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NYT Cheers the Rise of Censorship Algorithms

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | May 2, 2017

Just days after sporting First Amendment pins at the White House Correspondents Dinner – to celebrate freedom of the press – the mainstream U.S. media is back to celebrating a very different idea: how to use algorithms to purge the Internet of what is deemed “fake news,” i.e. what the mainstream judges to be “misinformation.”

The New York Times, one of the top promoters of this new Orwellian model for censorship, devoted two-thirds of a page in its Tuesday editions to a laudatory piece about high-tech entrepreneurs refining artificial intelligence that can hunt down and eradicate supposedly “fake news.”

To justify this draconian strategy, the Times cited only a “fake news” report claiming that the French establishment’s preferred presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron had received funding from Saudi Arabia, a bogus story published by a Web site that mimicked the appearance of the newspaper Le Soir and was traced back to a Delaware phone number.

Yet, while such intentionally fabricated articles as well as baseless conspiracy theories are a bane of the Internet – and do deserve hearty condemnation – the Times gives no thought to the potential downside of having a select group of mainstream journalistic entities feeding their judgment about what is true and what is not into some algorithms that would then scrub the Internet of contrary items.

Since the Times is a member of the Google-funded First Draft Coalition – along with other mainstream outlets such as The Washington Post and the pro-NATO propaganda site Bellingcat – this idea of eliminating information that counters what the group asserts is true may seem quite appealing to the Times and the other insiders. After all, it might seem cool to have some high-tech tool that silences your critics automatically?

But you don’t need a huge amount of imagination to see how this combination of mainstream groupthink and artificial intelligence could create an Orwellian future in which only one side of a story gets told and the other side simply disappears from view.

As much as the Times, the Post, Bellingcat and the others see themselves as the fount of all wisdom, the reality is that they have all made significant journalistic errors, sometimes contributing to horrific international crises.

For instance, in 2002, the Times reported that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes revealed a secret nuclear weapons program (when the tubes were really for artillery); the Post wrote as flat-fact that Saddam Hussein was hiding stockpiles of WMD (which in reality didn’t exist); Bellingcat misrepresented the range of a Syrian rocket that delivered sarin on a neighborhood near Damascus in 2013 (creating the impression that the Syrian government was at fault when the rocket apparently came from rebel-controlled territory).

These false accounts – and many others from the mainstream media – were countered in real time by experts who published contrary information on the Internet. But if the First Draft Coalition and these algorithms were in control, the information scrubbers might have purged the dissident assessments as “fake news” or “misinformation.”

Totalitarian Risks

There also should be the fear – even among these self-appointed guardians of “truth” – that their algorithms might someday be put to use by a totalitarian regime to stomp out the last embers of real democracy. However, if you’re looking for such thoughtfulness, you won’t find it in the Times article by Mark Scott. Instead, the Times glorifies the creators of this Brave New World.

Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984

“In the battle against fake news, Andreas Vlachos — a Greek computer scientist living in a northern English town — is on the front lines,” the article reads. “Armed with a decade of machine learning expertise, he is part of a British start-up that will soon release an automated fact-checking tool ahead of the country’s election in early June. He also is advising a global competition that pits computer wizards from the United States to China against each other to use artificial intelligence to combat fake news. …

“As Europe readies for several elections this year after President Trump’s victory in the United States, Mr. Vlachos, 36, is one of a growing number of technology experts worldwide who are harnessing their skills to tackle misinformation online. … Computer scientists, tech giants and start-ups are using sophisticated algorithms and reams of online data to quickly — and automatically — spot fake news faster than traditional fact-checking groups can.”

The Times quotes the promoters of this high-tech censorship effort without any skepticism:

“‘Algorithms will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting misinformation,’ said Claire Wardle, head of strategy and research at First Draft News, a nonprofit organization that has teamed up with tech companies and newsrooms to debunk fake reports about elections in the United States and Europe. ‘It’s impossible to do all of this by hand.’”

The article continues: “So far, outright fake news stories have been relatively rare [in Europe]. Instead, false reports have more often come from Europeans on social media taking real news out of context, as well as from fake claims spread by state-backed groups like Sputnik, the Russian news organization.”

Little Evidence Needed

Though providing no details about Sputnik’s alleged guilt, the Times article links to another Times article from April 17 by Andrew Higgins that accuses Russia’s RT network of “fake news” because it detected a surge in opinion polls for Francois Fillon, who stands accused in the mainstream media of having a positive relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Oddly, however, further down in the story, Higgins acknowledges that “lately, Mr. Fillon has seen a bump in real opinion polls.”

(Ultimately, Fillon finished a strong third with 20 percent of the vote, one percentage point behind National Front’s Marine Le Pen and four points behind Emmanuel Macron, the two finalists. It’s also curious that the Times would fault RT for getting poll results wrong when the Times published predictions, with 90 percent or more certainty – and 85 percent on Nov. 8 – that Hillary Clinton would win the U.S. presidential election.)

Beyond failing to offer any evidence of Russian guilt in these “fake news” operations, Tuesday’s Times story turns to the NATO propaganda and psychological warfare operation in Latvia, the Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, with its director Janis Sarts warning about “an increased amount of misinformation out there.”

The Stratcom center, which oversees information warfare against NATO’s perceived adversaries, is conducting “a hackathon” this month in search of coders who can develop technology to hunt down news that NATO considers “fake.”

Sarts, however, makes clear that Stratcom’s goal is not only to expunge contradictory information but to eliminate deviant viewpoints before too many people can get to see and hear them. “State-based actors have been trying to amplify specific views to bring them into the mainstream,” Sarts told the Times.

As the Times reports, much of the pressure for shutting down “fake news” has fallen on American tech giants such as Facebook and Google – and they are responding:

“After criticism of its role in spreading false reports during the United States elections, Facebook introduced a fact-checking tool ahead of the Dutch elections in March and the first round of the French presidential election on April 23. It also removed 30,000 accounts in France that had shared fake news, a small fraction of the approximately 33 million Facebook users in the country.”

A Growing Movement

And, according to the Times, this censorship movement is spreading:

“German lawmakers are mulling potential hefty fines against tech companies if they do not clamp down on fake news and online hate speech. Since last year, Google also has funded almost 20 European projects aimed at fact-checking potentially false reports. That includes its support for two British groups looking to use artificial intelligence to automatically fact-check online claims ahead of the country’s June 8 parliamentary election. …

“David Chavalarias, a French academic, has created a digital tool that has analyzed more than 80 million Twitter messages about the French election, helping journalists and fact-checkers to quickly review claims that are spread on the social network.

“After the presidential election in the United States last year, Dean Pomerleau, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, also challenged his followers on Twitter to come up with an algorithm that could distinguish fake claims from real news.

“Working with Delip Rao, a former Google researcher, he offered a $2,000 prize to anyone who could meet his requirements. By early this year, more than 100 teams from around the world had signed on to Mr. Pomerleau’s Fake News Challenge. Using a database of verified articles and their artificial intelligence expertise, rival groups — a combination of college teams, independent programmers and groups from existing tech companies — already have been able to accurately predict the veracity of certain claims almost 90 percent of the time, Mr. Pomerleau said. He hopes that figure will rise to the mid-90s before his challenge ends in June.”

So, presumably based on what the Times, the Post, Bellingcat and the other esteemed oracles of truth say is true, 90 percent or more of contrary information could soon be vulnerable to the censorship algorithms that can quickly detect and stamp out divergent points of view. Such is the Orwellian future mapped out for Western “democracy,” and The New York Times can’t wait for this tightly regulated – one might say, rigged – “marketplace of ideas” to take over.

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

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 4 Comments

Investigation into Khan Sheikhoun: Rules-based order tested by Western scheming

By Dr Alexander Yakovenko | RT | May 2, 2017

There is still no proper reaction by the OPCW to the alleged use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on 4 April.

Unfortunately, the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to Syria is shrouded in secrecy. What is clear is that it continues to operate in a remote mode, using Internet data mostly concocted by the radical elements of the Syrian opposition, including the notorious “White Helmets”.

From the scarce information one can gather that the samples taken from those injured or dead were tested in the OPCW-licensed laboratories in Britain and Turkey and established to be sarin or sarin-like substance. However, the samples were not taken at the site of the incident. Hence, the basic principle of the investigation, that of the chain of custody, hasn’t been observed. There are no answers on that from our Western partners. As there is no clear evidence that those people were from Khan Sheikhoun and not from somewhere else.

Equally dubious is the questioning of the “witnesses” by the FFM. One can’t be sure they were residents of Khan Sheikhoun. Moreover, those “witnesses”, as we understand, are mostly supporters of the opposition or their family members. Their impartiality is questionable. However, information is available, including provided by the Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, which demonstrates that those photo- and video- materials were clearly staged.

It looks like the FFM, so far, is not doing its job properly. That the FFM team, in terms of its composition, is absolutely dominated by the countries hostile to Damascus, is another fundamental flaw. This is in sharp contrast to the established international practice. According to the UN Secretary-General decision the UN-OPCW Investigation Mechanism mustn’t include representatives of the UNSC P5, as well as Syria’s neighbors. And yet the heads of both FFM segments are British citizens, albeit no one can in earnest assume the British position in the Syrian conflict as unbiased. Why not act by the book and why afraid of the truth being established in due course? The proposal to have a special investigation, with due oversight of the international community, was voted down by the West.

There’s still time to conduct a proper, full-fledged investigation. According to the UN Secretariat, the security situation in Khan Sheikhoun is quite acceptable. The Syrian side is also ready, in the interests of this investigation, to put a ceasefire in force along the way of the OPCW staff’s travel to the site. The Director-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat stated his willingness to send the OPCW experts to Khan Sheikhoun.

The Syrian Government is also ready to ensure a totally secure environment for the FFM staff to visit Shayrat airbase. We insist on such a visit. The US Administration explained its Shayrat missile attack by the alleged storage of sarin at this airbase. It is necessary to verify this allegation.

It is a fair assumption that sarin could have been used in Khan Sheikhoun. The question is who did it and how the toxic substance was delivered. A few versions exist. As the information is accumulated there is more and more grounds to think that the terrorists controlling this area blew up the home-built sarin munition on the ground which resulted in civilian casualties. The “White Helmets” acted too hastily to stir public outrage and posted in-advance prepared materials on the Internet. However, they made several bad mistakes which point to the staged nature of those materials.

The definitive answer to what really happened in Khan Sheikhoun can only be provided by a full-fledged investigation in full compliance with the OPCW verification provisions. It is too serious a matter for peace in the region and a wider world for the OPCW to fail this test of credibility. Those who have taken over the FFM investigation are all to eager to manage the truth in their vested interest. Otherwise they wouldn’t obstruct efforts to open it up for due scrutiny. It is this tactics of pushing the UN Security Council to act on the basis of forged evidence and flawed investigation, that undermines the rules-based world order.

It has to be borne in mind that the British Foreign Secretary recently hypothesized on joining another US action in Syria in response to another chemical incident, which means that an order for it has already been placed. A lot is said about the disastrous lack of trust in international relations. Unilateral actions and takeovers of international bodies by the West further undermine it.

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment

Corporate Democrats Use Public Option to Derail Push for Single Payer

Single Payer Action | May 2, 2017

The corporate Democrats are using the public option to derail the newly energized movement to single payer.

The single payer movement is halfway to passing single payer in the House of Representatives.

One hundred and nine members of the House, out of a total of 218 needed for passage, have signed on the HR 676, the House single payer bill.

And single payer remains the hot topic at Congressional town halls meetings.

But the dominant corporate wing of the Democratic Party wants nothing to do with it.

That was made clear once again last week when a number of Democrats took to the microphones to savage President Trump and his repeal and replace push.

Attending the press conference were Senators Ron Wyden (Oregon), Patty Murray (Washington), Chris Murphy (Connecticut), and House members Bobby Scott (Virginia), Cheri Bustos (Illinois), Frank Pallone (New Jersey) and Richard Neal (Massachusetts).

It was typical Democratic rhetoric – totally ignoring the 109 Democrats in the House who had signed onto single payer.

Toward the end of the press conference, the Democrats were asked whether any of them supported single payer and whether any of them would join their 109 colleagues in the House who had signed on.

None of the Democrats at the press conference came up to the microphone to support single payer, although one of them, Bobby Scott, is a co-sponsor of HR 676.

Senator Murphy, the Senator from Connecticut, home to the private health insurance industry, was the first to pull out the public option deflection.

“I understand there is another conversation happening for an ultimate replacement for the existing health care system,” Murphy said. “But we are focused on stopping this (Republican) legislation because it is a real, current threat to our constituents.”

“Speaking for myself, I’m a supporter of the public option,” Murphy said. “Giving consumers the choice to join a Medicare system or stay with private insurance is the best way to go. That’s my preference. And let people choose.”

Wyden said that “any state that wants to set up their own public option using (Obamacare section 1332) has the legal authority to do it.”

When asked whether he was opposed to single payer, Wyden said that “a number of states are trying to do single payer as well through 1332.”

“Right now, I want to get on to the business at hand, particularly to hold down prescription drug costs and hold down insurance bills,” Wyden said. “And in places where there is only one insurance choice – and there are some of those – a state could set up a public option and they could move right away to do it.”

Single payer activists weren’t buying the public option.

“I call the public option what it really is, the profiteer’s option, because it is a relief valve for the private insurers,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers of Health Over Profit. “They will keep the healthiest enrollees and the public option will attract people who need health care.”

“We can’t delay the solution to our healthcare crisis,” Flowers said. “If Democrats want public support, they need to get more active in advocating for single payer. Those who don’t will show the public that they are on the wrong side of this issue.”

Kevin Zeese of Health Over Profit said that “the Democratic Party leadership is out of touch with the majority of Democrats in the House who have signed on to HR 676 and with the super majority of their voters who support National Improved Medicare for All.”

“It’s not a surprise that Senator Wyden is representing the medical industry and not the people by introducing a public option,” Zeese said. “Senator Wyden is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, the most corrupt committee in the Senate.”

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Adviser and Son-in-Law Fails to Report Dealings With Soros, Goldman Sachs

Sputnik – May 2, 2017

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner did not disclose existing business connections with the investment firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaires George Soros and Peter Thiel, media reported on Tuesday.

Kushner holds shares of a New York-based real-estate financial firm Cadre that works on a number of project with Goldman Sachs and prominent investors, including Soros, The Wall Street Journal reported citing securities filings.

Trump’s son-in-law also failed to report nearly $1 billion in loans from more than 20 lenders to his corporations and properties, according to the filings. Kushner’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick said his client disclosed his ownership of BFPS Ventures LLC, which is a housing company for Cadre.

Since Trump took office in January, US media and lawmakers have detailed a number of his and his family’s business dealings and possible conflicts of interest. In April, Senator Michael Bennet suggested foreign individuals, entities and governments may patronize Trump businesses to influence the White House policies.

Kushner is a former real estate developer who began advising Trump and meeting foreign leaders after the November election. He was named to an official White House position on January 9, the same day he announced he would step down as CEO of the Kushner Companies.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 2 Comments

UNESCO: Israel is an ‘occupying power’

MEMO | May 2, 2017

UNESCO today voted in favour of a resolution which describes Israel as an “occupying power” and denies its sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.

Twenty-two countries voted in favour of the resolution which was submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.

The text which was voted on included the following phrase:

All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and must be rescinded forthwith.

This led ten countries to vote against the resolution including the Italy, UK, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece and Germany, Paraguay, Togo and the Ukraine.

However it does state that Jerusalem is an important city to the “three monotheistic religions”, a clause a previous UNESCO vote passed in October last year did not include.

Twenty-three countries abstained.

Read Also: ‘Israel blackmails developing countries for votes at UN’

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia Never Interferes in Political Processes of Other Countries – Putin

Sputnik – 02.05.2017

SOCHI – Russia does not interfere in the domestic political processes in other countries, but is experiencing such attempts on its own, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference between two rounds of meetings in Sochi on Tuesday, May 2.

“We never interfere in political life and in the political processes in other countries, and we would very much like to see no one interfering in our political life and domestic political life,” Putin said at the news conference.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing exactly the opposite things, for many years we have seen attempts to influence domestic political processes in Russia, both direct and through the so-called non-governmental organizations,” Putin said.

“As we are seeing all the harm that such efforts bring, as well as the futility of these efforts, it never occurred to us to interfere in the political processes of other countries,” the Russian leader stressed.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

What Western Media Never Tells You about North Korea

By Joe Clifford | Dissident Voice | May 1, 2017

There is a great deal of propaganda and deliberate misinformation about North Korea, which the public should know. While neocons, a cheering corporate media, and Deep State, rush to war with North Korea, information is the ultimate weapon. For example, did you know that North Korea, China, and India, are the only three nations who have committed to a “no nuclear first” policy. They have pledged never to use nuclear weapons “first”, but of course reserve the right to use them if attacked. How many times has the US threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea? Do you know that North Korea has repeatedly asked the US to engage in bi-lateral talks, to cool off the ever-escalating tension? The offer was flatly rejected by both Obama and Trump. Can you resolve differences within your family without dialog? No dialogue, no peace. Why won’t the US talk to North Korea?? The neocons, Deep State, and media argument, insist Kim Jong-un is irrational, and therefore you cannot negotiate with him. A look back at recent history illustrates the US and its complicit media demonize anyone we do not like, and the demonizing usually ends up with a war. Manuel Noriega in Panama, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, serve as recent examples. But the demonizing of Kim Jong-un continues as we move towards another war, and once again the public buys into the myth. There are no western reporters allowed in North Korea, and since North Korea is a virtual closed society, one must wonder who knows what Kim Jong-un really is like? On the other hand, some might suggest we have a very irrational leader in this country. This attitude of demonizing is akin to the Taliban’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden so many years ago, and the US, then under Bush, flatly rejected the Taliban offer. Sixteen years later we are still at war in Afghanistan. War is the result of failed diplomacy or the absence of diplomacy. Perhaps we did not want diplomacy; perhaps we don’t want diplomacy now.

