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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

Newsweek Claims Russia Orchestrated Boston Marathon Bombing

Sputnik | September 6, 2017

Online publication Newsweek upped the ante in explosive rhetoric Sunday by suggesting the Tsarnaev brothers, responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack, were operating on behalf of Moscow – even though Russian security agencies tipped off the FBI and CIA that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother presented imminent security risks.

Since evidence is apparently optional for arguments published by Newsweek, this time, an author featured in the publication seems to have looked out onto the world, found it bloody and complicated, and decided to pin any old recent disaster on Russia.

The United Kingdom’s Brexit vote, the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of right-leaning politicians can all be traced back to one single, remarkably effective cause: Moscow. “Russia must accept a share of responsibility” in all of these events, Andrei Kovalev wrote in a September 3 op-ed for Newsweek.

As for the Boston bombing, he asks, “Did the emigrants, the brothers Tsarnaev, of Chechen nationality, responsible for the Boston attack, act on their own initiative? It seems most unlikely.”

Kovalev worked as a diplomat in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev as well as for Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. “Sometimes I am reproached for attributing to the Kremlin too much influence in the world,” he confessed in the article.

In reality, Russian security services sent warnings to multiple US agencies explaining that Chechen-American Tamerlan Tsarnaev had “changed drastically since 2010” and that he and his mother were adherents to “radical Islam” long before the Boston attack occurred. “The Russians were concerned that mother and son were very religious and strong believers, and they could be militants if they returned to Russia,” a US official told the New York Times in 2013.

“You have Russian intelligence services contacting two agencies without our federal government responsible for our national security, the FBI and CIA … they tell us, ‘We believe you have a radical Islamist in your midst,'” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham explained at the time.

Newsweek’s readers quickly pointed out that the claim that Russia had orchestrated the Boston Marathon terror attack originated with Louise Mensch, a former UK member of Parliament who shot to fame as a darling of the Russia-bashing wing of the Trump resistance, but, given her penchant for calling literally any critic a Russian spy, has somewhat fallen from favor. Mensch was recently embarrassed by the Guardian for broadcasting information around the internet that was made up by a hoaxer but supported her “Russians are behind it all” agenda. As Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines host Garland Nixon joked, “pretty much everybody that dies, the death was related to Vladimir Putin,” in Mensch’s world.

​When faced with accusations of spreading deleterious and false information, Mensch doubled down and said the Guardian was being operated by Russian security agency spies, too. The former MP alleged that one of her collaborators, Claude Taylor, had been duped, but that her reporting remained free of falsehoods.

Mensch has nevertheless been published by the New York Times, the Guardian and the Sun in addition to making TV appearances on MSNBC and Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show. A running list of her baseless conspiracies includes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acting as a mole and Putin ordering the assassination of Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart to pave the way for Steve Bannon to take the reins of the organization.

Newsweek, too, has gotten quite good at getting things wrong. It previously deleted two slanderous articles attacking a former Sputnik News editor following a defamation lawsuit settlement levied by now-attorney and former Sputnik weekend editor William Moran. During the scandal, in which the young lawyer represented himself in legal proceedings alleging slander against himself and Sputnik as a whole, Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Jim Impoco was fired. The February ouster was first reported by Politico.

Newsweek was forced to settle with Moran in July. “I brought this case before I was admitted to the bar and was up against the talented attorneys at mega law firm Pepper Hamilton,” Moran said in a statement that month after a settlement was reached between the publication and recent Georgetown Law graduate for an undisclosed sum.

Shortly after, Editor-in-Chief Matt McAllester was forced to take a leave of absence for “personal reasons” in the beginning of August following an age and sex discrimination suit filed against Time Inc. by its former European editor, Catherine Mayer, in which McAllester is featured as the main offender. By August 25, McAllester had been dismissed from his position, the New York Post reported, citing internal company memos.

See Also:

Newsweek Seems to Fire Disgraced Writer Eichenwald After Humiliating Settlement

Newsweek Takes Down Fabricated Sputnik-Trump Collusion Stories After Humiliating Settlement

Newsweek Shamefully Silent as Twitter Demands Retraction From Implicated Writer

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

How Can Vladimir Putin Destroy Non-Existent Democracy?

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 25.05.2017

TIME Magazine’s Bill Powell is a gifted journalist. Anyone who reads the LinkedIn recommendations for the former Newsweek bureau chief will assuredly be impressed. Dozens and dozens of senior editors and journalistic colleagues are there, as are people like Dorinda Elliott, who is the Editorial and Communications Director at Harvard’s prestigious Paulson Institute. Yes, Bill Powell is an American stereotype and storyteller. And his latest piece for Newsweek hits like a expertly wielded meat clever.

Inside Putin’s Campaign to Destroy U.S. Democracy”, that’s the expertly stylized headline Newsweek’s bosses must have desperately needed this week. Reading the introductory paragraphs on how Vladimir Putin more-or-less rescued a chaotic Russia from the Russian robber barons, and how the America and the world reveled in the former KGB operative’s deft potential, I found myself captivated. “Here is the Newsweek I remember”, I caught myself thinking. But that title? I should have known – Powell interjects:

“We forget now, in the midst of the intensifying hysteria in Washington, D.C., about all things Russia, that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin—now commonly portrayed as a cartoon villain by Western politicians and press—had a honeymoon period. Many people back then chose to disregard Putin’s career in the KGB and focused instead on the fact that he had been an energetic aide to the reform-minded mayor of his native St. Petersburg in the immediate post-Soviet era.”

Then masterfully, like a Houdini magician with a keyboard Powell creates the “set up”, he inserts the fallibility of former US presidents, then draws back on the well used wooden handle of the glistening cleaver… Set to cut the meaty brain tissue that connects reality from fiction and PR, the TIME veteran lowers the boom!

“Now Russia is again public enemy No. 1 in the United States, and Putin is on offense around the world. He is the primary backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, thanks to his audacious deployment of Russia’s military to combat the anti-Assad Islamic rebels. He annexed Crimea and sent Russian troops and special operators into eastern Ukraine, where they remain today. In the Far East, he is moving Russia closer to a military alliance with Beijing. And in Europe and the United States, Putin’s cyberwarriors are wreaking havoc.”

In a single paragraph the wordsmith recounts the Obama White House rhetoric, he severs once again the thin tendril of hope that links western nations to an oh-so logical alliance for peace. America’s “thinkers” are forced to think again. Europe is pinned in the middle, as always. And Russia is left with the nagging realization nothing has changed since the Tsar was murdered. Russophobia, the “Great Game”, the globalist quest for all those Russia riches is still on. Newsweek puts familiar Putin quotes under the subtitle “Shining Tsar” – which is strangely appropriate given it’s coming up on the centennial of the October Revolution of 1917.

For his ending, Powell manages to insert Russian mafioso, ousted Yukos billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky once again. And I am snapped back into reality where Newsweek is concerned. The media outlet now owned by IBT Media, which is in turn owned (supposedly) by Etienne Uzac and Johnathan Davis, was the subject of several of my stories in the past. Most pointedly, “Is Newsweek Led by Jesus, or Mikhail Khodorkovsky?” calls to question who really owns IBT, the man some say is the second coming of Jesus himself, the right Korean reverend David J. Jang. Now here I am reverting to familiar themes to combat a perverted mainstream. It’s sad we’re still caught in an inescapable maelstrom of expert paid journalists versus willing narrators of a dissenting view. Some call Russia sympathetic writers like me “Kremlin Trolls”, when the reality of this geo-political situation is a simple matter of choosing the status quo versus the world we were told to dream of. For those who see Russia as the needless victim in all this mess, NATO snatching up one former Soviet boundary after another is the clincher.

Finally, journalists like Bill Powell are brought in as the “go-to” people who either snatch or just maintain credibility for these “owned” media outlets. While the west hammers on state owner RT and others for being Putin’s propaganda bull horns, five thousand times Russia’s media budgets are wagered in the same old crisis game. At the end of Powell’s piece the chips fall into place. Forget the lead and the middle, it’s the title or the ending readers will remember. Here’s his ending:

“Putin may have restored Russian pride, and a semblance of its Great Power status, but the former spymaster may well have overplayed his hand in trying to tilt the 2016 U.S. election to his preferred candidate. He may have gotten the result he wanted—but someday wish he hadn’t.”

Russia as a “great power” equals a new Soviet Union for Newsweek readers. The “former spymaster” in charge labels Vladimir Putin the KGB assassin of old Hollywood. Then saying Putin “tilted” the election, without any proof to back the claim, simply galvanizes the globalist claims. The rest is fortification, and gloating like a Clinton fanatic. Powell should have been paid well for this one, for Newsweek surely retained thousands of liberal readers and Putin haters. Why the “Jesus” owned magazine even got certified Kremlin agents to read. But I’m not ready to subscribe just yet. My guess is that Putin could care less about destroying something that does not exist – something like American democracy. Let’s hear your thoughts.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Media’s Double Standards on Conspiracy Theories #NotNormal

By Nat Parry · Essential Opinion · April 11, 2017

After several months of pushing the “Russiagate” conspiracy theory – a wild-eyed, all-encompassing but somewhat nebulous narrative involving U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, WikiLeaks, the Russian mob, assassinations and certain indiscretions with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel – the U.S. mainstream media is now reverting to its traditional role of downplaying conspiracy theories, particularly those raising questions about the intelligence surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last week.

On Monday, the New York Times published an article titled “Syria Conspiracy Theories Flourish, at Both Ends of the Spectrum,” which lamented the fact that websites on the left and the right have raised doubts about the casus belli for U.S. military action against Syria.

Noting that some alternative news sites have called the chemical attack a “false flag” operation and others have raised the question of whether Trump’s military action was a “wag the dog” diversion tactic, the Times pointedly attempts to “debunk” the internet memes that have been raising doubts about the chemical attack or calling into question the justification for the U.S. military action.

With an aggressiveness not seen at all when it comes to the unsubstantiated “Russian election-hacking” allegations, the Times fires back forcefully on matters such as whether President Bashar al-Assad had reason to use chemical weapons in the first place or whether anti-Assad forces may have had advance knowledge of the sarin attack. The Times article uses curt, all-caps responses to rebut these claims, such as flatly stating, “FALSE,” “NO EVIDENCE,” or “MISLEADING.”

The Times, for example, points out that Information Clearing House has argued that Assad lacked an obvious tactical or strategic reason to use chemical weapons, and therefore the attack may have actually been carried out by one of the terrorist groups operating in Syria such as Al-Nusra Front. As the Times responds, however, “THIS IS MISLEADING.”

Floating a few reasons that Assad’s forces might have conceivably been motivated to conduct a chemical attack, the Times argues that the attack was “consistent with Mr. Assad’s calculated strategy of attempting to drive out the civilian population in rebel strongholds through bombing neighborhoods and civilian targets.” The Syrian leader may have also “felt emboldened” by perceived shifts in U.S. foreign policies and priorities under Trump, the Times speculates.

Of course, this is simply guesswork on the part of the Times, which is not presenting any facts to counter doubts over the official story, but just responding to the doubts with more conjecture. The Times also seems to be cherry-picking some of the more easily “debunked” stories surrounding the Syria case, failing to address legitimate concerns over the lack of proof of Assad’s culpability. These include doubts raised by the former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who told BBC Radio last week that there is “no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was.”

It would not make sense for Assad to launch such an attack, Ford said, claiming that it would be “totally self-defeating.” He also objected to the veracity of claims made by eyewitnesses who claimed that they saw chemical bombs dropping from the air. “Well, you cannot see chemical weapons dropping from the air,” he said. “Such testimony is worthless.”

There are also serious doubts as to whether Syria even possesses the chemical weapons in question, with the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons noting that since 2013, “all of the chemical weapons declared by Syria were removed and destroyed outside of Syrian territory.”

While some governments have claimed that Syria’s declaration about its chemical weapons program may have been incomplete, the OPCW stresses that it has adapted itself “in unprecedented ways” in efforts “to remove, transport and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile in the midst of an active conflict zone.”

With this in mind, Sacha Llorenti, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, last Friday blasted the United States for unilaterally attacking Syria, saying that it recalls the decision 14 years earlier to attack Iraq based on equally questionable intelligence. It is “vital to remember what history teaches us,” Llorenti said, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq and holding up a photo of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell delivering false testimony to the UN Security Council on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

“Whereas an investigation would have allowed us to establish in an objective manner who is responsible for the [chemical] attacks [in Syria], this is an extreme, extreme violation of international law,” he said.

In addition to the doubts that have been raised at the United Nations, a number of the U.S.’s closest G7 allies have refused to implement additional sanctions against Syria without proof of Assad’s guilt.

As the BBC reported on Tuesday, “Sanctions against Russian and Syria will not be put in place until after an investigation into last week’s apparent chemical attack, British government sources said. Members of the G7 group of leading industrialised nations agreed to delay implementing sanctions until there was ‘hard and irrefutable evidence’ over the alleged chemical attack.”

Yet the New York Times and other mainstream U.S. outlets continue to report as undisputed fact that Assad’s government intentionally carried out this attack, and furthermore, that Moscow knew about it in advance.

The sorts of unequivocal retorts that the NYT uses against journalists and bloggers for raising doubts about the official stories could, of course, just as easily be applied to the official stories themselves. When the Associated Press, for example, reported on Tuesday that “The United States has made a preliminary conclusion that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week,” the Times could have responded with an emphatic all-caps retort such as “NO EVIDENCE.”

These retorts could also be used against the accusations of the Russian government engaging in a convoluted conspiracy to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances by hacking John Podesta’s and the DNC’s emails in order to expose the Democratic establishment’s undermining of Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign while simultaneously “elevating” Trump’s candidacy in the media through the so-called “pied piper” strategy, with the evil geniuses of the Kremlin somehow knowing beyond a doubt that this information would sway voters in favor of voting for the least popular major-party nominee in a generation.

Just as the NYT has denounced theories surrounding the Syria chemical attack as lacking evidence, so too could the entire Russiagate narrative be picked apart as lacking any foundation in fact. All that one needs to do is actually read the U.S. intelligence assessment that dubiously concluded that Russia “interfered” in the election without offering anything approaching hard proof of this claim – spending seven full pages instead bashing the Russian network RT for its perceived biases.

Going through the Director of National Intelligence report from last January, the reader is left with few details as to how the extraordinary conclusion was reached that Russia “hacked” the election, which Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others have called an “act of war.”

The closest thing to evidence that could be found in the DNI report was regarding so-called Russian fingerprints on the hacking attacks of Podesta’s and the DNC’s emails, including malware associated with Russian hackers, as well as some Cyrillic letters and the phrase “Felix Edmundovich,” a reference to the founder of the Soviet Union’s secret police.

However, as revealed in subsequent WikiLeaks’ disclosures of the so-called Vault 7 documents, the CIA has developed numerous tools, including a library of foreign malware, that can be used to falsely implicate a foreign intelligence service in a cyber-attack. These revelations called into question the entire basis for Washington’s case against Moscow for allegedly interfering in the U.S. election, but besides a few articles in the alternative press, including at Consortium News, the revelations received scant attention.

Apparently, the disclosures of CIA hacking activities – including new revelations of the CIA deploying malware in Samsung televisions as covert listening devices to spy on unwitting Americans – were not the sort of conspiracy theory considered worthy of sustained media coverage in the United States. In contrast to the months of wall-to-wall coverage of Russiagate, the Vault 7 leaks were largely treated as a one-day story by the mainstream press.

The disparity in coverage speaks to a longstanding aversion of the mainstream media to what it considers illegitimate “new media” encroaching on its territory and peddling conspiracy theories and what is today called “fake news.” This hostility can be traced to the earliest days of the internet.

Twenty years ago, responding to a proliferation of alternative news sites on the World Wide Web – or what was called back then the “information superhighway” – Newsweek magazine ran a 1,800-word article entitled “Conspiracy Mania Feeds Our Growing National Paranoia.” In the piece, Newsweek denounced what it called “conspiracy freaks.”

Explaining a growing acceptance of conspiracy theories as evidence of “mass psychosis,” the article warned that the “ranks of the darkly deluded may be growing” as “conspiracism has become a kind of para-religion.” It took particular aim at the African-American community, which it described as “a hotbed of this kind of suspicion and mistrust,” for believing that “the CIA had spread the crack epidemic by backing Nicaraguan drug dealers whose profits went to the contras.”

Newsweek also criticized Oliver Stone, director of “Platoon” and “JFK,” and Chris Carter, the creator of the popular “X-Files” television series, for promoting dangerous ideas that had the effect of eroding trust in the government. “On ‘The X-Files,’ everything from who killed JFK to why the Buffalo Bills lose so many Super Bowls is traceable to a single master plan,” Newsweek sneered.

Of course, Newsweek wasn’t alone in scoffing at popular conspiracy theories in the ‘90s. In fact, it was conventional wisdom among “respectable” media that government leaders simply do not cross certain lines, and that certain stories, for example, regarding CIA involvement in the cocaine trade – no matter how much evidence backed them up – were off-limits. Those who failed to get on board with this groupthink, for example Gary Webb who wrote a widely disseminated series for the San Jose Mercury News about the CIA-crack cocaine connection, had their careers destroyed.

This trend continued into the 2000s, with millions of angry Americans still seething over the stolen election in 2000 told to “get over it,” and then called crazy for doubting the basis for George W. Bush’s case for invading Iraq in 2003.

A couple years later, those who raised questions about the government’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina were accused by the Washington Post of “racial paranoia” and hawking “conspiracy theories,” such as the widespread belief that New Orleans’ levees may have been intentionally blown up to protect rich neighborhoods at the expense of poorer ones, or to drive low-income African Americans out of town.

But skip ahead a decade, and oddly, this same media that historically has been so hostile to conspiracy theories was seen eagerly pushing conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton’s loss to Trump. Headlines of “Russian election hacking” were freely used by the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times, despite the fact that there is zero evidence that Russia manipulated any voting machines in any state to alter the outcome of the election, or even any substantial proof offered to support the claims that the Kremlin attempted to influence voters’ decisions by exposing private emails between DNC officials.

Nevertheless, the Democrats and the media have coalesced around the conventional wisdom that the election was lost due to a Russian plot, which conveniently absolves the national Democratic Party of any responsibility for losing the election – for example by writing off the white working class vote or nominating a deeply flawed establishment candidate during a decidedly anti-establishment year – while simultaneously calling into question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.

It also feeds into the rallying cry that the Democrats have embraced since losing the election, which has been variations of the theme “This is not normal,” expressed by the hashtag #NotNormal on social media. This theme laments the loss of a more “normal” time, presumably personified by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Typically, the slogan refers to Trump’s controversial dealings with Russia, his unconventional communication style and his extensively documented conflicts of interests, as well as perceived misogyny, nepotism, racism and incompetence in his administration.

Clearly, there is very little that can be considered “normal” about this administration, including the strange role of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who has moved into the White House while the First Lady, Melania Trump, lives in New York. The First Daughter reportedly was instrumental in convincing the President to carry out the unilateral attack on Syria. “Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff,’” Ivanka’s brother Eric Trump told the Telegraph.

While that is certainly not normal, what the Democrats and the media are revealing through their #NotNormal campaign and the official conspiracy theories that they are promoting – while downplaying other theories or doubts about government claims – is how much they actually consider “normal.”

In today’s America, what is normal, according to the bipartisan consensus, are unilateral strikes against countries without evidence and in violation of international law. It is also apparently normal for televisions to spy on law-abiding citizens, and with drone strikes shooting up 432% under the Trump presidency so far, it is apparently quite normal to use flying robots to bomb suspected terrorists (and their eight-year old daughters) half-way around the world. Indefinite detention at the legal black hole of Guantanamo is also rather normal.

After all, these are all policies that have been in place for a decade and a half under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and hope seems to be dwindling for returning to a period of actual normalcy.

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

In Clinton Cuckooland: 1000s-Strong Army of Russian Babushkas is Hacking America

Sputnik – 05.11.2016

If you thought there was nothing left for the Clinton propaganda machine to blame Russia for during this election season, hold on tight!

Newsweek’s infamous Kurt Eichenwald just released another bombshell: the US is being hacked by a massive army of elderly Russian emigrants who, underneath those headscarves, are actually top-notch cyberspies!

Newsweek has finally cracked the case!

Moscow is hacking America on behalf of Donald Trump — it’s an accusation that’s become a familiar refrain for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But who, exactly, are the soldiers behind Putin’s nefarious plan? Senior writer Kurt Eichenwald, who made headlines last month for pushing an equally absurd conspiracy theory about Sputnik’s own role in the intrigue, has the scoop: Western intelligence and law enforcement say tens of thousands of people have been working with Russia on its hacking and disinformation campaign for many years. They include propagandists and cyberoperatives stationed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, located in the southwestern part of Siberia. Operations have also been conducted in the United States, primarily out of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Those involved include a large number of Russian émigrés, as well as Americans and other foreign nationals. Intelligence operations in Europe and the U.S. have determined that the money these émigrés receive for their work is disguised as payments from a Russian pension system.

Evidence? Nah, who needs it.

You read that right: thousands of Russian retirees that moved to the States to live with their kids are hardly who they pretend to be. Those babushkas and dedushkas are really soldiers (or maybe even officers!) in the army of cyberspies hacking America from within for Donald Trump, according to Newsweek.

Why Trump? Because he’s Putin’s puppet, of course! Eichenwald goes on to reiterate his earlier theory, which, according to his own admission, was fed to him by US intelligence. He claims that the Republican nominee rehashed Russian “propaganda” at a rally speech — transmitted to the candidate by none other than yours truly, Sputnik News. What Eichenwald misses entirely is the irony of admitting that he was handed the story by his own government — the very definition of propaganda.

“You need to ask yourself — how does someone like me who is deeply wired into the intelligence community know so fast that you had posted this? It’s not like I was sitting around reading Sputnik. Others are though, and they are not reading it 24-hours a day in real time for the purpose of keeping abreast of the news,” Eichenwald told former Sputnik News writer and editor Bill Moran in an email. Newsweek magazine is displayed on a shelf at a news stand at South Station in Boston, Wednesday, May 5, 2010. The Washington Post Co. is putting Newsweek up for sale in hopes that another owner can figure out how to stem losses at the 77-year-old weekly magazine.

Not to mention that Eichenwald tried to bribe Moran with a job as a political reporter for The New Republic in exchange for his silence, when his lies and attempts at a cover-up were revealed — he also left that out of the new report.

Newsweek’s darling also failed to mention that, since his original story was published, it has been widely debunked across the board as an absolute lie.

The New York Times recently dismissed the myth of a Trump-Putin connection, reporting that the FBI has failed to find any links between the two despite a thorough investigation. The Washington Post also dismissed Eichenwald’s conspiracy theory, openly calling him out. And the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote a piece tearing apart Eichenwald’s false report.

None of these facts have stopped Newsweek’s bizarre crusade to spread this misinformation to smear both Trump and Russia, however. And Newsweek is not alone in its campaign: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday night previewed Eichenwald’s story as an important piece of evidence against Trump, and the next morning Eichenwald himself appeared on CNN to present his latest conspiracy theory. Naturally, none of the Clinton-campaigning correspondents challenged his statements.

To sum up, Eichenwald published an entirely fabricated conspiracy theory, which has been widely debunked. He attempted to bribe a journalist for his silence. He is now continuing his crusade, with new revelations about an army of geriatric ne’er-do-wells, all the while becoming more and more of a laughing stock.

Bravo, Newsweek. Now we know why you went out of print.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Corporate Media Backing Clinton Exploits Orlando Shooting for Passive Holocaust Denial

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | June 16, 2016

Within hours of the mass shooting in Orlando, the corporate media backing neoconservative favorite Hillary Clinton began, almost unanimously, to exploit the opportunity to passively promote holocaust and genocide denial.

Outlets including the NY Times, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, and so on, all referred to the Orlando massacre unequivocally as the worst shooting and/or worst act of gun violence in US history. (CBS News, at the time it was accessed for this piece, was running a large “I’m With Her” ad for Hillary Clinton at the top of its page.) A useful comparison to the corporate assessment might be to imagine if a German civilian gassed a group of people to death and the German press reported it as the worst gassing in German history. After the Paris shooting, the Western press likewise reported that as the worst shooting in recent Parisian history, despite that the Parisian police not long ago massacred some 300 peaceful marchers protesting the French dictatorship in Algeria and dumped their bodies in the river that runs through the city (more info in previous piece).

Native News Online quickly pointed out that the corporate media was almost completely whitewashing “mass killings of American Indians in its reporting” on Orlando. It gave two well-known (as far as these go) examples of worse gun-violence and mass-shootings: some 300 Native men, women, and children, were massacred at Wounded Knee, and 70 to 180 were massacred at Sand Creek.

One commenter on the Native News piece shared that she “wrote to every single news outlet yesterday from the New York Times, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and Salon to CNN, NBC, and the BBC. I have yet to receive a reply from any of them with the exception of the Oregonian, who changed its language immediately. They also informed me that the Associated Press has just begun to change its language. I’m hoping the Guardian and BBC begin to do the same too.”

Another commenter on the Native News piece gave a short list of some acts of gun-violence, mass-shootings, or mass killings perpetrated in US history, by US forces:

1864 – 300 Yana in California
1863 – 280 Shoshone in Idaho
1861 – 240 Wilakis in California
1860 – 250 Wiyot in California
1859 – 150 Yuki in California
1853 – 450 Tolowa in California
1852 – 150 Wintu in California
1851 – 300 Wintu in California
1850 – 100 Pomo in California
1840 – 140 Comanches in Colorado
1833 – 150 Kiowa in Oklahoma
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1782 – 100 Lanape in Pennsylvania
1730 – 500 Fox in Illinois
1713 – 1000 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1712 – 1000 Fox in Michigan
1712 – 300 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1704 – 1000 Apalachee killed & 2000 sold into slavery in North Carolina
1676 – 100 Algonquian and Nipmuc in Massachusetts.
1676 – 100 Occaneechi in Virginia
1675 – 340 Narragansett in Rhode Island
1644 – 500 Lanape in New York
1640 – 129 Massapeag in New York
1637 – 700 Pequot in Connecticut
1623 – 200 Powhatan & Pamunkey in Virginia with “poison wine”

Professor David E. Stannard describes one such massacre, wherein US forces weakened a Delaware group of Native men, women, children, and elders through starvation, convinced them it would be in their best interest to disarm, then tied them up and exterminated them and mutilated their dead bodies. Stannard notes that such massacres by US forces “were so numerous and routine that recording them eventually becomes numbing”. (American Holocaust, pp. 125/6)

A couple of corporate news outlets used somewhat more precise language to describe the Orlando massacre, editorializing (while again presenting it as fact) that it was the ‘worst shooting in modern US history’.

However, this still leaves unstated the writer’s opinion of what constitutes ‘modern’. The wounded knee massacre took place in 1898, and the Black Wall Street massacre, for example, in which 55-400 people were murdered and a wealthy black community in Oklahoma ethnically cleansed, took place in 1921. (More examples.)

And, of course, the US has massacred millions of people, many of them with rifles and other types of guns, but also in far worse ways, outside the territory it officially claims, and continues to do so. Obama recently massacred almost a hundred people at one time with what could be viewed as an AR-15 on steroids. Is any of this part of ‘modern US history’? Why or why not? The qualifications are unstated and thus subjective. The vague language from the neoliberal, government-linked corporate outlets may lead readers to believe that all of US history is included in their ‘factual’ statements, and that the US has never massacred more than fifty people anywhere.

In some cases, this impression will have been intentional on the part of the oligarch mouthpiece outlets, which have an interest in fostering a benevolent image of the US to help elites further capture global markets . In others, it will have been a result of conveniently self-aggrandizing ignorance on behalf of the writers and editors – an ignorance that makes an important contribution to their job security.

As some of them partially or belatedly demonstrated, all of the corporate outlets could have easily avoided any holocaust/genocide-denial by calling the shooting the worst by a single civilian on US territory in at least the last thirty years, or any number of other obvious, simple, direct phrasings, which are supposed to be integral to journalism, anyway.

But as John Ralston Saul points out, the neoliberal/neoconservative ideology relies on the ‘whitewashing of memory’. That doesn’t always work, though, especially on survivors of US and Western genocides, which is why, as Ralston Saul further notes, the West and its proxies are behind most of the global murders of writers, who may try to expose facts and evidence that interfere with the West’s historical whitewashing.

Since the Orlando massacre, both Clinton and Trump have called for further escalation of Western aggression in the Middle East.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry. Updates on Twitter.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time for the western media to send real journalists to Russia & Ukraine

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | August 3, 2015

The media’s use of young, inexperienced freelancers in Ukraine has long been a disaster waiting to happen. Last weekend’s obviously fabricated “dirty bomb” nonsense is further proof.

I’ve said it dozens of times. I’ll now repeat it. The western media needs to send qualified, experienced journalists to cover Russia and Ukraine. Especially at this particular moment, when civil war rages in the latter and the former is experiencing significant economic and foreign policy challenges.

The practice of using unskilled, amateur hacks in the region, no matter how noble their intentions, is unfair to readers and viewers. It’s also unjust to the wannabe journalists themselves. As non-staff members (many don’t even have contracts) they lack the usual protections afforded to media professionals on foreign postings. Many working in Eastern Ukraine have only rudimentary Russian-language skills and are unable to afford competent translators and security.

Newsdesks back home will always demand coverage be tailored to certain tastes. However, staff status supplies a safety blanket that empowers them to resist some of the more ludicrous suggestions – particularly those that may endanger them. Freelancers and short-term contract workers don’t have such luxuries. The former are usually paid by the article or appearance, which forces them to desperately hustle to be published. It sometimes encourages them to make up or exaggerate stories.

Decline in standards

Since Ukraine’s Maidan protests kicked off over a year and a half ago now, the western media has dipped in and out of events. Around the time of the 2014 Kiev coup and later following the MH17 disaster, most credible outlets did send competent reporters from their headquarters.

During these periods, coverage improved immeasurably. Sadly, the rest of the time they’ve used local stringers or inexperienced hacks who emerged from the Moscow and Kiev expat press. The standard of these publications is, frankly, laughable. Indeed, they’d compare most unfavorably to many local freesheet rags in the British Isles, let alone paid-for newspapers.

There are exceptions, notably the BBC, which, to be fair, has humongous resources. Indeed, the Beeb even sent their renowned foreign correspondent Fergal Keane to Donbass for an extended period. Nevertheless, the rest of the UK and American media has left the A-team at home. Instead, we are treated to the best efforts of low-paid beat hacks, many of whom are learning on the job.

Veterans of the late Soviet period and the Yeltsin years, a time when giants of journalism walked Moscow’s streets are, privately, aghast. Following a recent RT op-ed when I questioned the quality of contemporary reportage, I was amazed by how many former Moscow correspondents contacted me.

“Newspapers have no money for translators and drivers and the like. There’s a very small pool of people who can speak Russian and write reasonably well in English,” mused one former British great. An American legend observed: “They are now using the type of guys (sic) we used to use for illness and holiday cover to actually run the bureau. It’s mind-bogglingly silly. Russia is a delicate posting.”

The menace of unreality

Indeed it is. Yet, right now, Ukraine is even more sensitive. An inaccurate report from the country’s eastern war zone could cost lives or raise tensions. Or both. In February, a hoax report in the Washington Free Beacon encouraged US senators to urge the White House to act swiftly to counter a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine. There was a problem. The photographic evidence was years old and predated the Ukraine crisis. It later emerged that the photos had been supplied to Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma by a Ukrainian “delegation” to the US capital.

A US senator from an earlier age, Hiram Warren Johnson, is credited as first observing that “the first casualty when war comes is truth.” During the Ukrainian civil war, Johnson’s theory has been proven countless times, by both sides. Far too often, the western media accepts Ukrainian misinformation as genuine. From estimates of hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers inside the country to, obviously inaccurate, death toll numbers. The Russian press is equally guilty of parroting hyperbolic statements from the rebel side. An infamous example was the allegation that a 10-year-old child had been crucified in Slavyansk last year.

While the various reports of Russian “invasions” can be laughed off, like this hilarious Daily Beast propaganda effort, sometimes the deliberate manipulation of facts is far more sinister. Incidentally, as an example of media negligence on Russia, the Daily Beast employs a “Russia expert” who has never lived in the country and can’t speak the language. Do the outlet’s management even countenance how insulting this is to their readers?

This weekend, in the pages of The Times of London and Newsweek, we saw exactly what happens when media concerns use greenhorn stringers in sensitive situations. Instead of sending an experienced staffer to Ukraine, both have recently collaborated with Maxim Tucker. Tucker, a former Amnesty International activist, who doesn’t hide his pro-Maidan credentials, published the same story in both. The Times version was headlined, “Ukraine rebels ‘building dirty bomb’ with Russian scientists.” Meanwhile, Newsweek went for “Ukraine Says Pro-Russia Rebels Are Building a Dirty Bomb.”

Incendiary stuff. If true, it could feasibly ignite a major diplomatic, perhaps even military, stand-off. Luckily, the story is fiction. This is blindingly obvious to anyone with even a minute comprehension of the region. Newsweek and The Times have embarrassed themselves. At the same time, Tucker has exposed himself as being seriously out his depth. Even his hack-pack colleagues are distancing themselves from this nonsense. Tucker, either knowingly or unwittingly, has fallen hook, line and sinker for Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) disinformation. Unsophisticated misinformation at that. In fact, typically Soviet in its execution, going for the big lie.

Allow me to explain why Tucker’s two, almost identical, pieces are total rubbish. Tucker himself, along with most western hacks in Ukraine, asserts that Russia is backing the east Ukrainian rebels. If this were true, why would the rebels need to “research” dirty bombs? Russia, currently uniquely, can send people into space – such a device would be child’s play to its scientists. Or is Tucker contradicting himself and now alleging that Russia is not arming the insurgents?

There are a few more blatantly obvious holes in the supposition. Tucker writes: “The SBU said it was not clear from those conversations whether the specialists were employees of the Russian state or private individuals. The transcripts of these conversations could not be provided.” Why could the transcripts not be provided? It’s abundantly clear that Tucker’s sole source is the SBU, an organization not noted for fealty to the truth.

Social media war

“The dossier includes three documents, written in Russian, that appear to be military orders from DPR leaders to subordinate commanders at the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Emergency Situations, and the Donetsk chemical factory. They were allegedly downloaded with hundreds of others when SBU agents took control of a rebel email address in the first week of July.”

Is Tucker seriously saying that the rebels discussed bombs by email? Why not VKontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook) or Twitter? In fact, if they were that stupid, perhaps they posted a few postcards on the topic too?

Tucker also claims: “The OSCE is believed to have raised the issue with the Kremlin at talks in Minsk on July 21, and is expected to bring in its own specialist to examine the bunker at the plant.” He doesn’t say who believes the OSCE has done this.

However, the biggest sign this article is a piece of low-grade fiction is contained in what Tucker omits. He fails to explain how the SBU believes the rebels would deliver the “bomb.” The Ukrainian rebels have no air force. Hence, the only feasible route would be by truck. If so, how would the vehicle bypass Ukraine’s line of control?

I am sure that Tucker is aware that in 2010 the US paid for the installation of Radiation Portal Monitors at all Ukrainian border posts to prevent the smuggling of radioactive material. As a result, the only places the rebels could use a “dirty bomb” are either inside Donbass or inside Russia. Unless their leadership has completely lost its marbles, this would make no sense.

Newsweek and The Times are among dozens of respectable media outlets who need to send proper, qualified journalists to Russia and Ukraine. Cutting corners insults their readers. Journalism is a serious craft. It mustn’t be left to amateurs, no matter how well intentioned their efforts.

~

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He began his career in journalism aged 15 in his home town of Carlow, Ireland, with the Nationalist & Leinster Times, while still a schoolboy. Later he studied journalism in Dublin and worked for the Weekender in Navan before joining the Irish Independent. Following a period in London, he joined Ireland On Sunday, later the Irish Mail on Sunday. He was theater critic of the Daily Mail for a period and also worked in news, features and was a regular op-ed writer. Bryan also worked in Los Angeles. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT. Bryan is particularly interested in social equality, European geopolitics, sport and languages. He has lived in Berlin, Russia and the USA.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , | 1 Comment

Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin?

The latest hot topic in the Russian media. Russian politicians are talking about it. Historical precedent and behavior of Western media suggests that they are.

RI Interview | October 24, 2014

The Saker

A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media.

Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don’t understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions.

Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups.

Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an “information war” consisting of “personal attacks” on Putin.

The western media hit a new low…

The day before another member of Putin’s inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists “an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia.”

The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country.  The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change.

They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which cannot be explained by a vague popular zeitgeist in the West, but is more likely the result of a dedicated effort to introduce this defamation into the news flow.

Newsweek has been one of the most virulent Putin-bashers for years

The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.

Here are some examples they point to:

  • Portraying him as a scheming dictator trying to rebuild a repressive empire.
  • Claiming he personally ordered the murder of a number of journalists, and personally ordered a KGB defector to be murdered with radiation poisoning.
  • Frequently citing unsubstantiated rumors he is having an affair with a famous gymnast.
  • Allegations that he has stashed away billions for his personal benefit, without providing evidence.
  • Recent article in newsweek claiming he leads a luxurious and lazy lifestyle, sleeping late.
  • Recent article in NYT focusing on a supposed personal arrogance.
  • Hillary Clinton mentioning in speech after speech that he is a bad guy, a bully, that one must confront him forcefully.
  • Frequently using pejoratives to describe his person – “a jerk and a thug” (Thomas Friedman this week in the NYT)
  • Mis-quoting him on his regret about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • Articles about a supposed super-luxury villa built for him in southern Russia.
  • The over-the top headlines in the western media (they were worst of all in Germany) portraying him personally responsible for murdering the victims of MH17.
  • And soft stuff – magazine covers making him look sinister, monstrous, etc.

RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

———————————–

So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve “regime change” in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least “regime weakening” and “Russia weakening”.

So this is a US government program?

Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government two main reasons:

1.  He partially, but not fully, restored Russia’s sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

2.  He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US “deep state” as an existential threat which has to be crushed.    … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

Yes, absolutely

It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again…  Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note:  Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination.  Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

Yes, of course.  Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public  … Putin’s popularity is higher than ever before .., there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is “selling out” Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin’s policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again – which appears very likely – and if such an attack is successful – which is less likely but always possible – then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy…

So you are saying that if the Ukrainian military strengthens its position enough to deliver a serious blow to the East Ukrainians, the US can use this as a method to strike at Putin’s support base…

Yes, that’s right …  there are a lot of “fake patriots” in Russia and abroad who will reject any negotiated solution and who will present any compromise as a “betrayal”.  They are the “useful idiots” used by western special services to smear and undermine Putin.

Is it limited to government special ops, or are there other groups who might have an interest in doing this?

Yes, well here is something that most people in the west don’t appreciate… there is a major behind-the scenes struggle among Russian elites between what I call the “Eurasian Sovereignists” (basically, those who support Putin) and what I call the “Atlantic Integrationists” (those whom Putin refers to as the “5th column).

The western media talks about this as the struggle between Russian liberals and conservatives, reformers and reactionaries, right?

Well its sort of like that, but not exactly…

The former see Russia’s future in the Russian North and East and want to turn Russia towards Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world, while the latter want Russia to become part of the “North Atlantic” power configuration.

The Atlantic Integrationists are now too weak to openly challenge Putin – whose real power base is his immense popular support – but they are quietly sabotaging his efforts to reform Russia while supporting anti-Putin campaigns.

Regarding the revelations of CIA activities in Germany, do you think this is going on in other countries, in the US?

I am sure that this is happening in most countries worldwide.  The very nature of the modern corporate media is such that it makes journalists corrupt.

As the French philosopher Alain Soral says “nowadays a reporter is either unemployed or a prostitute”.  There are, of course, a few exceptions, but by and large this is true.

This is not to say that most journalists are on the take.  In the West this is mostly done in a more subtle way – by making it clear which ideas do or do not pass the editorial control, by lavishly rewarding those journalists who ‘get it’ and by quietly turning away those who don’t.

If a journalist or reporter commits the crime of “crimethink” he or she will be sidelined and soon out of work.

There is no real pluralism in the West where the boundaries of what can be said or not are very strictly fixed.

Ok, but is it like what has been revealed in Germany, …similar specific operational programs in France, the UK, Italy, Latin America, etc.

Yes, one has to assume so – it is in their interests to have them and there is no reason for them not to.

As for the CIA, it de-facto controls enough of the corporate media to “set the tone”.  As somebody who in the past used to read the Soviet press for a living, I can sincerely say that it was far more honest and more pluralistic than the press in the USA or EU today.

Joseph Goebbels or Edward Bernays could not have imagined the degree of sophistication of modern propaganda machines.

If the US is doing it, can’t one assume other governments are too?  Are the Russians doing it against western leaders?

I think that all governments try to do that kind of stuff.  However, what makes the US so unique it a combination of truly phenomenal arrogance and multi-billion dollar budgets.

The US “deep state” owns the western corporate media which is by far the most powerful media on the planet.  Most governments can only do that inside their own country … to smear a political opponent or discredit a public figure, but they simply do not have the resources to mount an international strategic psyop campaign.  This is something only the US can do.

So foreign governments are at a great disadvantage in this arena vis-a-vis the US?

Absolutely.

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

After NATO Strike Kills 8 Afghan Women, Pundits Still Wonder: Why Do They Hate Us?

By Peter Hart – FAIR – 09/17/2012

The protests and violence in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have caused a notable uptick in media discussions about, as Newsweek’s cover puts it, “Muslim Rage.”

Part of the corporate media’s job is to make sure real political grievances are mostly kept out of the discussion. It’s a lot easier to talk about angry mobs and their peculiar religion than it is to acknowledge that maybe some of the anger has little to do with religion at all.

Take the news out of Afghanistan yesterday: A NATO airstrike killed eight women in the eastern province of Laghman who were out collecting firewood. This has happened before. And attacks that kill a lot of Afghans–whether accidental or not–tend to be covered the same way–quietly, and with a focus not on the killing but on the ramifications.

So yesterday if you logged into CommonDreams, you may have seen this headline:

NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills 8 Women

Now look for the same news in the New York Times today (9/17/12). It’s there–but the headline is this:

Karzai Denounces Coalition Over Airstrikes

The Times gave a clear sense of what was important: “Mr. Karzai’s condemnation was likely to rankle some Western officials…” the paper’s Matthew Rosenberg explained, who went on to explain that

the confrontational tone of the statement was a sharp reminder of the acrimony that has often characterized relations between Mr. Karzai and his American benefactors.

In the Washington Post, the NATO airstrikes made the front page–sort of. Readers saw this headline at the website:

4 troops killed in southern Afghanistan insider attack

As you might have already guessed, the killings of Afghan women are a secondary news event:

Four U.S. troops were killed Sunday at a remote checkpoint in southern Afghanistan when a member of the Afghan security forces opened fire on them, military officials said. The attack brought to 51 the number of international troops shot dead by their Afghan partners this year. The insider attack came on the same day that NATO warplanes killed nine women gathering firewood in the mountains outside their village in an eastern province, according to local officials.

One has to wonder whether, absent the deaths of U.S. troops, the airstrike would have made the news at all.

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | Comments Off on After NATO Strike Kills 8 Afghan Women, Pundits Still Wonder: Why Do They Hate Us?

9/11 changed everything… for Henry Kissinger and friends

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 8, 2012

As his official biographer Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek of the infamous diplomat’s recent triumphant return to his alma mater:

Then something remarkable happened. Spontaneously, the audience gave Kissinger an ovation—a standing ovation in many cases. The remarkable thing is that most of those clapping were undergraduates.

Welcome to the new generation gap. In the question-and-answer session, the handful of nasty questions came from aging baby boomers. The attitude of the students was diametrically opposite. Many had stood in line for an hour to get in. At the end, they thronged the stage to take photographs with Kissinger and ask for his autograph.

A cynic might put this down to youthful innocence. “To them, Vietnam is just history,” I heard a  faculty member mutter, “like the Civil War.” Yes and no. The 1970s are indeed  history if you were born in 1992. But the generation that came of age after 9/11 has a fundamentally different attitude to war than the ponytailed protester.

The Obama presidency has shown that liberals, too, must sometimes use force to uphold the nation’s security: surging in Afghanistan, helping overthrow a bad regime in Libya, killing foes (among them a U.S. citizen) with drones and hit squads.

Who knows? Maybe one day a successor to Hitchens will denounce the “war crimes” of Obama. But if so, his readers will be in their 60s or older. A younger and wiser generation has welcomed Kissinger back to Harvard.

The September 11 attacks proved an ill wind too for AIG, which saw a $40 billion surge in its market capitalization post-9/11. As Jeff Gates observes in Guilt By Association, “AIG had been sufficiently prescient to invest 93% of its $700 billion-plus portfolio in bonds, compared with with the portfolios of it three primary competitors which were invested 55-60% in bonds.” Henry Kissinger was then chair of AIG’s International Advisory Board.

May 8, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on 9/11 changed everything… for Henry Kissinger and friends