By Vanessa Beeley | 21st Century Wire | January 11, 2017
Extraordinary information has come to light that perhaps, goes some way to explaining the vicious EU and corporate media backlash against Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, for his “nationalist” policies regarding the influx of refugees from various nations that have been targeted by the predatory interventionist alliance of the US, EU, UK, Turkey, Gulf States, Israel, Canada, Australia, Jordan and other smaller players.
“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,” he told a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian chancellor Christian Kern.
“This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy: whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them,” Orban said.
The populist leader added that “every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk”.
“For us migration is not a solution but a problem … not medicine but a poison, we don’t need it and won’t swallow it,” he said. ~ The Guardian
Orban is also a keen Donald Trump supporter:
Mr. Orban, who has ordered border fences built to stop migrants, said that the ideas of the “upstanding American presidential candidate” about the need for the best intelligence services and his opposition to “democracy export” were also applicable in Europe.
Mr. Orban, whose speech was broadcast on Hungarian state media, blamed the West for what he saw as failed interventions in countries such as Egypt and Libya. ~ New York Times
Then, according to a report in Bloomberg today, Orban has gone one step further and ordered a crack-down on all NGOs linked to billionaire George Soros, convicted criminal hedge-fund manager & vociferous supporter of the EU opening its borders to refugees. Soros is also the anti-Syria campaign impresario, funding and supporting a vast array of anti Syria NGOs operating in lock-step with Washington’s “regime change” objectives in Syria.
Hungary plans to crack down on non-governmental organizations linked to billionaire George Soros now that Donald Trump will occupy the White House, according to the deputy head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party.
The European Union member will use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born financier, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments,” Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, told reporters on Tuesday. No one answered the phone at the Open Society Institute in Budapest when Bloomberg News called outside business hours.
“I feel that there is an opportunity for this, internationally,” because of Trump’s election, state news service MTI reported Nemeth as saying. Lawmakers will start debating a bill to let authorities audit NGO executives, according to parliament’s legislative agenda.
Orban, the first European leader to publicly back Trump’s campaign, has ignored criticism from the European Commission and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for building a self-described “illiberal state” modeled on authoritarian regimes including Russia, China and Turkey. In 2014, Orban personally ordered the state audit agency to probe foundations financed by Norway and said that civil society groups financed from abroad were covers for “paid political activists.”
Orban and his administration have frequently singled out NGOs supported by Soros, a U.S. Democratic Party supporter with a wide network of organizations that promote democracy in formerly communist eastern Europe.
Trump also accused the 86-year-old billionaire of being part of “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
In a pre-election commercial, he showed images of Soros along with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, all of whom are Jewish. The Anti-Defamation League criticized the ad for touching on “subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages.” – Bloomberg
So, for Hungary, its “bye, bye Soros”.
corbettreport | January 10, 2017
The propaganda surrounding the “Russia hacked the election” meme is, quite frankly, beneath the intelligence of The Corbett Report community. But this hodgepodge of evidence-free assertions is still driving the 24/7 fake news cycle, so today James rolls up his sleeve and shows the latest propaganda for what it is.
SHOW NOTES AND MP4: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=21334
BETHLEHEM – A 16-year-old Palestinian detainee has had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation due to a severe injuries he sustained after an Israeli jeep hit him at an Israeli military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin last week, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.
Addameer wrote in a statement on Tuesday that an attorney representing Sharif Khanfar said the teen was with three of his friends riding a Vespa motorcycle when they were apprehended by Israeli forces for allegedly planning a vehicular attack on soldiers on Jan. 3, and were injured after an Israeli jeep hit them.
The statement contradicted reports from Israeli police at the time of the incident, which did not mention an Israeli vehicle being involved.
Initial reports from Israel media claimed the incident was a deliberate vehicular attack, but Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said later that it was an accident.
The accident occurred at a so-called “flying checkpoint” — a non-temporary Israeli military checkpoint — that had been set up between the city of Jenin and the al-Jalama checkpoint, which Palestinians use to cross into Israel from the northern occupied West Bank.
Al-Samri’s initial statement said that one motorcycle “bumped into” Israeli soldiers who were on foot at a military checkpoint, while three other motorcycles involved in the incident “fled the scene.”
However, she issued a correction later saying only three motorcycles had been involved — one carrying two Palestinians and another carrying one — without elaborating details of how the accident itself occurred.
A second Palestinian was severely injured in the incident, and a third was lightly injured. Two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured under unclear circumstances, though al-Samri seemed to suggest, without saying explicitly, that they were on foot by neglecting to mention the involvement of a military jeep.
Al-Samri also did not mention in her statements that anyone was detained after the accident or accused with wrongdoing. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Wednesday to confirm whether or not the teen was in fact being detained.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said they evacuated the two severely injured Palestinian motorcyclists to Israel’s HaEmek hospital.
However, according to Addameer, Khanfar was being detained by Israeli authorities in the hospital, which is located in the Israeli city of Afula, north of the border with the occupied West Bank.
Addameer’s statement said Khanfar and his family members were “shocked” by the incident that resulted in the loss of a leg, and denied that he and his friends had intended to carry out an attack.
Since a wave of unrest began in October 2015– largely marked by small-scale attacks by Palestinians targeting uniformed Israeli soldiers and police with knives or similar weapons — a number of deliberate car ramming attacks have occurred.
However, Israeli authorities’ version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, with officials in some cases later admitting so-called “terror attacks” were actually traffic accidents.
Amid the unrest, Israel has come under widespread condemnation for implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian committing or allegedly committing attacks. Among the more than 100 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers throughout 2016, 33 were minors aged 17 and younger, according to Ma’an documentation.
In addition to lethal shootings of Palestinian children committed by Israeli forces, Palestinian NGO BADIL has warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting Palestinian youth in a deliberate attempt to leave them crippled for life.
Rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, abuse, and torture of Palestinian minors in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
Israeli authorities collaborated with student campaigners in an attempt to topple the president of the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), Malia Bouattia, undercover filming suggests.
Al Jazeera reports the Israeli embassy in Britain and the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have sponsored attempts to influence student politics, manipulate NUS elections, and even bring down the current president.
NUS vice president Richard Brooks is seen in footage telling an undercover reporter he is the one helping to organize Bouattia’s opponents.
Bouattia, who represents more than 4 million students, ran on an openly pro-Palestinian platform, and has been criticized in the British media for calling herself anti-Zionist.
Brooks is also filmed telling the Al Jazeera journalist, who went by the alias of Robin and pretended to be a Labour Friends of Israel volunteer, that he had held several “private meetings” with former Labour Students chairman and active pro-Israel campaigner Michael Rubin, and Union of Jewish Students (UJS) campaign director Russell Langer, on how to take over key NUS positions.
“We’d have our secret little purpose meeting where we’d plan how to get moderate people with good politics and any number of things elected to certain places,” he told Robin.
Brooks has since replied to the allegations, saying it is “not a shock or an exposé that I politically organize against what I think to be an ineffectual and damaging presidency for students’ unions and students.”
He did, however, deny that he had actively worked with the Israeli government to depose Bouattia.
News of pro-Israel NUS officers colluding against the pro-Palestinian NUS president comes after revelations that an Israeli embassy aide was filmed telling a Conservative Party employee how to “take down” MPs critical of Israel, as well as other British officials.
In the same Al Jazeera investigation, University College London student and founder of the Zionist think tank Pinsker Centre Adam Shapira is filmed saying “the Israeli embassy in the UK gives money to UJS.”
Other powerful lobbies like AIPAC were also identified as donors to Shapira’s student lobby.
The Israeli embassy and Labour Friends of Israel did not respond to the allegations. Bouattia and the NUS are yet to make an official statement.
From ancient Hebrew folklore, the dybbuk is a demonic spirit that inhabits a person’s body and soul in order to get what it wants. American foreign policy is endlessly driven to search and destroy imaginary demons: Noriega, Milosevic, Saddam, Ho, Tojo, Nasser, Gaddafi, Lumumba, Castro, Osama, Yanukovych, and a host of others in its hit parade. Obama wouldn’t be fulfilling his duty as warmonger-in-chief if he didn’t submit at least one new person to the pantheon of evil nogoodniks. He found his dybbuk in Vladimir Putin.
Apparently, the Democrats and their partners within the Republican cabal, particularly McCain and Graham, believe that Mr. Putin qualifies as an evil spirit, a super dybbuk, who controls the destiny of American politics – and even the Vermont electrical grid. Anyone who questions this is simply possessed, which obviously includes the soon-to-be White House zombie, Mr. Trump. Playing on the old Western trope of the untamed Russian Bear, Obama has titled the Putin conspiracy Grizzly Steppe. In his last remaining days in office, the American president is hoping to create dramatic memorabilia, such as his expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats just before Christmas, to fill what would otherwise be a rather vacant Obama Library.
Unfortunately for the Cold Warriors, the Kremlin dybbuk responded by simply laughing it off as not worth responding in kind. Focused on his legacy obsession, Obama’s sour grapes is not only about his limited achievements and his party shamelessly losing the election to a crude, narcissistic, and inexperienced child-like politician but also about his loss of face in the Middle East conflict, where the Russians are scoring military and diplomatic points left and right. It’s also about Obama’s last ditch efforts to dispossess Trump of any legitimate power, employing well-tested Cold War propaganda tactics to try to break up any Republican policy consensus.
What is the basis on which liberals insist on depicting the Russians in such dark conspiratorial terms? First, the Cold Warriors assert that Russia is an aggressor, citing its alleged “invasion” of South Ossetia in 2008. On December 26, 2016, Dan Lamothe, a Washington Post national security reporter, and formerly an embedded journalist in Afghanistan, told viewers on C-Span that Russia is an imperialist state. His evidence? He claims that Russia “invaded” Georgia in 2008. Even the New York Times, a reliable echo chamber of the State Department, had to admit on November 6, 2008 that its earlier report (August 8, 2008) that Russia initiated the conflict in that autonomous region was false. There has since been a broad understanding among informed reporters, though not Mr. Lamothe, that it was the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who attacked South Ossetia and the Russian peacekeepers who were stationed there to prevent Georgian attacks on nearby Russian towns. Russia chased out the invaders and left South Ossetia with its autonomous status intact.
The leading German weekly, Der Spiegel, reported at the time that, according to the EU investigative mission head, Heidi Tagliavini, “It was Georgia which triggered off the war when it attacked [the South Ossetian capital] Tskhinvali.” Following the Georgian invasion, the pro-US Saakashvili increasingly came under internal criticism for corruption and authoritarianism and fled Georgia in 2013 while under criminal investigation. With the backing of Ukraine’s president, Petro (“Porky”) Poroshenko, Saakashvili briefly served as a failed governor of Odessa. Meanwhile, Georgia has stripped him of his citizenship.
The second broadly cited “evidence” of Putin’s imperialist behavior is the allegation that Russia “invaded” Crimea in 2014. This is another distortion, stripped of historical context, that typically ignores the referendum that Crimea held to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, of which it had been a part for hundreds of years before Khrushchev gifted it to a Ukraine that was then part of the USSR. The circumstances of that secession vote was that it occurred in the aftermath of the US-supported coup earlier in the year that illegally and unconstitutionally deposed Viktor Yanukovych from the presidency and forced him to flee for his life. This began a series of reprisals by the coup regime against the ethnic Russian population, pushed by its neo-Nazi faction – reminiscent of the Bandera fascist movement in World War II that assisted the German military in the murder of millions of Ukraine’s Russians, Jews, Gypsies, and Poles. The March 2014 irredentist vote in favor of reunification with Russia won with overwhelming 97% support, with an 83% turnout. The Obama administration and its legions in the mainstream media, which condemned the “annexation” of Crimea, failed to explain how it was significantly different from the Kosovo secession that the US supported following the massive US and NATO bombardment of Serbia that ended its control over the province. Selective perception indeed.
The Cold Warriors didn’t stop there in outing the dybbuk. The clever demon, they insist, acted as chief opposition researcher for the Trump campaign. Everyone from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, to Obama and Clinton herself, along with their pet media pundits and their yes men (and women) in the CIA, backed the claim that “Russian state actors,” working under orders from no less than the dybbuk himself, hacked Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta emails in order to elect Donald Trump. Putin’s response was that if America’s elections could be so easily manipulated, it must be a banana republic. The Russian hacking story originated with “research” done by a group of private consulting firms attached to the Democratic Party. To date, neither the CIA nor the Obama administration has revealed any real evidence of Russian state involvement in the alleged hacking, nor have the mainstream media. The media’s lapse in not insisting on evidential confirmation raises the question of who are the real hacks?
The MSM won’t let go of the hacking story. Here is a sample of their headlines:
+ New York Times– Spy Agency Consensus Grows that Russia Hacked D.N.C.
+ New York Times – S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections
+ NBC News – Why Experts Are Sure Russia Hacked the DNC Emails
+ Washington Post – Russian Government Hackers Penetrated DNC, Stole Opposition Research on Trump
+ Washington Post – Russian Operation Hacked a Vermont Utility
On the last story, the Post later printed a brief retraction that first appeared within the reprinted original story itself, as if it were maybe a retraction and maybe not. MSM fake news is the new normal. Evgeny Morozov has written: “Democracy may or may not be drowning in fake news, but it’s definitely drowning in elite hypocrisy.”
What happened to the contents of the leaked emails? One of the significant revelations is that Clinton knew while secretary of state (she said so in one of her emails) that the Saudis and Qataris were funding ISIS, and yet she subsequently took millions from them for her personal foundation, which is an extraordinary act of corruption that would be tolerated in few countries that purport to be democratic. She also diverted millions of dollars she raised, supposedly for the benefit of Democratic state parties, to her own campaign. The leaks also showed that the DNC had sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign and were planning to further undermine his candidacy by labeling him an “atheist.” The Democrats and the MSM managed to bury these issues with a kill the messenger tactic and blocked the possibility of a serious party house cleaning. Blame the dybbuk.
One of the few politicians unwilling to join the anti-Putin chorus is Donald Trump, making him a prime target of the corporate mainstream media, which have abandoned all pretense of respect for the “canons of journalism.” The exaggerated efforts at depicting Trump as a puppet of Putin (the former “diplomat” Madeleine Albright used the term “useful idiot”) are laughable. But despite lacking any credible evidence, the thesis that Russia conspired to get Trump elected finds almost no resistance in the MSM or in academia. More recently, the press and later the official US intelligence report has launched a jeremiad against the Russian media, particularly RT (Russia Today) for its dissemination of “fake news” (confession: I’ve appeared on its English language TV news reports as a commentator multiple times), aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the democratic system in America. Hillary Clinton made much of the fact that Trump gave an interview on RT, but she neglected to point out that the program was hosted by long-time liberal and talk show pillar of CNN, Larry King. She also made the extremely graceless and undiplomatic comparison of Putin to Hitler, an insult not only to the Russian president but to the memory of the 27 million Russians who died in the ultimate defeat of Naziism.
The implication of these attacks is that Donald Trump is a fifth columnist president. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu (another dybbuk), who openly campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012 and met with both party candidates on the eve of the final 2016 presidential debate, is off the MSM hook on foreign political interference. And the patriotism of Republicans who brought the apartheider to speak in Congress without the benefit of a White House invitation is also not questioned. Moreover, as the Guardian’s Owen Jones notes, Americans should know something about election meddling “because they’ve been doing it for years.” Among America’s many clients, the Russian autocrat Boris Yeltsin was a beneficiary of US election intervention in the 1990s (with Bill Clinton’s strong support), funding him and supplying a team of American election consultants to get him elected, by hook and by crook, in 1996. Russia’s current prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, at the time a close associate of Yeltsin, admitted that the election outcome was rigged against the real winner, Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov.
All of this renewed Cold War anti-Russia hysteria can be seen to have core purposes. Most conspicuous is the devastating defeat of the Democratic Party in the 2016 elections, losing the White House and failing to take either the House or Senate, but also leaving Republicans fully in charge of 33 state legislatures and, over the past 4 election cycles, net gains of some 1,000 legislative seats, which makes Obama’s legacy look pretty shabby. The Democrats, from Obama on down, have refused to radically rethink their party’s institutional character and instead put failed leader Nancy Pelosi back in charge of the House minority and the Wall Street favorite, Charles Schumer, as head of the Senate Democrats. Strategically, American neocons, including the Clintons, see Russia as obstructing US global ambitions and demand nothing less than Russian obedience to Pax Americana. Third, the mainstream corporate media, especially the Washington Post, owned by the viscerally anti-Trump tycoon, Jeff Bezos, have hitched their wagons to an aggressive US foreign policy and the patronage of global Fortune 500 companies, including the petroleum and defense industries.
Before demanding a Trump exorcism of the dybbuk’s influence, one needs to ask, with a view to recent history, whether Russia is the aggressor that the establishment is making it out to be. Are Russian forces lined up along the US border, north and south, the way NATO is poised for direct intervention with bases across Russia’s “near abroad”? Which country has a history of arming the most repressive, jihadi-supporting states in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar), military dictatorships across Latin America and Asia, apartheid in South Africa and Israel, and regime change across eastern Europe? Which country has starved Cuba of basic necessities for 56 years out of revenge for instituting a socialist government that has won the support of nearly all of Latin America? According to William Blum, since 1945 “the US has attempted to overthrow more than fifty governments, most of which were democratically elected, and grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least thirty countries.”
Are the CIA claims about the Russian takeover of the American election to be believed, the same CIA that lied about WMDs in Iraq (Obama’s intelligence chief, James Clapper, being one of the fabricators of this, among his many official lies) and that country’s import of aluminum tubes for making nuclear centrifuges, Saddam’s involvement in 9/11 and his support for terrorism, Iraq’s alleged purchase of yellowcake uranium powder from Niger, the black site detention and torture chambers set up around the world for kidnapped Arabs and other alleged “terrorists,” Abu Ghraib, and a much longer list of lies and cover-ups serving US imperialism over its 70-year history? Why would political elites and the MSM assume, without seeing a shred of evidence, that the “Company” is telling the truth about the Russia “threat”?
The answer lies in the real objectives of US foreign policy, which are really quite obvious. The new Cold War serves US hegemonic interests in the Middle East, including the elimination of Assad, and in NATO-fortified eastern Europe, and its efforts to neuter Russia as an independent state. Its motives, however, are cloaked, as they always have been, in fake news about Russia, about Syria, and every other state that has pursued either non-alignment or active resistance to US domination. What the naïve believed to be an “information society” has actually matured into a propaganda society, adapting to the informational mode of production to create new platforms and techniques of public perception management. The latest effort in this direction is the Obama administration’s creation of the Orwellian-sounding Global Engagement Center, housed in the State Department, yet another propaganda apparatus (remember Rumsfeld’s bizarre-sounding “Office of Strategic Influence”?) designed to offset the real news in the world media that are critical of US militarist and regime change policies, including RT and Press TV.
Cyber security specialist John McAfee has publicly disputed the Russian hacking claims, arguing that anyone who leaves fingerprints on a hack that tracks him/her as “Russian” isn’t Russian: “if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.” It should be plain enough that the real hack job is the one that the Democrats, including Obama, used against the Russians to refocus the story away from the party’s and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, election manipulations, and self-aggrandizing personal politics.
What the US government should be concerned about is the global perception, based on 2014 Gallup polling, that the United States is regarded as the greatest threat to world peace. The only way this perception will be altered is when the US disembarks from its unipolarism, imperialism, warmongering ambitions and dybbuk-hunting excuses for its foreign and domestic failures as a supposed democratic state. We can only hope that the highly unpredictable Trump tweetocracy keeps the warmongers in their harbors and steers the US in a less aggressive pattern of international behavior that avoids demonizing world leaders who challenge US global hegemony.
Gerald Sussman is a Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. He is the author of Branding Democracy: US Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.
FBI Director James Comey sat in the hot seat to testify to congress about the “fake news” Russian hacks.
In his testimony Comey had to admit that “Russian hackers” did not break into the servers of the Trump campaign or the RNC.
Comey then said that when the FBI wanted to check DNC servers (Hillary Clinton campaign servers) regarding “Russia hacking”, the FBI was denied access, not once, but multiple times.
Comey testified that the FBI had to rely on a “private company” to decide whether the DNC servers where hacked. That private company is Crowdstrike…
It should be noted that Crowdstrike had three funders: 1) Warburg Pincus. Tim Geithner, is president of Warburg Pincus, former Secretary of Treasury under Obama, and formerly worked in the Clinton administration… Uh-oh. Warburg Pincus was a contributor to the DNC and Clinton campaign. 2) Accel Partners is also a Crowdstrike funder. According to the Clinton Foundation website, Accel is a venture capitalist partner in the Endeavor Investor Network created by the Foundation. Uh-oh. 3) And the last funder of Crowdstrike is Google Capital, now CapitalG, managed under David Drummond of Google who was instrumental in ‘realigning’ Google search engines to favor Hillary’s campaign. Big uh-oh!
So what we actually have is the authority of one company, Crowdstrike, which derived all of its funding from venture capitalists linked to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Funny, they didn’t hide their tracks very well for a high powered security breach company.
Why would the DNC not allow the FBI to investigate their servers?
We wonder what the DNC and Hillary Clinton could possibly be hiding?
How could the FBI conclude that Russia (and Putin) ordered the hacking of the DNC servers when the FBI never even got a look at the servers (first hand)?
If we told you this child was covered in blood would you dare to tell us we were lying?
On December 26 the UK Independent revealed that five people had been arrested in Egypt for faking footage of civilian suffering in east Aleppo. The Indy commented:
Five people in Port Said allegedly making fake videos purporting to show the wreckage of air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been arrested, the Egyptian Interior Ministry has said.
The videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after police managed to trail the would-be camera crew to a building site awaiting demolition, a statement on Monday said.
The team reportedly admitted they had planned to distribute their work on social media, pretending it showed scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo, the embattled northern Syrian city which has just fallen back under government control after four years of fighting between the regime and Sunni rebels.
The footage in question was widely discussed in non-western outlets. According to Sputnik :
According to the Ministry, the police witnessed the shooting process, which was taking place near the vestiges of a building destroyed as illegal under the decision of the local authorities. A girl standing in a white dress covered in “blood” that later proved to be paint drew attention of a police officer driving by. The girl held a teddy bear covered in the same “blood” and had her arm “bandaged”.
The images are indeed excruciatingly amateurish. The “blood” is too clearly paint. The teddy bear is mawkish overkill. The location too clearly a building site or something similar.
It couldn’t fool us for a moment. Could it?
But more on that later.
Fakery is, of course, a very zeitgeisty issue, because “fake news” has been discovered by the corporate media. The EU is very worried about it apparently. Germany is so concerned it’s setting up a “specialist centre” to combat all the untrue things being said by people like us.
That’s a “specialist centre” you understand – not (and we have to make this very clear) a Ministry of Enlightenment & Propaganda, or anything at all resembling anything Goebbels may have created back in the bad old days. Goebbels was just doing propaganda. Merkel is doing truth. Big diff there.
Curious that the state and corporate media’s new dread of fake news doesn’t extend to self-policing or questioning the news feeds issued by their own patrons is it not?
No, of course it isn’t. And anyone who is surprised has really not been paying attention. Endless promo reels of official-narrative-endorsement is now a majority of mass media output, and not just on news outlets but in movies and fiction. Since Obama took office and the “Left” stopped even pretending to offer a reality check, an entirely fake recent history has been created, and a degree of estrangement from truth exists within the heart of our media and intelligentsia not seen since the days of Stalinism. The entirety of the class that traditionally offers limited critique of the power structure is now subsumed in a cultist and delusional thinking that makes them the slaves and endorsers of that power structure.
Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes embodies this institutional malaise perfectly. Listen to it and despair. In her rictus-smiling circle the war criminals Obama and Clinton are angels of peace and progress, the foreign wars and dronings aren’t happening, the murders and brutalisation aren’t happening, the dangerous persecution of Russia and concomitant risk of nuclear war isn’t happening, the fragmentation of American society through poverty isn’t happening. In her circle only Trump is happening; the single threat to the Progressive Utopia they believe they are inhabiting.
The Hollywood and media elites really believe this and view those of us who don’t as dangerous heretics who need to be controlled. Screaming “fake news” at any fact they can’t bear to believe is just Donald Sutherland pointing and howling in the closing shot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
In recent weeks the sense of desperate fantasy is increasing exponentially as this cultist belief system is colliding more and more forcibly with the evidence for its own falseness. The “news” is now little more than a roll-out of sketchy dreamscapes, so poorly developed and internally inconsistent they collapse at the slightest interrogation only to be replaced by more of the same. Official “reality” is becoming no more than a thin mesh of words designed to remain cohesive for the lifetime of a hashtag.
The solution to the crumbling of their credibility is to up the pace. Just keep the rollout fast and furious so your audience has no time to question or adjust. Look over here… sad pictures of sad people in some place of strategic importance to neocon interests. Look over there … horrifying images of the latest “terror attack!” Look this way… nasty people being mean to nice people. That’s dreadful, right? Share it. Deplore it. Be shocked. Be upset. Look at the pain. Look at the blood. LOOK AT THE BLOOD!
When the entire fabric of our official reality is based on lies… why should we assume the blood is always true?
Let’s take another look at this picture:
Suppose instead of being presented to us as a proven and clumsy fake this image had been in the Indy or on our Facebook feed as a genuine example of child-suffering? How would that red paint look then? And even if we felt a tinge of doubt about that, how many of us would have the courage/crassness to see this on FB and comment “nah – that’s not blood, kid’s just an actor”?
And how would we react to anyone who did have that courage/crassness?
I wonder how many times a day we unwittingly or inattentively endorse some sort of fakery? If the image presented to us appeals to our sense of justice or just seems too heartbreaking to question we’ll probably look no further, share it, add an outraged comment and pass it on. We’ve just been manipulated and won’t even know.
In a fake narrative fake blood might be better than real blood because it can appear wherever you want it to and be wiped away without consequence when its fifteen minutes are over. Disasters and death that can be manufactured in a make-up trailer might be a better option than the real thing, with no inconvenient victims hating and suing you.
Can we assume every image of a bleeding and dusty child is the real deal simply because the Indy didn’t tell us otherwise? And if we refuse to volunteer that act of faith, what do we do?
US ruling power is in deep trouble because there are growing signs that the mass of citizens are no longer beholden to the supposed authority residing in Washington.
Once the legitimacy of would-be authorities begins to collapse in the eyes of the people, then profound political change is in the offing, as history shows us through countless empires that came and went – often ignominiously.
The so-called American Deep State comprising the military-intelligence apparatus and its operatives in the political and media establishment has put its credibility on the line over allegations of Russian interference in the US elections.
Those allegations are threadbare, indeed baseless, despite concerted, overweening attempts by the Deep State to conjure up something of substance.
The latest high-level intelligence report from the CIA, NSA, FBI and other US spy agencies on alleged Russian cyber hacking may have “wowed” President Barack Obama, various members of Congress and the corporate-controlled news media.
Not so for ordinary Americans. Among rank-and-file citizens the reaction has been underwhelming to say the least. And that should be a matter of anxiety for the ruling establishment. If the people can no longer be commanded, then the whole foundation for power begins to erode like a sandcastle.
As a New York Times report put it: “What’s the big deal? asks Trump’s supporters on Russian hacking report”.
Among ordinary voters far removed from the Washington Beltway Bubble the consensus is one of derision towards the once-revered US intelligence community.
“Sore losers”, “sour grapes”, “crybabies” and “absurd” were just some of the disbelieving responses from ordinary folks about claims that Russian agents directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin had tipped the US November election in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t believe the [US] intel report,” said one man in Louisiana. “Why is everybody so afraid of Russia? I’m not against Putin.”
Another man, a retired US air force officer, added: “From the parts of the [US intel] report I’ve seen it seems silly.”
President-elect Trump, once again, seems more in tune with the real, pressing concerns of common citizens. He emerged from his so-called “briefing” by US intelligence chiefs last Friday and pointedly refused to join the Washington blowhards accusing Russia of “an act of war”.
Trump in fact followed up with a comment that it was only a “stupid” person would not want to have good relations with Russia.
This was not the response that the spooks wanted from Trump. The CIA and their surrogates in the Obama administration, Congress and the media were building up the US intel report like a witch-hunt against anyone who dares to dissent from the allegations of Russian cyber interference. Unlike warmongering Congress members such as John McCain and Lyndsey Graham, Trump has not jumped on the bandwagon to demonize Russia.
And the thing is that people beyond the thrall of the Deep State centered in Washington appear to agree with Trump. At a time of immense social challenges from poverty, unemployment, financial indebtedness, deteriorating infrastructure and public services, and so on, a US policy of hostility towards Russia seems like an alien distraction. A contemptible waste of priority and resources, not to say a reckless drumbeat to war between nuclear powers.
The US intelligence agencies, aided by the Obama White House and mainstream media, tried to muster gravitas to play its “Russian card” against Trump. But Trump and the popular sentiment out there are not responding in the deferential manner expected by the spooks.
In fact, despite sensationalist headlines in the mainstream media about “Putin ordering an influence campaign to help Trump win the election”, the US intelligence agencies are now in real danger of being exposed as ridiculous liars.
The collapse of the US establishment has been underway for sometime, but lately the momentum has quickened with the election of Trump and the mainstream media’s penchant for “fake narratives”.
Last week the Washington disgraced itself by running a story about Russia hacking into the US electric, a story which was quickly exposed as “fake news”. On the latest US intel report, as well as Trump and ordinary Americans, many observers from around the world were taken aback by the amateurish dearth of evidence and generally low quality of analysis. Independent cyber security experts, including US-based ones, poured scorn on the claims against Russia.
The US spy agencies claim that they have “supporting evidence” that Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails, but they say, unconvincingly, that they can’t disclose the information in order to protect “sensitive sources and methods”. Such a conjuring trick just makes the US spooks and the subservient news media look even more ridiculous.
A major giveaway was the disproportionately huge focus that the US intelligence report devoted to trying to discredit Russian news media outlets, RT and Sputnik. The report claims that the news services are part of the Kremlin’s “influence campaign” and then cites its own dopey rationale as “evidence” that Russia hacked the US election. If that’s the best that America’s “national security guardians” can come up with then we can be sure their case against Russia is null and void.
There was a time in the American past when shadowy, unelected elites could control society through monopolistic, servile media and servile politicians kowtowing to their supposed authority. There was also a naive belief among people that the secret services were defending the nation’s best interests.
Not any more alas. People have got wise to the massive manipulation and criminality of such shadowy powers who orchestrate wars and regime changes all around the world for the narrow benefit of elite corporate power. Ordinary Americans pay with their lives and livelihoods for the machinations of the ruling cabal.
The Deep State intel chiefs may have been fawned over by Obama, Congress and the media in their outlandish claims of Russian subversion. But growing numbers of ordinary people in the US and around the world can see through the lies and blatant agenda of hostility towards Russia – an insane hostility that only serves the elite interests of the Deep State.
The once feared, and revered, US Deep State is now facing a deep dilemma and maybe even an existential crisis. For it knows deep down that its erstwhile credibility and authority are shot to pieces.
Down through history, the American rulers got away with their charade of inciting wars and conflicts through false flags and contrived catastrophes: the not-so-secret Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident that escalated the US genocidal war on Vietnam, the dubious 9/11 terror attacks and Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, to mention just a few.
This same warmongering American ruling class want another arms race, Pentagon-pumping Cold War with Russia. But this time they have played a card that is all too evidently blank. The US spooks and their elitist establishment know that Trump, the American people, Russia and the rest of world all know that they have nothing to offer.
No credibility, no morals and no authority, the US Deep State is in deep trouble.
UPDATE Michael Cohen has now stated he has never been to Prague in his life. If that is true the extremely weak credibility of the entire forgery collapses in total. What is more, contrary to the claims of the Guardian and Washington Post that the material is “unverifiable”, the veracity of it could be tested extremely easily by the most basic journalism, ie asking Mr Cohen who has produced his passport. The editors of the Washington Post and the Guardian are guilty of pushing as blazing front page news the most blatant forgery to serve their own political ends, without carrying out the absolutely basic journalistic checks which would easily prove the forgery. Those editors must resign.
The mainstream media’s extreme enthusiasm for the Hitler Diaries shows their rush to embrace any forgery if it is big and astonishing enough. For the Guardian to lead with such an obvious forgery as the Trump “commercial intelligence reports” is the final evidence of the demise of that newspaper’s journalistic values.
I suspect that we are supposed to “conclude” falsely that the reports were written by Mark Allen at BP. Here are a short list of six impossible things we are asked to believe before breakfast:
1) Vladimir Putin had a five year (later stated as eight year) plan to run Donald Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” for President and Trump was an active and knowing partner in Putin’s scheme.
2) Hillary Clinton is so stupid and unaware that she held compromising conversations over telephone lines whilst in Russia itself.
3) Trump’s lawyer/adviser Mr Cohen was so stupid he held meetings in Prague with the hacker/groups themselves in person to arrange payment, along with senior officials of the Russian security services. The NSA, CIA and FBI are so incompetent they did not monitor this meeting, and somehow the NSA failed to pick up on the electronic and telephone communications involved in organising it. Therefore Mr Cohen was never questioned over this alleged and improbable serious criminal activity.
4) A private company had minute by minute intelligence on the Manchurian Candidate scheme and all the indictable illegal activity that was going on, which the CIA/NSA/GCHQ/MI6 did not have, despite their specific tasking and enormous technical, staff and financial resources amounting between them to over 150,000 staff and the availability of hundreds of billons of dollars to do nothing but this.
5) A private western company is able to run a state level intelligence operation in Russia for years, continually interviewing senior security sources and people personally close to Putin, without being caught by the Russian security services – despite the fact the latter are brilliant enough to install a Manchurian candidate as President of the USA. This private western company can for example secretly interview staff in top Moscow hotels – which they themselves say are Russian security service controlled – without the staff being too scared to speak to them or ending up dead. They can continually pump Putin’s friends for information and get it.
6) Donald Trump’s real interest is his vast financial commitment in China, and he has little investment in Russia, according to the reports. Yet he spent the entire election campaign advocating closer ties with Russia and demonising and antagonising China.
As forgeries go, this is really not in the least convincing. I might add I do not include the golden showers among the impossible aspects. I have no idea if it is true and neither do I care. Given Trump’s wealth and history, I think we can say with confidence that he has indulged whatever his sexual preferences might be all over the world and not just in Russia. It seems most improbable he would succumb to blackmail over it and not brazen it out. I suppose it could be taken as the sole example of trickledown theory actually working.
On Tuesday, the CNN and the BuzzFeed news website reported on memos, compiled by an unnamed former intelligence officer from the United Kingdom, which allege that Trump has been groomed and supported by Russian intelligence for at least five years.
The documents, which BuzzFeed admitted were unsupported and which the CNN did not fully disclose due to lack of independent corroboration, also alleged that Russian intelligence had compromising material on Trump related to his “unorthodox behavior” during a visit to Russia.
Donald Trump denied that Russia has ever attempted to use leverage over him and reiterated that he has no business links with Russia.
Trump further pointed out that the “leak” should not have emerged in the mainstream media at all.
Moscow says documents alleging that Russia has compromising information on Donald Trump are a fabrication and a “total bluff.” Russia has never gathered information of this kind on either the US president-elect, or his former rival, Hillary Clinton.
“The Kremlin has no compromising information on Trump. This report does not correspond to reality and is nothing but an absolute fiction,” the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Wednesday.
“This is a total bluff, an absolute fabrication, complete nonsense,” he said.
He reiterated that there is no compromising information on Hillary Clinton either, and that the Russian authorities do not accumulate this type of information.
“Of course not. The Kremlin does not collect compromising information. The Kremlin [and] the Russian president are engaged in building relationships with our foreign partners, firstly – in the interests of the Russian Federation, in the interests of the Russian people, secondly – in the interests of global peace, stability and security,” Peskov said.
On Tuesday, CNN published an article stating that US intelligence handed over a two-page synopsis of classified documents, which included claims that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Trump, to the president-elect and US President Barack Obama.
The information was included as an annex to a classified version of the report prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN.
Buzzfeed picked up the story, publishing the entire dossier purportedly “prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent.”
The most appalling part of the dossier was the claim that Donald Trump has “personal obsessions and sexual perversion,” including graphic sex acts, and a report that the president-elect once had Russian prostitutes urinate on each other in a hotel bed that the Obamas previously shared.
Apart from sex orgies, the dossier also suggests Russian officials offered the Republican real estate magnate lucrative deals in order to win influence over him ahead of the election.
The story exploded on Twitter with the hashtag #GoldenShowers shooting up the trending charts.
Later in the day, however, an anonymous member of the chatboard on 4chan posted a refutation of the now infamous “golden showers” story, calling it a hoax and “fanfiction.” He or she claimed that several months ago, the story was sent to Republican political strategist Rick Wilson, who proceeded to send it to the CIA, which then put it in their official classified intelligence report on the election.
Moscow considers the scandal a clear attempt to damage relations with Washington and the president-elect personally.
“This is an obvious attempt to harm our bilateral relations,” Peskov said.
“Pulp fiction, that’s what it is called in English. Of course, probably the best way to react would be accordingly – with a certain sense of humor.”
“Although there is a downside – indeed, there are those who are stirring up the hysteria, who go out of their way to maintain this state of a witch-hunt,” he added.
The recent hysteria surrounding Russia’s alleged interference with the November presidential elections saw another episode after an intelligence report, jointly elaborated by the CIA, FBI and NSA, was released on Friday, January 6th.
After weeks of bombshell headlines based on statements from anonymous intelligence officials, western media finally had an official intelligence report to support their bombshell headlines. Unsurprisingly, all headlines look very similar, with the Guardian even changing the title of their main story after realising it was not menacing enough.
The problem is that, much like the old stories, the new ones do not contain any evidence to support the claims, because the report itself does not have anything in that regard. The report says that the “evidence” remains highly classified. These outlets are just being fed the same (non-)information in a new package, and reporting it as “remarkably blunt” (WaPo) and “damning and surprisingly detailed” (NYT) does not change the fact that there are no facts to back this thesis that there was a campaign orchestrated by the Russian state which decided the American presidential elections. Repeating the same accusation time and again is not a way of proving it, and given their track record, we cannot just take intelligence agencies at their word.1
Because threatening foreign leaders don’t “work”, they “order”!
The report: little substance, but lots of irony!
And in contrast to the dramatic style of the media headlines, the report itself has very little in terms of substance. It is a 25-page document, containing a 15-page report. The main part is a 5-page “assessment” from the three intelligence agencies, which they felt needed to be summarised in a page of “key judgements”.2 Furthermore, if we look in detail, the charges levelled against Putin are very hypocritical given that they come from the self-proclaimed beacon of freedom of the world. In the “key judgements” we read:
Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order […]
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
First of all, it’s laughable that Putin is blamed for developing a “clear preference” when one of the choices promised better relations with Russia and the other promised a more aggressive approach, to say the least. Secondly, it’s beyond ironic that the US is aggrieved that someone tried to influence elections in a foreign country.3 Finally, if in the above statement we make the following changes:
- Russia/Putin/Moscow→United States/US president/Washington
- undermine → spread
- Trump → pro-US puppet; Clinton →other candidate
- US election/democratic process → any other country’s election
we end up with something resembling the mission statement of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Funded primarily by the US government, the NED channels funds to US-aligned political parties and NGOs around the world, under the slogan of “promoting democracy”.
The rest of the report is filled with an annex detailing the grave menace that RT (formerly Russia Today) is supposed to be. RT is accused of terrible propaganda, such as covering the Occupy protests or highlighting the environmental risks of fracking. Unfortunately, this annex seems to be an outdated report from 2012, so the 2016 election result ends up being blamed on Abby Martin’s “Breaking the Set”, even though she stopped doing it in 2015.4 Once again, accusing RT of being a propaganda tool of the Kremlin reeks of hypocrisy, when the US has created dozens of TV and radio stations all around the world to echo their own propaganda. And even the mainstream outlets, not just in the US but in Europe as well, hardly ever deviate from the official narrative when it comes to foreign policy matters.
When real life overtakes fiction – exchange from HBO’s satirical show Veep
“The Russians are coming”
This episode comes on the heels of another paranoid “the Russians are coming” episode. Panicked media outlets reported that the Russians had hacked the electricity grid in Vermont, meaning its inhabitants were only a Vladimir Putin click away from freezing to death this winter. Of course, in reality nothing of the sort had happened. A single computer, which was not connected to the electrical grid, had Russian-made malware found in it after Homeland Security sent a notice to utility companies about the malware found in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) software. So the story is probably that someone had used his/her work computer to visit inadvisable websites. The story got so surreal that the electricity company itself had to come out and clarify it, but even this most mundane of stories kept its catastrophic headlines. Beyond that, anyone can buy Russian-made malware, so its presence hardly proves anything about Russian state involvement, in this case or any other. Claiming so is the equivalent of blaming the Russian government for everyone killed by a Russian-made Kalashnikov rifle.5
Finally, the crux of the matter remains the Wikileaks publication of the DNC and Podesta (Clinton’s campaign manager) emails. I will not talk about the alleged Russian origin of these contents, but refer to Craig Murray’s6 writing on the subject. Murray has claimed that this hack was, in fact, a leak from inside the Democratic Party. While his word is not the gospel, he has far more credibility on these matters than the aforementioned intelligence agencies combined. What is more astounding is to see Democratic Party officials and journalists blaming the release of this information, which revealed how the party sabotaged Bernie Sanders and some of Hillary Clinton’s sordid dealings, for Trump’s victory. Saying that “our candidate was terrible, but people were not supposed to know” does not make for a very convincing case.
All of this would make for amusing satire or comedy if it weren’t for the fact that we are talking about two nuclear-armed superpowers. It is disgusting that high-ranking figures are raising the stakes in this game of nuclear chicken in order to justify an unexpected defeat. Intelligence agencies are made of professional liars, whose budgets and careers depend upon the existence of grave threats. This takes us to the role of the media, which should be to question the motives of known/anonymous officials and scrutinise grave claims such as these in the absence of evidence. The fact that the mainstream media have become pure propaganda machines is extremely dangerous and only highlights the importance of having an independent press and free access to information.
• Source: Investig’Action
- Despite all the innuendo, nobody is accusing the Russians of having hacked the voting machines or interfered with the vote tallying. That is the only clear statement in this report.
- The content is really stretched, for example the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of the “key judgements” are repeated almost verbatim in the beginning of the “assessment”.
- In 2011, the US famously ordered the Haiti electoral commission to move Michel Martelly to the second round of the 2010-11 election, even though he had come in third in the first round.
- Abby Martin became an overnight hero of western pundits when she criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea during her show on RT. Of course, these pundits were probably unaware of the content of her show, and it’s fair to guess that they are not fans of her recent work for TeleSur, “The Empire Files”.
- On this and all other matters concerning intelligence agencies and poor journalism standards, there’s no better source than Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept.
- A former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, he lost his career for exposing the use of torture in the “war on terror”. He has been a staunch activist and supporter of whistleblowers ever since.