoring the fact that Iranian Revolutionary Guards are on the battlefield each and every day, risking their lives to defeat ISIS.

Iran is greatly threatened by ISIS terrorism. ISIS and most Wahabbis consider the Islamic Republic of Iran to be led by “Shia Apostates.” ISIS and other anti-government forces in Syria have recruited fighters from around the world on the basis of toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad because of his Alawi faith, which Wahabbis consider to be a variation of Shia apostasy.

Contradictory Middle East Positions

For too long, the USA has been targeting secular, nationalist governments like the Baathist regimes of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Gaddafi’s Libya. In doing so they have been passively helping and strengthening the bloodthirsty Wahabbi fanatics who these regimes have held back, and whose ideological foundation is promoted by Saudi Arabia.

If Trump is serious about stopping ISIS and the surrounding wave of Wahabbi terrorism, he will immediately end the US financial and military relationship with the Saudi regime, as well as the nearby, pro-Wahabbi autocracies.

Furthermore, Trump will need to end his irresponsible demonization of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and join with the Iranians, the Russians, the Syrian government, and China in the fight against ISIS terrorism.

If Trump were to do this, it would be one of the most dramatic shifts ever seen in US foreign policy.

During his campaign, Trump has taken two somewhat contradictory positions in relation to the Middle East. While he has denounced Saudi Arabia and talked about how US “regime change” policies have strengthened terrorism, he has also repeated the anti-Iranian talking points of Netanyahu, and spoken with great admiration for Israel.

Israel has been the greatest direct beneficiary of the US policy in the Middle East. Each regime the US has targeted in the region–Syria, Iraq, and Iran–have been outspoken opponents of Israel who directly support Palestinian resistance. Meanwhile, the Wahabbi-linked autocrats denounce Israel in words, but do very little to threaten its existence or strength.

Israel’s primary enemies, Iran and Syria, are also the primary target of the Wahabbi fanatics and the Saudi monarchy. Israel and Saudi Arabia may denounce each other, but their foreign policies both center on hostility to what the Saudis call “the Shia crescent.”

Regarding the Middle East, the new President will be forced to decide whether he seeks to continue aligning US and Israel foreign policies, and targeting Iran and Syria, or whether he wants to end Wahabbi terrorism, and stop cooperating with the regimes actively linked to it.

Trump is often perceived as quite unpredictable. Whichever choice he makes, it is likely to surprise many people.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment