Two British universities have been accused of undermining freedom of speech after cancelling an annual pro-Palestinian event aimed at raising awareness about human rights violations in the occupied territories.
The accusation was leveled on Monday after the University of Exeter and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) announced the cancellation of a pro-Palestinian student-run event called Israel Apartheid Week.
Students at Exeter were barred from giving a street theater performance called Mock Checkpoint, in which some participants were to dress up as Israeli soldiers while others performed the roles of Palestinian victims.
The event had been approved by the student union at the university but was banned for “safety and security reasons” less than 48 hours before commencement. An appeal against the decision was also refused.
Members of Friends of Palestine Society at Exeter accused the university of censoring students, saying, “They are not allowing freedom of speech – by cancelling an event that was in support of Palestinian activism and for Palestinian rights; they are directly censoring us.”
The move prompted almost 250 academics, including 100 professors, to sign a letter denouncing attempts by university officials to silence campus discussion about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.
“These are outrageous interferences with free expression, and are direct attacks on academic freedom,” the letter noted. “As academics with positions at UK universities, we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about Israel, including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for over 50 years.
“It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of Israel under the thin disguise of concern about anti-semitism,” it added.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Much of the international community regards the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories they are built on were captured by Israel in a war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
Nevertheless, the Israeli regime continues to build more settlements and expand the existing ones.
It’s heartwarming that The New York Times and The Washington Post are troubled that President Trump is loosely throwing around accusations of “fake news.” It’s nice that they now realize that truth does not reliably come from the mouth of every senior government official or from every official report.
The Times is even taking out full-page ads in its own pages to offer truisms about truth: “The truth is hard. The truth is hidden. The truth must be pursued. The truth is hard to hear. The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious. …” On Sunday, those truth truisms ran opposite an alarmist column by Jim Rutenberg entitled, “Will the Real Democracy Lovers Please Stand Up?” Meanwhile, The Washington Post launched its own melodramatic slogan, “Dies in Darkness.”
Yet, it was only weeks ago when the Post and Times were eagerly promoting plans for silencing or blacklisting independent news sites that didn’t toe the line on what the U.S. government and its allies were claiming was true.
On Nov. 20, the Times published a lead editorial calling on Facebook and other technology giants to devise algorithms that could eliminate stories that the Times deemed to be “fake.” The Times and other mainstream news outlets – along with a few favored Internet sites – joined a special Google-sponsored task force, called the First Draft Coalition, to decide what is true and what is not. If the Times’ editorial recommendations were 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’s “What to Do About ‘Fake News.’”]
On Thanksgiving Day, the Post ran a front-page story citing an anonymous group, called PropOrNot, blacklisting 200 Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other important sources of independent journalism, because we supposedly promoted “Russian propaganda.”
Although PropOrNot and the Post didn’t bother to cite any actual examples or to ask the accused for comment, the point was clear: If you didn’t march in lockstep behind the Official Narrative on, say, the Ukraine crisis or the war in Syria, you were to be isolated, demonized and effectively silenced. In the article, the Post blurred the lines between “fake news” – stories that are simply made up – and what was deemed “propaganda,” in effect, information that didn’t jibe with what the U.S. State Department was saying.
Back then, in November, the big newspapers believed that the truth was easy, simple, obvious, requiring only access to some well-placed government official or a quick reading of the executive summary from some official report. Over the last quarter century or so, the Times, in particular, has made a fetish out of embracing pretty much whatever Officialdom declared to be true. After all, such well-dressed folks with those important-sounding titles couldn’t possibly be lying.
That gullibility went from the serious, such as rejecting overwhelming evidence that Ronald Reagan’s Nicaraguan Contra rebels were deeply involved in drug trafficking, to the silly, trusting the NFL’s absurd Deflategate allegations against Tom Brady. In those “old” days, which apparently ended a few weeks ago, the Times could have run full-page ads, saying “Truth is whatever those in authority say it is.”
In 2002, when the George W. Bush administration was vouching for a motley crew of Iraqi “defectors” describing Saddam Hussein’s hidden WMDs, Iraq’s purchase of some “aluminum tubes” must have been for building nuclear bombs. In 2003, when Secretary of State Colin Powell showed some artist drawings of “mobile chemical weapons labs,” they must really exist – and anyone who doubted Powell’s “slam-dunk” testimony deserved only contempt and ridicule.
When the Obama administration issued a “government assessment” blaming the Syrian military for the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, there was no need to scrutinize its dubious assertions or ask for actual proof. To do so made you an “Assad apologist.”
When a bunch of U.S. allies under the effective control of Ukraine’s unsavory SBU intelligence service presented some videos with computer-generated graphics showing Russians supplying the Buk missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, there was no need to examine the holes in the evidence or note that the realistic-looking graphics were fictional and based on dubious assumptions. To do so made you a “Moscow stooge.”
In other words, when the U.S. government was gluing black hats on an “enemy” and white hats on a U.S. “ally,” the Times never seemed to object. Nor did pretty much anyone else in the mainstream media. No one seemed to note that both sides usually deserved gray hats. With very few exceptions – when the State Department or other U.S. agencies were making the charges – the Times and its cohorts simply stopped applying responsible journalistic skepticism.
Of course, there is a problem with “fake news,” i.e., stories that are consciously made up for the purpose of making money from lots of clicks. There are also fact-free conspiracy theories that operate without evidence or in defiance of it. No one hates such bogus stories more than I do — and they have long been a bane of serious journalism, dating back centuries, not just to the last election.
But what the Times, the Post and the rest of the mainstream media have typically ignored is that there are many situations in which the facts are not clear or when there are alternative explanations that could reasonably explain a set of facts. There are even times when the evidence goes firmly against what the U.S. government is claiming. At those moments, skepticism and courage are necessary to challenge false or dubious Official Narratives. You might even say, “The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious…”
A Tough Transition
During the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump team, the Times, the Post and other mainstream media outlets got caught in their own transition from trusting whatever the outgoing officials said to distrusting whatever the incoming officials said. In those final days, big media accepted what President Obama’s intelligence agencies asserted about Russia supposedly interfering in the U.S. election despite the lack of publicly available evidence that could be scrutinized and tested.
Even something as squirrelly as the attack on Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – with Obama holdovers citing the never-prosecuted Logan Act from 1799 as the pretext for ginning up some kind of criminal-sounding case that scared Trump into firing Flynn – was treated as legitimate, without serious questions asked. Since Obama officials were doing the feeding, the no-skepticism rule applied to the eating. But whatever statements came from Trump, even his few lucid moments explaining why war with nuclear-armed Russia wasn’t such a great idea, were treated as dangerous nonsense.
When Trump scolded the mainstream press for engaging in “fake news” and then applied the phrase “enemy of the people,” the Times, the Post and the rest went into full victimization-mode. When a few news companies were excluded from a White House news briefing, they all rushed to the barricades to defend freedom of the press. Then, Trump went even further – he rejected his invitation to the White House Correspondents Dinner, the black-tie/evening-gown event where mainstream media stars compete to attract the hottest celebrity guests and hobnob with important government officials, a walking-talking conflict-of-interest-filled evening, an orgy of self-importance.
So, the Times, the Post and their mainstream-media friends now feel under attack. Whereas just weeks ago they were demanding that Google, Facebook and other powerful information platforms throttle those of us who showed professional skepticism toward dubious claims from the U.S. government, now the Times, the Post and the others are insisting that we all rally around them, to defend their journalistic freedom. In another full-page ad on Sunday, the Times wrote: “Truth. It’s more important now than ever.”
I would argue that truth is always important, but especially so when government officials are leading countries toward war, when lives are at stake, whether in Iraq or Syria or Ukraine or the many other global hotspots. At those moments in the recent past, the Times did not treat truth – in all its subtlety and nuance – as important at all.
I would argue, too, that the stakes are raised even higher when propagandists and ideologues are risking the prospect of nuclear war that could kill billions and effectively end human civilization. However, in that case, the American people have seen little truly professional journalism nor a real commitment to the truth. Instead, it’s been much more fun to demonize Russian President Vladimir Putin and paint black-and-white pictures of the evil Russians.
At such moments, those New York Times’ truisms about truth are forgotten: “The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious. …”
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
Moscow refused to join issue with the US State Department’s strident statement on Sunday blaming Russia for the renewed violence in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Washington had stressed that it was “imperative” that the “combined-Russian separatist forces” in Donbass halted their attacks and “immediately” observe the ceasefire.
The Russian reaction came on Monday at the level of the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov who was dismissive of the US allegation but wouldn’t be drawn into the blame game, either, and instead would call on Washington to be “more attentive in judging the situation.” Peskov said he’s reiterating for “a hundredth time” that Russia is not party to the conflict in Ukraine. It was a restrained reaction, albeit a rebuttal of the US charge – and just stopped short of offering Russia’s helping hand.
This puts Washington in a quandary: What next? The point is, the Donald Trump administration is still to put on track a Russia policy. Ukraine is a potential crisis on Europe’s doorstep which demands that Trump has a one-on-one with President Vladimir Putin as early as possible. But then, the Trump administration must also know what to discuss with Moscow.
Meanwhile, the Donbass situation is developing in a way that Washington needs to contend with newer and newer facts on the ground. Moscow announced a week ago its “humanitarian” move to recognize identity documents issued in the separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine. This followed a blunt statement by Moscow that “We’re not returning our territory, Crimea is part of Russian Federation” (which in turn was provoked by a remark by the White House press secretary that Trump had been taking a tough line on Russia and that he expected Moscow to withdraw from Crimea, which it occupied after a “full-scale invasion” in 2014.)
Putin ordered last week that the Russian government will temporarily recognize identification, education and qualification documents and other certificates as well as car licence plates issued in the self-declared “people’s republics”, ie., parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are not under the control of Kiev.
Europe is unsure whether or not see the Russian move as a warning shot by the Kremlin – although it will be a rush to judgment that Moscow is heading in the direction of granting recognition to the self-declared “people’s republics” in Donbass. Moscow maintains with a straight face that the move aims at facilitating travel and allowing Donbass residents to work and study in Russia and that it has a “strict temporary limit – until the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
On Monday, Russian media reported that another new fact on the ground is struggling to be born in Donbass. This time around, the Lugansk “People’s Republic” has reportedly announced that from March 1, Russian Ruble will become the region’s official currency. Now, things are becoming serious, aren’t they?
And all this is unfolding against the backdrop of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist groups imposing a blockade for the past month on the movement of coal from Donbass to western Ukraine, which threatens serious economic dislocation. These “neo-Nazi” elements also captured a water purification plant with the intent to cut off water supplies to the Donetsk region under separatist control. The authorities in Kiev cannot or will not crack down on the far-right groups.
Pressure is mounting on Kiev from multiple sides. Importantly, President Petro Poroshenko doesn’t know where exactly he stands in the US foreign policy calculus in the Trump era. The popular mood in Ukraine is increasingly disenchanted with all that happened in the country through the 3-year period since the regime change following the ouster of the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in a “colour revolution” in February 2014.
A recent poll by the Kiev International Sociology Institute shows that in retrospect, a majority of people now see the 2014 “colour revolution” as more of a western coup d’etat and blame Kiev (rather than Moscow) for the lackadaisical implementation of the Minsk agreements. Evidently, the ground is shifting beneath the feet of the “pro-US” set-up installed in power in Kiev by the Barack Obama administration. Popular discontent is cascading with three-quarters Ukrainians estimating that living conditions have only worsened. The most worrisome factor is of course the ascendancy of the far-right groups – and they happen to be well-armed and include ex-servicemen.
With Europe preoccupied with own problems and the US caught up in a civil war – Trump told Fox News last night that he saw Obama’s hidden hand behind the media leaks and protests against him – the West is not paying attention to the dangerous drift in Ukraine. The point is, the Ukrainian political process is steadily becoming violent, threatening the country’s stability. Russia’s cooperation becomes a must to salvage the situation.
However, engagement with Russia is possible only if the Trump administration musters the steam to override the formidable resistance from the US foreign-policy and security establishment (and the US Congress), which is not going to be easy. What Obama visualized as his finest foreign-policy legacy in “post-Soviet” Eurasia is turning out to be a can of worms for the West. Read an overview of the developing crisis featured in The Duran.
Photo by Always Shooting | CC BY 2.0
A well-orchestrated alliance emerged against Iran during last week’s Munich Security Conference. The stage was set by Mike Pence after he called Tehran “the leading state sponsor terrorism,” and accused the Islamic Republic of continuing to “destabilize the Middle East.” Further, to reiterate the Trump administration’s dissatisfaction with Obama’s policy toward Iran, he speculated that with “the end of nuclear-related sanctions, Iran now has additional resources to devote to these efforts.”
One after another, representatives of Saudi Arabia, Israel, and, surprisingly, Turkey added their warnings about the rise of the Iranian menace and called for a united front to combat Iranian regional and global ambitions. The Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the conference “Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Iran is, he said, “determined to upend the order in the Middle East.” In an act more reminiscent of a scene from a theater of the absurd, the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, declared “Iran had an ultimate objective of undermining Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.” He called for a multilateral dialogue with Sunni Arab states to defeat Iran and its “radical” elements in the region. This was not the first time that the Saudi and Israeli positions on the Middle East security coincided, but the similarities in the way Lieberman and al-Jubeir articulated their grievances against Iran, using the exact same language in listing Iranian transgressions was unprecedented.
Rather bewildering was the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who added his voice of discontent with Iran and joined in the same vein to call for a concerted international effort against what he termed “an Iranian sectarian policy to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.” He told a friendly audience in Munich that Turkey will not tolerate divisive religious or sectarian policies and, he continued, “we are now normalizing our relations with Israel.” Çavuşoğlu’s address was particularly baffling since it came following a complex series of negotiations and agreement that was reached earlier this month between Russia, Turkey and Iran for a cooperation to end Syrian bloody civil war.
The Trump administration and a significant number of lawmakers, Republican and Democrats, will almost certainly use the display of unity among regional powers against the Islamic Republic to justify new sanctions on Iran. But why, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, are the U.S. and its allies in the region holding Iran solely responsible for destabilizing the Middle East? There are two, one geo-political and the other pure economic, reasons for such a flagrant distortion of realities on the ground.
From the early days of the Iranian revolution in 1979, the main strategic interest of the U.S. and its corrupt Arab allies have been to fend off the Iranian ambition of exporting its revolution. At the time, it was the stated purpose of the Islamic Republic to spread the message of what they believed to be the Islam of the downtrodden abroad. Almost four decades later, surviving an eight-year war with Saddam Hussein, which he fought on behalf of the concerned Arab nations (with the exception of Syria) and their Western supporters, consolidating power by eliminating most opposition forces inside the country, and managing a beleaguered economy plagued with ongoing regimes of sanctions, the Islamic Republic has been transformed. At the end of the war with Iraq, it became evident that the mantra that the regime in Tehran now followed, as Henry Precht, the former head of the State Department’s Iran desk, once said, was not dominion abroad, but economic and political independence at home. Rather than an irrational ideological fervor, the Islamic Republic’s policies are primarily motivated by domestic stability, security, and economic growth. Iran has always been more sympathetic to the Christian Armenia than to Muslim Azerbaijan in their border disputes, more interested in closer ties with India than Pakistan, and in order to protect their trade relations with China, remained silent when the Chinese violently suppressed the grievances of their Muslims.
Domestically, Iran has also changed significantly since the brutal years of the 1980s reign of terror. There exists a vibrant and growing civil society, more than fifteen independent newspapers are published in Tehran, meaningful presidential and parliamentary elections with real participation and rivalries happen, unlike the a commonplace perception, women participate in social life despite patriarchal laws and cultures, more than 60% of university students are women. I do not intend to draw a rosy picture of Iran, the Islamic Republic is not a democratic regime, but in all cases it is certainly more democratic than all our allies in the region.
Oil is not the only rationale that defines our economic interest in the Middle East. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. arms sales in the Middle East have been rising exponentially. As a recent report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows, more than half of the total American arms export goes to the Middle East. During the last four years the sales of arms to the Middle East has doubled. Saudi Arabia’s arms import has increased 212 percent from 2012 to 2016. During the same period Qatar’s import of weapons surged 245 percent. Saudi Arabia spends 25 percent of its budget, $85 billion a year, more than that of Russia, on defense. Last year the Obama administration approved a $38 billion military aid package to Israel for the next ten years. One-third of the world’s arms deals happen in the Middle East. All this happens when Iran uses only 2.5 percent of its national budget on defense and relies mostly on domestic production of weapons rather than on a shopping spree in the global arms market.
A military industrial complex has taken American foreign policy hostage. It has colonized American foreign policy through a marketing strategy that perpetuates hostilities and generates animosity between different nations. It has promoted an arms race, particularly in the Middle East, that is draining the resources of nations around the world and is weighing heavily on the shoulders of American taxpayers. Military aid to our allies in the region is nothing but a transfer of wealth from ordinary Americans to defense contractors. None of these sales and aid packages would be justifiable if it were not for the existence of an enemy such as the Islamic Republic of Iran reproduced in Pence’s caricature, an irrational, ideological nemesis that does not respond to conventional deterrence and needs to be forced into submission to our demands.
Washington needs to transcend its old-age reliance on allies in the Middle East whose interests are increasingly becoming detrimental to peace and stability in the region. The problem in the Middle East is not about Sunni and Shi’ite rivalry, it is not even about Israeli and Palestinian existential animosity. What plagues the Middle East is the narrow-mindedness of its ruling elites, both elected and self-appointed, who have failed to represent and safeguard the interests of their own people. Since the end of WWII, Washington’s policy has been exclusively based on securing economic and geo-political interests of American energy and military industrial corporations. Time has come for the U.S. to rethink its alignment with old patriarchal powers and to look beyond its narrow economic interests in the rising arms race in the Middle East. Extending and expanding sanctions against Iran would be an irreversible step toward opening a new war front, one with broader and more catastrophic consequences around the world.
The Pacific Ocean is large. Since World War II, weapon systems operating in this theater have required special provisions regarding extensive range, long duration performance and relative self-sufficiency during operations.
From America’s Gato-class submarines and PBY Catalina flying boats used to fight the Japanese and reassert American hegemony across Asia-Pacific during WWII, to America’s continued presence in Japan, South Korea and islands throughout the region, it is clear the lengths the US has gone through then and now to remain “engaged” in the Pacific.
More recently, a report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), commissioned by the US Navy titled, “Restoring American Seapower: A New Fleet Architecture for the United States Navy,” obsesses over not how to defend American shores, but how to remain involved in Asia-Pacific despite the immense distances between there, and America.
The report’s introduction includes:
Great power competitors such as China and Russia increased their military capabilities over the last two decades and now appear willing to challenge the international order.
However, the report never addresses Chinese or Russian forces landing on American shores, or even threatening to do so. Rather, the report revolves around maintaining hegemony within spheres of influence much more appropriately (and likely inevitably) Chinese or Russian.
The report coins a term, “deny-and-punish” to describe the use of US power abroad to “stop aggression,” not in defense of America itself, but in “adjacent theaters.” Ironically, the report cites Iraq as an example, a nation the US, not China nor Russia, invaded, occupied and destroyed with considerable, unchallenged “aggression.”
A more specific point in the 162-page report picked out by The National Interest in an article titled, “How to Guarantee America’s Aircraft Carriers Can Fight China in a War,” involves long-range air sorties of up to 2,000 miles.
The article elaborates:
…a 2000-mile mission would strain human endurance and an unrefueled range of more than 10 hours would require an enormous aircraft that might not fit on a carrier flight deck. Thus, the CSBA proposal calls for a smaller aircraft that would be supported by a tanker.
In other words, in order for the US to project considerable force beyond its own borders, across the Pacific Ocean, and within China’s logical, proximal sphere of influence, it needs not only drone aircraft capable of 10 hour sorties, it needs drone tankers to refuel them.
Defense contractors surely welcome the report’s findings, since it will require the development of not one new aircraft carrier-based vehicle, but two, including the tanker.
The CSBA report concludes by stating:
To be deterred in the 2030s, aggressors must be presented with the possibility that their goals will be denied or that the immediate costs to pursue them will be prohibitively high.
In reality, the “aggression” the United States fears is not the unjust encroachment on other, innocent nations, but rather the undoing of every aspect of its own global order, put together piece by piece through just such aggression. It is an order constructed not within any rational US sphere of influence, rather, one spanning the globe, so far from American shores combat pilots lack the endurance to fly the sorties required to “deter” other nations from reversing America’s grip upon it.
The US seeks to “deter aggression” that may potentially diminish or extinguish entirely America’s systematic and decades-spanning violation of Beijing’s “One China” policy regarding Hong Kong and Taiwan, China’s claims in the South China Sea or regimes the US puts into power along China’s peripheries to admittedly confound regional stability at Beijing’s expense,
Students of history will recognize much of this as a modern-day continuation of European colonization throughout Asia, where sophisticated and overbearing military might was used to corner China and its neighbors across the region, divide and conquer them, as well as prevent them from ever rolling back any of the gains colonial expansion gifted Europe and eventually America in the late 19th century.
The CSBA report is just one of many US policy papers that openly and repeatedly admits that China is not a threat to the United States as a nation, but a threat to the hegemonic order that nation attempts to maintain globally well into the 21st century.
And while the US seeks drone forces to bridge the vast distances between American territory and the territory it seeks to continue dominating, China and Russia are likewise developing weapons systems to make those vast distances greater still. While the CSBA report places urgent imperative in preventing China or Russia from exerting influence within their own territory or along their immediate peripheries, the final conclusion of this new arms race in long-range weapons systems may force the US to accept a reality in which the only region it dominates is the US itself. But the obvious question remains, why isn’t that already the case?
This article is a warning – in November 2016, a vast system of agitation and propaganda was set up in order to destroy the reputation and the authority of President Donald Trump as soon as he arrived in the White House. It is the first time that such a campaign has been scientifically organised against a President of the United States, and with such resources. Yes, we are indeed entering a post-Truth age, but the distribution of roles is not what you may think it is.
David Brock is considered to be one of the masters of agit-prop (agitation & propaganda) in the 21st century. A personality devoid of scruples, he is able to defend a cause as well as destroy it, according to the needs of his employer. He is at the head of an empire of mass manipulation.
The campaign waged against the new President of the United States by the sponsors of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the destruction of the Greater Middle East is on-going. After the Womens’ March on 22 January, a March for Science is scheduled to be held not only in the USA, but also throughout the Western world on 22 April. It’s goal is to show that Donald Trump is not only a misogynist, but also an obscurantist.
The fact that he is the ex-organiser of the Miss Universe pageant, and that his third wedding was to a model, is apparently enough to prove that he holds women in contempt. The fact that the President contests the role played by Barack Obama in the creation of the Chicago Climate Exchange (a long time before his Presidency) and rejects the idea that climatic disturbances are caused by the expulsion of carbon into the atmosphere attest to the fact that he understands nothing about science.
In order to convince US public opinion of the President’s insanity – a man who says that he hopes for peace with his enemies, and wants to collaborate with them in universal economic prosperity – one of the greatest specialists of agit-prop (agitation & propaganda), David Brock, set up an impressive system even before Trump’s investiture.
At the time when he was working for the Republicans, Brock launched a campaign against President Bill Clinton which would eventually become Troopergate, the Whitewater affair, and the Lewinsky affair. Having changed his colours, he is today in the service of Hillary Clinton, for whom he has already organised not only the demolition of Mitt Romney’s candidacy but also her riposte in the affair of the assassination of the US ambassador in Benghazi. During the first round of primaries, it was Brock who directed the attacks against Bernie Sanders. The National Review qualified Brock as «a right-wing assassin who has become a left-wing assassin».
It is important to remember that the two procedures of destitution of a serving President initiated since the Second World War were set in motion for the benefit of the deep state, and not at all for the benefit of democracy. So Watergate was entirely managed by a certgain «Deep Throat» who, 33 years later, was revealed to be Mark Felt, the assistant of J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI. As for the Lewinsky affair, it was simply a way of forcing Bill Clinton to accept the war against Yugoslavia.
The current campaign is organised in secret by four associations:
Media Matters is tasked with picking up on Donald Trump’s mistakes. You read his bulletin every day in your newspapers – the President can’t be trusted, he got this or that point wrong.
American Bridge 21st Century has collected more than 2,000 hours of videos showing Donald Trump over the years, and more than 18,000 hours of other videos of the members of his cabinet. It has at its disposition sophisticated technological equipment designed for the Department of Defense – allegedly not in working order – which enables it to look for contradictions between their older declarations and their current positions. It should be extending its work to 1,200 of the new President’s collaborators.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — CREW is a firm of high level lawyers tasked with tracking anything that could create a scandal in the Trump administration. Most of the lawyers in this association work pro bono, for the cause. These are the people who prepared the case for Bob Ferguson, the Chief Prosecutor of the state of Washington, against the immigration decree (Executive Order 13769).
Shareblue is an electronic army which has already connected with 162 million internauts in the USA. It’s job is to spread pre-ordained themes, for example:
• Trump is authoritarian and a thief.
• Trump is under the influence of Vladimir Putin.
• Trump is a weak and quick-tempered personality, he’s a manic-depressive.
• Trump was not elected by the majority of US citizens, and is therefore illegitimate.
• His Vice-President, Mike Pence, is a fascist.
• Trump is a billionaire who will constantly be faced with conflicts of interest between his personal affairs and those of state.
• Trump is a puppet of the Koch brothers, who are famous for sponsoring the extreme right.
• Trump is a white supremacist and a threat to minorities.
• Anti-Trump opposition just keeps growing outside Washington.
• To save democracy, let’s support the democrataic parliamentarians who are attacking Trump, and let’s demolish those who are co-operating with him.
• Overthrowing Trump will take time, so don’t let’s weaken in our resolve.
This association will produce the newsletters and 30-second videos. It will base itself on two other groups – a company which makes documentary videos, The American Independent, and a statistical unit, Benchmark Politics.
The whole of this system – which was set up during the transitional period, that is to say before Donald Trump’s arrival at the White House – already employed more than 300 specialists to which should be added numerous voluteer workers. Its annual budget, initially calculated at 35 million dollars, was increased to the level of about 100 million dollars.
Destroying the image – and thus the authority – of the President of the United States, before he has had the time to do anything at all, can have serious consequences. By eliminating Saddam Hussein and Mouamar Kadhafi, the CIA plunged their two countries into a long period of chaos, and the «land of Liberty» itself may suffer severe damage from such an operation. This type of mass manipulation technique has never before been levelled at a head of state in the Western world.
For the moment, the plan is working – no political leader in the world has dared to celebrate the election of Donald Trump, with the exception of Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Germany plans to help Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania establish Russian-language media outlets to counter the “disinformation” allegedly being spread by Russian channels broadcasting in the region.
The plan was announced by German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer, RT reported on Tuesday.
The announcement came ahead of German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s trip to the Baltic states and Sweden, which is due to take place this week.
“During his trip, Mr. Gabriel will also employ what we already started last year in the Baltic states, which is — as we say in new German — handling Russian ‘fake news’ together with appropriate partners,” Schaefer said on Monday.
He added that the main goal of the initiative was to launch Russian-language radio and TV channels, which will be “attractive to Russian speakers living in the three Baltic states” in order to produce news “in a different way” from the Russian media.
The United States, too, recently announced plans to launch a Russian-language television news channel. The US has long accused Russian media of propagating “fake news.” Such allegations have also been leveled by European governments, which are concerned about alleged Russian attempts to influence their elections in much the same way as the US has said Moscow influenced its recent presidential vote.
Western ties with Russia have plummeted significantly in recent years, particularly following Crimea’s separation from Ukraine and reunification with the Russian Federation after a referendum not authorized by Kiev.
Military build-ups close to the Russian borders, including in the Baltic countries, have also been a major source of tension.
With the departure of the Trump’s national security adviser, political crisis in the US has only depended and is likely to exacerbate into a full-fledged struggle for power and control between Trump and what some call ‘deep-state.’ While Donald Trump is an elected president of the United States of America, he doesn’t seem to be able to exercise power in actual terms. This is evident from the way a so-called ‘pro-Russian’ adviser has been forced to resign. Following this resignation an intense debate has emerged in the US, leading a considerable number of people, 48 per cent according to a recent poll, to reject the way Trump has performed in the first month of his presidency. Already Trump has retracted on Crimea. Accordingly, he is in no hurry to engage Russia in Syria nor does he consider NATO to be “obsolete.” In the same vain, his U-turn towards China is something that nobody could foresee during his election campaign. As of now, a great deal of Trump’s election rhetoric is dead and lies buried deep inside the rubric of deep structures of power, marking the very first instance of its sort when an American president has found himself deeply at odds with the system. And, there is no certainty that he can or may overcome this tussle and emerge as the American ‘knight in shining armour.’
While this may or may not happen, a lot of questions about Trump’s ability to steer the course of American foreign and domestic policies have emerged following Flynn’s resignation and with it the so-called crisis of legitimacy has deepened, leaving minimum to no space for Trump to freely determine the course of American policy making.
The crisis, or the power struggle, has deepened to an extent where an American elected president has been forced to publicly blame American intelligence agencies for feeding the media with information against him and claimed that today’s America was `just like Russia’.
The Russophobia campaign is, indeed, being fed to the American public and the declining support for Trump is more a direct result of this spread of false information than an outcome of actual ‘bad performance.’
The media leaks have already led to Michael Flynn’s resignation. The Washington Post has recently reported that Flynn had “discussed sanctions” with a Russian official during the transition period, although Flynn had assured Vice President Mike Pence that this did not happen.
In turn, The New York Times noted on February 14, 2017, that other officials of the Trump administration and his election campaign have had contacts with Russian intelligence agents as well.
Flynn’s departure just three weeks after Trump’s inauguration as president has allowed the media to claim that the White House was in total disarray.
The media’s propagandist claim has certainly irked Trump who went to his favourite medium of communication, Twitter, to fire off a series of tweets, attacking the media as well as the intelligence agencies. In at least two tweets, Trump named the agencies the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) that he said were `running a campaign against him’.
`The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by `intelligence’ like candy. ‘Very un-American’, he tweeted. `Information is being illegally given to the failing New York Times and Washington Post by the intelligence community.
The crisis that has thus ensued and which is being fanned out by the mainstream US media is asking for changes in the policies, particularly towards Russia about Crimea and co-operation in Syria, that Trump had advocated during his election campaign.
We have already seen that some of it has already changed. What this retraction implies, in political terms, is that the establishment has also shown that it has the ability and the grit to undermine Trump if he were to deviate from their script—a script that is premised on the existence of an enemy (Russia) and which the establishment and the deep-state can use to protect, enhance and materialize its own political and economic interests in both domestic and global political and economic arenas.
The “Russophobia” based containment of Donald Trump is, however, not going to remain exclusive to the US’ domestic political circles. On the contrary, it is likely to, and already has, expanded into international political arena and is going to define and shape Trump’s relations with the US’ European allies, who in turn are neither comfortable with Trump’s foreign policy nor are going to allow him to retract the US-NATO security system (read: NATO is no longer “obsolete”).
Interestingly enough, this ‘trans-Atlantic Russophobia’ is being transformed into a new Cold War. The NATO defence ministers have been recently been discussing the presence of their fleets in the Black Sea in a closed summit in Brusells. Clearly, the western bloc on the whole loathes Trump, creating an unprecedented disequilibrium within the Western alliance wherein Trump leads the alliance, but the partners do not know how far he is to be taken seriously due to his inability to control things (read: establishment’s course of action is more appealing to the NATO allies for its anti-Russia, pro-sanctions commitments).
The Trump administration has lost, by losing Flynn, its authority and the ability to guide the American public to its vision. On the contrary, the media-establishment nexus has hijacked Donald Trump’s own vision, forcing him to forget his election rhetoric promises and come out in the open to fight for his political survival through social media.
Just as Trump’s confrontation with the American establishment is causing unease in the domestic and European political arena, Trump’s fight with the establishment is being equally fought in both domestic and European arenas. Whereas Trump has resorted to twitter to fight back against a sustained media campaign, in the European arena he has hit back by re-casting doubts over the US’ commitment to NATO.
That is to say, while he no doubt has willy-nilly accepted NATO as the “bedrock” of American security, Mattis’ remarks at NATO defence ministers’ meeting show that the crisis is not yet over and that it will remain unsettled unless the dust of the tussle between Trump and American establishment remains in the air—something that may not happen overnight—and unless the all-powerful American establishment succeeds in modifying Trump into a typical Neo-Con hawk.
Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.
Many have expressed their shock and horror that the ‘documentary’ on the White Helmets organisation has won the Oscar for Best Documentary.
The White Helmets purports to be an aid organisation but has been widely discredited as such. What is more, the organisation has been exposed as a handsomely funded western propaganda tool. Even worse, the White Helmets have been exposed as actively supporting (both materially and in terms of PR) the criminal acts of groups like Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra. The Syrian government which considers the group a terrorist organisation has been totally vindicated. The UN consequently do not recognise the White Hemlets as any sort of aid agency.
Why then did the Hollywood elite honour such a dangerous group? One could say, with a great deal of truth, that the Hollywood elite are out of touch, bordering on the mad, but there is a far more devious reason behind the awarding of a terrorist group.
The truth of the matter is that the US government, typically through the CIA, has for years influenced US news media, the artistic elite and Hollywood, using both willing and unwilling accomplices to propagandise a pro-deep state narrative.
In the 1950s, the young CIA didn’t waste time in this respect. Operation Mockingbird was a CIA initiative wherein US journalists at organisations like the New York Times and CBS were fed propaganda stories to send out to their then virtually monopolised share of American readers and viewers.
Many journalists were paid by the CIA to promote such stories. In other cases, naive journalists were simply given the information and put it out as real news, when in fact it was what today we would call ‘fake news’.
But the CIA didn’t limit their activities to media. The so-called Congress for Cultural Freedom funded artistic performances, publications and exhibitions designed to promote the CIA’s version of the ‘American way’, even though ironically, much of the work promoted was overwhelmingly rejected by Middle America.
The CIA supported all sorts of causes and art forms that many in America found anathema to traditional conservative tastes, ranging from the Abstract Expressionist movement in painting to radical feminism.
Much of the CIA’s meddling in media and creative industries was kept under wraps until the 1970s when many in Congress began questioning the modus operandi of the CIA in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. The full extent of Operation Mockingbird was not however fully revealed until pertinent information became declassified in 2007.
Much has been reported of so-called Hollywood blacklists against real and alleged communists at the height of the McCarthy era, but little in the mainstream media has been said of the CIA’s influence on Hollywood.
In 2012, much of the CIA’s influence on Hollywood in the post Cold War era was laid bear in a book by Tricia Jenkins called The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television.
Whilst many thought the era of big CIA would diminish with the end of the Cold War, Jenkins’s book has demonstrated that such ties continue. The rapid expansion of the surveillance state under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and the current deep state war on alternative media, has only entrenched the position of portions of the US government in actively trying to influence the narratives that audiences often ignorantly consume.
The media-industrial complex/media-entertainment complex is not a conspiracy theory. The trail of influence and money which both directly and indirectly weighs on the content put out by Hollywood and the US mainstream media is very real. It is both historical fact and sadly it is also part of the present reality.
It is for this reason alone that no one should be surprised that Al-Qaeda’s helpers, the White Helmets won an Oscar. What still is more surprising is that many in America do not question why the terrorist organisation blamed for the 9-11 attacks is now lionised as a sound alternative to the secular government of Syria.
And the devil is spelled T-R-U-M-P
Last Monday The Washington Post featured an op-ed by one Edward Price entitled “I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit.” I must admit that it was refreshing at first to read something in The Post that did not rush to blame BOTH Trump and Vladimir Putin for everything going wrong in the world but, not to worry, evil Russia was indeed cited a bit farther along in the narrative.
Edward “Ned” Price is a likely lad. He has a nice intense look, clean cut, neat tie, good credentials with a degree in international relations from an unidentified college. He decided on a CIA career fifteen years ago and “work[ed] proudly for Republican and Democratic presidents…” Perhaps not temperamentally cut out to be an operations officer or spy, he claims that “as an analyst…[he] became an expert in terrorist groups and traveled the world to help deter and disrupt attacks.”
Price reports that he was quite happy in his work, because both the Bush and Obama administrations “took the CIA’s input seriously.” He was seconded to the White House in 2014 and pats himself on the back for “having [his] analysis presented to the president and seeing it shape events.”
But that was before the wheels came off the car. Per Price, “I watched in disbelief when, during the third presidential debate, Trump casually cast doubt on the high-confidence conclusion of our 17 intelligence agencies, released that month, that Russia was behind the hacking and release of election-related emails.”
Price was also unhappy with Trump’s admittedly odd speech combined with photo op to the CIA staff on his first full day in office but was particularly peeved over the reorganization of the Nation Security Council (NSC), which excluded the CIA director and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but included Stephen Bannon, “who cut his teeth as a media champion of white nationalism.” Even though Price was wrong about the DNI and the White House quickly reversed course on including CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the duplicative DNI position might be eliminated, for Price the message was “It [the White House] has little need for intelligence professionals who, in speaking truth to power, might challenge the ‘America first’ orthodoxy that sees Russia as an ally and Australia as a punching bag.”
Towards the end of his apologia, Edward Price noted that his decision had “nothing to do with politics,” before observing how he served “under President George W. Bush, some of whose policies I also found troubling, and I took part in programs that the Obama administration criticized and ended.”
There is inevitably some concluding drivel about intelligence professionals who deliver “the fruits of their labor-sometimes at the risk of life or limb…” being “accorded due deference” by the White house, an amusing commentary from a careerist who clearly spent his time behind a desk.
There are a few things one might say about Price. First of all, his “nothing to do with politics” is pure balderdash. He found Bush policies “troubling” while the clearly more admirable Obama “criticized and ended” the nasty bits. Yes, Bush authorized the use of torture and renditions initially after 9/11 but they were de facto suspended in his second term. And while Bush presented the American people with Iraq, Obama gifted us with Libya and Syria while continuing Afghanistan. And Price was at CIA while the organization was surreptitiously monitoring the Senate Intelligence Committees investigation into its torture program. He was willing to continue working for the Agency after the spying and the war crimes that it was trying to hide were revealed but suddenly found Jesus or a backbone or a conscience (select whichever one applies) only when Trump was elected.
Ned appears to forget that it was Bush who demurred at killing civilians en masse using drones and Obama who has embraced and expanded the practice. Obama also initiated the assassination of U.S. citizens overseas without due process and used the State Secrets Privilege more than all his predecessors combined to block any judicial challenge to his actions. Apparently, Price considered all that to be just fine since it was a liberal Democrat at the controls. And, by the way, Price is on record as having contributed $5,000 to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. He is a registered Democrat in the District of Columbia. His characterization of Steve Bannon as a “white nationalist” and mention of the “Russian hack” come straight out of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s playbook and the more recent Democratic Party narrative to explain why it lost the election.
And there’s more. Price’s rapid rise through the Agency ranks came after his assignment to the Obama White House where he worked for deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes and became an administration spokesman on the NSC. That means he was not exactly a highly principled intelligence briefer “speaking truth to power,” which is itself a bullshit feel good expression as the CIA has a long history of trimming facts to please the audience, most particularly the president. Price should do a little background reading on what former leading Agency analysts Robert Gates, John McLaughlin, Michael Morell and John Brennan dissimulated about to make the client in the White House happy.
Ned Price was apparently renowned as a White House apologist working to sell a product to a possibly skeptical audience. He was reportedly a highly regarded spin-meister for administration policies, working a well-cultivated group of media contacts that would replay his analysis and attribute it to “a senior White House official.” The analysis would bounce back and forth until it was picked up and validated by appearance in the mainstream media. That used to be called by some “information management” while others would regard it as propaganda.
And then there are the errors in fact and interpretation that Price provides to make his case against Trump. The alleged “conclusion” regarding Russian hacking of the election was really based on the input of the only two intelligence agencies that have the capability to analyze and trace the origin of a hack – the NSA and the FBI. The FBI had to be pressured into agreeing with the conclusions of the report Price cites and the NSA supported them only with “moderate” confidence, meaning that it recognized that the evidence linking the hack to Russia just wasn’t there. Many former intelligence officers and some in the media have questioned the validity of the report and have demanded to see at least some of the evidence to support its conclusions, which, to this date, has not been produced.
Price’s account of the Trump reorganization of the National Security Council also is incorrect. The reorganization states “The Director of National Intelligence… will attend where issues pertaining to [his] responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” So the DNI was included and Price fails to recognize that after the DNI position was created under George W. Bush he or she was to be the intelligence referent and the CIA Director no longer filled that role and was excluded. That practice continued under Obama, which Price ignores even though he worked on the NSC, and he also does not note that the CIA and FBI Directors often have, in fact, joined in on the NSC “Principals” meetings as a courtesy. If the office of DNI is eliminated in the current reorganization, the head of CIA will step up and assume those responsibilities in the new structure, so the intelligence community is not in any sense being pushed out.
Price aside, I don’t know how many, if any, CIA officers have resigned recently either for ethical reasons or out of dislike for Trump. But if some have, I would hope they had better rationalizations for doing so than were produced in the op-ed, which is reduced to anti-Russian sentiment, dismay at government reorganization and longing for the good old days when a liberal Democrat who was able to lie very convincingly was running the show. I would have preferred an Edward Price op-ed explaining how he had resigned over a real issue, like the bipartisan unrelenting pressure on Iran that could easily lead to war, or the continuing practice of drone assassinations and special ops killings, like the recent raid in Yemen in which 15 women and children, including an eight year old, died. Still, even lacking that, I get it. Ned Price just doesn’t like Trump very much.
On 4 February, 2017 the Daily Mail published an article entitled: “World Leaders Duped by Manipulated Global Warming Data”.
“… The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.”
Eight years ago, the “Climategate” scandal enjoyed some brief exposure. A large cache of emails had been discovered (possibly hacked into) at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
The mails revealed that in 1997, in the run-up to the Kyoto Climate Change Conference, a similar manipulation of data had taken place relating to the 1995 global climate report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The original report contained statements from scientists to the effect that there was no risk of a CO2-caused climate catastrophe.
On the Jesse Ventura talk-show of 19.12.2009, Dr. Ben Santer, lead author of the IPCC reports, admitted that he had deleted from Chapter 8 of the 1995 report those sections which had explicitly denied the claim of human-caused climate change. On the show he was confronted by Lord Monckton (a leading so-called ‘climate denier’) about the changes he had made.
Monckton: “After scientists had submitted their finished draft, Santer came and rewrote parts of it – specifically where, in five different places, it had been explicitly stated that there is no provable human effect on global temperature. I have seen a copy – Santer went through the draft, deleted the relevant parts and wrote a new summary … which remained as the official conclusion”.
Santer: “Lord Monckton has pointed to cuts in this chapter … and there were cuts. In order to preserve harmony with the other chapters, we dropped the final summary”.
Because the original 1995 report had already been signed by more than 100 scientists, Santer had to quickly find new signatories for the amended (falsified) report. Santer was just then in a conference in Kassel, Germany and he had no chance of quickly finding another 100 scientists to sign the amended report. However, at that time Kassel University was the home of the Center for Environmental Systems Research. Its head, Professor Joseph Alcamo was responsible for looking after climate affairs in Germany on behalf of the UN, UNEP and the IPCC. On 9 October 1997, Prof. Alcamo sent an email to his assistants, who were waiting in Kyoto, telling him to secure the required new signatures for the falsified report. The email was discovered in November 2009 among thousands of other emails at the CRU Institute at the University of East Anglia. The key parts of the email are reproduced below:
“I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.
If the report comes out only a few days before Kyoto I’m afraid that the delegates we want to influence won’t have any time to consider it. We should give them a couple of weeks to take note of it.”
Simultaneously, Greenpeace activists were also working to get signatures on a document of their own to influence the media, using a tried-and-tested technique for signature gathering: Don’t read the fine print — just sign! To showcase their campaign, Greenpeace was organizing a media event ahead of the Kyoto meeting to display the document signed by concerned “scientists.”
“If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a different day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two very different directions”.
These two high-profile cases should surely raise some doubts about the truth of what has frequently been hyped as the ‘greatest threat humanity faces’ – the threat of runaway global warming. Are we dealing merely with a few minor ‘touch-ups’ to official reports and the views of a small minority of dissenting scientists – or is the whole story of global warming/climate change an enormous scam?
We are told ad nauseam that global warming is “settled science”; that there is an overwhelming consensus among scientists as to the reality of human-caused global warming. Figures such as “98% of scientists”, even 99.5% according to ex-president Obama, are routinely trotted out. Anyone who questions this “truth” is immediately vilified as a dangerous “climate denier” – one of the many derogatory accusations hurled at Donald Trump.
But President Trump was not always a ‘climate denier’. In December 2009, Trump and three of his children signed a letter to President Barack Obama (the letter was also signed by dozens of business leaders and was published as an ad in the New York Times), calling for a global climate deal:
“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet”. [Emphasis added].
The day after announcing his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show (17 June, 2015), where he said that he is “not a believer in man-made” warming, adding:
When I hear Obama saying that climate change is the No. 1 problem, it is just madness”.
And in early December of that year he criticised the Paris climate summit, saying:
While the world is in turmoil and falling apart in so many different ways … our president is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation”.
(At the conference, President Obama urged world leaders to agree to an ambitious deal to combat global warming).
During a campaign speech at the end of December Trump said:
So Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the – a lot of it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, ok?”
In January 2016, after Bernie Sanders had criticised Trump for his earlier suggestion that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, Trump expands on the idea that ‘climate change’ is a “money-making industry”:
I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money …”.
And in September, some six or so weeks before the presidential election, but at a time when the contenders are already choosing their “transition teams”, word is leaked that Trump has chosen Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to head the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell had previously accused climate scientists of “manipulating and falsifying the data”.
On the same day, Trump’s campaign manager tells The Huffington Post that Trump “believes [climate change] is naturally occurring and is not all man-made”.
What is the truth?
One of the most quoted percentages of scientists who support the IPCC’s claims is 97.4% – a remarkably precise figure.
We have to ask: 97.4% of what?
It cannot be 97.4% of all the scientists in the world – how could all of them have been canvassed? Perhaps 97.4% of ‘climate scientists’? But there are relatively few of these. Today’s “climate scientists” are primarily biologists and geologists and mathematicians and physicists who happen to have brought their varied scientific training to bear on the issues of weather and climate.
A figure that is not so often quoted (almost never, in fact – suggesting a deliberate suppression of unwelcome data) is that of the 31,487 scientists (more than 9,000 of them with a Ph.D.) who have signed the following petition letter to the US Congress:
“We urge the US government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals.
The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gases, is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and/or the disruption of earth’s climate.
Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric CO2 produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the earth”. [Emphasis added]
The signatories support the Global Warming Petition Project. The website explains that:
The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”
It should be evident that 31,487 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,029 PhDs – are not “a few.” These scientists are convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth.
To the 31,487 signatories of the Global Warming Petition Project we must add the 4000+ scientists (including 72 Nobel Prize winners) who have signed the “Heidelberg Appeal”: an appeal (issued to coincide with the opening of the UN-sponsored Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992) against “an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress, and impedes economic and social development” and “against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data”. 
Another document urging caution was circulated among reputable scientists in the wake of the Kyoto Climate Conference. This document is known as the Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change. The document expressly states the following:
“As the debate unfolds, it has become increasingly clear that — contrary to the conventional wisdom — there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, most climate specialists now agree that actual observations from both weather satellites and balloon-borne radiosondes (i.e. weather balloons) show no current warming whatsoever — in direct contradiction to computer model results.” [emphasis added].
Among the signatories of this declaration are scientists from NASA, the Max Planck Institute, one of the former Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, and many members of the American Meteorological Society. These people are not lightweights in the field of science.
Clearly the so-called “consensus of scientists” so often referred to is not a consensus at all. But the many voices of dissenting scientists have been drowned out – at least until recently – by the constant repetition by politicians and the media of the ‘human-caused global warming’ myth, and by biased sources such as Wikipedia, which uses the “climate denier” slur to attack anyone who challenges the official myth.
If the 97.4% figure were correct, one could reasonably assume that the 31,487 scientists who have signed the petition must represent a large part of the 2.6% of scientists who, according to the 97.4% claim, oppose the consensus view. However, that immediately reveals a problem with the calculation. If 31,487 is 2.6% of the grand total of scientists who must be assumed to have expressed an opinion on the matter … then that grand total is in the order of 1,180,000 scientists.
Did someone really canvass nearly 1.2 million scientists worldwide? There is no evidence of that. It is, however, known that in 2009 a paper by Professor Peter Doran and graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmermann of the University of Illinois in Chicago was published based on a survey Zimmermann had sent to 10,257 earth scientists, with two questions. Answering the questions was expected to take no more than two minutes:
- “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”
- “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
[Note that the second question already presumes what was left open in the first question i.e. change. Note also that the second question is too vague to be scientific …. what does “a significant contributing factor” mean? Is a 1% or 2% contribution “significant”?].
3,146 of the scientists replied (a 30.7% response rate). Of those, 82% answered “yes” to question 2.
Only 77 of the scientists polled identified themselves as “climate scientists”. The student singled out the 75 of them who agreed that human activity was “a significant contributing factor” in changing global temperatures.
Coincidentally, 75 is precisely 97.4% of 77. But 75 out of the original 10,257 is a risible 0.73%!
As might be expected (for example, from its track record of routinely describing any challenge to suspect modern dogmas as “conspiracy theories”), Wikipedia reveals its bias in favour of the establishment’s “global warming” myth by claiming that the Doran and Zimmermann paper shows that “active climate researchers almost unanimously agree that humans have had a significant impact on the Earth’s climate” – when the original wording, as noted above, was that human activity was merely “a significant contributing factor”. Predictably, the article fails to mention the selection process involved – or the vastly higher number of dissenting scientists who signed the petition.
In a 2013 paper published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience and cited by NASA, University of Queensland climate communication fellow John Cook also stated that 97 percent of scientists who took a position on global warming agreed that humans were the primary cause. According to Cook and his co-authors:
Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], 97.1% endorsed the consensus that humans are causing global warming”.
However, a peer review of Cook’s paper by David Legates (a former state climatologist and professor at the University of Delaware), published in the April 2015 issue of Science and Education, debunked the 97 percent consensus figure. Legates pointed out that only 41 of the 11,944 academic papers Cook examined in his meta-analysis (0.3%) explicitly stated that most of the global warming since 1950 was caused by human activity:
It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when in the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%”.
Cook’s paper was also criticized by other scientists for what they said was a number of methodological errors. In a book published by the Heartland Institute and entitled Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, its three authors stated:
Probably the most widely repeated claim in the debate over global warming is that “97% of scientists agree” that climate change is man-made and dangerous. This claim is not only false, but its presence in the debate is an insult to science.”
Despite the general media support for the IPCC’s claims, there have been notable exceptions – as shown by the Mail on Sunday quote with which I began. More than six years ago, on 13 October, 2012, the same paper published another surprising article with the headline: “Global warming stopped 16 years ago [i.e. around 1996] reveals Met Office report quietly released
“… The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 … there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures … This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years. […] The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.”
The article included a graph (see below) which charts the fluctuations in average global temperature between 1997 and 2012. There are peaks and troughs, but the significant finding is that the average global temperature in 2012 (just half a degree above the world average of 14C) was exactly the same as in 1997. That pattern has continued to the present, with warmer and colder years, but no average increase.
Graph provided by the Daily Mail in 2012
Even more surprisingly, on 11 December, 2016, another British newspaper – the Sunday Express – published another remarkable article with the startling headline: “World on BRINK of MINI ICE AGE: Fears sparked as solar activity reaches new low. SOLAR ACTIVITY has reached its lowest point since 2011, prompting fears the Sun has reached its solar minimum early.”
The writer explains:
“If the Sun has reached its solar minimum early, it could mean we could be in for a prolonged cold period. Images captured by NASA between November 14 and 18 shows that there are barely any sunspots. NASA says that solar activity has dwindled at a much faster rate than expected following a peak in 2014. The Sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches the solar maximum and then the solar minimum.”
2014 was a year with record high temperatures. It was touted by the ‘climate change’ lobby as proof of man-made global warming. The Express article may well have puzzled many of its readers since it would have been the first time for many or most of them that global temperature had being linked to sunspot activity and sun cycles. But this was not a new suggestion. In 2002, an issue of the magazine Science included the editors’ “prognostications for next year’s hot research topics. Such as:
What is happening to the world’s store of ice?
What exactly is the sun-climate connection, now that “researchers are grudgingly taking the sun seriously as a factor in climate change” and in “triggering droughts and cold snaps.”
They could have added a whole bunch more, such as: Why is the atmosphere not warming appreciably in contrast to all model predictions? Why the disparity between temperature trends of the atmosphere and surface? What’s happening to CO2?”
Piers Corbyn is the older brother of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party. He runs a very successful long-range weather forecasting business which has consistently proven to be more accurate than the ‘official’ meteorological offices such as the UK’s Met Office. Corbyn based his predictions on solar cycles and sunspot activity. He has been challenging the ‘global warming’ swindle since at least 2008. In September of that year he posted an “initial response” to the BBC’s “Climate Wars” programme, in which he stated:
“… This ‘Climate Wars’ production is a shameful and desperate effort from the BBC’s ‘green religion department’ to shore up the failing theory of CO2-driven Global Warming and Climate Change….”
“… The piece – and the Global Warmers camp in general – while pretending to be objective, skilfully avoid applying sound science and provide no answers to the mounting evidence which refutes the crumbling Global Warming theory. It puts lipstick on scientific fraud – but it remains fraud”.
The website’s ‘mission statement’ includes the following:
“WeatherAction supports True-Green-Policies to defend biodiversity and wildlife and reduce chemical and particulate pollution, and points out that CO2 is not a pollutant, but the ‘Gas of Life’ (plant food).
WeatherAction defends evidence-based science and policy-making. WeatherAction completely supports campaigns for geo-ethical accountability and CLEXIT (Exit from UN Climate Change Deals) and is against data fraud and the political manipulation of data and the so-called ‘scientific’ claims now dominating climate and environmental sciences. Evidence shows that man-made climate change does not exist and the arguments for it are not based on science, but on data fraud and a conspiracy theory of nature.”
If Corbyn and the many thousands of scientists now speaking out about the ‘climate change’ fraud are correct, how and why did a situation come about in which the world was told that it faced an imminent catastrophe if CO2 emissions were not drastically cut?
How many trillions of dollars, pounds, euros etc. have been spent promoting the urgent need to “reduce our carbon footprint”. And why would scientists and politicians lie on such a scale?
The origins of “the great climate fraud” will be examined in a further installment.
WASHINGTON – The US House Intelligence Committee did not find any evidence so far proving that President Donald Trump’s advisers had any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 US presidential campaign, Committee Chair Devin Nunes said in a press conference on Monday.
On February 15, The New York Times reported, citing phone records and intercepted calls, members of Trump’s presidential campaign team and several associates allegedly contacted Russian intelligence and government officials prior to the 2016 US elections. Both Washington and Moscow have repeatedly refuted the allegations.
“Nor there [were] any evidence presented about Trump advisers speaking to Russians,” Nunes stated. “I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls. It does not mean that they do not exist, but I don’t have that. And what I have been told by many folks that there is nothing there. But we are still looking into that.”
The US House Intelligence Committee will publicly release findings of its ongoing investigation into alleged Russia’s interference in 2016 US presidential election, Nunes said.
“They will be public, they will be publicized,” Nunes stated when asked whether the committee’s findings would be released. “Likely what will happen is we will probably have just an interim report of some kind that we will put out on what we have.”
“At this point what are we going to appoint a special prosecutor to do exactly?” Nunes stated. “If at some point we have serious crimes committed, it would be something that we would consider, but at this point we don’t have that.”
The Republican lawmaker added that right now the only serious crimes committed were the leaking of documents to the press.
The tensions between Trump and a number of US news outlets has intensified since the inauguration of the politician in January.
Earlier in the month, the president slammed “fake news” reports that kept citing anonymous White House sources alleging chaos in his administration as well as contacts with Russian intelligence services.