Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:20 am

Bill O’Reilly hosted a fake Swedish defense “advisor” to fearmonger about refugees. Swedish Armed Forces Press Secretary: "We do not know who he is."
by Nick Fernandez
February 27, 2017

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Fox News has been accused, yet again, of using deceptive tactics to fearmonger about refugees in Sweden.

On the February 23 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly brought on a guest named Nils Bildt, who was introduced as “a Swedish defense and national security advisor,” to discuss Sweden’s refugee policies. During the segment, Bildt argued that Swedish authorities “are unable … to socially integrate” refugees, and claimed that, as a result, “There is a problem with socially deviant activity, there is a problem with crime, [and] there is a problem with areas or hotspots of crime” in Sweden. Bildt alleged that these “problems” are“not being openly and honestly discussed … because if you don’t agree with the liberal, shall we say, common agenda, then you are viewed as an outsider or not even taken seriously.”

The Swedish Armed Forces, however, do not appear to know who Bildt is. According to a translation of an article in the Swedish outlet Göteborgs-Posten, the press secretary of the Swedish Armed Forces has said that they “do not know who [Bildt] is,” and that he is “definitely not a spokesman for the Armed Forces.” The translated Göteborgs-Posten article reported that Bildt currently lives in Japan.

O’Reilly’s characterization of Bildt as “a Swedish defense and national security adviser” is the latest deceptive attempt from Fox News to portray the refugee population in Sweden as deviant and “unable … to socially integrate.” Just two days earlier, on February 21, Fox host Tucker Carlson showed an interview between filmmaker Ami Horowitz and two Swedish police officers about the supposed surge in refugee violence in the country. After the segment ran, the officers featured in the interview were “shocked” by the deceptive editing of the interview, claimed they were not asked about immigration at all, and asserted “that their testimony had been taken out of context.”

Right-wing media have claimed that the Swedish government is “importing thousands of men from countries … that embrace rape for men as something that is acceptable” and that Swedish authorities “don’t want to tell the world what is going on” with their refugee population, and have attempted to revive the fearmongering myth of Muslim “no-go zones” in Sweden.

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Fake Sweden expert on Fox News – has criminal convictions in US, no connection to Swedish security
by Dagens Nyheter
February 26, 2017

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Fox News continues to focus on the debate about how immigration is breaking Sweden. One guest last night, described as a ”Swedish defense and national security advisor”, spoke about the problems caused by criminality in Swedish cities and suburbs. But neither the Swedish Defense Ministry nor Foreign Office have heard of the expert. Nils Bildt, who called for an “open and honest” debate on crime, has previously been convicted of a violent offence in the United States.

President Trump's statements about Sweden, based on a report on his favourite TV-channel Fox News, continue to drive the debate about the country in the United States. Sweden is portrayed as a nation plagued by crime and rape, in large part due to immigration.

This Friday the matter was the focus of debate during the conservative Fox-presenter Bill O’Reilly's show, where Nils Bildt confirmed Donald Trump's negative view of Sweden. Nils Bildt was introduced by Fox as a ”Swedish defense and national security advisor”, which has caused more than a few raised eyebrows.

Bildt said that it is impossible to ”have an open and honest debate in Sweden about integration” and that the politicians ”has absolutely no systematic plan for integrating mass amounts of immigrants to become productive members of society”.

– The Swedish political debate is completely false. If you don’t agree with the liberal, common agenda you are viewed as an outsider and not taken seriously, said Bildt also.

And, commenting about crime:

– There is a problem with crime, there is a problem with areas or hotpost of crime, be it in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm or the suburbs thereof and these things are not openly discussed.

Marie Pilsäter at the Swedish Defense Ministry says that no-one called Nils Bildt works there. ”We have no spokesman by that name”, she said. The Foreign Office also denies that he works there. ”We do not know who he is.”

Nils Bildt is the son of Sven Tolling, well know in Swedish equestrian circles. Nils Bildt emigrated from Sweden in 1994. Nine years later he changed his last name from Tolling to Bildt, and he now runs several security companies in the United States. His last known address, according to Swedish registers, is in Tokyo. It is unclear if his companies are still in business.

Nils Bildt, who spoke on Fox News about crime in Sweden, is convicted of a violent offence himself, according to documents from Arlington General District Court in Virginia. Bildt was arrested on the 19th of June, 2014, for assaulting a law enforcement person and for obstruction of justice, after threatening an official [Case number: GC14002638-00].

He was sentenced to one year in prison on the 10th of November the same year. He was also convicted of public inebriation at the same time. Nils Bildt, in an e-mail to DN, says he is ”unaware of the allegations” and therefore cannot comment.

Nils Bildt sent a short e-mail to DN earlier on Friday, explaining why he was given the title of ”Swedish defense and national security advisor”: ”I appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News. The title was chosen by Fox News's editor – I had no personal control over what title they chose. I am an independent analyst based in the USA”, he wrote.

In a statement from Fox New to Dagens Nyheter, the producer of the network’s news show The O’Reilly Factor, David Tabacoff, says:

”Our booker made numerous inquiries and spoke to people who recommended Nils Bildt and after pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening.”

Johan Wiktorin, a former defense analyst at the Military Intelligence and Security Service, MUST, says that he has never heard of Nils Bildt. ”He is unknown in Sweden as an expert on national security. The depiction of Sweden as a problem country in American media is a disturbing trend.”

English translation by Amanda Johansson Murie.

Correction: Marie Pilsäter was incorrectly spelled Marie Pisäter in an earlier version of this article.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:27 am

This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made. BuzzFeed News traced a group of liberal and conservative websites back to the same company. “The product they’re pitching is outrage,” said one liberal writer.
by Craig Silverman
Feb. 27, 2017

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Liberal Society / Conservative 101

The websites Liberal Society and Conservative 101 appear to be total opposites. The former publishes headlines such as “WOW, Sanders Just Brutally EVISCERATED Trump On Live TV. Trump Is Fuming.” Its conservative counterpart has stories like “Nancy Pelosi Just Had Mental Breakdown On Stage And Made Craziest Statement Of Her Career.”

So it was a surprise last Wednesday when they published stories that were almost exactly the same, save for a few notable word changes.

After CNN reported White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was “sidelined from television appearances,” both sites whipped up a post — and outrage — for their respective audiences. The resulting stories read like bizarro-world versions of each other — two articles with nearly identical words and tweets optimized for opposing filter bubbles. The similarity of the articles also provided a key clue BuzzFeed News followed to reveal a more striking truth: These for-the-cause sites that appeal to hardcore partisans are in fact owned by the same Florida company.

Liberal Society and Conservative 101 are among the growing number of so-called hyperpartisan websites and associated Facebook pages that have sprung up in recent years, and that attracted significant traffic during the US election. A previous BuzzFeed News analysis of content published by conservative and liberal hyperpartisan sites found they reap massive engagement on Facebook with aggressively partisan stories and memes that frequently demonize the other side’s point of view, often at the expense of facts.

Jonathan Albright, a professor at Elon University, published a detailed analysis of the hyperpartisan and fake news ecosystem. Given the money at stake, he told BuzzFeed News he’s not surprised some of the same people operate both liberal and conservative sites as a way to “run up their metrics or advertising revenue.”

“One of the problems that is a little overlooked is that it’s not one side versus the other — there are people joining in that are really playing certain types of political [views] against each other,” Albright said.

And all it takes to turn a liberal partisan story into a conservative one is to literally change a few words.

Liberal Society’s story about Conway’s alleged TV ban ran with the headline, “White House FINALLY Gives Kellyanne Conway The Boot, Are You Glad?” Things were more grim over at Conservative 101: “White House Just Gave Conway The Boot, Prepare To Be Infuriated.”

Both stories talked of her being given “the boot,” and both underplayed the fact that her absence from TV was temporary, given she was due to be on Fox News that very night.

The stories unfolded in tandem from there.

“Kellyanne Conway has been a terrible communications director for Donald Trump,” were the first words of the story for liberals.

“Kellyanne Conway has been the go-to communications director for Donald Trump,” said the one for conservatives.

They embedded the same tweets from Conway and MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. They used the same quotes from the CNN story. They chose almost the exact same wording to talk about Conway being “banned” from major TV networks. But, critically, the conservative version inserted a reference to the “mainstream liberal media”:

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“Are you glad to see Conway gone?” asked Liberal Society at the end of its post.

“Will you miss seeing Conway on TV?” asked Conservative 101.

The stories read like they were stamped out of the same content machine because they were. Using domain registration records and Google Analytics and AdSense IDs, BuzzFeed News determined that both sites are owned by American News LLC of Miami.

That company also operates another liberal site, Democratic Review, as well as American News, a conservative site that drew attention after the election when it posted a false article claiming that Denzel Washington endorsed Trump. It also operates GodToday.com, a site that publishes religious clickbait.

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Ben Collins ✔ @oneunderscore__
This Facebook trending story is 100% made up.
Nothing in it is true.
This post of it alone has 10k shares in the last six hours.
2:01 PM - 14 Nov 2016


Liberal Society, Democratic Review, and God Today all have the same Google Analytics ID in their source code, which means they are connected. Domain registration records show that American News LLC is the owner of God Today. (The other two sites have private ownership records.)

Conservative 101 and American News have the same Google AdSense ID and domain records show that the latter is also registered to American News LLC. Corporate records list John Crane and Tyler Shapiro as officers of the company, and Crane is listed in domain ownership records. They did not respond to three emails and a phone message from BuzzFeed News.

Domain records suggest they began as conservative news publishers. John Crane acquired the AmericanNews.com domain in 2014 and added Conservative101.com in May of 2016. The company moved into liberal partisan news with the registration of DemocraticReview.com in June of last year and LiberalSociety.com a month later. (Their religious clickbait site, GodToday.com, was registered in February of last year.)

They also appear to run several large Facebook pages that play a major role in helping their partisan content generate social engagement and traffic. Content from American News is pushed out via a page with more than 5 million fans, while Liberal Society’s stories are promoted on a page with over 2 million fans.

Given the anti-Trump aspect of the Conway story, it’s not surprising that the liberal version performed better on Facebook than the conservative one. Liberal Society’s story generated over 40,000 shares, reactions, and comments, while the Conservative 101 version earned less than 4,000.

That’s not the norm for these sites. An analysis of their top-performing content on Facebook using data from BuzzSumo found that American News is by far the most successful of the sites. It also appears to push the envelope more than the others when it comes to misleading and false headlines. Since the election, it has generated huge engagement for stories that falsely claimed Miley Cyrus and Rosie O’Donnell were moving away from the US “for good” due to Trump’s victory. It also scored a hit with a false report that Nicole Kidman was “blackballed” in Hollywood for saying the country should come together to support Trump now that he’s the president. Those three stories alone generated more than 2.5 million Facebook engagements.

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American News

In contrast, Liberal Society’s biggest hit since the election is headlined “Obama Addresses Republicans: ‘I Didn’t Create Trump, Your Bigotry Toward Me Did’ – But He Has A Plan.” It generated just over 360,000 Facebook engagements. Even though the headline presents it as a direct quote, Obama did not say those exact words. It appears the headline was largely copied from a March 2016 article on liberal site Occupy Democrats, which reported accurately on comments Obama made at the time. (It also did not use quotation marks in its original headline.)

Grant Stern is a progressive who writes a column for Occupy Democrats and is the executive director of Photography Is Not A Crime. BuzzFeed News sent him American News LLC’s liberal and conservative sites and asked him to comment on the fact that they’re run by the same company.

“Those websites are marketing websites,” he said after looking at the content, “and the product they’re pitching is outrage.”

It’s unclear if the people running American News LLC use the same writers for their conservative and liberal websites, or if they have separate teams. What is clear is at least one of their sites is using fake author photos. The author page for God Today lists two writers, Henry Freeman and John Sullivan. The photos for these writers are taken from stock video footage. Sullivan appears in a Shutterstock video entitled “Mature man playing golf on golf course.” Freeman’s photo is taken from footage entitled, “Young man writing in notebook in city park.” (After this article was published, God Today removed the photos and bios for Sullivan and Freeman from the authors page.)

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Liberal Society / Shutterstock

Liberal Society is the only partisan site owned by the group that lists its writers. It does not have photos but the bios for Travis Davidson and Jacob Richardson are written in an identical style to the ones on God Today. Here’s Henry Freeman’s from God Today:

Henry Freeman grew up in North Carolina and attended the University of Alabama, where he studied journalism. He has a passion for writing and thoroughly enjoys bringing smiles to the faces of his readers. He hopes to one day become an entrepreneur and give back to his community.


This is Jacob Richardson’s on Liberal Society:

Jacob Richardson was raised in New York City. He attended UC Berkeley where he studied Political Science and Journalism. He now lives in California and says he will live there for the rest of his life. He has a passion for staying current with global news, including politics, business, and sports. He plans on getting married in the near future and starting a family.


Now that it has at least two liberal sites and two conservative ones, American News LLC appears to be setting its sights on expanding its presence in the religious clickbait space. On Feb. 17 John Crane registered two new domains: DevoutAmerica.com and EthicalAmerican.com. Neither are active as of now.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:50 am

Provoking nuclear war by media
by John Pilger
23 August 2016

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The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually "condemned ethnic cleansing", opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia. Buried near the end of a 2,590 page judgement on Karadzic last February, this truth further demolishes the propaganda that justified Nato's illegal onslaught on Serbia in 1999.


Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006, alone in his cell in The Hague, during what amounted to a bogus trial by an American-invented "international tribunal". Denied heart surgery that might have saved his life, his condition worsened and was monitored and kept secret by US officials, as WikiLeaks has since revealed.

Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda that today runs like a torrent across our screens and newspapers and beckons great danger for us all. He was the prototype demon, vilified by the western media as the "butcher of the Balkans" who was responsible for "genocide", especially in the secessionist Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prime Minister Tony Blair said so, invoked the Holocaust and demanded action against "this new Hitler". David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], declared that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" may have been murdered by Milosevic's forces.

This was the justification for Nato's bombing, led by Bill Clinton and Blair, that killed hundreds of civilians in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios and destroyed Serbia's economic infrastructure. It was blatantly ideological; at a notorious "peace conference" in Rambouillet in France, Milosevic was confronted by Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of state, who was to achieve infamy with her remark that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were "worth it".

Albright delivered an "offer" to Milosevic that no national leader could accept. Unless he agreed to the foreign military occupation of his country, with the occupying forces "outside the legal process", and to the imposition of a neo-liberal "free market", Serbia would be bombed. This was contained in an "Appendix B", which the media failed to read or suppressed. The aim was to crush Europe's last independent "socialist" state.

Once Nato began bombing, there was a stampede of Kosovar refugees "fleeing a holocaust". When it was over, international police teams descended on Kosovo to exhume the victims of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". The final count of the dead in Kosovo was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the pro-Nato Kosovo Liberation Front. There was no genocide. The Nato attack was both a fraud and a war crime.

All but a fraction of America's vaunted "precision guided" missiles hit not military but civilian targets, including the news studios of Radio Television Serbia in Belgrade. Sixteen people were killed, including cameramen, producers and a make-up artist. Blair described the dead, profanely, as part of Serbia's "command and control". In 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, revealed that she had been pressured not to investigate Nato's crimes.

This was the model for Washington's subsequent invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and, by stealth, Syria. All qualify as "paramount crimes" under the Nuremberg standard; all depended on media propaganda. While tabloid journalism played its traditional part, it was serious, credible, often liberal journalism that was the most effective - the evangelical promotion of Blair and his wars by the Guardian, the incessant lies about Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction in the Observer and the New York Times, and the unerring drumbeat of government propaganda by the BBC in the silence of its omissions.

At the height of the bombing, the BBC's Kirsty Wark interviewed General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander. The Serbian city of Nis had just been sprayed with American cluster bombs, killing women, old people and children in an open market and a hospital. Wark asked not a single question about this, or about any other civilian deaths. Others were more brazen. In February 2003, the day after Blair and Bush had set fire to Iraq, the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, stood in Downing Street and made what amounted to a victory speech. He excitedly told his viewers that Blair had "said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right." Today, with a million dead and a society in ruins, Marr's BBC interviews are recommended by the US embassy in London.

Marr's colleagues lined up to pronounce Blair "vindicated". The BBC's Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, said, "There's no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially to the Middle East ... is now increasingly tied up with military power."

This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force "bringing good" runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel's aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their "coalition" proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided "coverage" of Syria.

The city of Aleppo is in the news. Most readers and viewers will be unaware that the majority of the population of Aleppo lives in the government-controlled western part of the city. That they suffer daily artillery bombardment from western-sponsored al-Qaida is not news. On 21 July, French and American bombers attacked a government village in Aleppo province, killing up to 125 civilians. This was reported on page 22 of the Guardian; there were no photographs.

Having created and underwritten jihadism in Afghanistan in the 1980s as Operation Cyclone - a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union - the US is doing something similar in Syria. Like the Afghan Mujahideen, the Syrian "rebels" are America's and Britain's foot soldiers. Many fight for al-Qaida and its variants; some, like the Nusra Front, have rebranded themselves to comply with American sensitivities over 9/11. The CIA runs them, with difficulty, as it runs jihadists all over the world.

The immediate aim is to destroy the government in Damascus, which, according to the most credible poll (YouGov Siraj), the majority of Syrians support, or at least look to for protection, regardless of the barbarism in its shadows. The long-term aim is to deny Russia a key Middle Eastern ally as part of a Nato war of attrition against the Russian Federation that eventually destroys it.

The nuclear risk is obvious, though suppressed by the media across "the free world". The editorial writers of the Washington Post, having promoted the fiction of WMD in Iraq, demand that Obama attack Syria. Hillary Clinton, who publicly rejoiced at her executioner's role during the destruction of Libya, has repeatedly indicated that, as president, she will "go further" than Obama.

Gareth Porter, a samidzat journalist reporting from Washington, recently revealed the names of those likely to make up a Clinton cabinet, who plan an attack on Syria. All have belligerent cold war histories; the former CIA director, Leon Panetta, says that "the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground".
What is most remarkable about the war propaganda now in floodtide is its patent absurdity and familiarity. I have been looking through archive film from Washington in the 1950s when diplomats, civil servants and journalists were witch-hunted and ruined by Senator Joe McCarthy for challenging the lies and paranoia about the Soviet Union and China. Like a resurgent tumour, the anti-Russia cult has returned.

In Britain, the Guardian's Luke Harding leads his newspaper's Russia-haters in a stream of journalistic parodies that assign to Vladimir Putin every earthly iniquity. When the Panama Papers leak was published, the front page said Putin, and there was a picture of Putin; never mind that Putin was not mentioned anywhere in the leaks.

Like Milosevic, Putin is Demon Number One. It was Putin who shot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Headline: "As far as I'm concerned, Putin killed my son." No evidence required. It was Putin who was responsible for Washington's documented (and paid for) overthrow of the elected government in Kiev in 2014. The subsequent terror campaign by fascist militias against the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine was the result of Putin's "aggression". Preventing Crimea from becoming a Nato missile base and protecting the mostly Russian population who had voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia - from which Crimea had been annexed - were more examples of Putin's "aggression". Smear by media inevitably becomes war by media. If war with Russia breaks out, by design or by accident, journalists will bear much of the responsibility.

In the US, the anti-Russia campaign has been elevated to virtual reality. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, an economist with a Nobel Prize, has called Donald Trump the "Siberian Candidate" because Trump is Putin's man, he says. Trump had dared to suggest, in a rare lucid moment, that war with Russia might be a bad idea. In fact, he has gone further and removed American arms shipments to Ukraine from the Republican platform. "Wouldn't it be great if we got along with Russia," he said.

This is why America's warmongering liberal establishment hates him. Trump's racism and ranting demagoguery have nothing to do with it. Bill and Hillary Clinton's record of racism and extremism can out-trump Trump's any day. (This week is the 20th anniversary of the Clinton welfare "reform" that launched a war on African-Americans). As for Obama: while American police gun down his fellow African-Americans the great hope in the White House has done nothing to protect them, nothing to relieve their impoverishment, while running four rapacious wars and an assassination campaign without precedent.

The CIA has demanded Trump is not elected. Pentagon generals have demanded he is not elected. The pro-war New York Times - taking a breather from its relentless low-rent Putin smears - demands that he is not elected. Something is up. These tribunes of "perpetual war" are terrified that the multi-billion-dollar business of war by which the United States maintains its dominance will be undermined if Trump does a deal with Putin, then with China's Xi Jinping. Their panic at the possibility of the world's great power talking peace - however unlikely - would be the blackest farce were the issues not so dire.

"Trump would have loved Stalin!" bellowed Vice-President Joe Biden at a rally for Hillary Clinton. With Clinton nodding, he shouted, "We never bow. We never bend. We never kneel. We never yield. We own the finish line. That's who we are. We are America!"

In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has also excited hysteria from the war-makers in the Labour Party and from a media devoted to trashing him. Lord West, a former admiral and Labour minister, put it well. Corbyn was taking an "outrageous" anti-war position "because it gets the unthinking masses to vote for him".

In a debate with leadership challenger Owen Smith, Corbyn was asked by the moderator: "How would you act on a violation by Vladimir Putin of a fellow Nato state?" Corbyn replied: "You would want to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia... We would try to introduce a de-militarisation of the borders between Russia, the Ukraine and the other countries on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe. What we cannot allow is a series of calamitous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger."

Pressed to say if he would authorise war against Russia "if you had to", Corbyn replied: "I don't wish to go to war - what I want to do is achieve a world that we don't need to go to war."

The line of questioning owes much to the rise of Britain's liberal war-makers. The Labour Party and the media have long offered them career opportunities. For a while the moral tsunami of the great crime of Iraq left them floundering, their inversions of the truth a temporary embarrassment. Regardless of Chilcot and the mountain of incriminating facts, Blair remains their inspiration, because he was a "winner".

Dissenting journalism and scholarship have since been systematically banished or appropriated, and democratic ideas emptied and refilled with "identity politics" that confuse gender with feminism and public angst with liberation and wilfully ignore the state violence and weapons profiteering that destroys countless lives in faraway places, like Yemen and Syria, and beckon nuclear war in Europe and across the world.

The stirring of people of all ages around the spectacular rise of Jeremy Corbyn counters this to some extent. His life has been spent illuminating the horror of war. The problem for Corbyn and his supporters is the Labour Party. In America, the problem for the thousands of followers of Bernie Sanders was the Democratic Party, not to mention their ultimate betrayal by their great white hope. In the US, home of the great civil rights and anti-war movements, it is Black Lives Matter and the likes of Codepink that lay the roots of a modern version.

For only a movement that swells into every street and across borders and does not give up can stop the warmongers. Next year, it will be a century since Wilfred Owen wrote the following. Every journalist should read it and remember it...

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.


--
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:39 pm

George Orwell: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

Appendix

THE PRINCIPLES OF NEWSPEAK


Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles in the Times were written in it, but this was a tour de force which could only be carried out by a specialist. It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadily, all Party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions more and more in their everyday speech. The version in use in 1984, and embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak Dictionary, was a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed later. It is with the final, perfected version, as embodied in the Eleventh Edition of the Dictionary, that we are concerned here.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.


Newspeak was founded on the English language as we now know it, though many Newspeak sentences, even when not containing newly-created words, would be barely intelligible to an English-speaker of our own day. Newspeak words were divided into three distinct classes, known as the A vocabulary, the B vocabulary (also called compound words), and the C vocabulary. It will be simpler to discuss each class separately, but the grammatical peculiarities of the language can be dealt with in the section devoted to the A vocabulary, since the same rules held good for all three categories.

The A vocabulary. The A vocabulary consisted of the words needed for the business of everyday life — for such things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one's clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles, gardening, cooking, and the like. It was composed almost entirely of words that we already possess, words like hit, run, dog, tree, sugar, house, field — but in comparison with the present-day English vocabulary their number was extremely small, while their meanings were far more rigidly defined. All ambiguities and shades of meaning had been purged out of them. So far as it could be achieved, a Newspeak word of this class was simply a staccato sound expressing one clearly understood concept. It would have been quite impossible to use the A vocabulary for literary purposes or for political or philosophical discussion. It was intended only to express simple, purposive thoughts, usually involving concrete objects or physical actions.

The grammar of Newspeak had two outstanding peculiarities. The first of these was an almost complete interchangeability between different parts of speech. Any word in the language (in principle this applied even to very abstract words such as if or when) could be used either as verb, noun, adjective, or adverb. Between the verb and the noun form, when they were of the same root, there was never any variation, this rule of itself involving the destruction of many archaic forms. The word thought, for example, did not exist in Newspeak. Its place was taken by think, which did duty for both noun and verb. No etymological principle was followed here: in some cases it was the original noun that was chosen for retention, in other cases the verb. Even where a noun and verb of kindred meaning were not etymologically connected, one or other of them was frequently suppressed. There was, for example, no such word as cut, its meaning being sufficiently covered by the noun-verb knife. Adjectives were formed by adding the suffix -ful to the noun-verb, and adverbs by adding -wise. Thus for example, speedful meant ‘rapid’ and speedwise meant ‘quickly’. Certain of our present-day adjectives, such as good, strong, big, black, soft, were retained, but their total number was very small. There was little need for them, since almost any adjectival meaning could be arrived at by adding -ful to a noun-verb. None of the now-existing adverbs was retained, except for a very few already ending in -wise: the -wise termination was invariable. The word well, for example, was replaced by goodwise.

In addition, any word — this again applied in principle to every word in the language — could be negatived by adding the affix un-, or could be strengthened by the affix plus-, or, for still greater emphasis, doubleplus-. Thus, for example, uncold meant ‘warm’, while pluscold and doublepluscold meant, respectively, ‘very cold’ and ‘superlatively cold’. It was also possible, as in present-day English, to modify the meaning of almost any word by prepositional affixes such as ante-, post-, up-, down-, etc. By such methods it was found possible to bring about an enormous diminution of vocabulary. Given, for instance, the word good, there was no need for such a word as bad, since the required meaning was equally well — indeed, better — expressed by ungood. All that was necessary, in any case where two words formed a natural pair of opposites, was to decide which of them to suppress. Dark, for example, could be replaced by unlight, or light by undark, according to preference.

The second distinguishing mark of Newspeak grammar was its regularity. Subject to a few exceptions which are mentioned below all inflexions followed the same rules. Thus, in all verbs the preterite and the past participle were the same and ended in -ed. The preterite of steal was stealed, the preterite of think was thinked, and so on throughout the language, all such forms as swam, gave, brought, spoke, taken, etc., being abolished. All plurals were made by adding -s or -es as the case might be. The plurals of man, ox, life, were mans, oxes, lifes. Comparison of adjectives was invariably made by adding -er, -est (good, gooder, goodest), irregular forms and the more, most formation being suppressed.

The only classes of words that were still allowed to inflect irregularly were the pronouns, the relatives, the demonstrative adjectives, and the auxiliary verbs. All of these followed their ancient usage, except that whom had been scrapped as unnecessary, and the shall, should tenses had been dropped, all their uses being covered by will and would. There were also certain irregularities in word-formation arising out of the need for rapid and easy speech. A word which was difficult to utter, or was liable to be incorrectly heard, was held to be ipso facto a bad word: occasionally therefore, for the sake of euphony, extra letters were inserted into a word or an archaic formation was retained. But this need made itself felt chiefly in connexion with the B vocabulary. Why so great an importance was attached to ease of pronunciation will be made clear later in this essay.

The B vocabulary. The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them. Without a full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc it was difficult to use these words correctly. In some cases they could be translated into Oldspeak, or even into words taken from the A vocabulary, but this usually demanded a long paraphrase and always involved the loss of certain overtones. The B words were a sort of verbal shorthand, often packing whole ranges of ideas into a few syllables, and at the same time more accurate and forcible than ordinary language.

The B words were in all cases compound words(2). They consisted of two or more words, or portions of words, welded together in an easily pronounceable form. The resulting amalgam was always a noun-verb, and inflected according to the ordinary rules. To take a single example: the word goodthink, meaning, very roughly, ‘orthodoxy’, or, if one chose to regard it as a verb, ‘to think in an orthodox manner’. This inflected as follows: noun-verb, goodthink; past tense and past participle, goodthinked; present participle, goodthinking; adjective, goodthinkful; adverb, goodthinkwise; verbal noun, goodthinker.

The B words were not constructed on any etymological plan. The words of which they were made up could be any parts of speech, and could be placed in any order and mutilated in any way which made them easy to pronounce while indicating their derivation. In the word crimethink (thoughtcrime), for instance, the think came second, whereas in thinkpol (Thought Police) it came first, and in the latter word police had lost its second syllable. Because of the great difficulty in securing euphony, irregular formations were commoner in the B vocabulary than in the A vocabulary. For example, the adjective forms of Minitrue, Minipax, and Miniluv were, respectively, Minitruthful, Minipeaceful, and Minilovely, simply because -trueful, -paxful, and -loveful were slightly awkward to pronounce. In principle, however, all B words could inflect, and all inflected in exactly the same way.

Some of the B words had highly subtilized meanings, barely intelligible to anyone who had not mastered the language as a whole. Consider, for example, such a typical sentence from a Times leading article as Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc. The shortest rendering that one could make of this in Oldspeak would be: ‘Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English Socialism.’ But this is not an adequate translation. To begin with, in order to grasp the full meaning of the Newspeak sentence quoted above, one would have to have a clear idea of what is meant by Ingsoc. And in addition, only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the word bellyfeel, which implied a blind, enthusiastic acceptance difficult to imagine today; or of the word oldthink, which was inextricably mixed up with the idea of wickedness and decadence. But the special function of certain Newspeak words, of which oldthink was one, was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them. These words, necessarily few in number, had had their meanings extended until they contained within themselves whole batteries of words which, as they were sufficiently covered by a single comprehensive term, could now be scrapped and forgotten. The greatest difficulty facing the compilers of the Newspeak Dictionary was not to invent new words, but, having invented them, to make sure what they meant: to make sure, that is to say, what ranges of words they cancelled by their existence.

As we have already seen in the case of the word free, words which had once borne a heretical meaning were sometimes retained for the sake of convenience, but only with the undesirable meanings purged out of them. Countless other words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, democracy, science, and religion had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket words covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them. All words grouping themselves round the concepts of liberty and equality, for instance, were contained in the single word crimethink, while all words grouping themselves round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism were contained in the single word oldthink. Greater precision would have been dangerous. What was required in a Party member was an outlook similar to that of the ancient Hebrew who knew, without knowing much else, that all nations other than his own worshipped ‘false gods’. He did not need to know that these gods were called Baal, Osiris, Moloch, Ashtaroth, and the like: probably the less he knew about them the better for his orthodoxy. He knew Jehovah and the commandments of Jehovah: he knew, therefore, that all gods with other names or other attributes were false gods.
In somewhat the same way, the party member knew what constituted right conduct, and in exceedingly vague, generalized terms he knew what kinds of departure from it were possible. His sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words sexcrime (sexual immorality) and goodsex (chastity). Sexcrime covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialized names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by goodsex — that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was sexcrime. In Newspeak it was seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further than the perception that it was heretical: beyond that point the necessary words were nonexistent.

No word in the B vocabulary was ideologically neutral. A great many were euphemisms. Such words, for instance, as joycamp (forced-labour camp) or Minipax (Ministry of Peace, i.e. Ministry of War) meant almost the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean. Some words, on the other hand, displayed a frank and contemptuous understanding of the real nature of Oceanic society. An example was prolefeed, meaning the rubbishy entertainment and spurious news which the Party handed out to the masses. Other words, again, were ambivalent, having the connotation ‘good’ when applied to the Party and ‘bad’ when applied to its enemies.
But in addition there were great numbers of words which at first sight appeared to be mere abbreviations and which derived their ideological colour not from their meaning, but from their structure.

So far as it could be contrived, everything that had or might have political significance of any kind was fitted into the B vocabulary. The name of every organization, or body of people, or doctrine, or country, or institution, or public building, was invariably cut down into the familiar shape; that is, a single easily pronounced word with the smallest number of syllables that would preserve the original derivation. In the Ministry of Truth, for example, the Records Department, in which Winston Smith worked, was called Recdep, the Fiction Department was called Ficdep, the Teleprogrammes Department was called Teledep, and so on. This was not done solely with the object of saving time. Even in the early decades of the twentieth century, telescoped words and phrases had been one of the characteristic features of political language; and it had been noticed that the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most marked in totalitarian countries and totalitarian organizations. Examples were such words as Nazi, Gestapo, Comintern, Inprecorr, Agitprop. In the beginning the practice had been adopted as it were instinctively, but in Newspeak it was used with a conscious purpose. It was perceived that in thus abbreviating a name one narrowed and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to it. The words Communist International, for instance, call up a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The word Comintern, on the other hand, suggests merely a tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in purpose, as a chair or a table. Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily. In the same way, the associations called up by a word like Minitrue are fewer and more controllable than those called up by Ministry of Truth. This accounted not only for the habit of abbreviating whenever possible, but also for the almost exaggerated care that was taken to make every word easily pronounceable.

In Newspeak, euphony outweighed every consideration other than exactitude of meaning. Regularity of grammar was always sacrificed to it when it seemed necessary. And rightly so, since what was required, above all for political purposes, was short clipped words of unmistakable meaning which could be uttered rapidly and which roused the minimum of echoes in the speaker's mind. The words of the B vocabulary even gained in force from the fact that nearly all of them were very much alike. Almost invariably these words — goodthink, Minipax, prolefeed, sexcrime, joycamp, Ingsoc, bellyfeel, thinkpol, and countless others — were words of two or three syllables, with the stress distributed equally between the first syllable and the last. The use of them encouraged a gabbling style of speech, at once staccato and monotonous. And this was exactly what was aimed at. The intention was to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness. For the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or sometimes necessary, to reflect before speaking, but a Party member called upon to make a political or ethical judgement should be able to spray forth the correct opinions as automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets. His training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an almost foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words, with their harsh sound and a certain wilful ugliness which was in accord with the spirit of Ingsoc, assisted the process still further.

So did the fact of having very few words to choose from. Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised. Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought. Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak, meaning ‘to quack like a duck’. Like various other words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment.

From power of the people to polyarchy

Definitions of concepts are not theoretically neutral and are not simply the result of individual taste or preference of the writer... Definitions of concepts are also mandated by the dominant usages in a group or society, made authoritative by dictionaries, by sanctions against the "wrong" usage. And definitions are also part of the hegemony of language itself, the "deep structure" of meanings buried in the foundations of social order. To broaden the classic statement of Marx, the ruling ideas of an age are not only the ideology of its ruling class but also the vocabulary of dominant elites.

-- Robert Alford and Roger Friedland [58]

Democracy means only that the people have the opportunity of accepting or refusing the men who are to rule them.

-- Joseph Schumpeter [59]

Democracy is what philosopher W. B. Gallie terms an essentially contested concept.60 This refers to a concept in which different and competing definitions exist, such that terms themselves are problematic since they are not reducible to "primitives." Each definition yields different interpretations of social reality. In and of themselves, these terms are hollow and their meaning is only discernible from the vantage point of the social and theoretical context of their usage. By their nature, these terms involve implicit assumptions, are enveloped in ideology, and are therefore subsets of broader discourse which sets the framework of the social-political or theoretical agenda in question. Each essentially contested concept comes to have multiple and internally contradictory meanings which are given to it by specific class and group interests with a stake in its definition. Ideological positions, or more precisely, the intersubjective expression of vested class and group interests, are often ensconced in what is presented as scientific, objective discussion of democracy. Analysis should thus uncover these assumptions and their relation to interests.

What US policymakers mean by "democracy promotion" is the promotion of polyarchy, a concept which developed in US academic circles closely tied to the policymaking community in the United States in the post-World War II years (the word was first coined by Robert DahI 61). Polyarchy refers to a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation in decision-making is confined to leadership choice in elections carefully managed by competing elites. The pluralist assumption is that elites will respond to the general interests of majorities, through polyarchy's "twin dimensions" of "political contestation" and "political inclusiveness," as a result of the need of those who govern to win a majority of votes. It is theoretically grounded in structural-functionalism - and behind it, the positivist focus on the separate aspects and the external relations of things - in which the different spheres of the social totality are independent, each performing systems maintenance functions and externally related to each other in a larger Parsonian "social system." Democracy is limited to the political sphere, and revolves around process, method and procedure in the selection of "leaders." This is an institutional definition of democracy. Political scientist Samuel Huntington notes that the classic definition of democracy as power/rule by the people - rooted in the original Greek, power or rule (eralos) of the people (demos) - and "its derivatives and applications over the ages" have "sharply declined, at least in the American scholarly discussions, and have been replaced by efforts to understand the nature of democratic institutions." Huntington concludes: "Democracy has a useful meaning only when it is defined in institutional terms. The key institution of democracy is the selection of leaders through competitive elections."62 In turn, polyarchy has been conflated to the staple definition of democracy in both "democratization" and "democracy promotion" literature.63

The concept of polyarchy is an outgrowth of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century elite theories developed by Italian social scientists Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto. On the one hand, these theories were developed to legitimize the rapid increase in the concentration of wealth and political power among dominant elites, and their ever-greater control over social life, with the rise of corporate capitalism. On the other hand, democracy, by the late nineteenth century, had ceased being an instrument of this industrial elite against the old feudal oligarchy and was instead becoming a vehicle for the demands of those it dominated. In the latter part of their careers, Mosca went on to argue that "democratic" rather than fascist methods are best suited to defend the ruling class and preserve the social order, whereas Pareto went on to embrace fascism as the best method. This split, on the basis of a shared commitment to preserving the social order, constitutes an historical analogy to the debate in US foreign policy-making circles over whether "democracy" or authoritarianism in the Third World is actually the best method of preserving international order. "In perceiving the insight underlying the apparent paradox that democratic methods prudently used can enhance the strength and stability of a ruling class, Mosca solved his problem," notes political scientist Peter Bachrach. "But before his theory could be successfully integrated within the context of modern democratic theory, the theory of democracy itself required a radical revision."64 That radical revision took place in US academia in the post-World War II years.

The institutional definition embodied in polyarchy came to substitute, at the level of mainstream Western social science, the classic definition of democracy. Despite the emergence of the earlier elite theories, the classic definition had been fairly well established until the post-World War II period. This redefinition thus coincided with a worldwide upsurge of democratic aspirations and movements in the wake of the defeat of fascism and the breakup of the old colonial system. Behind the birth of dozens of newly independent nations, the spread of democratic and national liberation movements, and several successful Third World revolutions were struggles over what new social and political systems would replace the crumbling colonial order. The redefinition of democracy also took place alongside the postwar construction of a new international system and the emergence of the United States as the undisputed world power. It began with Joseph Schumpeter's 1942 study, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, in which he rejected the "classical theory of democracy" defined in terms of "the will of the people" and "the common good." Instead, Schumpeter advanced "another theory" of democracy: "institutional arrangements for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote."65 This redefinition gave "democratic" content to the anti-democratic essence of Mosca's and Pareto's earlier elitism theories, thus providing for their legitimization. According to Huntington, the debate between the institutional and the classical definition of democracy went on for several decades after World War II, and was concluded with the publication of Robert Dahl's Polyarchy in 1971.

In its Parsonian-Schumpeterian version, the polyarchic definition of democracy is equated with the stability of the capitalist social order. By definitional fiat, power is exercised in the general welfare and any attempt to change the social order is a pathological challenge to democracy. "The maintenance of democratic politics and the reconstruction of the social order are fundamentally incompatible," states Huntington.66 There is no contradiction in this model in affirming that "democracy" exists and also acknowledging massive inequalities in wealth and social privilege. The problem is posed as to how these inequalities might negatively affect the maintenance of "democracy." Therefore, the notion that there may be a veritable contradiction in terms between elite or class rule, on the one hand, and democracy, on the other, does not enter -- by theoretical-definitional fiat -- into the polyarchic definition. At best, the polyarchic conception leaves open the possibility as to whether "political democracy" may or may not facilitate "social and economic democracy." In contrast, I am arguing that polyarchy as a distinct form of elite rule performs the function of legitimating existing inequalities, and does so more effectively than authoritarianism.

Historian Raymond Williams holds that a class perspective on the politics of language is necessary, since "many crucial meanings have been shaped by a dominant class."67 Sociologists Robert Alford and Roger Friedland argue that "concepts come to be part of dominant or subordinate paradigms. Clusters of terms come to control discourse when a particular school of thought dominates a university department, a professional association, or a government agency." As such, "paradigms of inquiry become part of the substructure of meanings, which may disappear into the underpinnings of a discipline as its ideology."68 The polyarchic definition of democracy, which is only one variant of an essentially contested concept, has come to enjoy hegemony, in the Gramscian sense, in social scientific, political, and mass public discourse.

-- Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony, by William I. Robinson


The C vocabulary. The C vocabulary was supplementary to the others and consisted entirely of scientific and technical terms. These resembled the scientific terms in use today, and were constructed from the same roots, but the usual care was taken to define them rigidly and strip them of undesirable meanings. They followed the same grammatical rules as the words in the other two vocabularies. Very few of the C words had any currency either in everyday speech or in political speech. Any scientific worker or technician could find all the words he needed in the list devoted to his own speciality, but he seldom had more than a smattering of the words occurring in the other lists. Only a very few words were common to all lists, and there was no vocabulary expressing the function of Science as a habit of mind, or a method of thought, irrespective of its particular branches. There was, indeed, no word for ‘Science’, any meaning that it could possibly bear being already sufficiently covered by the word Ingsoc.

From the foregoing account it will be seen that in Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible.
It was of course possible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of blasphemy. It would have been possible, for example, to say Big Brother is ungood. But this statement, which to an orthodox ear merely conveyed a self-evident absurdity, could not have been sustained by reasoned argument, because the necessary words were not available. Ideas inimical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless form, and could only be named in very broad terms which lumped together and condemned whole groups of heresies without defining them in doing so. One could, in fact, only use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by illegitimately translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For example, All mans are equal was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only in the same sense in which All men are redhaired is a possible Oldspeak sentence. It did not contain a grammatical error, but it expressed a palpable untruth — i.e. that all men are of equal size, weight, or strength. The concept of political equality no longer existed, and this secondary meaning had accordingly been purged out of the word equal. In 1984, when Oldspeak was still the normal means of communication, the danger theoretically existed that in using Newspeak words one might remember their original meanings. In practice it was not difficult for any person well grounded in doublethink to avoid doing this, but within a couple of generations even the possibility of such a lapse would have vanished. A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that equal had once had the secondary meaning of ‘politically equal’, or that free had once meant ‘intellectually free’, than for instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be aware of the secondary meanings attaching to queen and rook. There would be many crimes and errors which it would be beyond his power to commit, simply because they were nameless and therefore unimaginable. And it was to be foreseen that with the passage of time the distinguishing characteristics of Newspeak would become more and more pronounced — its words growing fewer and fewer, their meanings more and more rigid, and the chance of putting them to improper uses always diminishing.

When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded, the last link with the past would have been severed. History had already been rewritten, but fragments of the literature of the past survived here and there, imperfectly censored, and so long as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments, even if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable. It was impossible to translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless it either referred to some technical process or some very simple everyday action, or was already orthodox (goodthinkful would be the Newspeak expression) in tendency. In practice this meant that no book written before approximately 1960 could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary literature could only be subjected to ideological translation — that is, alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government...


It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink. A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.

A good deal of the literature of the past was, indeed, already being transformed in this way. Considerations of prestige made it desirable to preserve the memory of certain historical figures, while at the same time bringing their achievements into line with the philosophy of Ingsoc. Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Byron, Dickens, and some others were therefore in process of translation: when the task had been completed, their original writings, with all else that survived of the literature of the past, would be destroyed. These translations were a slow and difficult business, and it was not expected that they would be finished before the first or second decade of the twenty-first century. There were also large quantities of merely utilitarian literature — indispensable technical manuals, and the like — that had to be treated in the same way. It was chiefly in order to allow time for the preliminary work of translation that the final adoption of Newspeak had been fixed for so late a date as 2050.

1949

____

2) Compound words such as speakwrite, were of course to be found in the A vocabulary, but these were merely convenient abbreviations and had no special ideologcal colour.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

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Why Has Trust in Media Collapsed? Look at Actions of WSJ, Yahoo, Business Insider and Slate.
by Glenn Greenwald
March 30 2017

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LAST WEEK, we published documents that definitively debunked and disproved a claim which numerous media outlets had circulated and affirmed for years: that Edward Snowden lied about where he was during his first 11 days in Hong Kong. Contrary to the fable these outlets dispensed to their readers – that Snowden did not check into the Mira Hotel on May 21 as he claimed but only did so on June 1: 11 days later – these new documents, obtained from the Mira, prove that Snowden arrived there exactly when he always said, rendering their published stories factually false. Many of these stories had even claimed that anonymous U.S. investigators were unable to find hotel or credit card records for Snowden during these 11 days – exactly the records we just published.

The same day our story was published, the New York Times reporter Charlie Savage – who had previously spent weeks documenting that this claim about Snowden never had any journalistic basis to begin with – confirmed the authenticity of the new documents. As Savage wrote: “the documents show [Snowden] stayed in both the Icon and then, starting on May 21st, the Mira, under his own name, using his own credit cards. So there is no mystery gap, and the credit card records obviously were readily available to American investigators all along.”

The concocted discrepancy was significant because these media outlets – and many commentators citing their false story – used it to strongly suggest that Snowden, during these “Missing 11 Days,” was doing something nefarious: such as meeting his Russian or Chinese handlers. Numerous outlets uncritically aired this false claim, including the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo News, Business Insider, Slate, Interpreter Magazine and Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil’s largest newspaper).

A WSJ op-ed writer, Edward Jay Epstein, released a book in February featuring this fraud as a linchpin in his innuendo that Snowden was a Russian spy, which he then aired on a Lawfare podcast with Benjamin Wittes. This fable was also adopted by several former intelligence community employees now embedded in the pundit class – such as former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden and NSA employee John Schindler – as well as cable personalities such as MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid. Both Yahoo News and Slate used this falsehood as part of their accusation that Oliver Stone’s film about Snowden was misleading.

Joy Reid ✔ @JoyAnnReid
Ahem... Snowden Won't Talk About His Time In Hong Kong — And Now We Know Why http://www.businessinsider.com/snowden- ... ong-2014-6 … via @BI_Defense
5:44 PM - 1 Jul 2014

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"So where was Edward Snowden between May 20 and May 31?"
businessinsider.com


Even the best and most careful journalists get things wrong sometimes. But the minimal requirement for journalistic credibility and integrity is acknowledging and fixing mistakes. When the debate over Fake News first emerged, advocates of the term insisted that it was this attribute – a willingness to admit and correct errors – that distinguishes credible news outlets that sometimes err from fakes and frauds.

Yet in this case, only one of the media outlets that published what is now a significant and documented falsehood – Brazil’s Folha – has even acknowledged these new documents. In Folha’s case, they did so lamely and grudgingly: rather than add an editor’s note or correction to their original story by reporter Igor Gielow (which still stands uncorrected), they published a short news article about these new hotel documents, which merely noted that I claim that these new documents “resolve a mystery” about Snowden. The Folha article also neglects to note that they were one of the outlets originally publishing the false story. But at least they said something.

That stands in stark contrast to all the U.S. outlets that published this falsehood and yet, 10 days later, have said literally nothing, continuing to allow what they now know is a factually false story to remain online uncorrected. They have simply refused even to address or acknowledge this new evidence. That includes the newspaper that first printed this falsehood and then re-published it most frequently – the Wall Street Journal – but also outlets such as Business Insider, Yahoo News and Slate, as well as Hayden, Reid, and most amazingly, Edward Jay Epstein, whose book aggressively features this fraud.

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That journalists and editors at these outlets are well-aware of these new documents proving the falsehood of their stories is beyond question. Beyond Charlie Savage, many of the nation’s most respected national security and surveillance journalists noted – in widely shared tweets – that these new documents prove the original stories to be false:

Jane Mayer @JaneMayerNYer
Newly obtained documents prove: key claim of @Snowden's accusers is a fraud https://interc.pt/2mKTrkd by @ggreenwald
9:48 AM - 21 Mar 2017

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The claim that Snowden is a foreign agent relies upon his “Missing Eleven Days” in Hong Kong: a wholesale fabrication.
theintercept.com


Scott Shane ✔ @ScottShaneNYT
Disturbing: how an easily disprovable myth about @Snowden as spy survived for years https://interc.pt/2mKTrkd @ggreenwald @charlie_savage
6:59 AM - 21 Mar 2017

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The claim that Snowden is a foreign agent relies upon his “Missing Eleven Days” in Hong Kong: a wholesale fabrication.
theintercept.com


Eric Geller ✔ @ericgeller
"Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud" https://theintercept.com/2017/03/21/new ... s-a-fraud/
10:30 AM - 21 Mar 2017

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The claim that Snowden is a foreign agent relies upon his “Missing Eleven Days” in Hong Kong: a wholesale fabrication.
theintercept.com


Barton Gellman ✔ @bartongellman
"Missing days" in Hong Kong, the foundation of Epstein's risible claim that Snowden worked for China, Russia or (somehow) both, disproved. https://twitter.com/bartongellman/statu ... 8345480192
12:52 PM - 21 Mar 2017


Barton Gellman ✔ @bartongellman
Last nails in @edwardepstein's Snowden "spy" story from @ggreenwald & @charlie_savage. http://interc.pt/2mKTrkd http://charliesavage.com/?p=1543
12:46 PM - 21 Mar 2017

Edward Snowden’s Hong Kong barrister authenticates hotel records debunking mystery gap claim
In the New York Review of Books, I have been engaged in a debate with Edward Jay Epstein about his book, "How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft," which lays out the...
charliesavage.com


Dustin Volz ✔ @dnvolz
This seems like an esoteric detail but it's a big deal and appears to gut a chief criticism of @Snowden detractors https://theintercept.com/2017/03/21/new ... s-a-fraud/
9:12 AM - 21 Mar 2017

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The claim that Snowden is a foreign agent relies upon his “Missing Eleven Days” in Hong Kong: a wholesale fabrication.
theintercept.com


Snowden himself repeatedly re-tweeted those to his 3 million followers. And along with Savage, I repeatedly and specifically directed tweets at the editors of these publications responsible for the false stories, asking why no correction or retraction had been made:

Glenn Greenwald ✔ @ggreenwald
.@hblodget @serwer @michaeldweiss @JoyAnnReid @SERGIO_DAVILA @jacobwe As editors who published a debunked story, will you retract it? https://twitter.com/ScottShaneNYT/statu ... 7606549513
5:56 AM - 22 Mar 2017


Glenn Greenwald ✔ @ggreenwald
48 hours later, none of the outlets publishing this false report - @Slate, WSJ, @YahooFinance, @businessinsider, @folha - have corrected. https://twitter.com/charlie_savage/stat ... 9392904193
11:34 AM - 23 Mar 2017


Glenn Greenwald ✔ @ggreenwald
Right. And @YahooFinance published it, too. And so did @Slate. And an MSNBC host. And @Interpreter_Mag. No retractions/corrections so far. https://twitter.com/rj_gallagher/status ... 5718305792
9:58 AM - 21 Mar 2017

Image


Charlie Savage ✔ @charlie_savage
.@WSJopinion should correct false info. http://www.charliesavage.com/?p=1543 https://www.wsj.com/articles/edward-jay ... 1404075875 … @jamestaranto @DanHenninger @StephensWSJ @FreemanWSJ
10:57 AM - 23 Mar 2017


Glenn Greenwald ✔ @ggreenwald
@MichaelBKelley Right: like most slime artists, you used innuendo. And you repeatedly affirmed as "confirmed fact" a total falsehood.


Ryan Gallagher ✔ @rj_gallagher
@ggreenwald Q is now, will @businessinsider retract/correct @MichaelBKelley's garbage reporting? Like this BS piece: http://www.businessinsider.com/snowden- ... ong-2014-7
9:55 AM - 21 Mar 2017

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Photo published for There's An 11-Day Hole In Snowden's Story About Hong Kong
There's An 11-Day Hole In Snowden's Story About Hong Kong
"I wanted them to know where I was at. I wanted them to know."
businessinsider.com


The reporter who wrote the false stories for both Yahoo News and Business Insider, Michael B. Kelley, responded when pushed on Twitter by, first, trying to imply the documents may be forgeries, then deleting those tweets and instead telling Savage: “Glad that got sorted with docs.” Yet the outlets that printed Kelley’s false claims have left them standing uncorrected.

What could possibly excuse this behavior? It’s bad enough that they all printed significant claims that – as Savage documented – never had any journalistic basis in the first place. That’s journalistic recklessness. But now they know their stories are false, and have left them standing without comment. That’s deliberate deceit, journalistic fraud.

There has been a great deal of hand-wringing over the last several months about why Fake News has proliferated and why Trump views waging war on the media as a winning strategy. The reason for both is clear: trust in established media institutions has collapsed. Yet for all the concern expressed about these trends, there is very little effort expended to examine the media’s own role in this collapse of trust.

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As these sorts of incidents demonstrate, they clearly bear a significant share of the blame. Why should any institutions as insular and unaccountable as these have any valid claim to credibility?

If you publish serious claims without any basis that mislead readers, and then refuse to acknowledge new evidence that disproves your original claims – all because you dislike the people you originally smeared with falsehoods too much to correct your error or because you hope the embarrassment will disappear faster if just you ignore it – why should anyone view you as being different than Macedonian teenagers or “alt-right” conspiracy sites? What are the cognizable differences?

A vibrant and powerful fact-checking media is supposed to be one of the great safeguards against demagoguing authoritarians and assaults on democratic institutions. That only works if they earn the trust that they need to fulfill that function.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:01 pm

Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud
by Glenn Greenwald
March 21 2017

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FOR ALMOST FOUR years, a cottage industry of media conspiracists has devoted itself to accusing Edward Snowden of being a spy for either Russia and/or China at the time he took and then leaked documents from the National Security Agency. There has never been any evidence presented to substantiate this accusation.

In lieu of evidence, the propagators of this accusation have relied upon the defining tactic of tawdry conspiracists everywhere: relentless repetition of rumor and innuendo based on alleged inconsistencies until it spreads far enough through the media ecosystem to take on the appearance of being credible. In this case, there was one particular fiction — about where Snowden spent his first 11 days after arriving in Hong Kong — which took on particular significance for this group.

They insist that Snowden, contrary to what he has always maintained, did not check into the Mira Hotel on May 21, 2013, the day after he arrived in Hong Kong. Instead, they assert, he checked-in only on June 1, which means Snowden has 11 “unaccounted-for” days from the time he arrived in Hong Kong until he met with journalists at the Mira in the beginning of June. They have repeatedly leveraged this Missing Eleven Days into the insinuation that Snowden used this time to work with his Russian and/or Chinese handlers in preparation for meeting the U.S. journalists in Hong Kong.

While such reckless conspiracy-mongering is often relegated to online fringes, this accusatory fable found its way to the nation’s mainstream journalistic venues: the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Yahoo News, Lawfare, Business Insider; these media conspiracists were subsequently joined by several former officials of the intelligence community now embedded in the pundit class in affirming this tale. These outlets have repeatedly laundered and thus sanctioned the tale of the Missing Eleven Days, despite its utter lack of any journalistic basis.

Most remarkably, these conspiracists were permitted by these media outlets to repeat this lie about Snowden’s Missing Eleven Days over and over, all in service of suggesting that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power, despite the fact that even top intelligence officials who loathe Snowden have repeatedly said that they do not believe — and have seen no evidence to suggest — that he worked with any foreign government, including Russia. Obama’s own acting CIA Director Michael Morell told the Daily Beast’s Shane Harris in 2015:

My own view on this question is that both Chinese and Russian intelligence officers undoubtedly pitched him — offering him millions of dollars to share the documents he had stolen and to answer any questions they had about the NSA and CIA. But my guess is that Snowden said, “No, thank you,” given his mind-set and his clear dislike for intelligence services of any stripe.


The NSA’s second-highest official at the time of the Snowden leak, Chris Inglis, was similarly clear that no such evidence exists:

NSA's Deputy Director on the "Russian Spy" theory:https://t.co/BrRNo4zExx

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 13, 2016


But these media conspiracists have gotten away with this fable of the Missing Eleven Days in Hong Kong and similar tales because their core assertions were deliberately designed to be insusceptible to being affirmatively disproven. Because their accusatory story rests on claims of invisible and hidden events, they could not be exposed as frauds with definitive documentary evidence — until now.

Newly obtained documents conclusively prove that the central tale invented by these Snowden-accusing commentators is a wholesale fabrication. These documents negate the edifice on which this entire fiction has been based from the start.

THE CAMPAIGN TO depict Snowden as a Russian or Chinese spy has centrally depended upon the accusation that he is lying about how he spent his first 11 days in Hong Kong. Snowden’s version of events has never changed from the very first interview we published with him at the Guardian: on May 20, 2013, he boarded a flight from Honolulu to Hong Kong, checked into the Mira Hotel on May 21 under his own name, and then stayed continuously in Room 1014 at the Mira as he waited for the arrival of the journalists with whom he was working, paying for the room with his own credit cards.

As the journalists working on the Snowden documents, Laura Poitras and I arrived in Hong Kong on June 2, and spent the next eight days working with Snowden in Room 1014 at the Mira. Snowden thus stayed continuously at the Mira from May 21, the day after he arrived Hong Kong, until June 10, when he left due to the media craze triggered by our Guardian article revealing his identity.

But this group of accusatory journalists has repeatedly accused Snowden of lying about this time-line. They insist that Snowden checked into the Mira Hotel for the first time only on June 1: eleven days after he claims he did. They have thus spent years discussing the significance of what they ominously refer to as “The Missing Eleven Days.” This sinister Missing Eleven Days has become key to the tale they have woven to prove Snowden is a spy.

But that claim is an outright lie, and always has been. Documents now provided by the Mira Hotel to Snowden’s lawyers in Hong Kong prove the truth of exactly what Snowden has always said: that he checked into the Mira Hotel on May 21 and stayed there, under his own name, continuously through June 10.

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Snowden’s original reservation, made through booking.com, confirms that the check-in date was always May 21, and the reservation was originally scheduled for 10 nights (check-out on May 30). The hotel records confirm he arrived and checked-in on May 21, staying continually for the full reservation. Once that reservation ended, he extended it for one more day, then made another 10-day reservation through booking.com with a check-out date of June 10, and stayed continually through then, when he checked out.

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These newly obtained documents (all of which are available here and here) thus conclusively prove that the accusatory fable repeated and circulated over and over in U.S. mainstream media outlets — that Snowden did not check into the Mira prior to June 1 and thus cannot account for the mysterious Missing Eleven Days in Hong Kong — is a falsehood.

Despite its utter falsity, it is hard to overstate how continually this lie was repeated in mainstream outlets until it metastasized into Truth among a certain set of journalists and pundits obsessed with the claim that Snowden worked for the Russians and/or Chinese governments. Editors at leading U.S. media outlets continually allowed this tale to be published even though there was never any evidence to suggest that Snowden was lying. It became their give-us-the-real-birth-certificate foundation for the conspiracy web about Snowden they have spent years spinning.

THAT SNOWDEN CHECKED into the Mira only on June 1 was first asserted by a Wall Street Journal article published on June 10, 2013 — the day after we first revealed Snowden’s identity in the Guardian. The article made this claim in passing, with no basis identified.

It did not remotely suggest that Snowden had lied: to the contrary, it seems to be a case where reporting on rapidly unfolding events sloppily but innocuously misstated what seemed at the time to be an ancillary fact: the date on which Snowden checked into the Mira Hotel. Alternatively, the reporter may have spoken with a clerk who looked only at Snowden’s most recently renewed reservation form (which began on June 1) rather than the first one Snowden signed upon checking in on May 21.

Either way, nobody ever tried to vest the WSJ’s misreporting about the check-in date with significance until a year later when the paper’s op-ed page writer, Edward Jay Epstein, seized on what he thought was a critical discrepancy to build a sprawling, accusatory conspiracy theory that he ultimately parlayed into a book, a central theme of which is that Snowden systematically lied about this key event. Epstein repeatedly cited this Missing Eleven Days to suggest that Snowden could have been in cahoots with a foreign government. The first time he implied this was in a June 29, 2014 WSJ column, when he made these claims:

From May 20, the day he landed, to May 31, according to a source familiar with the Defense Intelligence Agency report on the Snowden affair, U.S. investigative agencies have been unable to find any credit-card charges or hotel records indicating his whereabouts. …

Mr. Snowden would tell Mr. Greenwald on June 3 that he had been “holed up” in his room at the Mira Hotel from the time of his arrival in Hong Kong. But according to inquiries by Wall Street Journal reporter Te-Ping Chen, Mr. Snowden arrived there on June 1. I confirmed that date with the hotel’s employees. A hotel security guard told me that Mr. Snowden was not in the Mira during that late-May period and, when he did stay there, he used his own passport and credit card.

So where was Edward Snowden between May 20 and May 31?


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Epstein, screen shot, RT interview

All of these claims are outright lies, as proven by the documents we are publishing today. Snowden arrived at and checked-into the Mira on May 21, not June 1. He paid for the room with his credit cards. It defies belief that some anonymous official told Epstein that “U.S. investigative agencies have been unable to find any credit-card charges or hotel records indicating his whereabouts” given that the hotel records and credit cards were all in Snowden’s name. The whole story is false.

Actual journalists — ones who are careful with and care about facts — fully recognized the baselessness of this key accusation. The New York Times’ reporter Charlie Savage, recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, wrote a devastating denunciation last month of Epstein’s book in the New York Review of Books, featuring the issue of the check-in date discrepancy in indicting Epstein’s conspiracy theories as hollow:

It is unfortunate that Epstein builds his imagined scenarios upon allegations that may not be real facts.

For example, Epstein gives sinister significance to the “fact” that Snowden arrived in Hong Kong eleven days before he checked into the hotel where he met the journalists, leaving his activities during that period a mystery. Snowden has insisted that he was in that hotel the whole time, waiting for the journalists to arrive. In one of his columns written in 2014, Epstein first claimed that there was an eleven-day mystery gap, citing his conversation with an unnamed hotel security guard. I am aware of no independent verification of this allegation. So as things stand, this “fact” appears to be vaporous.


In subsequent correspondence between Epstein and Savage, the New York Times reporter repeatedly points to the lack of any persuasive or substantive basis for Epstein’s Missing Eleven Days claim, while noting how central this claim has become to the accusatory herd that has assembled around this theory:

I remain unaware of any other place in the public record except Epstein’s work where this June 1 claim independently appears, ranging from numerous other news articles about Snowden’s time in Hong Kong to a September 2016 report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which — seeking to counter the premiere of Oliver Stone’s movie — scoured the government’s investigative file for material to portray Snowden as a liar.

Perhaps someday the Mira’s records will emerge into public view and we will have more solid information to evaluate this question. Either way, my central point remains unchanged: Epstein treated the check-in claim as a factual anchor for his insinuations about what Snowden might have been doing earlier, but at the time he wrote his book (and still today) the evidence for this claim was insufficient to establish it as a proven fact. This is part of a recurring pattern with his methodology.


Those Mira records have indeed now “emerged into public view,” and they prove what was clear all along: this whole theory was invented from whole cloth. As Savage argued: “wherever one falls in the spectrum of views about Edward Snowden’s actions, Edward Jay Epstein’s book about him is not credible because it indulges in speculation, treats questionable claims as established facts, and contains numerous inaccuracies about surveillance.”

Unfortunately, large parts of the U.S. media do not adhere to the basic standards of journalism Savage applied to these claims. Here, for instance, is Epstein spinning his tale on the podcast of Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, who concluded the published podcast with people literally applauding Epstein:

https://soundcloud.com/the_intercept/ed ... ays#t=0:00

All of that was totally false. But as a result of this type of uncritical treatment, this utter fiction for which there was never any evidence — that Snowden checked into the Mira 11 days after he claims, thus leaving almost two weeks of unaccounted-for time in Hong Kong — was laundered over and over in service of casting Snowden as a liar and a traitor.

THIS LIE ABOUT the Missing Eleven Days was repeated so often, in so many venues, that chronicling them all is impossible. Flagging some of the most flagrant, typical offenders will thus have to suffice.

One of the most aggressive disseminators of this lie is the Yahoo News reporter Michael B. Kelley, formerly of Business Insider, who has spent years repeating and mainstreaming this Missing Eleven Days fable.

So how about those 11 missing days in Hong Kong? http://t.co/5xf3LyzQ5K https://t.co/eIahZ1qmja

— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) September 29, 2015


On July 20, 2014, Kelley wrote an article for Business Insider under the headline “There’s An 11-Day Hole In Snowden’s Story About Hong Kong.” It began this way:

Edward Snowden says that he wanted the U.S. to know where he was after he arrived in Hong Kong.

But U.S. authorities still don’t know what he did for the first 11 days after his arrival.


Kelley then added this sentence, in which he called a total falsehood a fact that had been “confirmed”: “But Edward Jay Epstein of The Wall Street Journal went to Hong Kong and confirmed that Snowden didn’t check into the Mira Hotel until June 1.” Illustrating the slimy insinuations constantly attached to this falsehood, Kelley ended his article this way:

“To answer the question in three words: I don’t know where he was for these 11 days,” Epstein said in an interview. “It’s very important because if we knew where he was, then we’d know who he went to see in Hong Kong.”

Strangely, no one seems to know — even though Snowden says he made it obvious.


Snowden did exactly this: “made it obvious” where he was in Hong Kong by checking into the Mira under his own name and using his own credit cards — precisely to prevent smear artists from retroactively insinuating that he must be a spy given his untraceable activities. Yet none of that stopped Epstein or Kelley from making the claim anyway.

Kelley, during his time at Business Insider, spent years claiming that Snowden lied about these eleven days. He was rewarded with a new job working for Yahoo News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff. Kelley continued to spread this lie under the banner of Yahoo News.

periodic reminder: It is still not publicly known how Snowden spent his time in Hong Kong from May 20-June 1, 2013 https://t.co/8NqBPFeZBq

— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) November 23, 2016


Cool. So now can we talk about the initial missing 11 days in Hong Kong & the huge trove docs not given to journos? https://t.co/7LCf83hzsU

— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) May 27, 2016


Nice to see @Snowden active, though it makes me wonder about those lost 11 days in Hong Kong http://t.co/8NqBPFeZBq

— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) October 12, 2015


One thing we probably won't learn at the 'Citzenfour' premiere: How Snowden spent his first 11 days in Hong Kong http://t.co/8NqBPFeZBq

— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) October 10, 2014


Snowden says he didn't cover his tracks in Hong Kong. But no one knows where he was for the first 11 days. http://t.co/DJLglvFmbG

— Business Insider (@businessinsider) July 20, 2014


On September 13, 2016, Yahoo News published what it called a “Fact Check”, written by Kelley, of Oliver Stone’s film “Snowden.” In its headline, Yahoo purported that the article documents “5 key parts of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ biopic that don’t match reality.” Yahoo continued: “As with many Stone movies that are based on real events, the director took multiple liberties with the known facts. Here are five significant inaccuracies in ‘Snowden.'”

