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Russian MoD Refutes Reports About Strikes on Settlements in Idlib Province

Sputnik – September 26, 2017

MOSCOW – Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied on Tuesday the claims of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights about alleged strikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces on settlements in Syria’s Idlib province.

“The aircraft of Russian Aerospace Forces do not strike settlements in the Syrian Arab Republic. The statements of the Observatory citing unnamed ‘witnesses’ and ‘volunteers’ are unsubstantiated as usual and serve as ‘information cover-up’ for actions of Al Nusra Front [a terrorist group] militants,” Konashenkov said.

He said that over the past 24 hours, the Russian jets carried 10 strikes on terrorists positions in the Idlib province following reconnaissance sorties of drones and additional confirmation through other channels.

Konashenkov explained that the targets included underground bases of militants, located far from residential neighborhoods, field ammunition depots, armored vehicles, multiple launch rocket systems and sweatshops for loading guns on cars which were used during both preparations and offensive of the terrorists against positions of the Russian military police in the north of Hama province in order to take Russian servicemen hostage. He noted that the ministry had the objective monitoring data for all the strikes.On Wednesday, the Russian General Staff said that Nusra Front launched the attack with support of artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles on September 19 and managed to penetrate Syrian army defenses to the depth of some 7.5 miles. The General Staff added that the offensive was initiated by US special services to stop the Syrian Army advance east to Deir Ez-Zor.

September 26, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Washington Post Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 25, 2017

Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.

Yes, without doubt, President Trump is a boorish and dangerous demagogue, now highlighted by his reckless speech before the United Nations last week, his schoolyard Tweet taunts toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his ugly denunciation of black athletes for protesting against police killings of often unarmed African-Americans.

And, yes, I know that some people feel that the evidence-lite and/or false allegations about “Russian meddling” are the golden ticket to Trump’s impeachment. But the unprofessional behavior of The New York Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire mainstream media regarding Russia-gate cannot be properly justified by the goal of removing Trump from office.

Ethically in journalism, the ends – however much you might wish them to succeed – cannot justify the means, if those means involve violating rules of evidence and principles of fairness. Journalism should be a place where all sides get a fair shake, not where some get a bum’s rush.

But the U.S. mainstream media has clearly joined the anti-Trump Resistance and hates Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. So, we are given such travesties of journalism as appeared as a banner headline across the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, another screed about how Russia supposedly used Facebook ads to flip last November’s election for Trump.

The article purports to give the inside story of how Facebook belatedly came to grips with how the “company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election,” but actually it is a story about how powerful politicians bullied Facebook into coming up with something – anything – to support the narrative of “Russian meddling,” including direct interventions by President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a key legislator regarding regulation of high-tech industries.

Finding the ‘Evidence’

In other words, Facebook was sent back again and again to find what Obama and Warner wanted the social media company to find. Eventually, Facebook turned up $100,000 in ads from 2015 into 2017 that supposedly were traced somehow to Russia. These ads apparently addressed political issues in America although Facebook has said most did not pertain directly to the presidential election and some ads were purchased after the election.

Left out of the Post’s latest opus is what a very small pebble these ads were – even assuming that Russians did toss the $100,000 or so in ad buys into the very large lake of billions of dollars in U.S. political spending for the 2016 election cycle. It also amounts to a miniscule fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

So the assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.

Even the Post’s alarmist article briefly acknowledges that it is still unclear who bought the ads, referring to the purchasers as “suspected Russian operatives.” In other words, we don’t even know that the $100,000 in ads over three years came from Russians seeking to influence the U.S. election. (By comparison, many Facebook advertisers – even some small businesses – spend $100,000 per day on their ads, not $100,000 over three years.)

But this diminutive effort by “suspected Russian operatives” doesn’t stop the Post from going on and on about “fake news” and “disinformation,” albeit again without offering evidence or specifics of any Russian “fake news” or “disinformation.”

It has simply become Official Washington’s new groupthink to say that everything linked to Russia or its international TV network RT is “fake news” or “disinformation” even though examples are lacking or often turn out to be false accusations themselves.

For instance, there is nothing in the Post’s article acknowledging that nothing from the various Democratic email disclosures, which have been blamed on Russia (again without real evidence), has been identified as untrue. So, how can truthful information, whether you like how it was obtained or not, be “fake news” or “disinformation”?

Falsehood as Fact

But Monday’s Post exposé simply asserts the claim as flat fact. Or as the article asserts: “what Russian operatives posted on Facebook was, for the most part, indistinguishable from legitimate political speech. The difference was the accounts that were set up to spread the misinformation and hate were illegitimate.”

In responsible journalism, such an accusation would be followed by a for-instance, giving an example of “the misinformation and hate” that the “Russian operatives” – note how they have been magically transformed from “suspected Russian operatives” to simply “Russian operatives” – were disseminating.

But there is no example of the Russian “misinformation and hate,” a classic violation of the reporting principle of “show, don’t tell.” In this story, it’s all tell and no show.

Indeed, what is shown in the article is often contradictory to the story’s conclusion. The article says, for instance, “A review by the company found that most of the groups behind the problematic pages had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government. But amid the mass of data the company was analyzing, the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.”

So, Facebook initially – after extensive searching – did not find evidence of a Russian operation. Then, after continued pressure from high-level Democrats, Facebook continued to scour its system and again found nothing, or as the Post article acknowledged, Facebook “had searched extensively for evidence of foreign purchases of political advertising but had come up short.”

That prompted Warner to fly out to Silicon Valley to personally press Facebook executives to come up with the evidence to support the Democrats’ theory about Russia paying for carefully targeted anti-Clinton ads in key districts.

The Post’s article reported that “Finally, [Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex] Stamos appealed to Warner for help: If U.S. intelligence agencies had any information about the Russian operation or the troll farms it used to disseminate misinformation, they should share it with Facebook. The company is still waiting, people involved in the matter said.”

Under Pressure

Still, faced with extraordinary pressure from senior Democrats, Facebook finally delivered the desired results, or as the Post reported, “By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the [St. Petersburg, Russia-based] Internet Research Agency.”

So, the ads covering three years, including post-election 2017, only “appear” to be “associated” with some private Russian operation that only allegedly has ties to the Kremlin. And the total sums of the ad buys are infinitesimal compared to what it actually takes to have any real impact on Facebook or in a U.S. presidential election.

If the context of this story were changed slightly – say, it was about the U.S. government trying to influence public opinion in another country (which actually does happen quite a bit) – the Post would be among the first news outlets to laugh off such allegations or dismiss the vague accusations as a conspiracy theory, but since these allegations fit with the prejudices of the Post’s editors, an entirely different set of journalistic standards is applied.

What the article also ignores is the extraordinary degree of coercion that such high-level political pressure can put on a company that recognizes its vulnerability to government regulation.

As Facebook has acknowledged in corporate filings, “Action by governments to restrict access to Facebook in their countries could substantially harm our business and financial results. It is possible that governments of one or more countries may seek to censor content available on Facebook in their country, restrict access to Facebook from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. …

“In the event that access to Facebook is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate geographic markets that we cannot access, our ability to retain or increase our user base and user engagement may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be adversely affected.”

Avoiding Reality

In other words, another way to have framed this story is that powerful politicians who could severely harm Facebook’s business model were getting in the face of Facebook executives and essentially demanding that they come up with something to support the Democratic Party’s theory of “Russian meddling.”

The Democratic leaders wanted this finding as an explanation for Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, rather than going through the painful process of examining why the party has steadily lost ground in white working-class areas across the country.

What is missed in these Russia-bashing articles is that the Democratic brand has been sinking for years, including massive losses in statehouses across the country as well as in Congress. The party’s decline was not a one-off event with Donald Trump suddenly snaking away with significant parts of the white working class because the Russians bought some Facebook ads.

However, instead of looking in the mirror, national Democrats demanded that Facebook executives ferret out whatever tiny or imaginary information there might be about some Russians buying Facebook ads – and then allow those coerced findings to be fed into the excuse industry for why Hillary Clinton lost.

And, what about the Post’s repeated accusations about Russia engaging in “disinformation” and “fake news” without offering a single example? Apparently, these assertions have become such articles of faith in the U.S. mainstream media that they don’t require any proof.

However, honest journalism demands examples and evidence, not just vague accusations. The reality is that the U.S. government has stumbled again and again when seeking to paint RT as a disinformation outlet or a vehicle for undermining American democracy.

For instance, the Jan. 6 report on alleged Russian “cyber operations,” released by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, included a lengthy appendix, dated from 2012, which decried RT for such offenses as allowing a debate among third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates; covering the Occupy Wall Street protests; and citing the environmental dangers from “fracking.”

The idea that American democracy is threatened by allowing third-party candidates or other American dissidents to have a voice is at best an upside-down understanding of democracy and, more likely, an exercise in hypocritical propaganda.

False Accusations

Another misfired attempt to discredit RT came from Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel, who issued a “Dipnote” in April 2014, which helped establish the narrative of RT as a source of Russian disinformation.

For instance, Stengel claimed that RT reported a “ludicrous assertion” that the United States had spent $5 billion to produce Ukraine’s “regime change” in February 2014.

But what Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine, apparently failed to understand was that RT was referring to a public speech by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5 billion” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” In other words, the RT report wasn’t “ludicrous” at all.

Nuland also was a leading proponent of “regime change” in Ukraine who personally cheered on the Maidan demonstrators, even passing out cookies. In an intercepted pre-coup phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland discussed who should run the new government and pondered with Pyatt how to “glue” or “midwife this thing.”

So, Stengel was the one disseminating false information, not RT.

Similarly, senior U.S. politicians, including Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. mainstream media have falsely asserted that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies signed off on the Russia-did-it hacking claims.

For months, that canard was used to silence skepticism. After all, how could you question something that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed to be true?

But it turned out that – as DNI Clapper, himself a hardline Russia-basher, belatedly acknowledged – the Jan. 6 report on the alleged Russian hacking was the work of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies, the CIA, FBI and NSA, and the “assessment” itself admitted that it was not asserting the Russian conclusion as fact, only the analysts’ opinion.

The New York Times finally retracted its use of the fake claim about “all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies” in late June 2017 although it wouldn’t let the lie lie, so instead the Times made misleading references to a “consensus” among U.S. intelligence agencies without using the number.

Recent studies by former U.S. intelligence experts have punched more holes in the certainty by raising doubts that the email downloads could have been accomplished over the Internet at the recorded speeds and more likely were achieved by an insider downloading onto a thumb drive.

Deciding What’s Real

So who is guilty of “fake news” and “disinformation”?

One positive from the current PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” is that despite its bend-over-backwards attempts to make excuses for the “good faith” decisions by U.S. politicians, no one can watch the series without encountering the chasm between the upbeat Official Story being peddled by the U.S. government and the ghastly on-the-ground reality.

Yet, given how little accountability was meted out then for journalists who served as conveyor belts for pro-war propaganda in Vietnam – or more recently over the fraudulent reporting that rationalized the U.S. aggressive war against Iraq – it is perhaps not surprising that similar false group thinks would coalesce around Russia now.

Careerist journalists understand that there is no danger in running with the pack – indeed, there is safety in numbers – but there are extraordinary risks to your career if you challenge the conventional wisdom even if you turn out to be right. As one establishment journalist once told me, “there’s no honor in being right too soon.”

So, for the Post reporters responsible for the latest journalistic violation of standards – Adam Entous, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg – there will be no penalty for the offense of telling about Russia’s alleged “disinformation” and “fake news” – rather than showing, i.e., providing actual examples. When it comes to Russia these days – as with the Vietcong in the 1960s or Iraq in 2002-03 – you can pretty much write whatever you want. All journalistic standards are gone.

Yet, what is perhaps most insidious about what we are seeing is that – in the name of defending democracy – the U.S. mainstream media is trampling a chief principle of the Enlightenment, the belief that the marketplace of ideas is the best way to determine the truth and to create an informed populace.

The new U.S. mainstream media paradigm is that only establishment-approved views can be expressed; everything else must be suppressed, purged and punished.

For instance, if you question the State Department’s narrative on alleged Syrian government sarin attacks – by noting contrary evidence that points to staged incidents by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – you are called an “apologist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

If you question the one-sided State Department narrative regarding the Ukraine coup in 2014 – indeed even if you use the word “coup” – you are denounced as a “Kremlin stooge.”

No ‘Other’ Side

It is now not okay to even consider the other side of these stories, just as it was anathema to suggest that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government may have been telling the truth in 2002-03 when it declared repeatedly that it had destroyed its WMDs. That made you a “Saddam apologist.”

The hostility toward Americans who dare question the current anti-Russian hysteria was highlighted by an article last Thanksgiving Day by one of the authors of the new Post article, Craig Timberg.

In another front-page Post story, Timberg allowed an anonymous group called PropOrNot to malign the professionalism and patriotism of 200 Web sites, including our own Consortiumnews, that were lumped together in a McCarthyistic smear that they were somehow guilty of disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

The unnamed accusers – granted anonymity by the Post – acknowledged that they had no evidence that the sites were part of some grand Russian conspiracy but made the judgment based on PropOrNot’s analysis of the Web sites’ content.

In other words, if you questioned the State Department’s narratives on Ukraine or Syria – regardless of how well-supported those critiques were – you got smeared as a “Russian propagandist” – and the Post, which didn’t even bother to contact the accused, considered that sort of analysis to be worthy of its front page.

The story fed into another frenzy about the need to use algorithms and artificial intelligence to hunt down and suppress or purge such dissenting views from the Internet, supposedly to protect the sanctity of American democracy and spare Americans from exposure to “fake news.”

So, well-meaning Americans who may hope that Russia-gate will somehow bring down Trump are getting recruited into a movement that intends to silence dissent and allow the U.S. establishment to dictate what information you will get to see and hear.

And that officially approved “information” will surely lead to new global tensions, more military spending. and additional warfare up to and possibly including nuclear war with Russia.

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

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Fake News, Russophobia | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 11-Year Major Hurricane Drought: Much More Unusual than Two Cat 4 Strikes

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. | September 21, 2017

Weather.com published an article noting that the two Cat 4 hurricane strikes this year (Harvey and Irma) is a new record. Here’s a nice graphic they used showing both storms at landfall.

Left: Hurricane Harvey makes landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 25, 2017 | Right: Hurricane Irma makes its first landfall at Cudjoe Key, Florida, 9-10-17 (graphic: Weather.com).

But the statistics of rare events (like hurricanes) are not very well behaved. Let’s look at this new record, and compare it to the 11+year period of no major hurricane strikes that ended when Harvey struck Texas.

The Probability of Two Cat 4 Strikes in One Year

By my count, we have had 24 Cat 4 or Cat 5 landfalls in the U.S. between 1851 and 2016. This gives a probability (prior to Harvey and Irma) of one Cat4+ strike every 7 years. It also leads to an average return period of two Cat4+ strikes of about 50 years (maybe one of you statisticians out there can correct me if I’m wrong).

So, since the average return period is once every 50 years, we were overdue for two Cat4+ strikes in the same year over the entire 166 period of record. (Again, for rare events, the statistics aren’t very well behaved.)

The Probability of the 11-Year “Drought” in Major Landfalling Hurricane

In 2015, a NASA study was published which calculated how unlikely the (then) 9-year stretch with no major hurricane landfalls was. They came up with a 177 year return period for such an event.

I used that statistic to estimate what eventually happened, which was 11 years with no major hurricane strikes.

I get a return period of 560 years!

Now, which seems more unusual and potentially due to climate change: something that should happen only once every 50 years, or every 560 years?

Maybe global warming causes fewer landfalling major hurricanes.

September 24, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Russia never placed ads on Facebook to interfere in US election – Kremlin

RT | September 22, 2017

Moscow has nothing to do with political advertisements on Facebook that were allegedly aimed at influencing the 2016 US presidential election, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

“We don’t know who placed the advertisements on Facebook or how, and have never done it. The Russian side has never been part of it,” Peskov told journalists on Friday.

Earlier, Facebook reported that a Russian agency had purchased some ads on the social network during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Facebook co-founder and Chairman Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday that the company is “actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference.”

The company also said that it “will help government authorities complete the vitally important work of assessing what happened in the 2016 election.”

“We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools,” Zuckerberg said.

Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev says Zuckerberg is apparently trying to improve his relations with the US authorities.

“It is known that some time ago Facebook was suspected of too much affection for [Hillary] Clinton and antipathy to Trump, who is quite vindictive as we all know. So let’s see what ‘evidence’ will be provided,” the head of the upper house’s Committee for International Relations told RT.

He also stressed that it would be interesting to see any investigation of Washington’s meddling in other countries’ affairs by Facebook.

“Zuckerberg, apparently, has not carried out any months-long investigations concerning the actions of the US to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign countries,” Kosachev said.

“I am sure that if such an inquiry were held, then countless [amounts of] evidence would be found.”

Earlier in September, Facebook said it had discovered some 3,000 ads purchased between June 2015 and May 2017, connected to 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages, which might have been related Russia’s alleged meddling.

However, the company did not directly accuse Russia and admitted that the “vast majority of ads run by these accounts” had nothing to do with the election, voting, or a particular candidate.

The US has been struggling credibly to accuse Moscow of meddling in the 2016 presidential election – a claim that Russia has strongly denied. No evidence of Russia’s alleged hacking of the US elections has been presented.

“The Russians interfered in our election…it is the high-confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community…,” former FBI director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. However, neither he nor special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign produced any evidence to support the assertion.

“The ex-FBI director said that he believes that there was Russian meddling in the electoral process [in the US], but at the same time provided no proof of that,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June.

Another giant Internet company, Google, said earlier in September that it had failed to unearth any facts that would implicate Moscow in exploiting advertising to manipulate the election.

Read more:

‘We’re at war’: ‘Committee to Investigate Russia’ weaponizes Morgan Freeman in anti-Moscow hysteria

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

‘Driving Ms. Deep State’: Morgan Freeman Psy-Op Shows Desperation of US Establishment

By Andrew Korybko | Sputnik | September 20, 2017

Morgan Freeman’s latest publicly stunt permanently stained his legacy after the famous actor decided to join the fake news industry by passing off a blockbuster script as a true story.

Morgan Freeman declared in his latest two-minute video that “We have been attacked. We are at war”, but he’s wrong in saying that Americans have been victimized by Russia, but should have rather told the truth that they’re under attack by their own government. To channel Freeman, “Imagine this movie script”, albeit modified to reflect real-life events instead of conspiratorial ones:

[Imagine…] A globalist power cabal made up of the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (the “deep state”), in conjunction with the Democratic Party, “Cultural Marxist” professors, the Mainstream Media, and Hollywood have attacked American democracy using non-stop infowar operations against their own fellow citizens to spread propaganda and false information aimed at convincing people that the Republican candidate and future President of the United States is really a Russian puppet…

A few years ago this might have sounded just as ridiculous as the narrative that Freeman read off in front of the cameras, but the difference is that this actually happened whereas his story still remains the realm of fiction. The conspiracy theory that Russia somehow swayed the 2016 election has no basis in reality, and it’s very condescending to the millions of average Americans in the Midwest who swayed the election for Trump to even infer that these patriotic citizens were under the influence of a foreign intelligence operation at the time.

Midwesterners didn’t tip the election for Trump because President Putin, the FSB, RT, or Sputnik told them to — which they didn’t — but because they had enough of the old order of business in the US and were desperately craving a change, any change, to improve the all-around deteriorating conditions that have come to define their lives. Trump promised law and order, jobs and strong borders, and a no-nonsense approach to American domestic politics, the complete opposite of Hillary’s platform and exactly what Midwesterners wanted to hear.

Even without the DNC leaks, many of those folks would never have countenanced voting for Hillary due to her husband’s toxic legacy and that of his party. Moreover, these voters didn’t need proof of Hillary and the Democrats’ corruption because they had suspected it all along, though the amplification of their crimes by the global media vindicated them for what The Establishment had falsely claimed for years was just another tinfoil hat “conspiracy theory”.

Now about actual conspiracy facts, many people could never have thought that their own government would turn against them and attack America’s sacred political system, its electoral democracy, through the incessant demonization of Donald Trump and the plethora of fake news that they disseminated about him. When Trump claimed that his campaign was under surveillance by the Obama Administration, he was dismissed as a crackpot, but it’s since emerged just the other day that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice did in fact authorize the spying of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

On top of that, the never-ending assertions that Trump is in cahoots with the Russian government or somehow under the nefarious influence of shadowy Kremlin agents are regularly debunked by listening to the President and his Administration constantly talk about “Russian aggression” and watching them use this pretext to make hostile moves against Moscow. These actions strongly refute the claims of a secret Trump-Russian connection and most Americans understand that, but the “deep state” and their cohorts in the “Cultural Marxist” corners of academia, the Mainstream Media, Hollywood, and the masked mob of “Antifa” rioters believe that the population is just too stupid to see this and could therefore be easily misled into believing their fake news narrative that Putin’s proxy is in control of the White House.

The whole point behind this massive infowar operation against the minds of the American public is to delegitimize Trump’s election in a last-ditch bid to give the Democrats a chance to win back Congress during next year’s midterm elections. It’s also designed to influence the President’s domestic and foreign policy decision making, and it actually has succeeded to a degree in that respect if one holds the view that Trump truly believed what he said on the campaign trail but was later pressured by the “deep state” to take a decidedly neo-conservative stance towards International Affairs after he entered into office. Regardless, what’s important to focus on in this context are the American people themselves, who largely dismiss the conspiratorial, never-proven, and constantly debunked accusations that Morgan Freeman shamelessly told the American public with a straight face.

There’s a popular saying that one shouldn’t “shoot the messenger”, but that doesn’t mean that the said messenger is above criticism. Morgan Freeman is a beloved household name who is universally praised for his excellent acting skills and the unforgettable memories that he’s imbued his audiences with, but politics isn’t his element, and no matter how much the “Committee to Investigate Russia’ pleads that it’s “non-partisan”, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s open involvement in the project proves that it’s linked to the same anti-Trump “deep state” that’s been undermining American democracy for over the past two years. Morgan Freeman should have known better than to lend his acting talent to pretending that a movie script is a real-life story, and that’s why so many people are disappointed in him on a deep, personal level.

The irony of it all is that Morgan Freeman could have actually done a lot of good if he had the courage to say the truth. Instead of imploring Trump to sit down in front of the American people, elaborate on Hillary’s “Russia Did It!” conspiracy theory, and then “legitimize” it through a full-blown nationwide anti-Russian witch hunt stretching from the Office of the Presidency all the way down to the paupers in the inner city, he himself could have sat down in front of the American people just as he did in his two-minute psy-op video and calmly explain the actual real-life “deep state” conspiracy against Trump and the American people. He didn’t do that, so there’s no use in speculating about “coulda, shoulda, woulda”, but for the sake of cracking a smile and thinking about what might have been, it sure would have been powerful if he channeled his blockbuster script but adapted it to actual events by saying:

“My fellow Americans, during this past election, we came under attack by our own government. I’ve called on the patriotic members of Congress and our intelligence community to use every resource available to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly how this happened. Our citizens are demanding accountability. For 241 years our democracy has been imperfect but nevertheless something to aspire to, and we owe it to the brave people who have fought and died to protect this great nation and save democracy. And we owe it to our future generations to continue the fight.”

But then again, Hollywood by its very nature is fake and deceptive, so it might be too much to ever hope for an American movie icon to stand up and say those brave words that were imagined above, though that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have resonated with tens of millions of dyed-in-the-wool patriotic Americans who are sick and tired of the “deep state’s” manipulative mind games.

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments

Morgan Freeman Declares War on Russia at Rob Reiner’s Behest

Sputnik – September 20, 2017

Social media is awash with outrage after Hollywood megastar Morgan Freeman appeared in a propaganda video issued by a newly-established anti-Russian non-profit group, in which he declares Washington is at war with Moscow.

Morgan Freeman is an almost universally beloved figure in the West, and his famed golden voice almost universally beloved across the West, so it’s understandable why the newly-established Committee to Investigate Russia might choose him to front its propaganda campaign.

However, initial reactions to the clip on social media suggest the move might’ve been a titanic misfire, as even supporters of the #TheRussiansDidIt hypothesis are criticizing the group, and slamming the video’s incendiary tone.

In the two-minute-long video, the Shawshank Redemption star issues a dire warning, “We have been attacked. We are at war.”

“My fellow Americans, during this past election, we came under attack by the Russian government. I’ve called on Congress and our intelligence community to use every resource available to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly how this happened. We need our president to speak directly to us and tell us the truth,” Freeman says.

No Experience Required

The Committee to Investigate Russia aims to help US citizens “understand and recognize the scope and scale of Russia’s continuing attacks on our democracy” — a lofty ambition, but given the weight of the group’s advisory board, one it will surely have little trouble achieving.

The five-strong board is led by Rob Reiner, director of “This Is Spinal Tap” and “When Harry Met Sally”; James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, who committed perjury in 2013 when he told a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence the NSA did not “wittingly” collect data on US citizens; Max Boot, a neoconservative blogger; Norman Ornstein, an obscure political scientist with no discernible history of research into Russia; Charles Sykes, a right-wing radio talk show host.

To promote the launch, board members appeared on numerous mainstream US news channels — Reiner, a consistent Trump critic who has called for “all out war” against the president, told CNN he was moved to found the group as he felt Americans didn’t understand the “gravity of what the Russians were able to do.”

“They’re trying to undermine our democracy. And for some reason we are not understanding the gravity of this. And I think a big part of that is because the president of the United States is not saying, in the Oval Office, “my fellow Americans, we’ve been attacked.” So I started reaching out to people who are patriots,” the director said.

Clapper likewise has a record of making controversial statements about Trump and Russia alike. He has previously suggested the president is secretly working for the Kremlin, and claimed Russians are “genetically” predisposed to manipulate and infiltrate.

Boot, an avowed Republican, has also been consistently condemnatory of Trump, and caused consternation in some conservative circles by announcing “real” Republicans should vote for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election.

In the meantime, despite suggestions of Russian interference echoing since before the November 2016 presidential election, no evidence of Kremlin-backed covert interventions have been publicly offered, despite the House and Senate Intelligence committees launching investigations into the matter.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong

Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

By James M. Williamson | CounterPunch | September 19, 2017

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

What could he possibly mean?

“Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

Sut Jhally has done remarkable work with the Media Education Foundation (MEF) in Western Mass on the uses of the term “retaliation.” MEF have produced at least one excellent DVD where they analyze how every attack by Israel on Palestinians is invariably framed as “retaliation.” Of course, this is often, in fact, NOT the case. But if you “believe” that some entity (a person; a government; a “nation”; a “people…”) are “retaliating” (for an alleged attack) — rather than initiating attacks — then almost anything the “retaliator” does is justified, no?

Framing the US attack on North Vietnam as “retaliation” in this PBS documentary purporting to tell truths about this horrific war is a fundamental and very serious flaw, one which must raise the question of why, after all these years, and when the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” has also been known for years, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick would engage in this kind of (albeit strangely belated) pro-war propaganda?

Burns and Novick are noted for specializing in the delivery of emotion-laden “stories.” Are they to be allowed to turn actually important, fundamental facts about the US war into a “story,” as well? The emotional stories in this PBS series are tied together with a NARRATIVE of the History of the War in Vietnam. It is in this NARRATIVE that we should discern and judge whether Burns and Novick and PBS are actually revealing helpful truths for facing “our” history — and the history of this war —or not.

Three days after the “second” of two supposed “incidents” in the Gulf of Tonkin, the LBJ administration secured an overwhelming rubber stamp in Congress for the infamous “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which would be used forever more as the fig-leaf for justifying continued US military intervention in Vietnam, as supposedly constitutionally and politically “legitimate,” with all the attendant violence, massive destruction, and death.

Isn’t this little bit of “history” rather important? Isn’t it rather important to get this right?

Just three weeks after these alleged “incidents,” I. F. Stone had already reported much of the real story in his famous I. F. Stone’s Weekly, based seemingly entirely on just the well-informed remarks of Senator Wayne Morse on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Wayne Morse, of Oregon, was one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution;  the other was, of course, Ernest Gruening, of Alaska.

The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

Because of the advanced surveillance by the NSA unit aboard the Maddox, they knew the patrol boats were approaching “at high speed” well ahead of time. The three PT boats were almost entirely destroyed, and the Maddox may have sustained “one bullet hole” during the incident. [Extensive National Security Archive materials may be found here.]

Two days later, a “second attack” supposedly occurred, this time including the USS Turner Joy, as well.

However, there was no second “attack.” 

A relatively recent article published by the US Naval Institute reported the following:

Analysis of the Evidence

Historians have long suspected that the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin never occurred and that the resolution was based on faulty evidence. But no declassified information had suggested that McNamara, Johnson, or anyone else in the decision-making process had intentionally misinterpreted the intelligence concerning the 4 August incident. More than 40 years after the events, that all changed with the release of the nearly 200 documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident and transcripts from the Johnson Library.

These new documents and tapes reveal what historians could not prove: There was not a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Tonkin Gulf in early August 1964. Furthermore, the evidence suggests a disturbing and deliberate attempt by Secretary of Defense McNamara to distort the evidence and mislead Congress.

[See: https://www.usni.org ]

I.F. Stone was actually onto this story years before some historians were able to use belatedly and reluctantly released classified documents to confirm the lies, deceptions and misrepresentations.  [See: I. F. Stone’s Weekly, following further “testimony” from McNamara in 1968.]

Turbulent water may have been either misinterpreted — or misconstrued — as a North Vienamese PT boat torpedo launch. Among others, James Stockade, later an Admiral and eventually Ross Perot’s running mate for President, was flying missions over the Maddox and reported seeing no evidence of any alleged “attack.” [See an oft-sited NSA study by Robert J. Hanyok.]

Finally, John Prados produced a useful article on the 40th Anniversary of The Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” for the National Security Archive in 2004.

Naturally, if you’re interested in telling “stories,” you may not focus too carefully on the facts of the history and the context in which these “stories” are situated.

But shouldn’t you want to get something as important as what did or didn’t happen in The Gulf of Tonkin right?

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Are you, or have you ever been, an RT or Sputnik pundit?

By Neil Clark | RT | September 19, 2017

The demands from the NATO/military-industrial complex-funded Atlantic Council and neocon hawks for RT and Sputnik to be forced to register as ‘foreign agents’ in the US, brings to mind similarly disturbing events which took place in the ‘Land of the Free’ in the early 1950s.

The question asked by the original McCarthyite witch-hunters to people who held the ’wrong’ views back in the era of Rosemary Clooney and the Andrews Sisters was “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

Today, in the era of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, the neo-McCarthyites ask: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a guest or pundit on RT or Sputnik?” The wording might be slightly different, (and the background music more in your face), but the aim is the same. Namely, to try and scare people from speaking out against a foreign policy which relies on war and the threat of war, for fear they’ll be branded a Soviet, or Russian ‘agent’.

A 79-year-old piece of legislation, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, initially passed to counter Nazi propaganda activities before the start of World War Two, is the latest weapon being utilized by the ‘Pro-Freedom and Democracy’ Imperial Truth Enforcers, in their campaign against news organizations which don‘t toe the line. All genuine supporters of free speech and media pluralism, whether or not they are fans of RT or Sputnik, should be alarmed at recent developments.

You don’t have to be the owner of a giant magnifying glass or possess the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes to see whose fingerprints are on the ’Get RT and Sputnik to register under FARA’ operation. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to understand why they are so keen to tarnish the RT and Sputnik brands.

Let’s go back to January 13th. On that day, the Atlantic Council, whose donors include leading US arms companies, NATO, several foreign governments, as well as lobby groups such as AIPAC, posted an article on its website entitled ‘US Should Require Russia’s RT to Register as Foreign Agent’ by one Elena Postnikova, a JD candidate at Georgetown University Law Center and a former DC Events and Outreach Officer at the US government-funded Freedom House.

Postnikova’s article of 13th January was republished by Newsweek and the Kyiv Post.

Then on 1st September, the Atlantic Council published a longer report by Ms. Postnikova entitled ‘Agent of Influence: Should Russia’s RT Register as a Foreign Agent?’

The Atlantic Coundil explained:

“In Agent of Influence, author Elena Postnikova, not only argues that RT should register with FARA but makes a legal case for it while laying out recommendations for policymakers. At a minimum, RT’s activities warrant a thorough investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).”

You can just imagine Senator Joe McCarthy punching the air on hearing that last statement, can’t you?

In her paper, Postnikova mentions the benefits of the DOJ getting RT to register. “FARA registration means that RT would need to conspicuously label its information as ‘distributed by an agent on behalf of the foreign principal’ and include these statements on its website, social media accounts, and in all broadcasts.” This would, she says be “warranted to alert the US public about the origin of RT’s information.” Showing that she possesses a fine sense of humor, Postnikova claims that getting RT to register as a ‘foreign agent‘ would actually boost free speech. “The disclosure would serve the First Amendment by supplementing information about the agent and ensuring that the public is not misled that it represents a disinterested source.”

A week after the 1st September publication, the Atlantic Council held a special meeting in Washington to discuss the paper (giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘AC/DC‘).

Then a few days after that the news broke that the FBI was getting involved, to question an ex-Sputnik employee called Andrew Feinberg. Feinberg, it was reported, had handed over to the FBI a thumbnail containing hundreds of internal emails and documents.

The anti-Russian media crowd couldn’t conceal their excitement.

Jamie Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, who had spoken at the 8th September Atlantic Council panel, and who had been high-fived by other neocons on social media for ‘ambushing’ RT live on air a few years back, tweeted triumphantly “Three days after our Atlantic Council panel both RT.com and Sputnik under investigation as foreign agents.”

If the McCarthyite hawks of the Atlantic Council get their way and the authorities in the US do force RT and Sputnik to register under FARA, under threat of a large fine and/or civil/criminal prosecution, then a disturbing precedent will have been set. FARA wasn’t designed to target bona fide news or press services not directly controlled by foreign governments, so to take action the authorities will have to find that RT and Sputnik aren’t kosher.

Of course, claiming that RT and Sputnik are not “proper newsgathering organizations” like CNN and the BBC and that the journalists who work for them are ‘fakes’ too, is standard fare for War Lobby propagandists and their fart-smelling groupies. If the robotic nature of these smears strikes you, then all you need to do is to turn to Sharyl Attkisson’s new book The Smear for an explanation. You can read my review of the book here.

Having aggressively pushed the case for FARA registration, those responsible are now keen to stress that it’s really no big deal. The Colombia Journalism Review ran a piece by one Jon Allsop, entitled ‘Concerns over FBI investigation into Russian ‘news’ are overblown.’ (Note how ‘news’ is put in inverted commas).

“FARA doesn’t add up to press censorship in this case: Outlets like Sputnik and RT aren’t conventionally seen as ‘the press,’ and the law in no way prohibits their activities,” Allsop explained. He cites Jamie Kirchick, who says “There is no concern about slippery slopes,” but there’s no mention that Kirchick described merely as “a journalist and writer who has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union,” was on the Atlantic Council panel that called for RT and Sputnik to be registered under FARA.

In similar fashion, a 9/11 Yahoo report on the Atlantic Council’s demands neglects to mention how the ‘Washington think tank’ is funded by NATO and the arms industry, and ironically enough given the subject matter, several foreign governments as well.

The move to get RT and Sputnik branded as ‘foreign agents’ is being presented by ‘mainstream’ outlets as a neutral process. In fact, it’s about as ‘neutral’ as General Franco refereeing a football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, or The Joker having the casting vote on a jury deciding on whether to indict Batman for speeding.

What we are witnessing is a well-coordinated, well-synchronized and well-oiled campaign to marginalize all dissenting views on foreign policy.

Think back to November, when a mysterious new anonymous website called ’Prop Or Not’  popped up to publish a list of US news sites which it accused of “reliably echoing Russian propaganda,” and called on the G-men to investigate them for espionage.

‘The List’ included RT and Sputnik, but also sites from across the political spectrum with absolutely no connection to Russia. Prop or Not’s blacklist was then promoted as the work of ‘experts’ by the neocon Washington Post.

Again you can imagine Senator McCarthy’s whoop of delight.

We’ve reached the stage now when, as in the early Fifties, anyone who opposes a hawkish foreign policy is accused of either being in the pay of Moscow, i.e. a Russian agent, or of ‘echoing Russian propaganda.’ Against the overthrow of the secular, Christian-protecting government in Syria? Then you’re a stooge of Vladimir Putin!

It’s not just Donald Trump who’s been smeared in this way, but the likes of Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, and Labour’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn too. All you have to do is to say “I want to end the wars and have better relations with Moscow,” and you’ll get the label.

And if you want to lose the label? Well, you have to do what the War Lobby demands of you, like sign a bill imposing even more draconian sanctions on Russia, bomb a Syrian air force base, or publicly condemn ‘Russian aggression’ in Ukraine.

The great irony behind all of this is that the ’realist’ Russian line on foreign policy is far more in tune with public opinion in the US and UK than the actual policies carried out by the neocon influenced US and UK regimes. Russia opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq, which directly led to the rise of ISIS. It has also stood firmly on the side of government forces fighting ISIS and Al-Qaeda groups in Syria, instead of trying to undermine them, as the West has done.

It’s because people reject the fraudulent War Party narrative that people across the world are increasingly turning to networks such as RT and Sputnik which provide a very different perspective on world affairs. These organizations provide a platform to people from the left and the right, who are kept off the ‘mainstream’ networks because they don’t meet with establishment approval. I remember the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq when programs such as the BBC’s Newsnight trotted out a series of ‘think tank pundits’ who assured us that Saddam possessed WMDs which threatened the entire world. These ‘experts’ went largely unchallenged, and we got a disastrous war which led to the deaths of one million people. The cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion would love us to go back to the halcyon days of 2002/3 when they had control of the narrative and could dictate who could and couldn’t appear on television. It was much easier to sell illegal wars to the public without ’pesky’ stations like RT and Sputnik around, much easier to peddle WMDs-style BS, much easier to launch phony ‘humanitarian interventions’ against the governments of resource-rich [or AIPAC-targeted] independent countries.

Fake news and ‘foreign agents‘?

Physician heal thyself.


Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Bana Alabed Psy-Op Proves The West Is Saturated In War Propaganda

By Caitlin Johnstone | The Last American Vagabond | September 18, 2017

If I could have everyone in the English-speaking world watch only one video on Youtube, it would without a doubt be a comedy bit performed by a funny-looking professional goofball on RT. I say in all seriousness that it could change the trajectory of our species on this planet.

The above segment is presented for an audience who showed up for a comedy show, but it also contains video evidence that should forever change the way they think about the media, their government, their nation, and everything they’ve been taught growing up about what their society is and how it works. So far this is probably the closest thing to mainstream coverage that the depravity of the Bana Alabed psy-op has received.

In the segment, Redacted Tonight’s John F. O’Donnell shows video footage of a seven year-old Syrian girl being “interviewed” by CNN’s conscience-free Alisyn Camerota, who as a side note recently had the gall to complain that she was suffering from “Russia fatigue” as a result of all the bogus Russia conspiracy theories with which her network has been relentlessly brutalizing the American psyche. O’Donnell then shows a clip illustrating that Bana does not in fact understand even the most rudimentary English, let alone the capacity for the geopolitical analysis demonstrated in the Camerota interview. It was scripted, and Bana was phonetically sounding out words that she did not understand in order to manufacture public support for more US interventionism in Syria.

The interview was scripted, and what for me is most shocking is that Alisyn Camerota necessarily had the other half of the script. Bana wouldn’t have been able to improvise answers to unscripted questions, so Camerota was necessarily knowingly acting out a staged, scripted scene and deceiving her audience about its nature. She lied to the American people for the most despicable reason imaginable, and exploited a little child to do it.

Here it is in full:

O’Donnell then goes on to describe how this despicable psy-op has been promoted across multiple platforms throughout the mainstream media, from CNN’s Jake Tapper to Time Magazine to a Simon & Schuster book deal. The plutocrats who control these powerful media corporations plainly want eyes on this girl, just not the kind of eyes that look with any degree of healthy skepticism.

The reason for all of this, of course, is that US hegemony is fully dependent on its massive military power. Since the heavily-armed American people would grow upset if they were told that the oligarchs who rule their country are spending an unfathomable amount of the nation’s money and resources trying to depose Bashar al-Assad because Syria occupies a crucial strategic location in US world dominance (risking a direct confrontation with the nuclear-armed Russia in the process), they make it about saving children instead. In 1990 a teenager gave false testimony about hospitalized babies being removed from incubators and left to die to manufacture support for US military involvement in the oil-rich Kuwait, and we’re seeing something very similar with Syria today. As Bana so often says, “Save the children of Syria.”

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I’m very excited to see what appears to be an increased effort to push awareness of the Bana Alabed psy-op into mainstream consciousness. It’s not enough to have this undeniable act of deceitful war propaganda being discussed by a few Syrian activists and the occasional segment on RT; mainstream America needs to be told about this. If we all make a whole lot of noise pointing to the indisputable facts outlined in the Redacted Tonight segment at the beginning of this article, eventually mainstream outlets will be forced to comment on it. Alisyn Camerota will be forced to answer questions about her participation in the staged interview. They’ll be forced to overextend themselves and make even more mistakes. The true face of the mass media propaganda machine will swing into the full focus of everyday Americans. This can change the world.

Please help make this happen. Share the links I’ve placed in this article, make your own videos, podcasts, articles and tweets. The propaganda machine made a very foolish mistake using something so easily debunked in its war efforts, and we need to capitalize on that mistake while they’re vulnerable. Shove this thing as hard as you can into mainstream consciousness in every way you can think of. The machine is weaker than it seems. We can bring it down.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Google hiring 1,000 journalists in effort to control American news flow

It’s about controlling information offline and online

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | September 19, 2017

Google is learning from its mistakes.

Not being able to place Hillary Clinton in office, the search monopoly has decided that online influence over what Americans think, say, and do is not enough to guarantee the right woman enters the White House.

Google is now embarking on a 5 year plan, where they will seed 1,000 aspiring, liberal left journalists into America’s local media markets.

Poynter reports that the Google News Lab will be working with Report For America (RFA) to hire 1,000 journalists all around the country.

Many local newsrooms have been cut to the bone so often that there’s hardly any bone left. But starting early next year, some may get the chance to rebuild, at least by one.

On Monday, a new project was announced at the Google News Lab Summit that aims to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms in the next five years. Report For America takes ideas from several existing organizations, including the Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America and public media.

Unlike foreign or domestic service programs or public media, however, RFA gets no government funding. But they are calling RFA a national service project. That might make some journalists uncomfortable – the idea of service and patriotism. But at its most fundamental, local journalism is about protecting democracy, said co-founder Charles Sennott, founder and CEO of the GroundTruth Project.

“I think journalism needs that kind of passion for public service to bring it back and to really address some of the ailments of the heart of journalism,” he said.

Here’s how RFA will work: On one end, emerging journalists will apply to be part of RFA. On the other, newsrooms will apply for a journalist. RFA will pay 50 percent of that journalist’s salary, with the newsroom paying 25 percent and local donors paying the other 25 percent. That reporter will work in the local newsroom for a year, with the opportunity to renew.

Zerohedge reports…

Of course, while the press release above tries to tout the shared financial responsibility of these 1,000 journalists, presumably as a testament to their ‘independence’, it took about 35 seconds to figure out that the primary funder of the journalists’ salaries, RFA, is funded by none other than Google News Lab.

Meanwhile, as a further testament to RFA’s ‘independence, we noticed that their Advisory Board is flooded with reputable, ‘impartial’ news organizations like the New York Times, NPR, CBS, ABC, etc….

We are sure that these 1,000 journalists will never be called upon by Google to report on the news in a way that benefits the giant search company.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vladimir Putin and Russia versus Zionist Fairytales

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 16.09.2017

Did you read the latest news that Vladimir Putin is rich and evil? Oh, you don’t read anymore, more power to you. Fake news has it that the Russian president has a new “secret” holiday mansion worth untold millions. Furthermore, some of the stories tell of Putin being the world’s richest and most evil man. For those of you who do not believe in fairytales, here’s a candid look at what Russians are really up against.

My initial reaction to reading “Drone footage shows Putin’s secret island mansion” at 9 News Australia was, “So what if the leader of Russia is rich?” I would have skimmed the article and moved on but for a familiar name popping up. I’ll get to the ousted industrialist shark Bill Browder in a minute, but first it’s important for readers to understand that Putin actually has little need of money in the traditional sense. Every financial magazine, every expert, and hordes of guessing investigators have tried for years to count Vladimir Putin’s gold, and to no avail. Some say he is worth more than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos combined, but nobody can trace down this immense wealth. Amid all the speculation as to “why” the Panama Papers could not convict Putin, the pointedly obvious shines through. Nobody can trace Putin’s fortune because there isn’t one. But this is fodder for another story, let me move on to the latest Alexei Navalny fairytale and to this Browder character cited in the Australian piece.

I needn’t outline the role and the character of Alexei Navalny again here. The blogger who would be kind of Russian was last seen fueling up his drones for another flyby of Sergey Shoygu’s super secret space station home. Having attempted to label Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a criminal for the places he’s vacationed at, Navalny seems unable to stop himself proving the insignificant. I think the best reason for Russians to ignore Putin’s biggest detractor is the simple fact he knows nothing of Russian people. Hey Navalny, heads up, Russians don’t care if Putin is rich, they only care if he does his job. Sorry, this western poster boy of change in Russia, he just sets me off. What an idiot. But let’s move on to another famous profiteer who Putin banished from Russia, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder.

It’s amazing how western mainstream media and the politicians always turn to Putin haters to be experts or to get “proof” on the Russian leader. Haven’t you noticed yet how Russian mafia types like Yukos Oil oligarch Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and before him the now deceased Boris Berezovsky always pop up as “experts” on Putin? Isn’t it a bit strange that news media in the west never seem to cite people with a positive or moderate stance on Russia’s president? I am sure this coincidence is not because of the scarcity of pro-Putin experts. Whatever the reasoning, the Australian article fueled by Navalny’s drone footage dredges up another ousted financial crook who hates Putin’s guts. Most readers will identify Bill Broder with Hermitage Capital, but few will recall that the investment firm was also funded by one Beny Steimetz, the Israeli oligarch and financier just arrested (August 14) by Israeli and Swiss anti-corruption officials for wide scale fraud and money laundering. The Russian privatization shark who was once Israel’s richest man is a subject for another report. I only bring him up here to point at two facets of this war on Putin. First, the Jewish connection in all this is something that just needs to come out. Secondly, the ring of profiteers bent on Putin’s demise all have gigantic skeletons in their wardrobes. A story citing one Putin hater, when investigated, always leads to ten more. This is no coincidence.

Back to Browder, his Hermitage was at one time the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. That was before Vladimir Putin put a stop to the rape of Russia’s legacy and the theft of her assets. This is undeniable fact, and even the lowliest of Russian peasants know it by now. Browder, a Chicago Jew, set out to profit from Russian privatization after Yeltsin, but was thwarted like other sharks when Putin’s hammer fell on other mafiosos. RICO suits, libel cases, tax evasion charges, and ties to some of the seediest characters in world finance highlight the man who pushed the now famous Magnitsky Act into US foreign policy play. It’s no coincidence that Browder has emerged as a central player in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The privateer who made billions off Russian privatization turned into a human rights activist, and now he’s bent on seeing Donald Trump impeached!

The reader might be surprise to discover the source of the statement “Russia is more dangerous than ISIS” was actually Bill Browder, rather than rabid Arizona Senator John McCain. Or was McCain first? Both Russia haters told reporters of the grave danger to the US at the same time actually, back in May of 2017. Perhaps the narrative of US war hawk politicians and ousted financial henchmen has become just that convergent, but I somehow doubt the coincidence. Both Browder and McCain contend that Russian President Vladimir Putin used the country’s primary security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, but neither has shown any proof of their claims. I mention this “coincidental” melding of message for obvious reasons. Or maybe McCain and Browder are now pals as this Browder Tweet on McCain returning to the Senate to do battle against Russia after his hospital stint suggests. What’s most amazing to me is the way FOX and other networks readily use Browder and other suspected criminals without searching out counter arguments for their stories. Maybe Rupert Murdoch can answer that one. And so on, and so on, and so on…

Every time I start researching for one of these stories I end up in a deep and dark rabbit hole of collusion and confusion. In each and every case I end up with Vladimir Putin stoically defending a position against wild assertions with no proof whatsoever. The big picture of the “game” by now is like watching a schoolyard name calling and finger pointing contest. The iconic bullies and thugs are on one end of the yard, while their target stands virtually alone looking as innocent as a lamb for a variety of reasons. It’s become ridiculous, but there’s always more.

A story by Kevin Alfred Strom at the National Vanguard, which was originally published back in 2004, adds light to a facet of the Russia privatization profiteering, and ties into some recent stories of my own here on NEO. “The Silent Coup: Putin vs. the Oligarchs” deals with these ousted oligarchs and the western investors intent on carving up Russia after the wall came down. But more importantly, the piece cites Putin on the case of Jewish mafiosos always seeming to play a role. The story of influence by Israel, AIPAC, and a cadre of Jewish billionaires converge when Strom cites Vladimir Putin in his story. Notable Jewish figures like Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexander Smolensky are highlighted in the story alongside Putin’s lesser publicized views on Zionists in Russia at the time of privatization. The piece also points out the Russian people’s utter hatred for most of these Jewish oligarchs, a hatred that has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism by the way. Since Putin seized the Rothschild/Khodorkovsky share of Yukos Oil, Russia has been divesting herself of the only Zionist plot that matters, the ending of Jewish mafia/oligarch control of the country. Not many readers will realize that Russia’s Central Bank (CBR) is a member of Rothschild BIS.

An article by Alexander Azadgan at KATEHON expands on the Jewish money component, and reiterates the possibility of Putin nationalizing the CBR. Given new sanctions by the US and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev describing them as “full scale economic war” waged on Russia, it’s important to observe Putin’s moves east and especially the new BRICS dealings. For Russians, it matters little if Vladimir Putin has 100 yachts and fifty mansions, as long as Russia is not raped and destroyed by the unscrupulous of the world. Putin’s job is clear, defend Russia – period. His compensation is of little consequence to his people. All we hear, read, and see about Putin’s Russia is from a London, Brussels, or Washington standpoint – never a Moscow one. The influence of Zionist bankers is well known to Russians, and almost unheard of by Americans. The enemy Russia really consists of Zionists and technocrats who do know the name of the game, and the public they use to do their bidding. In the same way the Jewish religion and Jewish people are used for the Zionist bankers’ purposes, the waiting public is leveraged through blind ignorance and propaganda against Russia. For those who believe alternative fairytales I can only say…

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

The NYT’s Yellow Journalism on Russia

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 15, 2017

Reading The New York Times these days is like getting a daily dose of the “Two Minutes Hate” as envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984, except applied to America’s new/old enemy Russia. Even routine international behavior, such as Russia using fictitious names for potential adversaries during a military drill, is transformed into something weird and evil.

In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game “enemy” – “The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a feisty following of would-be patriots online. Starting on Thursday, however, the fictional state, Veishnoriya, a distillation of the Kremlin’s darkest fears about the West, becomes the target of the combined military might of Russia and its ally Belarus.”

This snarky front-page story in Thursday’s print editions also played into the Times’ larger narrative about Russia as a disseminator of “fake news.” You see the Russkies are even inventing “fictional” enemies to bully. Hah-hah-hah! The article was entitled, “Russia’s War Games With Fake Enemies Cause Real Alarm.”

Of course, the U.S. and its allies also conduct war games against fictitious enemies, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the Times. For instance, U.S. war games in 2015 substituted five made-up states – Ariana, Atropia, Donovia, Gorgas and Limaria – for nations near the Caucasus mountains along the borders of Russia and Iran.

In earlier war games, the U.S. used both fictitious names and colors in place of actual countries. For instance, in 1981, the Reagan administration conducted “Ocean Venture” with that war-game scenario focused on a group of islands called “Amber and the Amberdines,” obvious stand-ins for Grenada and the Grenadines, with “Orange” used to represent Cuba.

In those cases, the maneuvers by the powerful U.S. military were clearly intended to intimidate far weaker countries. Yet, the U.S. mainstream media did not treat those war rehearsals for what they were, implicit aggression, but rather mocked protests from the obvious targets as paranoia since we all know the U.S. would never violate international law and invade some weak country! (As it turned out, Ocean Venture ’81 was a dress rehearsal for the actual U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.)

Yet, as far as the Times and its many imitators in the major media are concerned, there’s one standard for “us” and another for Russia and other countries that “we” don’t like.

Yellow Journalism

But the Times’ behavior over the past several years suggests something even more sinister than biased reporting. The “newspaper of record” has slid into yellow journalism, the practice of two earlier New York newspapers – William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World – that in the 1890s manipulated facts about the crisis in Cuba to push the United States into war with Spain, a conflict that many historians say marked the beginning of America’s global empire.

Except in today’s instance, The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America’s Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you’ll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that.

At this stage, the Times doesn’t even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion.” The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media.

Even as neo-Nazi and ultranationalist protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, Yanukovych signaled a willingness to compromise and ordered his police to avoid worsening violence. But compromise wasn’t good enough for U.S. neocons – such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; Sen. John McCain; and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman. They had invested too much in moving Ukraine away from Russia.

Nuland put the U.S. spending at $5 billion and was caught discussing with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who should be in the new government and how to “glue” or “midwife this thing”; McCain appeared on stage urging on far-right militants; and Gershman was overseeing scores of NED projects inside Ukraine, which he had deemed the “biggest prize” and an important step in achieving an even bigger regime change in Russia, or as he put it: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. … Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

The Putsch

So, on Feb. 20, 2014, instead of seeking peace, a sniper firing from a building controlled by anti-Yanukovych forces killed both police and protesters, touching off a day of carnage. Immediately, the Western media blamed Yanukovych.

Shaken by the violence, Yanukovych again tried to pacify matters by reaching a compromise — guaranteed by France, Germany and Poland — to relinquish some of his powers and move up an election so he could be voted out of office peacefully. He also pulled back the police.

At that juncture, the neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists spearheaded a violent putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives. Ignoring the agreement guaranteed by the three European nations, Nuland and the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the coup regime “legitimate.”

However, ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which represented Yanukovych’s electoral base, resisted the coup and turned to Russia for protection. Contrary to the Times’ narrative, there was no “Russian invasion” of Crimea because Russian troops were already there as part of an agreement for its Sevastopol naval base. That’s why you’ve never seen photos of Russian troops crashing across Ukraine’s borders in tanks or splashing ashore in Crimea with an amphibious landing or descending by parachute. They were already inside Crimea.

The Crimean autonomous government also voted to undertake a referendum on whether to leave the failed Ukrainian state and to rejoin Russia, which had governed Crimea since the Eighteenth Century. In that referendum, Crimean citizens voted by some 96 percent to exit Ukraine and seek reunion with Russia, a democratic and voluntary process that the Times always calls “annexation.”

The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a “Kremlin stooge” in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq’s WMD in 2002-03 were called “Saddam apologists.”

But what is particularly remarkable about the endless Russia-bashing is that – because it started under President Obama – it sucked in many American liberals and even some progressives. That process grew even worse when the contempt for Russia merged with the Left’s revulsion over Donald Trump’s election.

Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate.

The Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire U.S. news media joined the “resistance” to Trump’s presidency and embraced the neocon “regime change” goal for Putin’s Russia. Very few people care about the enormous risks that this “strategy” entails.

For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.

The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn’t seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism.

The Times and rest of the mainstream media are just having too much fun hating Russia and Putin to worry about the possible extermination of life on planet Earth.

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

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment