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

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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

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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

Postby admin » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:13 am

Jim Carrey: Hollywood Elites ‘Eat Whole Babies’ For Christmas
by Baxter Dmitry
YourNewsWire.com
December 27, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Hollywood elites “eat whole babies for Christmas” according to Jim Carrey, who warns “dark forces” are “engaged in a battle for America’s soul“, and the outcome of this battle will have “long-lasting consequences for the entire world.“

“These kids are fattened up for the Christmas table like geese and turkeys, except the animals don’t go through the ritual abuse, the psychological torment that these kids are forced to suffer.“

“These people believe the more the child has suffered, the better it tastes. They believe the negative emotions coursing through the kid’s body, the adrenaline and hatred, will give them special powers. It’s a Hollywood thing influenced by old school Satanism.“

Speaking at a post-screening Q&A for documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond in New York, Carrey said that Christmas and New Year are a time of year he dreads, because of the “dark energy pulsating around Tinsel Town” and his knowledge of “what goes on behind the closed doors of the elite at this time of year.“

“Luciferians in Hollywood turn Christmas into the darkest festival of the year,” Carrey said, before explaining “there is a reason why people around the world feel a heaviness at this time of year.“

“Institutional oppression and Satanism hang in the air while we are all forced to wear smiles and ignore the gut feeling that all is not well.”

“Ever notice how all the homeless children you see throughout the year begin to dissapear at Xmas? You think it’s because they’ve found a home, found shelter, found love and warmth?“

“Christmas time is Satanic slaughter time. They are determined to pervert the most beautiful time of the year into a festival of suffering and blood.”

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond charts Jim Carrey’s evolution into cult comedian Andy Kaufman for 1999 film Man on the Moon, a performance which saw Carrey maintain the Kaufman’s oddball identity for the duration of the shoot. However in New York on Friday, Carrey warned of the seriousness of his allegations against Hollywood elite.

“The entertainment industry is the PR and brainwashing branch of the New World Order, the globalist empire of Lucifarianism,” Carrey said, warning. “There will be a strong push to normalize Satanism in 2018. Good old-fashioned devil worshipping.”

***********************************************************************
Jim Carrey Did NOT Say Hollywood Elites “Eat Babies For Christmas,” Despite Fake News
by Andrew Shuster
gossipcop.com
2:06 pm, December 27, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Jim Carrey did not say Hollywood elites “eat whole babies for Christmas,” despite an absurd report from a website known for publishing fake news. Gossip Cop can exclusively debunk this story. All of the quotes attributed to the comedic actor were fabricated.

According to the unreliable blog YourNewsWire, Carrey recently went on a rant about “dark forces” in the entertainment industry following a New York screening of his Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The outlet fails to mention exactly when or where this screening took place, but quotes the actor as having told those in attendance, “Kids are fattened up for the Christmas table like geese and turkeys… These people believe the more the child has suffered, the better it tastes.”

The bogus site further quotes Carrey as saying he hates the holiday season because of the “dark energy pulsating around Tinsel Town.” “It’s a Hollywood thing influenced by old school Satanism,” the actor allegedly added. Carrey is also quoted as noting, “Ever notice how all the homeless children you see throughout the year begin to disappear at Xmas? You think it’s because they’ve found a home, found shelter, found love and warmth? Christmas time is Satanic slaughter time. They are determined to pervert the most beautiful time of the year into a festival of suffering and blood.”

Despite how insane this all sounds, Gossip Cop looked into the situation and we can confirm that Carrey never made any of the comments cited above. Also, had the actor actually publicly accused Hollywood elites of “eating babies,” it’s unlikely that YourNewsWire would be the only outlet reporting about it. Regardless, this is all nonsense.

In fact, the blog has a habit of falsely attributing outrageous and bizarre remarks to the comedian. Gossip Cop previously busted the site for wrongly reporting that Carrey accused Donald Trump of being a “reptilian Illuminati.” Shortly before that, the outlet alleged that Carrey said Apple’s new Face ID technology will lead to a “totalitarian New World Order.” This latest article, also filled with fabricated quotes, might be the most ridiculous one yet.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:14 pm

MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them.
by Glenn Greenwald
July 8 2018, 4:19 a.m.

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Image
Photo: Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

DURING THE 2016 primary and general election campaigns, various MSNBC hosts were openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton. One of the network’s programs featured Malcolm Nance (pictured above), whose background is quite sketchy but is presented by the cable network (and now by NBC News) as an “intelligence expert” and former intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy.

On August 20, 2016, weekend host Joy Reid asked Nance about the supposed “affinity” for Russia harbored by Jill Stein supporters. In response, Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today.” You can still watch the video of this claim here on MSNBC’s own website or see it here:

Adam H. Johnson
@adamjohnsonNYC
Aug 25, 2016
Incidentally I'm waiting for @MalcolmNance to tell me what time your big money RT show is https://twitter.com/drjillstein/status/ ... 4715786240

Adam H. Johnson
@adamjohnsonNYC
this by @MalcolmNance was an out right lie. I'm curious: will @JoyAnnReid correct on air Saturday? @DrJillStein
7:12 PM - Aug 25, 2016


Whatever your views might be about Stein and her third-party candidacy, there is no disputing the fact that Nance’s statement was a falsehood, a fabrication, a lie. Stein did not have a show on RT, nor did she ever host a show on RT. What Nance said was made up out of whole cloth — fabricated — in order to encourage MSNBC viewers to believe that Stein, one of the candidates running against Clinton, was a paid agent of the Kremlin and employee of RT.

Reid allowed Nance’s lie to stand. Perhaps she did not realize at the time that it was a lie. But subsequently, a campaign was launched to urge MSNBC to correct the lie it broadcast, based on the assumption that MSNBC — which is part of NBC News — was a normal news outlet that functions in accordance with basic journalistic principles and would, of course, correct a false statement once that was brought to its attention.

The media watchdog group FAIR repeatedly documented the lie told by Nance and urged MSNBC to issue a correction. The Intercept wrote about this falsehood on several occasions and also noted that MSNBC was refusing to issue a correction of what everyone knows is a false — but an obviously quite significant — claim. Multiple tweets were directed at NBC News, MSNBC, Nance, and Reid asking them to correct the fabrication to their viewers:


FAIR: Challenging media bias since 1986.

September 13, 2016

Jill Stein Cites FAIR's Correction of MSNBC Falsehood


Adam H. Johnson
@adamjohnsonNYC
Former intelligence officer who also said Putin was going to invade Ukraine in October and thought Jill Stein had a show on RT

Joy Reid
@JoyAnnReid
Former intelligence officer: https://twitter.com/malcolmnance/status ... 8631467009

6:51 PM - Jan 4, 2017


Adam H. Johnson
@adamjohnsonNYC
Sep 17, 2016
Replying to @adamjohnsonNYC
this by @MalcolmNance was an out right lie. I'm curious: will @JoyAnnReid correct on air Saturday? @DrJillStein


Michael Corcoran
@mcorcoran3
still no correction, @joyannreid ?
8:53 AM - Sep 17, 2016


Glenn Greenwald
@ggreenwald
Periodic reminder that MSNBC, during the campaign, falsely told its viewers Jill Stein had a show on RT & refuses to correct/acknowledge it.

Sam Sacks (bot)
@SamSacks
Some more "spy'splaining" from the guy whose intel told him that Jill Stein had a show on RT & RU was planning an October Surprise invasion.

Malcolm Nance
@MalcolmNance
WATCH: I'll be on @amjoyshow 1000 EST discussing & Spy'splaining the latest shocking revelations on Gen. Flynn, Nunes & Russian intelligence


Green Party US
@GreenPartyUS
After Naval officer Malcolm Nance stated, “Jill Stein has a show on RT,” @JoyAnnReid refused to correct him. http://fair.org/home/jill-stein-cites-f ... falsehood/
11:25 AM - Nov 5, 2016
Jill Stein Cites FAIR’s Correction of MSNBC Falsehood
In a piece for CounterPunch, Jill Stein cited FAIR's correction of a false claim made about her.
fair.org


To date — almost two years later — neither NBC News nor MSNBC, nor a single journalist who works for either one of those media outlets has corrected this significant falsehood, despite obviously knowing that it was broadcast to their viewers. In other words, NBC News and MSNBC know that they told viewers something that was materially false, and yet refuse to correct it. Please, defenders of this network: Tell me what that says about its integrity, about its real function, about whether it is a real news outlet.

Worse, not only was Nance never sanctioned in any way for the lie he told, but he was rewarded: He has since gone from “MSNBC contributor” to “MSNBC intelligence analyst,” and is far more pervasive on the network, and its hosts have spent the month aggressively promoting his new book on how Vladimir Putin is destroying U.S. democracy.

On MSNBC, lies are not corrected; they are rewarded, provided the lies are designed to smear the reputations of Democratic Party critics. Is this not definitive and conclusive proof of that: that this is not a news outlet but a political arm of the Democratic Party?
What else could possibly explain, let alone justify, behavior like this? I’m asking that earnestly.

I BRING THIS UP again now not because I think MSNBC will ever correct its lie — it has made clear that lies designed to destroy the reputations of Democratic Party critics are perfectly permissible — but because a very similar event happened on Friday night involving the same MSNBC analyst.

This week, I traveled to Moscow to meet with Edward Snowden, as well as to participate in a cybersecurity conference, on a panel regarding “fake news” that included Alexei Venediktov, famous in Russia as a fierce critic of the Putin government in his position as editor-in-chief of Ekcho Moskvy radio station, along with Giovanni Zagni, head of an Italian website dedicated to checking politicians’ statements who is working with Facebook to determine “fake news.” (The Intercept paid for my travel and I was paid no fee for the trip).

The panel was moderated by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan and also included Sergey Nalobin, acting deputy director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Given the presence of harsh Putin critics on the panel, the discussion included severe criticisms of both the U.S. and Russian governments, their propensity to lie, and their desire to control the internet.

After Nalobin claimed that Russia was the victim of disinformation and “fake news” campaigns, I responded by pointing out that while this was true, Russia is also the perpetrator of such campaigns, and that in general, the history of the Cold War has continued through today: whereby the U.S. and Russia both use the same tactics against one another while claiming to be the victim:



After the event, there were camera crews from numerous media outlets wanting to interview some of the panel participants. I spoke to all of them. One of them was RT, which published the full transcript of the three-minute interview, as well as selected video clips. The primary point I made that received the most attention — namely, that it has become regarded as suspicious, and even treasonous, merely to visit Russia, and that I accepted the invitation to attend in part to combat that toxic, dangerous, and xenophobic perception — is the statement of mine that RT highlighted on social media.

Obviously, anyone is free to criticize people who decide to visit Russia. Anyone is free to denounce those who speak with RT (such as Stephen Hawking, whose RT interview can be seen here, though I’d love to hear from those holding such views why it’s permissible to speak to think tanks such as Brookings and Center for American Progress, which are funded by Gulf state tyrannies). And, needless to say, anyone is free to attack or dispute any statements or views that I, or anyone else, express as part of such discussions.

Nance did none of that. What he did, instead, is exactly what he did on MSNBC to Jill Stein in August 2016: In two tweets, he outright lied about me on purpose, telling his 420,000 Twitter followers that I am “an agent of Moscow” and “deep in the Kremlin pocket.” He further lied by stating that I “helped Snowden defect” and that I “reports into [my] masters in Moscow.”

Malcolm Nance
@MalcolmNance
READ: Glen Greenwald shows his true colors as an agent of Trump & Moscow. now we know why he helped Snowden defect, covers for Wikileaks attack on Democracy & shills for Fox News. He’s deep in the Kremlin pocket.

Malcolm Nance
@MalcolmNance
@ggreenwald reports into his masters in Moscow to help set the record straight about how misunderstood Russia is (when not sucking up to Trump on Fox). This is the literal definition of a propaganda Useful Idiot. #NoYoureThePuppet. https://www.rt.com/usa/432042-greenwald-rt-interview-moscow/ …
7:27 AM - Jul 7, 2018


None of Nance’s statements here is opinion. These claims — especially that I am an “agent of Moscow” and “deep in the Kremlin pocket” — are intended to be factual statements: that I work for, and am paid by, Russia and the Kremlin, and that I aided Snowden in “defecting” to Moscow. They are all outright lies. There is no other way to describe them.

Thus far, his tweet has been retweeted by close to 5,000 people. After I noted that they were lies, Nance reaffirmed them and said how proud he was to have broadcast them.

This is because Nance knows that he is free to lie this way with impunity. That’s because he works for an organization — MSNBC — that masquerades as a news outlet but actively encourages its employees to lie this way about anyone who criticizes the Democratic Party.


He will be celebrated inside MSNBC, not sanctioned or even told to rescind his lie, because — just as happened with the lie he told about Jill Stein — the person he chose to falsely accuse of being a paid agent of Russia is someone that the MSNBC audience of Democratic partisans hates, and lying is thus permitted and encouraged, just the way it is in any partisan organization. The network is derided as “MSDNC” for a reason.

Obviously, Nance is simply adhering to the post-World War II tactic of the U.S. military and intelligence community from which he emerged: For decades, they accuse any journalists they dislike, or dissidents of any kind, of being covert agents of Moscow.

You would think that any real journalists inside NBC News might be bothered enough by this classically McCarthyite tactic — accusing a journalist of being an agent of Russia without a shred of evidence — to denounce it, but you would be quite wrong. Just look at how identical the script is used by Nance to the actual words Joseph McCarthy spoke at one of his notorious hearings:


Joseph McCarthy Congressional Hearings

That’s because NBC News and MSNBC have essentially merged with the CIA and intelligence community and thus, use their tactics. The network is filled with former generals and CIA officials who are part of the community that pioneered these smear tactics of accusing journalists and critics they dislike of being traitors, spies, and Kremlin loyalists. Indeed, Nance sometimes appears on MSNBC along with former CIA Director John Brennan, who MSNBC also hired as an “analyst.” This is who they are.

It’s also what the Democratic Party is: This is their go-to tactic. After my colleague Lee Fang reported on the numerous corporate interests for which Howard Dean secretly shills in exchange for large payments — everything from pharmaceutical companies to Iranian regime-change cults such as MEK — this was the response from Dean (who, needless to say, also frequently appears on MSNBC):

Howard Dean
@GovHowardDean
Would be interesting to find out if the intercept gets money from Russia or Iran

Corinne Marasco@CorinneAM
PSA: Guilt by association is @ihfang's speciality because he fancies himself an "investigative journalist." twitter.com/rtraister/stat...
8:19 AM-21 Dec 2016


Anyone who criticizes the Democratic Party or its leaders is instantly accused of being a Kremlin agent despite the lack of any evidence. And the organization that leads that smear campaign is the one that calls itself a news outlet (and this is all independent of the fact that another one of its hosts recently lied about having her blog hacked and claimed she reported it to the FBI — a claim everyone in journalism knows is a lie — and not only was never sanctioned for it by was praised for doing that by MSNBC’s star host).

Needless to say, MSNBC is not the only cable outlet that acts as an arm of a political party and encourages its on-air personalities to lie and smear critics of that party. I have spent years documenting lies told by certain Fox News employees and denounced the willingness of some of their hosts to do exactly that while on Fox News itself.

But you can’t be a credible critic of lies — whether told by other cable outlets or politicians — if you not only permit but clearly encourage and reward your own on-air personalities when they do the same. And in the case of MSNBC, they not only do this, but they practice one of the most historically destructive versions of it: fabricated allegations that their critics, including journalists, are treasonous agents of a foreign power.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:50 pm

Probers Reading the Script: The Story of CBS and the Plot to Invade Haiti
by Gus Constantine
Washington Star
February 26 1970
[cia.gov]

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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House Commerce Committee
Approved For Release 2001/07/26: CIA-RDP72-00337R000200040008-4


The Columbia Broadcasting System [CBS] has been accused in a confidential House subcommittee staff report of contributing close to $80,000 to a 1966 plot to invade Haiti.

According to the report, CBS in return obtained exclusive rights to film illegal shipments of arms and training sites of the plotters preparatory to filming the invasion itself.


It also charges that the network has been trying to hide its involvement and that it rebuked a CBS cameraman for reporting the matter to federal authorities.

Image
Richard S. Salant
AP.


Richard Salant, president of CBS News, confirmed in New York yesterday that “CBS News filmed gun-running activities and training exercises as part of an investigative report on the activities of Cuban-Haitian exile groups.”

But he denied that the network helped finance the invasion plans or that it had “any complicity in the plot.”

Asked whether the network had knowledge whether law was being violated, Salant said:

“If you’re involved in filming guns and training exercises, obviously you have knowledge of a violation of law. But our general position is that where the violation is generally known, or there is reason to believe that law enforcement agencies know about it, then we proceed without notifying them.

Salant said CBS News’ expenditure for the “Haitian project” was between $150,000 and $170,000. “About $120,000 of this went for external costs – travel, board, lodging and payments to non-staff personnel,” he said.

Although CBS has been linked to the invasion attempt in earlier news accounts, details of the network’s involvement have never been disclosed. The invasion itself never came off.

“This committee has an excellent picture of what took place,” a member of the House Commerce Committee said in an interview.

The report, which was prepared for the subcommittee last June 20, caused some agonizing in the Commerce Committee over whether to call a public hearing.

Information in the report led to subpoenaing of CBS films, financial records and logs in connection with the invasion attempt. Executive sessions were held at which CBS personnel testified.

In their report, staff members of the Special Investigations subcommittee accused CBS of irresponsibility and said the network may have violated six federal statutes, including the Neutrality Act, the Munitions Control Law, the Communications Act of 1934 and several firearms laws.

The probers recommended that the network be called to public account in open hearings before the Commerce Committee, which has authority to investigate broadcast licensing under the Communications Act.

Salant said he would welcome public hearings “at this stage.” However, he said, “I’d have greater hope for such hearings getting at the truth if they could be held in a forum that offers the opportunity for cross-examination.”

The invasion finally was broken up by customs agents on Jan. 2, 1967, in a raid at Coco Plum Beach, Fla. CBS had ended its involvement the previous November.

Seven men were indicted by a grand jury as ringleaders of the plot. Six of them were tried and convicted in November 1967, while the charges against the seventh were dropped by the Justice Department. There is an appeal pending in New Orleans.

According to the Commerce Subcommittee staff report, the plot was hatched early in 1966 by Cuban and Haitian exiles as a two-step invasion which would seize Haiti from a base in the Dominican Republic, then use it as a jumping-off point to strike at Cuba.

The report contends CBS learned about it in March 1966, agreed in April to film invasion preparations, including weapons shipments and caches, and did so in June and at other times. It further contends that the network put up funds toward the rental of a yacht to serve as the invasion “flagship.”

CBS pulled out of the operation in November, the report said, when a customs agent who had been kept informed of the plans told the network the planned invasion of Haiti would not be permitted.

Salant said CBS officials wanted to pull out as early as September but that customs agents called and asked them to continue.

“As things developed by late summer, I got the feeling of something smelly. I felt we were being had,” Salant said.

Leading Figures

The leading “actors” in the “invasion” drama, according to the staff report, were:

Rolando Masferrer Rojas, a 52-year-old Cuban right-winger known as “The Tiger.” He controlled a private army in Cuba when Fulgencio Batista was dictator.

Late in March, Under Secretary of State Chester Bowles, during a period as Acting Secretary, learned of the [Bay of Pigs] invasion plan. On March 31 he wrote a memo to Rusk opposing it. He also asked Rusk to guarantee him half an hour to present his opposition to President Kennedy in the event the plan was approved. However, Bowles came away from his talk with Rusk with the belief that there would be no large-scale invasion. In the remaining two and a half weeks Bowles paid little attention to the matter; he had formed the impression it would be, at most, a small guerrilla landing.

***

Early in April the Cuban pilots at Retalhuleu were handed sealed envelopes and told to open them only after they were in the air. They obeyed. The orders were to proceed to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, the misnamed Happy Valley that was to be their home for the next few weeks. The entire air operation, including the American advisers, moved from Guatemala to Happy Valley. The exile brigade was airlifted to Puerto Cabezas, their port of embarkation. There, a CIA fleet had been assembled. What amounted to a sizable secret navy had been put together by the CIA chiefly under cover of the Garcia Line Corporation, of 17 Battery Place, New York.

The steamship line was Cuba's biggest. The twenty-five-year-old company, headed by Alfredo Garcia, owned half a dozen vessels. It had main offices in New York and Havana. It also had branch offices in Houston, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, cities for which two of its ships were named. In the pre-Castro era it plied between East Coast ports, Havana and Central America, carrying rice and sugar.

After Castro, Alfredo Garcia's five sons, Eduardo, Marcos, Alfredo Jr., Lisardo and Francisco, came to the United States. The CIA needed a navy, and the Garcia Line, since it was Cuban-owned and the only Cuban shipping company still operating from Havana, was perfect cover. And the Garcias wanted to help, despite the risks.

The CIA secretly leased the ships. Working chiefly with Eduardo, the agency then mapped out a complex plan to get the vessels to Puerto Cabezas at the last possible moment. The line continued to serve Castro right up to the invasion. Alfredo remained behind in Cuba, which further served to divert suspicion. (He didn't leave there until March 21.) [viii]

As D-Day approached, one by one the Houston, Lake Charles, Rio Escondido, Caribe and Atlantico sailed for Puerto Cabezas. Their crews were told nothing at first, and believed they were on a normal voyage to Central America. At Puerto Cabezas they were informed about the invasion and given the choice of leaving. A few did -- they were held by the CIA at Puerto Cabezas until the invasion was over.

Each of the ships had about twenty-five crewmen, so there were more than a hundred seamen in all who suddenly found themselves in the middle of a shooting war.
The ships were 2,400 tons, except for the smaller Rio Escondido. The CIA also purchased two World War II LCIs, the Blagar and Barbara J., and added them to the invasion fleet.

The Garcia Line provided cover as well as transportation; some of the exiles recruited by the CIA were handed papers to fill out that led them to believe they were signing up, technically at least, as able-bodied hands with the Garcia Line.

While the CIA assembled its secret navy, there were important political moves back in the United States. On April 8 Miro Cardona, in a press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, issued a call to arms urging Cubans to rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro. The same day Federal Immigration agents in Miami arrested Rolando Masferrer, a notorious Batista henchman who, under the dictator, had run a much-feared and much-hated private army known as "The Tigers."

Masferrer, who had fled Cuba the same day as Batista, was spirited to Jackson Memorial Hospital after his arrest and placed under guard. A "No Visitors" sign was posted on the door. The hospital listed Masferrer as a "possible coronary," but an attending physician told newsmen: There seems to be some misrepresentation. No coronary is evident."

Masferrer, it was announced, had been picked up as the result of a letter from Dean Rusk to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, which said in part: "The continued presence at large of Rolando Masferrer in the United States and particularly in Florida is prejudicial to our national interest from the point of view of our foreign relations." Two days later a Federal grand jury indicted Masferrer on charges of conspiring to outfit and send a military expedition against Cuba, a violation of the United States neutrality laws. [ix]

Masferrer was charged with breaking the law for mounting an invasion of Cuba -- ten days before the government mounted its own secret invasion.
Masferrer's character and reputation are irrelevant to the cynical manner of his arrest.

Ten days after the Bay of Pigs disaster Federal Judge Emmett C. Choate ordered Masferrer released and accused the Federal Government of having shipped him off to a "government concentration camp" in Texas. Assistant United States Attorney Paul Gifford said the Immigration Service acted on direct orders from President Kennedy. "The President," said Judge Choate, "has no authority to direct anyone to disobey the law." Seven months later, on November 9, 1961, the government quietly dropped the case against Masferrer without explanation.

One possible reason for Masferrer's arrest is that the administration believed that charging him with invading Cuba would divert suspicion from the government's own invasion plans, then in the final stage of preparation. It was a case of a straight political arrest, something not normally associated with life in the United States.

In addition, the President believed that Masferrer's arrest would demonstrate to the exiles and the world that the United States had no sympathy for Batista supporters. This became clear on April 12, when the President told his news conference: "The Justice Department's recent indictment of Mr. Masferrer, of Florida, on the grounds that he was plotting an invasion of Cuba, from Florida, in order to establish a Batista-like regime, should indicate the feelings of this country towards those who wish to re-establish that kind of an administration inside Cuba."

-- The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross


The Rev. Jean Baptiste Georges, a Catholic priest and a former education minister under Haitian President Francois Cuvalier.
• Julie Aton Constanze-Pelau, a Cuban conspirator who allegedly assisted CBS in its filming. He was recently shot in Miami.
• Julio Cesar Hormilla, a Cuban who lost an eye while participating in the filming of invasion training.
Mitchell Wer Bell III, a munitions dealer linked to clandestine operations and upheaval in Latin America. He was hired by CBS as a consultant for the invasion story.
• Jay McMullen, CBS producer for the invasion story.
Andrew St. George, a free-lance writer who tipped off CBS on the invasion plans and was hired by the network as associate producer and writer of the story.
• James Wilson, the CBS cameraman who informed federal authorities of the invasion plans.

• Eugene Maximilian, Haitian consul to the United States and the target of an extortion attempt.
• Stanley Schacter, assistant customs agent in charge of enforcement at Miami, who kept track of the unfolding invasion scheme.

Plans Outlined

The subcommittee report says CBS’ association with the conspirators began in March 1966.

The conspiracy took shape initially as just one more Latin intrigue in Florida to topple the regime of Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

In this instance, the plan called for Masferrer to be installed as chief of Cuba while Father Georges took over Haiti, provided a two-stage invasion was successful.

CBS enters the picture through McMullen, a producer eager to film arms-smuggling activities. The special subcommittee’s chief investigator, James P. Kelly, himself a former CBS employee, is said to have worked on a project with McMullen in 1965 to film illegal export of surplus fighter aircraft. That project was dropped.

Familiar with the interests of the invasion planners and McMullen, Andrew St. George, free lance writer, is introduced in the report as the contact who approached McMullen in March 1966. St. George is said to have told McMullen of the preparation for a Haitian invasion, and asked if CBS was still interested in illegal munitions movements.

Wer Bell, identified in the staff report as a man with a background in arms sales to Latin governments, is introduced by St. George to McMullen in April at Wer Bell’s home in Powder Springs, Ga.


McMullen, said the report, was told of Wer Bell’s efforts to find a suitable base in the Dominican Republic for Masferrer to launch his invasion.

Price Tag Cited

McMullen was also told, according to the report, that for a price, exclusive CBS filming of clandestine arms shipments, training exercises and the actual invasion could be arranged.

McMullen agreed to pay close to $80,000 for these rights, the report says, and CBS hired St. George as associate producer and writer of the invasion story.


As a down payment, St. George delivered to Wer Bell $1,500 given to him by McMullen, the report says.

In June, McMullen brought a film crew to a Miami house belonging to Masferrer’s brother. An arms cache was photographed here and in other residences in the same vicinity.

Wer Bell was on location. So were immigration agents, who called to check on Masferrer’s whereabouts. Masferrer was on parole and was barred from Florida. Mistaking the callers for FBI agents, McMullen hid in the closet, according to the report.


CIA Contact Noted

A CBS cameraman, James Wilson, contacted CIA agents in Houston while on a space shot assignment, the report says.

The CIA informed the FBI, who called on Wilson and referred him to U.S. Customs.

From that point on, according to the report, Stanley Schacter, assistant customs agent in charge of enforcement in Miami, was kept informed by Wilson of developments.


MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA’s testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names of those recruited reads like a Who's Who of journalism:

• Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, Washington Post)
William Paley (President, CBS)
• Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine)
• Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times)
• Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star)
• Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News)
• Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal)
• James Copley (Copley News Services)
• Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor)
• C.D. Jackson (Fortune)
• Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post)
• ABC
• NBC
• Associated Press
• United Press International
• Reuters
• Hearst Newspapers
• Scripps-Howard
• Newsweek magazine
• Mutual Broadcasting System
• Miami Herald
• Old Saturday Evening Post
• New York Herald-Tribune

...

It would be impossible to elaborate in this short space even the most important examples of the CIA/media alliance. Sig Mickelson was a CIA asset the entire time he was president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961. Later he went on to become president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, two major outlets of CIA propaganda.

The CIA also secretly bought or created its own media companies. It owned 40 percent of the Rome Daily American at a time when communists were threatening to win the Italian elections. Worse, the CIA has bought many domestic media companies. A prime example is Capital Cities, created in 1954 by CIA businessman William Casey (who would later become Reagan’s CIA director). Another founder was Lowell Thomas, a close friend and business contact with CIA Director Allen Dulles. Another founder was CIA businessman Thomas Dewey. By 1985, Capital Cities had grown so powerful that it was able to buy an entire TV network: ABC....

Officially, the Knights of Malta are a global charity organization. But beginning in the 1940s, knighthood was granted to countless CIA agents, and the organization has become a front for intelligence operations. SMOM is ideal for this kind of activity, because it is recognized as the world’s only landless sovereignty, and members enjoy diplomatic immunity. This allows agents and supplies to pass through customs without interference from the host country. Such privileges enabled the Knights of Malta to become a major supplier of "humanitarian aid" to the Contras during their war in the 1980s.

A partial list of the Knights and Dames of Malta reads like a Who’s Who of American Catholicism:

• William Casey – CIA Director.
• John McCone – CIA Director.
• William Colby – CIA Director.
• William Donovan – OSS Director. Donovan was given an especially prestigious form of knighthood that has only been given to a hundred other men in history.
Frank Shakespeare – Director of such propaganda organizations as the U.S. Information Agency, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Also executive vice-president of CBS-TV and vice-chairman of RKO General Inc. He is currently chairman of the board of trustees at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.
• William Simon – Treasury Secretary under President Nixon. In the private sector, he has become one of America’s 400 richest individuals by working in international finance. Today he is the President of the John M. Olin Foundation, a major funder of right-wing think tanks.
• William F. Buckley, Jr. – CIA agent, conservative pundit and mass media personality.
• James Buckley – William’s brother, head of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
• Clare Boothe Luce - The grand dame of the Cold War was also a Dame of Malta. She was a popular playwright and the wife of the publishing tycoon Henry Luce, who cofounded Time magazine.
• Francis X Stankard - CEO of the international division of Chase Manhattan Bank, a Rockefeller institution. (Nelson Rockefeller was also a major CIA figure.)....

When this group gets together, obviously, the topics are spying, business and politics.

-- The Origins of the Overclass, by Steve Kangas[/quote


From time to time, the plotters sought funds from CBS and St. George was given money by McMullen to pay them, the report says. It mentions sums totaling almost $3,000 to Masferrer, $750 to Wer Bell for a trip to the Dominican Republic, $500 to Father Georges to perform “voodoo” rites in order to inspire the troops and $500 to Julio Aton Constanzo-Pelau, another conspirator, who doubled as film assistant for CBS.

A Comic Turn

Now the narrative shifts to New Jersey and takes a comic turn.

McMullen is told he can photograph a shipment of weapons from the Shiloh Hunting Lodge on Rt. 46 to Florida. He pays Masferrer $380 for the story but the story fails to materialize. In the mix-up, the car carrying the weapons loses contact with the CBS film crew, according to the report.

Later, a van carrying weapons from New York to Florida breaks down in Macon, Ga., and the driver has only $15 in cash. CBS provides financial help and a 1965 Mercury station wagon is sent to Macon to complete the trip, the report says.

McMullen then pays Wer Bell $3,000 toward rental of a yacht, the Poor Richard, which would be the invasion “flagship.” The leaky ship sinks.
McMullen, says the report, gets $2,500 back and Wer Bell keeps $500 for “expenses.”

CBS said yesterday it paid Wer Bell $1,500 for the boat. Salant said, “I understand it was to be the invasion boat. We were going to be on it. The money was for board and lodging. Another $1,500 was paid for a second yacht, which was used by St. George and later caught fire.”

Suit Against CBS

During the filming of a training scene at Kendall Park, Fla., trainee Julio Cesar Hormilla was injured when a defective weapon exploded. He later lost an eye.

Hormilla sued [CBS] for $1 million, alleging that McMullen transported weapons to Kendall and distributed them to the men. After his injury, Hormilla charged, medical aid was delayed until CBS cameramen could photograph the incident.


Image
Rolando Masferrer (left) and Father Jean Baptiste George.
United Press International


Hormilla later settled his suit with CBS for $15,000, the report says.

According to the report, Wer Bell, Masferrer and St. George showed up at the Miami office of Haitian Consul Eugene Maximilian and offered to end preparations for the invasion if Duvalier put up $200,000.

When no answer appeared to be forthcoming, the staff report says the plotters offered through an intermediary to sell a tape of their conversation with Maximilian back to the consul for $10,000.

But the Haitian diplomat reported the matter to Duvalier, to the FBI and to U.S. Customs.

Salant said CBS was not involved in, nor knew anything about this incident until Wer Bell approached McMullen and said he had the tape.

“McMullen said, ‘Hell, I won’t touch it,’” according to Salant.

A falling out then apparently occurred between Masferrer and St. George and the latter goes to Stanley Schacter, the same Customs official briefed earlier by Wilson, to tell his version of the invasion story.

St. George, says the report, now drops out of the picture. He is hospitalized with bad burns suffered in a yacht accident and McMullen hires Wer Bell as a story consultant at $500 a week.

Another shift now takes place. The Dominican Republic is “uncooperative” over the use of its territory as a base for the Haitian invasion so the plotters decide to strike directly from the United States.


Appears a Scoop

A CBS crew is flown to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the network hires its own flagship for $2,500 to trail the rebel flotilla. NBC and ABC were struggling to catch up with the story but the “scoop,” it appeared, belonged to CBS.

Nov. 20 is the day before the invasion. But that night, CBS correspondent Bert Quint, in Haiti, reported a battle raging in the streets between rebels and forces loyal to Duvalier.

There is reason to believe, the congressional staff report says, that he was purposely fed misinformation by Duvalier to foil the invasion.

Schacter, meanwhile, informs Masferrer, Father Georges and McMullen that the invasion would not be allowed.

At this point, CBS ends its affiliation, the staff report says.

But Masferrer and his people shift to Coco Plum Beach and begin a new countdown. On Jan. 2, U.S. Customs officials take the “army” into custody and seize its armaments, including the transport vessel, the Elena G.

A grand jury then indicted the seven men, including Masferrer, Father Georges, Constanzo-Pelau and Wer Bell on charges they violated the Neutrality Act and the Munitions Control Laws.

Before the trial the Justice Department dropped Wer Bell as a defendant, and the congressional investigators reported that all attempts to get an explanation from Justice failed. The other defendants were found guilty and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 60 days to four years. The verdict is on appeal in New Orleans.

In 1967 CBS refused to let officials of the Justice Department, Customs and the U.S. Attorney see the films it took in connection with the invasion plans, the report says.

According to the report, Bill Leonard, CBS vice president, rebuked Wilson for notifying the government.

Meanwhile, the House Commerce Committee continues to study the need for public hearings.

■ The Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS was unquestionably the CIA's most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS President William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well‑known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of newsfilm to the CIA [3]; established a formal channel of communication between the Washington bureau chief and the Agency; gave the Agency access to the CBS newsfilm library; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents to the Washington and New York newsrooms to be routinely monitored by the CIA. Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.

The details of the CBS‑CIA arrangements were worked out by subordinates of both Dulles and Paley. “The head of the company doesn’t want to know the fine points, nor does the director,” said a CIA official. “Both designate aides to work that out. It keeps them above the battle.” Dr. Frank Stanton, for 25 years president of the network, was aware of the general arrangements Paley made with Dulles—including those for cover, according to CIA officials. Stanton, in an interview last year, said he could not recall any cover arrangements.) But Paley’s designated contact for the Agency was Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News between 1954 and 1961. On one occasion, Mickelson has said, he complained to Stanton about having to use a pay telephone to call the CIA, and Stanton suggested he install a private line, bypassing the CBS switchboard, for the purpose. According to Mickelson, he did so. Mickelson is now president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, both of which were associated with the CIA for many years.

In 1976, CBS News president Richard Salant ordered an in‑house investigation of the network's dealings with the CIA. Some of its findings were first disclosed by Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times.) But Salant's report makes no mention of some of his own dealings with the Agency, which continued into the 1970s.

Many details about the CBS‑CIA relationship were found in Mickelson's files by two investigators for Salant. Among the documents they found was a September 13th, 1957, memo to Mickelson from Ted Koop, CBS News bureau chief in Washington from 1948 to 1961. It describes a phone call to Koop from Colonel Stanley Grogan of the CIA: "Grogan phoned to say that Reeves [J. B. Love Reeves, another CIA official] is going to New York to be in charge of the CIA contact office there and will call to see you and some of your confreres. Grogan says normal activities will continue to channel through the Washington office of CBS News." The report to Salant also states: "Further investigation of Mickelson's files reveals some details of the relationship between the CIA and CBS News.... Two key administrators of this relationship were Mickelson and Koop.... The main activity appeared to be the delivery of CBS newsfilm to the CIA.... In addition there is evidence that, during 1964 to 1971, film material, including some outtakes, were supplied by the CBS Newsfilm Library to the CIA through and at the direction of Mr. Koop4.... Notes in Mr. Mickelson's files indicate that the CIA used CBS films for training... All of the above Mickelson activities were handled on a confidential basis without mentioning the words Central Intelligence Agency. The films were sent to individuals at post‑office box numbers and were paid for by individual, nor government, checks. ..." Mickelson also regularly sent the CIA an internal CBS newsletter, according to the report.

Salant's investigation led him to conclude that Frank Kearns, a CBS‑TV reporter from 1958 to 1971, "was a CIA guy who got on the payroll somehow through a CIA contact with somebody at CBS." Kearns and Austin Goodrich, a CBS stringer, were undercover CIA employees, hired under arrangements approved by Paley.

Last year a spokesman for Paley denied a report by former CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr that Mickelson and he had discussed Goodrich's CIA status during a meeting with two Agency representatives in 1954. The spokesman claimed Paley had no knowledge that Goodrich had worked for the CIA. "When I moved into the job I was told by Paley that there was an ongoing relationship with the CIA," Mickelson said in a recent interview. "He introduced me to two agents who he said would keep in touch. We all discussed the Goodrich situation and film arrangements. I assumed this was a normal relationship at the time. This was at the height of the Cold War and I assumed the communications media were cooperating—though the Goodrich matter was compromising.

At the headquarters of CBS News in New York, Paley's cooperation with the CIA is taken for granted by many news executives and reporters, despite the denials. Paley, 76, was not interviewed by Salant's investigators. "It wouldn't do any good," said one CBS executive. "It is the single subject about which his memory has failed."

Salant discussed his own contacts with the CIA, and the fact he continued many of his predecessor's practices, in an interview with this reporter last year. The contacts, he said, began in February 1961, "when I got a phone call from a CIA man who said he had a working relationship with Sig Mickelson. The man said, 'Your bosses know all about it.'" According to Salant, the CIA representative asked that CBS continue to supply the Agency with unedited newstapes and make its correspondents available for debriefing by Agency officials. Said Salant: "I said no on talking to the reporters, and let them see broadcast tapes, but no outtakes. This went on for a number of years—into the early Seventies."

In 1964 and 1965, Salant served on a super-secret CIA task force which explored methods of beaming American propaganda broadcasts to the People's Republic of China. The other members of the four‑man study team were Zbigniew Brzezinski, then a professor at Columbia University; William Griffith, then professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Hayes, then vice‑president of the Washington Post Company for radio‑TV5. The principal government officials associated with the project were Cord Meyer of the CIA; McGeorge Bundy, then special assistant to the president for national security; Leonard Marks, then director of the USIA; and Bill Moyers, then special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and now a CBS correspondent.

Salant's involvement in the project began with a call from Leonard Marks, "who told me the White House wanted to form a committee of four people to make a study of U.S. overseas broadcasts behind the Iron Curtain." When Salant arrived in Washington for the first meeting he was told that the project was CIA sponsored. "Its purpose," he said, "was to determine how best to set up shortwave broadcasts into Red China." Accompanied by a CIA officer named Paul Henzie, the committee of four subsequently traveled around the world inspecting facilities run by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (both CIA‑run operations at the time), the Voice of America and Armed Forces Radio. After more than a year of study, they submitted a report to Moyers recommending that the government establish a broadcast service, run by the Voice of America, to be beamed at the People's Republic of China. Salant has served two tours as head of CBS News, from 1961‑64 and 1966‑present. (At the time of the China project he was a CBS corporate executive.)

-- The CIA and the Media: How America's Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up, by Carl Bernstein
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:06 am

US spy operation that manipulates social media: Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda
by Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain
Thu 17 Mar 2011 09.19 EDT First published on Thu 17 Mar 2011 09.19 EDT

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: "The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US."

He said none of the interventions would be in English, as it would be unlawful to "address US audiences" with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.

Centcom said it was not targeting any US-based web sites, in English or any other language, and specifically said it was not targeting Facebook or Twitter.

Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.

Centcom's contract requires for each controller the provision of one "virtual private server" located in the United States and others appearing to be outside the US to give the impression the fake personas are real people located in different parts of the world.

It also calls for "traffic mixing", blending the persona controllers' internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that must offer "excellent cover and powerful deniability".

The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces. Since then, OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

OEV is seen by senior US commanders as a vital counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme. In evidence to the US Senate's armed services committee last year, General David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to "counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard". He said the US military's objective was to be "first with the truth".

This month Petraeus's successor, General James Mattis, told the same committee that OEV "supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities".


Centcom confirmed that the $2.76m contract was awarded to Ntrepid, a newly formed corporation registered in Los Angeles. It would not disclose whether the multiple persona project is already in operation or discuss any related contracts.

Nobody was available for comment at Ntrepid.

In his evidence to the Senate committee, Gen Mattis said: "OEV seeks to disrupt recruitment and training of suicide bombers; deny safe havens for our adversaries; and counter extremist ideology and propaganda." He added that Centcom was working with "our coalition partners" to develop new techniques and tactics the US could use "to counter the adversary in the cyber domain".

According to a report by the inspector general of the US defence department in Iraq, OEV was managed by the multinational forces rather than Centcom.

Asked whether any UK military personnel had been involved in OEV, Britain's Ministry of Defence said it could find "no evidence". The MoD refused to say whether it had been involved in the development of persona management programmes, saying: "We don't comment on cyber capability."

OEV was discussed last year at a gathering of electronic warfare specialists in Washington DC, where a senior Centcom officer told delegates that its purpose was to "communicate critical messages and to counter the propaganda of our adversaries".

Persona management by the US military would face legal challenges if it were turned against citizens of the US, where a number of people engaged in sock puppetry have faced prosecution.

Last year a New York lawyer who impersonated a scholar was sentenced to jail after being convicted of "criminal impersonation" and identity theft.

It is unclear whether a persona management programme would contravene UK law. Legal experts say it could fall foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which states that "a person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice". However, this would apply only if a website or social network could be shown to have suffered "prejudice" as a result.


• This article was amended on 18 March 2011 to remove references to Facebook and Twitter, introduced during the editing process, and to add a comment from Centcom, received after publication, that it is not targeting those sites.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:54 am

The Bizarre Not-Murder of Arkady Babchenko: The story of a crusading Russian journalist who faked his death to expose his enemies will fuel Moscow’s accusations of Ukrainian deceit.
by Natasha Bertrand
The Atlantic
MAY 30, 2018

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Image
Arkady Babchenko speaking at a news conference. The Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reported murdered in Ukraine on May 29, attends a news briefing by the Ukrainian state security service in Kiev, on May 30.VALENTYN OGIRENKO /

The news was grim. It was a murder. The apparent victim: Russian soldier-turned-reporter Arkady Babchenko. Obituaries were written, memorials were erected, and mourners gathered outside of his apartment.

And, then, something utterly remarkable happened. Babchenko appeared, alive, at a press conference about his own death.

Journalists gasped and then applauded as the supposedly dead Babchenko, known for his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin and investigations of Russia’s foreign incursions, explained that his “murder” had actually been part of a months-long operation staged by Ukraine’s security services. The bizarre exercise immediately escalated tensions between Kiev and Moscow, with Ukraine accusing the Kremlin of orchestrating Babchenko’s murder before disclosing that his death had been faked.

The episode seemed to accentuate the smoke-and-mirrors atmosphere hanging over eastern Europe and Russia—a place where disinformation seems to flow freely, and Russia, which maintains an entrenched presence in eastern Ukraine, has long depended on propaganda to draw support from pro-Russian separatists and attack the pro-Western Ukrainian government. The Kremlin has not been the only entity to criticize Ukraine’s decision to fake the prominent journalist’s death—while Ukrainian officials celebrated the operation, many journalists and civil groups decried what they saw as the government’s manipulation of the truth in what is already a fragile moment for the media.

Russia, which has been sanctioned and widely condemned over its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, used the news to flip the narrative and cast Ukraine as the aggressor. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quickly called the episode a “masquerade” conducted for “propaganda” purposes. Konstantin Kosachyov, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council's foreign-affairs committee, called it a “provocation” by the Ukrainian government, according to the Russian newswire Interfax. Alec Luhn, a journalist based in Russia, worried that the operation would bolster Moscow’s characterization of Kiev as “deceitful and hapless.” “Babchenko’s staged murder is basically doing their job for them,” Luhn observed. Various journalists’-rights organizations were incensed—the Committee to Protect Journalists called the operation “extreme” and asked for answers. Reporters Without Borders expressed “its deepest indignation after discovering the manipulation of the Ukrainian secret services” and said “it is always very dangerous for a government to play with the facts.”

Garry Kasparov, the Russian chessmaster-turned anti-Putin activist, saw it differently. Speaking at the annual Oslo Freedom Forum—where, hours before, still thinking Babchenko had died, an opera was performed in Babchenko’s honor—Kasparov said the Ukrainian operation marked the first time that Putin’s tool of “fake news was being used against him.” He described the staged murder as “probably the most successful operation in the post-Soviet Union,” and joked that “people who are resurrected have a track record of doing great things.”

The security operation was elaborate. Ukrainian officials even confirmed Babchenko’s death to various media outlets, released photos of him lying facedown in blood, and installed a memorial plaque in his honor on a wall of slain journalists in Kiev. (The plaque was removed on Wednesday.) Not even Babchenko’s wife appeared to be in on it. “Special apologies to my wife, Olechka—there was no other option,” Babchenko said during Wednesday’s press conference. “The operation was under preparation for two months.”

Despite the criticism, Ukrainian police and government officials declared the operation a success. Vasily Gritsak, the head of the Ukrainian security service, told reporters on Wednesday that the investigation had been launched after Babchenko began receiving death threats. It is not clear what sparked them, but he fled Russia in 2016 after learning that the Kremlin was angry at him for saying in a Facebook post that he did not mourn the victims of a Russian defense ministry plane crash that year, according to Haaretz. By Wednesday, officials had detained one suspect: a former fighter based in eastern Ukraine who was allegedly paid $30,000 by Russian authorities to kill Babchenko.

It is still not clear how authorities, in staging Babchenko’s death, were allegedly able to confirm Russia’s involvement in the murder plot. But Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko congratulated the authorities on a “brilliant operation” and ordered around-the-clock security for Babchenko and his family. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenk, meanwhile, used the staged killing as an opportunity to attack Ukrainian politicians who had accused the police of failing to prevent Babchenko’s death, according to the Kyiv Post.

Anton Geraschenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, said the police had “no other choice.” “In order to trace and document the chain from the killer to the organizers and customers it was necessary to create in them full confidence that the order was executed and force them to take a number of actions that will be documented by the investigation,” Geraschenko wrote on Facebook. He compared it to something Sherlock Holmes would do. “Sherlock Holmes successfully used the method of staging his own death for the effective investigation of complex and intricate crimes. No matter how painful it was for his family and Dr. Watson.”

The tension between Russia and Ukraine will likely escalate as Ukrainian authorities continue to release evidence they say proves the Kremlin had planned to have Babchenko murdered. On Wednesday afternoon, Ukraine’s security services released a video that purportedly showed the would-be hitman receiving his $30,000 payment—the police had placed a camera inside the bag. Babchenko, for his part, wrote on Facebook that he has promised to die at the age of 96, after “dancing on Putin’s grave.”

Kathy Gilsinan contributed reporting.
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