The second purported “inaccuracy” was titled “‘3 weeks’ at the Mira Hotel.” Citing Epstein, Kelley wrote: “Snowden didn’t check into the Mira Hotel until June 1, despite having arrived in the Chinese special-administrative region on May 20.″ He then drew this conclusion: “If Snowden didn’t check into the Mira until June 1, he initially visited someone else in Hong Kong. Albert Ho, one of Snowden’s Hong Kong lawyers, referred to the unidentified person as Snowden’s ‘carer.’ This person’s crucial role in Snowden’s escape has never been explained.”

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In sum, Kelley’s editors at both Business Insider and Yahoo News allowed him to repeatedly label as “confirmed” and “fact” and “known” a claim that was, in fact, a complete falsehood. He then used that fiction as the basis to construct an elaborate conspiracy that he has spent years pushing.

Then there’s Slate, which also purported to fact-check Stone’s film in the form of a column by its national security columnist Fred Kaplan, who also peddled this fable. “This much is definitely known,” proclaims Kaplan: Snowden “flew to Hong Kong on May 20 after telling his bosses that he needed to undergo tests for epilepsy, and on June 2 checked in at the Mira Hotel in Hong Kong.” Kaplan began the review by announcing that “Stone’s Snowden is a bad movie, stuffed with myth,” but it is Kaplan’s own column which is guilty of that.

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Then we have the Daily Beast’s Michael Weiss and former NSA employee John Schindler, who has recently become a favorite of liberals for his frenzied conspiracies about Russia. Here is how this duo took this utter lie, presented it as fact, and then used it to imply that Snowden was a Russian agent:

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#Snowden hung out 1st in Hong Kong, ie China, post-defection. 10 days of missing time. Where exactly was he? Just putting that out there…

— John Schindler (@20committee) June 12, 2015


On June 11, 2016, Schindler wrote an article headlined “Edward Snowden is a Russian Agent.” He featured this Missing Eleven Days lie from the start: “Snowden left his job in Hawaii with the National Security Agency in May 2013 and appeared at Hong Kong’s Mira Hotel on June 1,” Schindler asserted. He continued: “significant questions remain. Where was Snowden from 21 to 31 May 2013? His whereabouts in that period are unknown.” In June, 2015, the former NSA operative similarly wrote in the Interpreter:

Where was Snowden during the last ten days of May 2013, after he left Hawaii but before he checked into Hong Kong’s Mira Hotel on June 1? It smacks of naïveté to think Beijing did not expect something in return for giving Snowden sanctuary en route to Moscow.


This factually false claim was so laundered and sanctioned by journalists and editors who were either malicious or reckless that it ended up getting repeated as fact even by those who meant well. In Gizmodo, for instance, Adam Clark Estes urged readers to see CitizenFour, but criticized the film for what he regarded as important omissions, such as: “Where exactly was Snowden for the 11 days before he checked into the Mira Hotel in Hong Kong?”

Upon release earlier this year of Epstein’s book — which was overwhelmingly denounced by reviewers as filled with unproven conspiracy theories — this claim about Snowden’s Missing Eleven Days was repeated as fact over and over. This mixed review of Epstein’s book in the San Francisco Chronicle was typical:

On May 18 [Snowden] flew to Hong Kong, where he hid at a still-unknown location for 11 days before meeting the journalists at the Mira Hotel. Epstein emphasizes how carefully Snowden arranged things, as if “pulling strings.” He insinuates there may have been a hidden hand.


The lie traveled internationally, as highlighted by this sentence in one of the few favorable reviews of Epstein’s book, from Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, written by Igor Gielow: “The fact that [Snowden] had disappeared for 11 days in Hong Kong, carrying secrets before divulging some of them to the press, remains a mystery.” Note that Snowden’s 11-day disappearance is now “a fact.”

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All of this culminated with this falsehood being embraced by George W. Bush’s chief of the NSA and CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden. In an unsurprisingly gushing review of Epstein’s book, Hayden cites Epstein asking: “where was Snowden during those unaccounted-for first 11 days in Hong Kong”?

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WHERE “SNOWDEN WAS” during this time is exactly where he said, from the start, that he was: at the Mira Hotel (the only exception to his unbroken stay at the Mira was the very first day when Snowden arrived in Hong Kong, having made no advanced hotel reservations before leaving the U.S. so as to not alert authorities, and thus grabbed the first hotel he found online: the Icon Hotel. After staying there the first night, he moved to the Mira on May 21 and remained there for the next 21 days).

Yet again we find that the same U.S. media that loves to decry Fake News and mock “the Arab World” and “Russian-state media” and InfoWars for wallowing in baseless conspiracy theories routinely peddle their own as long as the targets are the right ones. The Economist, for instance, hailed Epstein’s screed as “a meticulous and devastating account.” This episode once again shows how easily and how often mainstream media outlets in the U.S. circulate and affirm complete fictions using the most authoritative tones, and how the journalists and editors responsible for it never pay any price for doing so.

For three years, we watched as this lie was launched, then took root, then spread until it became unquestionable truth, notwithstanding the fact that it lacked any basis all along, as the NYT’s Savage noted. Now that the documents have emerged proving it to be a lie, the next steps are obvious for any media outlet with integrity: retractions and accountability for those who spread such false and toxic claims so recklessly. But that qualifier — “media outlet with integrity” — is a significant one, and for that reason, it is just as likely that they will allow their falsehoods, and those who spread them, to fester, unmolested by corrective action.

UPDATE: Three quick updates to this story:

1) I should have known that MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid, never one to be excluded from disseminating wild conspiracy theories, publicly endorsed the Missing Eleven Days tale:

Ahem… Snowden Won't Talk About His Time In Hong Kong — And Now We Know Why http://t.co/TthVSLrjkN via @BI_Defense

— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 1, 2014


2) Only two of the commentators who spread this false claim have thus far commented: former NSA employee Schindler, who responded by blocking me on Twitter and then suggesting that both myself and the Intercept are controlled by Putin; and

2) Kelley, who implied that the documents may be forged because the name of the reservationist at the Mira that appears on the booking form is the same as an Asian actress (it’s also a name shared by dozens of other women, at least, in Hong Kong), only to delete those tweets, finally blaming the Wall Street Journal for the multiple tweets and articles he wrote over the years accusing Snowden of lying about his whereabouts and using that to strongly imply that he was working with the Russians and/or Chinese.


3) The New York Times’ Charlie Savage confirmed the authenticity of the documents by interviewing the barrister in Hong Kong who obtained them, Robert Tibbo, and adds more thoughts here about what this all means for the conspiracists who spread this fiction.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:28 am

Alex Jones Calls Charlottesville Violence a False Flag, Because Alternative Facts Are Still a Thing
by Alexander Nazaryan
8/13/17

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George Soros did it. Or maybe it was the Deep State. That was the reaction of the far right to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left three dead. Even as images played on television of James Alex Fields, Jr., plowing his car into a crowd protesting the Unite the Right rally, a counter-narrative was coalescing on the Internet that offered a competing reality, one that had little grounding in confirmable fact.

The disconnect between what most Americans saw or read about the events in Charlottesville, where white nationalists had gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, and what the far right told itself about the very same events, suggests that nearly a year after fake news helped elect a president, alternative facts remain as alluring, and persuasive, as they have ever been.

For the extreme right, Charlottesville was not a cautionary tale about emboldened white supremacists who appear to have found troubling succor in the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump. Instead, the entire Unite the Right rally was potentially a false flag perpetrated by the Democrats and their enablers in the Deep State, a nonexistent figment of the right-wing imagination that invokes a network of career federal and military officials seeking to bring down Donald Trump. A global network of elites, many of them Jewish, may also have been involved, according to this version of events.

Although it is now common to assert — as a form of in-the-know mockery — that the notion of a “Deep State” in the U.S. was invented by Trump supporters only in the last year, the reality is that the U.S. Deep State has been reported on and openly discussed in numerous circles long before Trump. In 2010, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Dana Priest, along with Bill Arkin, published a three-part series that the paper titled “Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control.”

The Post series documented that the military-intelligence community “has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” The Post concluded that it “amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight.”

In 2014, mainstream national security journalists Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady published a book titled “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry,” which documented — in its own words — that “there is a hidden country within the United States,” one “formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them.”

Other journalists such as Peter Dale Scott and Mike Lofgren have long written about the U.S. Deep State completely independent of Trump. The belief that the “Deep State” was invented by Trump supporters as some recent conspiratorial concoction is based in pure ignorance about national security discourse, or a jingoistic desire to believe that the U.S. (unlike primitive, inferior countries) is immune from such malevolent forces, or both....

That the U.S. has a shadowy, secretive world of intelligence and military operatives who exercise great power outside of elections and democratic accountability is not some exotic, alt-right conspiracy theory; it’s utterly elemental to understanding anything about how Washington works. It’s hard to believe that anyone on this side of a sixth grade civics class would seek to deny that.

-- What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert It?, by Glenn Greenwald


A false flag is a diversionary tactic employed in battle at sea. Today, it most commonly refers to a government staging a terrorist attack it subsequently uses to malign and possibly prosecute forces hostile to the establishment. The notion of pervasive “false flags” has been popularized by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, founder of Infowars. According to Jones, the attacks of 9/11 were a false flags, as was the murder of 20 children at the Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012.

Jones presented his depressingly predictable explanation of what transpired in Charlottesville in a video posted on Saturday. “EXCLUSIVE: Virginia Riots Staged To Bring In Martial Law, Ban Conservative Gatherings,” the headline read. The video was an hour-long diatribe against some of Jones’s favorite targets, including liberal philanthropist George Soros, Black Lives Matter, globalists, elitists, the Democrats, the Republicans and anarchists, among many others. However, Jones failed to provide even remotely compelling evidence that anyone of these forces was directly responsible for the weekend’s violence (Fields killed one woman with his car, while two Virginia State Police officers died when their helicopter crashed en route to Charlottesville).

Exclusive: Virginia Riots Staged To Bring in Martial Law, Ban Conservative Gatherings
State of Emergency declared in Charlottesville as protesters clash
by Infowars.com
August 12, 2017
[Partial Transcript]

[Alex Jones] So they're trying to trigger this, they're trying to do it, to absolutely divide America more than they've ever divided it, while we have North Korea threatening to launch these missiles, while we have the Deputy Director of the FBI under Mueller saying "We're going to kill Trump." I mean, that's how biased Mueller is, and why he should recuse himself. You've got Mudd, his name really is "Mudd," I mean it's not me saying it. Here's "CNN's Phil Mudd Nails Trump." Nails him! I have the article here in my stack. It says "We're going to kill him." This is mainstream news. Here it is. Here's one of them. "Former Mueller Deputy says Deep State Will Kill Trump." So that's the level they've gotten to.

***

[Alex Jones] You've got Mudd, who from our researches in Virginia as well, looks like a relative of the Dr. Mudd that helped kill Lincoln on CNN. By the way, Mudd is from Latin which means "a man from the swamp." There's a guy named "A Man From the Swamp" who is the deputy FBI director, best buddy with Mueller, appointed by and from the CIA to run the FBI, and basically take it over a few years ago. He's on TV saying, "Oh, Trump is doing a horrible job; North Korea is going to defeat us, ha ha; Trump needs to get tougher, he's not being tough enough" -- trying to stir things up -- and "We're going to kill him." And this is actually happening.

And then I go "'Mudd'; your name is 'Mudd.'" And I go, "there's something [snaps fingers] -- Lincoln! Wasn't there a doctor who helped John Wilkes Booth get away and helped his leg, and one of the only guys they caught and executed? There's movies about that: Mudd, Mudd.” And I go "look." It means, "A Man From the Swamp." And it looks like he is related to that rare name from a Virginia family -- that's where he's from -- Mudd. And then he's saying, "Let's kill a Republican President!" I mean, I'm about to show you this! I couldn't believe it! And that's what's so crazy! And then he's cheerleading --

I'm sorry, I'm digressing on North Korea ...

We're allied with the communist Chinese. A man named "Mudd" is saying "kill the President." The Man From the Swamp says "kill the President." And then he is the deputy FBI director put in by Mueller. And he says, "The Government is going to kill him! Mueller is going to take him out!" This is like Mueller's salacious crumb sitting in Jabba the Hutt's lap hopping around saying, "Kill the President; we're going to kill him, hee hee; North Korea's going to kill us; we're going to have nuclear war."

And I'm like watching this, and I'm looking at my children, and I'm beyond not liking these people. And Mudd looks all crazy, like spots all over his face, saying like, "kill, kill, kill", and Mueller is like petting his head...

Now, if I said I was going to kill Mr. Mudd, which I wouldn't want to because he's a pile of crap, they would have the FBI come visit me and I would probably get indicted, he being a former official FBI deputy director, and former counterterrorist deputy of the CIA. And you know, "it's very serious what you did, Mr. Jones." But he can get on TV and say, "We're going to kill the President." And his best buddy is Robert Mueller who appointed him who is over the new witch hunt. Out of the swamp, out of the mud, his last name means "mud." It looks like when you do the genealogy, he is related to Dr. Mudd, who helped kill Lincoln. I'm not kidding. That's why his name is Mudd. And his name means "mud." "Mudd" in Latin means "Of the swamp." It was Romans who actually stayed and settled in central England. I probably know more about Mudd than he knows about himself now. He doesn't care about his ancestors! He shits all over them!

Anyway, the point is if I said that, they'd be here tomorrow. But oh, he can get on CNN and say, "We're planning on killing the President," along with Brennan and everyone else, and it's cute. All they have to do is a week and a half ago say I'm crazy; I'm planning to kill the President -- they're all over the TV saying it. So that's the rest of the story.

So now that we're on this, let's go ahead and show you Mudd, the meaning of Mudd: "a topographic name for someone who lived in a particularly muddy area. Middle English." Okay, let's go on to the next deal. There's your Charlotte riots being all funded by Soros. Your name is "Mudd." "Dr. Mudd gave medical help to John Wilkes Booth, who broke his leg while escaping." See, I told you the sky was blue, now I'm showing you. See? See? I didn't just tell you that wild story, I'm going to show you. That's why they hate me. "Oh, Jones lies about everything." ... No, I'm saying Dr. Mudd, the term your name is Mudd, is a historical fact.

Let's go back.

"Dr. Mudd gave medical help to John Wilkes Booth who broke his leg while escaping after shooting Lincoln in 1865. Mudd was convicted of being Booth's conspirator, although the evidence against him was ambiguous and circumstantial, and many historians argue that he was innocent of any murderous intent. He has since been pardoned and even a Facebook site" -- probably run by Mudd -- "dedicated to salvaging his reputation. A stupid twaddling fellow. 'And his name is mud' ejaculated upon the conclusion of a silly oration, of the leader in the Courier. Your name is Mudd. Soft, moist, glutinous material of the swamp."

But see, that's even more ancient. In Rome they have a bunch of their temples out in the swamp, out on the western end, which is the place of sages. So not only is he a man of the swamp, but of the sages. It's sort of deep stuff here. But he's a sage now. He's the proclaimer. He was told to go forth as a little priest class and announce -- that's why they stayed behind there in England -- to tell us that they're going to kill the President! The priest comes out of the swamp. The priest comes out of the mud. You can't make it up with these people, folks. So there you go.

"Former Mueller Deputy on Trump 'Government is Going to Kill This Guy.'" [The Hill]. Like he's a candy ass butler or something of Mueller. He's really excited. Like Mueller is his college football team captain, he's the cheerleader, and they're going to get married. He's like, [mimicking] "Oh, Mueller, we're going to kill him, ah, ah." But he didn't kill anyone in the CIA or FBI, he let other people do that. He was a torture bureaucrat. And now you think you're going to kill America, and kill the President? Your name is Mudd! Literally, "swamp man." "Out of the swamp comes the tottering priest: "We are going to kill the President!" Ha!

See, they're delusional. They would never talk like that in the past. But they would never have articles saying, "I'm crazy; he didn't say it." I could quote you a bunch of articles right now saying, "Jones is insane. He says they're saying 'kill the President,' and organizing a coup." And then they are all over the news saying it, and the CIA directors are saying it, and all this other crap.

And then he's cheerleading in these videos for North Korea to try and start a war to make trouble with that. But what if nukes rain down because of the Russians? "Oh, they don't have nukes; maybe one or two." The Russians and Chinese do. You see, Korea is not about Korea. Of course, we could obliterate it in five minutes with two submarines. There's only four cities. It's a horrible, backward place. Six or seven high yield tactical nukes along the DMZ, hit the major cities -- bye bye. It's China and Russia. They've been using it as a set piece since 1949, and that's coming to an end because it's Clinton that gave them the nukes.

Anyways, DUM DUM TA DUM. Wasn't that Beethoven? I'm out of time here. I came down to do some hardcore focus videos, and that picture set me off right there. Look at it. [Hillary pix]...

And Mueller is so arrogant that he has his adjunct on TV saying, "Mueller is going to get him. We're going to kill him." Imagine if the judge's deputy went to the judge: [mimicking] "We're going to kill you! Now come to our courtroom!" That's like Episode 3 from Star Wars when Darth Vader is in danger. It's like you're literally going, [mimicking] "You'll never stop us; Darth Vader is more powerful than either of us; Mueller is going to kill you. Argh! Ha ha ha ha ha!" And on TV, "We'll kill anyone; kill, kill! I'm the deputy CIA director. Kill the President! Kill him!"

What the hell? People are crazy! And this is your God? [Pointing to Hillary pix] You destroy the whole world so you can worship them? They all have the same looks on their faces!

I'm going to stop now. My name is Jones! Your name is Mudd! I guess you just can't escape that family name now, can you?

Try to keep up with the Joneses.




8/10/17

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] The comments that President Trump made when asked about the fact that in retaliation for the sanctions against Russia, Vladimir Putin expelled 755 U.S. diplomats and other personnel from the embassy in Moscow. Take a listen to what President Trump had to say:

[President Donald Trump] No, I want to thank him, because we're trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There's no real reason for them to go back, so I greatly appreciate the fact that they have been able to cut our payroll in the United States. We'll save a lot of money.

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] Okay, first of all, it's not going to help cut payroll at all. That's not how government budgets work. But beyond that, what Putin did was an anti-American action. Period. That's all it was. That's the definition of an anti-American action. And there President Trump is thanking him for carrying it out.

[Latina 1] Yeah, and Americans vs. the Russian interest, right? This is actually happening because of the sanctions, and Putin said it is retaliation against America for what it did. He is expelling American diplomats and others, and the President is cheering him on. It is a bizarre act for the American President to take the side of a foreign government against their own State Department personnel who are being expelled.

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] And when we first heard that he had said this, I think we all thought to ourselves, "Well, maybe he was joking. He was trying to be funny." But there wasn't any obvious attempt at humor there.

[Latina 2] No, it looked like he was being fairly serious. Does he believe his own spin? I'm not sure. But that is the answer he gave when asked about Americans leaving the country. In think in the next election, he should just roll over and ask Putin to scratch his belly. I mean, this is an act of submission. There is no win for America when we don't have staff on the ground for this very important country, not only for geopolitical reasons but because they meddled in our election and there are investigations going on. I can't accept that as an excuse, and I think other people should press him for a better answer.

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] What was your response, Phil Mudd?

[CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA agent Philip Mudd] A couple of surprises! Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official: government is going to kill this guy. He defends Vladimir Putin. There are State Department and CIA officers coming home, and at Langley, and at Foggy Bottom, CIA and State, they are saying, "Is this the way you defend us?" We saw the same thing in his transgender comments. What is the military saying to him on transgender? "Show us the policy." You know what that means inside government? Ain't gonna happen. What did the Department of Justice say on Paul Manafort? "You can say what you want but a judge told us we had cause to search his home early in the morning because we don't trust the guy who was your campaign manager." Government's gonna kill this guy because he doesn't support them.

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] What's interesting also, his comments about Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, about the fact that on July 26th there was this early morning FBI raid on his home. According to ABC News, they actually went into his home and knocked on his bedroom door, not knocked on the front door. And you do this when you are worried that people are going to get rid of documents. The President's remarks were that Paul Manafort's a good man, he hasn't talked to him in a long time, and that was a very aggressive action.

[Latina 1] Yes, and he kind of intimated that it was too aggressive, they had gone too far, and in his words. It's interesting that if I had a campaign manager, where the FBI was knocking on the door meaning they have probable cause or a lot of evidence and got a judge to agree to that, you know I think a normal act would be "What does Paul Manafort have that I don't know about?" vs. the "FBI may well be in the wrong." It's another instance in which it doesn't seem like he's trying to get to the bottom of what's happened here, he's really trying to push back against the investigation.

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] And Phil, before, I mean, I want to ask you a question, but Phil, just to reiterate, obviously, when you're talking about killing, you're using that as a metaphor, you're not --

[CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA agent Philip Mudd] Obviously. What I'm saying is government -- people talk about the Deep State -- when you disrespect government officials who have done 20 or 30 years, they're gonna say, "Really, you're -- Vladimir Putin sends officers home and you support him before you support us? --"


[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] Yeah, I just want to underline Amanda that you were struck by the President's comments on Guam --


Former Mueller deputy on Trump: 'Government is going to kill this guy'
by Joe Concha
The Hill
08/11/17

CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd warned that President Trump is agitating the government, saying during a Thursday afternoon interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper that the U.S. government "is going to kill this guy."

Mudd, who served as deputy director to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, said Trump's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin has compelled federal employees "at Langley, Foggy Bottom, CIA and State" to try to take Trump down.

"Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. Government is going to kill this guy," Mudd, a staunch critic of Trump, said on "The Lead."

"He defends Vladimir Putin. There are State Department and CIA officers coming home, and at Langley and Foggy Bottom, CIA and State, they’re saying, 'This is how you defend us?' " he continued.


Mudd also broached Trump's recent announcement of a ban on transgender soldiers in the military as another reason some in the government are turning on him.

"We saw the same thing in his transgender comments. What is the military saying to him on transgender? 'Show us the policy.' You know what that means inside government? 'Ain’t going to happen,' " he said.

Mudd pivoted to a newly revealed July FBI raid on the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to emphasize his point about the mistrust between the intelligence community and the president.

"What did the Department of Justice say on Paul Manafort? 'You can say what you want, a judge told us we had cause to search his home early in the morning because we don’t trust the guy who was your campaign manager.' The government is going to kill this guy because he doesn't support them," he concluded.

Leaks out of the White House and the intelligence community have occurred on a regular basis since Trump took office.

Many in Washington, including Democrats, expressed concern last week after transcripts of Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders were leaked to The Washington Post, citing national security concerns.

“This is beyond the pale and will have a chilling effect going forward on the ability of the commander in chief to have candid discussions with his counterparts,” Ned Price, a former National Security Council official under former President Obama, told The Hill.

“Granted, the White House contributed to this atmosphere by welcoming the free-for-all environment, where anonymous leaks are commonplace. But we must draw the line somewhere.”


At one point, Jones appeared to suggest that the Southern Poverty Law Center was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Jones also claimed that the media had failed to cover widespread assaults on families of Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., during January’s presidential inauguration.

Jones is hardly the only Charlottesville conspiracy theorist desperately trying to protect the alt-right from accusations of violence. The most far-flung of these have focused on Fields, the 20-year-old Ohio man who drove his car into a gather of counterprotestors, killing one and injuring 19. Fields was subsequently apprehended and is now being held at Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail. He will be arraigned on Monday, likely on second degree murder charges.

Some on the far right, however, have suggested that Fields was a government agent provocateur sent to cause havoc that would ultimately be blamed on Unite the Right and its constituent factions.

“The CIA drove that car into the crowd,” wrote a user on 4chan, the social network popular with the far right. “The CIA crashed that Helicopter.”

“Appears to be the perfect set-up to win sympathy for the violent left, while demonizing the right,” another 4chan user wrote, listing a bevy of reasons for why Fields was a patsy.

Image
• Man starts covering protests early on before anything big happens
• Car rams into vehicle and several people
• No cops present
• Black tinted windows
• Seemingly no hesitation
• Airbags don't deploy in fairly new car moving quite quickly
• Calm expression
• High-T military-tier facial structure resembling actual owner
• Reverses full speed in a straight line for 1+ blocks and disappears
• Drives off to a remote location
• Apprehended out of sight
• Supposedly pulled over by 2 black suburbans; made everyone go inside practically pulling guns on residents
• Guy looked "middle eastern/tan" not ghost white
• Bundled him into a suv really fast (wore skinny jeans)
• The white guy sitting beside a challenger in handcuffs were not the guy anon saw get helped out of the car
• Rainbow bottle on car originally potentially later swapped to a black simple bottle? (may just have rolled over)
• Helicopter with full footage of car's path and video of the subject "crashes"
• Fiery Hollywood explosion even though it fell through multiple trees
• No auto rotation even though the helicopter should have been high enough to do so
• Car registry states that the vehicle is supposed to have a sunroof
• 11 hours before the identity is released

4CHAN

While others did not attempt to argue away Fields’s culpability, they nevertheless sought to prove that the entire Unite the Right rally was an event sponsored by the left to discredit the right. Some took the coincidental fact that Saturday was the birthday of Soros, the Hungarian-American liberal philanthropist, as proof of his involvement. Soros is often invoked by conspiracy theorists as a symbol of a global, Jewish elite, one at counter with Trump and his nationalist agenda.

“I think it was a false flag. Unfortunately people were killed and injured. This is Soros' minions and our corrupt government causing civil unrest,” a user identifying herself as Christine Ramirez wrote on Gab, another social media platform popular with extremist elements.

Others noted that Soros offers financial support to the American Civil Liberties Union, among many other organizations. The ACLU had filed suit to allow Unite the Right to congregate in Charlottesville, in keeping with its mission of protecting First Amendment rights. Some, however, thought the organization was acting on Soros’s orders.

Varieties of this narrative were endorsed by some of the alt-right’s loudest voices:

Others yet blamed the Deep State, a concept popularized in part by chief White House political strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who some have branded a white nationalist and anti-Semite. Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, which he boasted was “the platform for the alt-right.” (A Newsweek email query to Bannon about the events in Charlottesville went unanswered.)

“Does anybody doubt that the Deep State has the ability to take over control of cars and trucks and drive them into crowds? Not saying that happened today. But I guarantee you it will if it suits their agenda,” wrote a user identified as ShareThisMeme on /r/The_Donald, a section of Reddit where supporters of the president trade memes and conspiracy theories.

The broadest of the false flag theories charges that the modern Democratic Party is grounded firmly in the principles of the Nazi party and is therefore responsible for all manner of intolerance at work in American society today. The tortured argument was recently popularized by right-wing pundit Dinesh D’Souza in The Big Lie. Earlier this month, D’Souza visited the White House, where he discussed The Big Lie with Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, a White House adviser who has also been accused of having ties to extremist groups. On Saturday, D’Souza took to Twitter to promote that argument, even as many other figures in the conservative movement were condemning Unite the Right.

The far right also rejoiced in Trump’s statement that the violence in Charlottesville had come from “many sides.” In failing to explicitly condemn the white supremacist, Trump proved far more effective than any false flag theory in shifting the blame away from those who seem to plainly deserve it.

_________________________________________________

Deep State is "Going to Kill the President," Alex Jones Claims
by Aidan Quigley
8/4/17

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Right-wing radio personality Alex Jones said Friday that the so-called Deep State is planning to assassinate President Donald Trump.

He and others on the far right have been accusing career government employees in the Deep State, particularily those who work in national security, of conspiring against Trump and his agenda. Far-right internet personality Mike Cernovich joined Jones Friday in predicting a coup against Trump in the next couple of months.

“They’re saying, 'A month or two we’re going to kill the president, month or two we’re going to remove him,'” Jones said. “This is so sinister.”

Jones has a substantial following, with 4.8 million unique visits to his Infowars.com between June 5 and July 4, according to Quantcast. On Friday, he followed up with a call to arms, saying the Deep State is planning to kill Trump supporters as well as the president.

“If they ban us from YouTube, that’s when Trump will be killed, there’s no question about it,” Cernovich said. “They’re going to kill us, they’re going to kill him, they’re going to kill everybody.”

In recent months, the Infowars host and other conspiratorial right-wingers have been predicting a second civil war between conservatives and liberals. Jones and Cernovich alleged they were being censored by YouTube and Google and talked about planning protests against tech giants, including one at Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's house.

“Folks, they are going to blow the president’s head off, they are going to bomb him,” Jones said. “They are getting ready.”

Trump appeared on Jones’s show during the campaign, and longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone is a frequent guest on the program. “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,” Trump told Jones.

Cernovich and Jones both promoted the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory, a false allegation that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child-sex-abuse ring. Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. has praised Cernovich, saying he should win a Pulitizer for accusing Susan Rice of "unmasking" Trump associates. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly determined that Rice did nothing improper in regard to the allegation.

More recently, the far right has focused on McMaster, alleging he is a leader of the Deep State that is trying to undermine Trump (though without any solid evidence).

“No one voted for H.L McMaster- he is a neocon quisling, helping [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller line up @realDonaldTrump for the take-down,” Stone tweeted Friday.

Jones is a noted conspiracy theorist, having questioned almost every major shooting and bombing over the past decade, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. He also is a proponent of 9/11 conspiracy theories.

The discussion of a new civil war started after the election, Nate Evans, a spokesman for the liberal media watch group Media Matters for America, told Newsweek in July. Evans said the right-wing media has increasingly been advocating violence since Trump was elected, and that Jones “has been particularly crazy about it.”
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:11 pm

So Remember All Those Times Democrats Said Russia Hacked The French Election? About That…
by Caitlin Johnstone
June 2, 2017

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Over the course of the last month I have been told dozens of times that the Russian government attempted to manipulate the French presidential election. It comes up every single time when debating establishment loyalists about the unsubstantiated Russiagate conspiracy theory; they speak it as though it is an objective, indisputable fact, because the pundits who tell them what to think have been speaking it as though it is an objective, indisputable fact. Anyone who’s spent any time debating the official Russia narrative in the last few weeks has been on the receiving end of this argument — Putin hacked the US election, and he hacked the French election too. We know for a fact that he hacked the French election, so you’re either an idiot or a Russian shill if you think he didn’t hack the US election.
Trouble is, it’s all bullshit. There is literally nothing linking Russia to the hacking attempt France experienced, and there never was.

Michael Tracey ✔ @mtracey
Remember when it was taken as a given by self-assured pundits that "Russia" had hacked the Macron campaign servers? https://www.apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7d ... ing-Macron
1:31 PM - Jun 1, 2017
https://storage.googleapis.com/afs-prod ... e/800.jpeg
The Latest: France says no trace of Russian hacking Macron
ST.PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — The Latest on President Vladimir Putin's comments Thursday (all times local): 5:30 p.m. The head of the French government'
apnews.com


For whatever reason, be it a grudge with America or just good old-fashioned honesty, France is no longer playing along with this particular fabrication. Guillaume Poupard, the head of France’s cyber security agency, told the Associated Press that there was “no trace” of Russian meddling and that the hack of the Macron campaign “was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone.”

This is important to keep track of, because the propagandists are about to shift away from this gaping plot hole in the narrative they’ve been spinning for a month, and soon all the brainwashed Democratic neocons are going to be speaking as though it never happened in a creepy display of real-world Orwellian doublethink. So let’s all get very clear on this before the revisionism begins: these people were indeed using the story about Russia hacking France’s electoral infrastructure to bolster their case for the still completely unproven allegation that Russia hacked the Democratic party in the 2016 US election cycle.



Here is Snopes on May 10, calmly assuring its foam-brained readers that many trustworthy US sources attest that the Kremlin was responsible for the hack.

Here is Reuters on May 9 making its trusting audience aware that the US is “increasingly convinced that Russia hacked French election”.

Here is the New York Times on May 8 on how France has defied “Putin’s meddling”, and writing that “The Russian hacking attack intended to disrupt the French election was a reminder that cyberattacks can also be defeated” on May 10.

Here is the CIA-funded Washington Post reporting that “Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election, despite yet another Russian intervention in support of a candidate (Marine Le Pen) whose views are decidedly illiberal and pro-Kremlin” on May 8, commenting on how “Putin’s Russia’s meddling in the French election” on May 12, and providing a transcript of multiple Senators promulgating the narrative that Russia hacked the French election at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Here is The Register saying “Just so we’re all clear on this: Russia hacked the French elections, US Republicans and Dems” on May 9.

Here is Vox still advancing the false narrative a couple of days ago, saying “The fingerprints on the attack implicated Russian hackers; immediately comparisons were made to efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.”

There are many, many, many more; a Google search of “Russia French election hack” turns up 3.5 million results. This completely false story has been used for nearly a month to add fuel to the anti-Russia fire the mass media propaganda machine has been laboring day and night to keep going.

Glenn Greenwald ✔ @ggreenwald
Are there any important lessons - about journalism, skepticism and reason - to draw from this? https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eu ... 2a3b97f608
6:02 AM - Jun 2, 2017


Again, this was something establishment loyalists brought up over and over and over again over the last month to substantiate their anti-Russia arguments. The intellectually honest thing to do when one of the points you claim to base your position upon collapses is to reevaluate your position, but this will not happen. It didn’t happen when gaping plot holes in the Crowdstrike report surfaced in March, it didn’t happen when Hillary’s “seventeen agencies agree it was Russian hackers” story was ripped to shreds last month when it turned out to have been only three agencies (one of which was the NSA, who got the French election data wrong), and it’s not going to happen now. There has not been one shred of proof presented to the public that Russia actually did the thing that sparked off all this Russophobic hysteria in the first place, and key points of the establishment argument keep collapsing, but these mindless automatons keep marching to the beat of the deep state drummer.

As I’ve been saying a lot lately, America’s unelected power establishment needs to push for regime change in both Damascus and Moscow in order to nail down a large amount of crucial geopolitical influence in some key regions, and they need to manufacture public support for the insane, world-threatening escalations necessary to do that. By constantly spinning Putin as a dangerous criminal mastermind who can dictate outcomes of elections, fill the internet with bots and shills and control the direction of public discourse despite Russia’s relatively tiny economy, the oligarchy is able to keep people sufficiently afraid to stop them from asking if maybe it’s time to start removing NATO troops from the Russian border and stay the fuck away from Syria.



David Swanson wrote a solid piece for Consortium News about how the whole anti-Russia narrative essentially boils down to the mass media repeating unsubstantiated assertions in an assertive, authoritative tone over and over again until people erroneously “assume that at some point someone actually established that it was a fact.”

Well nobody has established it as a fact. Repeating something over and over again as though it is a fact does not make it a fact. Saying it seems like something Russia would do does not make it a fact. Mocking someone who doesn’t believe it’s a fact does not make it a fact. Calling someone who disagrees with it a Russian shill does not make it a fact. For a nation with such an extensive history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to manufacture consent for military escalations, the American power establishment is coming up awfully short on facts. We need to keep pointing at this.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:18 pm

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack: Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
by Patrick Lawrence
The Nation
August 9, 2017

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It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

We are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.


This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.

One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.

Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in our national-security institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty.

Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.

The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at http://www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”

The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.

Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”

New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called http://www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.

The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”


What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public on July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate.

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.


Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States—not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by http://www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator wrote, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.

In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.

On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.

On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.


It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Editor’s note: In its chronology, VIPS mistakenly gave the wrong date for CrowdStrike’s announcement of its claim to have found malware on DNC servers. It said June 15, when it should have said June 14. VIPS has acknowledged the error, and we have made the correction.

Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:59 pm

Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (EXCERPT)
by Guy Debord

XVI

THE relatively new concept of disinformation was recently imported from Russia, along with a number of other inventions useful in the running of modern states. It is openly employed by particular powers, or, consequently, by people who hold fragments of economic or political authority, in order to maintain what is established; and always in a counter-offensive role. Whatever can oppose a single official truth must necessarily be disinformation emanating from hostile or at least rival powers, and would have been intentionally and malevolently falsified. Disinformation would not be simple negation of a fact which suits the authorities, or the simple affirmation of a fact which does not suit them: that is called psychosis. Unlike the straightforward lie, disinformation must inevitably contain a degree of truth but one deliberately manipulated by an artful enemy. That is what makes it so attractive to the defenders of the dominant society. The power which speaks of disinformation does not believe itself to be absolutely faultless, but knows that it can attribute to any precise criticism the excessive insignificance which characterises disinformation; with the result that it will never have to admit to any particular fault.

In essence, disinformation would be a travesty of the truth. Whoever disseminates it is culpable, whoever believes it is stupid. But who precisely would this artful enemy be? In this case, it cannot be terrorism, which is in no danger of 'disinforming' anyone, since it is charged with ontologically representing the grossest and least acceptable error. Thanks to its etymology and to present memories of those limited confrontations which around mid-century briefly opposed East and West, concentrated spectacle and diffuse spectacle, the capitalism of today's integrated spectacle still pretends to believe that the capitalism of bureaucratic totalitarianism - sometimes even presented as the terrorists' base camp or inspiration - remains its fundamental enemy, despite the innumerable proofs of their profound alliance and solidarity. But actually all established powers, despite certain genuine local rivalries, and without ever wanting to spell it out, never forget what one of the rare German internationalists after the outbreak of the First World War managed to recall (on the side of subversion and without any great immediate success): 'The main enemy is within.' In the end, disinformation is the equivalent of what was represented in the nineteenth-century language of social war as 'dangerous passions'. It is all that is obscure and threatens to oppose the unprecedented happiness which we know this society offers to those who trust it, a happiness which greatly outweighs various insignificant risks and disappointments. And everyone who sees this happiness in the spectacle agrees that we should not grumble about its price; everyone else is a disinformer.

The other advantage derived from denouncing a particular instance of disinformation in this way is that it wards off any suspicion that the spectacle's global language might contain the same thing. With the most scientific assurance, the spectacle can identify the only place where disinformation could be found: in anything which can be said that might displease it.

It is doubtless by mistake - unless it be a deliberate decoy - that a project was recently set in motion in France to place a kind of official label on some parts of the media guaranteeing them 'free from disinformation'. This wounded certain media professionals, who still believe, or more modestly would still like it to be believed, that until now they had not actually been subject to censorship. But the concept of disinformation must never be used defensively, still less as part of a static defence, building a Great Wall or Maginot Line around an area supposedly out of bounds to disinformation. There must be disinformation, and it must be something fluid and potentially ubiquitous. Where the language of the spectacle is not under attack it would be foolish to defend it; and the concept would wear out very fast indeed if one were to try to defend it against all the evidence on points which ought on the contrary to be kept from public view. Moreover the authorities have no real need to guarantee that any particular information does not contain disinformation. Nor have they the means to do so: they are not respected to that extent, and would only draw down suspicion on the information concerned. The concept of disinformation is only valid for counter-attack. It must be kept in reserve, then rapidly thrown into the fray to drive back any truth which has managed to get through.

If occasionally a kind of unregulated disinformation threatens to appear, in the service of particular interests temporarily in conflict, and threatens to be believed, getting out of control and thus clashing with the concerted work of a less irresponsible disinformation, there is no reason to fear that the former involves other manipulators who are more subtle or more skilled: it is simply because disinformation now spreads in a world where there is no room for verification.

The confusionist concept of disinformation is pushed into the limelight immediately to refute, by its very name, any criticism that has failed to eliminate the diverse agencies of the organisation of silence. For example it could one day be said, should this seem desirable, that this text was an attempt to disinform about the spectacle; or indeed, since it is the same thing, that it was a piece of disinformation harmful to democracy.

Contrary to its spectacular definition, the practice of disinformation can only serve the state here and now, under its direct command, or at the initiative of those who uphold the same values. Disinformation is actually inherent in all existing information; and indeed is its main characteristic. It is only named where passivity must be maintained by intimidation. Where disinformation is named, it does not exist. Where it exists, it is not named.

When there were still conflicting ideologies, which claimed to be for or against some recognised aspect of reality, there were fanatics, and liars, but there were no 'disinformers'. When respect for the spectacular consensus, or at least a desire for spectacular kudos, prohibits any honest declaration of what someone is against, or equally what he wholeheartedly approves; and when at the same time he needs to disguise a part of what he is supposed to acknowledge because for one reason or another it is considered dangerous, then he employs disinformation; as if by blunder or negligence, or by pretended false reasoning. In political activity after 1968, for example, the incompetent recuperators known as 'pro-situs', became the first disinformers because they did their best to hide all practical manifestations which confirmed the critique they claimed to have adopted; and, without the slightest embarrassment at weakening its expression, never referred to anything or anyone, in order to suggest that they themselves had actually discovered something.
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