Britain’s divisive Brexit politics are playing out through the new US presidency of Donald Trump. It seems that a faction within the British political establishment which is opposed to Britain leaving the European Union has joined forces with American intelligence counterparts to hamper Trump’s new administration.
By hampering Trump, the pro-EU British faction would in turn achieve a blow against a possible bilateral trade deal emerging between the US and Britain. Such a bilateral trade deal is vital for post-Brexit Britain to survive outside of the EU. If emerging US-British trade relations were sabotaged by disenfranchising President Trump, then Britain would necessarily have to turn back to rejoining the European Union, which is precisely what a powerful British faction desires.
What unites the anti-Trump forces on both sides of the Atlantic is that they share an atlanticist, pro-NATO worldview, which underpins American hegemony over Europe and Anglo-American-dominated global finance. This atlanticist perspective is vehemently anti-Russian because an independent Russia under President Vladimir Putin is seen as an impediment to the US-led global order of Anglo-American dominance.
The atlanticists in the US and Britain are represented in part by the upper echelons of the intelligence-military apparatus, embodied by the American Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Military Intelligence (Section) 6 (MI6).
Notably, incoming US President Donald Trump has expressed indifference towards NATO. This week he repeated comments in which he called the US-led military alliance «obsolete». Trump’s views are no doubt a cause of grave consternation among US-British atlanticists.
It is now emerging that British state intelligence services are involved much more deeply in the dirty tricks operation to smear Trump than might have been appreciated heretofore. The British involvement tends to validate the above atlanticist analysis.
The dirty tricks operation overseen by US intelligence agencies and willing news media outlets appears to be aimed at undermining Trump and, perhaps, even leading to his impeachment.
The former British MI6 agent, named as Christopher Steele, who authored the latest sexual allegations against Trump, was initially reported as working independently for US political parties. However, it now seems that Steele was not acting as an independent consultant to Trump’s political opponents during the US election, as media reports tended to indicate.
Britain’s Independent newspaper has lately reported that Steele’s so-called «Russian dossier» – which claimed that Trump was being blackmailed by the Kremlin over sex orgy tapes – was tacitly given official British endorsement.
That endorsement came in two ways. First, according to the Independent, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Woods, reportedly gave assurances to US Senator John McCain that the dossier’s allegations of Russian blackmail against Trump were credible. Woods met with McCain at a security conference in Canada back in November. McCain then passed the allegations on to the American FBI – so «alarmed» was he by the British diplomat’s briefing.
The second way that Britain has endorsed the Russian dossier is the newly appointed head of MI6, Sir Alex Younger, is reported to have used the material produced by his former colleague, Christopher Steele, in preparing his first speech as head of the British intelligence service given in December at the agency’s headquarters in London. That amounts to an imprimatur from MI6 on the Russian dossier.
Thus, in two important signals from senior official British sources, the Russian dossier on Trump was elevated to a serious intelligence document, rather than being seen as cheap gossip.
Excerpts from the document published by US media last week make sensational claims about Trump engaging in orgies with prostitutes in the presidential suite of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel while attending a Miss World contest in 2014. It is claimed that Russian secret services captured the alleged lewd activity on tape and will now be able to leverage this «kompromat» in order to blackmail Trump who becomes inaugurated this week as the 45th president of the United States.
Several informed analysts have dismissed the Russian dossier as an amateurish fake, pointing out its vague hearsay, factual errors and questionable format not typical of standard intelligence work. Also, both Donald Trump and the Kremlin have categorically rejected the claims as far-fetched nonsense.
While most US media did not publish the salacious details of Trump’s alleged trysts, and while they offered riders that the information was «not confirmed» and «unverifiable», nevertheless the gamut of news outlets gave wide coverage to the story which in turn directed public attention to internet versions of the «sensational» claims. So the US mainstream media certainly lent critical amplification, which gave the story a stamp of credibility.
US intelligence agencies, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan, appended the two-page Russian dossier in their separate briefings to outgoing President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump last week. Those briefings were said to mainly focus on US intelligence claims that Russian state-sponsored hackers had carried out cyber attacks to influence the US election last November.
Therefore, US intelligence, their British counterparts and the mass media all played a concerted role to elevate low-grade gossip against Trump into a seemingly credible scandal.
Trump has been waging a war of words with the US intelligence agencies, snubbing them by cutting back on presidential briefings and rubbishing their claims of Russian hacking as «ridiculous». Recently, Trump appeared to shift towards accepting the US intel assessment that Russia had carried out cyber attacks. But he balked at any suggestion that the alleged hacking was a factor in why he won the election against Hillary Clinton.
At a news conference before the weekend, Trump turned up the heat on the US intelligence agencies by blaming them for leaking to the media their briefing to him on the notorious Russian dossier. Trump compared their tactics to that of «Nazi Germany». CIA chief John Brennan couldn’t contain his anger and told media that such a comparison was «outrageous».
Trump may have savaged the Russian blackmail allegations as «fake news». But there are indications that US and British intelligence – and their reliable media mouthpieces – are not giving up on their dirty tricks operation, which has all the hallmarks of a vendetta.
Pointedly, James Clapper, the outgoing US Director of National Intelligence, has said that the secret services have not arrived at a judgment as to whether the Russian blackmail claims are substantive or not. British state-owned BBC has also reported that CIA sources believe that Russian agents have multiple copies of «tapes of a sexual nature» allegedly involving Trump in separate orgies with prostitutes in Moscow and St Petersburg.
In other words this scandal, regardless of veracity, could run and run and run, with the intended effect of undermining Trump and crimping his policies, especially those aimed at normalizing US-Russia relations, as he has vowed to do. If enough scandal is generated, the allegations against Trump being a sexually depraved president compromised by Russian agents – a declared foreign enemy of the US – might even result in his impeachment from the White House on the grounds of treason.
Both the American and British intelligence services appear to be working together, facilitated by aligned news media, to bolster flimsy claims against Trump into allegations of apparent substance. The shadowy «deep state» organs in the US and Britain are doing this because they share a common atlanticist ideology which views Anglo-American dominance over the European Union as the basis for world order. Crucial to this architecture is NATO holding sway over Europe, which in turn relies on demonizing Russia as a «threat to European security».
Clamping down on Trump, either through impeachment or at least corrosive media smears, would serve to further the atlanticist agenda.
For a section of British power – UK-based global corporations and London finance – the prospect of a Brexit from the EU is deeply opposed. The Financial Times list of top UK-based companies were predominantly against leaving the EU ahead of last year’s referendum. Combined with the strategic atlanticist ideology of the military-intelligence apparatus there is a potent British desire to scupper the Trump presidency.
But, as it happens, the American and British picture is complicated by the fact that the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is very much dependent on cooperation and goodwill from the Trump administration in order for post-Brexit Britain to survive in the world economy outside the EU.
The British government is committed to leaving the EU as determined by the popular referendum last June. To be fair to May’s government, it is deferring to the popular will on this issue. Premier May is even talking about a «hard Brexit» whereby, Britain does not have future access to the European single market. Fervent communications between Downing Street and the Trump transition team show that the British government views new bilateral trade deals with the US as vital for the future of Britain’s economy. And Trump has reciprocated this week by saying that Britain will be given top priority in the signing of new trade deals.
In this way, the British establishment’s divisions over Brexit – some for, some against – are a fortunate break for Trump. Because that will limit how much the British intelligence services can engage in dirty tricks against the president in league with their American counterparts. In short, the atlanticist desire to thwart Trump has lost its power to act malevolently in the aftermath of Britain’s Brexit.
That might also be another reason why Donald Trump has given such a welcoming view on the Brexit – as «a great thing». Perhaps, he knows that it strengthens his political position against deep state opponents who otherwise in a different era might have been strong enough to oust him.
Trump and Brexit potentially mean that the atlanticist sway over Europe is fading. And that’s good news for Russia.
Syria’s capital city Damascus continues to suffer without water. The water which supplied four million people, was cut off by insurgents who have occupied the aquifer in Wadi Barada since late December. The insurgents, which include an alliance of US backed groups and Al Qaeda’s Syria branch Jabhat Fateh Al Sham (formally Jabhat al Nusra), uploaded a video of themselves rigging the ancient Ein Al Fijeh spring with explosives. Two days before this upload, the rebels were also accused of tainting the water supply with diesel. As a result of the success of the Syrian military campaign to recapture parts of Wadi Barada, the insurgents were forced to agree to allowing engineers in to fix the aquifer as part of a ceasefire agreement. However after the agreement was reached the insurgents shot and killed the negotiating team overseeing repairs. Previously they had shot at technicians as they attempted to enter Wadi Barada.
Several groups which included the so called “White helmets” NGO released a written statement, that they will not allow engineers to fix the spring until the Syrian government agrees to give them certain concessions. The White Helmets have received tens of millions of dollars from various Western governments. Their signed statement shows that they are complicit with Al Qaeda in what the UN has stated is tantamount to a war crime.
Yet NATO backed media outlets have failed to explicitly state this, tip toeing around the subject of responsibility. Some outlets were even initially suggesting its was the Syrian government that was responsible. The most offending headlines included this one from the Daily Beast, “Assad’s Newest War Tactic: Dehydration”. The Qatar linked Middle East Eye, a newspaper run by a former Guardian and Al Jazeera journalists, headlined with “Water war: Wadi Barada and Assad’s latest weapon”. Australia’s ABC news suggested that, “this was not the first time the Syrian government targeted it’s own facilities”.
Perhaps the worst offender was the discredited Bellingcat website, run by Eliot Higgins, which claims to be independent open source analysis while consistently backing up US State Department propaganda. They released an article claiming that the Syrian government was responsible for the damage to the aquifer. Bellingcat did not touch on the fact that it is the insurgents who refuse to allow the aquifer to be fixed.
There is also ample evidence that the insurgents were indeed behind the initial destruction of the spring. The insurgents uploaded a video of themselves on Facebook, rigging the ancient Ein el Fijeh spring with explosives. In the video a rebel is seen walking through the pipes saying, “this is one of the water pipes of Ein el Fijah spring, the revolutionaries are rigging it with explosives right now”. The video was accompanied by the following written statement.
“Let everyone know that the lives of the traitors in Damascus are not more precious than the life of a child from Wadi Barada. This is one of the tunnels that supply the occupied city of Damascus with water, it’s currently being boopy-trapped by the rebels, in the event that the mercenary commander Qaus Farwa continues his offensive on Wadi Barada, all the main tunnels will be detonated and will never be restored.” #Bombing_is_better_than_evacuation”
Rebels also made Facebook posts celebrating the destruction of the spring and taunting the people of Damascus. One rebel posted photographs of himself flashing victory signs over the rubble of the aquifer tunnels. One post reads,
“Hahaha just as like you wanted, your water has turned into diesel, and the bombing will happen tomorrow or the day after. The bombing is ready no matter what and after that let the flood come. We will burn the soul of each christian, shi’ites and those traitor sunnis who sold their religion and decided to side with you, you jew idiots. You want a ceasefire now just so you can pull your dead bodies out of our sacred soil? You can drink water from my d**k you pigs.”
Seemingly in coordination with the US backed rebels, ISIS cut off the water supply to Aleppo a few days later, suggesting that the water crisis was a planned reprisal for the liberation of Aleppo. This would not be the first time that insurgents cut off water to Aleppo, Syria’s second capital. In 2014, the insurgents filmed themselves celebrating the destruction of Aleppo’s water supply. The population of Aleppo was without water for over a year.
Furthermore, the insurgents have motive to cut off the water supply while the Syrian government doesn’t. The recent liberation of Aleppo city, involved the evacuation of insurgents to the city of Idlib in green buses, part of the terms of their surrender. The Syrian military was approaching Wadi Barada with the same terms of evacuation on the table.The rebels from the area have cut water supplies to Damascus several times in the past as a bargaining chip to prevent the Syrian army from entering the area and pushing them out. This was likely what caused the insurgents to use the water again as leverage, and escalate by not only stopping the water flow as they have done previously, but destroying it entirely. This is reflected in the Facebook posts made by rebels, that “bombing [the aquifer] is better than evacuation”. The people in Wadi Barada do not get their water from Ein el fijah spring, but from sources further upstream, hence the rebels would not be damaging their own water supply by poisoning and bombing the spring.
On the other hand there is no motive for the Syrian government to cut off water to Damascus, a city which they hold and reside within. It was the government who demanded to get engineers in to fix the aquifer, and in the meantime initiated a program of rationing and distributing water. Bellingcat’s author Nick Waters was wise to this and did not attempt to invent a motive. Instead he claimed that the Syrian government had destroyed the aquifer by accident, coincidentally at the same time that the insurgents were rigging it with explosives. The claim that the attack could have been an ‘accident’ is contradicted by the United Nations, which said the “infrastructure was deliberately targeted.”
Bellingcat’s Whitewash Attempt
The Bellingcat article was written by Nick Waters a former British military officer. This brings up the question of whether he is still biased towards serving Britain’s interests versus objective fact. Britain has been calling for regime change in Syria since 2011. Waters’ article is riddled with logical fallacies and non-sequitur conclusions.
Waters asks us to accept that a Syrian airstrike on the militants holding Ein El Fijah spring, resulted in diesel leaking into the water supply, claiming that it “probably” must have “damaged a fuel tank, generator or otherwise”. However he provides no evidence that this occurred, or an explanation as to what a fuel tank would be doing near the aquifer. He states that the same rebels who showed the tunnel being prepared for demolition were the ones who blamed the water crisis on the Syrian government. He asks us to accept their word on the latter but not the former. To Waters, the credibility of Al Qaeda-linked militants is not damaged by the fact they intended to destroy Damascus’s water supply. Water’s says “using media freely available on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, it is clear that the structure that covers the spring was significantly damaged on or after the 23rd December”. However the source he used showing the damage to the spring was from the 26th and 27th of December. Embarrassingly, Waters referred to Wadi Barada as “Barada Wadi” multiple times showing a complete lack of understanding about the very place he is attempting to write about. In another example of Waters’ profound ignorance, he also referred to one of the rebels posting on Facebook as “Abu”, however Abu is not a name, but a designation meaning ‘father of.’
Bellingcat and its founder Elliot Higgins are committed to building narratives in support the US State Department’s agenda. In the past, Bellingcat attempted to pin the blame on the crash of Malaysia MH17 on Russia. Bellingcat also produced shaky analysis claiming to have smoking gun evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta. The article that was jointly written by Dan Kaszeta and Eliot Higgins, was contradicted by well known Physics Professor and rocket engineer Theodore Postol who also stated that Dan Kaszeta was a fraud. Dan Kazseta claimed to be a chemical weapons expert but in fact had no education in chemistry. Bellingcat’s article on the water crisis in Damascus will stand as further testament to the unreliability, even intentionally deceptive nature of its reporting.
The United Nations has stated that the cutting off of Damascus’s water could constitute a war crime. One awaits similar UN statements to be made about Aleppo where there is no shadow of doubt that the US backed rebels cut off the water supply in 2014. The UN’s statement could mean that the Al Qaeda linked White Helmets NGO could be implicated in war crimes. This raises the stakes for NATO governments who have provided them with tens of millions of dollars in donations. It is no wonder that a campaign of disinformation is being run to deflect blame and whitewash the incident.
Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics.
In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media.
Most crucially of all Obama refers to “The DNC emails that were leaked”. Note “leaked” and not “hacked”. I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense “Russian hacking” story.
Obama’s reference to the “the DNC emails that were leaked” appears very natural, fluent and unforced. It is good to have the truth finally told.
With few exceptions, media scoundrels relentlessly bashed him throughout the political season.
Vilification continues daily post-election, inventing reasons to denigrate him, an unprecedented example of political presstitution at its worst.
An open letter to him from the US press corp, written by Columbia Journalism Review editor-in-chief and publisher Kyle Pope, warrants a reader response. Trump and his team can speak for themselves.
Pope: “You’ve banned news organizations from covering you.”
Fact: False! He leveled sharp criticism as justified, including blasting CNN as fake news. He should have applied that label to the entire scoundrel media establishment, suppressing hard truths, substituting managed news misinformation and Big Lies – about him and on virtually all other important issues.
Any news organization and their members are free to cover him. He’s free to ignore any ones he wishes.
Pope: “(Y)our press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House…”
Fact: False! Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer said space is being sought to accommodate a larger number of journalists – not change the workspace for White House reporters.
At the same time, Trump is entitled to challenge members of the press spreading malicious lies about him. No one should put up with abusive practices.
Pope: “You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same.”
Fact: Western media scoundrels are a national disgrace. Trump should respond when they blast him irresponsibly.
Twitter is his favorite way of communicating. He’s able to reach millions, free from misquotes and distortions. Earlier I called him America’s tweeter-in-chief, encouraging him to keep tweeting.
Pope: “You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences.”
Fact: Advice referees give prize fighters to protect themselves at all times especially applies to presidents and other heads of state. If he wishes, Trump is entitled to avoid press corp members denigrating him maliciously.
He’s yet to assume office, so it’s unknown how often he’ll hold press conferences. Franklin Roosevelt, serving nearly four terms, held far more than any other president. They were more informal affairs in pre-television days than how they’re held today.
Pope: “You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.”
Fact: Trump debunked the accusation as a malicious lie.
Pope: Press “access is preferable, but not critical.” Lacking it is “a challenge we relish.”
Fact: Trump has no problem with responsible reporting. Denigrating him without just cause is another matter entirely.
Pope: “Ground rules are the prerogative of the press.”
Fact: That type attitude would antagonize anyone.
Pope: “We decide how much airtime to give your spokespeople and surrogates.”
Fact: How much time isn’t the issue. Responsible truth-telling matters most – what’s sorely lacking in mainstream Western reporting, turning journalism into presstitution.
Pope: “Facts are what we do…”
Fact: Media scoundrels suppress them, substituting fake news.
Pope: “(W)hile you may seek to control what comes out of the West Wing, we’ll have the upper hand in covering how your policies are carried out.”
Fact: If reporting on Trump follows the pattern seen throughout the political season and post-election so far, expect endless rubbish substituting for responsible journalism.
Pope: We’ll set higher standards for ourselves than ever before.”
Fact: Presstitutes make street whores look good by example. Case closed!
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
Laura Kuenssberg © ZUMAPRESS.com / Global Look Press
Award winning BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been reprimanded by the BBC Trust for inaccurately reporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s views on shoot-to-kill policies in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
The Trust concluded that Kuenssberg breached the BBC’s impartiality and accuracy guidelines at a time of “extreme national concern,” but insisted there was no evidence of bias or of intent on the part of the journalist.
The report was broadcast for the News at Six in November 2015, shortly after terrorists attacked the Bataclan and other sites in Paris.
The news package included a clip of Corbyn saying: “I am not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counterproductive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can.”
Kuenssberg had presented Corbyn’s response as an answer to a question on whether he would be “happy for British officers to pull the trigger in the event of a Paris-style attack.”
However the BBC Trust concluded Corbyn had been responding to a question asking whether he would be happy to order police or military “to shoot to kill” on Britain’s streets – and not specifically in response to a Paris-style attack.
A viewer complained to the Trust about the broadcast after four separate complaints were rejected by the BBC.
The Trust found the inaccuracy was “compounded” when Kuenssberg went on to state that Corbyn’s message “couldn’t be more different” to that of then-prime minister David Cameron.
In its report, the Trust concluded the inaccuracy was particularly important when dealing “with a critical question at a time of extreme national concern.”
“According to this high standard, the report had not been duly accurate in how it framed the extract it used from Mr Corbyn’s interview.”
BBC News director, James Harding, rejected the Trust’s ruling and defended Kuenssberg as “an outstanding journalist and political editor with the utmost integrity and professionalism.”
He said: “While we respect the Trust and the people who work there, we disagree with this finding.”
Thousands of Corbyn supporters launched a campaign last May against Kuenssberg’s perceived bias against the Labour leader.
Some 35,000 people signed a petition calling for the journalist to be sacked.
The reporter was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Political Studies Association last November and Journalist of the Year by Press Gazette last December.
RT | January 17, 2017
The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme has aired an edition on the alleged financial ties between U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. It also reports on whether Russia played a key role in Trump’s election success. Making its assumptions very clear, the BBC called the programme ‘The ‘Kremlin Candidate’. RT’s Ilya Petrenko explains how pulling-in the viewers often means rolling with the rumours.
Over the weekend, President-elect Trump received two journalists from mainstream European print media — The Times of London and the German magazine Bild — for a joint interview in New York City’s Trump Tower. The event was videotaped and we are seeing some remarkable sound bites, particularly those of interest to the British and German publics.
For the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May, nothing could have sounded sweeter than Donald Trump’s statement that she would be invited for talks in the White House shortly after he is sworn in on Jan. 20 and that he seeks very quickly to reach agreement on a bilateral free trade pact. The effect of the pledge itself, even ahead of its successful implementation, assures the British that the sting of severing ties with the European Union will be greatly offset by new commercial possibilities in the world’s biggest economy; in this way, it strengthens May’s hand enormously as she enters into talks with the E.U. leadership over the detailed terms of what will apparently be a “Hard Brexit.”
Further adding to her leverage with the E.U. were Trump’s remarks suggesting that the E.U. will face stern trade pressure, beginning with Germany and its automobile industry, to do more to manufacture in the U.S. That precisely raises the relative importance of the U.K. market, which the E.U. will otherwise lose if it imposes severe penalties on Britain in negotiations over Brexit.
For the general public’s consumption, Donald Trump used the interview to explain his special affection for Britain, speaking about his Scottish mother’s delight in the Queen and her watching every royal event on television for its unequaled pageantry. But we may expect that Prime Minister May will find there is a bill to pay for the “special relationship” with the U.S. under President Trump.
Rather than the British media’s early speculation that Prime Minister May would be the one to set the misguided Trump straight about the nefarious Vladimir Putin, she may now have to become a leading European advocate for détente with Russia at Trump’s behest. In this connection, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s advice to Congress during his visit to Washington last week that Official Washington “stop demonizing Putin” may well have been a straw in the wind.
For the Germans, Trump also offered a bit of flattery, saying how much he respected their Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, as he went on, he virtually flattened the Iron Lady’s reputation by calling her open-door policy of admitting migrants into Germany and the E.U. a catastrophe. He noted that Merkel’s controversial position had swayed the election results in Britain on Brexit and may lead to the departure of other countries from the E.U. Given his staff’s consultation with Marine Le Pen, a visiting French candidate for the presidency from the right-wing Front National, Trump’s list surely includes France.
Finally, among the sound bites that will be featured in media coverage of the interview, we hear Donald Trump describe NATO as an outdated organization that needs overhaul. However, apart from his reiterated insistence that Member States must pay their fair share, which he claims only Britain and four others from the 28 Member States are currently doing, the interview offers no specifics on what kind structural change, if any, he seeks for NATO. We only hear that NATO has not been prepared to deal with the threat of international terrorism.
Views on Russia
But it was in another area, Trump’s remarks on Russia and the terms he named for possibly lifting sanctions, that we find convincing proof that the President-elect’s approach to foreign affairs is not just the sum of isolated tactical considerations but a complete reinvention of the guiding principles of U.S. foreign policy. What we are witnessing is a shift to a new strategic, geopolitical paradigm.
In the past couple of decades, going back to the second term of President Bill Clinton, the ideology of neoconservatism with its stress on “democracy promotion” as being the whole of national interest, dictated policy decisions that amounted to the tail wagging the dog. The Baltic States were admitted into NATO in its 2004 enlargement because they wanted it. The decision to station U.S., German and other NATO brigades in Poland and other states along the Russian border taken last July in Warsaw and implemented, in the case of Poland, by U.S. forces in the past several days, was justified by the anxiety of these countries over the possibility of Russian aggression, even though NATO’s action has been highly provocative vis-à-vis Russia and brought the major nuclear powers ever closer to direct confrontation.
In the interview, Trump changed entirely the metrics by which sanctions on Russia would be lifted. Instead of fulfillment of the Minsk Accords over Ukraine’s ethnic Russian Donbas region – which nationalist hardliners in Kiev had the power to block – Trump conditioned the relaxation of sanctions on progress in curbing the nuclear arms race and moving toward significant nuclear disarmament, issues that are fully within the power of the Kremlin to implement.
To be sure, these issues today are more complex than they were in the heyday of disarmament talks. The recent obstacles include the U.S. anti-ballistic missile installations in Poland and Romania, the forward stationing of NATO human and materiel resources in the former Warsaw Pact countries, and the standing invitations to Ukraine and Georgia to enter NATO. So any negotiations between Washington and Moscow will be very complex.
But Trump’s statement shows that he is focused on the big picture, on the triangular relationship between Washington, Moscow and Beijing that he believes to be of vital importance in keeping the peace globally, rather than on some amorphous reliance on expanding democracy globally on the unproven assumption that democracies among themselves are peace-loving.
These elements in Donald Trump’s thinking, quite unexpected in a businessman, bring him very close to the Realism of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, while his setting nuclear disarmament as a key goal, aligns him with Ronald Reagan and — strange to say — with Barack Obama at the very start of his presidency.
If Donald Trump can stave off the jackals from the Western mainstream media and the U.S. foreign policy establishment – a combination that has formed a snarling circle around him even before he takes office – he may have a chance to make historic changes in international relations toward a more peaceful world.
Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.
Americans need to learn what is really going on both at home and abroad
When the Washington Post reports about violent crime online or in its print Metro Section it generally does not include descriptions of the alleged perpetrator even when that individual is still on the loose and continuing to pose a threat to the general public. This omission is conspicuous, particularly when the story itself makes it very clear that the presumed victim got a very good look at his or her assailant and would be able to provide a detailed physical description together with an account of what the attacker was wearing. One might even suggest that the Post is doing the general public no favor when it censors its account, making anyone who might cross the path of the miscreant more vulnerable to also becoming a victim.
The Post edits its coverage because it clearly does not want to associate violent crime with any particular race even though, as every Washingtonian knows full well, nearly all violent crime in the city is carried out by young black males. Rather than providing a public service by identifying the perpetrator the Post chooses to say nothing to avoid having to identify the assailant as black. But the reader, aware of that reticence, consequently automatically assumes that the perpetrator is black anyway, making the paper’s attempt to avoid any identification of criminals by race instead create the presumption in the reader’s mind that every single one of the violent acts that occur in the District of Columbia is done by people of color. What is intended to shield blacks hardly does them any favors, quite the contrary.
Partially reporting straightforward stories for politically correct reasons is in my mind equivalent to the fake news that everyone has been lamenting. The general perception that the news is slanted or manipulated has fed the lack of trust in the veracity of what is being reported and is a major contributor to the decline in newspaper readership. The Post, which also recently featured largely phony major stories about alternative news sites being tools of Russia as well as a wildly inflated tale about Russian hacking a utility in Vermont, is particularly much given to making up its coverage as it goes along. Every page in the news section is in reality an editorial as the paper assiduously mixes fact with fiction together with a heavy dose of opinion. It is Orwellian newspeak at its finest.
Inured to the Post’s p.c. coverage of racial issues, I was nevertheless shocked by some of the recent reporting on an incident in Chicago in which four teenagers videoed themselves and broadcast what they were doing live on Facebook as they beat a mentally impaired man. An early media account of the incident appeared on Reuters but is no longer available. It was written by Timothy McLaughlin and had, as its second paragraph, “At least one of the attackers on the video mentioned president elect Donald Trump as he taunted the man but police stopped short of calling the beating politically motivated and said they are still investigating.”
From that, I assumed that the journalist was implying that the attackers were Trump supporters since there has been so much reporting lately of incidents at schools where white bullies allegedly cite Trump as they torment their black or brown classmates. Many of those stories would themselves appear to be extremely improbable fake news since the schools in question frequently appear to have highly vulnerable white minorities in the student bodies, but white-on-black violence is not intrinsically unthinkable so the story appeared to be at least credible.
But reading on, the article seemingly reluctantly produced some additional information. The victim, who was tied, gagged and beaten, “appeared to be white” while one of the assailants “appeared to be African-American” and was heard making comments about “white people.” The story did not link to the Facebook video, but BBC, among other sites, showed the video and was unambiguous in its labelling the four assailants as black and the victim as white, which anyone viewing the recording would have clearly appreciated. Subsequent news stories made clear that the expressions that were being shouted by the attackers included “F**k Trump” and “F**k white people.” The victim was reportedly beaten for six hours, cursed at, cut and otherwise abused. The live broadcast of the beating went viral before Facebook deleted it.
The media and Chicago police both struggled with whether or not the abduction and beating constituted a hate crime. In fact, they seemed eager to mitigate and even explain the impact of what everyone who watched the video could clearly see. One cop explained “Kids make stupid mistakes, I shouldn’t call them kids, they are legally adults, but they are young adults and the make stupid decisions… That certainly will be part of whether or not we seek a hate crime, determine whether or not this is sincere or stupid ranting and raving.” Another cop said “I think part of it is just stupidity. People ranting about something they think might make a headline.”
The New York Times dodged the bullet on what kind of crime it might be by describing it as an attack on disabled people without any racial or political overtones at all. So it was maybe just kids having fun and since it was black on white Wolf Blitzer won’t be flying in tomorrow morning to pontificate on what is wrong with Donald Trump’s America.
From my point of view, quite frankly who cares if the incident is or was motivated by hate as kidnapping and torture should be enough and the designation hate crime is essentially phony anyway. If an assailant hates his victim does that make the brutality worse? If you kill me because you are bored and are looking for something to do should you spend less time in prison than if you do so because you hate me?
Once the story was essentially agreed upon by the media and police, comments posted on the beating universally expressed outrage over what had occurred. Many of those posting their observations were themselves black, some expressing their desire that the perpetrators be imprisoned “forever” for having carried out such a horrific crime.
Reading my way through the comments, it occurred to me that the media and police department’s apparent reticence to report black on white crime with the same horror that it reports white on black serves no one, as it creates the impression that black criminals are somehow being protected or coddled even when it is clear that that is not the case. Decent, law abiding African-Americans, the vast majority, know that the end result of the politically correct news coverage of black crime is to make many white Americans even more suspicious of black behavior. So is it both fake news and highly damaging when the Washington Post and Reuters refuse to report a crime story honestly? It almost certainly is.
I grin daily upon rising when I hear the CBS Morning News proclaiming that it is providing “real news.” Charlie Rose and company are prime examples of America’s enslaved corporate media and wouldn’t know real news if it hit them in the ass. The news team has been leading off each day, for example, with a series of uncritical recaps of the various half-truths being promoted by the White House to indict Donald Trump’s relationship with Moscow, the biggest fake news story currently making the rounds. Professor Michael Brenner of the University of Pittsburgh has called the Russian hack the “most surreal and passionate work of fiction of the 21st century.” In the stories featured in the mainstream media there is a consistent presumption that the United States is somehow the victim and Russia the perpetrator of a horrific crime, meaning that the media has considerable difficulty in dealing with real situations that challenge the Establishment consensus. It finds considering the viewpoints of other countries objectively as problematical as it does in dealing with the issue of black crime.
What Russia’s crime consisted of, by the most damaging interpretation, was hacking into a private server belonging to a political party and possibly allowing the admittedly factual but embarrassing material obtained to make its way into the media. Excuse me, but that is what intelligence agencies do routinely to justify their multiple billion dollar budgets. The United States is the world leader in such activity as revealed by Jim Bamford’s books on the subject and also through the revelations obtained in the Snowden papers. Now Russia is being condemned for possibly doing some of the same, though no evidence is being provided, and the story is being framed as if we are by definition the good guys and Vladimir Putin is the devil incarnate.
What I am saying is that the United States mainstream media is the primary source of fake news due to its inbuilt biases on what is acceptable and what is not. It actually hurts black people by its attempts to be protective and its unwillingness to consider a news story through the eyes of the other party for chauvinistic reasons means that Americans are particularly uninformed about what is going on in the world. To suggest that all of this is particularly dangerous, both in terms of domestic tranquility and possible foreign threats, would be an understatement.
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes has been steadily growing since the 1950s, despite a drop in numbers in the last five years.
They show the above chart prominently in their Tornadoes – Annual 2016 Report.
However, they know full well that it is meaningless to compare current data with the past, as they explain themselves in the section Historical Records and Trends, which is hidden away on their own website:
One of the main difficulties with tornado records is that a tornado, or evidence of a tornado must have been observed. Unlike rainfall or temperature, which may be measured by a fixed instrument, tornadoes are short-lived and very unpredictable. If a tornado occurs in a place with few or no people, it is not likely to be documented. Many significant tornadoes may not make it into the historical record since Tornado Alley was very sparsely populated during the 20th century.
Much early work on tornado climatology in the United States was done by John Park Finley in his book Tornadoes, published in 1887. While some of Finley’s safety guidelines have since been refuted as dangerous practices, the book remains a seminal work in tornado research. The University of Oklahoma created a PDF copy of the book and made it accessible at John Finley’s Tornadoes (link is external).
Today, nearly all of the United States is reasonably well populated, or at least covered by NOAA’s Doppler weather radars. Even if a tornado is not actually observed, modern damage assessments by National Weather Service personnel can discern if a tornado caused the damage, and if so, how strong the tornado may have been. This disparity between tornado records of the past and current records contributes a great deal of uncertainty regarding questions about the long-term behavior or patterns of tornado occurrence. Improved tornado observation practices have led to an increase in the number of reported weaker tornadoes, and in recent years EF-0 tornadoes have become more prevelant in the total number of reported tornadoes. In addition, even today many smaller tornadoes still may go undocumented in places with low populations or inconsistent communication facilities.
With increased National Doppler radar coverage, increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. To better understand the variability and trend in tornado frequency in the United States, the total number of EF-1 and stronger, as well as strong to violent tornadoes (EF-3 to EF-5 category on the Enhanced Fujita scale) can be analyzed. These tornadoes would have likely been reported even during the decades before Doppler radar use became widespread and practices resulted in increasing tornado reports. The bar charts below indicate there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.
Of course it is nonsensical to claim that the bar charts below indicate there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years – there has clearly been a large reduction.
Note as well that they have not even bothered to update the graph for 2015. Could it be they would rather the public did not find out the truth?
Meanwhile, over at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) you can see that, when allowance is made for changing reporting procedures, last year may well have had the lowest number of tornadoes on record.
The SPC is also part of NOAA, but is the department that actually deals with tornado events and data on a day to day basis. As such, they tend to be more interested in the facts, rather than a political agenda.
While we still await the final numbers and classification for last year, but what we do know is that there was no EF-5. Indeed the last occurrence was the Moore, OK tornado in May 2013.
It is unusual to go nearly four years without one, as there have been 59 since 1953, effectively one a year on average.
The bottom line is that the NOAA headline graph is grossly dishonest. Indeed, if a company published something like that in their Annual Accounts, they would probably end up in jail!
NOAA themselves know all of this full well.
Which raises the question – why are they perpetuating this fraud?
After the WaPost’s Latest Shot, It’s Time to Call ‘Fake News’ By Its Real Name ‘Weaponized Journalism’
Defying any sense of journalistic integrity and loyalty to the truth, the Washington Post did it again — publishing Fake News for clicks — which had the desired effect of worldwide outrage to suit a tightly-defined political agenda.
This latest astounding deviation from the facts, however, makes indisputably clear the weaponization of news. Journalists and media outlets make mistakes from time to time, but a pattern and practice of publishing unfounded, unverified, and fraudulent articles cannot be characterized simply as irresponsible.
We are in the midst of an information war of epic proportions — led haplessly astray of the truth with the Post leading the way — and it’s a dangerous and frightening portent of things to come, not the least of which will be propagandized truth and heavy-handed censorship.
On Friday, WaPo published an article claiming President-elect Donald Trump fired Washington, D.C., National Guard Major General Errol R. Schwartz — just in time for the inauguration — and that he would be forced to leave his post as soon as the president takes the oath of office.
But that isn’t true.
“My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz told the Post. “I’ll see them off, but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He added he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”
WaPo’s erroneous reporting included a statement from D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who lamented, “It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment.”
“I’m a soldier,” the Post quoted Schwartz. “I’m a presidential appointee, therefore the president has the power to remove me.”
But WaPo left out a number of critical points — and horrendously slanted the rest — about this “firing” of the head of the D.C. National Guard.
That D.C. position — unlike the equivalent for states — is appointed by the president, not by the Pentagon, as the Post suggested, nor by any branch of the military. Also, the article glaringly omitted any statement from the Trump transition team, an inexcusable offense, considering it later emerged Schwartz had been offered to keep his position through the end of Inauguration Day — it was Schwartz who turned down the offer, preferring instead to vacate the role at 12 noon, when Trump will be sworn in.
Of course, the blatant misinformation presented by the Post seemed so juicy, countless corporate outlets parroted the claim. Thus this Fake News rippled around the planet earning the scorn of millions who believed Trump must have lost all sensibility for firing a man who had diligently performed his duties since his appointment to the post by former President George W. Bush — during a potentially dangerous event.
This also spawned a number of rumors — with raucous protests planned for Inauguration Day, and the week before, why would the incoming president fire the man in charge of security? Isn’t this a preposterous decision on Trump’s part? What is Trump thinking?
Like previous viral stories — at this point, one would be hard-pressed to deem them ‘news articles’ — the Washington Post published faulty information and subsequently began backtracking.
Notably, in each case, after erroneous information went viral worldwide, edits after publication go largely unnoticed by most of the populace. While retractions and post-publication editor’s notes sometimes appear on WaPo’s articles they are orders of magnitude less popular than the original story and, in this instance, the firing of Schwartz story has only been appended in content — no editor’s note yet graces the top or bottom of the article. (The original version can be found here.)
Any news organization actually practicing journalism would tell you this is egregiously irresponsible.
Except, it’s beginning to appear the Washington Post publishes misinformation and Fake News intentionally — knowing any subsequent disputation of its claims won’t gather as much steam as the original publication.
A distinct reason exists why this would be the case — Brandolini’s law.
“The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it,” Alberto Brandolini, an Italian independent software development consultant, keenly observed in 2013 — the Post knows this, and has been manipulating public perception exactly this way.
It was, after all, the Washington Post who initiated the altogether ironic war on Fake News — first turning from journalistic duty in the publication of several items blaming disinformation for the downfall of, well, nearly everything.
WaPo published an ‘article’ about supposed blacklist of over 200 outlets a nascent and seemingly prepubescent website, PropOrNot, had decided were Russian propagandists — linked either directly to the Russian government or had haplessly joined the effort by reporting Fake News during the election.
Literally nothing in that Post article was true. None of the claims were backed by evidence, no research or investigation had been performed, nothing. WaPo just printed the claims of PropOrNot and inserted plausible deniability by failing to link to the list or site. A subsequent retraction at the top of the page was akin to plugging a crack in a dam that’s already burst — damage to many reputable and award-winning outlets listed had already been done.
Additional stories from the Post — none including any proof — blamed The Russians for everything from meddling in the U.S. election to install Trump, to hacking into the power grid in Vermont. ‘We’re all in peril because Russia,’ WaPo repeatedly claimed — without so much as a shred of evidence.
Outgoing CIA chief John Brennan on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump, warning him to watch what he says and suggesting the president-elect doesn’t understand the challenges posed by Russia.
Brennan’s stern words — which sparked a quick Twitter retort from Trump — were the latest salvo in the ongoing feud between the incoming Republican leader and US intelligence agencies, who have concluded Moscow meddled in the November election.
The 70-year-old Trump, who takes office on Friday, tweeted saying that if the Russian leader “likes” him, it would be an “asset” to help repair strained ties with Moscow.
“I don’t think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions and actions,” Brennan said of Trump on Fox News Sunday.
“I think Mr. Trump has to be very disciplined in terms of what it is that he says publicly,” he added.
“He is going to be, in a few days’ time, the most powerful person in the world, in terms of sitting on top of the United States government and I think he has to recognize that his words do have impact,” the CIA chief said.
“He’s going to have the opportunity to do something for national security as opposed to talking and tweeting,” he added.
“Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests.”
Brennan also bristled at Trump’s likening of the US intelligence community to Nazi Germany, calling it “outrageous.”
Friends, “fake news”, and censorship pays off big. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth jumps $5 billion in two weeks
Facebook has been coming under fire for promoting “fake news”.
The huge social network was pressured by the neo-liberal left deep state to censor news that harms the Soros “Open Society” globalist agenda, pushed heavily under the Barack Obama presidency.
Facebook folded to the neo-liberal agenda like origami, and decided to crack down on “fake news”.
It looks like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is reaping the rewards for decisions made to crack down on “fake news”.
In the first two weeks of 2017, Zuckerberg’s net worth jumped by nearly $5 billion. This is the biggest gain of any person in the world.
Climbing ad revenues and a series of bullish analyst reports, are credited for Facebook’s shares inching closer to October’s all-time high.
Forbes has the details of the Facebook founder’s two week, $5 billion good fortune…
Zuckerberg, who owns 410 million company shares, has more than recouped the losses he suffered in the weeks following Donald Trump’s election, when his net worth fell 7% to $49 billion. He is now worth an estimated $53.8 billion dollars, according to FORBES’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires, and clocks in as the planet’s fifth-richest person; Zuckerberg trails only Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Amancio Ortega of Spain, each of whom holds a fortune of more than $70 billion.
Zuckerberg’s $5 billion surge vastly outpaces the gains of any other individual on the FORBES billionaires list, based on data compiled between the start of normal trading hours on January 3 and the end of normal trading at 4:00 P.M. EST on Friday, January 13.
Of course, Facebook’s spiking share price cannot be attributed to any single event, but the company has received a string of positive press as of late for its efforts to tackle the proliferation of fake news content on its site. On Wednesday it unveiled a new “journalism project,” with the goal of improving its relationship with the media and increasing “news literacy.” The initiative follows a previously announced plan to “[disrupt] fake news economics” by preventing abusive media outlets from using Facebook’s ad-placing technology.
Zuckerberg, who famously founded the social media giant as a 19-year-old Harvard undergrad, has watched his personal fortune consistently rise year after year. In 2016 he cracked the top five on The Forbes 400 for the first time, placing fourth behind Gates, Buffett and Bezos. If Facebook maintains its current trajectory, he may soon place even higher.
We completely agree with Forbes… if Facebook continues to play nice with the globalist deep state, censoring any opposing voices, then expect more positive “buy” stock analysis to propel FB to the valuation stratosphere.
Users on the other hand are seemingly unimpressed with FB’s recent censorship business model, rating the social network as the sixth worst company in the United States.
Pissed off users, neo-liberal globalist darling… something has got to give.