Do you know North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear testing if the US agreed to end the annual war games along the border of North Korea? You may not know the US conducts war games that simulate the overthrow of the North Korean government, and this year there were almost 400,000 soldiers participating. Did you know that?? Do you know the Korean War has never officially ended because there was no formal truce signed? This is one of North Korea demands. A final treaty to end the Korean War was never signed, because if there was a treaty, the US would have no legal basis for the occupation of South Korea with our many military bases. Do you know that in 1993 the US announced it was re-targeting hydrogen bombs from the old USSR to North Korea?

Do you know George Bush called the leader of North Korea a “pygmy”, and said he wanted to “topple his regime”? Do you know Bush also prepared a policy of “preemptive” attack, and referred to North Korea as a member of the “axis of evil”? It was shortly thereafter that North Korea left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and threw all inspectors out of the country. Neocons, Deep State, and the corporate media, argue North Korea is a threat to the US, and just days ago Trump said they were a “threat to the world”? That is asinine, as Trump’s increase in military spending of 54 billion, is 11 times greater than the entire North Korean military budget. To suggest North Korea is a “threat to the US” or the “world” is either stupidity or an outright lie, and yet a CNN poll shows 37% of the US public believes North Korea is a threat to the US. Who says propaganda isn’t effective? Do you know the recent leader of South Korea was impeached for corruption, and there is a pending election to decide on new leadership? The opposition party wants the US out of South Korea, and wants the THAAD missile system just installed by the US, out.

Theresa May, in Great Britain, shocked many recently, when she announced she would be willing to use nuclear weapons in a “first strike”? Why have we not declared war on Britain, as Theresa May is apparently a bit “irrational”? Experts suggest North Korea has perhaps 8 nuclear weapons, but has no effective delivery system. The US has 7,000.

North Korea has not invaded or attacked any nation since the end of the Korean War, while the US has bombed over 30 countries. How many countries is the US currently bombing?? Can’t answer? Who is the aggressor here? Who has refused to “talk” to North Korea? Who has threatened to use nuclear weapons repeatedly against North Korea?

Why can’t the US simply sit down and agree to bi-lateral talks? Is there a logical reason why this cannot be done? What is there to lose by such talks? This whole policy of antagonizing, instead of talking, is insane! We know its insanity; we don’t know if it is intentional rejection of diplomacy.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Brazil’s Odebrecht Gave Argentina’s Macri US$500k For Presidential Run

teleSUR | April 30, 2017

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri received US$500,000 from Brazil’s Odebrecht construction firm for his 2015 electoral campaign, Argentine daily La Nacion revealed on Sunday.

The donation was processed through Odebrecht’s Braksem SA branch, and appeared in Macri’s party 2015 balance record. The company defended the move as “totally legal,” saying the sum of money was for the purchase of cutlery for a fundraising dinner that Macri’s Cambiemos coalition organized in March of that year.

“Braksem belongs to Odebrecht, it’s dedicated to the petrochemical market, with a branch in Argentina,” said the paper. “The Brazilian giant’s strategy was to have this lower-profile branch’s name appear in order to avoid public exposure.”

The leak comes after Odebrecht admitted it funded the electoral campaigns of other Latin American presidents, including Colombia’s current President Juan Manuel Santos and Peru’s former President Ollanta Humala.

Macri was also one of the main figures involved in the Panama Papers scandal after a leak from a company revealed how world leaders had thousands of offshore companies in tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

For 2015, Macri declared his fortune as being worth US$110 million to Argentina’s Anti-Corruption Office, an increase of 100 percent from the US$52 million he reported for the 2014 fiscal year. Following the Panama Papers leak, Macri admitted to having over US$18 million in tax havens.

Macri’s government has proposed a tax amnesty bill, which has been approved by the country’s congress. This controversial law is aimed to shield tax evaders who have undeclared holdings and assets while offering them lower taxes in order for them to bring assets to the country.

At Macri’s request, the law excluded any relatives of officials who have engaged in money laundering or have undeclared assets abroad from legal responsibilities, a caveat that critics say is a clear wink at his own father and siblings.

Earlier this month, polls found that Macri’s approval rate dropped to 24 percent, with 54 percent of Argentines polled saying they did not trust him.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Confirmed: the crucial role of Chilean media mogul on US plan to overthrow Allende

Failed Evolution | April 30, 2017

Media mogul Agustin Edwards Eastman, who was widely regarded as the Rupert Murdoch of Chile, died on April 24, at age 89, leaving a legacy of close collaboration with Henry Kissinger and the CIA in instigating and supporting the September 11, 1973, military coup. Edwards was the only Chilean—civilian or military—known to meet face-to-face with CIA Director Richard Helms in September 1970 in connection with plans to instigate regime change against Socialist leader Salvador Allende, who had just been elected president.

Declassified CIA and White House documents posted today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University show conclusively what Edwards repeatedly denied – that he and his newspaper, El Mercurio, became a critical part of U.S. plans to foment a military coup against President Allende.

National Security Archive

Key points:

  • Edwards’ extraordinary influence on U.S. policy and CIA intervention in Chile did not stop there. When CIA covert action—which included the assassination of Gen. Rene Schneider—failed to block Salvador Allende’s inauguration, the Edwards media empire became the leading clandestine collaborator in fomenting a military coup d’etat. President Nixon personally authorized covert CIA funding to sustain El Mercurio so that it could become a media megaphone of opposition, agitation and misinformation against the Allende government. In the aftermath of Allende’s overthrow, the CIA explicitly credited its media propaganda project in Chile for playing “a significant role in setting the stage for the military coup of 11 September 1973,” and continued to secretly funnel money to the Edwards group so that El Mercurio could “present the Junta in the most positive light for the Chilean public.
  • During his lengthy conversation with CIA Director Helms and one of his top aides, Kenneth Millian, Edwards not only pushed for a U.S.-backed, preemptive, coup to block the inauguration of the duly elected next president of Chile, Salvador Allende; he also provided detailed intelligence on potential coup plotters in the Chilean armed forces and discussed “timing for possible military action.” According to the CIA memorandum of conversation with Edwards, titled “Discussion of Chilean Political Situation,” they systematically reviewed the strength and coup potential of each branch of the military.
  • After the meeting with the CIA director, Edwards stayed in Washington for a number of days to continue to share more detailed information with agency officials as the CIA mobilized to implement President Nixon’s orders to orchestrate a coup. On September 18, Helms reported to Kissinger that “Further conversations and a more exhaustive debriefing are going on with Mr. Edwards right now.
  • Henry Kissinger, according to declassified transcripts of his telephone calls, attempted to arranged an ultra-secret meeting between Edwards and President Nixon. On the evening of September 14, 1970, Kissinger called Nixon’s scheduler, Stephen Bull, and requested that Edwards quietly be ushered into the Oval Office before a meeting Nixon had scheduled the next morning with the deputy chairman of the German Christian Democratic Union party, Gerhard Schroeder. “Does Edwards need more than 15 minutes?” Bull asked. “Absolutely not,” Kissinger replied. “We will schedule you from 9:15 to 10:00,” Bull stated. “In that 45 min[ute] period we will do Edwards at the beginning and then bring in Schroeder.” Kissinger asked for the Schroeder meeting to start at 9:45. To keep the Nixon-Edwards meeting secret, Kissinger then instructed Bull: “don’t let [Edwards and Schroeder] meet. Get Edwards out.
  • President Nixon personally authorized over $1 million dollars in September 1971 “to keep the paper [El Mercurio ] going.” (The initial funding amounted to the considerable sum of 67 million escudos.) CIA and White House documents show that the Edwards media group received almost $2 million in covert CIA funds between the fall 1971 and May 1972. The money was used to pay El Mercurio’s bills and debts, and cover the “monthly operating deficits” in order to assist opposition forces—El Mercurio “does help give heart to the opposition forces,” states a memo to Henry Kissinger—and to provide positive media coverage for the anti-Allende candidates in the March 1973 Congressional elections. In addition, CIA records reveal that the Edwards Group received secret funds from the ITT corporation in $100,000 increments through a Swiss bank account.
  • In May 1973, the CIA Station in Santiago identified “the El Mercurio chain of newspapers” as among “the most militant parts of the opposition” which “have set as their objective the creation of conflict and confrontation which will lead to some sort of military intervention.” The secret CIA cable continued: “Each [militant part] in its own way is trying to coordinate its efforts with members of the armed forces known to them who share this objective.” The CIA credited its “propaganda project” in which El Mercurio and the Edwards media outlets were the key actors, as having “played a significant role in setting the stage for the military coup of 11 September 1973.” According to a secret CIA post-coup report, “Prior to the coup the project’s media outlets maintained a steady barrage of anti-government criticism, exploiting every possible point of friction between the government and the democratic opposition, and emphasizing the problems and conflicts which were developing between the government and the armed forces.”
  • After the coup, El Mercurio continued to receive covert CIA funding until June 1974. The CIA determined the funds were needed to assist the newspaper’s effort to help the Pinochet regime consolidate its power. “Since the coup, these media outlets have supported the new military government. They have tried to present the Junta in the most positive light for the Chilean public,” according to a CIA request for continuing covert monies for El Mercurio. “The project is essential in enabling the [CIA] Station to help mold Chilean public opinion in support of the new government…”

Full report, documents:

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB587-Agustin-Edwards-left-legacy-of-collaboration-with-CIA-in-Chile-Coup/

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Poll: Most Americans Think the US Spends Far too Much on Military

Sputnik – 02.05.2017

The majority of Americans believe that the US was already spending too much on the military budget — even before the Trump administration’s $54-billion increase for defense spending.

In a newly released survey from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation, pollsters asked registered voters to create their ideal budget in a series of 31 line items. The responses were then compared to Trump’s proposed budget.

Researchers found was that voters agree with Trump on many proposals, including less funding for the State Department and NASA.

There was a massive difference, however, when it came to education spending and funding for medical research.

Still, the top disparity between what voters want and what Trump wants is military spending.

The fiscal 2017 defense spending budget was $584 billion under former President Barack Obama. According to the poll, that was already far too much.

“Voters surveyed by PPC said they’d prefer to cut the 2017 Obama defense budget by $41 billion — not increase it by $54 billion,” the Motley Fool reported. “Voters recommended cutting the base budget by 5 percent ($26 billion), pulling back internationally and cutting OCO funding by 23 percent($15 billion) in the process. And voters think the nuclear arsenal is fine as is and oppose spending more money to ‘greatly strengthen and expand it.’”

The response does not appear to be in reaction to Trump’s proposal however, as the unfavorability of high defense spending has remained fairly steady since at least 2012. Despite the average taxpayer’s feelings about it, the dollar amount has continued to steadily increase throughout that time.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the Public Discourse over Climate Change

Image via MIT.edu
By Richard Lindzen | Merion West | April 25, 2017

MIT atmospheric science professor Richard Lindzen suggests that many claims regarding climate change are exaggerated and unnecessarily alarmist.

Introduction:

For over 30 years, I have been giving talks on the science of climate change. When, however, I speak to a non-expert audience, and attempt to explain such matters as climate sensitivity, the relation of global mean temperature anomaly to extreme weather, that warming has decreased profoundly for the past 18 years, etc., it is obvious that the audience’s eyes are glazing over. Although I have presented evidence as to why the issue is not a catastrophe and may likely be beneficial, the response is puzzlement. I am typically asked how this is possible. After all, 97% of scientists agree, several of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past 18 years, all sorts of extremes have become more common, polar bears are disappearing, as is arctic ice, etc. In brief, there is overwhelming evidence of warming, etc. I tended to be surprised that anyone could get away with such sophistry or even downright dishonesty, but it is, unfortunately, the case that this was not evident to many of my listeners. I will try in this brief article to explain why such claims are, in fact, evidence of the dishonesty of the alarmist position.

The 97% meme:

This claim is actually a come-down from the 1988 claim on the cover of Newsweek that all scientists agree. In either case, the claim is meant to satisfy the non-expert that he or she has no need to understand the science. Mere agreement with the 97% will indicate that one is a supporter of science and superior to anyone denying disaster. This actually satisfies a psychological need for many people. The claim is made by a number of individuals and there are a number of ways in which the claim is presented. A thorough debunking has been given in the Wall Street Journal by Bast and Spencer. One of the dodges is to poll scientists as to whether they agree that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased, that the Earth has been warming (albeit only a little) and that man has played some part. This is, indeed, something almost all of us can agree on, but which has no obvious implication of danger. Nonetheless this is portrayed as support for catastrophism. Other dodges involve looking at a large number of abstracts where only a few actually deal with danger. If among these few, 97% support catastrophism, the 97% is presented as pertaining to the much larger totality of abstracts. One of my favorites is the recent claim in the Christian Science Monitor (a once respected and influential newspaper): “For the record, of the nearly 70,000 peer-reviewed articles on global warming published in 2013 and 2014, four authors rejected the idea that humans are the main drivers of climate change.” I don’t think that it takes an expert to recognize that this claim is a bizarre fantasy for many obvious reasons. Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (this body, generally referred to as the IPCC is the body created by the UN to provide ‘authoritative’ assessments of manmade climate change) doesn’t agree with the claim.

Despite the above, I am somewhat surprised that it was necessary to use the various shenanigans described above. Since this issue fully emerged in public almost 30 years ago (and was instantly incorporated into the catechism of political correctness), there has been a huge increase in government funding of the area, and the funding has been predicated on the premise of climate catastrophism. By now, most of the people working in this area have entered in response to this funding. Note that governments have essentially a monopoly over the funding in this area. I would expect that the recipients of this funding would feel obligated to support the seriousness of the problem. Certainly, opposition to this would be a suicidal career move for a young academic. Perhaps the studies simply needed to properly phrase their questions so as to achieve levels of agreement for alarm that would be large though perhaps not as large as was required for the 97% meme especially if the respondents are allowed anonymity.

The ‘warmest years on record’ meme:

 
Figure 1a Figure 1b Figure 1c

This simple claim covers a myriad of misconceptions. Under these circumstances, it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. As in any demonization project, it begins with the ridiculous presumption that any warming whatsoever (and, for that matter, any increase in CO2) is bad, and proof of worse to come. We know that neither of these presumptions is true. People retire to the Sun Belt rather than to the arctic. CO2 is pumped into greenhouses to enhance plant growth. The emphasis on ‘warmest years on record’ appears to have been a response to the observation that the warming episode from about 1978 to 1998 appeared to have ceased and temperatures have remained almost constant since 1998. Of course, if 1998 was the hottest year on record, all the subsequent years will also be among the hottest years on record. None of this contradicts the fact that the warming (ie, the increase of temperature) has ceased. Yet, somehow, many people have been led to believe that both statements cannot be simultaneously true. At best, this assumes a very substantial level of public gullibility. The potential importance of the so-called pause (for all we know, this might not be a pause, and the temperature might even cool), is never mentioned and rarely understood. Its existence means that there is something that is at least comparable to anthropogenic forcing. However, the IPCC attribution of most of the recent (and only the recent) warming episode to man depends on the assumption in models that there is no such competitive process.

The focus on the temperature record, itself, is worth delving into a bit. What exactly is this temperature that is being looked at? It certainly can’t be the average surface temperature. Averaging temperatures from places as disparate as Death Valley and Mount Everest is hardly more meaningful than averaging phone numbers in a telephone book (for those of you who still remember phone books). What is done, instead, is to average what are called temperature anomalies. Here, one takes thirty year averages at each station and records the deviations from this average. These are referred to as anomalies and it is the anomalies that are averaged over the globe. The only attempt I know of to illustrate the steps in this process was by the late Stan Grotch at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Figure 1a shows the scatter plot of the station anomalies. Figure 1b then shows the result of averaging these anomalies. Most scientists would conclude that there was a remarkable degree of cancellation and that the result was almost complete cancellation. However, instead, one stretches the temperature scale by almost a factor of 10 so as to make the minuscule changes in Figure 1b look more significant. The result is shown in Figure 1c. There is quite a lot of random noise in Figure 1c, and this noise is a pretty good indication of the uncertainty of the analysis (roughly +/- 0.2C). The usual presentations show something considerably smoother. Sometimes this is the result of smoothing the record with something called running means. It is also the case that Grotch used data from the UK Meteorological Office which was from land based stations. Including data from the ocean leads to smoother looking series but the absolute accuracy of the data is worse given that the ocean data mixes very different measurement techniques (buckets in old ship data, ship intakes after WW1, satellite measurements of skin temperature (which is quite different from surface temperature), and buoy data).

Figure 2

These issues are summarized in Figure 2 which presents an idealized schematic of the temperature record and its uncertainty. We see very clearly that because the rise ceases in 1998, that this implies that 18 of the 18 warmest years on record (for the schematic presentation) have occurred during the last 18 years. We also see that the uncertainty together with the smallness of the changes offers ample scope for adjustments that dramatically alter the appearance of the record (note that uncertainty is rarely indicated on such graphs).

At this point, one is likely to run into arguments over the minutia of the temperature record, but this would simply amount to muddying the waters so to speak. Nothing can alter the fact that the changes one is speaking about are small. Of course ‘small’ is relative. Consider three measures of smallness.

Figure 3

Figure 3 shows the variations in temperature in Boston over a one month period. The dark blue bars show the actual range of temperatures for each day. The dark gray bars show the climatological range of temperatures for that date, and the light gray bars show the range between the record-breaking low and record-breaking high for that date. In the middle is a red line. The width of that line corresponds to the range of temperature in the global mean temperature anomaly record for the past 175 years. This shows that the temperature change that we are discussing is small compared to our routine sensual experience. Keep this in mind when someone claims to ‘feel’ global warming.

The next measure is how does the observed change compare with what we might expect from greenhouse warming. Now, CO2 is not the only anthropogenic greenhouse gas.

Figure 4. Red bar represents observations. Gray bars show model predictions.

When all of them are included, the UN IPCC finds that we are just about at the greenhouse forcing of climate that one expects from a doubling of CO2, and the temperature increase has been about 0.8C. If man’s emissions are responsible for all of the temperature change over that past 60 years, this still points to a lower sensitivity (sensitivity, by convention, generally refers to the temperature increase produced by a doubling of CO2 when the system reaches equilibrium) than produced by the least sensitive models (which claim to have sensitivities of from 1.5-4.5C for a doubling of CO2). And, the lower sensitivities are understood to be unproblematic. However, the IPCC only claims man is responsible for most of the warming. The sensitivity might then be much lower. Of course, the situation is not quite so simple, but calculations do show that for higher sensitivities one has to cancel some (and often quite a lot) of the greenhouse forcing with what was assumed to be unknown aerosol cooling in order for the models to remain consistent with past observations (a recent article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society points out that there are, in fact, quite a number of arbitrary adjustments made to models in order to get some agreement with the past record). As the aerosol forcing becomes less uncertain, we see that high sensitivities have become untenable. This is entirely consistent with the fact that virtually all models used to predict ‘dangerous’ warming over-predict observed warming after the ‘calibration’ periods. That is to say, observed warming is small compared to what the models upon which concerns are based are predicting. This is illustrated in Figure 4. As I have mentioned, uncertainties allow for substantial adjustments in the temperature record. One rather infamous case involved NOAA’s adjustments in a paper by Karl et al that replace the pause with continued warming. But it was easy to show that even with this adjustment, models continued to show more warming than even the ‘adjusted’ time series showed. Moreover, most papers since have rejected the Karl et al adjustment (which just coincidentally came out with much publicity just before the Paris climate conference).

The third approach is somewhat different. Instead of arguing that the change is not small, it argues that the change is ‘unprecedented.’ This is Michael Mann’s infamous ‘hockey stick.’ Here, Mann used tree rings from bristle cone pines to estimate Northern Hemisphere temperatures back hundreds of years. This was done by calibrating the tree ring data with surface observations for a thirty year period, and using this calibration to estimate temperatures in the distant past in order to eliminate the medieval warm period. Indeed, this reconstruction showed flat temperatures for the past thousand years. The usual test for such a procedure would be to see how the calibration worked for observations after the calibration period. Unfortunately, the results failed to show the warming found in the surface data. The solution was starkly simple and stupid. The tree ring record was cut off at the end of the calibration period and replaced by the actual surface record. In the Climategate emails (Climategate refers to a huge release of emails from various scientists supporting alarm where the suppression of opposing views, the intimidation of editors, the manipulation of data, etc. were all discussed), this was referred to as Mann’s trick.

The whole point of the above was to make clear that we are not concerned with warming per se, but with how much warming. It is essential to avoid the environmental tendency to regard anything that may be bad in large quantities to be avoided at any level however small. In point of fact small warming is likely to be beneficial on many counts. If you have assimilated the above, you should be able to analyze media presentations like this one to see that amidst all the rhetoric, the author is pretty much saying nothing while even misrepresenting what the IPCC says.

The extreme weather meme:

Every line weather forecaster knows that extreme events occur someplace virtually every day. The present temptation to attribute these normally occurring events to climate change is patently dishonest. Roger Pielke, Jr. actually wrote a book detailing the fact that there is no trend in virtually any extreme event (including tornados, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.) with some actually decreasing. Even the UN’s IPCC acknowledges that there is no basis for attributing such events to anthropogenic climate change.

Figure 5. Temperature map for North America.

The situation with respect to extreme temperatures actually contradicts not just observations but basic meteorological theory. Figure 5 shows a map of temperatures for North America on February 27, 2008. Extreme temperatures at any location occur when air motions carry air from the coldest or warmest points on the map. Now, in a warmer climate, it is expected that the temperature difference between the tropics and the high latitudes will decrease. Thus the range of possible extremes will be reduced. More important is the fact that the motions that carry these temperatures arise from a process called baroclinic instability, and this instability derives from the magnitude of the aforementioned temperature difference. Thus, in a warmer world, these winds will be weaker and less capable of carrying extreme temperatures to remote locations. Claims of greater extremes in temperature simply ignore the basic physics, and rely, for their acceptance, on the ignorance of the audience.

The claims of extreme weather transcend the usual use of misleading claims. They often amount to claims for the exact opposite of what is actually occurring. The object of the claims is simply to be as scary as possible, and if that requires claiming the opposite of the true situation, so be it.

Sea level rise:

Globally averaged sea level appears to have been rising at the rate of about 6 inches a century for thousands of years. Until the advent of satellites, sea level was essentially measured with tide gauges which measure the sea level relative to the land level. Unfortunately, the land level is also changing, and as Emery and Aubrey note, tectonics are the major source of change at many locations. Beginning in 1979 we began to use satellites to measure actual sea level. The results were surprisingly close to the previous tide gauge estimates, but slightly higher, but one sees from Wunsch et al (DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1840.1) that one is in no position to argue that small differences from changing methodologies represents acceleration. Regardless, the changes are small compared to the claims that suggest disastrous changes. However, even in the early 1980’s advocates of warming alarm like S. Schneider argued that sea level would be an easily appreciated scare tactic. The fact that people like Al Gore and Susan Solomon (former head of the IPCC’s Scientific Assessment) have invested heavily in ocean front property supports the notion that the issue is propagandistic rather than scientific.

Arctic sea ice:

Satellites have been observing arctic (and Antarctic) sea ice since 1979. Every year there is a pronounced annual cycle where the almost complete winter coverage is much reduced each summer. During this period there has been a noticeable downtrend is summer ice in the arctic (with the opposite behavior in the Antarctic), though in recent years, the coverage appears to have stabilized. In terms of climate change, 40 years is, of course, a rather short interval. Still, there have been the inevitable attempts to extrapolate short period trends leading to claims that the arctic should have already reached ice free conditions. Extrapolating short term trends is obviously inappropriate. Extrapolating surface temperature changes from dawn to dusk would lead to a boiling climate in days. This would be silly. The extrapolation of arctic summer ice coverage looks like it might be comparably silly. Moreover, although the satellite coverage is immensely better than what was previously available, the data is far from perfect. The satellites can confuse ice topped with melt water with ice free regions. In addition, temperature might not be the main cause of reduced sea ice coverage. Summer ice tends to be fragile, and changing winds play an important role in blowing ice out of the arctic sea. Associating changing summer sea ice coverage with climate change is, itself, dubious. Existing climate models hardly unambiguously predict the observed behavior. Predictions for 2100 range from no change to complete disappearance. Thus, it cannot be said that the sea ice behavior confirms any plausible prediction.

It is sometimes noted that concerns for disappearing arctic sea ice were issued in 1922, suggesting that such behavior is not unique to the present. The data used, at that time, came from the neighborhood of Spitzbergen. A marine biologist and climate campaigner has argued that what was described was a local phenomenon, but, despite the claim, the evidence presented by the author is far from conclusive. Among other things, the author was selective in his choice of ‘evidence.’

All one can say, at this point, is that the behavior of arctic sea ice represents one of the numerous interesting phenomena that the earth presents us with, and for which neither the understanding nor the needed records exist. It probably pays to note that melting sea ice does not contribute to sea level rise. Moreover, man has long dreamt of the opening of this Northwest Passage. It is curious that it is now viewed with alarm. Of course, as Mencken noted, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” The environmental movement has elevated this aim well beyond what Mencken noted.

Polar bear meme:

I suspect that Al Gore undertook considerable focus-group research to determine the remarkable effectiveness of the notion that climate change would endanger polar bears. His use of an obviously photo shopped picture of a pathetic polar bear on an ice float suggests this. As Susan Crockford, a specialist in polar bear evolution, points out, there had indeed been a significant decrease in polar bear population in the past due to hunting and earlier due to commercial exploitation of polar bear fur. This has led to successful protective measures and sufficient recovery of polar bear population, that hunting has again been permitted. There is no evidence that changes in summer sea ice have had any adverse impact on polar bear population, and, given that polar bears can swim for over a hundred miles, there seems to be little reason to suppose that it would. Nonetheless, for the small community of polar bear experts, the climate related concerns have presented an obvious attraction.

Ocean acidification:

This is again one of those obscure claims that sounds scary but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Ever since the acid rain scare, it has been realized that the public responds with alarm to anything with the word ‘acid’ in it. In point of fact, the ocean is basic rather than acidic (ie, its ph is always appreciably higher than 7, and there is no possibility of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 bringing it down to 7; note that ph is a measure of acidity or basicness: values greater than 7 are basic and less than 7 acid.), and the purported changes simply refer to making the ocean a bit less basic. However, such a more correct description would lack the scare component. As usual, there is so much wrong with this claim that it takes a fairly long article to go over it all. I recommend the following source.

Death of coral reefs:

The alleged death of coral reefs is partly linked to the acidification issue above, and as we see, the linkage is almost opposite to what is claimed. There is also the matter of warming per se leading to coral bleaching. A typical alarmist presentation can be found here.

The article is behind a pay wall, but most universities provide access to Nature. The reasoned response to this paper is provided here.

As Steele, the author of the above, points out, bleaching has common causes other than warming and is far from a death sentence for corals whose capacity to recover is substantial. This article is a bit polemical, but essentially correct.

Global warming as the cause of everything:

As we see from the above, there is a tendency to blame everything unpleasant on global warming. The absurd extent of this tendency is illustrated on the following here. That hasn’t stopped the EPA from using such stuff to claim large health benefits for its climate change policies. Moreover, I fear that with so many claims, there is always the question ‘what about ….?’ Hardly anyone has the time and energy to deal with the huge number of claims. Fortunately, most are self-evidently absurd. Nation magazine recently came up with what is a bit of a champion is this regard. CO2, it should be noted, is hardly poisonous. On the contrary, it is essential for life on our planet and levels as high as 5000 ppm are considered safe on our submarines and on the space station (current atmospheric levels are around 400 ppm, while, due to our breathing, indoor levels can be much higher). The Nation article is typical in that it makes many bizarre claims in a brief space. It argues that a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus led to temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Of course, no one can claim that the earth is subject to such a runaway, but even on Venus, the hot surface depends primarily on the closeness of Venus to the sun and the existence of a dense sulfuric acid cloud covering the planet. Relatedly, Mars, which also has much more CO2 than the earth, is much further from the sun and very cold. As we have seen many times already, such matters are mere details when one is in the business of scaring the public.

Concluding remarks:

The accumulation of false and/or misleading claims is often referred to as the ‘overwhelming evidence’ for forthcoming catastrophe. Without these claims, one might legitimately ask whether there is any evidence at all.

Despite this, climate change has been the alleged motivation for numerous policies, which, for the most part, seem to have done more harm  than the purported climate change, and have the obvious capacity to do much more. Perhaps the best that can be said for these efforts is that they are acknowledged to have little impact on either CO2 levels or temperatures despite their immense cost. This is relatively good news since there is ample evidence that both changes are likely to be beneficial although the immense waste of money is not.

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Richard Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment